[Rosela's Scrapbook] Stuff goes here.

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The player scrapbooks forum is literally a place for writers to warm-up, brainstorm, keep little scraps of notes, or just post things to encourage themselves and each other. Each player can feel free to create their own thread - one per account - and use them accordingly.

[Rosela's Scrapbook] Stuff goes here.

Postby Rosela on January 13th, 2015, 6:17 pm

This Year, Last Year, and my Character
Or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Stress (or at least accept it)


I’ve been going back and forth on whether to start a scrapbook for a while now, and certainly whether this should be my first post. I've wanted to articulate my thoughts for a while now though, so I figured a scrapbook was the best place for, well, scraps.

Like many people, I’m sure, I lurk in Gossamer’s scrapbook. While I enjoy reading what’s going on in people’s lives, her new years post in particular got to me and is in part what inspired me to write this post.

The Spring

As it seems it was for a lot of people, last year was extremely hard on me, possibly the most stressed out I’ve been since my final semester of college. The ‘highlight’ of the year was my future in-laws coming to stay with me and my boyfriend. I talked about that difficult time a bit in my scrap as Magpie, but I’d like to summarize again in the grand scheme of how the year went. On the surface, visiting inlaws shouldn't be so bad right? Except:
  1. We have a small, one-bed room apartment, which now had to be split among 5 people. For a month.
  2. None of them are huge fans of me and the fact we’re living together before marriage. They are from India, where it’s still very much a taboo. Only a couple months prior to the visit did they even acknowledge that we were actually dating, despite our, at the time, 2+ year relationship.
  3. Of the three, only their daughter speaks English. This was the biggest problem. Despite my best efforts to cram, I was woefully unprepared for a full-time language switch. They spared no speed in their speech and made no allowances for my slow understanding. By the end of the trip, I was able to follow what was being talked about at least, but my few attempts to speak in Hindi failed spectacularly and either my boyfriend or his sister had to translate.

May was a miserable month for me and anyone around during that time may remember I had to take a hiatus from Mizahar to get through it.

The Summer

Even after the month ended, much of the rest of the summer and early fall went into travelling, amounting to almost every other week apart from my boyfriend. The single trip we’d planned as a break from it all and our first real trip together completely fell through due to visa problems and an exorbitant amount of money was lost on it.

Between spending a lot of time apart and ever-present money issues, the summer time only compounded on the stress that was still lingering from the spring. It was during this time that I had a stupid fight with my only real good friend on Mizahar…and left. I washed my hands of the site and told myself the stress of being here wasn’t worth the minimal benefit I was getting anymore. I’d long since been unable to motivate myself to post to my PC and the responsibilities of being an ST paralyzed me from being remotely useful. So I left and it became my mantra that it was for the best.

The Fall

By the time things started to get back to normal, around October, I was profoundly missing Mizahar. I started stopping in every now and then to guiltily lurk around. I tried to make it work on other sites, even created a different incarnation of Rosela on one. It didn’t quite work – I missed the character I’d made here and the environment I’d spent so much time learning. So in November, I made the decision to come back, coincidentally, and it was entirely coincidence, during NaNo.

It was hard. I felt guilty down to my very bones about how I’d been unable to at least leave in a mature manner. I still feel guilty for that, and probably will for a long time. I know people leave in a huff all the time, but I never thought I’d be one of them. I came back though, and I hoped I could rebuild.

It hasn’t been as easy as I thought it would be. People I had relationships with have left; I had to make up some IC excuse for being gone all this time, which spun up to be a lot more dramatic and complex than it probably should have been; and halfway through my ‘re-entry’ solo, I discovered the personality changes in Riverfall had taken from me the character I’d missed. I’ve since learned to incorporate the personality changes into some great character development, and I’m enormously excited for the backlash when they reverse, but getting into it after so long gone was very hard.

Nowadays

Which brings me to the present. I’ve been back just a hair over 60 days and while I may never return to the level of comfort I had in my first year here, I’m starting to settle in again. My time away gave me some perspective on my character and the direction I was trying to take with her. Given her violent pre-creation past, I was pretty well set up to take her in a very dark direction. I love writing dark, violent characters; I always have. In every other incarnation of Rosela, she has been that way. In this one, however, every time I tried to take her in that direction, I always came away unsatisfied with the results. Granted, I got to scratch my evil-character-itch, but the result was Rosela’s personality swinging wildly from a prissy princess to the whip-wielding blood-monger I’d always dreamed she’d be. It wasn’t natural. I was forcing her to sprint before I’d barely taught her to run.

So I made the decision to switch gears. The plotline that had always felt most natural was her connection to her clothing shop so I settled in and made a point to progress that. I decided that if I felt regular shop threads were boring, then I needed to do something to make them better. Maybe an Akalak streaks through the shop while she’s trying to make a sale. Maybe a stray dog wanders in and swipes a hat. If I wanted it to work, I needed to make it.

And that’s the plan. I’ll keep inching Rosela down the rabbit hole of violence, but I’ve stopped making her darkness anything but a long-term goal. We’ll get there.

This isn’t to say the hard part’s over. The coming year will be very difficult too, but I need to keep my wits about me this time. I’m still learning my in-laws’ language, in extremely inefficient patches despite my desperate need to impress them next time we meet. I’m told I will have to visit India to meet them on their turf sometime this year, and that the topic of marriage will be very prominent. And at some point, we’ll be moving ourselves as my boyfriend finishes his PhD and gets a permanent job. There will surely be breaks from Mizahar again as I lose time for it. There will surely be stress. Instead of letting it get the better of me this time though, I’ll try to meet it and incorporate it into my life like anything else.

And so concludes the mind-dump. Thank you to anyone who actually made it all the way through for a fairly useless look at the inside of my head. Hopefully future scraps will be more pleasant.
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Postby Hirem on January 13th, 2015, 6:53 pm

Hey Rosela.

Just wanted to chime in and say that, from the sounds of it, your past year has been enormously difficult, but I'm very happy to see you making some good of it and turning things around for the better. Stress can make or break us, and just the fact that you're deciding to love the stress is a sign that you're definitely not broken. I can't speak for Miz, or even Riverfall, but I am extremely excited to see what happens next with Rosela. Certainly, as soon as these personality changes have wrapped up, we can all expect to see Old Rosela's glorious return to the sound of pained screams and whimpering lesser beings. And if the progression to whip-wielding blood-monger takes a bit longer than expected to see fully realized, then so be it; the anticipation will just make me all the more eager to see the results.

Here's hoping your new year is, if not less stressful, than more fun than the last.
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Postby Rosela on January 13th, 2015, 7:31 pm

Thanks, I really, really appreciate it. I second guessed a hundred times whether I should post so much about myself, but I figured since my life has started having a real impact on how much time I can spend on Mizahar, it can't hurt to be a little open about it.

Here's to your new year as well, may it be a better one all around :)
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Postby Kuvarakh on January 13th, 2015, 9:17 pm


Yipes!
So it was during this time that you got stuck grading that six-page 'Architectrix' quest thread :o ?
Sorry about that. :(
At least I can honestly say it won't happen again. ;)

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Postby Rosela on January 13th, 2015, 9:26 pm

Yea, this was that time... Please don't apologize, I'm really sorry that took so long. I'm awful at grading long threads as it is, and I should have just gotten someone else to do it than be stubborn and try to dig through it myself. It did eventually get done, so I suppose all that ends well, but my inability to grade big threads in a timely manner is kindof why I haven't reapplied to be a grader again... So none shall suffer as you did with so long a wait :)
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Postby Rosela on January 21st, 2015, 5:06 pm

E
Fashion Week(s)!


Rather than let my last, semi-depressing post be the only thing in here, I wanted to keep going with something a little more broadly interesting, namely, fashion. Because everybody loves fashion, right? And I’m certainly not writing this at all because I’m…procrastinating doing my replies…

Since I started getting into design work with Rosela, I’ve been mildly fascinated with the RL fashion world. Not so much for myself, as I lack the funds to keep up with all that, but just to see what’s out there and how trends move. I’ve done this longer than I even realized, as I found myself very interested in shoe trends while I was still in college. It’s pretty easy to inconspicuously watch people’s shoes as they’re getting on and off the bus around you, and once you can watch, you can see trends. Ballet flats came in and went out again, uggs (UGH) came in and then tapered off but never really left, then glitzy thong sandals were really in a couple summers ago…

For the cutting edge of fashion though, and not just what was on people’s feet at my local university, it doesn’t get more sharp than the Big 4 Fashion Weeks. There are fashion weeks all the time all over the world, but the main hot spots are New York, London, Milan, and Paris, and the big 4 semi-annual weeks follow in that order. The biggest shows each week get streamed online, so us poor souls can get in on the action as well. The spring shows for this year, which will showcase Autumn and Winter styles, start on Feb. 12th, so mark your calendars! mark them I say!

To be honest, the majority of what’s shown is over my head. I don’t find a lot of what’s displayed attractive or even wearable, which I think is the kind of bad opinion a lot of people have for high fashion:

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But if you’re able to acknowledge that casual wearability isn’t the point of these kinds of styles, and they’re more to make a statement on a particular theme, you find it easier to sit through those styles until you find something you really could wear down the street or at a party:

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And for all my interest in women’s fashion, men’s fashion seems to have the widest gulf between 'oh, nice' and ‘hmm, interesting’ and ‘ARE YOU KIDDING ME’:

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I'm telling you, that last one is for real. It was part of John Galliano's menswear line from the 2011 Spring fashion week in Paris. Crazy as it may seem, when you see the whole collection together, it's very interesting from an artistic perspective.

It’s obviously from the styles that I personally like that I try to draw a lot of inspiration for what Rosela produces. Whether fringe or lace or ruffles is in this season gives me ideas for what she's trying to make in this season in Riverfall, though I suppose no one else would really know unless they thread with me personally and I actually remember to mention it. There aren’t many fashion-conscious PCs in the city though, so even if Rosela put a great big banner of ‘VELVET IS IN, FOLKS’ across her front door, I’m not sure how many would care to notice. It’s not a bad thing – Rosela would be just as disinterested if a new martial art was developed in the city, or if a new horse breed had been developed, or if the shipwrights had just come out with the latest in ship-building technology. It all just comes down to what the PC, and the person behind them, is interested in. This interest happens to be mine.

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Postby Rosela on January 28th, 2015, 4:38 pm

Hey, just wanted to apologize to my thread partners for the long wait; work's been crazy lately. Things are finally starting to settle back down, so I'm trying to build replies sentence by sentence...It's just taking a while. So please:

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Postby Hirem on January 28th, 2015, 6:19 pm

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Postby Rosela on February 9th, 2015, 6:25 pm

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A couple people have scrapped about movies recently, so I figured I'd talk about a bit of television I got to catch up on. During my free time this weekend, since the amount of it that I got was way too little, I finally caught up on the latest episodes of Sailor Moon Crystal.

I'd intended to write a fairly short scrap here with my thoughts, but it unfortunately ended up being a full-on rant. As someone who was obsessed with the original, seeing the series get a visual update has been exciting...but way more of a mixed bag than I'd like. Finally finishing the first story arc and starting the next season has left me with some serious disappointments in the show and what it could have been.

When I was little, the original Sailor Moon was a highlight of the after-school cartoon block. I obviously never noticed any of the show’s flaws I look back and cringe at now, such as the butchered editing and the ridiculous ‘Sailor Says’ moral review tacked on at the end of each episode. However, the show is irreplaceable in my childhood, and it's even where I started writing. The first time I ever put fingers to keyboard with the intent of writing fiction was for what would ultimately be a 50-page self-insertion Sailor Moon fanfic with myself featured as the Maryest of all Sues. ...I'd like to think I've grown since then.

The reboot is intended to lie closer to the manga than the original anime did, which would mean, in my opinion, a more mature retelling of the story. It would make sense to make it more mature, as the brand recognition primarily comes from people like me, a bunch of nostalgic nerds.

So, I started watching Sailor Moon Crystal, bright-eyed and optimistic.

And found myself rather disappointed.

If you're a fellow Moonie and want to watch the series yourself, skip my rant below and check it out. It's free on CrunchyRoll and Hulu, but at least on CrunchyRoll, a decent adblocker knocks out the commercials. I would actually recommend it, if only for the sake of forming your own opinion. The vast majority of the rants online about the series are about animation screwups, which I think are a cheap shot, given that it's fairly common for animes prior to DVD release, and both the manga and original anime were riddled with them. The visuals on a base level have gotten a serious update, and I think that alone makes at least one episode worth checking out:
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*Spoilers Below*


As I've mentioned, the visuals aren't bad. The use of CG in the transformations is interesting stylistically, and I can see why they chose to go with it. The use of stock animation for attacks has been removed, which I do miss, but it does let the Senshi look way more powerful in their use of their respective elements. My main problem with Sailor Moon Crystal is the writing.

This arc in the original anime was a whopping 47 episodes, so it was no surprise that the reboot moved things along a tad quicker. Now that the first season is over though, I can see that not only did they condense way too much, but we lost something vital in the process – actually learning to care about these characters. Everything is rushed through: the main character's past, the villain's backstory, even new powers come completely out of left field and end up being no more than deus ex machina devices to be never spoken of again.

While I can understand a plot getting condensed, the lack of characterization alone makes me want to stop watching the show. After their introductory episodes, and with very few exceptions, every one of the Senshi outside of Usagi becomes entirely monotonous and interchangeable with one another. Their powers are literally the only thing separating them. Their individual personalities have been wiped out and replaced with 101 lines about protecting their princess. Where’s Rei making fun of Usagi’s clutziness? Where’s Makoto lamenting that every other guy they meet reminds her of an ex? Where's anything at all that makes me care about these people?

Our consolation prize is instead a shoehorned past romance with Shittenou/Endymion’s Generals. The handful of foreshadowing comments throughout the season was thoroughly wasted on a reveal that, like everything else in the show, comes with as much emotional connection as a boot to the stomach. It's the same with the Senshi’s reaction to the reveal; without any relatablility, they just look like brainless idiots reacting the way they do. They turn into the worst Hollywood female stereotype, refusing to do the job they’ve done nothing but talk about the entire show because of a weak-at-best romantic connection. They do actually get over it in time to save their skins, but I was half-wishing they'd have gotten vaporized for letting their delicate, womanly sensibilities get in the way of ass-kicking.

In Conclusion
Sailor Moon Crystal is a waste of potential. A reboot needs to do more than get the bare bones of the plot out, it needs to recreate the magic of the original. The writers take for granted that audience already cares about these characters and doesn’t make any effort trying to recreate that attachment. The Last Airbender movie, which I did not see but according to the reviews, had the same problem, and this should have been enough warning to not let it happen again.

So will I keep watching?

…Probably. I’m an optimist by nature and I want to believe they’ll learn from the fans’ reactions and try to do better. In the first episode of the new season, we do see a return to stock attack animations, an odd change to go with, but it does make me think they might be listening. The animation problems will probably be helped if the show gets picked up by a major network and gets some funding. With more money may come the ability to expand the plot out enough to do it justice as well. The characterization though, you don’t get a second chance at that. They have established these characters as basically Usagi backed by a group of multi-colored clones. I can only hope they can bring in the rest of the characters with some semblance of individuality, and at least Haruka and Michiru will probably get to stay lesbians this time.
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Postby Rosela on February 18th, 2015, 6:24 pm

I told myself I was not allowed to write this scrap until I finished proofing the section I wrote for the Eyph project, so with that posted, here this is!

My Strange Addiction
Ok, it’s not that strange, and it’s not a true addiction, but still…


Every couple months, I get the itch. The fact that it’s so easily available makes it even worse. It starts out small, since I can oh so easily do it while doing more productive things, but then it just grows until it just takes over for a couple days. The constant need passes quickly at this stage though, and I can soon return to a normal life.

It’s not drugs.

It’s not alcohol.

It’s…incremental games.

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If you’ve never tried incremental games, DON’T. For the love of Mizahar, save your soul from falling into that pit of addiction. If you’ve tried them and don’t ‘get it’ like some people I’ve seen, count yourself lucky. If you’ve never even heard of them…allow me to enlighten you.

Incremental games, also sometimes called idle games, are games that are more passive than traditional games. It focuses purely on the incremental accumulation of resources, which allow you to purchase other resources, which can help you auto-increase other resources… The mechanics of the games are the same, even if the stories and objectives change with each game. For example, take Cookie Clicker, the first incremental I ever encountered. My gateway game, if you will. You click the cookie to get a cookie. You spend cookies to get an auto-clicker. Now the game will generate cookies at a fixed rate for you. You can spend more cookies on more auto-clickers, such as grandmas to bake your cookies, or spaceships to retrieve cookies from cookie-worlds, or cookie mines, etc. You click and wait and buy more stuff and click some more…then you find yourself weeks later counting out your cookies-per-second to see how long until you finally get that last damn achievement…

The problem is, even if you manage to finish a game, or if you decide you need less idle time while playing an idle game, there’s hundreds of games out there. If you’re like me and you need a stronger fix, you’ll want to make your own game and start the hellish descent into javascript and jquery. You start seeing your entire life as representable in an incremental, click here to gain work points you can exchange for money, click here to gain water points for your hike, click here to earn experience for your PC.

But there is hope! If I, one so hopelessly entrenched, can put down the mouse, so can you!

Yea…sorry for this. I did actually go on an incremental bender this weekend and felt like writing about it, if only in a ridiculous, over the top manner.
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Bring me pretty things.
 
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