I've been very lucky lately - things have been going incredibly well, all considered, and all emotional conundrums have been largely circumvented or avoided. So there will be photos and nerd stuff.

(To be fair, my mood was considerably brightened today after being told by a professor I really admire the first draft of a thesis-chunk is near-publishable for a peer-reviewed journal - an opinion strengthened by her being a journal editor herself.)

She was ambushed into posing for these.







The new apartment complex company installed granite countertops and hardwood in my kitchen (in an attempt to upsell it after I move out), so it now looks adult as opposed to cobbled-together. These countertops have the advantage of making my bar look classy, and I approve. You can't see it, but there's also now a mini-drip mat for my shakers--the arrival of which pleased me for an entire day.



TV:

Gokaiger: I so desperately want to like Gokaiger. It's a strong series, and all the parts are moving in-sync. However, I can't get into the Green - a factor which tends to determine if I'll follow a sentai. I may occasionally watch an episode online, but I'm unlike to finish.

Tiger & Bunny: Only thing I'm watching regularly. The premise of American Capes filtered through the merchandised sentai model is executed well, with a likable cast to back it up. Kotetsu and Barnaby are basically "Older/Wiser Spiderman mentors Year One Batman" (Barnaby even has Dead Parents angst), and I'm on board. I'm gonna have to get around to making icons one of these days.

Archer: The feminist part of myself cringes 25% of the time when I watch this show (because I can see the douchebro portion of the audience missing the jokes' deeper layers). The rest of me finds it fucking hilarious.

MLP:FiM: I started out skeptical. I am immediately suspicious of anything 4chan-adjacent. Mildly impressed by Episode 1. But then I kept needing a show I could turn my brain off during finals, and it was on YouTube! Easily accessible! No commercials! And now I've totally fucking fallen down the damn pony-rabbit hole.

Still hate the word "brony," though.

Honestly, I play a lot more video games than watch video media lately. Because I can listen to podcasts in the background while I play, combining edification and relaxation.

The Witcher 2: Reeks Epic Fantasy from its pores. There's political machinations, ambiguous morals, studly dudes fucking conventionally attractive women, lords, monsters, and castle!. The story content won't break new ground, but the seamless integration of branching-path storytelling is worth noting - DA II could learn a few things. Good combat system, if gameable; as with most above-average systems, maxing a few skills turn the game into easier-mode.

Dragon Age II: In my head, I keep comparing this game to Witcher 2, even though it's really a superficial contrast. It may be because the storytelling wants so badly to be seamless, but it only succeeds 75% of the time. I think what breaks it is the (SPOILER) at the end. Though it's to be expected, Anders's entire character is such a fucking mess that the sudden "OH LOOK AT ME BEING A TERRORIST" is less a "Haters Gonna Hate" fistbump and more an exasperated "Y U DO THIS?"

Part of the problem is that the story and game mechanics collide head-on: Anders is your primary healer, and the player is likely forced to cart him nearly everywhere. And frankly, given the game-logic of "Rival/Friend," it's in the player's interest to keep him the primary healer. So even if you want to kill him for being idiotic, the player still needs a healbot. Combat's pretty good, though.

Fable 3: Only 50% of the way through - I still have to play the Harvest Kingdom second half. Even so, I'm not bowled over. The game never seems to be willing to settle on a tone. The relationship development dynamic is fairly lighthearted, but then it'll slap you in the face with Depressing Seriousness. Also, casual sex is classified as a "Morality" lowerer - which feels oddly close to in-game slut-shaming.

Far Cry 2: Game (as a game) itself is good, though the game-style integration of realism can be grating. No, I do not need to spend ten minutes traveling to everything to understand that this is a violent warzone, Ubisoft. Please give me more bus stops. What really grabs me about it is the integration of politics and realism into a shooter: a shooter which argues the protagonist is not a hero, but an exploitative opportunist profiting from tragedy. Jorge Albor has a great essay that very eloquently sums up my feelings on how well FC2 actually presents the reality of African politics. It's not perfect, but it's far smarter than the jingoism of Call of Modern Duty-based Super Soldier Warfare game!porn.

Shameless self-promotion: Trial run on mapping the "network" of trans vloggers on YouTube. I'm probably going to get as much use out of this data as I can - definitely going to present at least once on it as filtered through location and declared race/ethnicity/nationality - and what that says about the changing state of trans visibility online.
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A Vagina You Can't Take Home to Mother

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