Open Thread: Dancing

Hosted by the Dancing House
“Dance, when you're broken open. Dance, if you've torn the bandage off. Dance in the middle of the fighting. Dance in your blood. Dance when you're perfectly free.”  - Rumi

Was this just an excuse to post a picture of a building getting its groove on?  Pretty much.

Friday Recommendations!  What have you been reading/writing/listening to/playing/watching lately?  Shamelessly self-promote or boost the signal on something you think we should know about - the weekend’s coming up, give us something new to explore!



depizan said...

SW:TOR takes place waaaaaaay before the movies, so... *headdesks* It just occurred to me to suggest that, if you like Star Wars, you might like the two Knights of the Old Republic games. I haven't played them (being somewhat iffy on Jedi) but I'll probably break down and try them eventually because people keep saying they're really good. (And you can choose the character's gender.) And, since they're older games, they and your laptop might get along.

The MMO is set in the same universe and just a tiny bit later time period than those two games. Given that, the proliferation of Jedi and Sith isn't disconcerting, since this is long before the Rule of Two, and with there being tons of Sith (the Sith Empire is run by them and only Sith can have any sort of power outside of their military, and Imperial Inteligence, both of which are still subservient to the Sith) I can well imagine the Jedi Order trains anyone it can get its hands on.

I do find the tons of nameless NPC Jedi and Sith who are easily defeated no matter what class you are immersion breaking if I think about it (also that you fight and defeat named NPC Force Users even if you're not a Force User), so I don't think about it. Because, while I can believe that Bounty Hunters and Troopers might be able to take them on in straight fights (having impressive armor and excellent, top of the line weaponry) my brain gets an out of cheese error regarding Smugglers or Agents (James Bond in a galaxy far far away) doing so. With subterfuge, stealth, and dirty tricks perhaps, but not in a straight on fight. But MMOs and logic have never coexisted.


Yeah, I don't think Guild Wars 2 is my thing. Oh well.


I've actually been hearing some more positive things about the new Tomb Raider of late, so perhaps it's not as bad as it sounded like it was going to be.

DJ said...

I'm still hoping for a good successor to Mass Effect

You and me both :), and out of curiosity which ending did you chose?

What do you think about the Dragon Age series by the way. I played it, loved the first and was meh about the second. I do however appreciate the attempt to break away from the traditional Bioware story telling mold with the second. Just wish they had done a better job with it.

Yeah .. no MMO's for me, until I get a better computer at least. Will check out the El Shaddai gameplay videos.

DJ said...

I have definitely played KOTOR 1 and 2, I loved those games. They were the start of my RPG playing career :). Before that I just used to play whatever I could get my hands on as a broke college student. Those games pretty much established my preference for action RPG's. FPS's were never my thing, they give me headaches and the turn based combat of JRPG's put me off.

I was one of the legions of Bioware fanboys (though a non-vocal one) who believed that Bioware should have been working on a KOTOR sequel instead of an MMO. I would recommend the games for sure. They had a good story and though the gameplay and combat system may seem dated and slow now, it was pretty good back then.

The first one was overall, more polished. The second one by Obsidian was more ambitious in terms of party mechanics and had a more complex story and villain. However the game was buggy and had ending issues :). I remember there was a huge outcry about Obsidian ruining the franchise back then, but it was still a good game.

depizan said...


I should've known. :) Ah, well. I really will have to try them eventually.

AutumnPsyche said...

*Delurk* Yeah, dancing! I *really* love dancing, and it being easy for me to do so is one of the privileges I am grateful for. I do partnered dancing lessons in a casual way (weekly lessons with a bit of each of latin, ballroom, rock n roll) but freestyle is my favourite. I'm often on an otherwise empty dancefloor stone cold sober the second a club opens.

Anyway, recommendation! I've been loving 'Bad Influences' lately. It's an apocalyptic (flu pandemic) blog fiction set exactly 13 years in the future that unfolds in real time, told through the interconnected blog posts and comments of 4 main and several comment-only characters based in different countries who met at a volunteer project. Full disclosure: It is written by one of my best friends who is an awesome writer. There's space for readers making up characters and joining in, as well. Link:

Asha said...

I've been thinking of picking up the new Tomb Raider, because... why not? The problem is that it looks more like torture porn than anything else. I'm not sure that's worth it. I'm still hoping for a good successor to Mass Effect. *shrugs, sighs*

Loquat said...


I'm not entirely sure how well you'd enjoy Guild Wars 2 if you got a real chance to play it, since most of the gameplay is fairly undirected. Outside of the personal story questline, there's no quests at all, so you just wander around the open world and events pop up around you. Sometimes they're "important" events like "Protect the innocent villagers from a slave raid!", other times they're petty things like "Steal monster eggs so this weirdo can cook exotic omelettes!"

So I guess the main things to do in the game are: wandering around the open world, running around in the 3-faction PvP zone, and competing in the team PVP matches. The first gets boring after a while, so the second two are essentially the endgame. They put in gear grind when they added the new Best Gear in an attempt to retain players for whom the PvP wasn't enough. (Hence, much controversy, since one of their main advertisements prior to launch was that there wouldn't be a gear grind, so lots of players got the idea that they could easily gear themselves out once and then never have to think about gear again. Naturally, there has been much conflict between this group, and the people who just aren't happy unless they're on a gear treadmill.)

The Secret World's visuals are definitely its weak point, particularly its humans. But for anyone who doesn't mind mannequin-esque faces and clothes that don't move properly, it's good fun.


If you only have an old and crappy laptop, you may have a rought time playing any of the MMOs we've listed. But since you have an Xbox 360, have you ever heard of El Shaddai: Ascension of the Metatron? It has some challenging platforming in places and you have to play a male character, but it is an awesomely trippy game and I recommend it to all. (Or at least the Let's Play videos of it you can find on youtube, for those who suck at platforming.)

DJ said...

Depizan and Loquat, Thanks for your recommendations. Playing an MMO will be a whole new world for me and something I am still super cautious about. I also only have a super crappy and old laptop which shuts down automatically if I use it for too long :). I pretty much restrict my gaming to the Xbox 360 and play in short bursts, so maybe I will check out the new Tomb Raider :)

Depizan, I was curious about something regarding SW:TOR, since the game lets you play a Jedi Knight or Sith warrior off the bat, does that break immersion in the world. Since its an MMO do you have hundreds of Jedi running around the game world, even though they are supposed to be an elite order relatively smaller in number or is the lore different?

depizan said...

Fellow library folks: Yeah, no one really thinks about the occasional gross moments in library work unless one works (or has worked) in a library.

Michael: vitamin D, eh. Hm, worth a try.

Loquat: I've never been into the gear grind in games and I generally don't do anything (PvP, raids) that requires it. I don't know whether my friends are just into it, whether Guild Wars 2 just looks enough like WoW that my WoW burnout kicks in, or whether there are a lot more ill defined "bring me twelve Xes because I said so" quests, but mostly it looks very...dull. (SW:TOR has very few collect X quests and no or almost no kill X quests, unless you count bonuses, which I don't - the vast majority of the quests are go do something - one could argue that the difference is cosmetic, but to me it's much more gripping to be told to go shut down a reactor or whatever than to bring back twelve widgets - even if both quests would involve clicking on the same number of glowy things.) And you confirm my impression that the story is meh.
Sadly, The Secret World is visually unappealing to me, though I've heard good things about it.

boutet said...

I worked in a library for a few years. The worst book I had to clean, as far as I could tell the reader had sneezed into the book... and then closed it rather than trying to wipe out the boogers.

depizan said...

CN: blood

Weltemperedwriter, I'm a public library circulation clerk, so, yeah, we kind of specialize in things that just got handled by people, including sick people. (My favorite return? Woman hands me a small stack of books and says "You'll want to disinfect those. I just left the doctor's office; I have the Flu.") More exercise is a possibility (I know having a physically active job is not actually the same as getting exercise.). But after four years, it'd be nice if my immune system would adapt. :( Or maybe I need more... something... in my diet.

(Washing my hands more isn't terribly feasible, because my job is already horrifically hand drying. I don't think having my hands covered in bleeding cracks would really reduce my chances of getting sick. I have started wearing grippy gloves at work, though. Partly because of my cracking skin, partly because of the time someone handed me a photo ID that was covered in blood. I love my job. Really. There are just moments when I dearly want to scream: WHY!?)

welltemperedwriter said...

Yeowch! Yeah, definitely hear that--since I'm in a university library the patron base (and thus, germ pool) is smaller, but I definitely also have those days where I want to pick up things with tongs. And yeah, handling a lot of books and paper does dry out skin, doesn't it?

Some years ago there was a blog out there written by a woman who clerked in a video rental store that had a substantial adult collection. Some of her stories were...ugh...ergh. Not because of the porn per se, but the...condition materials would sometimes be returned in. Blech.

Loquat said...

Depizan and DJ,

Guild Wars 2 has a lot of good qualities (I as a woman have never had a problem with the community on my server, and the designers put in a lot of good options for female characters) but the story definitely isn't that great, and grind is its own weird issue.

I believe most of the story issues are due to the design decision to break your personal story into separate chunks to make it easier to personalize, and to draw everyone into the same storyline after the halfway mark, without spending the necessary time and money to have the earlier chunks of story properly influence the later chunks. So when the mid-game story introduces you to the sentient tree that is the mother of all the plant people, she'll treat you as a stranger even if you're playing a plant person, and if you're playing a beast person you'll spend your first few story chunks working with your military unit and then never see them again. There's also a storyline involving a small guild of NPCs and their interpersonal drama, but you have to find a group and do the dungeons in story mode (i.e. less loot, i.e. less popular) in order to follow it.

As for grind... it's grindy, or not, depending on your playstyle. If you don't care about having the best gear in the game, it's not bad at all. You can get the second-best gear without a huge amount of effort, and there are several different ways to get it. The best gear, on the other hand, has been an ongoing source of controversy among players ever since it was added because you can only get it by either doing group content, or accumulating a bunch of a currency that only comes from dailies. So the forums get a lot of threads with "Argh it'll take me 6 months to gear up each character!" vs "It only takes one month if you just join a big guild and do that one dungeon every day!"

Seriously though, if you don't care about having the best gear and just like exploring the world, it's great.

Also, I will recommend The Secret World, which is subscription-optional and set in the modern world but with magic and conspiracies and such. I've just been wandering through it on my own and the story is wonderful. (Note - don't pick the Dragon faction unless you're prepared for some very NSFW bits.)

Michael Mock said...

I'm back to working on my surreal apocalypse project, but I can't recommend it; I don't have it written yet. I'm using the soundtrack from the video game Advent Rising as writing music, though - I could recommend that! (And, despite some quirks in its mechanics, I really enjoyed the game, too. Fair warning, though: the script was written by Orson Scott Card, who's been taking some pretty execrable stands in real life.)

Getting sick less frequently: One of the things that seems to have helped me (in the last year or two) is that my doctor checked my Vitamin D levels, which proved to be low. Taking an additional Vitamin D tab along with my daily multivitamin appears to have done me quite a bit of good. Getting enough sleep is a huge factor in staying reasonably healthy, at least for me, which means I'm currently trying to train myself out of some decades-old bad habits.

A lot of my issues are allergy-related, too, so a course of allergy shots was a big help. And, when I am feeling stuffy, the neti-pot (I use the squeeze version) makes an amazing difference.

welltemperedwriter said...

I liked the song in the new Game of Thrones trailer so much that I hunted down the whole thing: it's "Bones" by MS MR, who also has an EP called "Candy Bar Creep Show" out. Guess there's a full album intended for later this spring. Goffy pop, kind of reminds me of Florence and the Machine.

I've been writing several different story threads as serial fiction and if you like that sort of thing you can read them here:

Depizan, in the past I caught a lot of colds when I started working at a university (lots of contact with students, staff, and the public). Eventually I adapted, but other things that helped were getting more physical activity (since I don't know you or what your days are like I don't know if that's an option, but for me exercise has been a substantial boost to my immune system) and washing my hands a LOT. Some of the recent research I've read on cold viruses especially suggests that they may in fact spread more readily from contact (with sick people, or with surfaces people with colds have handled or touched) than through the air. For that reason I also wash my hands a lot when I'm sick to avoid giving it to anyone else. (Well, I try to take a sick day but that's not always feasible either.)

depizan said...

DJ, there are a couple of free to play MMOs that are story heavy. I play one of them, Star Wars: the Old Republic, so I can vouch for the story lines (one per class) being good to very good (and surprisingly varied in seriousness and placement on the Sliding Scale of Idealism vs. Cynicism). The free-to-play has issues that might make paying for a month or two (in order to buy the unlocks that would make the free-to-play not so annoying) a better bet. The other, Guild Wars II, I have friends who play. From what I've heard the story(s?) isn't/aren't as good, but the free-to-play doesn't require fiddling to fix annoyingness. (It is, however, a lot more expensive as a single purchase. - Roughly what the cost of SW:TOR and a couple months of subscription work out to.) My friends claim it's less grindy than SW:TOR, but from what I've seen of their play and what I know they do, it looks 500 times more grindy to me. (Which just proves that people don't agree on what grind is in games.)

I am fairly certain neither game requires one to interact with other people. I know SW:TOR doesn't because I don't.

In other news, does anyone have any suggestions for getting sick less? I realize 90% of it is that I work with the public (and a section of the public with little access to medical care), but... vitamins, foods, anything that might stop me catching absolutely everything? (Also that might help with getting more solid sleep. I think somehow I'm sleeping less well in this apartment, which is weird because my bedroom is much darker. Note: caffeine issues I'm aware of.)

Paul A. said...

Here's another dancing building.

DJ said...

Just finished playing ME3, have serious feels about the series ending but overall enjoyed the game very much. Since I am about a year and a half late for all the ending outrage, I feel kind of left out. Oh well .. I chose to play the game at my own pace and enjoyed my play through so thats all that matters .. I guess :). I play mostly RPG's and my skill level is average so I am not about to start playing Demon Souls anytime soon. I prefer to play as a female, probably one of the major reasons I stick to RPG's. I have been hearing good things about Alpha protocol and Deus Ex Human revolution but not sure. I know there are a lot of avid gamers here. Any recommendations? I still have'nt finished Skyrim, but somehow the game kind of lost me a quarter way through. I should probably go back and finish it.

boutet said...

I read a book recently that needed the following on the cover:

CN: cancer, dementia, death, childbirth, drug use, addiction, prostitution, homelessness, ableist language, abandonment (I am not actually discussing any of these directly in this comment, only mentioning that they are present in the book itself)

And probably a few others that I'm just not remembering right now. Which is too bad because it was a fantastic book. It was just ohgoodlord triggering. It was Operating Instructions: A Journal of My Son's First Year by Anne Lamott and it was really interesting and thought provoking and well-written. And absolutely packed to the gills with potential triggers. The whole time I was reading it I would think, "Oh, so-and-so should read this, they'd love it!" and then I would turn the page and run straight into something that I would never recommend that person read because of experiences they have had.

I would like to be able to recommend the book since it is wonderful and well-written and surprisingly funny. But it's a great big bundle of potential triggers and I don't want to send anyone else into the book unknowing like I was, to be ambushed by all of this.

Has anyone else read it?

Yubi Shines said...

Psst - for people irritated by the ending in KOTOR 2, there's totally a fan-made patch that cobbled together a more complete ending sequence, based on unused files found in the game, as well as a whole mess of bugfixes. I think you do kind of have to replay it from the start or as-good-as, although I may be wrong.

Restored content mod:

With regards to Anansi Boys... The only definitely white character in that was Charlie's boss, right? I have to admit that in Neverwhere (another Gaiman book) I didn't even realize that the Marquis de Carabas was black until I saw the TV series, even though the text says at least twice that he's dark. D'oh, me.

(edited by a moderator)

Paul A. said...

Glad to help, Kristycat.

Here's Neil talking about one of those letters.

Kristycat said...

Paul A. - YES! That's the other place I'd seen it before, thank you!

And yes, I read a few things where people were all "Wait, were Charlie and his family Black? Were the ladies back in Florida Black?" ...and I had to headdesk. I don't know - some people called Gaiman out for making race "too subtle" in his book, thus implying that... I don't know, we should all be colorblind and just not see race, I guess? Maybe it has to do with growing up in Florida, where there really is a large Black Caribbean population, but I picked up on the race of the main characters right away. And had to kind of stare at those comments like "Whaaaa?"

I missed the letters you're talking about though, and now I'm really curious.

Also, thank you :D

Paul A. said...


Neil Gaiman does that in "Anansi Boys": most of the characters are of African descent, and that's the narrative default; a character's race is only mentioned if they're not. He's apparently received some pretty odd mail from readers whose default-white reading assumption overwhelmed their ability to absorb incluing. (The really odd ones aren't the people who just didn't notice the hints, it's the people who did and then wrote to him to point out that his research had fallen short because such-and-such wasn't something a person in that time and place would likely do unless they were of African descent.)

Also, I like your random observation.

DJ said...

Yubi Shines, Thats interesting, I may have to try that. Confession, I never finished the game. I heard about the ending from my brother and pretty much stopped before the final battle. I have been trying to get my hands on KOTOR 2. Doesn't seem to be available on Steam and I don't have the patience to order it from Amazon and wait for the disc.Do you know of any other online service where I may buy it as a digital download?

Gelliebean, How is the book, would you recommend it? I have been meaning to read it so I was wondering.

Gelliebean said...

I have been re-playing Bioshock this week in anticipation of Bioshock Infinite being released soon.... I keep waiting for them to announce that it's being pushed back to, like, August, based on past release dates not being met. It's like a horrible tease. :-(

I also just finished reading The Windup Girl this morning, which... I don't know. I'm not sure how I feel about it yet. Anybody else here familiar with this one?

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