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Incoherent Ramblings
Gone To The Americans
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I've saved the world countless times.

I've saved thousands of worlds, all at once, also countless times. I've come from a different dimension, made my home in another, and returned to that first dimension to finish what I had begun. I've defeated gods and tyrants, alone and with help.

I've busted up drug deals and artifact smuggling rings. I've fought zombies, robots, ghosts, Nazis, Romans, aliens, giant snowmen, giant octopuses. I've beaten back armies and hordes. I've hammered down (and been hammered down by) my evil doppelgangers, be they mechanical or cloned or other-dimensional. I've been to caves, warehouses, ships, sewers, the far future, the ancient past. I've fought on the moon.

Eight years in the City of Heroes, and it still doesn't seem enough.

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Minerva reached out to touch the woman's scarlet hair. "I'm afraid you'll be rather conspicuous if you venture out among the other humans of the village. I don't suppose you have some sort of disguising magic prepared?"

"Not at the moment, but I am aware of a potent spell for that purpose," the woman said. "I call it a wig. Or possibly a hat."

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Another fanfic question, this time requiring illustration.

What are these characters (in the images below the cut) wearing? Specifically, what terms should I be searching for on Wikipedia in order to learn the history and details of this particular fashion style?

The best I can come up with from asking around so far is "librarian-type". I'm not sure if this is an actual thing, or if this fashion has known equivalents in the real world.

If nothing else, how would you describe it in a fanfic, assuming the person wearing this style is not familiar to the viewpoint character (and thus unable to simply go "like that person's clothing")?

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Every time I think of writing some commentary on the fanfics I'm working on, I start wondering if this sort of thing is really necessary, or if anyone else is actually going to care. Is this, basically, the best use of my Livejournal that I can think of?

And yet there's the fact that apart from my Livejournal, it's not like there's anywhere else I can ramble on about these things.

Which is a factor behind the sporadic updates here: I keep wanting to say things, but I keep wondering if the things I want to say are worth saying.

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Actual question for use in fanfic research: when do the various seasons happen in the northern hemisphere?

The situation in the story is that in this 19th century village in Japan, there will be a local festival taking place sometime in the autumn. Harvest festival, if I can swing it.

Later, after more stuff happens, there will be winter. Most of the story will finish off sometime in December.

So, my questions: when does autumn happen, generally speaking? When do the leaves start turning colour noticeably (or at least noticeably enough for poets to start composing haikus about them), and when is a plausible date for a harvest festival?

After that, what kind of weather is usually seen in the countryside (in a valley dominated by a single large mountain, if it matters) in December/early January?

I have to ask all of this because I am Singaporean, and living in the tropics means seasons are a thing that happens to other people. My one major experience with northern hemisphere weather was in Michigan, where it snowed in May.

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On another forum, I was talking about the Avengers movie, and various stuff that I wasn't clear on. The discussion went back and forth, and along the way, someone posted a page from a comic about Captain America (or the "new" Captain America, whatever that means; I didn't ask for context because it would probably be too mind-numbingly confusing) training with his shield. The point was that if anyone in comics trained hard enough, they could also throw the shield like Captain America, and thus it did not count as a superpower.

One panel on that page kind of derailed my train of thought, however:

Captain America training.

What is happening to Captain America's torso?
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The choice of tablets has pretty much been narrowed down to the iPad 2 (or, with an outside chance, the iPad 3; both seem to be more or less the same deal for the purpose of this comparison), or the Asus Eee Pad Transformer Prime.

iPad Pro:
- Support. Lots and lots of support. If not from relatives, then the Apple Store taking up floor space of the electronics department of the mall next door.
- Also in line with support, iOS seems to be the default assumption for apps.
- I can walk over to the aforementioned Apple Store and pick one up right now if I so desired.

iPad Con:
- I would much rather not have to install iTunes on my computer ever again. And if I don't install iTunes, I don't know if I can fiddle with files from my PC onto the iPad with any sort of ease. The relatives I've asked stared blankly when I brought up the concept of linking the iPad to the PC; to them, the iPad is an iPad, and the PC is a PC, and never the twain shall meet.
- I am wary about the reputation for the iPad to be less than user-friendly when it comes to adjusting the guts of the software. I don't even know if I'm allowed to install non-Apple-approved apps on it.

Transformer Prime Pro:
- Comes with a keyboard dock, supposedly "optional", but from all reports the TF Prime is almost always bundled with it anyway.
- Said keyboard dock also has a battery that can be used to recharge the TF Prime, giving it a ridiculous battery life of up to eighteen hours. I accept that I'm not actually going to see that sort of battery life, but just half that would still be amazing.
- Accepts microSD and SD cards, albeit the latter on the dock (which should be fine).

Transformer Prime Cons:
- I haven't actually managed to find one yet, so I can't do a price comparison check. From what I can tell, though, the TF Prime is generally more expensive than the iPad 2 (but not the iPad 3).
- Apparently the Transformer Infinity is coming out in a few more months. While I might not get the Newest and Latest, it would still probably entail a price drop for the Prime.

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In Lois McMaster Bujold's Vorkosigan books, there is a naming system for the nobility that is rooted in Tradition, or at least the tradition of the planet in question. (Barrayar, which has vague Russian overtones, and which apparently has roots in the Klingon homeworld, but that's another matter.)

The firstborn son will take on the the first names of his grandfathers on either side, with the paternal grandfather's name as his first name, and the maternal grandfather's as his middle name. Therefore, if the child's grandfathers are Piotr Pierre Vorkosigan and Miles Mark Naismith, and Piotr Pierre Vorkosigan is his paternal grandfather, then the child's name will be Piotr Miles Vorkosigan.

(Yes, I know plot doesn't make it so, but this is just an example.)

The secondborn son will take on the names of the second (middle) names of his grandfathers on either side, but reversed: the maternal grandfather's middle name is his first name, and the paternal grandfather's is his middle name. So the secondborn grandson of the above Piotr Pierre Vorkosigan and Miles Mark Naismith would be Mark Pierre Vorkosigan.

So. How many generations would it take for there to be a Piotr Pierre after the first one? As in, the shortest number of generations, and a curious drive to see this result as efficiently as possible?

I was trying to work this out in my head, but realised that I don't actually know enough about the setting. I was assuming no marriages closer than second cousins (which darkly fits both the "backwards planet" and the "inbred nobility" stereotypes), and no more than two sons per set of parents. There isn't much about naming conventions for female offspring, which kind of makes in-setting sense considering the patriarchal system, which does get called out many many times in-universe as being backwards and stupid.

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Since my netbook is getting obsolete (4GB of internal SSD memory does not help when the latest Ubuntu Netbook Remix requires 4.2GB or so), and the battery is dying horribly (from 6-8 hours of function to 30 minutes), I'm looking to replace it. It's been with me for about five years, so it's probably time. And I've had so much use out of it that I can't imagine having gone through those past five years without it.

The options right now are to buy a new netbook, probably in the Asus Eee family once again. Alternatively, I could explore the wide and intimidatingly wonderful world of tablet PCs.

The biggest suggestion would, of course, be the iPad. Just about everyone I've met recently has exhorted its virtues to me, although said exhortations were concentrated largely among those who already have one, be it the iPad One or Two; I've not met anyone with a Three yet.

Apart from that, I know there's the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1, and after that my knowledge of the existence of these things becomes vastly more limited.

The primary worry I have about getting an iPad is connectivity. Specifically, connectivity to my PC, running Windows (7 64-bit). I've heard that at minimum, I'd need to get iTunes. Considering what happened the last time I tried iTunes in order to get the Quicktime codec (took over my music collection without asking, tried to give me all sorts of Special Features that amount to more advertising, sorrowfully informed me that I cannot use the iTunes Store due to being in Singapore, and finally resisted all attempts prior to OS wipe to uninstall), I am wary about this. I'd rather not have to rely on Dropbox for transferring files, especially if I decide to transfer my mp3 collection.

Apart from that, my general criteria are:

- Sturdy enough not to break easily. I want to be able to stuff it into my backpack hurriedly and not worry about snapping it in half or something.

- Light enough to be able to carry it around in my backpack in the first place. This was why I stopped using proper laptops, since they're big and heavy and it's a pain to heft them in and out of my bag for anything under an hour of usage sitting down.

- Battery life. I've heard good things about the iPads here, although I don't know about the Galaxy Tab. 6 hours minimum on one charge, including wireless usage.

- The ability to type easily, for fanficcing purposes. I'm fine with using an accessory, assuming this accessory is also light and sturdy. The touchscreen keyboards I've seen tend to lag too much to be comfortable with typing.

- Compatibility with most forms of what I use a computer for: flash video (for Youtube and Nico), non-UTF East Asian languages (for Japanese pages that don't use UTF for some bizarre reason), ability to figure out what to make of Google Docs... I have to mention all these because they are surprisingly not universal.

Everything else would be a bonus. Unless I've forgotten something.

Suggestions?

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Providing more evidence that this has not been a good year for my family, my mother had to have surgery to remove her gall bladder due to stones. This was also why the earlier musing about Anime Festival Asia 2011 turned out to be moot anyway.

On the bright side, surgery has been done, and she's recovering well. It was mostly kind of unnerving to be back at the same hospital my father died in not six months before, this time for the other parent.

The current irritation is with my extended family, with my aunts and such all pestering my mother to go on a trip to Bali to attend my cousin's wedding, even though they definitely know about my mother's surgery; when my mother was in the hospital being surly, I was the one who was tasked to field all the calls from concerned relatives, and had to patiently explain the situation quite a number of times. This was made more difficult by what seems to be a family trend of not actually listening to the explanation being given, and making up something else in their own heads.

To be fair, I don't think the cousin in question knows about this pestering. He seems to be oddly out of the loop of all this family shenanigans.

I had also been invited, but I turned it down since the date fell on my National Service Reservist obligation for the year. Or at least I thought I had turned it down, but as it turned out, some peculiar form of Grapevine Gossip was going on, and the actual reason for my declining the invitation had been lost, and I now have the reputation among my relatives of being an antisocial recluse. (See previous note about not listening to given explanations.) I think the strangest reaction was a query on why I could not use quasi-legal methods to bribe the Singapore Government to release me from my Reservist obligations, and a sort of incomprehension that this sort of thing is probably not even possible.

Being known as an antisocial recluse may turn out to be convenient, if I get to remain in a rational, reasonable world.

I wish my cousin all the best, in any case. He's got nothing to do with this madness.

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Firefox updating to 8.0 has broken Deepest Sender again. Well, not "broken", but more of disabling until DS gets updated to work on the new major version number. I don't know why this requirement is in place, other than a sideways attempt to make sure that addons are being actively updated.

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After a long period of procrastination, I finally finished Prince of Persia: Sands of Time. I'm not sure whether I think it's a great game; it's a good game, and one I didn't actually regret playing or anything, but I hesitate to call it "great".

The main complaint I had was the wonky controls and the stupid camera angles, using the mouse and keyboard. It caused quite a lot of frustration and annoyance, and I feel justified in considering it a flaw in the game because the PC port of Assassin's Creed didn't have the same problems. Therefore, it can be done, but it just... wasn't.

SoT also felt dated, in that I kept thinking about how this or that little niggling annoyance could be improved, and the improvements have already been made in other games... that are based on this one. In other words, SoT has to compete in any potential List of Favourites with later games (ie Assassin's Creed) that improved on it. I've never felt comfortable with ranking a game on what it could have been or what it inspired/set the groundwork for, rather than what it actually is. And taking the game as it is, SoT falls short.

I've also managed to figure out just what it is about some parkour games that appeal to me, while other sorts of parkour games don't. Mainly, I like parkour games that reward exploration and puzzling out solutions, giving me leeway to experiment. I like being able to survey a room, note all the little details, and then use my toolset of moves to traverse the scenery until I get to the goal. If I'm not sure, I'd like to be able to test things out, without penalty for failing.

I don't like parkour games that rely on my twitch reflexes and ability to instantly spot openings within a split second. This is why I ended up hating Uncharted 2; I wanted to play Prince of Persia (well, Assassin's Creed), not Sonic the Hedgehog.

I've started on Warrior Within in an effort to see how the trilogy goes, but I'm kind of put off by the weird alterations to the controls. As in, a lot of it is the same as in SoT, but some of it is just different enough to throw me off, occasionally off the side of a cliff. The Grimdarkness of WW is very much present, and I've been trying to ignore it. This is strangely easier to do than in Dawn of War 2, where the Grimdark was too heavy and oppressive for me to complete the game, despite trying three times. I suppose it's because the Grimdark in WW feels superficial and shallow, like in Darksiders.

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I'm thinking of attending Anime Festival Asia 2011, like I have for the past few years of the event. Usually I attend with friends, but I haven't really been keeping in touch with them, ever since my father died. I'm not sure what their plans are this year. I should probably contact them, but I don't know if I'll end up bringing the mood down.

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  • Ср, 13:15: For some reason Livejournal is titling the Twitter feed entries in Russian. I should probably disable the feed entirely.
  • Ср, 13:17: I've noticed something odd in fanfics recently. As in, I've recently noticed it, but it could have been around for a long time.
  • Ср, 13:19: Specifically, sound effects written out, eg "*CRASH*" or something, instead of "there was a crash". Why is this?

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  • Вт, 12:29: Writing for pay is almost exactly like writing for fun. The only difference is now I have deadlines.

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  • Вт, 10:29: P4A - I don't know what it does to continuity when Metis is there.

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  • Sat, 11:00: Have replaced my phone. People whose numbers I had before, please DM me your numbers again. Same number as before.
  • Sat, 11:01: Wednesday: lost my phone. Saturday: computer died. This is a bad week.

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  • Wed, 09:07: TO WHOEVER FINDS MY PHONE, PLEASE CALL THE "HOME" OR "OFFICE" NUMBER. THANK YOU.

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  • Thu, 08:57: I wonder if it's time for me to stop being part of the anime fandom, despite still liking anime.
  • Thu, 09:07: Much Fandom-Recommended anime try to be Deep, and so often include themes of loss.
  • Thu, 09:07: For obvious reasons, I have problems dealing with themes of loss in my entertainment.

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  • Mon, 08:29: My mother has been trying to get me to vote for Tony Tan in the upcoming Singapore Presidential Elections.
  • Mon, 08:30: It's weird being the only Singaporean (and thus eligible voter) in the family.

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  • Fri, 14:42: I am particularly irritated at this new MRT graffiti break-in because the graffiti is reported to read "Jet Setter's". Apostrophe abuse!

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  • Thu, 19:26: City of Heroes players: help me name my next Arachnos Night Widow alt. The more clever/groanworthy the name, the better.
  • Thu, 19:28: Examples of other CoH alts I already have: Tiny Shiny Widow, Tiny Enemy Crab, Highly Visible Ninja, Bdaly Spleled, A Nemesis Plot.

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  • Tue, 18:21: There is something vaguely unsettling about the concept of a USB cable with proprietary connection plugs.

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  • Fri, 17:02: I think a large part of my frustration with work is that I'm terrible at communicating without sounding boring or pedantic.
  • Fri, 17:03: That said, raster graphics are not the same as vector graphics, good gods why do people ask the impossible.

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  • Thu, 09:13: I am now officially published. Or at least I can say that something I wrote has been printed with my byline.

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  • Wed, 08:33: Note to self: when exiting public buses, duck. The entire country is built for people 10-15cm shorter than I am.

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  • Mon, 15:07: When I say I am not trained in mushroom farming, it means I don't want to keep people in the dark and feed them manure.
  • Mon, 19:31: Why am I staying late at work when there is no such thing as overtime?

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  • Fri, 18:37: Right, this is way above my pay grade. I'm leaving now, and I'll spectate the fallout on Monday.
  • Fri, 19:25: Two girls wearing what I think is grade C zettai ryouiki. In this heat, no less.

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  • Thu, 18:29: Someone has set up an altar in the middle of the road and is burning incense and paper. I do not know why.

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  • Fri, 13:44: Apparently I've been told to be "less responsible" at work.
  • Fri, 13:45: In a possibly related incident, people have been telling me I look like I've lost a lot of weight through stress.
  • Fri, 16:53: To clarify, I was told to be "less responsible" at work or "you'll kill yourself before you're thirty."
  • Fri, 16:54: "I'm twenty-nine this year, sir." "I know."

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  • Mon, 18:24: I am trained as a journalist. I was hired as a journalist. I am not your one-man IT department.
  • Mon, 18:39: I don't mind helping out if I can, but please respect which fields I have actual expertise in, and don't blame me for failing in others.

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  • Mon, 08:20: Arrived at bus stop 15 min early. Waited 20 min for the bus anyway.

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  • Wed, 15:31: Murdoch points to the high salaries of Singaporean ministers as an example of a Good Thing. Not sure if want.
  • Wed, 15:57: On one hand, ministerial salaries high, not much justification, election issue, etc.
  • Wed, 15:59: On the other hand, being endorsed by Rupert Murdoch may make it sufficiently toxic, spurring action.
  • Wed, 16:03: I admit wondering if WoW will implement some sort of shaving cream pie-throwing event against murlocs.

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For great justice.
Damien Kellis
User: dkellis
Name: Damien Kellis
Website: TGO
DK ni omakase
Nazo nazo mitai ni
Chikyuugi wo tokiakashitara
Minna de doko made mo ikeru ne
Jikan no hate made

BUUN
WARP de LOOP na kono omoi wa
Nani mo kamo wo makikonda souzou de
Asobou!

Aru hareta hi no koto
Mahou ijou no yukai ga
Kagirinaku furisosogu
Fukanou janai wa!

Ashita mata au toki
Warainagara HUMMING
Ureshi sa wo atsume yo
Kantan nanda yo konna no
Oikakete ne!
Tsukamaete mite!
Ooki na yume yume sukideshou!
September 2012
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Sekai wo Ooini moriagerutame no Suzumiya Haruhi no Dan
Bouken Deshou Deshou