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Okay, I think it's time for this...

I shut down the ShiningHalf website, and this "shininghalf" LJ seemed to have dried up for various complicated reasons, so I decided that it was time for a fresh start, and I moved to a new blog; I am now foxinthestars at Dreamwidth.

However, to make things easier and not have to make it such a radical break with all my friends here, I also made a new LJ account to crosspost the entries, so you all can friend me and comment conveniently; that new username is also foxinthestars.

And I admit, I did this awhile ago without telling you all. Probably not the most polite thing to do, I know, but given some of the reasons I decided to shut this one down, I wanted some "air" in starting the new one to gain some confidence in just saying whatever I wanted to say (even now I'm crossing my fingers about finally going general-public with it; it's not you guys, it's my hangups). So if you go over there you'll probably find me being more of a silly fanfic geek and occasionally more tactless than you're used to, and if that's not the kind of thing you want to read, I understand that, and I still think you're a really cool person and all that.

Part of it is, trying to juggle two LJ accounts is just getting stupid, so I think it's time to migrate my f-list and just move already.

See you on the other side!


I'm going to shut down ShiningHalf.com. I haven't updated it in forever, I expect it's all in the Way Back Machine by now, and it isn't really worth the money anymore. If I want to have a website again, I think I'd be better off starting from scratch.

The biggest thing I need to take care of switching my e-mail over to gmail (and I still have a yahoo mail account). Once I have that in place, I'll shut it down.

It's been good, but there comes a point when you have to let go...

Destructive test of strength

(Not for me, don't worry.)

In the interest of actually writing something, particularly random thoughts, it occurred to me how ridiculous the "ally fights you to test your strength" trope is under many circumstances. Except in a highly controlled situation where one could reasonably expect to fight the other person without hurting them at all, isn't this just like "I'm not sure you're ready to face the big bad; let me beat you up and ensure that you won't be!" Even if you win, they've probably worked you over enough that you're in worse shape for a bigger fight than before.

Of course this could be mitigated with a controlled (but thus less predictive) form of combat, recovery time, or especially a fantasy setting where you could be totally and immediately healed, but very often such caveats are not observed. (Most animation and practically all video games would meet the "fantasy physiology" condition, but often don't acknowledge it.)

And yes, being that I'm spending too much time lately mulling a coherent fictional universe out of a series of video games, this is basically to rationalize handwaving out some "proof of strength" battles said games contained...

(PS: I posted this, deleted it, and posted it again after getting the facebook connect thing hopefully working)


I've cut my f-list quite a bit, and I may cut it more. This is in no way a slight to anyone I did cut, but I've felt strangely out-of-place on my own friends page lately and I figure it's time to try to find a center, get back to basics...

Overheated brainstirring

Dentist this morning; hopefully they'll take these spacers out (I can't completely close my teeth with them in, it's a pain), but I think they're putting the brackets on, which might be worse for all I know.

Class this evening and another test; they've been coming every other week lately, but at least that means that each one isn't over too much.

Since the other class ended or thereabouts I've been feeling very distractible; Castlevania is one of those story/fanfic obsessions I get, but I wish it wasn't *quite* so obsessive as this, it's making it hard to study sometimes. It's also getting frustrating, reaching the point where I wish some of this mental kerfuffle would break through the writer's block and resolve itself into an actionable project, but as yet not so much. One of those ways I feel like I'm back to where I was at before college, almost... And even I feel shallow and silly that this is apparently so important in my life, but that doesn't do any good, really; never has...

Ecclesia, etcetera

CV: OoE update: I am through the big plot point and storming the castle, w00t! I also got roughed up pretty good by the easiest boss in the game, but wth, what else is food for, right? (I guess I'm a klutz or something, because I get grabbed by stuff that isn't supposed to grab you. Nobody told me Gravediggers could do that, and now I swear Wallman grabbed me and dragged me through with him one time, and nobody told me that could happen, either; it was ouchy.) I also have Nitesco now, so that makes me feel better. Who isn't perked up by getting a huge magic laser?

Other stuff; I'm puttering around at PGDP again. They just had an Arsene Lupin book go through that I got to do a little work on. ^_^

Also specially enjoyed this article about humanities education.

I'm back, baby!

Oh, over a month ago, I'm sure, I bogged down suddenly over a mere trifle in Castlevania: Order of Ecclesia and then neglected my Castlevania habit, not playing it for like a month. So long that a few days ago when I decided to fire it up again, I was actually rather clumsy. But I eased myself into it, told myself I didn't have to do anything spectacular until I felt like, fruitlessly mined the Skeleton Cave for Cashmere (long story) for the umpteenth time until I got my groove back, then had another go at what had gotten the better of me... And really, it was a mere trifle. I finished off the area where I'd gotten stuck, and, as per usual when I neglect Castlevania for awhile, I'm all like "Damn, this is a blast! Why did I ever leave off playing this??"

(I admit it helps that I've done so much treasure hunting I'm pathetically overlevelled; I was hung up at/just finished Tristis Pass and I'm at level thirty-six.)

I even polished off some villager quests in the process. Serge's last one is annoying as hell, tho. I'm still not as mad at him as I am at Marcel (@#$ph%^ing Cave Troll, Serge hasn't got me killed yet...), but annoying.

(PS to Konami: There are fansites that say this whole "Metrovania" thing is played out. Don't listen to them. Never ever stop making games like this.)

Western Civ 2, CLEAR!

Whoohoo! I had my last exam today in the Western Civ class I keep complaining about, now it's all done and I'm free! ^_^ The prof even added up my total score for the course, so I know I got an A.

I admit I didn't do as well on this essay test as on the other one---I only got 101/100 instead of 107. ^_^;; But! One last time, let me count the fail.

For these tests, he had us suggest topics that he would then formulate questions about (and we were supposed to research these topics without knowing what the question was going to be, which threw me worse this time than last time, but I did fine). I spoke up and suggested Feminism, and, er, this is what he came up with:

cut for stupid; reader discretion advisedCollapse )

So there's a little peek into my prof's brain. I got a 93 on the essay (then got bonus points), because I didn't tie in all of his wonky points as well as I might've, but wth. Toward the end here I was kind of slacking off, and I still got 513/500 points for the course overall. (He was like "I made it too easy" and I said "well, I am essentially a grad student...")

It was a little funny, though; I had made another run to my alma mater's library and got about five books related to post-war European feminism and had this pile of stuff (he didn't give me a chance to use the Simone de Beauvoir trivia) which struck everyone a little funny, but I trusted the university library more than the internet, I guess. Anyway, when I turned my paper in, he was in a jovial mood and pantomimed an "oof" like I'd handed him a cast-iron skillet or something. "It's so heavy!" "Well, I had to stuff all those books in there!" Some classmates had a good laugh out of that. (I'll have to have a better look at some of those books before I turn them back in, tho; they look interesting. I do feel kind of bad just skimming them for quotes, but there wasn't time for much else. I'm sure I was the only one worried that I was committing sloppy scholarship, but yeah...)

He seemed almost heartbroken that I pulled out of one of my books where Allied troops raped women in post-war Berlin; I went with the conciliatory half-truth and told him it was mainly the Ruskies.

But now, done with that, never have to take another 8-week course again, or at least not under that guy; can focus on my much-more-fun-and-fascinating History of Witch Hunts course.

I also got some fried mushrooms on the way home for a treat. Yum. ^_^

Middle school good for something

I have trouble with always being ashamed of things I did in the past that don't measure up to my current standards, so I wanted to record something more amusingly affirmative, with the unlikely tie-ins of middle school and filk.

Filk got me started on the train of thought that brought up the NES game Snake Rattle 'n' Roll. Takes the cake for most obvious filk concept ever, (the sheer obscurity of retrogamering involved in taking the bait would be insanely geeky, on top of the fact that I've heard filk called the geekiest thing anyone can do---hearing that prompted me to try it one time in my Fushigi Yuugi period...). I remember the game as a crazymaker; it's played on an isometric grid, the control pad is effectively rotated 45 degrees, and I didn't survive long enough to get the hang of that.

The thing is: back in the day, I wrote elaborate fanfic about this game. Building on that most obvious filk concept, it involved the eponymous ophidian protagonists starting a band. It was a script-fic.

So, I thought, yeah, having it dredged up and read to me would no doubt be embarassing.

But this I submit without reservation:

As ways to spend Middle School go, it was pretty damn good.

Crazy history book ideas

Things I don't yet feel competent to write, but maybe someday... ^_~

The first idea is totally serious: could someone write a history survey book that goes in reverse, starting from the present and digging backward? This idea is inspired by the fact that in high school we never made it to the end of the book; like, students get dropped into some alien world (Ancient Egypt or so) and crawl toward their own time and probably never get past the Nazis. What if a book started with the world as they know it and then moved back in time to reveal its roots? It would be a different and challenging way of thinking and structuring the narrative, but I think there's potential.

The other one is more just silly: a history-based personality assessment/self-help book. "Got yourself into something that spiralled out of control and left you disillusioned, questioning everything you know about yourself, others, and the meaning of life? You're the interwar era! The breakdown of your old way of thinking, while painful, can lead you to great new discoveries, just be careful not to turn fascist." Abusive relationships would be related to colonialism, stuff like that.

(Of course, these might have been done already. There's probably an internet quiz for the second one at least.)