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About Venneh

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    Glad we're all on the same murderous page.
  • Birthday 11/20/1988

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  1. What games are you currently playing?

    Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age: Man, if there was ever a game that deserved the HD remake, it was this. And it isn't just a high res remake - they took the International edition (basically, FF development cycle typically goes Japan release, US release with extra content, then port that back to Japan with even more content as International edition) and added more improvements - the background music has been rerecorded and sounds amazing, the license board actually makes you choose jobs now and eventually allows you the choice of a second job (and the strategy of it is pretty fun), map overlay is available if you want it (because these areas are huge). But biggest of all is speed mode - you can speed up movement/battle speed in the overworld up to 2x or 4x speed, which makes a HUGE difference in the ability to be properly levelled and even just when you have to haul ass to various places. I'm going with 2x speed for now because while 4x is a bit too fast for my taste. It makes them look like they had a bunch of Adderall in terms of movement, but we got through the Sandseas and the Westersand in way less time than I remember doing in high school/early college, and we are borderline overlevelled for most of these boss fights because we go out of our way to find every possible enemy to get that dank XP. Grinding is insanely easy - point them in the direction of a bunch of enemies, let the gambits take over, and watch everything play out in high speed and the XP/LP rack up. We beat Ghis and Belias in about two to three minutes with Mist chains and just beating the shit out of them, most recently. Licenses can still be frustrating when trying to figure out what the fuck everyone can actually use when you're getting equipment, but the amount of XP/LP that we're getting as a result of speed mode means it's not as difficult as it once was. I'm probably going to drop a bunch of money on gambits again soon to start refining that more and more, but even now just the basic party leader beats up nearest visible target, rest of the party follows them, someone with Cure spells throws a Cura when someone goes below 40% does wonders for battle. Basch might already be at something like 1600 HP too. That's a thing. The last time I played this was the end of my senior year in high school/the beginning of my freshman year of college. I remember most of the plot points and major boss battles, but there are some areas even now that I've just straight up forgotten were a thing (accidentally wandering into the Zertanian Caverns, whoops, forgot that the Nam Yensa Sandsea was a thing before Raithwall's tomb). The medieval Star Wars vibe of this is still wonderful, and we're still in the early parts of the story (just hit the Raithwall's Tomb fetch quest and the Belias boss), but it's great to see this all unfolding again. Getting a weird vibe off the Archadian part of the storyline, given current politics stuff, too. Normally when there's an option I'll switch over to the Japanese vocal track, but the work that the translation team did on this (iambic tetrameter and pentameter speaking sytles y'all!!) means that I'm staying on the English track this time around. Basically: they fixed some of the worst things about this game, gave it a touch up besides, and is getting people to look at one of the best FFs of the PS2 gen again. Come back for another round, it's worth your time and then some. Vaan is still the worst, though. Only now he doesn't look like he has painted on abs. Persona 5: On our second runthrough of this. New Game+ carries over all your money, equipment, social stats, Personas, and skill cards. It kinda feels like cheating to be able to basically tear through some of those earlier dungeons with say, Trumpeter using Megidola on everything in sight, but it definitely speeds the dungeon grind up and lets you finish dungeons in only, say, one run instead of several days of runs. On track to finish a shitton of social links (I've maxed out everyone in the playable characters except for Futaba and Haru, both of whom only just showed up in terms of the story, and seven of the ten NPC links) in a very short amount of time, and even if some stuff was gated by stat rank before, some of them are now gated by story stuff (ie, you might be able to get Sojiro to level 7 pretty quick, but you can't advance until Futaba shows up) instead. Trying to fuse as many Personas as humanly possible, too, and now that I have the ability that lets higher leveled personas just join you, it helps a ton. Starting to approach endgame again, and I'm interested to see what all I can get out of it (there's at least a fight with Caroline and Justine that I need to hit before the end of it which is apparently intense). Yakuza 5: I might maybe be interested in this series now. We got this for free on the PS3 through PS+, and it's honestly pretty great. I've been hearing lots of good things about it, but to switch between being a taxi driver, racing a bunch of dangerous street gangs on the highway, grinding randos' faces into the pavement/beating them up with bicycles, and somehow being caught up in yakuza drama and still have it be a coherent game is a hell of a thing. We finished Kiryu's story, we're now on dude two whose name I forget at the moment but just had a thing where some prison fuckos poked around in his open wound and we noped out for a bit around then. Overwatch continues to be fun, I usually play it once or twice a week now for a few hours, with a crew that I bought a headset for. Horizon is a great map, and I'm interested to see what Doomfist does once he shows up on Tuesday. Total Mayhem mode is the best, though; I've gotten 96k healing done as Lucio in that mode, which is insane and has left my wrists numb. (I need to get back to Nier Automata, but I figure once I finish the second playthrough of P5 I'll get back to it. We've also got Wolfenstein: New Order and Bayonetta on the PS3 at Jim's.)
  2. Every comic you've read in 2017

    Harrow County v4-5: The story's starting to shift in interesting ways. I believe we've seen some of these characters earlier in the series? (There seems to be a weird jump at the beginning of these two trades storywise.) v5 also contains the Carla Speed McNeil issues that got us started on this, so it's neat to circle back to those with a fuller context. Dept H v2: Matt and Sharlene continue to do beautiful, amazing work on this, especially in terms of the layout and coloring work. We get a fuller sense of the crew and their possible motivss these issues, and also the world, which has just barely been hinted at. And of course, things get deeper in the shit. Single Issues: 199 Trades/Graphic Novels/Anthologies: 79 Omnibuses: 3
  3. What You've Read 2017

    The Ink Dark Moon: Love Poems by Ono no Komachi and Izumi Shibiku, Women of the Ancient Court of Japan (translated by Jane Hirshfield with Mariko Aratani): A very quick read of poetry in translation from some very notable women of the Japanese court. Half the book is padded by the introduction, notes about Japanese poetry, and a transliteration of all the poems with some relevant notes. One point: while one of the translators is a poet, she does not seem to have done the bulk of the translating, and seems to have arranged the translations into poetic forms. Or at least, that is my speculation, given the notes and the rearrangements we see in the case of some poems. Either way; a quick, lovely read. Books read: 51
  4. What You've Read 2017

    River of Teeth, Sarah Gailey: This novella's forward should be all you need to be sold on it. If you need more, add a ragtag group of hippo cowboys, and a plan to drive feral hippos into the Gulf of Mexico. The cast is great, diverse (but doesn't make it seem like they're checking off boxes), and genuinely fun to see bounce off each other. A wonderful, fast-paced heist novella, and looking forward to the sequel. Books read: 50
  5. Every comic you've read in 2017

    Generation Gone 1: First and foremost: holy shit he actually hired an editor this time, and you can tell that the editor is reining in the worst of his impulses. Second: this isn't as godawfully up its own ass as Material! That it has Andre Lima on it does a lot for it. That said, they still could have cut a lot of the dialogue/exposity bits/at least a third of this fifty page issue and still gotten the core points across. I only wanted to smash character's faces in after some particularly awful/smug lines of dialogue, which is better. There's one panel in particular that is just covered in word balloons (Jim has a screencap), which just seems to be a waste of Lima's talents. Basically: it's got some legs to it, it's not as awful as some of his previous creator owned stuff, but I'm on edge with it. Batwoman 5: Please stop interrupting the Stephanie Hans glory with poorly drawn Snickers ads. That said, we get Marguerite and Stephanie teaming up for a good pulpy lesbian love story, and it's great to see them reunite for this one off. Insexts 12: Good arc wrap up, great cover reference, Ariela finally got some breathing room on the art the way it looks. Single Issues: 199 Trades/Graphic Novels/Anthologies: 76 Omnibuses: 3
  6. What You've Read 2017

    The Broken Earth: The Stone Sky, NK Jemisin: I think we're looking at the book that will sweep most of the major sci-fi/fantasy awards in 2018 here. Jesus fuck, this is absolutely amazing. Jemisin mentions that she wrote this in a time of transition while her mother was dying, and oh, you can tell. There's some necessary wrap up that has to happen in order to get all the storylines to converge, but when they do, goddamn. There was a point where this made me have to put it down because of what happened, and I ended up not picking it up for the rest of the night. That rarely happens for me. Shit, she even makes necessary infodumps compelling, which is huge. This is raw and wonderful and is something you need to get when this comes out. (August I think?) Jim got this early as a review copy, and let me have it first for our anniversary. Thank you, hon. Books read: 49
  7. Every comic you've read in 2017

    Deadly Class 29: So we have yet another break in what's supposed to be the super big action for this shit? Christ, I'm falling further and further out of love with this series. Descender 22: Nguyen gets to do some amazing work here, and the story just keeps ramping up. Alright. Angelic 1: Absolutely gorgeous art, and a really neat premise with fun side bits from Spurrier. Interested to see where this goes. I Hate Fairyland 14: Skottie gets to do a riff on Labyrinth for an issue. You can tell he's having a good time. Lazarus X+66 1: Mehhhhhhhhhhhh. Moonstruck 1: Furry genderqueer coffee shop AU. Not my thing, but the art's adorable. Generation Gone 1: Hooooooo boy. Going to keep quiet about this till Wednesday per Image request, but once Wednesday hits, I've got some things to say. Single Issues: 197Trades/Graphic Novels/Anthologies: 76Omnibuses: 3
  8. What You've Read 2017

    Confessions, Kanae Minato: You thought Penance went in hard? It doesn't have shit on this. A four year old daughter of a teacher drowns in a pool at school, and the fallout ripples out over several years and several points of view. I mainlined most of this today and spent most of this evening just yelling in shock at all the twists and turns in this. Definitely read this if you have the chance. Just be sure you're ready for it, it goes in hard and does not let up for most of the 200ish pages. Books read: 48
  9. What You've Read 2017

    When the Moon Was Ours, Anna Marie McLemore: This won the Tiptree at the WisCon J and I were at, and I decided to pick it up not too long after we got back because the excerpts we heard were gorgeous. It takes a while to get going, plot wise, but when it does, it builds like a wave. It's about a girl who grows roses in her wrists, a boy who is learning who he is, and lies and the power of admitting the truth. Occupies this weird unexplained magical realism, but it really comes off well. And again, McLemore's language is flowing and gorgeous and worth your time. Read this. Books read: 47
  10. What You've Read 2017

    The Twenty Days of Turin, Giorgio de Maria (translated by Ramon Glazov): This is... Im really not sure how I feel about this, immediately after finishing it. I got this on the recommendation of a favorite author of mine. My gut reaction is that I like one of the appendix stories (Phenomonology of the Screamer) more than I do the actual story. This is packaged as Borges and Lovecraft and House of the Leaves and with that marketing hype, there's no way the actual novel could live up to it. I agree with the Borgesian dread, but it feels like it falls short and ends just as it's beginning. I didn't read the intro until after i finished the novel and appendixes, which I'm kind of glad of, as it feels like an attempt to explain everything and give you the interpretation that the translator wants, and no others. Straight up rolled my eyes when it said that this was the precursor of Facebook and cyberpunk tbh. There also seems to be something I'm missing, either in the Italian history this is based out of, or my knowledge of Turin in general. I compared it to someone's college final in a translating class that somehow got a book deal. I wouldn't buy this at the hardcover price (it was v cheap on Amazon), but maybe remaindered. Would love to hear others feelings on this. Final Girls, Mira Grant: A Subterranean novella about a skeptic placed into a vr scenario with drugs used to promote psychological healing with the doctor who invented the therapy, and the corporate spy who tries to make it all go wrong. Interesting plot, wrapped up a bit too quick for my liking (constraint of the size), would love to see this expanded into a full novel like Rolling in the Deep is going to be. Everfair, Nisi Shawl: Nominated for the Hugo, thought I should give it a look before then. This is a real good alt history and steampunk story - looking at what might've happened if socialists and missionaries had been able to set up an independent state in Africa as a safe haven, and all the fraught politics therein. The main issue I have with this is that the cast is about twenty people too big - the story will shift from person to person chapter by chapter, and it keeps us from being able to get their inner life and thoughts. Shawl could've still gotten the sprawl and enormity that she wanted but kept the narrative focus a bit more narrowed. Still worth your time. Books read: 46
  11. Every comic you've read in 2017

    WicDiv 29: The team's back in form and finally running with the ball after what felt like a bit of a pause story wise. Wonderful, awful puns, and some good silent storytelling in panel details. Looking forward to seeing what happens. Bitch Planet Triple Feature 2: This issue seems a bit heavier on the subtle creeping horror, and feels a bit more united in its themes. Particularly like the last two stories. Snotgirl 6: Good to see this back, it's been a long pause. Glad to see it switching to bimonthly, though, if it gives them room to breathe. Feels like it's kind of getting its legs back because of the long pause, but it continues to be gorgeous. Seven to Eternity 7: Continues the story (which, haven't read six yet, so I'm a bit lost), but with James Harran. Zodiac Starforce: The Cries of the Fire Prince 1: Does a good job at catching us up, setting up new storylines, and delivering good comedic beats (Hellboy the turtle!). Single Issues: 188Trades/Graphic Novels/Anthologies: 76Omnibuses: 3
  12. What You've Read 2017

    Hunger, Roxane Gay: Essentially Roxane's memoir about being fat, and living in her body. Short chapters, medium text, and I tore through it in most of an evening. There's parts of this that I painfully resonate with. Definitely worth your time. A Doll's Alphabet, Camilla Grudova: A weird collection of short stories. Went through these very quick, not sure if I would've liked them expanded more than they were. Got through this in the space of a few hours. The Topless Tower, Silvina Ocampo: A wonderful, weird, short little story about a child, the Devil, and paintings come to life that ends remarkably happily, all things considered. Books read: 43
  13. Everything Marvel

    This looks like a third rate fan series you'd find on YouTube. This is embarassing. Lockjaw is pretty good tho.
  14. Every comic you've read in 2017

    Harrow County v3: A few issues from guest artists thrown in this collection, liked Carla Speed McNeil's more than the other one off in this volume by Hannah Christenson. The main plot brings in Bernice in a way I'd been hoping that the series would for a while. Continues to be amazing and lovely and a thing we will gladly throw money at. Redlands 1: Alright ladies, you have my attention. Not sure how this goes up from here, because this is a banger of a first issue. Batwoman 4: Margeruite's getting the reins back from Tynion here, and you can tell in the writing shift. Epting looks a bit rushed this issue. Next issue is pure Hans and Bennett, though, which I'm gonna get no matter what. Batman/Elmer Fudd Special: HOW IS THIS SO FUCKING GOOD. Midnighter v1: The DC You series by Steve Orlando. I liked what I saw (god bless the crossover issues with Dick Grayson), has me intrigued for more. Jim found this on sale at Chicago Comics this weekend. This shifted artists a lot over this volume, though. They're all pretty consistent with the DC house style, but it nags at the back of your head. Black Magick 6: *shrug*? It's neat to see Nicola working in black and white exclusviely, with a bit of color here and there, but I'm just not feeling this. AD: After Death 3: Maybe this will make sense in collected format, but man, I could not fucking tell you what happened here. Lemire continues to be real good though. Single Issues: 183Trades/Graphic Novels/Anthologies: 76Omnibuses: 3
  15. Every comic you've read in 2017

    Houses of the Holy: A graphic novel that's basically a journey through a woman's psyche. I don't think any of the sparse dialogue is lyrics, but I could be wrong. Wonderfully composed art, and the few times there are words they're wonderfully used. Cosmoknights: As far as I can tell, this is a weird blend of present day, space future feudalism. It looks like it's just two young girls in love at first, but there's weird stuf bought in on the edges. This is apparently the prologue to the comic proper, and I'm probably going to check it out at some point. Can You Make the Dog Sexier?: Basically a zine that breaks down a nightmare commission and dialogue between a client and an illustrator, and gets increasingly absurd as it continues. Playlist: A Comic Book Anthology: An anthology of comics done to song lyrics. I picked this up for $5 at CAKE; and it's worth about that. There's some that are wonderful, and others that just feel phoned in. (Pet peeve with some of these: please choose a font that we can actually read the lyrics with ffs.) Sea Change: Basically, a choose your adventure story, but done in comic format. Apparently won a grant; worth your time. Zines: 9 Single Issues: 178 Trades/Graphic Novels/Anthologies: 74 Omnibuses: 3