Life is pretty good! Here are some updates that were too large to send to Twitter! It’s an exclam day! I'm vaguely sick but I took cold medicine so I'm still enthusiastic and excitable and a bit loopy!
  • Magic: I’m playing Magic! I meant not to get into it super seriously, but I got recruited into a team, cardagain.com, and now I’m editing for their website and sponsored to play in major events. Oops! It’s super fun, and while if you don’t play Magic you don’t care, we recently got Travis Woo as a writer, and you can see a cool new article of his here! If you like it and want to share it around that would be awesome too I guess? I dunno, I'm terrible at social media. cardagain wants to be, like, magiccards.info plus tcgplayer when we grow up, and some of the features (visual decklists sorted by CMC) are already very cool.
  • Computers: The Homestuck Shipping World Cup kind of took up a hobby slot this summer. I don’t really care about the event at this point, and didn’t really participate as a fan, but I’m on the mod team, and did almost all of the coding. I feel like a way more proficient programmer than six months ago. Not _good_, but proficient, which feels nice. I can take python and sqlite and make them do things that someone might want software to do. It’s been very confidence boosty, and I _finally_ learned git. I’ve also gotten to play sysadmin, since it’s all hosted off of my server. I originally planned this as a way to have a record of me being able to do things with computers if I lost my job, but…
  • Work: I was worried I might lose my job because the work I had been doing was kind of drying up, but instead, I got promoted into new responsibilities! I’m doing new and different stuff, which is really refreshing! I’m not good at it and that’s mostly great because I get to learn things but it’s occasionally terrifying!
  • Therapy: I’ve been doing the therapy thing again after all the horrible bullshit from a year or two back. In the past I used to do mean things to future rax, and in the more recent past, I started doing nice things for future rax, and that’s treated me very well for the last few years. Right now I’m trying to figure out doing nice things for past rax. It’s super cool. It’s definitely hard and going to stay hard and… intersects with some kind of spirituality in weird ways I haven’t figured out yet? I dunno. I’ll talk more about that if I figure it out, maybe.
  • Travel: Has been awesome!!! So many wonderful people and I get to see them in so many wonderful places, between Boston and SF and Seattle and random road trips from those places and so on and so forth. (Also, I edited /home/rax/random-text/people-history/people-i-have-kissed for the first time in a long time, and it was great. <3)
  • Music: Has taken a bit of a back seat! But I’m getting back in the groove and have two DJ sets in September and one or two in November and I’ve already started working on them because it remains _super fun_.

That’s about it. Hope y’all are doing wel!


Dec. 28th, 2011 10:29 am
rax: (vriska gonna kill you in your sleep)
So, because my housemate Nicole has been begging me to for months, once the semester ended I finally gave Homestuck a try. I have strong and mixed feelings! That I will try to keep minimally spoilery but there's no way I can completely avoid it. At the very least probably most of it will mean nothing to you if you have no idea what's going on in the series, so it shouldn't be a big deal.

So, what is Homestuck? It's a web...fiction-comic-thing by Andrew Hussie, which starts here, though don't click that and follow it just yet. The conceit, according to his helpful for-new-readers page, is that you are playing a text-based adventure game by typing commands, and then the comic is what happens when you type those commands. Earlier comics he did like this were based on user input (Pokémon folks will remember the Black Adventures comic which I hadn't realized was based on this but totally is) but Homestuck, especially after the first bits, seems to be mostly a story he is telling and ignoring user input. I don't even see a place on the site to give user input anymore. As far as I am concerned, that is fine; I tried to read one of his earlier things based on user input, Problem Sleuth, and the beginning was so terrible I gave up.


Here are some reasons that you should maybe read this thing:
  • It does really interesting things with the medium of storytelling; it uses flash (including game sequences you play), sound, text, animation, and the actual fact of your clicking between panels as crucial parts of the process of what it's doing. I find this really neat and not something I've seen before. If you're interested in playing with media in this way, I do recommend checking this out.
  • It's also super meta. Metafiction is not everyone's favorite thing, but if it's one of yours, oh man, you should at least give this a shot.
  • Some of the characters will grab you and cause you to have strong feelings about them, and you get to watch pretty much all of them grow and learn, which is pretty great.
  • There are all manner of references to video games that I find hilarious. There are also references to movies but I find them neutral because I haven't seen any of them and don't really care, but if you are into pop movies from the 80s, oh man.
  • The world-building is clever and way more consistent than I expected it to be.
  • There is tons of content and you can catch up gradually if you'd like, or skim everything and them jump around to follow the threads you most care about in more detail.
  • Oh my god there are so many building blocks that fit together over time and make you go ohhhhhhhhhh
  • The troll relationship structure is so amazing. Spoilers.
  • People you genuinely care about will still die when that's what the story demands.
Here are some reasons that you should maybe not read this thing:
  • The beginnings of each section are so boringly and blindlingly terrible that if I hadn't promised Nicole I would try seriously to read it I would have given up after ten pages. God the beginnings are awful and crude and boring and slow. The beginnings after the first one are even worse because now you're invested in the story and want it to continue but what is he doing? He's expositing according to a bad formula again auuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuughh. (Maybe the formula works for some people, but I had so much trouble. I still haven't read most of the beginning of act 6 I just don't caaaaaaaaaare)
  • Sometimes Homestuck demands more of a reader than you actually want to put into a webcomic. One of the characters (fortunately, a minor one) talks in morse code. No way, man. I am not decoding Morse code for a webcomic, even one I like. I just don't know what that character is saying.
  • It will take you 10-20 hours to catch up. Seriously. Low estimate.
  • I'm pretty sure the comic is super inaccessible in terms of, say, screenreaders.
  • A lot of the story is told in chat logs, and everyone talks in different colors, some harder to read than others, and many of the characters have intentional affectations along leetspeak lines that make their dialogue harder to read. This is occasionally really awesome when clever double meanings arise 8ut far more often is just annnnnnnnoyyyyyyyyinnnnnnnng. ::::(
  • Like almost any webcomic, the art starts bad and gets better.
  • There are places where it's so meta that you are kind of just tapping your foot waiting for him to get back to telling the fucking story. Some of those places last more than a hundred pages.
  • People you genuinely care about will still die when that's what the story demands.
So should you read it? I dunno? I am glad I did and keep thinking about it because I mainlined it all in like two days while sick, but I don't recommend it without reservations because of all the frustrating parts. What I will say is that it's definitely awesome even if it isn't always good, and if you decide to give it a shot but aren't hooked by it at first, just power through for a while and see if you start caring after a while. If you still don't care once you're past the first act or two, well, sorry. But I know I'm not the only person who was like bored bored bored bored HOOKED NOW, so it's worth a shot.

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