Review: The Talos Principle (and "Cotillion")

So, for the last couple of weeks I've been pretty busy playing The Talos Principle.

It's a lot of fun, folks--though I'll admit to using a cheat sheet to get past some of the puzzles because I don't really feel like taking four days to figure something out. But the scenary is absolutely gorgeous, and the mechanics remind me of the Portal games, which I greatly enjoyed, but with an added meta game on top of the puzzle aspect. You get to make choices that have actual consequences for future gameplay, which is kind of rad. But mostly it's just a lovely virtual space to hang out it.

If I had to describe it in one sentence, it's like Portal and Soma got married and had a supermodel virtual baby. Or something along those lines. The only bits I don't like are the handful of puzzles that aren't actually puzzles, but rather a matter of reflexes, with explosive results if you twitch wrong even once. Just have one more of those left to somehow get through, and I'll be done the first cycle of the game, which is exciting.

Also, I stayed up way too late last night rereading Georgette Heyer's Cotillion. Guys, it's such a delightful story. If you're a fan of the "we have to pretend to be married for Reasons and now we're going to accidentally fall in love for real" trope, this is a lovely, light-handed example of it. Kitty's naive enough that you can understand why she'd propose it in the first place, and Freddy's amiable and responsible and just likes her. He's probably my favorite romantic 'hero', just because he's so ... reliable, without ever being smug or overbearing. He knows he's not clever, and isn't bothered by it--just works his way through things carefully until everything's managed.

He's a real dear. <3

Poem: The Journey of the Magi

"A cold coming we had of it,
Just the worst time of the year
For a journey, and such a long journey:
The ways deep and the weather sharp,
The very dead of winter."
And the camels called, sore-footed, refractory,
Lying down in the melting snow.
There were times we regretted
The summer palaces on slopes, the terraces,
And the silken girls bringing sherbet.
Then the camel men cursing and grumbling
And running away, and wanting their liquor and women,
And the night-fires going out, and the lack of shelters,
And the cities hostile and the towns unfriendly
And the villages dirty and charging high prices:
A hard time we had of it.Collapse )

- T.S. Eliot

First Sunday in Epiphany

Hail the blest morn, see the great Mediator,
Down from the regions of glory descend!
Shepherds, go worship the babe in the manger,
Lo, for his guard the bright angels attend.

Brightest and best of the sons of the morning,
Dawn on our darkness, and lend us thine aid;
Star in the east, the horizon adorning,
Guide where our infant Redeemer is laid.

[Cold on his cradle the dewdrops are shining;
Low lies his bed with the beasts of the stall;
Angels adore him, in slumber reclining,
Wise men and shepherds before him do fall.]

Say, shall we yield him, in costly devotion,
Odors of Eden and offerings divine?
Gems from the mountain, and pearls from the ocean,
Myrrh from the forest, and gold from the mine?

Vainly we offer each ample oblation;
Vainly with gold we his favor secure;
Richer by far is the heart’s adoration;
Dearer to God are the prayers of the poor.

End of year fic-writer ask meme

Actually got some writing done in 2017, so I thought this might be worth doing (for a change).

  1. What’s your personal favourite thing you wrote this past year?

  2. What’s your least favourite thing you wrote this past year?

  3. Which of your fics was most different from what you usually write?

  4. Which of your fics this past year was most successful?

  5. Which of your fics do you wish was more successful?

  6. What’s your favourite piece of dialogue you wrote this past year?

  7. What’s your favourite piece of description or narration?

  8. Which fic this past year was most fun to write?

  9. If you could go back and change something about one of the fics you wrote this past year, what would it be?

  10. What, if anything, are you going to try to do differently in your writing in the new year?

via zmediaoutlet

New Year's resolutions?

When I was a kid, I thought New Year's resolutions were kind of dumb, but the last couple of years I've tried them with some success: take a photo every day (lasted 6 months); post on LJ every day (rocky start, but that's been going for about 9 months now). This year the resolution is pretty simple: don't use my computer in the mornings before leaving for work. I've only had a few days to try it, but it's a banging success so far. ;)

How about you folks--any resolutions this year? Any successful past resolutions you're proud of?

A year's-worth of writing

Poems:Timestamps for 5 Ways Things Might Have Gone Off the Rails [SPN]:

  • Arsonist's Song timestamp - Occasionally he can admit to himself that killing Ruby might have been a mistake.

  • Work Song timestamp - Dean doesn't eat, just drinks whiskey like clear cold water.

  • In a Week timestamp - It takes a week for Sam to realize no reaper's coming for them: a week of Dean being too obsessed with the damage being inflicted on the Impala's interior to really notice that, well, they're dead, and it looks like this time it's going to stick.

Evil That Walks Invisible [SPN AU], a joint project with zmediaoutlet:

  • In a Cursed Hour, prologue and chapters 1-2 - He sat, and waited. Low sounds came from behind the door, and for a few seconds there was a sharp smell of sage smoke, and then a burst of sound as the chanting grew quite loud. His stomach rolled, slowly, and he sat very straight against the window with his hands on his knees. He recited the Sura Al-Falaq to himself, and the names of the thirty-three gods of the Vedic tradition, and then he visualized the exact working of the spell to incapacitate a cockatrice, and then before he knew it the door swung open again, and he found himself on his feet as Ted said, “Mr. Winchester?” He didn’t know where Josie had gone, and his nerves were no better, but he swallowed, and nodded, and then he walked through the door to finally earn the right to his father’s legacy.

  • Ship In Harbor - Sam could drown in the cornfields, he thinks sometimes.

  • Merry and Bright - Lebanon wasn't really the home of Christmas cheer to begin with and living in a hidden underground bunker didn't help, but Dean had never been daunted by any of that.

  • Patience on a Monument - The thing is, in the 22 years since they moved to the bunker, Dean’s never known dad to be late for anything, so for the first day he actually thinks he’s misreading the calendar.

Something Sweet [SPN] - "I'm pretty sure the only food in the fridge is that leftover Thai that we both decided was too spicy to finish."

Technicolor Pachyderms [SPN] - 900 Amelia Richardsons. 12,000 Amelia Richardsons!

At Very Long Last [SGA] - Rodney waits--25 years, 48 millenia, 12 days.

Lost and Found [mythology] - For some reason Demeter comes to Hera during her campaign to get Persephone back.

Moveables [SPN] - Once upon a time, there was a boy named Sam who had a laptop. It was the fastest, bestest laptop in the world, and Sam loved it very much.

Skydiving [SGA] - “Well, here goes,” John said, a slightly manic gleam to his eyes that Rodney recognized a moment after it was too late.

Wildlife Encounters [SPN] - In the future, Dean will look back and be able to acknowledge that two months of nothing but milk-runs had made them sloppy, and sooner or later a hunt was bound to go sideways on them.

Delivery Service [SPN] - The thing is, Dean's a complete pushover when it comes to kids.

For the Relief of Various Symptoms [SPN] - Dean gets sick; even after all these years, Sam is not immune.

Poem: The Flight into Egypt

Through every precinct of the wintry city
Squadroned iron resounds upon the streets;
Herod’s police
Make shudder the dark steps of the tenements
At the business about to be done.

Neither look back upon Thy starry country,
Nor hear what rumors crowd across the dark
Where blood runs down these holy walls,
Nor frame a childish blessing with Thy hand
Towards that fiery spiral of exulting souls!

Go, Child of God, upon the singing desert,
Where, with eyes of flame,
The roaming lion keeps thy road from harm.

–Thomas Merton, from Thirty Poems (1944)

New Year's Eve

Bon jour, bon mois, bon an et bonne estraine
Good day, good month, good year and happy New Year
Vous doinst celuy qui tout tient en demaine,
Be given by He to whom all belongs,
Richesse, honnour, sainté, joye sans fin,
Riches, honour, health, boundless joy,
Bonne fame, belle dame, bon vin,
Good fame, beautiful lady, good wine,
Pour maintenir la créature saine.
To keep the creature in health.
Après vous doint qu’en joye on vous demaine
And then may He have joy bestowed upon you
Et lyesse tantost on vous ameine;
And you be given happiness soon
Ainsi pourrez avoir, soir et matin,
Thus may you have, night and morning,
Bon jour, bon mois, bon an et bonne estraine
Good day, good month, good year and happy New Year
Vous doinst celuy qui tout tient en demaine,
Be given by He to whom all belongs,
Richesse, honnour, sainté, joye sans fin.
Riches, honour, health, boundless joy.
Et puis vous doint esperance certaine
And then may he give you certain hope
Sans tristesse, sans pensee villaine;
Without sadness, without ugly thoughts;
Tous voz desirs acomplir de cueur fin.
that all your desires be achieved of pure heart
Sans contredit soyez en la parfin
Without doubt you will in perfection
Lassu logee en gloire souveraine.
Be received above in sovereign glory.