[syndicated profile] the_angriest_feed

Posted by Grant

Jadzia Dax begins to act erratically and out of character. Then she starts to hallucinate a mysterious masked man. When Dr Bashir is unable to provide any answers he and Commander Sisko use the Defiant to take Jadzia back to the Trill homeworld and to the facility where Jadzia and the Dax symbiont were first joined.

The Trill homeworld: I love it. Sometimes Star Trek gets so creatively lazy that they can't even be bothered naming a planet. This is an odd episode really. It only exists because one of the executive producers saw a stage magician do a neat trick with face masks, and so ordered the writing room to come up with an episode that was based around it. It does give the series the opportunity to visit Dax's home planet for the first time and showcase the Trill a little more, but it by-and-large squanders that opportunity. Despite all of that it's still rather watchable, because Deep Space Nine has an advantage that other Star Trek series lack: it has depth of character.

What is enjoyable about this episode is not being able to see the Trill's home planet, or trying to unravel the mystery of Jadzia's hallucinations. It's seeing Jadzia get the support of her friends and colleagues, or seeing the command crew bond over Sisko's cooking (this is the episode that establishes he's the son of a New Orleans restaurateur). In particular it's seeing the close friendship between Jadzia and Julian Bashir. If you jump back to Season 1, he's a genuinely creepy sex pest: constantly following her around, refusing to take no for an answer, trying to ask her out on dates again and again. Here they're friends. It's much nicer to watch, feels more natural, and does wonders for the audience's ability to actually like Bashir. The episode also takes time to highlight Sisko's friendship with Jadzia as well. The series started with him knowing Dax via its previous host Curzon. Now we see how close he's become to Jadzia as well.

The central mystery and its resolution - Dax had a host who went mad, murdered someone, and then the symbiont was transferred to someone else with its memory erased - has a lot of merit, but the ideas are never fully exercised by the time the episode ends. Dax now has the memory of being a mentally unwell musical composer and a murderer - that's huge, and more importantly that's the story I'm interested in seeing. Instead we hit that point right when the credits roll. It's a missed opportunity. Similarly, the revelation that as many as fifty per cent of Trill are capable of bonding with a symbiont, rather than the 0.1 per cent the public were told, is fodder for a brilliant story, but barely gets thirty seconds here.

At least we get several scenes of a magician in a mask. This episode doesn't get my tick of approval, leaving Season 3 four episode in and with a quality ratio of 75 per cent.

So... Astronauts

Nov. 25th, 2014 09:59 pm
muccamukk: text: "Scientia Potestas Est (Science Protests too Much)" (RoL: Science Protests too Much)
[personal profile] muccamukk
(ETA: HI! I'm posting a lot today! Sorry!)

Since reading Sally Ride earlier in the fall, I accidentally ordered all the library books on the space program, and have been toying with the ideas of an astronaut AU of some kind, but haven't really been able to figure out how to get it to work in my head. So you get to hear me blither on about it here.

Things I find attractive for purposes of fiction:
  • Large and dangerous rockets that go into space!

  • The absolutely bananas paranoia of the Cold War and how that was distilled into the space program.

  • The consequent pressure on the astronauts to be a sort of combination of a rock star, a soldier and a perfect wholesome representative of their country.

  • How the pool of people picked to do this rarely had one let alone three of those qualities.

  • How the intense media scrutiny only kept turning screws.

  • How their spouses and children had to deal with all of the above, only kinda didn't get a vote (though there were actual marriages of convenience happening here too).

  • There were actual marriages of convenience happening here too.

  • That the only people who really got the pressure were the guys on the other side, who they weren't allowed to talk to.

  • Oh yeah, and there were secret spy astronauts to had to deal with much of the above (less media pressure, more not getting to tell anyone stuff), so yeah, all that and espionage too.

Problems with making a fic with these elements work:
  • Everyone knows the Mercury Seven and so on, and it's difficult to just plug Steve Rogers in where John Glenn should be, and not have anyone notice. You can do a generic rock band, but there was only one astronaut program (okay, there were several, but they all have distinct people involved). It's an incredibly specific cultural memory.

  • Relatedly, everyone knows what happened anyway, and it's difficult to change without making meta commentary on history that I'm not really interested in getting involved with.

  • Also, a lot of the canonical early astronauts were, as far as I can tell, massive dicks, and I don't want to slot characters I like into those roles.

  • SO MUCH RACISM! SO MUCH SEXISM! SO MUCH HOMOPHOBIA! Seriously, the 1950s SUCKED! I like the constraints on behaviour from the media attention, and I guess even the somewhat enforced gender roles (see my not-terribly-secret fondness for well done a.b.o), but the levels of extreme cultural bullshit would be difficult to write. Plus it would leave out all the characters of colour, and most of the women (though one of the secret spy astronauts was black, and I suppose one could rope in the Mercury 13).

  • It's also difficult just to make the whole thing an AU that drops the problem issues because you rapidly start to lose items from the first list.

To conclude, argh!

fooding with cranberries

Nov. 25th, 2014 09:18 pm
rilina: (Default)
[personal profile] rilina
Yesterday I made cranberry curd for the first time. It turned out this hilarious light pink color, probably because I was too lazy to keep scraping cranberry puree through a sieve. (Note to self: just buy a food mill. You do enough preserving that it's worthwhile.) Still, the curd is pretty tasty, though not as tart as I would have liked. Fabulous on toast, and might be yummy in little tartlets.

(Then, for dinner, I had scrambled eggs made with one large egg plus 4 whites, since the curd called for four yolks in addition to four whole eggs. With some roasted vegetables on the side. Not the most exciting meal, but at least food wasn't wasted.)

For Thanksgiving dinner, I'll be bringing pie and green beans to my friends' home. The pie will be apple, but I have grand plans to make this cranberry pie sometime in the near future.

I'm also pondering this roundup of cranberry recipes at Food in Jars.

Hot link spam part 1

Nov. 25th, 2014 09:22 pm
firecat: red panda looking happy (Default)
[personal profile] firecat
I've been vaguely trying to learn the ukulele, and I discovered this guy Alistair Wood, a musician and writer who maintains a web site called Ukulele Hunt. Here he performs his beautiful adaptation of Led Zeppelin's "The Rain Song" for the ukulele. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cyis-5m5brM

DapperQ calls itself "GQ for the 'unconventionally masculine.'" This post discusses masculine fashion for people whose bodies don't conform to the tall, thin stereotype of androgyny (which just so happens to match the tall, thin stereotype of every kind of fashion).

Proof that political sensibilities and entertainment can mix with hilarious results: Unused audio commentary by Howard Zinn and Noam Chomsky for The Fellowship of the Ring DVD. Excerpt:
Zinn: You view the conflict as being primarily about pipe-weed, do you not?
Chomsky: Well, what we see here, in Hobbiton, farmers tilling crops. The thing to remember is that the crop they are tilling is, in fact, pipe-weed, an addictive drug transported and sold throughout Middle Earth for great profit.

By the Racialicious Team: Voices: The Michael Brown protests you didn't see (because the media were too busy showing violent protests instead).

By Janee Woods: 12 things white people can do now because Ferguson

A fat guy who is an employee of a Sam's Club in Mexico dances with great enthusiasm in front of a display of stereo equipment (the song is "El Serrucho" by Mr Black).

Yudkowsky does a great job of explaining a way to approach the hateful voices that people sometimes have in their heads. (I call them my brain trolls.)
"when you have a thought, you write it down
like, say
'You are different from the others. You will never know their innocence… and that is why you should hate your own existence. Die. Die. Die.'
then you figure out whether, if your life were a fantasy novel, these words would be spoken by figures wearing black robes, and speaking in a dry, whispering voice, and they are actually withered beings who touched the Stone of Evil
and if so then you don’t listen"

fourth courthouse

Nov. 25th, 2014 08:45 pm
thistleingrey: (Default)
[personal profile] thistleingrey
Around here are jurisdictions of varying sizes and extents, and I've moved enough times that a recent jury duty summons took me in person to my fourth courthouse. (In my experience, most California jurisdictions now have you call or check a website the night before, then be on standby till midday; sometimes you go in, sometimes you're released after checking a message twice. There's enough population that they'd prefer to cycle through eligible residents quickly, not make people rearrange their schedules for a week or a month.) This courthouse has a gorgeous main floor with lit restroom signs to either side of the main elevators and looks approximately like a department store interior of the mid twentieth century as depicted in a couple of films. I do not remember which films; one was black/white. And yep, the courthouse's Wikipedia page says that it was built during the 1930s.

It was sort of a relief to go downstairs and return to 1970 in the big jurors' waiting room, which must have been meant for a different purpose earlier. Pillars interrupt it awkwardly, which means that they bear weight. We watched the orientation video on CRTs clamped to those pillars and ignored the fiftysomething white guy arguing loudly with the brown clerk who'd talked us through the initial process (parking validation, proof of attendance, etc.). Eventually five (!) police officers took his chatter into the corridor. Then the judge appeared, announced that the attorneys had agreed late last night to settle, and dismissed us cheerfully. Wave of relief---strangers wished each other a happy Thanksgiving as we dispersed.

Is there an architectural study on changes in average heights and depths of stairways over time and place---not necessarily building codes but where code and artistry meet? There must be, at least as part of larger projects, but I don't know quite how to look.

Hello again

Nov. 25th, 2014 09:41 pm
resonant: Three frogs in Santa hats (Default)
[personal profile] resonant
I've spent a couple of months trying to sit with my losses and changes, done and happening and still to come. It was good to have a period of quiet. It was what I needed. But I really missed you folks.

I didn't discover the secret of life. I did discover that I was allowing my time and energy to sort of flow out without any direction from me -- to be used by whoever demanded them, to drift into hours spent noodling around on the computer in a way that was neither pleasure nor rest. Little by little I'm trying to change that.

So I'm going to be trying to do fandom in a way that has more

interacting with each other as people
getting help from others to make my writing better
helping others who want to make their writing better
reading delicious stories

and has less

passive absorbtion
meta without interaction

Chat and Dreamwidth and your worlds and your stories are good for me. Tumblr is bad for me, and for now I'm opting out. (Well, OK, I confess: I'm still following a handful of artists. Plus Important Birds.)

So: Hello again! Let's get back into the groove with the December Daily meme! Pick a date in December and give me a topic, fannish or no. (Also, if you're participating, can you say so in your comment so I can follow you home and ask questions to you?)

  1. [personal profile] out_there: What's the worst novel you've ever read, and why?
  2. [personal profile] panisdead: dreams. Any way you choose to interpret.

one cello

Nov. 25th, 2014 08:08 pm
runpunkrun: combat boot, pizza, camo pants = punk  (Default)
[personal profile] runpunkrun
If you watch Elementary, last week's episode Bella had some really extremely loud death metal that nearly gave me a panic attack—like, was it super necessary to have it that loud and then have the actors shouting over the top of it?—and then, during the final act, there was some really lovely string music playing behind Sherlock while he was sitting on the floor doing his Sherlock thing.

It's Zoë Keating's "Exurgency," and if you liked what you heard in the episode, you'll like the rest of it, too. It's off an EP called One Cello x 16, and the full album One Cello x 16: Natoma is also great.

If you don't watch Elementary, or didn't notice the track, this is the kind of thing you'll like if you like Andrew Bird's stringier moments when he has a bunch of violins plucking along behind him, or the Dirty Three when they're not being head-janglingly dissonant. It's sweet and moody in turns, with just enough growl to make it interesting.
yhlee: Drop Ships from Race for the Galaxy (RTFG)
[personal profile] yhlee
Sunless Sea: I saw [personal profile] maga (Sam Kabo Ashwell) Tweeting about this, which brought it back to my attention, and persuaded Joe to buy it for me. I can see there's going to be a learning curve. I figured out how to fire on the enemy and haven't died yet (I'm sure that will change soon, I only played about an hour and I'm blundering around terribly) but Sam had to tell me how to dock. :p

Impressions so far: the setting is familiar; I am hopelessly behind at Fallen London because the candle system doesn't agree with me (I am bad at checking back when my actions are refreshed, and forget to play the game, and this just compounds) so having a game on Steam where I can load it up and play as long as I want is congenial. It's very pretty in an atmospheric way, and the music as well. I don't yet know how big the game is, but I'm enjoying the fragments of writing that I've seen--all very Neathy--and am expecting to die a lot. There's a sort of roguelike mode and there's an easier mode, but once you go to the easier mode you can't switch back.

There are quite a lot of modes of address available for all your character's self-representation needs, from Sir or Madam to Citizen to Lady or Captain, etc. And the silhouette portraits, including an amusing one that is either wearing a tentacle hat or has tentacles coming out from the hat, it's (probably deliberately) ambiguous.

I have decided that my character is Kujen (because I expect him to die and come back a lot, haha) and this will give me an excuse to be evil. I thought of playing Jedao but [redacted because spoilers].

By the way, here are [personal profile] maga's first impressions (earlier version) at his blog.

- recent viewing
Guardians of the Galaxy, which made great family evening viewing. (I'm okay with the lizard hearing some swear words. I, uh, swear a lot. She hears worse from me than anything in that movie. I basically handed her a book on the history of profanities and slang in American English, which she read and found interesting, explained that she was not to use such language at school or I would come down on her like a ton of bricks because Not Appropriate in That Context, and we'll see how it goes.)

Anyway, verdict is that it's a very fun movie. I liked it a lot: it's terrible science fiction, but excellent adventure/comedy. I have no familiarity with the comicverse (?) so I had to watch it as a stand-alone movie. Mainly there was enough context to follow the basic plot, but a bunch of things kept being mentioned and the world felt very shallow because it wasn't explained very much except as archetypes and snarky dialogue. is it even possible to spoil anyone else about this? )

Short version: yay! I'm hoping also to get my sister to show The Winter Soldier, but we didn't think it'd be something the lizard would be very interested in so we went with this one instead.


Nov. 25th, 2014 09:47 pm
bookchan: endless sky (Default)
[personal profile] bookchan
Today on the way into work I went to hold the door open for an older guy behind me to go through in front of me. He physically reached around me, grabbed the door from my hands as I was pulling it open and refused to let me hold it open for him. I laughed it off and joked with him that next time I'd find a way to hold it open for him, but it's been bugging me on and off all day.

I am capable of holding a door open you know. I didn't have anything in my arms that were getting in the way of opening the door and I'm not going to stand there waiting for someone else to open the door for me when I'm perfectly capable of opening it myself.

To me, it was way ruder for him to do what he did then it would be for me to hold the door open for him. I wonder if for him it's have been ruder to have a women holding the door open for him, then for him to get in my way/space and grab the door from me.

Prompt for 2014-11-26

Nov. 26th, 2014 10:49 am
sacredporn: Kris Allen icon made by Sacred Porn (Default)
[personal profile] sacredporn posting in [community profile] dailyprompt
Today's prompt is "be careful what you wish for".
james_davis_nicoll: (Default)
[personal profile] james_davis_nicoll
James P. Hogan is staying busy. Usually authors are tipped off the edge of the Earth as soon as they die.

(tor.com mentioned the new omnibus)


Nov. 25th, 2014 03:43 pm
sholio: Cocoa in red cup with cinnamon stick (Christmas cocoa)
[personal profile] sholio
This month's submission theme at Crossed Genres is "ensemble", and I'd really like to submit something to it, although that means writing something before the 30th -- which I'm not sure is an achievable goal, but hey, worth a try, right?

So here's a question for you guys. What would you like to see more of in ensembles -- i.e. groups of characters, and stories focused on them? One of the posts on my reading list this morning talked about how rare it is to get the viewpoint of grumpy-mentor characters in fantasy, which made me go "hmmmm" and prod my creative brain a bit.

What are some of yours? Favorite tropes? Tropes you'd like to see subverted/avoided?

To-Do List (through Sunday)

Nov. 25th, 2014 07:44 pm
settiai: (Miranda -- bleeding_muse)
[personal profile] settiai
You know the drill. Feel free to skip. )


brainwane: My smiling face, in front of a wall and a brown poster. (Default)

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