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Kabe Rinnaul
The Uncertain Areas



February 11th, 2011

AT LAST after letting this sit for a year, I'm finally finishing up my Final Fantasy review series. I'm bad at this. But I mainly blame Krogers trying to eat my soul. Anyway, on with the reviews.Read more...Collapse )

February 5th, 2011

Ask Mr Johnson

Sometimes runners need help, and not the kind of help that can be bought with multiple thousands of nuyen (though I am certainly not refusing any such payments - Mr J). Sometimes all they need is some sage advice from a caring soul willing to help them calm their troubled minds. But this is the sixth world, and that sort of treatment will probably cost you more than a new cyberarm. So instead you get me. I'm here to tell you to suck it up and get over yourself. Be warned - at times, actual helpful advice may slip through. Rest assured, these anomalies will be dealt with swiftly to ensure that your experience is as cynical and demeaning as you expect. - Mr J

Mr Johnson,
>>>>>I'm the relative newcomer in a long-standing team, and while I can put up with the abuse from the rest of them, one of my teammates worries me. I think he's going to kill me in my sleep. He's an adept of some sort, and uses knives, and there's blood all over his place. Plus, he's already cut me twice before, and said it was to prove a point. Please, what should I do? Before he kills me...
- A concerned snake shaman

>>>>>Normally I'd tell you to kill him in his sleep before he has the chance to do it to you. But judging by your signature, you're probably a pacifist, so that's out. But maybe you could convince one of your teammates to kill him for you. He might even be a blood mage, and those guys are worth 2 million right now, thanks to the Draco Foundation. But if even that's going too far for your sensibilities, I suggest you invest in some solid security, maybe some watcher spirits too, or even conjure up a hearth spirit before you sleep each night. But judging from the sound of things, you're a pushover. So try looking for another team. Mages are always in high demand, especially one the others know they can boss around.
- Mr J

Mr Johnson,
>>>>>My fixer continues to set me up on runs where I have to work with complete idiots. Any ideas on how to get him to cease and desist?
- An annoyed runner

>>>>>Your best bet is establishing a permanent team to work with. But since you're still relying on your fixer for a teammate, I'll assume you're new in town and don't have much in the way of contacts. You could try only taking jobs that require intelligence or social skills, or just let the idiots get themselves killed. But remember, surviving in this line of work requires a bare minimum of intelligence. If he's still alive after a few jobs, maybe he's not actually all that stupid.
>>>>>Of course, you could always just beat your fixer over the head with a brick. I don't know that it would accomplish anything, but it would go far towards relieving the stress.
- Mr J

Mr Johnson,
>>>>>This is the third time this week someone has attacked me with a brick, and I'm getting tired of it. You have any idea what this might be about?
- Fixer with a headache

>>>>>You're not funny, Black.
- Mr J

Mr Johnson,
>>>>>My partner disappeared a while back after a run-in with the mafia. While I don't care if he shows back up or not, I'm mildly concerned that the mafia might come after me eventually. Any suggestions on finding out if they are or how to keep their interest away from me?
- Not Disappearing Yet

>>>>>First things first, find out why they came for him. The Mafia tend to do their revenge very strictly. Surgical strikes and the like, only hitting the exact one who offended them. There's typically only collateral damage in the case of severe offenses where the target had close relationships. There are two routes to take here. First, find yourself a contact who has inside info on the mob, preferably through friendly and insider channels rather than a snitch. The second method is to be friendly with them, and become a reliable asset by doing some good jobs for them. If you're lucky you might even learn his fate and the story behind it. The difficulty there lies in remaining an asset, and not becoming part of the family. Once that happens, you can't get back out. At least, not easily.
>>>>>Alternatively, you could buddy up with a Triad or the Yaks, and hope there's an all-around desire to avoid another mob war. Of course, if one flares up, you'll be dragged into it and possibly killed by the mafia regardless. Good luck with that.
- Mr J

Mr Johnson,
>>>>>What do I do about overprotective teammates? The two guys on my team won't let me go on the physical run anymore.
- A Frustrated Runner

>>>>>Are you still getting a cut of the pay? If not, I'd say that means you're not actually on the team anymore. If you are... then why are you complaining? Doesn't that essentially mean you're getting all the reward for no risk? Run with it!
>>>>>Now, granted, there are those roles on a team where physical presence on a run is entirely unnecessary, such as the driver, some social types, and many deckers and mages. If you fit one of those descriptions, see what sort of role you can play on the team while avoiding the actual runs themselves. Or perhaps seek some sort of compromise position. Or hell, just find a new team. Your pick.
- Mr J

Mr Johnson,
>>>>>How do you suggest handling parenthood on a running team? A teammate is pregnant, and while we don't think she should be participating in the more dangerous parts of our career in her condition, she's not happy with losing an active role on the team.
- Father-to-Be

>>>>>This was the next question in my inbox after the previous, and I replied to that one first before reading this one. So hey, I think two and two add up here.
>>>>>Alright, here's the deal. Personally, I agree with you to a point. If she's pregnant enough that it's hindering her physically, then her presence on the job will put all of you, and the mission itself, at risk. But I don't know if she's that far yet. Early on, when she's still fully physically able? That's tougher, and you really need to discuss it amongst yourselves to decide. I personally would still recommend against, considering the possibility of getting shot, the possible effect of combat magic or toxins like stun gas on the child, and the likelihood of you all being distracted by those.
>>>>>But hey, your call. If you die on the job, it means we don't have to pay you.
- Mr J

Mr Johnson,
>>>>>What should you tell two teammates when they gang up on you in decision making? They're not letting me get a word in edgewise.
- Still Frustrated

>>>>>To quit bickering in my column. Do I look like a marriage counselor here? Deal with it yourselves.
- Mr J

Mr Johnson,
>>>>>How do you handle splitting the creds when one teammate essentially ducked out of the run? He's back demanding his share of the reward.
- Not Happening

>>>>>Is he at all useful? If you want to keep him around, make an initial offer to pay the percentage he contributed to. He stuck around for one hour of an eight-hour gig? Offer 12% of his original cut. If he doesn't like that, the best followup offers are "No", "Frag off", and "I will shoot your greedy ass."
- Mr J

(somebody leave some comments suggesting new questions. I want to do more of these.)

November 25th, 2010

wh33 Dissidia

So picked up Dissidia again. I've nearly got everything to 100% completion, but I'm missing a few things.

Theater Star - Have yet to convince myself it's worth it to play through Shade Impulse 10 more times.

Achievement 033 (Impenetrable Defense 2) - 2675/5000 blocks. Have long used Terra and Zidane as mains, so my dodging is a lot higher than blocks. Exdeath should raise this up, though.

Achievement 035 (Artful Dodger 2) - 4455/5000 dodges.

Achievement 040 (Rejuvenation 2) - 612401/1000000 HP regenerated. I don't spend that much time in EX Mode. I mainly use it to escape a combo HP attack or Burst to finish off someone with a Phoenix Down.

Achievement 043 (Earth Unfriendly 2) - 19481/20000 stage damage.

Achievement 061 (Time Attacker) - Incomplete. I really, really hate Time Attack mode. Can I at least customize the characters? That's really all I ask.

Achievement 135 (Vengeance of the Fallen) - ~250/500 battles lost.

Achievement 138 (Clash of the Valiant) - ~23,700,000/30,000,000 bravery gained.

Achievement 144 (Now I Am The Master) - ~970/1000 abilities mastered.

Achievement 145 (The Ravenous Collector) - 96% Weapon completion. I'm mainly missing the Lufenia set, because I hate playing in Blackjack Course.

Achievement 146 (My Road to El Dorado) - 99% Accessory completion. I think I'm only missing the boosters that the other achievements award.

November 9th, 2010

First, you'd get a lot of information packets in the mail. Dozens, maybe hundreds. However, most of them have such ridiculous costs for such a poor education that you dismiss them outright and instead apply to the ones that remain.

However, after a month-long wait, they all send you rejection letter. Each one says the same thing - due to poor academic performance in college, you aren't considered proper material to be a student in their schools.

But how can that be, you ask? After all, you haven't been to college yet, so how can you have performed badly?

Well, it's explained to you that if you have no points in a course, you'd be failing it, right?

You concede this point.

And they continue, explaining that clearly, you can't have any points in a course you've never taken.

A point which you must also concede.

And so, they conclude, you've failed all your college classes. You'll just have to get into college classes and do well in them to prove that you can do well enough in college classes to be allowed to take them.

The sudden piercing headache prevents you from pointing out the circular reasoning present, but they continue to explain that there are options, but upon being presented the new information packet, you exclaim that the only way to qualify for any of these alternatives is to be so rich you'd never need college to begin with!

Abandoning this quest, you instead turn to the poorer options you had previously dismissed, only to learn that they all have the same stringent standards as the better schools. However, one finally accepts you.

You then discover that it's impossible to repay the student loans you need with the salary you'll be earning in any given program.

And then, just before you pass out, you think in the back of your mind, "If it hadn't been for my horse, I wouldn't have spent that year in college."

September 14th, 2010

Random Urban Fantasy Scene

(Random thing I thought of. Just writing up this bit because it contains a few amusing ideas I don't wanna forget overnight.)

"What do you mean you can't do that? I though subtle magic worked on nonbelievers too." Melinda followed her mentor through the racks of books and trinkets. "Don't tell me you've suddenly developed a conscience about this."

"No, then I would have told you that I wouldn't do it, not that I couldn't do it." He stopped to pull a heavy book from it's shelf. "Precision in speech is a habit well worth developing."

"Why not, then? If that's the only hangup-"

"It's not the only hangup, that's the problem. Yes, those who believe strongly in the nonexistence of magic are a hindrance to it's more overt forms, but are equally weaker to it's more subtle applications. But, just as there are many ways to focus oneself to allow magic, there are many things which disrupt it."

"Well, since it seems to be lesson time, what's the problem here?"

"Simple. He's a politician, and one of the most common traits among that group is a massive ego. That's what saves them. Their own self-importance fills their head so full that there's no room for magic anymore! That's the reason it's so rare for someone to take over a politician and run the country from behind the curtain." He finished flipping through the book and put it back on the shelf. "Little-known fact: Everyone within 20 feet of Kanye West is completely impervious to mind control charms."

"I'm sure. But how is it you get out of so many speeding tickets, then? A cop is the last person I'd expect of having a small ego."

"That's slightly different. It's more an issue of clouding their thoughts, making it hard to remember why they pulled me over. Rather like getting them good and stoned. Not that I'd know what that's like, of course..."

"And that's dependent on something other than ego? Wits, I imagine."

"There you go. It takes a truly dull person to be completely open to magical mind control. But you'd be surprised how easy those are to find." He pulled another book from the shelf. "Ah, here we are. Now we just need to make it across the city in under ten minutes."

"Why ten minutes?"

"Any more than that and I miss Doctor Who. Now hurry up."

September 12th, 2010

Random FF Thoughts

So it recently occurred to me that Cloud's amnesia/false memories in 7 don't need mako exposure to be explained. He's just suffering from PTSD after the events of Crisis Core, and in a fugue state. Rather than admit all his failings and deal with the fact that he lost a close friend and was betrayed by his hero, he's living a fantasy where he succeeded in all the places his real self failed, where there's a clear hero and villain, and where his best friend never had to die.

On a completely different subject, it also came up in a conversation that each FF game actually falls under a different genre.

FF1, 2, and 3 I'm not familiar enough with to call them anything, and the MMOs don't count. So:

FF4 - High Fantasy
FF5 - Shonen Anime
FF6 - Opera
FF7 - Cyberpunk
FF8 - Eastern Romance
FF9 - Western Romance
FF10 - Shoujo Anime
FF12 - Political Drama
FF13 - Sci-Fi

August 27th, 2010

Haven't posted in a while, but whatever.

Here's something that occurred to me.

Let's say you're a Catholic or Muslim, and you have a time machine. During Lent or Ramadan (depending on religion), you use the machine to go back in time, and arrive outside those periods.

Do you follow the rules for when you are, and can thus break your fast, or do you follow the rules for when you were and thus can't?

May 23rd, 2010

So recently, Stumble dropped me onto this page, which is, in short, wrong. For one thing, a lot of the things listed aren't really 90s at all. "South Park" in particular feels out-of-place, as it really picked up steam in the 2000s. Others, such as "Ren & Stimpy" or "Beavis & Butt-head" were pushing boundaries at the time, but looking back, were mostly toilet humor and not really all that funny after 8th grade. Finally, a few somewhat good or even great (at the time) shows took a nosedive into utter garbage in the 2000s, namely "Family Guy" (which wasn't really all that good in the first place) and "The Simpsons".

Furthermore, there are three things missing from this list. One, any of the comic book cartoons. Two, any anime at all. Three, anything by Genndy Tartakovsky. I seek to correct this.

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May 14th, 2010

Random Scene (Unnamed)

(This is from a random idea I had and have kinda developed into a whole setting. The original thought is thus: "What if magic was people literally making their dreams real?" This was originally written separately, but I think it fits in with that story.)

She stopped, looking around the dark expanse. There was no floor, really, but a certain point gave the impression of solid ground. But, that was how things worked here. Things didn't need shapes, just a... sort of self-image.

"What is this place?"

You know that already, something responded.

"I don't..." She paused and considered. A place could have an identity too, couldn't it? "I think it's a library. I don't know why I'd think that. There aren't any books, or shelves, or tables... I'm still in the Empty Spaces, aren't I? There shouldn't be any identity here, but the idea that this is a library feels like an absolute truth."

From somewhere, a thought rose up: What is a library, then?

"A... museum of books." She shook her head. Only in one sense. "No, there's more to it. A collection. Of knowledge. That's all."

The idea of something replying 'Very good' occurred, and then continued. This was called the Forgetting Place. This is where all the dreams that slip away at dawn come, and all the ideas people lose to time.

She backed away a step, not that that had any real meaning. "I've gone really deep this time, haven't I?"
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April 29th, 2010

Random Scene: "Superhuman"

(A random scene from a superhero comic universe I work on sometimes. A lot of the stories are mainly deconstructions of normal comic tropes. Don't know who's talking.)

"What's so bad about all that? You have your abilities, don't you? There are people who'd kill to have powers like yours. Aren't you happy to have this?"

"Sometimes..? Maybe. I don't really know. It's hard a lot of the time, too. You ever hear about those empowered who have super strength but nothing else? Like their bodies aren't toughened up, and they break their bones all the time because they just can't handle the stress their muscles put on them?"

"Yeah... but you don't have any physical powers, do you?"

"No, but it's just the same for the psychics in the end, just mentally instead. It's not our bodies getting strained, it's our minds. You ever looked up the NIMH statistics on mental empowered?"

"No... why?"

"We have the highest suicide rate of any demographic measured. And highest rate of mental illness, most per person spent on therapy and psychiatric drugs, far above-average alcoholism and drug use..."

"Are you..?"

"No, I'm not suicidal or anything. Not drinking or on anything, either. But... it's different for each person, you know? With the visions, I have trouble... I mean, it's hard keeping reality straight. What I'm really seeing and what I've skimmed out of someone else's brain."

"So... what happens when you turn it around?"

"When I stun people with it? It's a jumble. I don't like it, honestly. It's like recording ten TV shows and playing them all back at once with the volume up all the way. And the more emotion the worse it is. And really... I think the only reason it hurts them more than me is because I'm used to it."
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