The Interview and Cynicism

lost - locke
If you've been following all this business with The Interview, it sounds like Sony has "relented" and will be releasing the film on Christmas Day after all, in limited release.

I don't doubt that the hacking and the threats were real. I do doubt that the government of North Korea has the resources to make such a threat credible, certainly not in the United States with everyone on alert. And the cynical side of me has to wonder whether Sony always intended to release the film anyway, but played up the threats and free speech angles to line up audience for a film that they were afraid was going to tank.

Just a sneaking suspicion. (I wasn't going to see it anyway, I am pretty much the opposite of a Seth Rogen fan.) I suppose we may never know either way.

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TTD: Favorite fanfiction

quote - eliot hollow men
[personal profile] halberdier asked me about my favorite fanfics, written by myself and others. I will get this out of the way right now: I am terrible at giving fic recs. I haven't been reading much fic lately, and I'm pickier than is really helpful, about quality of writing, about characterization, about canon details. And then, when I do find something I enjoy, I'm not in the habit of bookmarking it or otherwise saving the link to share with others. I love the kudos function on AO3, but it's not as useful as leaving comments for going back to find things again. Last but not least, I'm avoiding my two largest and most active fandoms right now for fear of DA:I and Age of Ultron spoilers, so I'm not exactly super active.

All that said, here are a few favorites, all Dragon Age except for one since that's mostly what I've been bookmarking. They're all older, and there probably stuff that I've thrown at all of you many times before, but then again there are new people here, so maybe not. :)

Canticle by [ profile] tarysande. The story that actually made me interested in Sebastian Vael. Really I could just tell you to read everything that Tarysande has ever written, she's that good, but this is an excellent place to start. She's more active in Mass Effect these days, so if that's your area of interest, check her out for sure.

Amaranthine by [ profile] rhiannon87. An AU where the Hawke family ends up in Amaranthine rather than Kirkwall. Rhi is another favorite author, mostly out of DA fandom, but she writes in Marvel as well.

A Hole in the World by sahiya. A sad, sweet, and lovely Temeraire fic.

Love and Levirate by [ profile] JessicaJones. Maybe the definitive Alistair/Anora story.

Self-recsCollapse )

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DAI Natterings (spoilers through Crestwood)

da - aeducan
I've come to the conclusion that I'm going to have to play DA:I for all three of my major canon universes. I probably would have anyway, but now I'm far more motivated to do so. Although which Inquisitor to match to which canon is still an open question. Also some thoughts on the romance so far.

Spoilers for Skyhold and Crestwood.Collapse )

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TTD: Favorite Dragon Age Quests

da - alistair sword
It has been a week full of dragons. Inquisition continues, of course; today we took a break of sorts from sidequests and worked through some plot stuff. I was also really active in the Flight Rising Battle Royale, which ended last night. I'm quite proud of Wind's third-place finish, even if jumping out the gate in second and holding it for a couple of days gave me secret dreams of nudging our way back up there. (Not first place -- I think we all knew that Light was almost certainly going to win.) It was pretty fun, and our strong finish does give me hope of winning future battles. I don't know that I'd want to see Wind become a dominance powerhouse like Ice or Plague, but it's nice to feel like we have a chance again.

And now we take a fond look back to where all this dragon business began, at least for me. Today's question comes from [personal profile] ossobuco, who asked me to talk about my "favorite quests in Dragon Age Origins & II, why they struck you or stayed with you, and (of course) what choices [my] Wardens and Hawkes made." (See all the questions, or ask one of your own!)

My favorite of the big plot quests in DA:O is Redcliffe and the Sacred Ashes. Cutting for length.Collapse )

In Dragon Age 2, my favorite quest by far is Legacy. More.Collapse )

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ffiv - cecil
[personal profile] sathari asked for my thoughts on the Final Fantasy series, including a few specific titles.

I came to the Final Fantasy series, through my husband, T. He had started playing with FFVII, before I met him. Not long after we got together, he bought FFVIII, and he would sometimes play it when I was around, and I was interested to realize that there were video games in which story and character had so much importance (before that most of my experiences were with arcade and arcade-type games, and Civilization/Sim City/other world-building type games). FFIX came out after we moved in together, and I watched the entire time he played, like watching an 80 hour movie, and I got pretty invested in it. Finally, with FFX, for the first time he handed me the controller, and I was hooked: on FFX (which to this day remains my favorite game, not just in the series but of all time), on the Final Fantasy series, and on RPGs in general.

I love the same things about the series that most of its fans love: the characters, the settings, the stories they tell. As a newbie gamer, I appreciated being able to ease into combat via turn-based systems, and that my hand-eye coordination was not often tested (I'm better at that now, though still not great). I've played most of the numbered installments, although I'm still missing some earlier games and haven't ventured into the MMOs -- my biggest gap is FFVI, which I've started several times but never finished. Someday.

Thoughts on specific games behind the cut.Collapse )

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Civic duties

avengers - natasha
Like most San Franciscans, I get a summons for jury service once every couple of years or so. (I don't know why the SF Bay Area counties are more efficient about this than most other regions, but they do seem to be.) This week was my week, and I was called in on Monday morning, pulled in with a few other groups, and told to return for jury selection on Tuesday afternoon.

I guess someone has to be Juror #1, and this time around it was me. I've sat through voir dire once before (a first degree murder trial, back in 2010), but I never made it into the box. At least this time there was no suspense as to when or if I would be called up. So I listened to the questions, I answered the questions, I had a conversation with the judge and another with the prosecuting attorney. At the end of the session, I was among four people to be dismissed and thanked for my service, thereby ending a very weird couple of days where I could say almost nothing to anyone about what was going on. (T was a juror for a murder trial a couple of years ago, and that was a strange enough experience for me, knowing that he was dealing with this major thing that he could tell me nothing about.)

I don't really want to get into the case details here (it's a sensitive topic, possibly triggery for some -- maybe in comments), but I was interested in the wide variety of reactions the people on the jury had. One thing I found a little bit disturbing, particularly in the wake of current events relating to police, was just how much trust people were willing to have in law enforcement. A few people flat-out said that they couldn't presume innocence: if a defendant is sitting in the courtroom, they must be guilty. Meanwhile, here I am, with my faith in the system eroding a little more every day. I can envision a thousand scenarios that would bring an innocent, or at least not guilty, person into a courtroom, and I'm surprised that no one -- in San Francisco! home of free love and social justice -- said anything along those lines. Most of the people who expressed their inability to apply the fundamental principle of our justice system were dismissed in an earlier round, not surprisingly. At least they were honest about it; I wonder how many other people in the box agree, deep down?

Some interesting aspects of presumption of innocence came up in the judge's questioning. One that I'd never thought of is in the role of the defense attorney, who legally doesn't have to do anything to prove their case. They don't have to answer the prosecutor's evidence, they don't have to call witnesses, they don't have to ask any questions. All they have to do is sit and watch, and then make a closing statement. In practice, of course, I can't imagine this would ever happen, except for a case so weak that a prosecutor would never take it to court, but it was interesting to consider a situation where that might happen, and how it might affect a jury if it did. Some people said that it would make them wonder why the defense didn't fight harder for their client, and I agree with that, although I would also look harder at the prosecution's case -- is it so thin that the defense feels no need to attack it? It makes me wonder how often something like that actually happens.

I always appreciate getting to look at our criminal justice system, such as it is, from a new angle. I would like to serve on a jury someday -- I think it would be a valuable life experience, and I do believe in it as a civic duty. But all in all, I'm pretty relieved that it's not this case. Next time, maybe.

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TTD: All about my cats

For my first Talking Through December prompt (many more slots available!), [personal profile] renay asked for cat spam. I am more than happy to oblige. :) Sorry it took me so long to get rolling on these -- I plan to start doing about one a day for the rest of the month.

These are my cats. They're nine years old, and they're littermates (brother and sister). We've had them since they were about 13 weeks old. The silver tabby girl is Tori (Yakitori) and the big black boy is Lexi (Alexsei).

Images, so many images.Collapse )

So, those are my kitties. My old LiveJournal Scrapbook album, which hasn't been updated in awhile but has lots of good kitten pictures, is here, if you haven't had enough already. :)

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Vagueish comment on DA:I

da - seeker
I see all these people talking about a certain location in the game and how it's "earlyish" and "the beginning of Act One".

We are finally ready to trigger the quest that will ultimately take us to that location.

We've played for almost 30 hours.

I'm a little bit scared.

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DAI question

da - aeducan
Spoilers through The Thing (as detailed in my previous post). Please no spoilers in comments regarding anything that happens during or after The Thing, except in regards to my question. We haven't finished The Thing yet. Update: Answered, and very quickly! Thanks. :)

When do sidequests close?Collapse )

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November update; December goals

da - anora
Days written: 30/30
Words written: 7,552
Words of fic written: 5,482
Stories worked on: Three
Stories posted: One

Could've been worse.Collapse )

Specific goals:

1. Write at least 10 minutes every day, wrisomifu style. Any kind of (non-work related) writing counts. I pulled this off! I wasn't sure I was going to, but I did.

2. Work on, in priority order: MCU story, first giveaway story, Wardens of Ivalice, something for Chocobo Races, second giveaway story. Made progress on the MCU story and posted a Chocobo Races story, failed on the others but I did work a bit on something not on this list. (Something awful and self-indulgent. Naturally, it will probably be the next story finished.)

3. Post to my journal every day in November. I missed a day, and not even for any good reason. Curse you, Dragon Age: Inquisition!

It seems that setting the bar low was the correct plan. I'm going to raise it a little this month, but not by much.

1. Write six days a week. We're not going away for Christmas this year, so no "except while traveling" exemption this time.

2. Write story for Dragon Age Holiday Cheer.

3. Complete entries for the Talking Through December meme. (There is definitely room for more prompts!)

4. Revisit the stories on the potential to-do list from last month. Finish at least one of them.

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FFX Fic: "All the Better to See You With"

ffx2 - YRP
omg fic! I can't even remember the last time I finished and posted a story. Not since before I injured my hand, anyway.

Title: All the Better to See You With
Fandom: FFX
Rating: G
Wordcount: 2,566
Characters: Yuna and cast, including most of the aeons
Spoilers: If you know what you're looking for, which I suppose means no.
Notes: Based on a request in the Chocobo Down database for a Yuna-centric fairy tale AU, and also inspired by the current (about to close) theme for the Chocobo Races: Ladies and Fandom Tropes (AUs). The fairy tale I chose was Little Red Riding Hood. Takes a fair number of liberties with both stories. ;)

Also on AO3

Once upon a time, there was a young summoner named Yuna. She packed a basket of fresh bread, pulled on her red cloak, and left her home village to visit her grandmother, who lived on the other side of the wood.Collapse )

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da - seeker
Through the quest that you are meant to trigger at levels 8-11. (That Thing at Haven. You know, the Thing. With the people. And the stuff.) We were level 10, but at least for us I don't think it was enough. We've gone back to grind a bit, close out some areas we rushed past last time. I think we're 15 hours? Since I didn't finish the Thing, please no spoilers in comments for the Thing, or for after the Thing.

Spoilers, massive spoilers, things I definitely did not know in advance.Collapse )

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Happy Moose Day!

(Don't know what Moose Day is? See here.) Today has been fairly lazy -- breakfast at the cafe across the street, then spent some time upgrading the software on all my devices before we went for lunch (Thai) and a walk (before the rains come tonight). This evening I expect will be mostly leftovers and Dragon Age. So, not really a traditional holiday (typically, one goes out for high tea on Moose Day), but nice all the same. I should really get my act together to plan something next year, though.

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Thanks has been given

cats - tori sun
Went up to Santa Rosa for Thanksgiving with the family. (No matter how long I live other places and how much I like them, I still have a little thrill of thinking "I'm home" when I drive into Sonoma County.) Good meal, good to see family, good that I get to have a second Thanksgiving with friends on Sunday.

I hope all of you who celebrate had a lovely day, and a very happy Thursday to everyone else. :)

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art - gorey neville
I missed posting yesterday. No good reason; I just forgot. This will be the first time that I've missed a daily post every day in November since I started doing it, except one year when I was sick. Boo.

Oh well, 2006 to 2013. That's a pretty good run, right?

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da - alistair 3
Well, it's official: I didn't properly import my backstory into DA:I. It wasn't at all clear that we needed to download the world state off the DA Keep site. So we started over -- and there was a confirmation screen this time. Still, 12 hours lost! At least it should go faster this time.

Update: I just repeated the conversation from our first attempt at DA:I that clued me in that all might not be well with my world state, and it went much more satisfactorily this time. I suppose it was worth starting again. Otherwise, it would have nagged at me the entire time. I'm just glad that T was completely willing to do so.

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Okay, finally some actual thoughts on DA:I

da - aeducan
Spoilers up to the Hinterlands, including information about the dwarf PC background. We've probably played around 10-12 hours but I suspect that number is pretty meaningless, as people spend different amounts of time on sidequests. We've barely progressed the plot at all, and still have only the original companions.

Gosh, this world sure is pretty. Also, grumping about the game import function having possibly failed.Collapse )

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Mockingjay Part 1

ffx - shiva
I saw it this afternoon with R&S. Quite liked it. I continue to prefer the movies to the books, largely because I prefer the broader focus of the movies, not being quite so deeply inside Katniss's head. I've noticed a number of reviewers saying negative things about the decision to split the book into two movies. While I rolled my eyes pretty hard when the split was announced, I actually think it was the right choice. And I don't agree at all with criticisms that the movie seemed bloated, too exposition-y, not enough action. I felt like the pace and level of detail was just about right. Maybe the decision to make four movies instead of three was financially motivated, but it's working on an artistic level for me as well.

Spoilers, but only if you haven't read the books.Collapse )

Good movie, good performances. Great casting -- Julianne Moore is pitch-perfect as President Coin. Recommended.

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da - aeducan
But I don't think I've ever quite fallen so far behind as this. And I'm not really going to update now, either, because it's late, but I did want to mention that we've gotten through the prologue and are now futzing around in camp. Much more tomorrow, I hope.

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