Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

remember that novella I’ve been working on?

Remember that novella I’ve been writing, On Overcoming the Fear of Spiders? It’s finished. 32 chapters, a bit under 35,000 words (there is a canon digression linked at the appropriate time, but not contained within the primary volume, that boosts the word count), and I’m rather pleased to hear from a couple of readers who do not know anything about the Overwatch world that it makes sense even to them. They know there are emotional beats they’re missing, but it still works as a story.

I wasn’t specifically trying to do that, but I’m really quite pleased that it happened.

If you don’t know the lore at all, but are interested, here’s the original animated short introducing the world of the game, and here is the animated short “Alive” that featured Widowmaker. You’ll see the latter story in short form in Chapter 10, but in the cinematic, the chemistry between Amélie and Lena is absolutely smokin’, which spawned a lot of ships.

(If you really find yourself getting into the lore, here’s the official site, including the comic that confirmed Tracer – the literal face of the game, she’s on the cover of the box – is a lesbian.)

Also, you should know that in canon, in-universe, we ‘know’ that Amélie Lacroix was kidnapped by Talon and recovered apparently well but in actuality neurally reconditioned to assassinate her husband, the head of anti-Talon operations at Overwatch. After that, she went on to become a supposedly-emotionless assassin who feels only satisfaction at the success of her kills.

We are also given a lot of clues in both lore and game that this is at least in some parts a pile of lies, and that we are supposed to figure that out.

Anyway, this has been an experience like few others for me – it is literally more fiction than I’ve written, combined, before, in my life, and I actually tried writing fiction for real in college. I even got published once, in a little Ontario small-press magazine for a token $20 payment. But it was always like pulling teeth, whereas this was more like just trying to stay afloat on top of the tsunami as it carried me forward. I’ve had that feeling for individual songs before, but never for fiction.

I really liked it. I hope it happens again.

something small becomes less so

This Sunday I’m going in to Someone Else’s Studio for what is really technically an academic exercise; the lead singer/songwriter of Leannan Sidhe and her group need someone to record for… it’s not a graduation exercise? But she’s very close to graduation and it’s a big project.

So I showed up yesterday and met with her and her two co-engineers, and poked around at songs to do, and we pretty quickly settled on “Supervillain For I Love You,” which I’ve just recently revised (and I think improved, which is pretty typical for my work as I perform it) and we start talking microphones.

And turns out they’re really into this song, apparently, because suddenly they were all talking about who else they can bring in and how big a band we can assemble, and now we’re in the large studio and besides me and my zouk and the chorus there’s a bassist and a pianist and a guitarist and possibly a horn section and they were working out a drumkit part I think that’s all but I’m not entirely sure.

Now as this is happening I realise, I’ve seen this before, on video, where, you know, Real Musicians Are In The Real Studio, because let’s face it, as happy as I am with the little one I built, it’s still a tiny studio and I can only play so many instruments, and only one at a time. I’m usually working alone.

So this Sunday may in fact be – outside voiceover and radio work, of course – the most “pro”-like recording experience I’ve ever had. Eep?

another side project

It might be silly, but for the last couple of weeks, I’ve been doing something I have almost never done before, and never this much: I’ve been writing fiction, and lots of it. Overwatch fanfic, to be specific.

Over the winter holidays, Overwatch held a couple of events, and released a comic, called Reflections. It’ the one where we find out completely and totally unambiguously that Tracer, the literal face of the game, the character on the box, is queer. We meet her girlfriend, they smooch, it is inarguable text.

It was like a second Korrasami just fell out of the air and landed on us, and it was wonderful.

But we also see a single panel of Widowmaker, from the back, standing, looking to me despondent, at Gérard’s grave. (For those who don’t know: he was her husband, and her first official target as an assassin.) It’s one of what I consider to be several hints dropped that her official backstory is a lie. And there have been a bunch of people – since the beginning – shipping Tracer and Widowmaker, which to me is nonsensical in canon, because Lena would never forgive Amélie for killing Mondatta in the cinematic video “Alive.”

Lost yet? Sorry, there’s no way out but through. Anyway, one of these shippers did a marvellous and touching comic set a few minutes after that single frame of Widowmaker, with her and Venom – the version of Tracer who is with Talon, not Overwatch. And I liked it so much, I started thinking, “How would we actually get here? What would it take?”

Now, I’ve never really been a fiction writer, but I can make take characters’ lives and seriously fuck them up, but good. And, unlike certain writers (cough cough m*ff*t cough) I care about trying to make it work in character. And the analytical engine in the back of my brain started churning.

Then a couple of weeks ago, it just started falling out. I feel almost less like “writer” here than “transcriber.” It’s still short – a novelette – but Chapter 12 went up today. There have kind of been 13, but one is out of continuity and not listed with the main work, because it’s kind of an AU-to-my-own-AU aside.

Fortunately, it’s not all I can think about, but holy crow is it dominating my brainspace. I have new relationship energy with writing? Apparently? Or something? I don’t even know. (Seriously, it feels like NRE. It’s goofy.)

And since I’ve checked with actual writers and am told this is a thing that happens, I’m willing to admit to this story about my story.

I was in spawn point one on offence in Gibraltar, as Tracer (of course), and looking out the upper-floor window to see how the defence was setting up. Surprisingly few people do this, given how useful it is.

And Widowmaker came up beside me, to do the same thing, in full Talon-wear, and we said hello, like you do, and she looked through her scope to get a better view, and suddenly I saw her through Venom’s eyes.

Now, I have issues with Widowmaker’s character design, and a lot of them are probably pretty obvious, but leave those aside for the moment. Seeing her as Venom – as my Talon Tracer – sees her… even for for just that moment, she literally took my breath away.

If that’s what the tracermaker shippers have been seeing this whole time… hoo boy. Now, I really get it.

that took longer than I expected

So where the hell have I been for the last week?

Well, last post as about Anna’s sinus surgery, and first: it went fine, she’s fine, we’re going back today to have the nose splints removed. There’ll still be a couple of more weeks of recovery. But there was a lot more aftercare than I realised – including tending about every 20 minutes for the first three days, all day. And while none of it was difficult, that does kind of disrupt one’s ability to do anything.

Except, apparently, code. So I have my first sizable coding project in a while – if CSS counts a code, anyway – and it makes Dreamwidth work on mobile in a way that looks like it was actually meant to be used on mobile. Seriously. Here’s the latest post on that project, you want the bleeding-edge version and please do report bugs on that Dreamwidth post.

Also, there has been far more Overwatch than usual. I haven’t beaten the current event on Expert yet, but I’ve beaten the levels below. I tried the highest level a couple of times, but we only made it to the church once and barely got there.

So that’s where I’ve been. How’ve you been doing?

it’s not an emergency, but we are off to hospital

My partner Anna and I are off to the hospital. Don’t worry, it’s a planned visit, even though it does involve sinus surgery, for her. When she was a very little kid, her brother accidentally broke her nose, and over time that turned into a deviated septum, and, over time, that has turned into sleeping problems, so – we’re off to get it fixed.

It’s fairly small surgery, and outpatient, but any surgery involving general anaesthesia is a big deal. We’ll be there most of the day, and there will be a couple of weeks of recovery. But the blog will be back to normal tomorrow, I hope!

do you wanna build a router?

Here at the Lair we’ve been proud of running – as a server, on the actual internet – a machine literally from 1995, with original motherboard CPU and everything. The plan has been to run it ’till it died, because we can.

But unfortunately, we really do need to build a new proper programmable router, so we can put the terrible, terrible Comcast router into bridge mode. (Seriously: this router is terrible.) And the 1995 machine is… not fast, so we can’t use it, even though that was its original job, years ago.

(It’s a P5-166. No, really. Thank you, Debian.)

But I haven’t built a router in a while. I want to run Debian Linux on it so it can also run DNS and a couple of other small services the current P166 runs, and it wouldn’t hurt for it to have three cards inside either – one for the fixed-IP side of the LAN, one for the DHCP side.

SO!

Anybody have recommendations? I’m thinking about gigabit network cards in particular – what has the best, most reliable, fastest drivers, what specifically to avoid, things like that. As above, we’re going to be running Debian for a a bunch of reasons.

i think this is finally it for livejournal

Livejournal’s new Russian Federation-compliant Terms of Service has a lot of bad things in it – seriously, real bad, like, half my journal bad – but this is probably the tripwire for me:

[The user must] Mark Content estimated by Russian legislation as inappropriate for children (0-18) as “adult material” by using Service functions.

Any mention of anything LGBT-related (with some exceptions for condemnation) is 19+ in the Russian Federation, by law. It’s part of the legal structure they use to beat down on queers.

They also have a big “no” on “political solicitation materials” and that’s also pretty fatal for me – seriously, have you read my LJ – but this, yeah, I will not mark my journal “adult content” because I’m queer. Fuck that, and fuck them.

So the only question really is whether I hit accept on the ToS and just ignore it. Or whether I delete my journal (which goes back to when it was running in Brad’s dorm room at UW) and then open a new blank one with the same name just to keep the user account solarbird, or some dumbass thing like that.

As of this morning, despite crossposting being disabled since Monday pending acceptance of new terms, I have the 364th most popular LJ, at least in the Latin character set side of the world. It’s pretty obvious now that we’re done here.

(More bits of analysis here and here – both are Dreamwidth links.)

eta: Important translation of applicable Russian censorship laws here, on Tumblr. This is 400% about speech repression.

off to british columbia

Heading north to Vancouver Island for a music workshop. Minion Anna has been going to this Qualicum Beach event for a couple of years, and she’s dragging me along this time. I’m even taking the thrift-shop viLOLin, as it is technically an instrument, and, well, let’s see how badly I can torture this cat. It should be painful hilarious a learning experience.

Possibly for others more than me. Just sayin’. 😀

sadly, it’s not just me – overwatch season iii was a cesspit

Turns out it’s not just me having racism and misogyny problems in Overwatch competitive. I saw Wil Wheaton reblog this article from mic.com about it, as well as this thread on the Reddit Overwatch forum, and yeah – it did get a lot worse in Season III.

And so far, nobody official seems to be doing much about it. And people doing it won’t stop until it hurts them, so I’m definitely going with my announcement and plan as a de rigueur thing before all competitive matches in Series IV.

Meanwhile, back in quickplay, I’ve started singing what I call the Tracer Tank song again, because Tracer is a tank in the right circumstances and the right levels. NO, SHE IS, REALLY. I have golded so many times for objective time as Tracer that it’s hilarious.

Tracer tank / Tracer tank
movin’ the payload
’cause somebody has to

where the fuck is Reinhardt?
where the fuck is D.va?
i could be that Reinhardt
if i really wanted

let’s all move the payload
i said everybody
okay fine I’ll do it
objective gold again

I mean, think about it. If you’re on offence in a payload level, and you’re good at her dodging motion/blinking/rewind, it works out to an effective hitpoint/armour total of easily 350 points, assuming only one rewind – much more if you’re lucky and good. I have beaten back one-on-three facedowns across the payload, more than once.

How does that work? Base health/armour of 150. Near-double that to 290 from your own health, doubled, with use of rewind. You get 10 points per second back from being on the payload; survive five seconds – not hard if you are good with her movement – and that’s another 100 points (with the single rewind), which gets you up to 390. Survive 10 seconds, that’s 490. Survive 15, 590.

Survive, oh, 2:09 like I did in one game last night as Tracer Tank? That’s 2580+300 hit/armour points (tho’ that assumes more rewinds, as it would), for a total of 2880.

Bulletproof. Reinhardt? Roadhog? Paper people.

And that’s not even getting into how the payload is functionally a motion-restricted shield with infinite hit points and infinite duration.

Tracer is a tank.

(Really, of course, Tracer shouldn’t be your group’s tank. For one thing, this whole shtick falls apart if they have a Sombra who knows what she’s doing. Even without that, it’s not Tracer’s best mode, and usually if I’m doing it, the team I’m on isn’t very good. But we all know the number of people that just won’t get on the goddamn payload, right? I was on one of those a couple of days ago where I literally solo-escorted the payload from Objective A to (just short of) the Eichenwald castle gate entirely by myself. It was hilarious.)

where I’ve actually been posting

Sorry I haven’t been doing much with the band blog lately. Frankly, all my blogging energy has been used working against the literal fascist movement which has grabbed partial power and is trying to grab more.

I blog at Dreamwidth and it’s echoed to Livejournal. Here’s my post on Milo’s support of child pedastry, for example, which I wrote last night. The Republicans have been fine with his vicious misogyny, overt and savage white supremacy, and slanderous attacks on transgendered people; let’s see if they’re also on board with 28-year-old men fucking 13 year old boys.

I mean, we already know they’re fine with 50-year-old men raping 13 year old girls, but everybody knows the only way to end up dead in politics is to get caught in bed with a dead girl or a live boy. Because boys are valuable and girls aren’t.

Apparently, CPAC (biggest conservative political conference, where he has a headline speech this year) and his fans in general all knew about this already – the interview I’m quoting ran over a year ago. And they’re okay with that. Monstrous filth.

Anwyay, I’ve been getting used to being back in full-time war mode for a couple of months now. Since this movement has always hated women and queers (unless, apparently, they’re pederast fascists), I’ve had to do this my whole life – but I had kind of some time off for a little while, and it made me soft. Hopefully I can return to band stuff more regularly, as I start to feel more ramped up on all this again.

Hopefully.

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