Thales's recent activity

  1. Comment on The Wheel Of Time – Official teaser trailer | Prime Video in ~tv

    Thales
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    As an alternative perspective, I started reading them around 2008 (I think?) with no foreknowledge of the mid-series "slog", and I still ground to a halt while reading A Crown of Swords. I managed...

    As an alternative perspective, I started reading them around 2008 (I think?) with no foreknowledge of the mid-series "slog", and I still ground to a halt while reading A Crown of Swords.

    I managed to get through A Crown of Swords, reading it off-and-on over the course of a year (reading other books in the gaps), then took a year long break, read The Path of Daggers, took another year long break, read Winter's Heart, and by then had forgotten too much of the plot to understand what was happening in Crossroads of Twilight (generally considered the most difficult novel in the series).

    So the slog was very much real for me, haha, even though I didn't have to wait for any books to be released.

    I loved the first few and would really like to finish the series but I've forgotten so much that I suspect I'd have to start all over again... and 14 books is so daunting, even if things pick up again around Knife of Dreams.

     


     

    Someone once recommended to me that anyone who loves the first few books but is struggling through the mid-series might honestly be best served by just reading the extensive chapter summaries online for any chapters they can't bring themselves to finish. Apparently that helps accelerate the pace for some of the middle chapters in the slowest books.

    I was appalled by the idea when I was younger, but now that I'm older and have less free-time to read, I'm tempted try it if it means I can get back into the series... (although I hear that some of those chapter summaries may contain spoilers for future events in the series? Anyone who plans to try it should verify that they're spoiler-free beforehand).

    4 votes
  2. Comment on Blasphemous: Wounds of Eventide - DLC trailer in ~games

    Thales
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    What a coincidence that we were just discussing this game the other day. This trailer is stunning--I wonder how much it costs them to produce something like this. More DLC coming in December is...

    What a coincidence that we were just discussing this game the other day.

    This trailer is stunning--I wonder how much it costs them to produce something like this.

    More DLC coming in December is exciting but I feel like the real news here is Blasphemous II announced with a 2023 release date!. I have high hopes for the game given how much the developers seem to have learned throughout the development of Blasphemous.

    2 votes
  3. Comment on What games have you been playing, and what's your opinion on them? in ~games

    Thales
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    The artstyle for this game is gorgeous, one of my top 10 for any indie game. It's ignited an enduring ardour in me for weird saints, disturbing Catholic relics, and creepy Christian iconography....

    Blasphemous

    The artstyle for this game is gorgeous, one of my top 10 for any indie game. It's ignited an enduring ardour in me for weird saints, disturbing Catholic relics, and creepy Christian iconography.

    If anyone was scared away by the early reviews criticizing the game's controls and difficulty spikes, the dev team took that feedback and released a series of patches that mostly cleared up the issues. It's a very fluid, fun game now.


    (Though some of the side-quests and secret areas are absurdly obscure and difficult to find. Trying to 100% the game without a guide would be grueling).

    5 votes
  4. Comment on On Divorce in ~life

    Thales
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    That's such a healthy mindset and exactly the type of attitude I've been trying to cultivate over the past couple years. We really never know what life is going to throw at us--but I guess it...

    The fifth act was supposed to be the start of my new family, instead it's something else. Who knows what? It's a little exciting in a way, or at least, I've pushed myself to view it that way. My life was on a pretty certain track beforehand. I thought I knew generally what I'd be doing in 20 years. Now, no clue.

    That's such a healthy mindset and exactly the type of attitude I've been trying to cultivate over the past couple years. We really never know what life is going to throw at us--but I guess it would be pretty boring we did! I try to remind myself that some of the best times in my life were those that were unexpected and unplanned. I also try to remember that it's okay for something to come into your life, stay awhile, and then go--sometimes it has to go to make room for something wonderful and new.


    Thanks for the ping @cfabbro :)

    2 votes
  5. Comment on On Divorce in ~life

    Thales
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    Thank you so much for sharing your story, it was heartbreaking to read. Your journey from radiant optimism to tragedy to a place of uncertainty and cautious hope is one that really resonates with...

    Thank you so much for sharing your story, it was heartbreaking to read. Your journey from radiant optimism to tragedy to a place of uncertainty and cautious hope is one that really resonates with me. This part in particular:

    As for me, I'd like to get to a place where I'm happy by myself. That'll be a long road I think, as even before I met my ex, I wasn't happy alone. I'd like to go amass new experiences; see the world, live in new places, do things I've never done before. I feel like I'm getting old, and I haven't done the things I want to do yet.

    I went through a traumatic event a little while ago that has changed my life entirely, and I still find myself asking many similar questions to your own (Am I too old to begin again? Will I ever find someone to share my life with? etc.). But I remain hopeful that there is time enough for both of us (time enough to learn from our mistakes and make new ones too :) )

    The one thing I have found very helpful for moving forward (and this may seem quite radical, but my life has undergone a radical change) is to divide my life into two halves: pre-trauma vs. post-trauma. I measure myself against my lowest low post-trauma and focus on trying to build myself slowly up from there, avoiding any comparison to my pre-trauma self. (Edit: and most importantly, don’t ever compare yourself to others! I do it all the time but I know it’s unfair to me and unhealthy). Some days it feels like I'm back to square one--back to that lowest day--but I try to remind myself that it's not really about how I feel on any individual day, it's more about the gradual trend. So long as I'm trending up or learning something that will help me trend up in the future (even if it's just learning how to survive a crushing sense of despair and keep getting out of bed), I'm confident I'll find my way to a better place.

    One last thought: I also find myself dealing with my trauma through writing and I very much admire how well you condensed such a heartfelt and emotional journey into only a few paragraphs. I read it twice through and was moved both times. I truly wish you the very best and thank you again for sharing :) Thales

    7 votes
  6. Comment on How has the pandemic changed you? in ~talk

    Thales
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    It's great to see your name here again, Algernon_Asimov :) I teared up a bit at this: I've been there before (not being able to let go of a hug). Hope you're on the way up

    It's great to see your name here again, Algernon_Asimov :)

    Even so, I've noticed that, these days, I'm a bit more desperate to get human contact. I've become a hugger, which I wasn't before. More than that, I've become needy for touch. For example, I went into the office earlier this week, after yet another short lockdown (12 days), and I hugged one co-worker and just couldn't let go.

    I teared up a bit at this: I've been there before (not being able to let go of a hug). Hope you're on the way up

    8 votes
  7. Comment on Weekly coronavirus-related chat, questions, and minor updates - week of July 12 in ~health.coronavirus

    Thales
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    Given it’s the UK, there’s a high a probability they were using the AZ vaccine which is apparently less effective against the delta variant than the mRNA-based shots. Herd-immunity is still...

    Given it’s the UK, there’s a high a probability they were using the AZ vaccine which is apparently less effective against the delta variant than the mRNA-based shots. Herd-immunity is still possible against the delta variant but it’s probably going to be less likely in countries with widespread anti-vax sentiment (the first half of this article talks a bit about what the new requirements for herd-immunity might look like).

    2 votes
  8. Comment on Neil Gaiman defends Sandman show casting nonbinary, black actors in ~tv

    Thales
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    This is a bit of a tangent but, a few years back, Gaiman actually made an interesting comment on his tumblr in response to a question about how race is described in Anansi Boys. It's a good read,...

    This is a bit of a tangent but, a few years back, Gaiman actually made an interesting comment on his tumblr in response to a question about how race is described in Anansi Boys. It's a good read, here's a link for anyone who's interested.

    His comment that readers often tend to assume characters are white unless otherwise described is thought-provoking. I've been much more aware of my own assumptions while reading ever since.

    7 votes
  9. Comment on Connor McDavid of the NHL's Edmonton Oilers scores 100th point in fifty-three games in ~sports

    Thales
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    McDavid also set a new NHL record for "highest percentage of a team's total goals that a player was involved in". This tweet explains what that means better than I can: Source (twitter)

    McDavid also set a new NHL record for "highest percentage of a team's total goals that a player was involved in". This tweet explains what that means better than I can:

    It came down to the tiniest of margins, but Connor McDavid has established a new NHL record.

    McDavid recorded 105 points on 183 [Edmonton Oiler] goals -- 57.38%.

    The previous record was held by Mario Lemieux during the 1988-89 season. Lemieux had a point on 57.35% of [Pittsburgh Penguins] goals.

    Source (twitter)

    2 votes
  10. Comment on ‘Game-changing’ malaria vaccine is 77% effective at stopping infection in ~science

  11. Comment on English translation of Finland's epic poem, The Kalevala (1898) in ~arts

    Thales
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    This may be common knowledge, but for those who don't know, the Kalevala was a source of major inspiration for JRR Tolkien's work, particularly his earliest prose writings. From Tolkien, Letter...

    This may be common knowledge, but for those who don't know, the Kalevala was a source of major inspiration for JRR Tolkien's work, particularly his earliest prose writings.

    "The germ of my attempt to write legends of my own to fit my private languages was the tragic tale of the hapless Kullervo in the Finnish Kalevala. It remains a major matter in the legends of the First Age (which I hope to publish as The Silmarillion)"

    • From Tolkien, Letter 257

    Finnish also heavily influenced the development of Quenya, one of the Elvish languages in Middle Earth.

    Tolkien actually translated the stories of Kullervo (one of the main characters in the Kalevala) in his undergrad years and this translation was recently released by his estate as The Story of Kullervo.


    I have been interested in reading the Kalevala for years but have held off because I've been unable to get a hold of a copy of the Eino Friberg translation that wasn't >C$100. Happily, I've just learned there will be a re-release of this translation on June 1, 2021 at a much more reasonable price!

    3 votes
  12. Comment on Nintendo Direct - February 17, 2021 in ~games

    Thales
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    Skyward Sword was actually quite well-received among critics: it holds a score of 93 ("Universal acclaim") on metacritic, for example. What you may be alluding to is how divisive it was among the...

    I don't really think Skyward Sword is that big of a pull considering how panned it was critically. No one has exactly been clamoring for a new release of it.

    Skyward Sword was actually quite well-received among critics: it holds a score of 93 ("Universal acclaim") on metacritic, for example. What you may be alluding to is how divisive it was among the fanbase, however.

    I fully agree that this was a disappointing direct, though (possibly the most disappointing general direct of the Switch era?). Re-releasing a barebones remaster of a 2011 game for 80 CAD is shameless.

    6 votes
  13. Comment on Comfort food Nintendo YouTubers? in ~games

    Thales
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    Ceave Gaming puts out a lot of light and fun content, mostly discussing the Mario series but occasionally touching on Nintendo's catalogue more generally (he recently ranked the dungeons in The...

    Ceave Gaming puts out a lot of light and fun content, mostly discussing the Mario series but occasionally touching on Nintendo's catalogue more generally (he recently ranked the dungeons in The Ocarina of Time, for example).

    KingK is a little less light but he has a great series of retrospectives on the Mario, Zelda, and Metroid Prime games.

    Their tastes don't always align with mine but their videos are consistently fun and interesting.

    Edit: fixed the KingK link

    4 votes
  14. Comment on The second defeat of Bernie Sanders in ~misc

  15. Comment on Recommend me a book that _________ in ~books

    Thales
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    I have a few suggestions which might fit the bill. The first is perhaps my all-time favourite book, The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern. It’s a romance/fantasy novel in which two magicians in...

    I have a few suggestions which might fit the bill.

    The first is perhaps my all-time favourite book, The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern. It’s a romance/fantasy novel in which two magicians in Victorian-era England are pitted against one another in a competition with rules they do not know and masters they do not understand. This is a very different novel from Mistborn, much slower and with a more complicated structure. The timeline can be somewhat dizzying to follow on occasion as it leaps backwards, forwards, and sometimes sideways... but I found it very much worthwhile in the end. The atmosphere in Morgenstern’s writing is sublime—scenes unfold and reveal themselves like a dark, lucid dream.

     

    My second recommendation would be Maggie Stiefvater’s four-book The Raven Cycle, starting with The Raven Boys. Again it’s a bit of a departure from Mistborn (slower to start, real-world setting, etc.) but the relationships between the characters are fantastic and well-developed. Stiefvater’s strengths are similar to Morgenstern’s; ambience, prose, and characters/relationships. I will say that as much as I enjoyed the first two books, I thought the story stumbled in the third and didn’t quite stick the landing in the fourth. The series is still a great read, though, and many others have liked all the books equally.

     

    The Raven Cycle and The Night Circus are both superb in audiobook form, if you prefer to listen. Will Patton and Jim Dale respectively do the narrations.

     


    I’m also tempted to recommend you check out Guy Gavriel Kay’s books (partly because I think they’re a good fit and partly because he’s my favourite author…). Kay mostly writes standalone fantasy novels with little to no magic, and almost all of them include a romantic subplot. He tends to favour bittersweet endings, however, and the romance is not quite as central to the narrative as in The Raven Cycle or The Night Circus.

     


    Edit: somehow I missed this line:

    I'm looking for something more like "power-couple" dynamics, where it's not (at least not only) about the couple finding each other, but them fighting and succeeding together.

    In that case the Raven Cycle still kinda fits; Kay and The Night Circus less so. Maybe look into the science-fiction Vorkosigan Saga by Lois McMaster Bujold? I haven't read more than just the first book but I believe there are long-running romantic relationships throughout the series. You could also check out the Wheel of Time but I don't know how well that fits the "well-written male/female characters" request, lol. It definitely is long-running, though, and relationships develop and change over several books. I've also seen it compared to an anime series in terms of its relationships, characters, and plot arcs.


    Edit#2: having now read the first four books of The Vorkosigan Saga, it appears that I was mistaken: while the first two books revolve around a 'power couple,' the next few books do not.

    2 votes
  16. Comment on 'Community' cast gets together for a reunion interview in ~tv

    Thales
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    Here's the recent cast reunion panel (November, 2019) they were referring to where Ken Jeong apparently blacked out (the most Chang thing imaginable, lol). I highly recommend watching it for...

    Here's the recent cast reunion panel (November, 2019) they were referring to where Ken Jeong apparently blacked out (the most Chang thing imaginable, lol).

    I highly recommend watching it for anyone who enjoyed Community. It's long but it's a hilarious interview that has some really touching segments (cast all picking their favourite moments from the show) and some interesting insights into the dynamic on set and backstage during production.

    2 votes
  17. Comment on 'Community' cast gets together for a reunion interview in ~tv

    Thales
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    Link Parent
    Here's a link to Dan Harmon's instagram post where he announced some details about the table read, for anyone curious to know more. Pedro Pascal (Game of Thrones, The Mandalorian, etc.) will be...

    Here's a link to Dan Harmon's instagram post where he announced some details about the table read, for anyone curious to know more.

    Pedro Pascal (Game of Thrones, The Mandalorian, etc.) will be filling in for Walton Goggins as Pierce Hawthorne’s executor. The episode they're doing is Cooperative Polygraphy (season 5 episode 4), one of the strongest episodes of season 5, in my opinion.

     


    Might as well post the full text from Dan's instagram post:

    Today we Zoom a special reunion table read of the Community episode in which Pierce bestows frozen sperm from his grave. The incredible Walton Goggins can’t make it so Pedro Pascal will play Pierce’s lawyer. He’s on some Disney show where Boba Fett’s in college with Yoda’s niece. In keeping with that theme, the part of Troy will be played by Lando. Yes, for real, the whole gang is back together. We got Horse Girl, we got Card Shark, we got ‘em all. I don’t know the details of when it will be available, but don’t worry about missing it, we’re doing it for you. Also streaming it live could never happen because we have to edit out @yvettenicolebrown’s rants about storming Area 51. One more magical thing about today: the script we’re reading, Cooperative Polygraphy, is by Community and Rick and Morty alum Alex Rubens, who is BACK at RaM writing on season 6. He was wearing a suit in yesterday’s Zoom session because during lunch he was attending a Zoom funeral. Not a joke. Hard to tell jokes from life these days. These are odd times but everybody that worked on the show has been feeling the love and joy from all the rookie and veteran Community fans binging the show on Netflix. I’m going to go take the first pre-table read shower of my life. Sincere love to the fans and the cast, thanks for the best pre-Cody years of my life #sixseasonsandamovie

    This is the most optimistic I've ever been about a Community movie actually happening! It always seemed like a bit of a pipe dream to me, but there's been so much talk recently (from the cast + Dan Harmon + Joe Russo) that it really seem like it might happen.

    Edit 2: sorry, Pascal will be filling in as Pierce Hawthorne’s executor not Pierce himself (given Pierce isn’t in this episode for obvious reasons...).

    3 votes
  18. Comment on Terry Pratchett novels to get 'absolutely faithful' TV adaptations in ~books

    Thales
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    Agreed. Pratchett's characters and dialogue are charming in their own right, but the wittiness of his writing is what really makes the books such a delight. My understanding is that Hogfather (the...

    I'm interested in how they translate his works into Moving Pictures (hah!), because a lot of his humour stems from the way he writes situations.

    Agreed. Pratchett's characters and dialogue are charming in their own right, but the wittiness of his writing is what really makes the books such a delight.

    My understanding is that Hogfather (the 2006 film) got around this by making extensive use of a narrator. I haven't seen the film but I believe it was relatively well-received by fans.

    2 votes
  19. Comment on Tildes' Book Backlog Burner Event: Final Update Thread in ~books

    Thales
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    I actually decided earlier this year to make a point of completing more of my book back-log before adding anything else, so this challenge was well-timed for me! The Collected Poems of WB Yeats by...

    I actually decided earlier this year to make a point of completing more of my book back-log before adding anything else, so this challenge was well-timed for me!


     

    The Collected Poems of WB Yeats by WB Yeats and A Reader’s Guide to WB Yeats by John Unterecker (In progress)

    Genre: Poetry (Irish)
    I’m steadily making headway through these two volumes and really enjoying them. Most of Yeats’ work is fairly straightforward if you’re familiar with the poet’s personal life and Irish mythology/history (and are willing to look things up) but Unterecker’s guide has been invaluable for elucidating some of the more obscure references in Yeats’ poetry. Some poems (e.g. The Collar-bone of a Hare, The Phases of the Moon) were nigh incomprehensible to me on first reading but considerably more interesting to read with the aid of Unterecker’s notes.
    I’ve been taking my time with these—reading only ~4 pages/day—so I don’t anticipate finishing anytime soon, but they’ve been fantastic reads thus far.

     


     

    Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie (Completed)

    Genre: Mystery (classic)
    This was my first Agatha Christie novel and I thought it was a solid mystery. I wasn’t sure what to expect going in given the novel’s age (publication date: 1934) but it was relatively well-plotted and had some nice twists and turns. I appreciated that Christie didn’t resort to many of the coincidences and plot contrivances you occasionally see in detective novels; most of the evidence is in plain sight and could be pieced together by an exceptionally keen-eyed reader. That being said, there were a couple clues which came out of nowhere, which always leaves a sour taste in my mouth.
    Overall, though, I enjoyed my time with it.

     


     

    Alas, Babylon by Pat Frank (Completed)

    Genre: Science-fiction (classic)
    [Warning: I try to keep spoilers vague or limited to what’s on the back of the book, but if you’re particularly averse to spoilers I recommend skipping this review.]

    The present pandemic had me craving some post-apocalyptic fiction, so I scrolled through my audiobook backlog and found this: Pat Frank’s 1959 novel about a nuclear war between the USSR and USA.

    My experience with it ended up being a little uneven. The book’s greatest success is definitely its exploration of what everyday life might be like in the aftermath of a nuclear holocaust. It delves into problems I hadn’t even considered in a post-fallout world, such as issues of transportation, communication, fragmented communities, and the early stages of ecological collapse. It’s obvious Frank put considerable thought into his vision of societal breakdown.

    I also appreciated that the book didn’t wallow in the attendant miseries of such a life. Many post-apocalyptic novels seem to relish tormenting their characters with misery upon misery, but it takes immense skill to pull off an atmosphere of absolute despair without becoming predictable or emotionally numbing the reader (at which point suffering becomes tedious rather than poignant).

    The problem here is that Alas, Babylon goes too far the other direction: just about everything goes as well as can be hoped for the residents of Fort Repose. Rather than wallowing in misery, Frank lets his protagonists off-the-hook time after time, allowing conflicts to fizzle out or resolve themselves before anyone has a chance to suffer or grow from the experience. Said protagonists are also fairly bland, and almost all are Gary Stues / Mary Sues. It ends up reading more like some doomsday prepper’s fantasy of post-apocalyptic survival rather than the brutal reality foretold by experts.

    Ultimately I came away with mixed feelings. I feel like Frank really could have extracted a lot more juice out of this premise. It was enjoyable enough that I never felt like abandoning it, but it was also never so compelling that I had difficulty putting it down. The characters felt half-baked, but the world they inhabit and the problems they face were sufficiently interesting that it mostly kept my attention.

    Anyway, after Alas, Babylon I decided I hadn’t had quite enough post-apocalyptic fiction, so yesterday I moved on to…

     


     

    The Boy on the Bridge by M. R. Carey (In Progress)

    Genre: Horror
    I just started this yesterday so I don’t have much to say about it beyond first impressions. Fifty pages in and I’m hooked though; Carey is a brilliant writer, and given how much I loved The Girl with All the Gifts I expect I’ll really enjoy this. I’ve had this ebook in my backlog for years but actually ended up checking out the audiobook from the library yesterday afternoon—the narration is done by Finty Williams (daughter of Dame Judy Dench and Michael Williams) and is outstanding.

     


     

    I didn't get as much reading done this month as I had hoped but it was nevertheless a lot of fun! Making a commitment to getting through my backlog has been far less of a chore than one might have assumed.

    3 votes
  20. Comment on Norway has topped Reporters Without Borders' annual press freedom index for the fourth consecutive year in ~news

    Thales
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    Imagine having had a lower ranking for freedom of the press than North Korea. Amidst all the upheaval in the Western hemisphere over the past four years and then 2020's COVID-19 chaos, I wonder...

    North Korea dropped to last place in the table, usurping Turkmenistan, while Eritrea, which lies in 178th, is still the county with the least press freedom in Africa.

    Imagine having had a lower ranking for freedom of the press than North Korea.

    Amidst all the upheaval in the Western hemisphere over the past four years and then 2020's COVID-19 chaos, I wonder how many stories of oppression from places like Turkmenistan and apparently Eritrea have been cut from the front pages of major news outlets.

    I guess that's one of the invisible consequences of so much disarray; we're understandably so focused on the barrage of bad news within our borders that the struggles beyond them are forgotten.

    It's probably a bad sign that literally the only news I've heard out of Turkmenistan (for example) in the past five years came from John Oliver's piece on their president, Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedow. The video is great but regrettably light on pertinent information about Berdimuhamedow's despotism (it does go into great depth on his bizarre fascination with horses, however).

    4 votes