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Ok I have finished Mass Effect 3 and I am going to have to squee. There is so much good here. It was fun, it was rocking, the story and the side quests were great. The completionist in me loves the various options and extra quests we could do. The story lover in me loved the plot, the highs and the lows, the victories and the tragedies. And the gamer in me found the game easy to play and fun with sensible controls

I did expect to have an issue with the game dumbing down and having space bar do EVERYTHING from use to climb to jump to cover to, well, everything. And there were the odd moments when I was dodging back and forth in cover or tumbling around like an acrobat when I just wanted to check the console. But it didn’t happen as often as I expected. Still, bring back “e” please.

ME 2 and ME3 I don’t think the whole “clips” concept worked. They had a nice idea with ammo in the first game – and I don’t think the whole “heat sink” idea made a whole lot of sense the way it was implemented. And, besides, you never ran out of ammo so why bother?

I found the side quests better than previously. ME1 involved too many hours driving around empty planets (or checking internet maps). ME2 made me feel I had to ration resources so couldn’t explore every cranny. ME3 let me find everything and left me feeling that I DID find everything.

Ok, people died and I know a lot of players had problems with established characters dying. And I can see that – but I thought it was necessary to bring how just how extreme the loss of life and devastation is during the war. How many people have died, how much this fight is costing – sure we can show images of London in ruins (and yes, seeing Big Ben in the background gave me the heebie jeebies) but having someone you’ve invested in die shows it more. Flip side is, of course, that a) I saved a lot of people who could have died and b) the characters who did die weren’t my personal favourites or squad members. Now, if Garrus or Tali or Dr. Chakwas or Joker had died? I’d probably be telling a different story and be pouting mightily.

On inclusion – lots of it and I loved it. And I loved my romance with Estevan (Kaidan, alas, died in ME1 for me) but more than anything what impressed me is that Estevan is gay. I mean, even if my Shepherd is straight as straight can be, Estevan is still gay. He isn’t the gay option thrown in to placate me and hidden away if you don’t want him. He’s gay, he’s mourning his husband and he will talk about it. Similarly you can walk through the Citadel and hear a woman talk about her wife. While romancing these character is an option, there existence is not. They are there. And that impressed me.

And to describe how much I loved this? I’m tempted to do a play through of the whole series, one after the other. Yes yes I am.

And now the elephant in the room. The ending. Ok there has been a lot of comments on the ending so here’s mine with a spoiler warning

sparkindarkness: (STD)

Despite considerable opposition from the Catholic church (that think equality for gay people is ‘satanic’) and even the American Mormons trying to intervene, Argentina has become the first country in Latin America to legalise same sex marriage! Congratulations and celebrations :) Another step forward, some more justice realised.

Congratulations to all the people in Argentina who can now get married – may you all be blissfully happy together.

In Atlanta, the police have set up  an LGBT advisory board

And in the UK we have a set of instructions of what language the police are supposed to use and not use when dealing with GBLT people

Words cannot express how important these are. I don’t like the police. Part of that is because I am a defence lawyer and have seen far too much shit come from the police to be comfortable.

And part of it is that my interactions with the police have been fraught. The first time I reported being attacked to the police was awful. I was asked if I’d flirted with my attacked, if I’d touched him, if I’d come on to him, I was even asked what I was wearing. I heard them make jokes. I heard the comments. I regretted, strongly, reporting to the police at all – the case quickly went nowhere, in no small part because I didn’t want anything to do with them any more.

It’s not an isolated case. Even when not actively homophobic, cluelessness abounds in heteronormative society in general and certainly in the police force. If we need the protection of law – and we so often do – then we need to law to have a clue. We need to be able to trust the law – we need the law not to make things worse for us and to hurt us more.

We’re a long way from that – but steps in the right direction matter

Facebook is planning on adding a button for UK teens on their site to allow reporting and help with cyberbullying. It’s not much but it’s something especially since bullying – and anti-gay bullying – is so toxic and destructive.

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Schadenfreude, it’s good for what ails you.

Now, I started out depressed today, raging over the ignorant and hateful comments about the 2 congressional candidates from Tennessee talking about gays in the military. In particular saying  “I can tell you if there were any homosexuals in that group, they were taken care of in ways I can’t describe to you.” and “I definitely wouldn’t want to share a shower with a homosexual. We took care of that kind of stuff, just like (Kirkland) said.” I am thinking that “taking care of” does not mean “treated with justice and equality and respect.” No I do not think so. And it is grossly horrifying that people who aspire to be elected officials will say such a thing on the campaign trail and not have their career in ruins. Seriously – supporting, BRAGGING about homophobic violence? I am going to have to revisit this when I have the headspace for it.

Instead I am going to have a little pick me up and look at the case of  Dr. George Rekers. A professional homophobe, this hater is a founder of the Family Research Council – a hate group that has spoken out in favour of criminalising homosexuality. That’s right – they’re not satisfied with just fighting gay rights, they want gays thrown in prison. He’s also a board member for NARTH – yes, the lying, hateful ex-gay peddling group.

In short, this guy is a major homophobe. He is involved in so many anti-gay efforts  that he should long since have exploded from the pressure of his own vile hatred. And, not only that, but this hateful bigot likes to spread his hatred around, spending 10 days in Europe.

Now, a busy bigot like Dr. Rekers is going to need many things while on holiday. Luggage, maybe a lap top, phone, credit cards, 20 year old rent boy called Lucien…

…yes a 20 year old rent boy called Lucien.

Oh my oh my they do make it easy don’t they? I have to wonder what they were thinking (actually, I know what they’re thinking and clearly not with their head on their shoulders) that they think they can do this and NOT be noticed?

Now, I could talk about the damage and pain of internalised homophobia. I could talk about the toxicity of the closet. I could talk about how pitiful this man is. I could talk about the issue of outing homophobes and why I agree with it. I could even make snide NARTH jokes “physician, heal thyself!” but I’ve done all that before. Besides, I need a pick me up :)

So, I’m helping myself to a big slice of Schadenfreude Pie and laughing uproariously at this.

Of course it gets better when you hear his excuses:

1) He has had surgery and needs someone to carry his bags – so of COURSE he hires a rentboy, yes? Quick quiz – who can think of the best euphemism for ‘carry his bags?’  “You can tote my luggage” “baggage check” and “you lift my bags up” have already been used :P

2) Fearing that people weren’t buying it, he quickly switched to he was evangelising to the young man to convert him. Oh doctor, evangelise me some more!

And yes, I am enjoying the hell out of this :)

Hmmm… I wonder if I can get the senior partners to hire me a new assistant. I think I’ve found just the agency :)


Mar. 3rd, 2010 04:02 pm
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My friend Ann Somerville is giving away free books.

Claim thine freebie by clicking this link and following the instructions :)

Enjoy the shiny prezzies :)
sparkindarkness: (Default)
At the market, Beloved and I got separated largely due to my sleep deprived state (he totally abandoned me! ABANDONED ME!!!! *wails*).

I usually avoid this. Beloved cannot be allowed to shop unattended. He will end up buying a whole sheep or something. Quite possibly still alive. It is known. He cannot be trusted to shop. I should have at least taken his money off him. I am far more sensible

Of course

It is known.

So I wandered around looking for him, occasionally making very SENSIBLE and REASONABLE purchases for I am the sensible, reasonable one. Yes yes I am.

So I caught up with him and, yes, he had bought ridiculous fruit wines and a truly unnatural amount of German sausages. And really how much venison and game birds? Gross waste of money! Unacceptable! Shameful! Inexcusable and I told him so most surely and a length so he couldn’t get a word in edgeways! Of course... that can’t be maintained forever

Beloved: What ARE you wearing?
Sparky: Don’t change the subject! *back to Necessary Stern Lecture*
Beloved: Is that a cloak?
Sparky: It‘s cold!.
Beloved: You bought a cloak. Oh that’s perfect!
Sparky: It’s a shiny cloak!
Beloved: Haha I have the moral highground! I have the moral highground!
Sparky: I blame sleep deprivation *desperate plea for sympathy)
Beloved: No excuses! I can buy anything now for, like a month and you can’t say anything!
Sparky: Only if you don’t buy a cloak as well...
Beloved:... damn. Can I use your cloak?
Sparky: Not without losing the moral highground.
Beloved: Damn damn damn damn... Well I have the moral highground until I get one
Sparky: Yes, enjoy it while you can *pats*

Even sleep deprived and at a grave disadvantage, I always win :)
sparkindarkness: (Default)
...But if there WAS Stephen Fry would so get my vote to be it's godfather

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I'm came across this in a Blog and I'm pretty stunned by how eloquently it says so much. It can't cover all the damage societal homophobia causes, but the damage, the impact of even the little things is still powerfully described

It doesn't cover everything, but it covers a lot and it's extremely powerful. And painful to watch - for me it hurt and I'll lay odds it'll probably hurt a lot of gay people to listen to it.

But it's a powerful message


Apr. 21st, 2009 12:23 pm
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There needs to be a nod towards the new WoW patch because it is shineh.

Dual speccing is extra-shineh

The new raid? Is a whole new level of shineh. It's also visually stunning. Since Northrend Blizz has really got themselves so genuine artists for their stuff - because it's BEAUTIFUL

The new Argent Tornament thing? Well it's fun - but my canon-loving-head is having trouble understanding it. The Argent Crusade weants to find worthy champions to fight the Scourge?
The Scourge are an endless legion of undead setting out to kill us all and make us into more undead. You do not get to be picky about who you get to fight that, little Paladin. Do you know who's worthy to fight the Scourge? EVERYONE WILLING TO DO SO!!! Even if that's a farmer dual-wielding chickens that makes a disturbing bock-bock-splat sound when he fights!

And how do we prove ourselves worthy? You give us a horse and a lance and send us jousting (and we'll ignore for a second that, as a Draenei, I have an Elephant and a Mamoth and no puny human on a horsey is going to worry me, no matter how big his stick is. Hells, I have a dragon I can ride as well, the lance is kinda redundant)? Now this may have worked in medievel real world... but in WoW I have an issue:

Paladin: BEHOLD champion! Take your lance, go forth and prove yourself worthy to fight the Scourge!
Mage: Why are you giving me this stick?
Paladin: So you may vanquish the undead!
Mage: Or I could, y'know, fireball them?
Paladin: No, take the lance.
Mage: But but... I can throw fire from my hands! I can call ice from the sky!
Paladin: Doesn't count - you must learn the art of the lance!
Mage: I can INCINERATE all undead within a 20 yard radius with 2 spells and you want me to POKE them with a STICK?!
Paladin: yes, yes we do.
Mage: *burny burny*

Despite this, the mounted combat is still kinda fun :)

And to the players:
"Waaaah Ulduar is hard. Blizzard has gone over the top!"

Oh dear, memories are short. Let me prompt them a little.

Right, when the flashbacks have finished you can get back off the floor. Not convinced? Ooookaaaaaaaaaayyyy...

Ah, look at all that Tidewalker twitching, there goes a few months of therapy bills. Wait there's more.

Oh Astromancer, still have the ability to make them foam at the mouth, how i miss that. Are we convinced? Do i have to even MENTION Kael'Thas and Vashj? Really?

Right. Naxxramas was ridiculously easy. Malygos hardly challenging and Sartharion was, at best, middling. Compared to Illidan and Brutallus and Archimond and Kalecgos they're nothing. Now, Ulduar has come out. In TBC standards it should be on par with Serpentshrine Cavern or Tempest Keep. You're whining after the second wipe? It took us 3 days of constant wiping to finally kill Leotheras and it was WEEKS before we could guarantee that he wouldn't just mince us all. Gods, it took us a dozen wipes to bring VOIDREAVER down, even Lurker wiped us his share. But suddenly Razorscale kills us and you're all whinging that Blizzard has gone over the top?

In a month you'll be whining that there's no challenge and nothing to do again. Enjoy it while it lasts. I know I am
sparkindarkness: (Default)
...the various "talent shows" blighting our televisions screens. Most of them are glorified freak shows where millions can gather to laugh and mock. Worse, they show all that is wrong with the music industry (well, a lot of what is wrong with it - there's a lot of wrong there) and why we went from being a rather dominant force in music to the insipid offerings we now have.

And I hate Simon Cowel.

And then they produce something like this:

And, after some obligatory minutes of open mouthed awe I don't know whether to be overjoyed or to cry. Overjoyed because she has been found and that incredible talent has been recognised.

Or be sad because, with the music industry, she is not young enough, not sexy enough and not beautiful enough for them to make her a success. Or even more sad that for so many years this talent has been unrecognised
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Ye gods NO!!!!

The new 118 24 7 advert (Yell phone directory):

What sadistic twisted mind put this on television?!
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For gay people everywhere, because everyone deserves the happiness and security I have

Pass the word.

"Fidelity": Don't Divorce... from Courage Campaign on Vimeo.

It's a powerful video and above all a strong message. Bigots - whether gays marry or not won't touch you. It won't change your lives one tiny iota. But these are real people and real lives and real families you are trying to destroy. For your cause, for your god, for your hate, you are trying to destroy people and their loved ones.

And the only word for that is evil.
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How do I classify this? Addiction? Masochistic drive? Self-annihilation impulse? Foolish optimism?

Yes, I bought Blood Noir and Swallowing Darkness - Laurell K Hamilton’s newest books in the Anita Blake and Merry Gentry series.

I know, I know. Why do I keep trying? The first few books in the series were so very good. It is tragic, truly tragic, that they have devolved as much as they have. I wouldn’t mind so much if she had started out writing poorly-disguised porn, but the fact she has written such brilliant novels in the past just makes it all the more depressing.

To try and soften to blow (and with a due sense of dread) I read Swallowing Darkness first. After all, the Merry Gentry series has never been anything but a pornfest so how can I be disappointed?

Read more... )
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Have I ever mentioned how much the expansion rocks?

There is PLOT again. Actual plot and storylines! Arcs and canon and it's oh so wonderful. I have a little geeky squee every time I meet a dragon aspect (Beloved despairs. Yes yes he does)

And it's pretty. REALLY REALLY pretty. It's visually STUNNING

And the cutscenes. The Wintergarde defender quests? AWESOME. Literally seat rivetting.

And the phasing thing? Great great great great idea.

As for the guild. Well, on day 3 of WOTLK we, the GMS screamed "NO MORE DAMN DEATHKNIGHTS!" because everyone and his pet monkey wanted to have one. Of course, the novelty has worn off and we're now recruting them because DKs rock muchly (huge dps and offtank for Gothik? Give!)

Our progress? Well, we're none casual, fun guild without strict raiding requirements or rules :) so we're not among the top on the server and wouldn't want to be. We're fun, not hardcore

10 Man Naxxramas CLEAR
10 Man Obsidian Sanctum CLEAR
25 Man Obsidian Sanctum CLEAR

Though we have yet to kill Heigan with more than 5 guildies left alive.
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I have Wrath of the Liche King

There will be nothing but WoW until my characters hit 80. Yes I am obssessed.

But - first impressions?


Seriously WOW

This game is visually stunning. It is beautiful. The terrain, the instances. I'm staring at my screen, awe inspired by the beauty of it.

Secondly, the quests are interesting, fun and funny (especially DEHTA) a hundred percent improvement over tbc :) I is a happy happy man


Nov. 5th, 2008 04:07 pm
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Well done America :) Sanity is restored (well, partially redeemed anyway) I'll put the mass order of straight jackets away! Gods it's going to be nice not constantly wondering what massive blundering America is currently plotting.

Historic in so many ways, beyond a good result guys. I think everyone has good reason to be gleeful beyond compare.

But but but, while I won't bring anyone down and people should be happy and celebrating - remember, Obama's been handed a dog's dinner to fix up and even with the landslide there are a lot of Republicans around (and a lot of Democrats that are not much better) that aren't going to give him a free ride. AND he's a politician. Remember that - no matter how much better than Mccain he is (and he so is) he's still a politician. Don't let your expectations set you up for disappointment.

Enough of that, time for more partying!
sparkindarkness: (Default)
Ok this patch? More than kinda rocks. I love what you've done to the spec trees. I love that classes are all using rotations rather thans just spamming the same abilities (our Destruction warlocks hate you, btw). I'm not madly keen on buffs being unniversal and not stacking (I can make a raid of nearly ANYONE now and I don't have to fiddle to make the groups perfect - and I liked organising 25 guildies so the best groups lined up!) but it is interesting (My totems are now GODS! GODS I SAY!) Stormwind harbour looks soooo shiny and achievements are such a great idea! My old raids will count for something even if it's for epeen! In general I'm loving this patch, yes yes I am.

But what the hell have you done to the bosses? Alright, I know you want us to see Sunwell before the expansion - but we killed Mother Shazrah with NO SHADOW RES GEAR OR BUFF. Seriously, that should not be possible. Really. We've cleared Black Temple, if we go to Illidan on Sunday and kill him as if he were Attumen after all those weeks of whiping then that's going to be hella depressing. But I think we will, from what I've seen. Why don't the bosses just commit suicide as soon as the raid shows up and hand out the shiny epics?

Ah well, I suppose it's only until WOTLK, but it still kinda bugs me.

My main, the Resto Shaman is extremely happy with the patch. Earthliving weapon and Riptide? GODLIKE! Totems working on the whole raid? FEAR HIM. But why why why why can a Gruul equipped Holy priest now heal him into the ground? He used to be the best healer in the guild by a good 4% margin - only resto druids challenged him. Now a noob holy priest can leave him standing?!

My first alt, the Feral druid tank is loving the infinite target swipe, the feral charge in cat form, the berserk and many other talents that are just LOVE. Really LOVE. Infinite mangles! However he would like to know what the hell you've done to his armour, 'kay thanks? Because I've lost 10k armour. That's not good. Really not good.

My second alt, the Gnomish fire mage says... well, not much. He's running round in circles singing and dancing and screaming "BURN!" at regular intervals. But I think that this rather ridiculous crit chance is going to make him the biggest agrowhore in the guild (instant pyroblast on consecutive crits? OH MY GODS). And I've always argued with the warlocks that fire mages have the best Aoe. Now? I think we can forget the argument. I win.

My third alt, the Retridin/Protadin is just sat in the corner with a nasty little smile on her face. When asked to comment she just says "bring it." because DAMN!

Does the fact I have 4 BT level characters mean I play too much WoW do you think?

Is there such a thing as too much WoW?
sparkindarkness: (Default)
I have recently discovered the joys of RSS feeds through Logophilos. This? Is a life saver. I read dozens of web comics, blogs, news sites etc and my current method of checking them is to have my favourites list of DOOOOOOOOOOOOM and check every one.

This? Is tiresome

Beloved is mocking me for my technophobia that has taken me so long to use what he considers a basic tool. I am mocking him for unnecessary gadgets considering he HAS used one for years and he, at best, checks 2 blogs a week.

Question though, why oh why oh why do people put the RSS link in the tiniest, most unobtrusive place possible on their website?
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The Big Read reckons that the average adult has only read 6 of the top 100 books they've printed. Well let's see.

1) Look at the list and bold those you have read.
2) Italicise those you intend to read.
3) Underline the books you LOVE, add an strikeout the books you read but didn't like.
4) Reprint this list in your own LJ so we can try and track down these people who've read only 6 or less and make them read.

I’m also going to add a big agree to Zero_pixel_count’s caveat. FORCING someone to read a book is one of worst things you could ever do. Nothing kills love of the written word like being forced to read it (except maybe having to ANALYSE a text to DEATH). To this day I LOATHE poetry because my English teacher was so obsessed with poets in all their many guises. I also dislike the idea of classics - I’ve read too many that I couldn’t stand - the whole definition of what makes a classic a classic just seems rather snobbish and I’m sure many would have faded to obscurity if they hadn’t been called “classics.”

Read more... )
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Today? I canot sing any opf the songs or even remember most of them (certainly can't pin them down to any country) and the ones I can remember I am remembering in vague ways like "the idiots with the washing line and the three brides knitting"

But the one I can sing? Latvia's entry.

So should have won
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Because I just have to, don't I? Why msut I endure this pain when there are people who may be spared?

Actually one main point this year was that the silly was surprisingly in absence, most very unfair. And then a few managed to pull us back and make it as ridiculous as it always was,

And speaking of ridiculous, the political has gotten beyond a joke now, really it has. Even Wogan seemed pissed about it. With the Balkans voting as one bloc and the Scandinavians voting as one bloc and all the new quasi-european entrans (Azerbaijian, Georgia) all voting firmly for each other (and Russia) it becomes even more of a farce than it ever was.

And speaking of farce - the show was just AWFUL. The serbian presenters made me want to reach for the haddock, the between stage entertainment was not only dire but cringeworthy. I actually came close to turning it off before the voting because I couldn't stand another minute of it. It was bad. It was tacky, it was cheesy, it was just dire. The only highlight was the winner of the last contest belting out her song with her incredible voice.

Still, time for the meat of the issue. The songs:
Read more... )


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