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Trabia Garden
You May Have Seen A Million Entries About This, But This One Has Pokémon.
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hope is all we have
Having now done an entire five paintings (six, actually, but I got a bit lazy at the end of the sixth and it needs some touching up before I can post it here), I am clearly a super-expert and absolutely qualified to give other people advice. If you've been thinking, Hey, this painting lark looks sort of fun, here's what I've learnt so far.


Painting Advice for the Absolute Beginner (from the Absolute Beginner)


Super painting tips from someone who definitely knows what she's talking about.Collapse )


I have no idea whether any of you actually have any use for these tips, but, er, here they are!
13th-Jan-2018 03:52 pm - The Skies Began To Fade.
hope is all we have
Today's painting is an attempt at some scenery from Horizon Zero Dawn, which is an astonishingly beautiful game. Light and water are hard, but it was fun to do something colourful, and the fading in the background worked a lot better than I was expecting.







You may recall my brother commented, on a previous painting, that it was possible to erase some of the lines to create a swastika. Remembering this, I did some hasty last-minute work on this to make the clouds look less like dicks and just ended up making them look more like dicks.
hope is all we have
I was thinking, 'Hmm, maybe I should get into a routine of doing a painting every Saturday,' and then I did a painting today because I didn't have the patience to wait until the weekend. help help I can't stop painting

Today's subject is Life Is Strange. To my credit, I did three entire paintings before trying to reproduce a videogame screenshot.









I tried to work a bit of blue into the sky and the sea, but there's absolutely no sign of it. I suspect I should have used the dark blue, rather than the light. Never mind.

Slightly concerned to realised that my sad little trees in this storm look much the same as my happy little trees in Bob Ross landscapes. I really need to step up my tree game.

I'm so confused by the fact that this is apparently a hobby of mine now! I've never done any form of visual art, unless you count 'editing Pokémon into Supernatural screenshots'. What other things do I not realise I'd love because I've never tried them? Show jumping? Boiler repair?
9th-Jan-2018 12:19 pm - Is There Nothing You Can Say?
hope is all we have
I'm watching a playthrough of the Life Is Strange prequel Before the Storm, rather than playing it myself; my housemate is reluctant to support a game that went behind the union's back during the voice actors' strike, and, although I am an unprincipled cad myself, I do care enough about my friends' principles not to buy something they're denying themselves and wave it in their face. I'm towards the end of the second episode, just after The Tempest.

(WAIT. Are they performing The Tempest because the original game was about a literal tempest? That's awful. There's so much stupid symbolism in these games and I love it.)

Rather to my sorrow, Before the Storm is great. If it had the decency to be bad, I wouldn't care that I can't play it! It's got the same distinctive style as the original Life Is Strange, the same warm colours and nostalgic tone, with dialogue that manages to feel a little more natural than the WE'RE HIP COOL TEENS of the original series.

Before the Storm has more of what Life Is Strange does best, i.e. intense, slightly unhealthy relationships between psychologically damaged teenage girls. It's interesting that Rachel, in episode one, is leading Chloe into trouble in much the same way Chloe will lead Max into trouble a couple of years later; does Chloe end up taking on some of Rachel's characteristics, either consciously or unconsciously?

Here is a tiny clip from the first episode that absolutely delighted me. Chloe, you're hopeless.

I also really loved the bathroom graffiti scene from episode two. CHLOE JUST HAS A LOT OF FEELINGS AND NO HEALTHY WAY TO EXPRESS THEM. She's such a wreck of a person. I feel I don't often get to see female characters being absolute human disasters in the way Chloe Price is, if that makes sense. She's selfish and thoughtless and obnoxious, she's eternally furious with the world, she hasn't made a good decision in her life. I sort of love her.

I laughed aloud at the big weird love story of Chloe and Rachel hijacking the performance of The Tempest. And Mr Keaton's reaction! But the small moments are also great: listening to music on the train together, Rachel pretending to be Chloe's therapist. This is something Life Is Strange does very well: small, intimate, beautiful moments in time. Chloe and Max walking along the railroad tracks, hand in hand. Lying in bed the morning after their illicit swim, trying to put off the moment of getting up.

(Chloe often thinks of Max in Before the Storm. She feels so abandoned. It's a little heartbreaking, and is even more so in the light of the ending I got for the original Life Is Strange.)

It's strange that I'm not missing the time travel of the original game at all. I suppose Life Is Strange was never really about the time travel.
6th-Jan-2018 05:59 pm - One Step Closer To The Edge.
hope is all we have
Painting effort number three: a scary cliff we visited in Wales! There's no Bob Ross original for comparison here, of course, but I suppose I've got the original photograph. I haven't included captions, on the assumption that you can determine which is which.







This was my first attempt at painting without Bob Ross holding my hand, which was a little intimidating. Although Rei did try to help by doing her best Bob Ross impression.

(Rei doesn't know who Bob Ross is. Her best Bob Ross impression sounds like a cross between Jeremy Clarkson and David Attenborough. 'Remember, it's your Wales; you can add in as many happy little whales as you like. That's some painting advice from me, Bob Ross.')

The cliff basically ended up looking like a big two-dimensional blob, and I desperately added lines until it looked slightly more clifflike. (Looking at it now, I think I should have used more grey towards the waterline as well. Never mind; I'm learning.) When I sent a picture of the painting to my family, my brother immediately pointed out that you could erase a few lines in one of the line clusters to create a swastika. Thanks, Fred.
and they returned home
I went to Wales with friends to see in the new year!


Adventures in Wales!Collapse )


We all went down with norovirus on New Year's Day (I'm still recovering), but it was still really good to have a holiday.
28th-Dec-2017 11:50 am - Pick You Up Right Off The Ground.
hope is all we have
Thank you so much for your kind responses to my Christmas Eve post! They meant a lot to me. I had a very pleasant Christmas with my family. It was a much-needed break, I think.

We hired a catsitter to look after Mabel and Dipper over Christmas, and we left her a Christmas card. She sent a text to Rei to say, 'Thank you for the card and the chocolates.'

We had not bought her chocolates.

We had accidentally left the card on our own household box of Quality Street.

Our poor catsitter probably went 'oh, they bought me chocolates, how nice' and then opened it and went '...oh, they bought me chocolates and then... ate half of them and left the wrappers, not even making an effort to hide their crime.'


I received paints for Christmas, so I made a second effort to paint along with a Bob Ross video! (The video in question is here, if you want to have a go.) Somehow it managed to look even less like the original than my first, although I have at least now grasped that you can dilute acrylics and don't just have to use them neat.




Bob Ross's original, 'The Footbridge'.




You may have noticed I've somehow failed to include the footbridge, so I suppose this is just called 'The'.


I've also received, from my brother, the most frustrating jigsaw puzzle I've seen in my life.




I burst out laughing when I unwrapped it. I have not made a great deal of progress. It's even more annoying than it looks.

('But I thought you liked Frozen,' Fred said, all innocence, in response to my look.)
24th-Dec-2017 11:42 am - Stuck In My Head Again.
hope is all we have
This year's been a bit of a psychological struggle. I miss being enthusiastic about things! But there's still love and kindness in the world, and I'm grateful for all of you.

(I don't want to go into the state of my head in any great detail, but, to clarify any worries, I'm not in danger and the people I love are okay. I'm just having a lengthy existential crisis that's making it hard to concentrate on anything. I've started exercising, which is supposed to be good for your mental state (please imagine this in the most disgusted tone possible: exercising. I can't believe it's come to this), and I'll look into talking to a professional if things don't get any better.

Part of it might just be a product of being twenty-nine. I remember being prone to existential crises at nineteen as well. It wasn't a real age; it was just 'almost twenty'! Just a non-stop year of 'am I really about to turn twenty?' So maybe I'll calm down once I actually hit my thirties.)

I try to keep this journal an upbeat place most of the time and not to get too personal, so I'm a little nervous about posting this, but I thought I should probably be honest. I haven't been at my best, but I'm trying to look after myself, and I'm looking forward to spending Christmas with my wonderful, ridiculous family.

More importantly: it's Christmas Eve, and you know what that means!




(I originally considered putting Ardyn in Christmas garb for my annual Christmas manip. Turns out there's already official art of that.)

Have a wonderful Christmas, if you're celebrating it! If you're celebrating something else, have a wonderful celebration; if you're not celebrating anything, I generally wish for good things for you. Spend time with people you love; do something creative. I love you all.
hope is all we have
On Saturday, I attended a party at someone's house. There were some guests I knew, many I didn't; everyone was around the kitchen area. At one point I had to go up to the bathroom to change my sanitary towel, and then I realised there was no bin in the bathroom.

Who doesn't have a bin in their bathroom?

So I had to wrap up my used sanitary towel, put it in my bag and return to the party.

There was a bin in the kitchen. I eyed it longingly. But it was surrounded by PARTY GUESTS I DIDN'T KNOW, and I found myself reluctant to go up and throw a sanitary towel into the kitchen bin in front of a load of strangers. So I just stood there, paralysed by indecision, with this stupid thing still in my shoulder bag.

This may be the most Peep Show thing that has ever happened to me.

('What happened?' a friend of mine asked me, because it was apparently evident from my expression the moment I re-entered the party that all was not well. They were very amused by my hushed, desperate answer.)

In the end, I cunningly concealed it within a paper plate and threw that away. Nobody suspected a thing.


The Wind Singer, I discovered on my reread, is the origin of a scene that's haunted me since childhood. An infinite number of murderous teenagers are marching along, singing a cheerful song about killing. They want to murder people, but all of civilisation is on the other side of an enormous chasm. There is no bridge across the chasm. Their strategy for crossing is this: they march over the edge, and they fall, and they die, and eventually enough corpses will pile up at the bottom of the gorge for the next fallers to land safely on the corpse pile and walk across.

Did I read anything as a child that wasn't horrifying? I feel that this book and Animorphs probably had a big influence on my alarming taste in fiction.

The Wind Singer also gave me unhealthily codependent sibling protagonists long before I got into Supernatural. 'My brother's been brainwashed into being one of the murderous teenagers! I could run, but I think I'd prefer to just let him murder me.'


I played a little more Transistor at last! I've forgiven Red's sword for secretly being a person trapped in a sword and I'm 'shipping him with Red again. Her sword admires her so much! It's really charming!

There's a lot of really nice detail in this game. And the visuals are so stylish. And the music is great.

I think my favourite part is when the sword is in a bad way, and Red can't speak to reassure him, so instead she finds a computer terminal and types messages to him.
13th-Dec-2017 02:51 pm - Try To Catch Up.
hope is all we have
I've borrowed my housemate's copy of Pokémon Sun! I haven't played a Pokémon game since White, so I'm excited about this. The last time I played Pokémon, moving diagonally was still an impossible dream.

EVERYTHING'S 3D. IT'S A POKÉMON GAME AND EVERYTHING'S IN THREE DIMENSIONS AND IT'S WEIRD. THERE ARE FULLY ANIMATED CUTSCENES.


Talking about the Pokémon I've obtained.Collapse )


I have already run into a problem with my self-imposed 'no Pokémon I'm already familiar with in my team' rule, and that problem is that I love my Slowpoke. Slowpoke is a very good Pokémon indeed and I've never raised one before. I don't know if I'm strong enough to resist.
8th-Dec-2017 11:00 pm - I Looked For A Sign.
hope is all we have
A friend of mine expressed confusion over the acronym TFW today, which got me thinking about Internet acronyms and how intuitive they are. This is something that really interests me. TBH ('to be honest') is easy; I suspect that most people manage to work that out from seeing it a couple of times in context. TFW is impossible unless you've already seen the phrase 'that feel when' in the wild. I'm still not sure whether SMH is supposed to be 'shaking my head' or 'so much hate'; either works in the contexts in which it's used. In the case of GPOY, you can't really intuit either what it stands for ('gratuitous picture of yourself') or what the phrase it stands for actually means (usually 'this isn't actually a picture of me and may not even be a picture, but in some way it reminds me of myself (not of you, despite the "yourself" in the acronym)').

When I first started using the Internet, around the turn of the millennium, the only mysterious acronyms I remember encountering are LOL (and its variants), WTF and, unfortunately, A/S/L (not to be confused with American Sign Language). I'm pretty sure I had to look up or be told what LOL meant; I wonder whether I'd have been able to intuit it if I'd been older. Might have been tough, because it's often used on its own, whereas things like TBH get more context from the sentences they're in.

I didn't even realise WTF was an acronym. I thought it was just a confused noise. I pronounced it 'wuhtuf'.

Anyway, doing a bit of investigation into the history of online acronyms, I came across this online newsletter from 1989, which includes (on page 11) a list of emoticons and acronyms apparently in use at the time. Some of these acronyms, like BTW and LOL, are very familiar! Some, like OLM ('On Line Message') and H ('Huh?'), are less so.

It particularly strikes me that :O apparently means 'shout/yawn' and they've gone with the extremely ineffective 8) to represent surprise. For some reason there are also a lot of cup/mug/glass representations I've never seen in use; had they died out by the time I started using the Internet, or were they just not used in the largely Pokémon-related circles I moved in?

Come to think of it, I can't actually remember when I started seeing smilies on the Internet. Were they widespread when I first got online, or were they confined to certain communities? Oh, wait, people were using ^_^! That's right: I saw ^_^ a lot in my early days on the Internet, and :) only came along later. Or at least it did from my perspective, because apparently it was being used in 1989.

^_^ is from Japan, to my knowledge (it might just be Japanese-influenced), so it makes sense that I saw it a lot in my early fandoms (Pokémon and Final Fantasy). But I seem to recall seeing it in Lord of the Rings fandom as well. Was it big in fandom in general, and only later displaced by sideways smilies? I feel I saw a similar move away from Japanese influences in the terminology shift from 'shounen-ai'/'yaoi' to 'slash', but it's entirely possible that shift never happened; maybe it's an illusion that I only saw because I started getting into more UK/US fandoms.

Going back to the 1989 newsletter, I enjoyed 'For some reason, the ICONS in a past Fido Newsletter, were not the icons I have seen in use the past several years!!! Where did the nose come from?' Apparently the noseless/nosed smiley debate is almost as old as I am!


Entirely unrelatedly, I recently saw a dreamcatcher and had a sudden flashback to my childhood. I had a dreamcatcher in my room, and people who slept in there complained of bad dreams, so my mum concluded the dreamcatcher was evil and she set fire to it, stamped on it and threw it in the Thames.
NOOOOOOOOO
I've been watching an inexperienced gamer play Heavy Rain, and it's one of the funniest things I've seen in my life. Everything's so needlessly complicated! Ethan constantly fails at simple tasks like sitting down, opening the fridge or pushing his kid on the swing. The actual story is distressing stuff (it's a crime thriller about a murderer who targets children), but it's a sort of magical experience when the characters muddling through it don't have the basic competence to take a sip of orange juice.

I think my favourite part may be the attempt to tie someone else's necktie.

I also enjoy how distressed the player is when Ethan takes a shower and then puts the same pair of pants he slept in back on.

On a note that isn't 'this very serious thriller is absolutely hilarious': the way button prompts get shaky when the character you're controlling is panicking is a pretty neat touch.


The Wind Singer by William Nicholson was one of my favourite books when I was a child, and I've vaguely intended to reread it for... a very long time. I suppose on some level I've been going 'oh, I've read it so many times there's no point in rereading it, surely,' but by this point it must have been well over a decade since I last picked it up, and I think the time to reread it has come at last.

I was a little afraid it wouldn't hold up, but I felt my love for this book surging back almost immediately. There's a strange beauty in the straightforwardness and simplicity of the writing style, and I love the 'you don't have to be the very best; you don't have to compare yourself constantly to other people; you can love the people who are important to you, and that's enough, that's a worthwhile existence in itself' message of it.

The Hath family are a delight; the characters are so well-drawn, and they're all held together by their fierce love for each other. It never occurred to me before, but maybe a part of my love for family dynamics in fiction stems from this book.

I've always remembered how magnificently passive-aggressive Ira is towards anyone who harms her family. I think my favourite instance might be where two officials are waiting in her house for her daughter's return, so they can arrest her, and Ira asks whether they'd like a drink while they're waiting. Then she just leaves them for ages to get thirstier and more impatient, and on her return they go 'where's our drink?' and she acts very surprised. No, you misunderstood; she never offered you a drink. She asked you whether you'd like a drink. She was just making conversation.
25th-Nov-2017 10:14 am - Searching For A Message.
hope is all we have
I'm not sure how far I'm going to get with this - I've been weirdly struggling to get engaged with any fiction recently - but I've started up a replay of Final Fantasy X.

Interesting that you meet all the party members within the first two or three hours, even though Auron and Rikku (the first two you meet, other than Tidus) don't actually join the party until several hours later. I feel that's unusual for a Final Fantasy game; there's usually someone you don't meet until you're a good few hours in (Strago and Relm, Cid Highwind, Irvine, Eiko, Fang...). In XV, of course, you meet all the party members immediately, but XV's party is unusually small. I suppose you've met the whole XII cast before long.

I still remember how affronted I was when Irvine joined the party in VIII, my first Final Fantasy game. You're too late, Irvine! I'm already invested in everyone else; I've got no room for you! You can't just barge in here and be one of us! (Sorry, Irvine.)

There's a perfectly good route to Besaid village over land, but Wakka instead insists on going in the direction that means he gets to shove Tidus off a cliff into a lake.

Wakka warms very quickly to Tidus and is very physical with him. I wonder whether there's much Tidus/Wakka. There's a lot to work against it, though: they don't have a frequently-'shipped dynamic, I don't think Wakka's an especially popular character, Tidus is divisive, Tidus/Yuna is popular, Tidus explicitly reminds Wakka of his brother.

The scene where Sin obliterates Kilika is very beautifully lit and absolutely horrific. It's striking that it has no music at all, too. There's also no music when you disembark at the village's ruins. (It feels like practically every settlement you visit in Final Fantasy X is coastal! Stop building coastal villages when you're plagued by a creature that can cause tidal waves, Spira!)


It took me a while to work up the courage to watch Linkin Park's Carpool Karaoke episode with Ken Jeong, filmed a week before Chester's death and aired (with his family's permission) a couple of months afterwards, but I'm glad I did at last! Ken just relentlessly bullies Mike and somehow it's magical.

My favourite parts:


- One minute in: 'This is a weird way to meet somebody. We went straight to "wet dream". Within, like - it was five seconds to "wet dream".'

- Chester being the friendliest guy and so willing to play along with everything. Requesting to be taught the stupid 'hotdogs and ketchup' dance!

- Mike's look of sheer alarm when he's unexpectedly called upon and realises he might be expected to do a heavy metal scream (and his uncertain attempt to 'whisper-scream' afterwards).

- Mike and Ken's incredible, moving rendition of 'I Don't Want to Miss a Thing'.

- ALL I WANT TO DO IS BE MORE LIKE ME AND BE LESS LIKE MIKE


I love how delighted Chester is by all the picking on Mike. He just seems to be having a really good time. I'm glad.
23rd-Nov-2017 06:35 pm - As The Fire Flashes In Her Eye.
hope is all we have
List ten ladies you love, from ten different fandoms.

I was given this challenge on the secret Tumblr where I do nothing but cry about Linkin Park, and I thought I'd reproduce the list here! I tried very hard not to solely list videogame characters. As this was written for my Tumblr, the audience of which largely consists of Linkin Park fans who know very little about my fiction preferences, it might repeat a couple of things I've already said on here.

The challenge was just to list them. I probably didn't then have to write a billion words. But I am, it turns out, incapable of not writing a billion words.

(If anyone reading this wants to take on this challenge, I'd be interested to see your list!)


- Ellie, from The Last of Us. What a great character. The Last of Us doesn’t work if it’s only a story about Joel learning to love Ellie; it has to be a story about you learning to love Ellie as well, and I absolutely do love Ellie, because Ellie is great. She’s not fearless; she’s afraid, but she’s prepared to do what has to be done in spite of that fear. She’s been through a lot, but she’s not entirely jaded; she’s still capable of wonder, she can still appreciate beauty. She’s slow to trust without being incapable of trusting. She’s got a weakness for terrible puns. She’s such a bright spot when you’re trudging through the apocalypse. I was delighted when I caught her trying to keep her balance along the edge of a kerb.

- Yuna, from Final Fantasy X: the story of a selfless young woman’s journey to discover that, hey, sometimes it’s okay to be selfish. She’s constantly setting her own life and her own desires aside for the sake of others, and I love it when she finally plants her feet and goes, no, this system is terrible, I’m going to fight it for myself and the people I care about. She’s not physically strong, she can seem a bit of a pushover at first glance, but she’s got the most incredible strength of character.

- Rachel, from Animorphs. As a kid in the nineties, I was so starved for female characters who actually got to do things that I remember getting really excited about how powerful the queen was in chess. And then along came Rachel. She was unlike me in pretty much every respect, but she still made a big impact. Here was this gorgeous blonde girl, she was athletic, she was interested in fashion, she was everything I’d been told was ‘feminine’, she was INCREDIBLY BLOODTHIRSTY and absolutely thrived when she was thrown into a horrible war against mind-controlling aliens. I was more of a Cassie myself, but I was absolutely awed by Rachel.

- Korra, from The Legend of Korra. I prefer Avatar: The Last Airbender to The Legend of Korra by quite a long way, but I absolutely adore Korra as a character: this hot-headed, proud, fundamentally good-hearted young woman with an uncontrollable drive to make terrible decisions.

- Elena Fisher, from Uncharted. Bold, smart, adventurous, sharp-tongued. My favourite moment in the entire Uncharted series is the part where you’re playing Crash Bandicoot and Elena is just making fun of you the entire time. I would have been perfectly happy if Uncharted 4 had been nothing but that.

- Teresa Lisbon, from The Mentalist. Listing Elena’s good qualities reminded me of how much I loved Lisbon! They’ve got a fair amount in common, although Lisbon’s a little more cautious. One of my favourite moments is where Jane needs the charges against a suspect dropped, and eventually he admits it to Lisbon - 'I couldn’t tell you earlier, I didn’t want to put you in danger' - and Lisbon just goes, 'You’re an idiot. Let’s go,' and gets the charges dropped by flat-out punching the suspect in the face in front of his lawyer.

- Utena Tenjou, from Revolutionary Girl Utena. I need to rewatch this; it’s been too long! My fondness for Utena comes from the same place as my fondness for Korra: I’ve got a real weakness for bold, good-hearted, slightly cocky characters who make awful, awful decisions.

- Mahiru Koizumi, from Danganronpa 2. In a cast of over-the-top characters, she felt very real and helped to keep things grounded. I loved that she always stood up to Kuzuryuu if she felt he was trying to bully the others, too; she absolutely refused to be intimidated. It’s interesting to me that she buys very strongly into traditional gender roles without entirely fitting into them herself; she’s outspoken in a way that doesn’t strike me as 'traditionally feminine'. I also (inevitably) enjoy the fact that she’s privately insecure and haunted by a terrible decision she made in her past.

- Mary Read, from Assassin’s Creed: Black Flag. I love that she just mocks Edward non-stop; I love that she appears to be in the habit of casually patting him on the arse before he even knows she’s a woman; I love the cutscene after he learns her true identity, where her motions have the subtext 'ooh, look at how close to you I’m getting! am I going to kiss you? am I??? NOPE AHAHAHA PSYCH.' The moment where she and Anne Bonny are arrested for piracy and go 'lol, you can’t execute us, we’re both pregnant' is absolutely magical (and historically accurate!).

- Donna Noble, from Doctor Who. Brave and kind and spirited and hilarious, and unhesitatingly prepared to stand up to the Doctor. She could so easily have been a shallow, exaggerated comic character, but she turned out to be something wonderful. She made me care about Doctor Who again when I’d fallen out of love with it.
18th-Nov-2017 10:46 am - I Chase The Sun.
hope is all we have
I've been attempting some creative endeavours outside my comfort zone recently!

About a week ago, I met up with some friends for a Bob Ross painting party; we all watched a Bob Ross video and tried to paint along with him. I'd recommend it! It was a lot of fun, and it was really interesting to see how different the results were when we were all trying to reproduce the same painting. Bob Ross's technique is also simple enough for it to be possible to produce something okay-looking even if you don't know the first thing about painting, i.e. if you're me.

Here's the Bob Ross painting we were trying to recreate:




Ah, what a lovely autumnal sunset scene.


And here's my effort:




BLIGHTED APOCALYPTIC HELLSCAPE, NOTHING GREEN HAS GROWN ON THIS SOIL IN A DECADE.


I'm pleased with my apocalyptic hellscape, given my level of painting expertise when Bob Ross isn't holding my hand, but it's definitely more apocalyptic than I intended.

(One of my friends is really good at painting. It was very annoying. Without her, we'd have been able to go, 'Well, obviously this didn't turn out quite right because we're using acrylics instead of oils.' But no; she produced a beautiful masterpiece that left us with no excuses.)

I've also been creating some simple little piano melodies, but I don't have any good recording equipment - I just have my phone, which records in low quality and saves sound in weird, fiddly, difficult-to-share formats - so please just imagine an incredible musical masterpiece, and let's say I composed that.

I know some of you have been having a hard time recently, and playing music (not necessarily composing, but playing) is something I find really helps when I'm struggling psychologically. If you play an instrument but have been neglecting it for a while, it might be worth picking it up again; if you don't play an instrument but can obtain or have access to one, learning to play might be a good project. My ukulele languished untouched in my room for about five years, but I picked it up in a dark patch a few months ago, and it was a great decision!

(And then I took it along to a couple of gatherings of Linkin Park fans, and that decision was even better. Linkin Park songs are not, on the whole, designed for the ukulele, but that didn't keep me from screaming 'SO INSECUUUUUURE' with strangers to ukulele accompaniment. One of the gatherings was outside the US Embassy, next to the Eisenhower statue, so we probably looked like some sort of strange Eisenhower cult to passers-by.)
9th-Nov-2017 12:14 pm - Bring You Right Back Home.
hope is all we have
I recently watched Pokémon the Movie: I Choose You!, the new Pokémon film. An enjoyable experience, but an odd one. It's a lot like the dream you might have if you fell asleep halfway through marathoning early Pokémon episodes and End of Evangelion came on. There was one bit where Ash slipped briefly into our Pokémonless world, and I was rather expecting this to be an important plot point, but there was just... no follow-up, beyond someone going 'you forgot that Pokémon existed? That must have been the worst dream ever!' (DON'T RUB IT IN.)

Of course, there's now a part of me that sort of wants to explore this possibly-a-dream-sequence in fanfiction. Characters existing in multiple realities simultaneously and being unable to tell what's real is my favourite thing. (Of the twenty fics I've posted this year, there's an element of 'I don't know what's real' in eight of them. It's a theme that shows up in about a third of the fics on my AO3 account. I knew there were patterns in my writing, but I hadn't realised they were quite this bad!)

I cried a few times, but not as much as the small boy next to me, who was absolutely bawling into his mother's side during the 'Bye Bye Butterfree' bit. I'm glad that story has been retold to traumatise a new generation.

My main complaint: Team Rocket were wasted on this film! You could have stripped them out entirely and it would have made no difference whatsoever. They never even met Ash. What poor use of great characters.

I'm also a little put out that this film retold Ash's early journey without Misty and Brock. You can't do that!

On the plus side, the relationship between Ash and Pikachu is very, very cute.


I somehow found myself reading the Wikipedia article on Patrick Jane recently, and the line 'When threatened or attacked, his first response is always to run away or hide behind his colleagues' made me smile so fondly. I'm deeply sad that I lost interest in The Mentalist towards the end, because I loved so much of it! It just slightly overstayed its welcome.

It also went 'hey, time to shake things up a bit: romance!' when I wanted it to go 'hey, time to shake things up a bit: consequences! Actual exploration of how the main character has murdered multiple people and essentially made his colleagues accomplices!'

The problem with The Mentalist is that the show it thought it was and the show I thought it was weren't the same show. I was going, 'Wow, what a great horrifying psychological drama,' but it was secretly a light-hearted police procedural all along.

I still adore Jane as a character, even if the show he's from never entirely explored him to my satisfaction. He's just so interesting!

He also seems to be the root of my habit of taking one character and pairing them up with everyone simultaneously. Current tally of characters I've given this treatment in fanfiction: Patrick Jane, Jeff Winger, Nagito Komaeda, Mike Munroe, Prompto Argentum, Alex from Oxenfree, Shuichi Saihara.

In... in writing that list, I caught myself thinking 'hey, I should pair all of these characters up with each other!' No. No, Riona, you shouldn't.


Possibly my new favourite Crazy Ex-Girlfriend song, although 'Unfortunately, I want to have sex with you' still stands as my favourite lyric: 'The End of the Movie'. This is great. (Possibly not to be watched if you're having an existential crisis.)
hope is all we have
I think this is the twentieth fic I've posted this year! I haven't produced anything long - it's all been between 1,000 and 5,000 words - but I'm still pleased with this level of productivity. I've actually had a few hundred words of this lying around for a year and a half; I'm slightly astonished that I finally got it finished. It was fun to go back to writing Kidd. Kidd is the best.


Title: Below Decks
Fandom: Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag
Rating: light R
Pairing: Edward Kenway/James Kidd
Wordcount: 1,300
Summary: Edward Kenway has never been shy about going after what he wants, even if what he wants happens to be a man. He's in for a surprise.


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hope is all we have
Suddenly posting fanfiction for something I've never mentioned on this blog before feels a bit weird, but, er, here's something for Doki Doki Literature Club!, which is not as cute as it sounds.


Title: Memory Error
Fandom: Doki Doki Literature Club!
Rating: light R
Wordcount: 1,700
Summary: He just wanted to join a club and meet some cute girls. What's wrong with his life? What's wrong with his head?
Warnings: This is weird and messed up and contains major spoilers for Doki Doki Literature Club!


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hope is all we have
A few days ago, the surviving members of Linkin Park performed a three-hour concert in honour of Chester Bennington, accompanied by a huge number of guests. The official stream is available over here.

I wasn't sure what my entry on this was going to be. It could have been about the catharsis, or about Chester's unequalled voice. It could have been speculation on the future of the band. It could have been about the pain of hearing 'Looking for an Answer', the song Mike wrote eight days after Chester's death, which expresses a guilt I've known myself and would never wish on anyone.

I wasn't expecting it to be 'literally two thousand words assessing the quantity and quality of hugs the members of Linkin Park received during the concert, with timestamps', but, on reflection, this was probably entirely predictable.

Look, I'm just really glad that they got so many hugs.


HUGS LINKIN PARK MEMBERS RECEIVE DURING THE 'LINKIN PARK & FRIENDS CELEBRATE LIFE IN HONOUR OF CHESTER BENNINGTON' TRIBUTE CONCERT

(edited to correct timestamps after the video was updated on the 16th November, because of course I couldn't just leave everyone without accurate hugging timestamps)


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Final hugging/arms-around-each-other count: approximately eighty. If you count the two 'everyone has their arms around each other' moments five times each (once for each band member), rather than counting them as single instances, it's closer to ninety.

It turns out that, if you diligently record all the hugs exchanged in a video, the effect is slightly creepy. This list looks a bit like the notes of a serial killer, only instead of wanting to murder people I just want them to get a million hugs.

(I cannot guarantee that I've captured every moment of friendly physical contact here. I didn't watch the entire thing through a second time to compile this list; I mainly looked at moments guests arrived and left, which seemed to have the best hugging odds. But I can say with reasonable confidence that this is the most thorough compilation of hugs at the 'Celebrate Life' concert currently in existence.)
hope is all we have
I still can't believe the Danganronpa V3 demo made me 'ship Kaede with two characters she never canonically meets. This isn't fair at all.

(The demo goes 'oh, hey, Kaede, you're sharing a room with Naegi and Hinata' and THE ROOM ONLY HAS ONE BED, because obviously Naegi and Hinata aren't actually characters in the final game and they're not going to add extra beds into Kaede's room just for the demo. I had to write self-indulgent awkward bedsharing fic. It's the law.)

This fic refers to Kaede by surname, because it was either 'Naegi, Hinata and Akamatsu' or 'Makoto, Hajime and Kaede', and I'm more attached to Naegi and Hinata's surnames than I am to Kaede's first name.


Title: Sleep Tight
Fandom: er, the Danganronpa V3 demo, I suppose
Rating: PG
Pairings: slight V-shaped Naegi/Kaede/Hinata
Wordcount: 2,200
Summary: Akamatsu, Hinata and Naegi awkwardly share a room, and then awkwardly share a bed. That's the entire plot of this fic.


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