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Oct. 17th, 2010

30DoS.28: A pairing that you will never understand? Sokka/Azula

Forgot to post this last night...

Day 28 - A pairing that you will never understand? Sokka/Azula

That's really the only scene Sokka and Azula have, where he's taking a chance when her firebending is turned off to interrogate her about what she did with his girlfriend, and she's provoking him to stall so he and his friends <em>don't</em> chase down her father. )

Sep. 28th, 2010


Forgot that I did the art for this Avatar fic, which was a missing scene about Mai and Ty Lee in prison. (Genfic.)

30DoS.19: A pairing you've rooted for since the beginning? Sokka/Suki

Day 19 - A pairing you've rooted for since the beginning? Sokka/Suki
Well, it's not something I could truly root for since the beginning beginning since Suki isn't in the first episode, but I liked it when Suki showed up in Season 1, and was pleased as punch when she showed up again in Seasons 2 and 3.

Normally, I don't like the 'sexist is shown his errors by talented female', mostly because it rings false.  )

Sep. 26th, 2010

30DoS.17: A pairing you thought would never work out, but did? Zuko/Mai

Day 17 - A pairing you thought would never work out, but did? Zuko/Mai

Or, rather, a pairing I thought could be badly executed so many ways during the show, but for which I was mostly satisfied with how it worked out.

Besides maybe Aang, Zuko went through the most character development throughout the series*. Hence my skepticism about romance, since it can be tricky enough to balance Zuko's changes within himself as well as extend this out to his this changes his relationships with other people.

Zuko is pretty much designated as the Ambiguous Antagonist from... well, at least as soon as we get his backstory from Iroh.  )

Apr. 3rd, 2010

Fanfiction Musing

Teasing out an AU 'verse idea for Avatar: the Last Airbender. Gonna try to explain things so that non-AtLA fans can offer opinions as well, but there will be spoilers.

Season 2 Season Finale/Season 3 Mid-season Arc Spoilers )

So I guess that would probably work better. I don't know why I'm planning this, considering the state of my fanfic to-do list, but hey.

Jun. 11th, 2009


So, I got the Spirit of the Century RPG book, which uses the FATE system. (Interesting, and I might do a post on things like it that get away from some of the 'things we think we know about tabletop games'). Anyway, SotC models 'pulp' action stories -- weird science, a bit of mysticism, and a lot of action. One thing of note is that it has three combat skills -- Fists (Unarmed), (Melee/Thrown) Weapons and Guns (also used for bows and other ranged weapons). The game writer notes that all three have their advantages -- fists can't be taken away, melee weapons can be thrown or have extended reach, and guns have great range. They also have their disadvantages -- fists are limited range, guns and weapons can be taken away, and Guns cannot be used as a defensive skill. But things like damage are set by the skill roles, not by the weapon. Which works for settings where swords really do beat guns if you are awesome enough. (There are optional rules online for making Guns more deadly. You can also take stunts to make a character more of a bad-ass martial artist/brawler/weaponsmaster/gun bunny/etc. or to give them Future!Tech or a Legendary weapon or whatever, but again, those are character-specific things)

Which got me thinking about adapting SotC to handle a higher-magic setting than the default one -- Evil Hat has the rights to the Dresden Files RPG, and there are fanmade magic systems. Which got me thinking about the fantasy worlds I favor, like Avatar or Slayers, where the non-magic cast are just as bad-ass as the magic cast. Some of it in Slayers is that Gourry carried a magic sword, but against 'normal' opponents, he didn't especially need it -- the magic mostly seems to counter creatures not harmed by physical weaponry. (TRY did a bad job of handling this, but Revolution showed this well. Even when Gourry is captured, and his normal sword is removed, it took him only one 'grab for sword he didn't have' to get into 'defend Lina though unarmed stuff' and only ran into problems when a deadly swordswoman and magic-using assassin showed up. For that matter, he was able to hold his own in a swordfight against a foe with superior armor with an improvised weapon Lina made for him out of stone.) And in Avatar, characters like Mai, Ty Lee, Sokka and Suki (or, for that matter, Pian Dao) are all shown to lend their own skills to fights and hold their own against normal opponents, even benders.)

It's not quite about power, unless you consider different types of power. Pretty much, the old Justice League debate. Characters like Superman has a lot of innate superpowers. Batman has a lot of resources and contacts, and is at the high end of human ability in both smarts and brawn -- all of it is 'mundane', just exceptional -- so he can use planning plus 'stuff' to hold his own in an organization of Supers. One doesn't feel like Batman is a token member of any group of Supers he's in, or exists only to fund the group -- he gets his chances to be awesome, even if he can't punch through safes or fly.

I guess it's a fondness for a world where magic is Cool, but there are many ways to be Cool. You can be an amazing swordsman, or a deadly knife-thrower, or a martial artist able to disable with a single blow.

(For that matter, one of the Dresden File RPG development blog posts points out that Murphy might be a normal mortal, but she's got her own resources and skills that make her just as important to the plot as, say, Michael (a holy knight) or Molly (an apprentice wizard) or Thomas (an incubus) or the Alphas (weres).)

Dec. 11th, 2008

UO, can I join you in the 'I am pessemistic about the new installment'? Corner

When Season 2 of Avatar was coming out, I found out that the original voice actor for Uncle Iroh had passed away. People linked his obituary, and I learned something about filming.

Mako Iwamatsu voiced Uncle Iroh, but that was just one role of many. He arrived in the USA post World War II and had his first role in acting in 1959. Back then, the roles for Asian actors were pretty limited (much moreso than now) and pretty heavily stereotyped. Mako was one of the people who both was able to do amazing things with what he had and to organize other Asian-American actors to promote better parts than 'stereotypical Chinese lackey' and 'enemy WWII soldier'. Later in his life, he did voice acting, including the role of Uncle Iroh. It was very interesting to find out this bit of movie history, just because it happened that he had done a role in something I had watched.

(For that matter, Iroh was the first character to catch my eye in Avatar, followed by Sokka. Zuko was all 'I am either going to hate you or love you', Aang took a bit to warm up to, and I kept watching Katara for signs she'd turn into The Chick (tvtropes link). Had I known that the second season was actually going to give us more than one major female character, I might have been less suspicious.)

One of the other things I enjoyed about Avatar was the fact it was a non-Western fantasy world, and the cultural aspects actually were more than skin deep. Normally, it seems like I have to go to anime (where you get romantic versions of medieval Japan or China as much as you get Fantasyland) for this.

Anyway, the reason I mention this is because casting was leaked for the live-action version of Avatar. I had a pretty low bar set: try to get people of Asian descent for Aang, Zuko and Iroh, and get dark-skinned actors for Sokka and Katara. (Goodness knows that Hollywood seems to have an issue with "all people who aren't African, Caucasian, or East Asian are Interchangeable 'Ethnic' People". ) It is good to see that Hollywood is quite capable of smacking their heads into the bar, no matter how low I set it.

Half of fandom already has a problem with the fact Sokka and Katara have darker skin -- seriously, fanartists. We don't need to know that the pros are doing it too.
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Oct. 6th, 2008

Pre-NaNo moritorium

So, as part of my NaNo prep, I've sworn off SF for the month of October, so that I don't get too much genre leakage as I write. Still reading, just trying not to read anything that will subconsciously take up residence in my brain and come out later. I'm already worried that reading Accelerando fudged things up.

Also, I need a beta reader for a piece of Avatar: the Last Airbender fanfic I wrote. It's Aang-centric and has Katara/Aang, but that's not the focus of the plot.

Jul. 22nd, 2008

Long Essay is long

SO, I just had this realization, brought to you by reading the comments of Mem's rant on why she loves Aang from Avatar and hates Avatar fandom.

Aang from Avatar is so Luke Skywalker, and this actually makes the Star Wars prequels make sense. (Also, dead Joseph Campbell can just shut up)

It's late, and this is probably full of crack )

Jul. 20th, 2008

Well, I've finally finished Avatar.

I have no coherent comments, so you'll have to do with squeeing. Just imagine one of Sokka's incoherent expressions of emotion.


So, yesterday someone in the Borders manga aisle asked me out of nowhere if it was true that Japanese was read backward -- her boyfriend/male friend/brother/some guy had just told her this and she didn't believe him. I also managed to ride on the same bus to the mall as two people I know. Yeah, Ithaca isn't that big, and I live on the downtown-mall bus route (at least on weekends -- the route changes on weekends to better swing by all the dorms instead of the part of campus with the classrooms. As a result, the bus stop where I live moves about a block.)

I had more thoughts, but I can't think of them. D&D continues to be fun. Dave is talking about running a one-shot of Paranoia, and I am temped to see how obnoxiously perky I can be while playing Paranoia.

I missed the Avatar finale tonight, but will catch it tomorrow.
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Jul. 18th, 2008

Avatar Episodes

So, when I was a middle schooler, I was a big Star Trek Deep Space Nine fan. And, well, one thing lead to another, and the series had to introduce a character, Ezri Dax, in the final season. So, the series writers had to concentrate on finishing up all the story arcs, and fleshing out Ezri's personality. It was... less than ideal.

Cut for great justice! And also spoilers )

I'll try to catch Ember Island Players in the morning. I'm playing D&D during the finale, but I have to rely on iTunes anyway (no cable) -- with luck, the finale will be in my inbox Sunday morning. If not... I shall have to resort to alternate methods. Arr.

Parents in Avatar

So, I saw a post on the Avatar community on LJ discussing Toph's parents. For those of you who haven't seen the show, Toph is a blind terrakinetic (earthbending) 12-year-old girl who can see using vibrations through the earth. We also first meet her competing in an earthbending tournament that is a slightly less staged version of pro wrestling, which she wins. (At least, until Aang shows up -- since he can hover, she can't see to hit him. This earned him the nickname of 'Twinkletoes' from her.)

Essay is essay-like )

Jul. 16th, 2008

So, I did it


In the interest of promoting the Avatar Fandom on IJ, I made a fanfest. All of you Avatar fanfic writers and fanartists, go over there and get ready to wait.
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Jul. 15th, 2008

Planets and Costumes

So, I'm trying to think of a Halloween costume. Here are my criteria, in order from strongest to least strong:

1. No wigs. Hats are okay, and makeup is okay, and I might even go for hair extensions, but I don't feel like putting down the money for a quality wig. (And I don't want to deal with a cheap wig -- someone else can tell the story about how Integra Hellsing suddenly developed short, dark hair because my cheap wig gave up the ghost around lunchtime of Day I of AnimeIowa)

2. Something I can wear to CJAS's cosplay contest. Which means anime or manga character. Maybe video game. Probably not anything from Western fandoms or webcomics.

3. Something that is recognizable as something* by the mundanes, in case I go out with my work friends, or decide to wear the costume to campus or something. By which, I mean, they might not recognize Kenshin Himura, but the sword and outfit look like 'samurai'.

* Something reasonably specific, not 'what the hell costume is that?'

Current Ideas )

Also, I found this blog post by Mike Brown that pretty much sums up the whole planet debate. It makes the point that scientists had two classifications: 'round & geologically varied (plus the gas giants, which are round and atmospherically varied with interesting interiors)' versus 'not round and & impact-dominated geology' and 'single objects in distinct orbits' versus 'clouds of similar objects in similar orbits'. Both are useful, and a scientist might deal with one more than the other (a geologist cares more about the first, to the point of even throwing in moons, while a dynamicist the second), and asking 'which is a better classification scheme' is silly, because they are both good and useful things. The IAU wasn't asked that -- they were asked, which classification scheme should be used as planet versus not-a-planet. Which is really a judgment call.

I was thinking the same thing, but this post explains it better. I was thinking about it because I noticed Dr. Bell (Martian geologist) has a 'Save Pluto' bumper sticker pinned to his bulletin board. In retaliation (I assume), Dr. Margot (asteroid and Kuiper Belt dynamicist) put up a 'Save Pallas' sign on his bulletin board. (Guess what both of them think of the IAU's definition? Go on, guess.)

We also have a new official dwarf planet -- Pluto, Ceres and Eris can welcome Makemake (mah-keh-mah-keh) to their numbers. First dwarf planet named after a non-Greco-Roman god, also! (Makemake was the creation deity of Rapa Nui (aka Easter Island) -- Makemake was discovered near Easter, and informally called Easterbunny.)

Jul. 14th, 2008

Creative Stuff (and a Medical Question)

So, it's been a twenty-four hour period since I burned my thumb on the baking tray. The burn hurts when I bend my thumb too far, which is why it is staying bandaged -- a bandaid wrapped around the joint of my thumb immobilizes just enough that I can't bend my thumb far enough to hurt. I did take a peak under the bandaid today and got a bit worried. So, I read that first degree burns are dry and red, second are red, can be wet, and blister, and third tend to be dry and black or white. Currently the burn on my thumb feels like normal skin, except I burned off some of the indentations. It also is red around the edges of the burn, but is a paler sort of pink in the center.

On the other hand, third-degree burns aren't supposed to hurt like hell -- I kept my hand under running water for ten minutes, because taking it out meant that my hand felt like someone had run it over. (And not just because cooling the tissue ASAP is generally a good idea to stop the damage)

Really, it's mostly that I don't remember enough about first aid. I need a refresher course -- the neext time the Fire Station near where I live offers first aid and CPR, I'll sign up.

Well, that and I am such a hypochondriac when it comes to injuries.

I wrote about 600 words this morning, and did some crocheting. I also promised myself I'd pick up some DevArt drawing memes and work on those for practice. And got more ideas for the Avatar AU fic idea that is building into another albatross. I'll wait until after this week to do anything on that -- no sense starting anything when the finale is so close. And maybe I should finish my Slayers albatross before that -- at least write the third part of the trilogy and get the first part ready for beta-ing. (Damn, am I going to start calling every novel-length work of fiction I write an albatross?)

Speaking of Avatar, I wonder how iTunes is going to handle giving me the episodes they owe me, since Nick is airing the last half-season over a week? Which... well, it's nice that I don't have to wait, but it's a bit unusual to say the least. (I guess they found the flaw in finite series -- once it's down to the wire, people don't want to pick it up, but they need to finish it or else they get lynch mobs.)

Not that I don't prefer finite series to the never-ending cartoons of my youth. (Or rather, I like having both the kind where all you need to know is the premise of the series, and the kind where it is telling one story in episodic form, and anything in the middle.)

Jun. 9th, 2008

Well, that was surreal...

Just spoke to two people from Cornell Housing (I think...). Apparently they were looking for a grad student who had been sleeping in the stairwell that leads to the roof, and wanted to speak to him and make sure he had somewhere to live and was generally okay. Since one of my officemates keeps weird hours (read: there was a time I had stayed around here until 2 AM playing Axis and Allies, and he was still in the office working when I left), they wanted to make sure it wasn't him.

How was my weekend? )

Well, back to work. These papers won't read themselves.

Dec. 2nd, 2007

If I was an Evil Overlord: Avatar Edition

So, it's time for everyone's favorite segment, What Would Becky Do (If She Was Firelord Ozai).

My Evil Plan is full of spoilers )

It scares me that I can do that.

So, I finally saw the new Avatar episodes, no thanks to iTunes.

My Thoughts )

God, I want to see the rest of the season so damn bad.

Nov. 4th, 2007

Writing (mostly)

Amusement is hearing one of the professors say 'I don't know what he was smoking' with regards to a non-Cornell astronomer's forecasts about what a future instrument could do in a decade.

(I'm not naming names here -- because EVERYONE in astronomy knows one another. Seriously.)

Spoilers for Avatar 3x08 -- the one that airs in the US next week )

More writing stuff )

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