Friday, April 28, 2023

Quick Sips 04/28/2023

A tuxedo cat lounges on a cat tower

In which I...

- Give some personal updates

- Apologize for being a mess

- Look briefly ahead to WisCon

- Discuss why I don't like Kefka (FFVI)

Hi everybody! I spent last weekend traveling, and what a difference a week makes. The weekend before we had temperatures in the 80s F, and it was gorgeous out. Since then we had a blizzard and temperatures closer to freezing, with plenty of snow, rain, sleet, and freezing rain all thrown into the mix. It made for a rather gloomy adventure, but husband and I still managed to get out and do a little bit of geocaching, and see some sights in the UP of Michigan. Not a bad weekend, all told.

Among some other general news is the update that I actually managed to do some writing recently. Just in a rather silly novel that husband and I have long been poking at. It's a queer romance/epic fantasy comedy/parody full of magic, barbarians, prophecy, and elves. We actually wrote three whole novels in the series back in the day, but it's one of those things that's probably best cast into the pits of time, as it was when we were still very much figuring ourselves out and we probably weren't as good about playing with fantasy tropes in the same way we are a decade later. I've also been poking at a different possible novella/novel idea that's kind of foodie sci fi mysteries inspired in part by the 90s British mystery series Pie in the Sky.

So that's all good. I am still, alas, rather behind on a lot of things, but I am trying to figure out how to find a balance in what I'm doing, and I deeply appreciate your support and understanding through all this. Please enjoy the Morn picture included with the post as my way of trying to make it up to you all that I don't really have my shit together in any sense of the word. But onwards!

Some other excitement is that WisCon is coming up (Memorial Day weekend) and I will once again be making the journey down to Madison to participate. Though I was typically late in getting sorted out and registering, I did still manage to beg my way onto some programming, including some panels and a new thing called a roundtable, where I will be moderating a group discussion with anyone who shows up? It'll be interesting. I think the roundtable is on feminist time travel and the panels are on "negative" reviews and...something else? And I'll be at the Sign Out with copies of my collection and We're Here, and maybe even some exclusive poetry chapbooks! We'll see!

Otherwise, I have managed to pick back up Final Fantasy VI, which I had dropped for a long time as I played through Breath of the Wild and Fire Emblem and etc. I was just at the point where the game opens up, which is always a struggle for me and Final Fantasy games. I do think it's an interesting approach, essentially making you re-recruit your party, which has been scattered to the winds. Each recruitment is rather fun, though, and the World of Ruin is a neat place, even if it's mostly bad times.

My main complain with the game continues to be that Kefka is not exactly an inspired choice for primary villain (though maybe that title should go to Ultros, the pervy octopus?). Which is something of a disappointment, because I think I've seen plenty of articles saying that he's one of the great villains of the series/of rpgs in general. And...really, he's not. There might be an argument to be made that he's the embodiment of toxic nerdiness, but I'm not sure I really believe that. Because, really, he's not much of a nerd. He's not much of anything. He's a clown, and while he exposes the ways that having a clown like him in power just because he sucks up to those in charge is a very bad thing, Kefka in himself is just...pathetic?

So my main thing with Kefka is that there is no plan beyond opportunism. He waits and he sucks up and he betrays and he rises through the ranks. He uses other people's skills and claims it as his own. He fails up. This isn't really unrealistic in that way. It's that he's uncharismatic, unliked, and incompetent. Yes, he's able to slime his way into more and more power but if anything he's almost as much an ally to the "heroes" as he is an enemy, because his own mistakes and shortcomings foil worse plans than his from winning the day. When the Emperor tries to take control of the great power of the espers, things could have gone Real Bad. Not that the World of Ruin is great, but imagine a world where one person used that power to actually rule absolutely, becoming a god with a vision of dominating the globe and destroying their enemies. Instead, Kefka foils the Emperor and unleashes that power and then...fucks off to a tower where there is no plan. The world is broken, and Kefka is powerful, but that it. There are no efforts to stop the party, or consolidate power, or rule anything.

Perhaps the terror is that a fool with the power of life and death is indeed terrifying. No one wants a clown to have the launch codes for the nukes because in a tantrum they might just use them. And Kefka does. But his own end is a foregone conclusion, because he never bothers developing a plan beyond the moment, beyond he wants he wants he wants. All the damage he causes is as much a mistake as willful action. Left to his own devices, and he'd self destruct more. He might take the world with him, and that indeed does speak to something, but narratively speaking it doesn't make him complicated or menacing. Just in need of a solid ass kicking. Which I plan on delivering, just as soon as I level up, gain better equipment, and learn more magic.

But okay, sorry for the rant and further apologies if you really like Kefka. I do like FFVI a good deal. Anyway, that's all for now. Cheers!


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