maru_rei_ken: (iObi)
I made a resolution to update this regularly, and thus far it just isn't working out. There are several reason for this, the greatest of which being that I just can't bring myself to care about this website. Really, that's about it. I don't care. It's that simple. Hell, I kind of hate this site.

This site has existed for two years. Is it now, or has it ever been, utilized by any majority other than tubby girls who want free rein to write and draw Harry Potter getting it on with Snape? I'm not even trolling; that appears to be the vast majority of users on this site from my research into the subject. I'm not trying to start shit; I'm just being totally honest in the most assholish way possible. I feel so fucking out of place here, and it drives me nuts every time I try to find a place to integrate into.

Maybe I haven't been here long enough. Maybe it's like a terrible old family comedy, and I'll realize the beauty of the place just as I'm packing up to go home, and as my wealthy parents pull around in their personal jet, I'll look at them, look back at the ragtag group of friends I've made on the island of Dreamwidth, and tearfully but defiantly utter, "I choose to stay."

Wait, no I fucking won't because this place is fucking lame.
maru_rei_ken: (yawwwwww)
Back when I was a miserable little home schooled boy, my brother and I did an absurd amount of reading over the summer in addition to our reduced but still present schoolwork load. Due to my mother's very basic misunderstanding of the purpose of public school reading lists, we wound up reading in excess of fifteen books apiece each and every summer through middle school and part of grade school. Really, kind of painful in retrospect. The noose was finally loosened at some point, and we both fell out of the habit of reading during the summer.

I've decided that I want to up my reading habits again. This summer, starting this week, I'll be attempting to read one book per week until classes start up again. To add an element of challenge beyond actually reading, I have set forth some guidelines:

-I cannot pay for any of the books. I have to have them, borrow them, or receive them as gifts.
-Fiction only; I read enough non-fiction for classes and my own curiosity.
-No re-reading. That's practically cheating.
-Nothing shorter than 100 pages. I know that's a low, low, low number, but I'd love to be able to finish a book even when I don't have time.

This project started yesterday, and I've yet to start any book. That, of course, brings me to my next point:

I have, in the past, been exposed to fanfic which I described to the curious only as "The Twilight of _____ fanfic," which only recently started to feel like an unfair sort of thing to say for a number of reasons, the most glaring of which being that I've never even read Twilight. Yeah, I've heard plenty about it, but I'm not exactly within the target demographic and even before I became aware of its legions of dedicated haters, I had no drive to actually pick it up. Unremarkable slip of a girl swept off feet by hunky supernatural whatsit. Uh... fascinating? On the other hand, the damned things are so explosively popular while at the same time so enthusiastically derided that I almost feel left out not really knowing what everyone is talking about.

At the moment, I am in the unique and questionably desirable position of sharing living space with a Twilight fan. Of my three housemates, one unironically enjoys Twilight, and has every book. When next she emerges from the warm cocoon of her room, having taken a break from Farmville, I will request permission to read the first book. I will be posting synopses of my progress each day as I try to finish it and find out once and for all why people love it, and why reasonable people hate it.

I'm going to read Twilight.

I'm a little afraid. Hold me. :|
Mood:: 'bored' bored
maru_rei_ken: (Default)
posted by [personal profile] maru_rei_ken at 11:50pm on 21/06/2010 under , , ,
Many moons ago (About ten moons, I think? Give or take?) I was an active member of a small but active dressing room RP. Like all DRs, we had scads and scads of AU and crossover type characters, as well as the usual players who just couldn't stop making crossovers. I was someone who couldn't stop making AUs, so really, I always figured I was in no place to judge. After all, a lot of the crossed over characters were basically AUs from pre-constructed worlds, not just re-skinned versions of the other canon's characters.

On the subject of AUs, there was one small AU cast that always sort of puzzled me just because their background didn't seem nearly as fleshed out or cohesive as the others floating around. I mean, granted, the ability to construct worlds and storylines differs between people, but this cast's AU just continually blew my mind with its silliness. Even more annoyingly, the characters themselves didn't even seem to gel that well with their canon selves, even with the AU thing taken into consideration. I mean, I know that different circumstances can change people. I know that being born into different sets of circumstances can greatly affect your development. Still, most AU casts had their AU backgrounds at least roughly parallel the events of the series, creating something that was different and yet familiar enough that people sort of knew what to expect in terms of the characters' relationships and personalities. I'm using aliases here, so bear with me.

This shit was just off the wall. Alicia is the daughter of a prominent knight in King Arthur's court (her father is dead, by the way) and she wants to be a knight, just like him. This would be an unrealistic if admirable aspiration if she weren't so incompetent and cowardly that watching her interact with evil characters or any kind of adversity didn't just make me cringe. Oh, and she's looking for Excalibur, which was stolen (why and how, I totally forget if they ever mentioned) and dropped into a forest full of sentient, evil plants.

Whole forest of this.

This would all be fine and dandy if Alicia actually were an annoying, incompetent yet inexplicably plucky damsel in distress, but she is NOTHING LIKE THAT. Alicia and this character share NO PERSONALITY TRAITS AT ALL.

Enter John, who for the purposes of the AU is a blind martial artist (I THINK????) living in the forest/swamp. Well, okay. I wouldn't have even known John was blind if the player didn't mention it every. Other. Post. Why? Because John used his staff to beat the everliving shit out of every goddamn thing that came anywhere near Alicia's chronically kidnapped ass with greater skill and accuracy than even the goddamned Force could provide.

Your eyes can deceive you, don't trust them. Poke them out instead.

John is a hermit who lives all alone (he stresses this often) in the swamp... forest... carnivorous plant... place, with his pet hawk. He's the only person who can lead Alicia to the sword, since he... talks to the plants. Or something. Oh, and his BLIND JEDI SKILLS. To be fair, John got out of this AU makeover a lot more recognizable and palatable than Alicia did, but that's mostly because the "I DO EVERYTHING ALONE" was his defining character trait (along with being a blind Jedi), a trait which he shares with his canon counterpart to a certain degree. On the other hand, he's also an enormous pushover who can't seem to make up his fucking mind as to whether he can never be in normal human society, or if he just wants to let Alicia do whatever she wants. All in all, John wound up flatter, blinder, and... weirder, than he is in the series.

But I figure, Hell, it's an AU. I mean, maybe this is just how the players interpreted how these characters' lives would play out if they were from this world. And the world they describe as being their own is some acid-laced trip through Arthurian legend and Disney cliche, but it's a pretty good effort for two or three teenagers doing it in their spare time. It's not like people were paid to create this concept.

Ye of too much faith.

Oh, how FUCKING wrong I was. For more than ten years, I forgot this horrible, shameful film existed, and for nearly a year I totally forgot about that 'AU' cast. No, wait, let me rephrase that: I REPRESSED memories of this film.

What brought it all flooding back? The god damned Nostalgia Critic and his review of the film, which I watched with a friend, all the while trying not to express the growing horror in the pit of my soul as I slowly came to realize that not only was that awful AU not an AU, but that the players had basically picked a terrible, terrible animated film, re-skinned the romantic leads with two characters from the series, and just run with it with no regard for the characters' actual fucking personalities.

Get a room, you fucking finger puppets.

People CONSTANTLY FUCKING DO THIS, and it is actually starting to drive me insane. If they're doing a crossover, the characters they want to get together automatically have to be the romantic leads of the crossed over canon, regardless of how well they fit into that character's role. This, of course, totally ignores the related annoying tendency of people to simply place characters in the roles of characters in the other canon rather than using the world itself as the basis of the crossover.

After adding up this equation of dumbfuckery, I'm not sure what pisses me off more: That the players were crass and lame enough to play this way, or that what I thought was the product of a teenager's imagination was actually a multi-million dollar project by a major animation studio.

Christ on a crouton.
Mood:: 'aggravated' aggravated
maru_rei_ken: (AWESOME)
Let's examine the question here: Why not? Totally ignoring the EU, which nobody pays attention to until they really need to win an argument, what the Hell would it hurt? It would change exactly nothing about what makes him cool or why people like him. It would make him no less quotable or iconic or interesting as a character. "The Force will be with you, always," would not take on weird connotations unless you're the kind of person who fixates on sexuality you consider deviant.

I chose Star Wars and Obi-Wan for preamble to this and most subsequent example-heavy arguments for several reasons, the most important of which being that I've actually seen the question posed. On the subject of gay people in Star Wars, someone asked on a forum why Obi-Wan couldn't just be retroactively outed like Dumbledore. And yeah, while I'll agree with other people who know far, far more about Harry Potter than I do and say that outing him at a press conference after the series was over wasn't the most exciting or world-shaking way to do it, the basic question of "Well, why the Hell not?" remains. For another thing, unless you're counting the EU, romance and sexuality really isn't addressed in Star Wars. Yeah, I know there's Leia and Han, and Padme and Angrykin, but beyond that it's not really touched upon outside the EU where everyone who matters needs to have a girlfriend.

It was pointed out to me by a perceptive friend that there's definitely a prevalent stigma against the notion that iconic or otherwise cool character could be anything but heteronormative, and I'm inclined to agree. I know I've nattered on for a few paragraphs about the fact that sexuality doesn't actually affect how cool a character is, so maybe you're thrown by my getting all irritated at every worthwhile character in mainstream media being straight. Well, this goes somewhere beyond a character being cool or memorable.

I don't know who reads this. I don't know if anyone does. I don't know if you're gay, straight, bi, trans, whatever. Being abnormal, especially as a kid, fucking. Sucks. Not regular abnormal, like... un-normal. Deeply and fundamentally different in a way that you don't see in your peers, in your family, or even on TV. Surely some of you remember how badly you wanted to know people like yourself as a kid; I don't doubt many of you feel that even now. We are social beings, after all, and we form our opinions of ourselves based on the way we perceive our world. Growing up in the eighties and nineties, when English-language media decided that every children's show needed a rainbow of ethnic cast members, plus a wheelchair-bound kid and a tomboy, still managed to be isolating and lame. The tomboys, by and large, still wore pink shirts under their overalls and inevitably developed crushes on nice, normal boys. Boys with gender-inappropriate interests were usually one-off characters, which made me even more bitter and confused. Why didn't the wheelchair kid ever just get up and get over being crippled? Was I eventually going to get over feeling like this? Am I just not worthy of attention, like that random femmy boy we saw for one episode and promptly forgot about? WHAT?!

Any covert attempts on my part (futile as they were, as I grew up in the deep south in the middle of nowhere) to find queer characters ended in enormous disappointment. I wouldn't go so far to say that every queer character I managed to find was miserable, but they were definitely happiness-challenged. they were sick, or they were riddled with angst, or they were persecuted, or any combination of those factors. Did I mention that every single piece of media I found was ABOUT how sick/persecuted/miserable they were? Unless they were evil? Because that was the case! I didn't want queer characters who were villains or miserable douchebags defined by their sexuality, I wanted queer characters who were like the other characters, only abnormal like me. Even when I got recommended the Herald Mage trilogy by an older friend in high school, I wasn't satisfied because Vanyel was so fucking whiny about his sexuality despite pretty much everyone else in the book's world NOT CARING.

It's fucking mindbending to look for someone to relate to in terms of sexuality and still look up to them. I eventually just started looking for subtext, and that was pretty damn helpful.

I don't think every character should be gay, or bi, or anything. That would be an unrealistic expectation, and frankly pretty weird. But it's just as weird when you realize that in many works every single character is at least implicitly heterosexual. I don't get why people choke back hurl when they're subjected to gay kissing onscreen while queer people have been thoroughly desensitized to straight kissing through years of exposure. Why the Hell shouldn't everyone else have to sit through romances they're not personally invested in? Maybe they'll wind up like me and care less about the sexes of the people involved and more about how poorly written or compelling it is.

Yeah, that's a weak ending but what the Hell do you want on a blog made for rambling until I've vented all my vitriol? Time to replace it with beer.
Mood:: 'pissed off' pissed off
maru_rei_ken: (yo do me a favor)
So I got a copy of HeartGold this past April, and have spent a total of thirteen hours playing it. Approximately ten of those hours were filled within the past week. This is due to a combination of factors, among them the beginning of summer and the fact that I finally found my DS charger.

HeartGold is the first Pokemon game I've honestly enjoyed in ages, and I'm not entirely sure why. It's got a certain something that other recent Pokemon games lack, and I can't discern precisely what it is.

I'm currently at that point in the game where frustration is God and Shigeru Miyamoto is Pope. It's a place in every single RPG in existence: You've leveled up a lot, grinding painfully on monsters that are perilously close to your own level or even higher, just to get over the hump of that damned boss/gym. You're ridiculously overpowered for the area, and nothing seems to give a decent EXP when you bash it into unconsciousness. Before you clear the gym, it seems like everything around you can reduce your entire team to a puddle of blood-speckled congee, but once you've leveled to the point where you can clear the gym and move on to the next inexplicably sealed off area the average level of whatever you fight in the wild has hardly changed at all. It's almost cruel, especially when you consider that the levels of trained Pokemon HAVE changed. To the level where they can render you into a cloud of chili by looking at you. So not only is it difficult to continue leveling ,but any attempt to grab for higher levels opponents gets you soundly slapped down for your hubris.

I would also like to point out that Voltorb Flip is the exact opposite of fun. I was sort of relieved when I first discovered that the casino in HeartGold wasn't exactly a casino, but I'm steadily getting pissed off at it. Maybe I'm some kind of mental invalid, but I consistently get better results by blindly tapping squares than by carefully selecting my next move. Is my intuition good? Am I actually dumber than random choice? I was able to get an Abra in about a half hour by getting 6-12 coins by random chance, quitting, and repeating that process. Over and over. Just as a 'fuck you' to that damned game.

I'm loving the Pokewalker. It's such a simple little thing, but at the same time it's totally awesome. I'm not entirely sure what it is I'm accomplishing by clipping it to myself and wandering around, playing with it like a more adventurous, less emasculating Tamagochi, but it's gotta be good.
Mood:: 'bored' bored
maru_rei_ken: (iObi)
It's been a while since I last touched this pink monstrosity of a website, and I've been thinking that maybe it's time I put it to good use again. By this, I mean that I'll natter on where all of four people, two of whom are sock puppets, will ever see it.

I want your horror, I want your design. )
Music:: Lady Gaga - Bad Romance
maru_rei_ken: (your cue to stop talking)
While this is ostensibly a journal for my writing endeavors, it's hard for me to ignore the fact that I have an enormous e-boner for writing in the form of just letting fly the vitriolic rambling. If I don't feel like writing a narrative, but still feel like writing, it's likely that I'll just do this. Complaining or gushing.

Every week, I'll be trying to get one of these up until I ultimately exhaust my store of things that I just don't fucking understand the point/appeal of. This is not an appeal to anyone reading this to explain or defend the items mentioned, nor should it be confused with the related but dissimilar feature, "Shit I Don't Like."

I feel like an old person in that I do not adequately understand the appeal of Facebook. Actually, wait, I take that back. I do understand the appeal, at least in theory. I know why Facebook was originally conceived, I know many parents use it to keep tabs on their geographically/emotionally estranged children. I am all over that; that makes sense to me.

What doesn't make sense to me is Facebook's explosive, pervasive appeal to what often feels like every single person in North America except me. Additionally, I get inexplicably pissed off at myself for not getting Facebook when I totally get Twitter. I understand that sometimes there's shit you want to say that doesn't necessitate the use of 140 characters, much less a blog post of 140 words. I understand that Twitter was conceived with the intent of being compatible with even the shittiest of cellular phones, making mobile posting possible. It's like I skipped one dumb Internet Thing and moved straight on to the next in terms of understanding, and that bugs me.

I keep mentally coming back to the fact that Facebook invades real life. I don't even mean the privacy aspect; I don't post on Facebook often enough or do enough embarrassing things for that to actually matter. What I speak of is the inexplicably powerful hold Facebook has on people's definition of their social lives. With Facebook, some weird-smelling guy in my statistics class can find me and attempt to friend me, and get incredibly offended and sad IN REAL LIFE when I fail to friend him back. People I actually interact with in reality have similar reactions to not being immediately friended. This renders Facebook's appeal annoying as shit to me, because the social conventions of meatspace dictate that I not tell these people that I don't want to friend them back because they're bleu cheese-scented social invalids or, GASP!, because I don't care enough to process my requests. Why do people get so twisted up about Facebook? No idea.

In a similar vein to the last item, I do not understand the appeal of Farmville. Not even Facebook games in general, I get that. Web games are fun. I do not understand why people continue to play Farmville, and I don't feel conflicted about that at all. No one I know who plays Farmville (and thank Christ I don't personally know many people who do) seems to actually enjoy the game. All they do is complain about milestones they have to reach, people who won't help them, gifts they keep receiving, and requests that don't get returned. It doesn't help that the game both looks and plays like a hot pile of curry sick. Yeah, I tried it. I could let it go at that if it was a game that just sank into obscurity, but no, people eat this shit up.

Aha! And now my hypocrisy becomes clearer than ever! Yes, I am indeed admitting that I do not understand the point or appeal of Dreamwidth on a Dreamwidth blog. Hypocrisy? Metaflaming? You be the judge.

I got a Dreamwidth account from a nice person throwing codes around for the express purpose of figuring just what the fuck is so groundbreaking about it. After a couple days of research, I have come up with only one thing: Jack. Crap. Beyond the surface level, I have found absolutely nothing about Dreamwidth that differentiates it from other LJ clones. InsaneJournal, for example, is very similar to Dreamwidth in it's LJ similarity, startling lack of activity, and lack of censorship in what its users post. How is Dreamwidth different from IJ? Let's see:

-It's pink! How do I make it not pink, by the way?
-It costs money! Well, usually.
-Those who do not give money only get 15 icons.
-The lack of censorship is worked into a nauseating mission statement rather than a byproduct of people just not caring.

The mission statement truly baffles me, because it seems to be a PR-injected restatement of the philosophy of the internet in general, which is "Do whatever, we're all freaks anyway." In fact, Dreamwidth slathers on a lot of PR mayo that most sites deem totally unnecessary. The entire purpose of the site appears to be appealing to people with Deviant Art accounts and persecution complexes. If you're an artist and have imagined yourself into a state in which you feel uncomfortable posting anywhere but places that state their love for freaks of all descriptions, Dreamwidth is for you!

I will tell you a secret: There is no Balrog standing at the gates of Livejournal barring any sort of weirdos from entering. Unless you're in China or on some sort of really thorough watchlist, you can get on Livejournal and post to your twisted little heart's content, especially if you're savvy about filtering and friendlocking shit. The vast majority of LJ users either don't give a shit or will never see your entries. The fuckery in 2007 was initiated by a third party group that could and would fuck Dreamwidth up just as badly.

I don't get it. I don't know what I was expecting when I joined, but it wasn't a pink version of Livejournal where I can read this in the FAQ

"Like bandwidth is a measure of how much information can be transferred, dreamwidth is a measure of how much creativity can be transferred."

God, that's just. Nauseating.
Mood:: 'aggravated' aggravated
Music:: Busta Rhymes - Where's My Money
maru_rei_ken: (fuuuuuuuuuuuuck)
posted by [personal profile] maru_rei_ken at 08:53pm on 25/05/2010 under
Livejournal, only pink and hard to get into? Somebody enlighten me. I want to use this as a place to do writing and whatever, but activity seems... minimal. I'm only updating this right now so I won't join the sea of people who have 'Never Updated.'
Mood:: 'confused' confused


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