Sunday, November 23, 2014

Too Many Inquisition Feels

If you play video games, or even if you don't and you just like to think about video games (I don't know, someone might??), then you've probably thought about what your ideal video game would be like. I know I think about it a lot! Mass Effect is my favorite video game series and probably one of my favorite stories of all time. But it's missing something. It's perfect, I mean I would never change it and it's an experience I will never forget, but let's be real. There are no blonde templars in Mass Effect. And there are no masquerade balls or castles or bards in taverns playing songs about your adventures.

And all of that is in Dragon Age: Inquisition, which IF YOU'VE BEEN LIVING UNDER A ROCK is BioWare's latest installment in the Dragon Age series, and came out last Tuesday. So naturally I've done nothing with my life since then but play it. BECAUSE IT IS PERFECT.

This isn't going to be a review, because I'm only about 45 hours into the game and nowhere near finished, but I just have to write about it because it's swallowing me whole and I need to express my feels before I explode. I'm still not even sure this game is real, that's how good it is. I started playing when I was in the throes of a cold, so I was all delirious and kept thinking, "Is this really happening?? Is this game really this good?!" Yes. It is real! Unless I'm dreaming right now!

Just. This world is enveloping me so completely it's as real to me as ~real life~. It's open world, so you can pretty much explore wherever you want in a zone, unless there's a big ol' mountain in your way, or a dragon that you're too scared to try to fight ("run awayyy!"). That means it feels more like you're truly existing in a fully realized world that's there whether or not you have a quest to finish in the area. As you wander you find letters, chapters from books, and various bits of history or stories or personal anecdotes that add so much more depth to the setting. I'm constantly learning more about the world of Thedas, and losing myself in it is so easy.

The characters are just as real and complex as the setting, and I love every single one of them so much. Except for Solas. He's a big giant jerkface and I am aggressively not doing any of his stupid personal quests. Go to the Hinterlands yourself, Solas, if it's so important! Cullen, though. And Josephine (Leliana calls her "Josie", kill me). And CASSANDRA can we talk about Cassie because she is the tank of my dreams and one of my favorite characters of all time even though I hated her in Dragon Age 2. And I can't say enough about Varric, who writes erotic friend fiction, and Vivienne calling you "my dear" and Dorian's fucking mustache, and the Iron Bull's whole crew, and SERA'S PRANKS, I just can't with any of these people! I would fight and die for them without blinking an eye. Leading an inquisition is so much easier when surrounded by a whole buncha lovable badasses.

There are still so many things I want to write but I don't want to spoil anyone, so I won't go into much more detail. I'm just... I'm so in love with this game and I'm not even done! This despite the fact that my heart was broken last night during one of the quests. I won't say why, but BioWare... I hate you. You are a pile of masochistic jerks. There was a choice I had to make, and it was so awful and heart-wrenching I literally had a panic attack. Like, I started hyperventilating and my hands went numb and started doing that clenchy thing lol so I breathed into a pillow until I "calmed down", which meant I still kept sobbing uncontrollably but at least my hands were working? Thank god for my friends, who were there through all of it, talking me down and reminding me that it would all be okay. Eventually.

Let's be real though, BioWare is the best thing to ever happen to gaming. Thank you for being so wonderful, you pile of masochistic jerks.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Shutter: Gateway Drug to Comics

This is the worst quality photo I'm so sorry to everyone.

O hai! Happiest of Odin's Day to you all. And how are you this fine November eve? I'm super great! I just got back from hangin' out at Cosmic Monkey Comics, where my friend Leila was doing a signing with Joe (her writer) for their comic Shutter! Volume 1 (a collection of issues 1-6) just came out this week, and having read all six issues pretty much as they came out, I can attest that it is Super Good. With capitals. It's kind of been my gateway drug into comics, which means an awful lot, because I've just recently discovered the wonder that is the world of comics. I can't believe it took me this long to sort my shit out, but at least I finally did!

Omg it's a ninja ghost just for me~

Shutter was the first time I read a comic and was like, "Oh wow, this is a cool story with beautiful art and a rad, engaging protagonist who I want to read about and follow on her adventures! I NEED MORE!" Which is awesome and I'm so grateful for it. Without Leila's friendship and subsequent guidance in my comics journey (she is constantly recommending new comics to us comic noobs, which is fantastic), I don't think I'd be sitting here today in bed, surrounded by finished, half-read, and soon-to-be-read comics while nursing a massive crush on Matt Fraction.

Of course other friends have given recommendations that have been spot on -- Ms. Marvel, Captain Marvel, and Hawkeye anyone?? -- but Shutter started it all, and I have Leila (and Joe!) to thank for that.

Hanging out in a comics shop with some of my best friends and talking comics, warm and cozy while it's blustery and cold outside -- what a lovely end to the day. Now talk comics to me: what do you read? What do you want to read? What do you recommend? Do you want recommendations from me, a comics noob?? Comics! Discuss.

Friday, November 7, 2014

N7 Day Part 2

OKAY I'M SORRY this is another N7 Day post, sue me it happens once a year let me have this. Let me take a bunch of selfies of me and my Shepard tattoo and harass you with them.

Sooo, today has been pretty goddamn great. Like, this might be my second favorite holiday now, tied with Thanksgiving, because let's be reeeaalll Christmas is just completely on another level. Anyway. Today has been wonderful. I wore my N7 shirt (AS U CAN SEE), geeked out with other fans across the interwebs, and of course I made N7 cupcakes all alone all evening Because OBVIOUSLY?

It took me way too long to make these, and this is only half of them, but they were WORTH IT and came out way better than expected as I have pretty much zero experience decorating baked goods with icing?? I'm super proud, regardless! And they taste so good. Dark chocolate fudge frosting, you guys. Dark chocolate fudge.

Anyway just a short lil post this time, but I just... I want to say again, thank you BioWare for creating such a wonderful thing that even my crusty old bitter heart can love so much it consumes me entirely. Thank you for bringing Stacey and me together. Thank you for reconnecting me to old friends. Thank you for making me feel like part of a community of amazingly talented, enthusiastic, and lovely people.

Here's to us! Who's like us? Damn few! And they're all dead.

What N7 Day Means to Me

"What does N7 mean to you?" BioWare asked in a blog post last month in anticipation of November 7th, now celebrated as N7 Day by Mass Effect fans. Well, buckle up, sit back, and get ready because I am going to tell you exactly what N7 means to me!!

We all know by now that I'm a huge fan of this series. I got an N7 tattoo immediately after finishing the game, and a half sleeve of Commander Shepard shortly after that. I'M A LITTLE OBSESSED. This game showed me a female character who I love more than anything. It introduced me to a fictional world that is so vivid and engaging that it's real to me. It's part of me.

But what N7 really really means to me, even more than the deep (and frankly impossible-to-express-in-mere-words) way it touched me, is connection. It means discovering an incredibly vast and welcoming fan base of people who are just as in love with the Mass Effect series, are just as emotionally invested, and wanna bang Garrus just as much as I do. Being a fan is more than just enthusiasm about the game. It's about sharing the experience with people who have that same enthusiasm, and letting that excitement bounce back and forth and grow into art, music, stories, conversation, whatever, inspired by this one thing we all love together.

Which brings me to the best, best thing I got out of the ridiculously intense emotional experience that was my first playthrough of Mass Effect. And by "thing" I mean person. And by person I mean Stacey. It's Stacey. Stacey is the best thing to come of Mass Effect for me, let's be real. Have you ever had the experience of meeting someone who you immediately get along with, who has the exact same stupid sense of humor as you, who understands all of your weird-as-shit personality quirks because they have those same quirks, and who just gets you? 100%? That's Stacey. I've never even met her in real life and we've only known each other for a short time, but I trust her as much as I trust family. It feels like we've been friends our whole lives.

I feel super lucky to have multiple girl friends who are like sisters to me, who I would kill and die for, and who I would trust with my life and all of my darkest, weirdest secrets. Stacey is now one of them (a friend, not a weird secret). She could call me in the middle of the night and ask me to drive through the night to LA and help her hide the body of the man she just murdered, and I would do it. No question. I'd engage in fisticuffs for her. No seriously, I would take a punch in the face. I'd also give as many punches in the face as I could manage with my very limited reach. And I'd play any goddamn video game she wanted me to, just to talk to her while doing multiplayer. EVEN SCARY ONES. Even Call of Duty.

And the thing is, Stacey is the one person I lived Mass Effect with. We played it almost in tandem; I finished the game after her, but she stayed up until 3:00 in the morning the day I finished so she could talk me down when I lost all of my shit as the credits rolled. She understood completely every ridiculous Mass Effect-related thought I had, every moment that upset me or made me laugh or made me cry. You know how at the end of Speed, Keanu Reeves says to Sandra Bullock, "I've heard relationships based on intense experiences never work"? Well he was DEAD WRONG because going through one of the most intense emotional experiences I've ever endured (aside from like, you know, breakups and the deaths of loved ones I guess, although this weirdly comes close?) with Stacey forged our bond like the One Ring in the fires of Mount Doom. Which means it's strong. It's a strong-as-fuck bond.

I used to be so worried that as we stopped replaying and replaying Mass Effect and moved on to other things, that our friendship would fade or diminish in some way. But it's only gotten stronger as we discover new things we have in common, and are continually reminded how similar we are. I just love her so much, you guys. It's stupid. And I may never have realized just how much I love her without Mass Effect.

So thank you, Mass Effect. Thank you Commander Shepard. Thank you Biotic God, thank you Thane in the vents, thank you "behind the crates", thank you Kaidan's scream in London, thank you Wrex cosplayer with the tiny arms. Thank you BioWare, you fucking brilliant assholes. N7 means the world to me because N7 means Stacey.

Love you, bae.

Monday, November 3, 2014

Xbox in Bed

Lolololol I spent three hours today rearranging my room and cleaning shit so I'd be able to move my Xbox in here for the winter. It gets mad cold out in the living room and our power bills in the winter are humongo, so as much as I love the idea of playing DA:I in fingerless hobo gloves and like four onesies layered on top of each other, I decided that a move to the bedroom would be the most prudent course of action. My room has its own thermostat, so I can turn on the heat until it warms up in here and turn it off again, and it'll stay a lot warmer than the big ol' un-insulated living room! Hooray for not dying of hypothermia!

Please ignore my wrinkly-ass bedding and limp pillows. This isn't some lifestyle blog with curated photos of my IKEA black and white chevron rug! This is real life. And in real life my bed looks like shit I guess.

Also please ignore my new Dell. What, a PC? Me? Naahhh. *sobs gently into limp pillows*

Anyway I would update you on what I did today, but I worked for eight hours and then cleaned for three more and now it's bedtime, aka time to read Hawkeye, so there's not much on which to update you. Next time, though: COMICS UPDATE! Maybe? If I feel like it.

Lyall says goodnight.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Best Halloween

We were supposed to be protecting Rose, the rat, but instead it looks like I'm attacking her violently.

I'm gonna go right ahead and say it: Halloween this year was the best Halloween I've had in recent memory! For real! I can't even think of a Halloween that was better. So I guess that means it's the best Halloween OF ALL TIME? Yes. Best of All Time.

I mean last Halloween was sort of okay because the office I worked in at the time was full of super geeky, awesome people who invited me to join their Clue-themed costume extravaganza, so that was fun! But I was still feeling sad about my breakup and I think probably went home and watched Pacific Rim and moped that night. So it's not very hard for Halloween 2014 to be better than Halloween 2013, but I feel like even if last Halloween wasn't depressing, it could never have lived up to this year's!

Trio o' heroes!

So let's go over Halloween 2014! My friends are perfect, to start. Megan, Georgia, and I dressed as Marvel heroes (Megan is Spider-Man in child-sized gloves and socks, Georgia is Thor, and I'm Captain America), and Rose dressed as a plague rat (her husband was a plague doctor but did not really take part in our festivities last night and is thus not pictured). We hung out and talked for hours at Georgia's and then went down to the Triple Nickel, a divey bar across the street, where I won a raffle and got a free drink WOOHOO!! And while dancing to Taylor Swift near the end of the night, clutching my child's shield and sweating profusely, I just felt so happy to be surrounded by friends who get me and are super super fun to be around no matter how introvert-y I may feel at a given time. Even if we had just spent the entire night eating Goldfish crackers and drinking wine in Georgia's place I would have had The Most Fun! I love these people. I love them a lot.

But let's not forget the office Halloween party, because that was also INCREDIBLE okay. I never knew work holidays could be so much fun?? Almost everybody dressed up, there was so much good food and a laser light show and a pumpkin pinata and a Scary Room with full-sized candy bars in the Scary Cauldron and favor bags and a bunch of people who I love being around for 40 hours every week! The whole day was so much fun it just sped by, and I was weirdly almost sad to go home at the end of the day, like when does that ever happen? Hashtag blessed.

The only down side of Halloween was the sheer amount of food I ate, which was probably my entire weight in junk?? And therefore I was sober all goddamn night. All night! Usually I'm a huge lightweight but I was stone cold sober pretty the whole time. All those Cheetos absorbed the booze. Not that it stopped me from dancing for hours and having the most fun time ever, but still! Lame.

I hope you all had Halloweens as fun as mine! What did you dress up as? Did you overeat and wanna hurl all day? The important questions. YAY HALLOWEEN 2014!!

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Deep Thoughts With SG-1

As you may know, I've started watching Stargate SG-1 again from the beginning. Which is no simple feat, might I point out. There are 10 seasons, with 214 episodes total, each about an hour long. So there is a lot of it. But I am ready! 100%! I just love it so, so much. And I actually -- I'm so sorry, please don't hate me -- forgot about Jonas Quinn until like five minutes ago?? I'M SORRY okay he's just not in it for very long, and he's overshadowed in my mind by Ben Browder and Claudia Black, and like, he shows up in that weird period where Daniel's gone, which was so painful for me and I still have PTSD flashbacks of Daniel's terrible thick rib ascension sweater, and it's been like five years since I watched it okay, shut up Lee. I know you're reading this.

Stargate isn't just a show for me, though. I mean it is just a show (shut up Meg stop being so pretentious), and it's entertaining and fun and emotionally engaging as hell, and I absolutely beyond adore the characters (except apparently Jonas "Forgettable" Quinn), but I'm only a few episodes into season 1 and it's already packed a pretty hefty emotional punch for me. Well. Maybe not a punch, because that implies violence. But it's emotional. An emotional... hug? This is mainly because I've watched all 214 of the episodes of the show twice now, some of them more than twice, but until now, every single episode of SG-1 I'd ever watched had been with Greg. 

I wasn't expecting to think about him as much as I have been as I begin to re-watch these episodes. But I do. And it's not a bad thing; it's comforting, even. I can remember how he reacted to certain moments. I can hear him laughing, or being annoyed at a plot inconsistency (which was all the time with Greg), or making his usual smart-ass comments. I remember exactly what he said when he noticed that Daniel had his own distinct way of talking, for example. The thing is, a year ago these memories would have been painful, if not unbearable. But now they're not. Now they're... nice? 

I feel like a weirdo saying that, but it's true! It reminds me of a time when Greg and I worked really, really well together. When we wanted the same things, liked all the same things, laughed at the same things, and just fit together really well. Because we did, for most of the time we were together. I mean we sat in our shitty tiny basement apartment in Missoula and watched every episode of SG-1 together, in order, twice. (And all of Stargate Atlantis.) We were happy just being around each other no matter where we were or what we were doing. And we had so much fun! It was a really easy, happy place for me. 

Remembering it doesn't hurt anymore, and that's amazing to me. I like feeling grateful for all the happiness and companionship Greg and I shared. It meant, and still means, a lot to me. So re-watching Stargate SG-1 isn't a painful experience, but a happy one. It reminds me of the content, comfortable moments I spent with someone I loved. I'm so glad we had each other for that time, because my experiences are richer now because of it. 

Not just in watching Stargate, although that's part of it. Living in a world where I used to love Greg, learned from him, and now am thankful for that time -- it's a good world. He helped shape the person I am today, and that will always, always mean something to me.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Who is Dr. Strange Though

So BENEDICT CUMBERBATCH as Dr. Strange, amirite!? Best news of the day, RIGHT? ...Not that I received any other news today, really, except that my N7 shirt and mug had shipped. BUT BEST NEWS THO!

I only have... one small question, a bit of a minor one, but, uh. Who's Dr. Strange?

I'M SORRY OKAY I don't know anything about comics! I didn't even know we were awaiting a casting choice for this guy, that's how oblivious I've been. But now I have a sudden and vested interest in this Dr. Strange fellow. And so, as of this very moment, I am about to embark on a Google search that will reveal the answers to me! But before I do, I'm gonna go ahead and say that my educated guess is that Dr. Strange is an amalgam of Doctor Who and Dr. Strangelove, so like a British guy in a black and white film, dressed eccentrically, traveling through time and space astride an atomic bomb. SUPER CLOSE I bet?

*performs Google search*

Okay, well. I wasn't that far off, I mean clothes-wise... but who CARES about that because holy shit, guys! Dr. Strange is THE COOLEST! I didn't even know!! Did you? Okay check this out:

!!!!! He's a neurosurgeon. Not only is he a goddamn practicing sorcerer but the Sorcerer Supreme, PRIMARY PROTECTOR OF EARTH AND A NEUROSURGEON?? I'm pregnant with his babies already. Leave me to die, there's no hope for me. Leave me I tell you! I can go no further!

...Look at his power stance though. Imagine Benedict in such a stance. Do you think he'll wear those tights and fashion-forward cape for fall? I can't take it! I just can't!

Seriously though, this is just great, now I have to figure out where to start in Thor and Dr. Strange now, not that I don't already have a heaping pile of comics to read before I die, all of which I'm sure I'll never successfully finish. Life is so goddamn difficult, guys! Mostly due to Benedict Cumberbatch! If only he had never been born!!

*weeps forever*

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Postcards from Purgatory

Here are two side-by-side photographs of me holding geeky rectangular items in front of my face! 

So firstly, I started Borderlands a few days ago. I did this for three reasons. I know you're all way curious to know these reasons, so let me outline them for you in a numbered list!

Reasons Meg Started Playing Borderlands:

1. I needed a new game to play in an attempt to distract me from my all-consuming impatience as I wait for Dragon Age: Inquisition to come out, and everyone (like two people I guess) said it was super good and that I'd like it.

2. I wanted to cancel out my previous experience with the series, which was playing co-op Borderlands 2 with my ex Greg, the most stressful and frustrating gaming experience of our time. It was only my second time ever playing an FPS (the first being about ten minutes of shitting my pants in Left 4 Dead with no idea how to use a 360 controller and getting dog-piled by shrieking zombies, or was that my own shrieking, idk).

So Borderlands 2 was my sad attempt to bond with Greg, as video games were one of the only ways to do that, and it was terrible. He's really good at games and an extraordinarily fast reader, so he would just barrel through every quest, not giving me time to read the objectives or figure out what I was doing in any way. It resulted in me firing my gun wildly into the sky at nothing and then dying, in quick succession, over and over. I never had any idea what was going on, where we were, or how to fucking aim my gun or walk anywhere without getting stuck in a corner.

LONG STORY SHORT: I am traumatized by that experience and would like to replace it with a positive one! Yeahhh positive gaming experiences! There's actually a lot of satisfaction that's come from being able to play games, enjoy them, and most of all be good (relatively) at them without Greg's presence to pressure me, or help me, or do it for me. I've taken gaming and made it my own, and I'm super proud of myself for that?

3. I wanna talk to Stacey about it. Let's be real, all of my gaming-related decisions in life from now on are going to hinge heavily on Stacey. Is she playing the game? I WANNA PLAY TOO. Is she not playing the game? I DON'T WANNA PLAY EITHER. Am I excited about a game series that Stacey has not yet played? NAG HER UNTIL SHE DOES. Sorry, Staceyyyy I love you (too much).

So there you have it. I've played a couple hours of it so far (pretty much nothing), but already it's a million times more enjoyable than my experience with Borderlands 2. It's more difficult than other games I've played, mostly because there's no ~casual~ mode (wtf, guys? What are fake gamer girls like me to do when there's only one difficulty setting??), but I'm quickly getting the hang of it! I was busy all weekend fucking around with this stupid blog, but I'm excited to play more this week! Will keep you guys updated because I know you super care.

SECONDLY, and here's the best thing that's happened to me in probably my entire life: Stacey's Purgatory postcard finally showed up omfg!!!

No, you don't understand. A couple months ago now, when we were in the throes of full-on Mass Effect obsession (we still kinda are), Stacey sent me a series of postcards over the space of a few weeks, all from various places in Mass Effect. I got postcards from Illium, the Citadel, Feros, and one from Omega. I eagerly checked the mail every day when I got home from work, hoping for the next one and shrieking with delight every time it arrived. But when the final postcard from Purgatory didn't come, and didn't come... and still didn't come, Stacey grew worried. She asked if I had received it and I said I hadn't, even though she'd sent it. Where could it have gone?? We wondered if it got lost in the mail, if it went to the wrong address, if I'd accidentally thrown it out with junk mail. We were both devastated. The postcards had been telling a story, and I was forced to accept the fact that I would never know how that story ended.

This all took place, as I said, months ago. And then on Friday I checked my mail, pulling out the usual junk and the electric bill. But I felt one more piece of mail in there and pulled it out. And I SCREAMED. Like, I'm hoping none of my neighbors were home because I straight shouted "OH MY GOD!!" and started jumping up and down on the front step. THE POSTCARD HAD FINALLY ARRIVED FROM PURGATORY. And as I read the final chapter in the saga of Stacey Shepard and friends finally making their way back to Earth and to me, I shed a tear. No, I cried. It was an actual tear. I say that I'm crying a lot on social media, and you may think that's an exaggeration, but I swear to you that 98% of the time I'm literally crying. Just as I was in this case.

It was so emotional and I'm just beyond happy that the postcard arrived at last! I wonder what it was doing that whole time? Did it go to the wrong address? If so, did the recipient have any earthly idea what the fuck any of it meant? Because obviously they would have read it. I would have read it. And I like to think that they were transported, if only for a moment, to another world... a world among the stars, stranger and more fantastic than any they could have imagined, a world of adventure, rare beauty... and sexy aliens.


Welp! I did it! After about fifty years of dicking around with various header ideas, buttons, backgrounds, and all manner of super annoying html tweaking, I did the thing! I changed my blog title and URL! Obvs! I didn't realize I could actually do that (thank you Elizabeth, what in god's name would I do without you), so once I realized I could, that's what I did. So hopefully, you know, this isn't incredibly inconvenient for everyone and we can just carry on as usual.

So. I guess, welcome to I Just Can't??? Probably the stupidest blog title to ever exist in the history of blogs, but... whatever. I almost called it Feels on Wheels so let's all just be thankful I didn't go that route! Regardless, now I feel more comfortable about posting here as it's no longer reminding me of that jerkface Steven Moffat ruining my (used-to-be) favorite show.

And now, business as usual. I was thinking today about what my Stargate tattoo is going to look like/where it will be. Wait, what Stargate tattoo you ask? The one that was meant to be my first tattoo! I got so close to getting it that I even called a tattoo shop in Missoula before I moved to Portland in 2010 to ask about a consultation, but for whatever reason I chickened out and didn't actually schedule one. So I never got the tattoo. I even cajoled a friend into making a cool minimalist vector rendering of a Stargate and everything, only to back out like a little manbaby. Then of course I fell head over heels for Eleven, the TARDIS happened, and the Stargate didn't.

I still want to get a Stargate tattoo, though, which is where this whole ramble is going. I don't think I want it to be as boring as I was originally planning, and was thinking of doing something like my Shep, leaning toward a more traditional tattoo style with Gin's style thrown in? Because I would most definitely go to her again, after the amazing work she did on Shep. I'd certainly want flowers or botanicals of some sort framing the Stargate, and then I'm thinking... left thigh? Or left shoulder blade. The only thing about shoulder blade tattoos is you never see them, and admiring my tattoos is kinda one of my favorite pastimes.

Oh well, I'll sort something out by the time I feel like throwing $600 at a tattoo again, which hopefully won't be for a long while. My wallet is hurting (as usual).

Update on Meg drunkenly maybe ordering Hawkeye comics! It didn't happen. Sadly? Or happily, for my wallet. Shut up, wallet. Next time.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Something New

Hi! So. Here's the thing. I want to re-brand. I'm not sure even what that means (it sounds gross?), but I want to do it. Back when I made this blog, "bow ties are cool" meant something to me. It was important. But it doesn't mean the same thing to me anymore. Or maybe I'm just really angry at Steven Moffat for being the worst? Either way, it's not me. I'm not sure if I want to simply rename the blog and keep the url, or buy a domain and redirect this url to that domain, or... what, exactly. I may even start a completely new blog, and keep updating this one as my more personal, life-y blog.

Because what I really want to focus on is geeky shit, and I want that to be my whole ~thing~. I know I do that already here, but it seems out of place, or just... weird to me. I feel like I've grown out of this blog, or I need something new and fresh, but it doesn't feel right. I want to talk about the comics I've been reading (I'm getting into comics now, yay!), and the video games I've been playing, and the movies and TV shows I've been watching, without feeling like I'm cluttering up this blog, which has seen so many different things over the years and maybe is too old and stale for me now. What do you guys think? I'm really torn.

I will say, though, that I'm KIND OF tipsy and just put a bunch of Matt Fraction's Hawkeye volumes in my Amazon shopping cart so like, that might happen. Momentarily. Also Saga vol. 3. Help me.

No seriously help me.



Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Shepard Tattoo: Complete!

Okay hi, I haven't blogged in forever! Mostly because I've been dealing with not-very-crippling anxiety and depression, which is just crippling enough to make me not want to put myself out there very much, both in real life and online. It's okay, it's being dealt with and isn't that big of a deal, but I thought I'd explain!

That said, I wanted to share my beautiful Commander Shepard tattoo with you guys now that she's healed. I love her so, so much. I'm thrilled with her, she means the world to me, and I'm so happy with her I want to die. The artist, Gin Hicks, is incredible. She really, really is. My crappy selfies do not do justice to her delicate linework or her subtle coloring. It's such a lovely tattoo and well worth every penny. If you live in Portland or nearby I would highly recommend her! She's attentive, listened to what I wanted, and even though I gave her a lot of artistic freedom, she came up with a piece that I'm so proud to wear. I want to cry just looking at it.

Back in July I blogged about my feels regarding Commander Shepard (from the game Mass Effect, obvs), which will give you a tiny bit of an idea of just how much I adore her. It's hard talking about my love for Shep without sounding like a complete freak who is 100% removed from normal society and real life in any form. I have a hard enough time articulating my love for Mass Effect itself without feeling like a cray cray, and there are plenty of people out there who I know love it just as much as I do.

Shepard is, to be totally honest, my first real fictional female hero. I fall for male characters all the time. I identify with them, lust after them, admire them, take inspiration from them. But I've never felt quite the same way about any female characters, until now. And Shepard blows them all out of the water. She is everything to me. If she were real, I would kill for her. I would die for her if she asked. I wish I was exaggerating but I'm pretty sure I'm not?? I would legitimately sacrifice my life for Shepard's cause. I'd follow her into hell, and I wouldn't follow the Doctor there. Shepard is a fucking force. She means so much to me I get physical pangs sometimes when I think about her, okay. In my chest. Physical chest pangs.

Whatever you guys, it's fine it's not a big deal. It's fine.

Anyway, I think David Anderson, a superior officer in the Systems Alliance Navy, puts it well (and in a way that makes me weep like a tiny child every time I listen to the voice recording in his apartment):
Thing is, you never heard a complaint. Never once got 'No, sir. I can't do that.' She never hesitated. Few people know what Shepard's been through. I'd like to think I come pretty close. And I worry sometimes she forgets: there's a whole bunch of people who lose sleep over her getting back home. Maybe it doesn't need to be said. Maybe we're too dumb to say it. 
Soldiers like the Commander are rare. Women like Shepard... even more rare.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

20 Stupid Thoughts: Mass Effect 3

I finished Mass Effect 3 for the second time last night, so in celebration (mourning?) of that event, I have decided to inundate you with my thoughts and feels on the subject. Since this was my second playthrough, maybe some of my outbursts will reflect that. I'm not sure yet though as I'm literally going to just pull this out of my ass as I go. You're welcome.

20 Stupid Thoughts: Mass Effect 3 (Or: Why Synthesis Is The Best Ending, Shut Up You're Wrong)

1. Okay but the main thing I need to get across first of all is that EDI and Joker are everything. EVERYTHING I TELL YOU. They're the crux of this whole story I swear to god and if you disagree I don't know how you can exist in this world. The entire trilogy is based on organics vs. synthetics, and the increasingly blurred line between the two. Can synthetics have souls? Can organics become synthetic? Joker and EDI's relationship represents the ideal harmony between organics and synthetics. They are everything. Synthesis, mmkay.

2. Talking to Citadel Child made me super confused this time around, even more so than the first time?? Especially as I'd done the Leviathan DLC, which I feel should have clarified things but only made them worse. I'm pretty sure this was not meant to be the case. Instead I was like, Leviathan? Reapers? Star-Lord? Who? I don't remember that mission, I did it like three weeks ago. Christ. Just let me pick an ending already.

3. Uhhh. Miranda died this time? She didn't die last time. What the hell did I do wrong? Or, let's be real: what did I do right.

4. Arriving on Palaven's moon and being met with that view of a mountainous reaper with the war-torn Palaven behind it? Fucking shivers. The epic scale of this game just blows me away on a pretty much constant basis.

5. The final stretch in London with the big ol' canon going off and then the reaper coming ever closer, with the whole SCREEN SHAKING, holy shit have I never felt this immersed in a game before. It's beyond scary, it's overwhelming, it's like I'm actually there and it kills me how good it is.

6. The Citadel DLC is the most happy/sad thing of my entire life. Everyone is so mad at Shepard for breaking the floor of the best sushi place on the Citadel! Nobody cares that a bunch of dudes were coming at her with guns and she was wearing her fancy dress! Her evil clone says "I should go"! They throw a house party! EVERYBODY GOES ON A MISSION TOGETHER, INCLUDING WREX. Just, all of that DLC. All of it. The best thing to ever happen to me. I don't even need a husband or children at this point because they couldn't possibly make me happier than this DLC.

7. Thane vs. Kai Leng. Jesus take the fucking wheel.

8. The dream sequences. No, it's cool, Mass Effect. You go right ahead and crush my soul into smithereens. I didn't need it anyway.

9. Shepard's defeat after Thessia just hits me on an intensely emotional level. When she goes to talk to Joker and accuses him of taking things too lightly, and then he reminds her that his family might be dead, and to shut up anyway because everyone is so worried about her, and how Anderson told Joker to look after her because she's under so much stress, I'm just no no nope no. Nope. Nooope.

10. Garrus asking if Shep thinks she could be a one turian kind of woman. I clasp my controller to my chest, shrieking: YES I CAN BE A ONE TURIAN KIND OF WOMAN. NOW KISS ME ON TOP OF THE PRESIDIUM RIGHT NOW YOU STUPID ADORABLE ALIEN. (Yeah I threw the shot, what am I, some kind of asshole?)


12. Everyone around the Citadel. The conversations taking place are so captivating, I stand and listen and am so taken by all of the NPCs. All of them! Especially the salarian with the special new suit that his friend sold her fancy new car to buy for him so he'd be safer in the war. And the turian looking out for the girl who's been separated from her family. And the woman who's worried about breaking up with her boyfriend for the woman who's been there for her while he's away. And the fact that Shepard goes around dispensing advice and inspiring people with her presence is just so magical to me.

13. I feel like Shepard has grown so much as a person since the beginning of all of this shit with the reapers, and while she's not afraid to do what it takes to get things done, she's still compassionate. She feels pain for every person she couldn't save on Earth. She hated to leave them behind but she had to so she could unite the galaxy, and that sheer weight of responsibility tempers her, I think, but it also motivates her and shapes her, and the fact that she endures for so long under that weight is just. Beyond words.

14. I liked Legion more and the quarians WAY less this time around? I'm pretty sure part of it was that I was paying more attention while I was in the Geth Consensus, because man those quarians are jerks!! The geth just wanted to be helpful, dudes! Don't turn on your synthetic children! Not cool, guys. Not to mention that idiot admiral starts firing on the dreadnought while Shep is still on board?? SERIOUSLY NOT COOL GUYS

15. Does this unit have a soul? UGLY SOBBING

16. Liara's parting gift to Shepard. I don't even have the faintest idea what it's supposed to be but it made me cry a fucking lot.

17. Jesus H. Christ, can Jacob go die already? How can any one person be so overwhelmingly monotonous? Seriously. I'm upset that Jacob even gets his own thought, so here, have a bonus James thought: WHY IS SHEP ALWAYS FLIRTY WITH JAMES BY DEFAULT. I would actually like ol' Jimmy Vega (sounds like a pole dancer on Omega) if he didn't have a creepy flirt-fest going on with Shepard all the time? I had to spend literally 12 minutes doing 183 pull-ups in Anderson's apartment to beat his stupid record before I could feel better about it all.

18. I just really like the bit on the Citadel after Cerberus attacks, when you're zooming around on top of an elevator, shooting down other elevators; and Captain Bailey, meanwhile, is foiling Kai Leng by making his elevator stop on every floor.

19. Seriously though you guys, the synthesis ending is 100% the only ending you could possibly choose and here's why. You can't choose control because that's fucked up. You can't choose destruction because it destroys all of the goddamn mass relays, AND it destroys every synthetic in the galaxy, including, oh wait: your friend EDI. Also fucked up! Synthesis takes Shepard's ~essence~ and turns it into this magical green light that achieves the ultimate in evolution: a melding of organic and synthetic beings! EDI and Joker fully understand one another. EDI is alive. The reapers now fucking help to rebuild in the wake of the destruction they caused. Everyone is at peace. Shepard sacrificed herself so that the galaxy could be the best version of itself. If you go destruction, then pretty soon organics will create more synthetics that will inevitably rise up against them, and the cycle starts all over again. But with synthesis, it's over. And it's better! So there. The only logical choice to make. And if your reason for choosing destruction is so that you can get the one "happy" ending, well fine. FINE I understand that I guess. (But watching Shepard dive into that beam, slowly breaking apart at a molecular level, all to make the galaxy a better place? Fucking most heartbreaking moment of my life thus far okay.)

20. I'm Garrus Vakarian, and this is now my favorite spot on the Citadel!

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Shepard Tattoo

Aah! Finally, you guys! The first session of my Commander Shepard tattoo is finished. I am beyond in love with how it's come out so far. BEYOND. I am so, so happy with it!

I started thinking about getting a Shep tattoo before I even finished Mass Effect 3, which seems like ages ago but was actually only around six weeks ago. I knew I wanted a big ol' Shep on my upper arm, but I didn't really have a preference for how big, and I didn't have any specific idea of what I wanted it to look like; more like loose guidelines.

So at my consultation a few weeks ago, I brought in some references such as Shepard's armor, a screenshot of my Shep, and so on. I was really more interested in seeing my artist's take on it, as I love her style (Gin Hicks at Icon Tattoo Studio in Portland), and wanted something she would be excited about too. I told her to make it as big as she wanted, which I had assumed would be pretty big, but I wasn't expecting to see a half sleeve when I went in yesterday! Honestly though, I was super excited about how big it was. I've been playing with the idea of a full sleeve on my right arm anyway, so for half of that to be Shep right off the bat is perfect.

Only the lines and some shading are done now, and the color will be added later in September. I'm just so, so happy and excited about it! Shepard, as you know, is one of my favorite characters of all time and is my actual hero. I can't really articulate what this tattoo or Shep mean to me without sounding ridiculous, but I love it so much.

Thank you Gin! Thank you Rose and Megan for sitting with me for two hours and distracting me from my pain! Thank you, self, for being brave enough to sit through two hours of pain like a total badass!

The lines before shading, and Gin's original design.

Monday, August 25, 2014

I'm Grateful for Some Stuff

I'm having a pretty lame Monday, and I was going to just loll around in bed and listen to depressing Mass Effect playlists while feeling sorry for myself, but instead I thought, why not at least try to counteract my emo bullshit with something positive? So here, have a list of...

10 THINGS I'M GRATEFUL FOR or whatever:

1. Lyall. He loves me no matter what, and is a warm, happy little creature who depends on me and comforts me and never ever gets tired of spending time with me!

2. My friends. I love my friends more than anything. I don't have any siblings, but I consider my girl friends to be sisters. I would take bullets for them and I know they'd do the same for me. No matter how ridiculous and stupid I am, how unhappy I am, no matter how confused or lonely I am, they are always there and they always love me. I love you guys.

3. My parents. Sometimes I forget how lucky I am to have such accepting, loving, supportive, and encouraging parents. I feel like I can be 100% myself around them, and I know that no matter what choices or mistakes I make in life, they will always stand behind me. I will never forget their generosity a year ago when I made the sudden and heartbreaking move to Oregon. My dad dropped everything the day I broke up with Greg and wanted to get out, took the next available flight from Phoenix to SLC, and drove me all the way to Portland overnight. My mom, even though she was grieving a brother who she lost the same day I lost Greg, was there for me, helped support me while I floundered without a home or a job, and bought me a car so I could drive to interviews and potential jobs. Thanks, parents. You rule.

4. Mass Effect. Seriously, this game makes me so happy. Being passionate and excited about something is one of life's greatest joys, and I'm deriving so much joy from it!

5. My home. I love my little cluttered-up, cozy room. I love my duplex. I love my roommate. I love our little neighborhood. I feel so safe and relaxed here.

6. These fuckin things. They're so delicious, I'm legitimately addicted, and they are only 3 Weight Watchers points. I genuinely lose myself in happiness whenever I eat one okay. They are great.

7. The tumblr BioWare fandom. Checking my dashboard periodically throughout the day and seeing new Garrus gifsets on the reg seriously keeps me going. And they're such a passionate, fun, positive group of people who make my internet life brighter all the time!

8. My new haircut. I'm really, really happy with my new hair. It's vain and not very meaningful, but it is everything I dreamed of and more. My advice to each and every one of you is to do something crazy with your hair that you normally would never do, because you will probably love it.

9. My job. It's not my dream job (my dream job is to be the new Neil Gaiman, so), but it's really great. I love the people I work with, I love correcting grammar and complaining about references all day, and it's just a place where I don't mind showing up every morning at 6:00 a.m. Which is saying a lot.

10. Myself. I'm grateful that I've made it this far in life and am generally content and pleased with where I am. I'm grateful that I can be grateful for so many things. I know it might come off as conceited, but I'm proud of myself. I work for what I have, I treat myself, I take care of my sweet little dog, I get sad, I keep going, and I enjoy life. Because life is awesome!

And now I feel a lot better.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

100% Unapproachable

So I got a new haircut todayyy! Well not much of a cut; more of a shave. Here's a pic from inside the bathroom, where the light is best and there are towel racks. I figured my hair was short enough already, and I've had vague inclinations to do some sort of undercut in the past, so I thought I may as well just go for it! I love it so much. I went to Lu at Fancy! Hair Salon, who is my favorite and you should all get your hair cut by her. If you live in Portland.

I love being able to go out and get a haircut like this, on almost a whim, and not have to worry about pleasing a boyfriend anymore. I know one should never worry about pleasing other people when it comes to one's own appearance, but. I did. And while he always told me it was my body and I could do whatever I wanted with it, the message was always clear: he didn't like short hair, he didn't like tattoos, and he didn't like big glasses. Well I just shaved off a chunk of my hair, a pair of new (even bigger!) glasses are on the way, and I have an appointment for the first session of a big ol' tattoo next Friday. All of these things are exciting and make me so happy to think about, and now I can say gleefully: Anyone who doesn't like it can happily fuck right off!

In that vein, it's weird to think I've been single for a whole year now, and it feels like I'm just beginning to truly and fully enjoy it. There's nothing in the world more freeing than being in charge of my life, taking care of myself, and doing whatever makes me happy no matter what. I'm in love with being single; and I'm in love with the person I've become, am becoming, and will become. Life is awesome and this haircut is awesome. It brings me ever closer to my new goal of being 100% unapproachable to men. (The chronic bitchface does most of the work though, let's be honest.)

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Human/Geek Interactions (ugh)

"Ugh, social interactions!"
The main problem with being a geek, I've found, is making other geek friends. Most people around me tend not to know or care what I'm talking about when I make some stupid reference to a Skyrim mod, for example (I don't even fuckin play Skyrim), and while that's fine in general, sometimes I just want to talk to other girls (or guys I guess) who have played Mass Effect! In person, over beer! But I seem to have the worst time trying to befriend other geeks. I don't know if it's just a symptom of all geeks being socially awkward and incapable of engaging in relaxed, easy conversation with one another, but I always find myself feeling totally lame and like a social fail whale every time I attempt to interact with another geek.

I feel like, whenever I'm interacting with geeky people who I don't know very well, I either come off as way too awkward, fangirly, and excitable, or -- on the opposite spectrum -- way too normal and aloof. What the hell! How does this happen? I find it so hard to not feel like I'm failing in some way in these types of social situations. Am I just so anxiety-ridden that I'll never have what I feel is a successful interaction with geeks? It's easy with normal people, you just talk about Breaking Bad and your favorite bar or something and you're done. But with geeks there's this whole layer of insecurity and terror. For me, at least.

I think part of the difficulty with geeks is that I always feel this pressure to know what I'm talking about, but also not be a crazed fangirl. You know -- I need to read every Thor comic and play the entire BioShock series and watch all of The X-Files or whatever else, but on the other hand I can't be all like, "Do you wanna see my Garrus body pillow? Do you wanna see this slashy fanart I'm drawing? What's your favorite Sherlock/John fanvid?" I mean those are all totally plausible things that I would say, but I worry that it's veering into the creepy realm of geekery and I'm scared that people will judge me.

I don't even know. I'm just generally the type of person who has no idea how to interact with other humans, and when I do it successfully it's like the best thing, and worthy of celebrating. But when it goes even slightly wrong, it haunts me for days. And I haven't yet mastered the art of communing with my geek brethren. So as it is, I feel like it's not even worth risking the embarrassment most of the time? I should practice. Maybe I'll do that at Rose City Comic Con by hitting on dudes in Dragon Age cosplay or something, because that won't be an awkward means of meeting new people at all! Life's hard for a socially awkward geek. It's real hard.

Monday, August 18, 2014

It's a Monday

Garrus and Thor have nothing to do with this blog post!
I don't have anything specific to discuss on the blog tonight, but I've been trying to update more frequently and to try not to feel like I need to be super interesting for anyone except me. I love it so much when people read and comment on my blog, but in the end I do it so that I'll have a record of my exciting life to go back and read years from now when I'm like, "What was I up to on August 18th, 2014? Something cool, probs!" And I'll be wrong, because I'm sitting in bed with no pants on, listening to my stupid Mass Effect playlist and blogging.

"What's that, Meg? Mass Effect playlist?" Funny you should ask! That's right. I made a dumb playlist of songs that remind me of Mass Effect. To be completely honest I got most of the songs from other people's ME playlists on 8tracks. Okay SEGUE can we discuss 8tracks for a moment please? Okay so:

1) Is the 8tracks app working properly for anyone else who just so happens to have the 8tracks app and also reads my blog? I know for a fact that there are hundreds of ME playlists on there but it only shows me between like, 10 and 20 at a time and then just stops scrolling at an arbitrary point. Does this happen to anyone else? Am I using it wrong? HELP.

2) 8tracks is the most amazing site and I'm addicted to it. I've always loved associating certain music with my favorite things, be it books, video games, TV shows, etc. It's a way to enjoy thinking about/experiencing the thing you love when you can't actually read/watch/play it. So I sit at work all day and listen to people's ME playlists, and it makes me feel like I'm connecting with their ME feels through the music, and it's a beautiful, magical thing! The greatest feeling, though, is when you discover that somebody else in the world has a song on their fandom playlist that you also have on your fandom playlist, that you thought nobody else would have because it seems kinda random?? Okay my song (obviously I'm talking about a specific experience here) was "Un Nouveau Soleil" by M83, on some soundtrack they did for a French sex comedy (???), which I happened to be listening to a lot when I experienced the onset of ME feels. It was all space-y and epic and so I would listen to it and think about Shepard and all of her adventures and all of the things she had yet to accomplish and the pain that I assumed she would have to endure (this was before I'd finished ME3). It was My Song for ME and Shepard. And then what do you know, but last week I was listening to somebody's 8tracks playlist and BOOM, there was my song! On their ME playlist! And it totally made my dayyyy. It's actually still making my day. Just knowing that someone out there listens to that same song and feels the same or similar emotions about ME makes me feel so connected to that person on a deep level. I know I sound crazy but dang do I love that crazy.

Moving right along. So I've been going to Weight Watchers meetings since I got back from visiting my mom in Montana with Megan (which I feel like I should blog about but it's weeks ago now so I probably won't). Apparently I gained 10 lbs since I moved back to Portland (due to having too much fun and eating too much amazing food, obvs), and I've been trying to lose weight for ages but have only succeeded in gaining more. So because I can't get anything done unless I'm afraid of being shamed in front of other people (they don't shame you in WW, I'm just saying), I paid a lot of monies to go sit with a bunch of mom types every Monday at 5:30 and talk about healthy eating and stuff. And I actually love it? Not only do I get to sit with mom types who give me milkshake packets and share their pens with me, but it makes me feel like I'm part of something aside from work and writing group, which I like a lot. And it's helped me to lose 2.2 lbs so far! Hooray, me! Only like, 5 more lbs until I can actually fit into my clothes again. I've honestly had to buy pretty much an entirely new work wardrobe due to this weight gain and it's not cool man! I miss my old clothes.

God could I have written a more boring blog post? Probably, but we will never know. I have to try to sleep now, which won't happen for another hour at least, but a girl can dream.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Sexual Orientation: Garrus Vakarian

"Some women find facial scars attractive."
Welcome to my blog! Where I write entire posts dedicated to video game aliens who I find attractive! You're welcome. Today I would like to explain to you, dear readers, why I find Garrus Vakarian (from Mass Effect, obviously) to be so goddamn sexy. Like, so sexy. So sexy I'm not as attracted to human men anymore now?? YOU GUYS HELP ME my life is a shambles.

Whatever, what's the point of living if you can't be sexually attracted to a turian at least once in your life, amirite!!? Ahahaha... haa.

Moving along. Garrus is Commander Shepard's turian bestie and, if you're not a loser and romancing someone else, her boyfriend. The best boyfriend. He sticks with her through all three Mass Effect games, and in ME2 gets some wicked hawt facial scars (as seen above). He knows they're hot, too. And he knows Shepard is into that. Plus he's supportive and fun and badass and takes her bottle-shooting on top of the goddamn Presidium, so what's not to love?

If you're still having trouble finding reasons to love Garrus, here. Read this handy list I just made! (Note: I refer to Shepard as "you" because she is you and you are Shepard.)

Reasons to Love Garrus Vakarian:

1. His voice for the love of god. His voice. It's all deep and gravelly but also sarcastic and just a little bit bad boy and kill me please. Here's a video of nothing but Garrus dialogue.

2. He doesn't give a shit if you push people out of very high windows to their deaths. Kaidan Alenko gets butthurt if you so much as look at him while wielding a gun, but you can literally shove a dude out of a skyscraper window for no good reason and Garrus will not bat an eye. He'll just be like, "Yeah okay, Shepard. Go right ahead with that." And still bring you wine and attempt cheesy pick-up lines later! He accepts you as you are. What a man turian.

3. He watches how-to videos on turian/human relations. I can't stress this enough. He watches how-to videos on turian/human relations. He's basically sitting down in the main battery between calibration sessions, watching youtube videos of how to make sexy times with the captain. He also attempts valiantly to do things that the vids tell him the ladies will like. And then he says to you that he learned it in vids. He doesn't give a single fuck! He just straight owns that he has no idea how to date a human let alone a living thing, and his awkward charm is disarming as FUCK okay.

4. This fucking song. Go listen to it now. Somebody made a stupid fucking thing with Garrus dialogue from ME2 over electronic shit and I don't ever listen to this on repeat for hours at a time. Never.

5. He calls himself your boyfriend. And he calls you his girlfriend. And the fact that Commander Shepard, the first human Spectre, savior of the Citadel, renowned badass and uniter of the goddamn galaxy, can simply be somebody's girlfriend is just... it makes me really really happy, okay. The fact that Garrus feels so comfortable around you that he casually calls you his girlfriend (while checking out your ass in a tight dress) is just the most painfully sweet thing I can think of in the universe right now. FML.

6. He wants to be a goddamn dad. I can't elaborate on this or I'll fucking cry but he wants to be a dad.

7. He's a huge badass. When you first meet him he's basically working as a fucking space mall cop, but he's one of the only people (turians?) who agrees with you that Saren (a turian Spectre and murdering jerk) has gone rogue. So he joins you so you guys can kick ass and take names together. And then when you meet up with him a second time in ME2, he's known by the nickname Archangel and is such a goddamn badass that every mercenary group and criminal on a space station that is chalk-full of mercenaries and criminals wants him dead but can't kill him. Why? Because he's just moseying here and there, dispensing vigilante justice willy-nilly like a TOTAL BOSS. No big. Then he gets shot by a fucking rocket and survives. Ain't no thang.

8. HE ROLEPLAYS WITH YOU ON A DATE. He literally pretends he's just meeting you at a bar because you asked him to and then he hits on you awkwardly and tells you how great his voice is. Yes, yes please tell me more, Garrus. I mean, stranger. And then he reveals that he's learned the goddamn tango and dances with you in a bar in space, I mean can we please talk about this. He roleplays with you and then tangos with you after taking dance lessons on the side, which he somehow managed to fit in while rallying the various fleets of the entire galaxy to join with Earth to defeat a race of beings that were created solely to destroy all of life as we know it. I mean look! Look at all the effort he's putting in! Look at it.

9. Whenever you make a headshot, he sometimes says "Im-pressive!" And it's just the highlight of my day every time.

10. He'll be there whenever you need him. In the Shadow Broker's dossier on Garrus, it says that he has great leadership potential, but that he's likely to be overshadowed by Shepard's badassery. Which is just painful, because Garrus probably knows it, and Shepard is too obtuse to realize it, and Garrus sticks with you anyway. Because he's loyal and he loves you. He chooses you over his career and it breaks my goddamn heart. Fuck this guy for real.

"Lucky for you, Archangel's your boyfriend."
If all of this doesn't make you wanna take this turian to the boneyard right the fuck now, there's something terribly wrong with you.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

OMFG Hawke

Ugh look at this sexy jerk like who do you even think you are, Hawke.
Okay you guys, I'm having a fangirl meltdown over here. If you're a BioWare fan and not living under a rock, you've probably (hopefully) been peeing yourself a lot lately in anticipation of Dragon Age: Inquisition. Perhaps you have even been enduring a steady stream of pee in your britches ever since the first trailer came out? I know I certainly have. Well, today at Gamescom 2014 (I didn't know this convention[?] even existed until this morning), they released more gameplay footage from DA:I and a new gameplay trailer, which usually I'm kinda like, meh, I prefer cinematic trailers to gameplay ones because the characters always look sexier? Whatever. Anyway my pants were already soiled from the excitement of simply hearing that new DA:I info was afoot, so I figured I'd better watch the gameplay trailer on my phone while I ate lunch in the break room, just 'cause.

So I watched it.

And guess fucking WHAT, guys. GUESS WHAT. Not only is Morrigan in there, not only is your grey warden (supposedly) in there, but HAWKE IS IN THERE.



I am really fucking excited about this you guys. It was kind of embarrassing how much I flipped out in the break room in front of multiple coworkers, though. I lost it. I had a minor stroke and/or lost consciousness for a split second in between bites of sad salad. Because Hawke. Fucking HAWKE.

First, just watch this fucking thing:

Did you see Hawke at 1:35?? Did you? 

Bask in it. Bask in femHawke in her sassy glory.

Good. Did you bask? Okay. So. I'm not sure if all of you know the relationship I have with Dragon Age 2. Probably not? DA2 is the reason I love console gaming, essentially. It's 100% the reason I discovered and fell in love with BioWare, which is a huge deal because every BioWare game I've played has meant a lot to me. I played DA2 before Dragon Age: Origins because I'm a terrible person and didn't care about anything about the game except for romancing Fenris. However, I quickly fell in (deep deep) love with the protagonist, Garrett Hawke, aka Sassy Hawke because he's so damn sassy

And honestly? Until Commander Shepard, Hawke was my man. My favorite video game character, nearly tied with Alistair but just winning out over the babely templar. So, long story long, I love Hawke. I love love looooooove Hawke. I've played DA2 five times now (it doesn't even sound like that many when I write it down, what a lame fan I am), and it doesn't get old. Hawke's stupid sarcastic dialogue, his relationships with his friends, and his quips about boneless women flopping through the streets of Kirkwall (what a jerk) just win over my sad little pitter-pattering heart every time. 

So I was really really hoping that we'd get to hear even a tiny bit about Hawke in DA:I, but I wasn't going to get my hopes up or anything. I would've been happy with a little plaque somewhere that read, like, "Here is the mine where Hawke and friends saved everyone from dragons, repeatedly, at least different five times. In memoriam," or something, BUT NOW! But now we have confirmation that Hawke is indeed going to be in the game, however briefly! And it has 100% completely MADE MY DAY.

Also I'm assuming that the dude in the trailer next to femHawke is the Grey Warden from DA:O, which would be amazeballs if they allow you to import saved games, or at least use Dragon Age Keep to set the stage for DA:I -- allowing you to make the major decisions in the first two games (not unlike the Genesis DLCs for Mass Effect 2 and 3) -- which had better get its shit together and officially launch so I can do whatever it is I'm supposed to do with it before DA:I is released. That was a really long sentence. BUT SERIOUSLY, can you imagine your DA:I inquisitor, some badass Qunari mage or whatever, joining forces with the Hero of Ferelden and the Champion of Kirkwall???! I CAN'T IMAGINE IT BECAUSE IT'S TOO FUCKING AWESOME. What if Hawke makes sassy remarks? Oh god what if Alistair shows up?? What if he's with your Grey Warden if you two hooked up? What if Hawke is with his boyfriend Fenris because they've been traveling the world kicking ass and taking names together!!?? WHAT IF.

Fml I can't take it anymore, being a fangirl is too stressful. This is why approximately 15% of my hair is grey. I'm just really really worked up about this. And the damn game doesn't even come out until November. NOVEMBER, for christ's sake!

Monday, August 11, 2014

Another Fucking Tattoo

Here, have a horrible photo from Mass Effect 3 that's not even a proper screenshot it's just a phone pic I took of my TV (which is really a computer monitor)! Because I'm gonna talk about Mass Effect some more. It's been what... seven weeks? Almost two months straight of intense Mass Effect feels over here in my too-hot corner of Portland (news flash: all of Portland is too hot and I hate it), so settle in for more where this came from in the days to come! You're welcome!

On Saturday I had a consultation for my next tattoo. I bet you can't guess what sort of tattoo I'm getting. Hint: It's a Mass Effect tattoo. I'm getting another one. An even bigger, stupider one than the N7. It's going to be my Shepard, in her armor and holding a gun with like, some fucking botanical shit framing her because I guess if I'm gonna spend upwards of $500 on permanent fan art on my body, I may as well throw in some flowers.

I'm a nervous wreck pretty much 90% of the time, so when I showed up at the consultation I was literally shaking and felt like a complete FREAK because I was like, zooming through my printed out references, all, "And this is her gun, ahaha and this is her armor (but ignore that head use this other reference for her head), and I like the way this tattoo looks, haaa, and this is her head, and this is a picture I drew of her but it's horrible I'm sorry, please don't hate me." But the artist was really cool about it all! When I showed her my drawing of Shepard she said it was really good, and then said my horrible "screenshot" of Shepard's face was beautiful, and then I got really happy/embarrassed and even more awkward and tripped over my words even more.

So clearly I'm an emotionally stable, responsible adult who should be making decisions like putting $500 video game fan art on her body permanently.

It's just that I haven't been this excited about something since Doctor Who. Maybe Sherlock? But that wasn't quite the level of obsession that this Mass Effect mania has reached. And there's no Steven Moffat here with a mission to ruin everything I love.

I just... I feel like a total freak trying to talk about Mass Effect because I know how I sound to other people. "Oh yeah, it's this video game, but it's special because you actually make decisions that affect what happens. Oh and you can sleep with various aliens. And it made me cry!??" Wow okay, yeah, that makes total sense, please get a bunch of tattoos of that on your body where everyone has to see them.

I dunno. I figure at this point only the people who have played a game and really, really really loved it will understand. Or maybe people who have read a book and become overwhelmingly obsessed with it. Or maybe even anyone who's loved anything? I'm not sure. I feel sometimes like I enjoy things far too much, to the point of excess, but then I realize that life is way more fun if you can get so fucking excited about something that you can't sleep and all you wanna do is immerse yourself in that thing. So really I guess I'm about passion. Getting passionate about things. Mostly aliens, though. I could get passionate about aliens for days.

Monday, August 4, 2014

20 Stupid Thoughts: Guardians of the Galaxy

Here are 20 stupid thoughts I have about Guardians of the Galaxy. Which, by the way, is an A+ 5 out of 5 stars awesome movie that everybody should watch right now and that I would like to see again ASAP. So much so that I used the acronym "ASAP"!! Seriously this movie though. Here are my thoughts that I wrote down as I came up with them so it's pretty much the worst review/reaction post of all time. You're welcome.

1. Chris Pratt, the perfect mix of hot and hilarious. I knew he was hot now but he is so hot now. Great, all of my love interests are not denizens of this earth (and are not real people). Wrap me in your strong arms, Star-Lord. Asshole.

2. Gamora and Peter never kiss!!! I like it. More like this please, Hollywood and the world. (Titan A.E. already got the memo.)

3. The part with Groot almost made me weep openly. Which part you ask? IT DOESN'T MATTER. All of them.

4. Footloose though.

5. Just that whole scene on Xandar where everyone is chasing/shooting at/trying to capture each other is frankly beyond words so I won't say any.

6. Rocket is so angry and sarcastic but so sensitive on the inside! He doesn't even know what a raccoon is!! He talks to Groot like Han Solo talks to Chewbacca, which is cray because Groot only says "I am Groot"! What a crazy raccoon/tree duo!!


8. Can we talk about how this movie achieves the perfect balance of comedy, action, emotional depth, and badass visuals? I laughed, I cried, I enjoyed myself so fucking much.

9. That weird thing the guy wants to put on his spaceship dashboard???

10. Rocket's cheek fur is all smashed when he wakes up though.

11. KAREN GILLAN. Damn is she gorgeous no matter what you do to her. Marry me and be in every movie I watch from now on? Thank you.

12. Rocket whenever he has a big gun and is firing it though!

13. The soundtrack; can we talk about the soundtrack?

14. Lee Pace is only doing movies where he can be an over-the-top ham with fabulous headwear from now on.

15. Peter Quill is not 100% a dick.

16. "Ain't no thing like me, except me!"AHAHA WHAT'S THAT ROCKET? Tell me again. Angrily.

17. "I wasn't listening. I was thinking of something else."


19. Drax stroking Rocket's ears though ahahahaaaaaahahaaa I'm not hysterical.


Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Let's Talk About Commander Shepard

Let's just take a moment to talk about Commander Shepard, shall we? I have already filled the first four pages of my brand new journal with thoughts about Shepard, because I'm a terrible person who writes about fictional characters in her journal at the age of 28. But I'm not done thinking about Shepard, and I'm not done writing about her. So because my blog has already devolved into an empty, echoing place where I very occasionally yell into the ether about my love for Loki or a video game or whatever, I may as well just carry on in that vein and shriek about Commander Shepard for a while.

Commander Shepard is the protagonist, and the character you play, in the Mass Effect trilogy. From the very beginning you shape her, from her face to her first name to her personality and her moral compass. She is your baby. And she can even be male if you want, which is 100% the wrong choice, but fine if you wanna listen to that guy's derpy voice for 240+ hours I guess.

But Shepard isn't just my baby, the lens through which I saw the world in Mass Effect. She's my hero. She's a hero, yeah, but she's also mine. Not just because I created her, in the limited way that one can in a video game like this. Not just because it's up to her to unite the galaxy and lead a rag-tag band of badasses to save the day. But also because she never understood why she should be the one to do it. Because she has a group of friends and allies who love her, who would kill and die for her, and because she would do the same for them. Because she's scared she'll fuck up. And because she does fuck up sometimes, and can be an ass sometimes, and punches reporters in the face sometimes. But she's also kind and risks her life for strangers and sucks at dancing and doesn't have time for your shit. She's real and complex and I love her.

I can't think of another female character in a game, in anything, who has come to life so fully and won me over so quickly and completely. Shepard is written to be gender neutral, which rescues her from the typical gender-specific tropes that writers fall into so often with video game characters. And because you have full control over her dialogue, her reactions, and her decisions, she comes to life in subtle and complex ways that I haven't seen before in a female character.

Shepard is mine, an extension of me, a woman who is my idol but isn't free of fault. She's made tough choices and has broken hearts. And as much as she accomplishes, she still doesn't understand why she's the one who's expected to save the galaxy. She's just a marine who happened to be at the right place and the right time when shit hit the fan. She's no chosen one and she's no hero -- at least not at first. But she's my hero. And I love her so much.

I would follow Shepard anywhere, do anything for her, and trust her unequivocally. I know she's a character in a video game, and I know that everything she does is guided by me, and maybe that's why I love her so much -- because she is me, in a sense. But I've cried for her, shrieked like an idiot when she fell in love, laughed with her, felt rage at those who wronged her, fought with her. All of those emotions were real. And while the game itself is just a game, what I've taken away from it is true and genuine. I experienced a story that was so visceral I spent the entire last hour of the game sobbing brokenly. (And I still cry when I listen to the music from the sad parts because I'm the worst.)

Those hours and hours I spent with Shepard mean so much to me. That experience means so much to me. I'll write later about the game beyond my Shepard-related feels, but she is at the crux of my all-out adoration of Mass Effect. I cannot say enough how important she is to me, or how important she is to gaming and the future of female characters.

But I'll shut up now, as I'm sure you're all like, "Wow Meg you are horrible stop blogging about things we don't care about." Well I'm sorry! Not I'm not. Now go play Mass Effect if you haven't, for the love of all things good in this world. Go. Get the fuck out. Go now. Right now.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Space Military Video Game Tattoo

New tattoo, everyone! It was kind of spur-of-the-moment, if that means thinking about it for a couple weeks and then doing it. So maybe not as spontaneous as I feel like it was, but still spontaneous for me. Wow boring. Anyway, it's from Mass Effect which is a game series that some people kinda like I guess. The Mass Effect Wiki explains it better than I can, and I'll even post a quote from it here because I'm pretty sure none of you are gonna click that link:
N7 is a vocational code in the Systems Alliance military. The "N" designates special forces and the "7" refers to the highest level of proficiency. It applies to marines who have graduated from the Interplanetary Combatives Training (ICT) program.
Hahaha wow, I graduated from that combatives training program, guys! I did! No, I didn't. Anyway. None of that makes sense either, I know, I'm sorry. Here let me try to explain. The Systems Alliance military is Earth's (i.e. humanity's) military, in the far-off future when we discover technology that catapults us out into the far reaches of the Milky Way and introduces us to a wonderful world of adventure, intrigue, the impending destruction of organic life as we know it, and a veritable cornucopia of alien sexual conquest opportunities. Most notably turians, with drell coming in as a close second on the alien hotness scale. Shut up Meg. Anyway, I'm now a badass space marine who bangs aliens and could totally take Commander Shepard in a fight, is the conclusion I'm trying to reach here. Clearly. (I would be killed in a fight against Shepard. Within approximately one second.)

I'm at the point where I feel like I should just start a new blog for all of my gaming thoughts, because I have A Lot Of Them. I'm pretty sure it would be the most self-indulgent thing on the planet though? Not that this blog isn't already that.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Pre-DCC Haps

That moment when you realize that you don't give much of a shit if your ex has a new girlfriend or not is a good moment. A good moment. I recently spent way too much brain energy on deducing that he had probably joined Tinder, and then when I reached that conclusion, I discovered that I didn't even particularly care. I mean, I cared enough to laugh at all the poon he was probably not slaying, but I just... don't actually care anymore. I mean, yeah, it's annoying to get facebook notifications that he's been tagged in my old photos, but it doesn't make me feel nauseous or make me cry anymore, which was just going on for way too long. And it feels goooood. I even tried thinking about all the things that used to make me sad, or angry, or whatever, and meh. It's not a thing anymore.

So fuck yeah.

Meanwhile I'm getting ready for Denver Comic Con, and I'm calling it now: It's gonna be the highlight of Summer 2014. Four straight days of geeky girl-fun with Shaun, hangouts with Zak, my first adventure in cosplay, and so much cider. I can't contain my giddiness I'm so excited! I leave on Thursday morning and I still have so much to do for my cosplay, so tonight and tomorrow are going to be spent in a crazed frenzy of last-minute cosplay shit, laundry, packing, and maybe making a pit stop at the Belmont or Hawthorne food carts with Megan before I go because fuck, they're both closing this fall. Thursday morning can't come soon enough!

Otherwise life is good. It's really good. I'm as excited as ever about being in Portland; it still feels like a dream sometimes. I love my job, I love my writing group, I love my roommate, my friends, my dog... there's just a lot of awesome shit in life right now.

Monday, June 2, 2014

Hello Summer I Guess

I feel like this is one of the first times in a long time that I might be embracing summer. In fact it might be the first time since the days when I was in high school and did nothing all summer but sleep 'til noon and borrow my mom's debit card to buy smoothies and stay up 'til 2:00 am watching video countdowns on VH1 with Rose. I'm excited about buying summer clothes, which is so ridiculous. And I'm excited about such summery things? Such as: drinking margaritas outside in the sun, attending BrewFest, barbecuing, acquiring a bike, biking to bars in the evenings, the Mississippi/Belmont/Alberta street fairs, long evenings, and iced coffee. I realize most of these involve alcohol consumption. No, grandpa, I don't have a drinking problem.

As a related aside, I just spent $80 on these wedge sandals at Macy's yesterday, which is possibly the most money I've ever spent on a pair of shoes that I can recall, and really says something about my relationship with summer at the moment. Like, okay summer, I get you. I feel you. I'm gonna let you into my life, mmk, but on the condition that I do it while wearing $80 sandals. (They are very comfy FYI.)

I just have a feeling it's going to be a good summer. It's kicking off next week with Denver Comic Con, which is gonna be killa. Even though my cosplay is going to be so, so half-assed because I'm not even near finished with it and I leave for Denver next Thursday. It's okay, that's what the weekend is for, right? Right? ...If anyone has a good pattern for an infinity scarf/hood combo, let me know. I need one to modify for this dumb cosplay. Why oh why did I choose the most difficult costume of all time to make by hand. Why. But no matter. I'll pull it all together at the last minute, as I always do. DCC! I'm coming for you!

And even though it's still very light outside, I now have to turn off the lights and try to sleep. The one crappy thing about working at 6:00 am. Okay one of the many crappy things, the main one being that I have to work at 6:00 am.