Castleville Legends

Jul. 30th, 2015 05:29 pm
meganbmoore: (camelot 1967)
[personal profile] meganbmoore
I've barely looked at tumblr or twitter in the last week. Not deliberately, but because I've been disengaging the more critical parts of my brain and endlessly playing Castleville Legends. It's a clicky game along the lines of Hay Day, but (IMO) better.

You expand your territory, get production buildings and grow crops, etc. This time, though, it's a generic medieval-lite kingdom and part of the goal is to free various character's from their prisons. They then send you on quests for them and go exploring ruins for you and bring stuff back. Eventually, you also get tasked with finding window panes that tell their stories. So there's a plot and goal to all the building and expansions, you aren't just getting a bigger and bigger farm and selling things to people.

I mean, in Hay Day, you have:

RANDOM PERSON: Hi, I want to buy something.

In Castleville Legends, you have:

RAFAEL: I shall have a feast! A grand feast! Help me get tables and benches and cook food!
YOU: *makes stuff*
RAFAEL: GREAT! LET'S MAKE MORE STUFF!! SO YVETTE WILL LIKE ME!! And my great, strong woodsman arms!
YVETTE: Uhm...

(Yvette lives in a dragon's nest and, like, sits on rocks singing to dragons or something. I don't think Rafael has really thought things through.)

Marketplace things are absurdly expensive in terms of game currency, but it's also easier to earn game currency than other games I've tried, and despite it being a microtransactions game, it's easier to meet goals without giving them money than other games.

The visuals are generic, but nice, and it's the right combination of "brainless clicky game" and "light plot game" for me. My only problem with it so far is that you join alliances with other players so you can give each other knights and spells (free to the giver, who just clicks a tab and then a checkmark) and I'm having trouble finding an alliance with active people.

I'm also still playing Flight rising a lot, though the site has barely been working for me all week.

(no subject)

Jul. 30th, 2015 07:32 am
skygiants: (wife of bath)
[personal profile] skygiants
The other day I was trying to explain to [personal profile] innerbrat why I stayed up until 3 AM reading Rose Lerner's True Pretenses.


BECCA: OK, so the hero of this Regency novel is a JEWISH CON ARTIST, and he and the heroine bond over the fact that she's an upper-class woman who politely gets things done and there are a lot of ways in which being an upper-class woman who manages to get things done within the rules of propriety in Regency England is BASICALLY LIKE being a con artist! And the other thing they bond over is the fact that they both have younger brothers that they mostly raised from when they were small, and now both of their brothers want to go off and have their own lives, and their older siblings are not ready to let them go be adults, so they have shared sibling issues!

DEBI: I would say this book had 'Becca-bait' written all over it, except: is there cross-dressing?

BECCA: THAT IS THE ONLY THING MISSING.


Guys, I really, really liked True Pretenses. It starts off kind of Brothers Bloom, with Ash and his brother Rafe, con artists extraordinaire:

RAFE: I am ready to go straight and stop swindling people. :(
ASH: OK. OK, this is fine. We can handle this, this is fine, we will find you an attractive rich woman to marry and you will be set for life!

So Ash finds Lydia, an attractive and hypothetically rich woman who can't get into her money until she marries, and who really wants to get into her money so she can continue doing charity work and supporting the town's Tory party. Unfortunately, her younger brother is SO DONE with politics and has decided he's not giving any more money to the cause, so until she gets into her own cash she's kind of stuck.

ASH: Hello, we are respectable individuals! Allow me to smoothly matchmake --
RAFE: HI YO LYDIA my brother thinks we should have a marriage of convenience so you can buy me an officer's commission and then get into your money, is that cool?
ASH: *facepalm*
LYDIA: Ummm. Well, OK, I ... see the advantages of this, but ... actually I kind of think Ash is the more attractive one, soooo what if we did the marriage of convenience thing instead?
ASH: UM. I ... you're cute but ... that was not the plan, and -- don't know if want??

Then Ash and Rafe get into a huge fight about early-book spoilers )

RAFE: HI YO LYDIA by the way my brother and I are CON ARTISTS and we are also TOTALLY JEWISH and I am LEAVING and never want to see his face AGAIN!
LYDIA: ....well, I feel deeply uncomfortable about all this information. On the other hand: still really want into my money. Ash, I think we can make this work!
ASH: Aren't you worried about the whole con artist thing?
LYDIA: It's true, you could easily blackmail me by telling everyone in the world about my terrible con artist marriage of convenience. On the other hand, I could blackmail you by telling everyone you're Jewish and have also committed many crimes, so we're probably even as far as mutually assured destruction goes.

So Ash and Lydia do the marriage of convenience plot, and it's my favorite kind of marriage of convenience plot, where they're both REALLY ENJOYING THEMSELVES pretending to be googly-eyed over each other, and they're both in on the joke -- but also both aware that the other is not necessarily trustworthy, and definitely aware that the power dynamics have the potential to get really weird in both directions, given, again, the mutually assured destruction/potential blackmail factor, not to mention the huge class and cultural issues.

Let me repeat: I love the class and cultural issues! I love how much of the book is Ash and Lydia actually working at liking each other, around all the weird feelings raised by Ash's background and Lydia's enormous amounts of privilege; I love that Lydia wonders if her attraction to Ash is her creepily fetishizing DANGER AND POVERTY!!, if Ash's attraction to her is as much about her fortune and her lovely house at Netherfields as it is about her as a person. And both of these things are probably a little bit true.

I also am so into how the book throws itself behind the thesis that the accepted way for women to get things politically done in a system where they have many rules to obey and little direct power -- smiling, dropping hints, making people like you -- uses basically all the same skills as being a con artist. Lydia is really good at getting things done! SHE MAKES A WONDERFUL CON ARTIST.

I love the sibling issues -- how all four of them are trying to protect each other and end up stifling each other in different ways. I love that being Jewish means very different things to Ash and Rafe -- that Rafe takes ritual very seriously, and Ash not at all, and both of those things are valid. I love the whole thread about when and where they speak Yiddish; I love that they come from a poor Jewish community in London, that all of Ash's first girlfriends had Jewish names. I love that Ash is like "look, I don't tell people I'm Jewish because they probably say things that will make it hard for me to like them and I like liking people." I love that Lydia, who starts out with all the prejudices of her time, says several things, throughout the book, that make it harder for Ash and Rafe to like her.

And speaking of: wow, how much do I love that even though this takes place in the same town as Sweet Disorder, the protagonists from that book appear a grand total of once, and Phoebe and Lydia super don't like each other and probably never will? I am always so delighted when authors let sympathetic characters genuinely not get along for personality reasons! There's also a really good subplot about how Lydia and one of her friends approach friendship really differently, and have misunderstandings based on their different convictions about what friendship ought to be.

What a good romance novel. Or, more accurately: what a romance novel with 'FOR BECCA' written directly on it, probably in Hebrew letters.

icons: Chihayafuru

Jul. 28th, 2015 11:10 pm
meganbmoore: (chihayafuru)
[personal profile] meganbmoore
91 x Chihayafuru (eps 13-19)



here )

(no subject)

Jul. 27th, 2015 05:22 pm
skygiants: the Phantom of the Opera, reaching out (creeper of the opera)
[personal profile] skygiants
Twice recently [personal profile] rymenhild has brought joy into my life. The first time was when I found out that there was a Valdemar ficathon scheduled and emailed her about it. She explained to me that the Valdemar fandom had experienced a small explosion, and the ficathon was in fact the celebration of a victory won by an anonymous fail_fandomanon person, known only as Vanyel's Campaign Manager, who after much successful lobbying and quoting of Mercedes Lackey's loving depictions of Vanyel's tragedy at last saw Vanyel Ashkevron crowned the Woobiest Character Ever.

This is so appropriate that I don't really have words to express it. The nineties have returned -- the once and future nineties -- and Vanyel reigns enthroned, as always was destined, from the beginning to the end of time, below a banner that says "Saddest of all the medium-length* tales ever told."

*you know, the ones appropriate for a three-volume novel in mass-market paperback form

The second time was today when she told me that Frank Wildhorn -- my favorite-least-favorite composer of musical theater, author of such enduring works as The Scarlet Pimpernel: The Musical, Jekyll and Hyde: The Musical, and Death Note: The Musical -- just got married to takarazuka actress Yoka Wao, known for playing such roles as the Phantom in Phantom of the Opera, Heathcliff in Wuthering Heights, and Dracula in Wildhorn's own Dracula: The Musical. That last one isn't even a takarazuka show! They just cast her as Dracula anyway, I guess because she's just that good at incarnating seductive evil in a tuxedo.

When Andrew Lloyd Webber cast his girlfriend as Christine, that was creepy. This? This is AMAZING. Frank Wildhorn is a man who is living his dream, and I have never liked him better.

TeeVee

Jul. 26th, 2015 09:21 pm
meganbmoore: (hwajung: jeongmyung revealed)
[personal profile] meganbmoore
1. After the early meh-to-me episodes, I got into Wayward Pines once it got over "ZOMG! MYSTERY!" and got to the actual plot. And then the epilogue happened and taught me my lesson about considering trusting M. Night.

I will say, though, that there appears to have been a woman on staff whose main duty was to go around and thwap people upside the head with a rolled up newspaper when it looked like they were about to Do It Wrong with the women. Not that it was perfect, but there were a lot of times it looked like it was heading into terrible cliches, and then saved itself.

(Also, How dare you, show, make me think you're about to end with morally ambiguous frenemy secretly bisexual coleaders, and then take that from me. HDU.)

Uhm...if you watch it, just stop the second Ben wakes up in the last episode, and I guess you'll be OK?

2. Despite also technically ending on a cliffhanger, The Messengers had a much more satisfying and rewarding finale, even with the literal Deus Ex Machina. I'm still not thrilled with the SURPRISE! plot twist midway through and wish Zahir had had more development, but overall, I enjoyed the series, and wish it'd been given more of a chance.

3. Dark Matter and Killjoys pretty much had the same 5th episodes, though I think Killjoys did it better.

Over in Dark Matter, my liking for 6 of the 7 cast members is steadily increasing, but my feeling for One are on a starkly opposing trajectory. The latest episode made him crossover from "annoyed" to "dislike" though. I'm also really tired of people comparing Three and Five to Jayne and River. I always thought the Five/River comparisons were stretching it (River Tam is neither the first nor the last "mysterious teenaged girl" to pop up in a SciFi show), but they're really stretching it now that we know more about Five and how she does the things she does (ie: actual skills developed over months/years, not because someone did something to her head). Three/Jayne had more basis since Three actually does exhibit a lot of the same traits and behaviors as Jayne, but while Jayne's assholishness and selfishness were largely sincere with "not so bad" and fairly genuine loyalty coming through when absolutely necessary, since around the third episode, it's been pretty obvious that a lot of it with Three is an act, and at this point, it seems to mostly being an act.

spoiler for episode 7 )
4. I watched season 6 of The Good Wife. The performances are still strong and I've always mostly watched because the actors are really, really good at what they do with their characters, forcing me to like almost every character, but the plot really is all over the place now. When the season was airing, I saw people commenting that it was like the characters were in two different shows without realizing it, and that's very true.

5. Hwajung has finished up with Gwanghae's rein, and started on Injo's. While the show is taking the typical sageuk liberties with Princess Jeongmyung's life, from what I can tell, it's actually being truer to history in other ways than is often the norm for sageuk biodramas. I'm currently deciding whether I was to watch The Scholar Who Walks the Night as it airs (or rather, as DramaFever gets it on their 2 week delay, since I can stream it on my TV through Hulu then) or wait until it's finished and binge.

(no subject)

Jul. 26th, 2015 01:41 pm
skygiants: Sokka from Avatar: the Last Airbender points fingerguns (sokka says stay cool)
[personal profile] skygiants
The Lost Library exchange just wrapped up -- that's the metafictional one where you write a bit of a book or play or movie that's implied or stated to exist in another book or movie -- and it was, unsurprisingly, delightful.

I chucked two works into the fray, one straight-up unfinished script --

Romeo and Ethel the Pirate's Daughter (Draft 2, With Comments)

What has occurred to bring me to this pass?
For on my life, I cannot make it out.

[PERHAPS BECAUSE THE RELEVANT SCENES ARE MISSING FROM THIS PLAY, WILL]


-- and one semi-scholarly compilation, including some script excerpts and a few production reviews.

The Great Fire Lord

CASTING NOTES

FIRELORD SOZIN: Heroic leading man type. Strong, well-muscled, must look good shirtless.

AVATAR ROKU: Attractively sinister type. Small goatee, pencil moustache, fantastic hair.

DRAGONS: At least three actors per dragon. No skimping!


And, in exchange, I received another delightful rediscovered bit of the literary corpus of the Ember Island Players!

The Legend of the Blue Spirit

The BLUE SPIRIT enters stage left. He glides through the fortress like a ghost, kicking, punching, and slicing through the guards. He leaves the last one standing, and places his blades against the guard’s throat.

Honestly, I hope this exchange runs for long enough to build a whole Ember Island Players library. So much hilarious revisionist A:tLA history, so little time!

There's a bunch of other charming works in the archive, which I highly recommend checking out, but I'm just gonna toss out a few more recs )

(no subject)

Jul. 22nd, 2015 06:18 pm
meganbmoore: (empire; cookiexnewspaper)
[personal profile] meganbmoore
Empire Season 2 promo:



I really should not get that excited about roughly 20 seconds of 1-2 second glimpses of scenes.

icons: Hwajung

Jul. 21st, 2015 06:54 pm
meganbmoore: (hwajung: jeongmyung revealed)
[personal profile] meganbmoore
 167 x Hwajung (episodes 11-20)


  

here )

(no subject)

Jul. 19th, 2015 06:31 pm
skygiants: Drosselmeyer's old pages from Princess Tutu, with text 'rocks fall, everyone dies, the end' (endings are heartless)
[personal profile] skygiants
This write-up of The Darkest Road is four thousand words long. I am so sorry, everyone.

But at least we're on the last book of the Fionavar Tapestry! )
meganbmoore: (gingitsune: headrest)
[personal profile] meganbmoore
 ...which is not something I had actually ever intended to do, having detected soon after hearing about The Savior of YA (How? Why? From what? No one ever gives a good reason!  "from women" continues to be the only logical conclusion.) but I ended up in one of those situations where you only have a few reading options and none appeal, so I read Paper Towns.

Then I spent about a week and a half debating whether or not I wanted to give John Green another hour of my focused attention to vent My Issues, but that would deprive me of an hour of consuming creative works that I'd actually enjoy, or at least enjoy discussing, so here's the very abbreviated version:


Treating women like people instead of Othered beings who exist as narrative devices to fuel men's stories would have drastically improved this book.  And when you have your male lead have a"oh, wait, she isn't a fantasy, she's a PERSON!" and then continue to treat the character in question as nothing but a device to further said male lead's growth, you're only digging the hole deeper.

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