Friday, January 31, 2003

Mental Ramblings (Warning: Spoilers for Farscape Episode 4.15, "Mental as Anything")

For last week's episode, I think I actually ended up doing something vaguely resembling a coherent review. This week, I'm afraid, you're just getting random disconnected thoughts. So.

  • To begin with, although this wasn't a great episode in my estimation (it feels a lot like filler before the real action starts to happen, which I suspect is exactly what it is), it gets major points for being a good, solid D'Argo ep. We haven't really had much lately in the way of episodes focused on individual characters other than John, and, fond as I am of John, I've always thought that one of the best things about Farscape was its character ensemble. And it was high time for D'Argo in particular to get a bit of spotlight. I'd been wondering since the beginning of the season just what the heck had happened with Macton, and it's good to have at least one of those dangling plot points from the end of the third season finally resolved. It's also good to see the defining event from his past delved into a bit and certain aspects of his character explored. Anthony Simcoe does a marvelous job of showcasing just how much D'Argo has changed since we first met him, even as he carries the wounds from his past with him.

  • At first, I couldn't figure out why the heck they were at this monastary. It seemed to come out of nowhere. What, the writers thought it would be cool to, like, set an episode at a monastary? But I was very happy at the way the reasons eventually all started to click into place. Oh, of course, it was Scorpius' idea, and Scorpy always has an Agenda. It seems that he's expecting a face-to-face confrontation with the Scarrans very soon, and the Scenes from Next Week would seem to bear him out on that one. I'm definitely sensing a build-up here to something big.

  • I could have told you that attempting to lead this particular crowd in mental discipline exercises was bound to be a frustrating experience. Hmm, D'Argo's too agitated and angry to focus. Rygel's giving in to his vicious and vindictive streak at the prospect of whaling on a Charrid, to the point where he's about to do himself an injury. Scorpy appears to be getting off on the pain. And John doesn't want to cooperate, because he's had too many people poking around in his head already. (Well, it's hard to blame him for that one.) Emotional control and mental focus just aren't these guys' strong points.

  • For a while there, it's impossible not to entertain the idea that maybe Macton is telling the truth, and that D'Argo did do it. That moment didn't last too terribly long for me, but it's a testament to the way that Farscape habitually refuses to flinch from taking risks with its characters that it struck me, however briefly, as entirely possible that what we thought we knew about D'Argo was wrong.

  • Macton. Geez, what a slime. Is every Peacekeeper such a warped, twisted fuck? Well, possibly so; one of the repeated motifs in Farscape involves the interaction between environmental influences and personal growth, and the PK environment is pretty darned twisted. By the way, I'm a little surprised that Macton was allowed to keep contact with his sister. Presumably he was a conscript, like Crais, but I somehow got the impression that Crais was permanently cut off from his parents.

  • So, Aeryn bought John a TV? Awww. I wonder what movies she got? I also repeat what I said last time: do they think for a second that they're fooling anybody? Least of all Scorpius? Please.

  • I missed Sikozu, Chiana, and, yes, even Noranti. I guess this monastary didn't take girls?

  • Man, Scorpius really got around the galaxy when he was younger. He hooked up with Natira, he got his cooling gear fitted by the Diagnosan, and apparently he studied with these monk dudes. I would so love to see "Scorpius: The Teenage Years" and get the full story on all that.

  • There's been a lot of debate about whether Scarrans have telepathic abilities, or whether they just rely on good old fashioned torture to get info out of you with that heat weapon thingy. I've always been inclined towards the "telepathy" end of that debate, myself, and that seems to have finally been confirmed. The wording was a little ambiguous, but the impression I get is that they use the heat to break down your mental defenses, and then they smash the info out of your brain. Although their abilities to do that do seem kind of limited.

  • D'Argo's line at the end, about how he's thinking about things he can't take back, made me wonder if he wasn't thinking about Jothee, and whether we weren't being set up for a possible future reappearance by Jothee. I'd like to think so, although I suppose the odds of them getting to that in the remaining seven episodes aren't terribly high.

  • What exactly was all that key-dropping and John-burning-his-hands supposed to accomplish anyway, huh? Just to toughen him up against the heat? I'm not sure you'd really need to go all the way to some funky monastary just for that...

  • Google Me, Baby!

    Yeah, I know, I've been posting like crazy lately. Blame the sleep deprivation. When I don't feel up to doing much of anything else, I sit down and spew forth words.

    So, this blog has experienced a considerable increase in hits of late. I actually seem to have acquired some new readers. (Hello, new readers! Welcome to the inside of my head! Be afraid.) But I'm also getting more and more hits from search engines. Which, I guess, is why I seem to be posting them more and more often. Some of these are amusing in themselves (at least in my own easily-amused opinion), and some of them, I freely admit, I only list because they give me an excuse to make smart-assed remarks or ramble on about things they happen to remind me of.


  • "what if the lord of the rings" campaign: Search request missing verb.

  • bohemian rhapsody partition: What are we partitioning it into? Individual notes?

  • everything about oz on buffy: What, everything? That seems like kind of a tall order, especially given how little the guy actually, you know, talks. About himself or anything else.

  • bound naked in the woods: Thank you, now I'm going to have "Dueling Banjos" in my head for the rest of the day.

  • Download Buffy Sex Game: Sex game? Geez, I'm afraid to ask how you go about scoring points...

  • farscape nude sex free: This one is mainly interesting when you contrast it with the possible alternatives. Farscape nude sex for sale? Well, I'm sure Chiana would be glad to negotiate. If she weren't, you know, fictional. Farscape fully-clothed sex for free? Well, Scorpius does seem to leave his cooling suit on, as far as I can tell, and apprently Braca can be convinced he just had amnesia-inducingly good sex just by unzipping his jacket. (Or at least, he can be convinced not to ask questions about it, which I guess is supposed to be one of the things he's good at...)

  • weird pictures of legolas: What, like, wearing a party hat and Groucho Marx glasses? Actually, that sounds kind of fun...

  • pictures of fish having sex: Would it be too obscure a reference if I made a Troy McClure joke here?

  • trailer trash thumbs: Thumbs are somehow trashier than the rest of the anatomy?

  • buzz lightyear nude: Um, I hate to break it to you, but his clothes don't come off. See, he's made out of plastic. Hope that helps.

  • farscape fetish: Look, if you and your partner have to dress up like Peacekeepers to get it on, hey, go for it. I just really don't want to be involved, OK?

  • Willow Rosenberg nude: No, no, no. I am only collecting search requests for nude Farscape characters. Not Buffy characters! Sheesh.

  • Where can I buy a 2003 TOS Star Trek calendar?: Make me a high enough offer, and I might be willing to part with mine.

  • nude pictures of black players: Players of what? The piano?

  • grayza nude: There we go! That's one to add to the collection! Let's see, that gives me Grayza, Chiana, Crichton, Zhaan, and Sikozu. Not too bad, so far. Although it seems highly unlikely that I'll ever manage to collect the whole set. Honestly, do you think anybody's going to be googling around looking for nude pictures of Noranti? Shudder.

  • farscape bondage: I suggest watching "What Was Lost, Part 2." If you want more than that, write the missing scene yourself. I am so not going there.

  • thought you might like this soap box exam: Um, thanks. Did I pass?

  • maximum over sex: If this is a porno version of that Stephen King thingy, I really, really don't want to know about it.

  • farscape music video +scorpy mean one: Ah! That one actually makes perfect sense to me! Just in case you happen to wander back, O Googler, the video you seek is here. The title is "You're a Mean One, Scorpius," and it's fun.

  • vocabulary word: copycat and coincidence: Those don't seem like very hard vocabulary words to me.

  • rpg banik farscape: Ah, this reminds me... I picked up a copy of the Farscape RPG over Christmas, and I was going to talk about it a little bit here and never did. (Don't know if I'll ever get to play it, alas, as the people I know who are into Farscape aren't particularly into the d20 system, and vice versa, but it's very nice to have around as a reference book, in any case.) Actually, I found the writeup on the Baniks particularly interesting, because we learn next to nothing about them in the show, and what we do learn is, well, kind of difficult to make sense of. All in all, I'd say they did a pretty good job putting together a species writeup from what we do see, though. One thing I especially like about the species writeups in general is the fact that they manage to avoid making the easy mistake of taking the characters from the TV show and assuming that every other member of their species must be, basically, just like them. Which would be an especially big mistake in Farscape, since the characters are all such quirky individualists. This is particularly relevant to the Baniks, since we only see one example of the species, but it's pretty darned clear that he's not a representative sample. You can't generalize to the entire species from Stark, because Stark's nuts. So what they do is base the Banik writeup on what he says about his species, rather than the way he himself behaves. E.g., Stark says at one point that people think the Baniks don't have emotions, because they're good at hiding their feelings, so that's how they're described in the writeup, despite the fact that Stark himself has all the emotional control of a four-year-old. And, in fact, the game designers appear to make a deliberate effort to discourage thinking of characters in terms of species stereotypes. For instance, in the description of the Luxans, it goes on quite a bit about their reputation as warriors, their strength, and their general sort of Klingon-like qualities. And then, elsewhere, they make a very deliberate point of mentioning that you're quite free to play, say, a geeky Luxan tech if you want, and strongly encourage doing that sort of thing. Good attitude, that. One of the things I've always found annoying about D&D is the way it's pretty much set up to encourage cookie-cutter characters...

  • Um. That last really got off on a ramble, didn't it? Well, it's OK. I'm done now. Really.

    I'm still having problems sleeping. I woke up at 12:30 this afternoon, which translates to about four hours of sleep. This wouldn't be too big of a problem, but, like the massive chump I am, I volunteered to put in another shift tonight (even though I'm supposed to have Fridays off). This'll make seven straight days -- or rather, nights -- of work for me in a row, for a total of, I believe, a 58-hour work week. And I've been doing it on an average of maybe five or six hours of sleep per day. (Now, I know there are people who seem to function just fine on five or six hours, but I'm not one of them. I'm one of those people who functions adequately on seven, better on eight, and best on nine. Sigh.) Between the extra work, the lack of sleep, and the emotional stress I've been under lately, I'm a little worried about coming down sick, which would be pretty counterproductive, given that calling in sick would just negate the progress we're making by cramming in all that overtime.

    This particular kind of sleep disturbance, as it happens, is very common with shiftworkers. I remember reading somewhere that your average night-shift worker ususally averages maybe five hours of sleep a day. Night owl that I am, it's generally not a problem for me, though. (Morning shifts are my bane.) I think there's a couple of things going on here this week that make the difference. One is that my body clock just got kind of screwed up somewhere, and it doesn't quite understand that it's time to be on the night shift now. I know that this is the case, because it's 1:30 PM, I've had four hours of sleep, and I actually feel like it's now "time to be awake." I'm a bit out of it, but I'm far less groggy than I "ought" to be, and you can damn well bet that it's going to catch up with me later (probably just about the time I'm having to go in to work). The other problem is one that I have occasionally had in the past, and it's been badly exacerbated by the fact that I've been working so many hours lately and I haven't had time to get much of anything done other than work. That's the phenomenon where you wake up, realize it's early afternoon, and start thinking about all the stuff you could get accomplished if you just got out of bed now instead of rolling over and going back to sleep. I had that in spades this "morning." Lovely inner monolog going something like, "Hmm, yes, but if I'm awake now, I could get some laundry done and pay all those bills that have been piling up and get out to the bank, and I could get all that done before Farscape comes on tonight, which'll leave me the evening to get caught up on my e-mail and do fun stuff for a bit..." Yeah, like I'm gonna be all productive and fun-loving on four hours of sleep. But tell that to my subconscious. Feh.

    All right. I'm done bitching now. Time to finish my coffee so I can go and get started on that laundry and stuff. Yep, I'm just a slave to the nagging little voices in my head...
    I Know, I Know, But Stupid Online Quizzes Are Fun!

    Vila: unappreciated genius
    VILA: "Any very talented person could have done it." --

    Sure, you're a slacker. Sure, you're unreliable.
    Sure, you'll take anything that's not nailed
    down. And, yeah, you're physically
    unimpressive. But you bring the mad skillz--
    even if you have to be threatened and bullied
    into risking danger to use them. You'd think
    people would appreciate you more! Where are
    the virgins in red fur!

    Which Season One Blakes 7 Character Are You?
    brought to you by Quizilla

    Now, that was a really cool quiz. Probably even better than the Farscape one. And, yup, of all of 'em, I defintely identify with Vila the most! Plus, I like Vila. He's oddly... cuddly.

    Which Animaniacs Character are You?
    "You are inquisitive to the point of getting trampled, run over, and blinded, on a daily basis. "
    "It could be due to your scientific nature. You long to learn how things work."
    "Because you really like to know things, but are prone to getting hurt."
    "Because, if it wasn't for others generally taking the fall for you, you might well be dead by now! Remember, curiosity is great, but it also killed the cat. Well, in this case, the dog, Buttons, would probably be more appropriate."
    "Okay, lady, I love you, bu-bye!"
    Click here to see my Livejournal.

    Aw, man, I was sure I was gonna come out as The Brain. Phooey.
    Here We Go Again: The Friday Five

    1. As a child, who was your favorite superhero/heroine? Why? I wasn't really too big into superheroes as a kid, actually, although I do remember enjoying the cheesy old Adam West Batman series way more than it deserved. My mom tells me that when I was three I was a big fan of Ultraman, but I don't remember it. Actually, I think as a teenager my favorite superhero was that guy from The Greatest American Hero. Anybody remember that show? I loved that show!

    2. What was one thing you always wanted as a child but never got? For the UFO aliens to show up and take me away. What, you think I'm kidding?

    3. What's the furthest from home you've been? Ireland. Unless you mean mentally, in which case it's a heck of a lot farther than that.

    4. What's one thing you've always wanted to learn but haven't yet? I'd really like to learn some basic web-type programming skills so I can write my own nifty little cgi scripts and stuff. Dunno if I'll ever get around to that, though.

    5. What are your plans for the weekend? Friday night I'm supposed to be off, but I'll probably be working. Sunday night I'm working. Saturday I plan to spend aggressively not-working. And why do they keep asking this? My answers aren't going to get any more interesting!
    More Quizzage

    Which Colossal Death Robot Are You?

    Which Evil Criminal are You?

    Hey, I'm, like, Robo-Ripper!

    Thursday, January 30, 2003

    Or, How About Talking About Buffy Instead?

    Apparently Rupert Giles now has a LiveJournal, too. I'm really very impressed that he's managed to overcome his computer-phobia to such a degree. Best laugh-out-loud funny line for anyone who's been following the current Buffy storyline: "I am also vaguely unsettled to find many people perturbed by my apparently not touching things. I am English, after all." His opinion of Starbuck's is pretty amusing, too.

    Have I mentioned lately how cool Giles is? Because I think I'm contractually obligated to point that out on a regular basis.
    An Update

    First of all, I'd like to thank everyone who left comments or sent e-mail with kind thoughts for my stepfather, or for me. I don't know why it makes a difference to have a few people offering their good wishes, but it does. So, again, thank you.

    By the way, I know at least one or two people left comments that aren't showing up here. That seems to be happening occasionally, and I have no idea why. Even if you don't see them here, though, I do see them; since I upgraded to enetation pro, I get an e-mail notice with the message whenever anyone posts a comment. Just wanted to let you know that your words aren't simply disappearing into the ether. I do get to read them, even if nobody else does.

    Anyway. I just talked to my mom, and her husband is home from the hospital now and is doing reasonably well. She says the doctors and the hospital staff have been really good to deal with and that they're getting very good support and care from the hospice program, which is reassuring to hear. They're both holding up very well. Mom's dealing with the situation a lot better than I'd excpected, and as for my stepdad, well, he's simply decided that he's going to enjoy himself as much as possible over the next few months, and isn't going to waste time worrying. In fact, his family is going to come out to see him, and they're planning to have a big get-together in Las Vegas. I think that's a wonderful plan, and it's just very, very... him.

    It takes a great deal of worry off my mind to know that they're coping, and that they're both managing to keep a positive attitude. "Don't worry," he actually said to me on the phone, "it'll all be OK." And weirdly enough, even though I know that things are going to be difficult, I actually believe him.

    And that's me done being all serious here, at least for the moment. 'Cause, you know, he's got a really good point about that "relax and enjoy life while you've got it" thing.

    Back to talking about Farscape soon.
    Margaritas and Pizza for Everyone!

    I think this may be my favorite quiz yet, although the selection of characters is kind of limited.

    Harvey: You are Harvey. Well, hops, you're nuts.
    Totally, friggin' insane. But it's
    understandable -- afterall, it's hard to be a
    mentor to an American anyways, but especially
    when you don't really exist. And you gotta
    admit -- that's a very "unique"
    concept of fashion.

    Who the FRELL are you? A Farscape Personality Quiz.
    brought to you by Quizilla

    Cool. I love Harvey. Harvey rocks.

    "Do it! And then we'll go to the beach!"

    Wednesday, January 29, 2003

    Real Life Intrudes Into Betty's Happy Little Pop-Cultural Blog World. Bear With Me.

    I got some very bad news last night. And it raises a dilemma that I guess I kind of knew I'd have to face here sooner or later: When you've got a forum like this one where you natter on about all the silly little trivialities in your life, what do you do when something big and important and unpleasant happens? Do you toss it in, an incongrous moment of seriousness amongst all the bitching about your plumbing problems and discussions of the latest Buffy episode? Or do you keep it to yourself and just keep right on posting stupid quiz results without a word? Both solutions rather seem to trivialize things, don't they?

    Deep breath. The thing is this: I got a call from my mother last night saying that my stepfather's in the hospital. Cancer. And, yes, it's bad. She says the doctors give him about six months. From looking at him, she figures it'll be more like weeks. As upsetting as that is for his sake, I have to admit, I'm more worried about my mom than anything. She's been through something like this once before, and... Well, her husband is older than her and has never been in the best of health, so I always feared she'd have to go through it again, I just never figured it would be this soon. Fortunately, her own mother is there with her, which makes me feel about 3000% better, because nobody does "supportive" in difficult times like my grandmother, least of all me. For myself, well, there's absolutely nothing I can do. So I'm doing what I always do: dealing with things by putting them into words. Usually those words are just in my head, but, hey, look, now they're here, too.

    I'm not fishing for sympathies, and I'm not a believer in prayer, but kind thoughts are always welcome.

    And I now return you to your regularly scheduled wibbling on about trivialities, because that's something else I do when there's nothing else I can do.


    Tuesday, January 28, 2003

    I Knew There Were Reasons to Like Living in New Mexico

    I was just outside an hour or two ago, and it's 70 degrees here. Just thought I'd rub the rest of the country's noses in it.
    "When You Have Insomnia, You're Never Really Asleep... And You're Never Really Awake."

    I've been having trouble sleeping this week. Usually, I'm pretty good with night shifts, but somehow I managed to get myself really solidly onto morning shift last week, and now I'm having great difficulty rotating off. I keep waking up much earlier than I should. The quick turn-around this time (what with working an extra shift on Saturday) really didn't help. So, I'm operating in a bit of a fuzzy-brained haze of late. Not that anybody probably notices the difference.

    The really disturbing thing about this is that I happened to watch the movie Fight Club again this weekend (I just recently got it on disc), and now I'm hearing Ed Norton voiceovering about insomnia in my head. Considering the plot of that movie, I'm thinking maybe I ought to be worried...
    Hey! I Haven't Done A Stupid Online Quiz In Weeks!

    You have your share of quirks and funny habits,
    but if you don't voice those thoughts your 'other side' is putting in your head, you can usually pass yourself off as a normal person.
    You tend to be an average person, but that doesn't mean you have to follow what the majority of the people think all the time.

    Well, it's nice to know I can actually fool people with that "normal person" act...

    Monday, January 27, 2003

    I Thought I'd Seen Some Bizarre Crossovers in My Time...

    Just when you thought I'd run out of weird Tolkien-related links, it's The Lord of the Rings, starring Humphrey Bogart! (Right click to download. Believe me, it's worth it, just to see Peter Lorre playing Gollum...)

    Sunday, January 26, 2003

    I Wish My Comments Would Start Working Again.

    That's all. I have nothing to add to that.
    What She Said.

    Just found a lovely little article about the stigma of being a TV science fiction fan, and how little the image actually matches the reality. Here's a sample:

    Ultimately, the basic reason people are reluctant to take TV shows seriously is that most TV shows are garbage. But perhaps that's so precisely because we're afraid to expect or demand anything else, because we aid and abet TV companies in treating shows as interchangeable and disposable. You miss "Farscape"? Here, shut up and have a series about man-eating, giant earthworms instead.

    Ain't it the frellin' truth...
    The Usual Farscape Episode Discussion, A Little Later Than Usual (WARNING: Spoilers for episode 2.14, "Twice Shy")

    I had really mixed feelings about this one... It's a ship-bound, character-based ep, which is generally something I'm in favor of. But the premise here -- that a bite from an alien creature robs Our Heroes of their strongest personality traits after first augmenting them -- is rather contrived and silly, something that feels a lot more like it belongs on Star Trek, where they often resorted to this kind of gimmickry as a means of character exploration. But Farscape generally doesn't need to use character-exploration gimmicks, since characterization has always been one of its strong points, even in the most plot-based of episodes. Still, having an external influence which causes characters to act in atypical ways, no matter how implausible the explanation for it, can be worth doing if it does show us new and interesting things about the characters.[*] Unfortunately, we really don't get that here. Anyone who's been watching the show this long already knows these characters' personality traits perfectly well by now, and nothing new is revealed about any of them. Oddly, the only characters who really need more definition, newcomers Sikozu and Noranti, are the only ones who aren't affected. It seems like a hell of a missed bet to me.

    I was rather curious to see what they were going to do with Scorpius, though, since he's such a complex character, with a number of personality traits that could have been emphasized in interesting ways. The fact that the bite's effect on him mainly seemed to involve making him snarl a lot was a tiny bit disappointing. Slightly more disappointing was Noranti's comment that Sikozu had only seen "his Sebacean side" and that his "Scarren side" was now coming to the fore. This notion of warring "sides" in a half-breed character is very Star Trek, and it's something that worked well as characterization for Spock but has annoyed me mildly in every Trek character it's been applied to since. Scorpius is, in my opinion, one of the most complicated and unique characters in SF TV, and attempting to reduce all those complexities to a simple "Sebacean half vs. Scarren half" dichotomy is just, well, wrong.

    On the plus side, this episode did feature some very fine performances by almost everybody. Gigi Edgley is particularly good, hitting all the right notes, from outraged compassion to steamy sexuality to a complete (and amusing) lack of steamy sexuality. Ben Browder does a very nice turn as Defeatist John; he's annoying as hell, but it's clear that he's meant to be annoying. Claudia Black does a surprisingly good job of taking Aeryn completely out of character without making her feel any less like Aeryn. Anthony Simcoe's mellow version of D'Argo is oddly believable, even likeable. And, previous complaints aside, Wayne Pygram does snarl quite beautifully.

    In larger story-arc terms, the main item of interest in this episode is the way in which it develops certain of the character relationships. To begin with: Scorpius and Sikozu. I'm finding this relationship particularly interesting, in large part because I'm not at all sure exactly what's going on between them. Oh, in Sikozu's case it seems clear enough. She admires Scorpius greatly because of his keen intellect. She sees him as a kindred spirit, the one person on this ship full of goofballs who is "on her own level." And she very much wants his attention and approval, because coming from him (as opposed to from the other goofballs), attention and approval genuinely mean something to her. It's Scorpy's side of things I'm totally unsure about. He certainly seems to regard her as physically attractive, but as for the rest of it, I've so far been very much inclined to believe that he's simply been using her, happily stringing her along because of her potential value as an ally. There are some hints here that his feelings may be a bit deeper than that, though... Personally, I'm not sure what to make of this, as I kind of prefer to think that he'd have somewhat better taste. I don't dislike Sikozu as a character, mind you; she's got the potential to be very interesting. But it does seem to me that her self-image as a thinker and schemer on the same level as Scorpius is wildly inaccurate. When it comes to the Machiavellian stuff, she comes across as little more than a wannabe. Then again, the fact that she's clearly recognized at this point that Scorpius is keeping things from her might well be an indication that she's not nearly as naive as she seems... In any case, I'm very interested to see in what directions her characterization and their relationship go in whatever time the series has left.

    The other relationship that gets some major development here, of course, is John and Aeryn's. And, I must admit, it's just left me even more confused than ever. John seems to be implying that the main reason he's been pushing Aeryn away of late is that he fears that Scorpius will somehow use her and the baby against him if he lets his true feelings show. If so, it seems to me that this must be a fairly new development; his mistrust and hurt earlier in the season could not, in my view, have possibly been anything but genuine. So, when did this change, and why? Damned if I know. We've been very much distanced from what's going on in John's head this season, and frankly it's getting a little old. I'd very much like to start getting some of these gaps in characterization filled in. (And that goes for Aeryn, as well. Her attitude towards John seems to have changed radically in the time she was away, and we've been given no explanation for that at all. I don't doubt that there is one, but I'd really like to be able to see it!) I also have absolutely no idea just what John thinks Scorpius is going to do. Threaten Aeryn unless John gives him the wormhole tech? Scorpius has already seen how badly a threat to harm something John loves can backfire. I sincerely doubt it's a mistake he'd make again. I also very much doubt that Scorpius is likely to be fooled, unless Harvey taught John that little energy-signature-alteration trick before John kicked him out. At the moment, it's looking rather like the writers are finally beginning to get a bit desperate in their continual attempts to draw John and Aeryn together while simultaneously pushing them apart. Whether this latest contrivance actually works or not, I strongly suspect, is going to depend a great deal on how it's handled over the course of the next few episodes.

    [*]In fact, Farscape's already done that twice, with "Crackers Don't Matter" and "Meltdown." "Crackers Don't Matter," despite having a premise even goofier than "Twice Shy"'s, is widely recognized as a standout episode. And personally I quite liked "Meltdown," despite finding the John/Aeryn bits more than a little annoying. Unfortunately, I think that very familiarity is one of the things working against "Twice Shy" being completely successful...

    Friday, January 24, 2003

    The Usual Friday Thing

    Actually, my other usual Friday thing -- wibbling on about the latest episode of Farscape -- you might or might not see tonight, as I'm likely to be busy with a friend of mine who should be dropping by shortly after the episode finishes. She doesn't get cable and is dying for some more Farscape, so she's coming over to catch up on the post-hiatus Story Thus Far with a little help from my collection of videos.

    But I do have that other regular Friday tradition for you, the Friday Five.

    1. What is one thing you don't like about your body? The fact that it's only good for another handful of decades or so, and that it's not even warrantied for that long.

    2. What are two things you love about your body? Well, the fact that it at least hasn't had any serious, non-correctible malfunctions thus far. And taste buds. I like taste buds, because they allow me to appreciate chocolate. (And I'm really not interpreting these questions quite the way they were intended, am I?)

    3. What are three things you want to change about your home? Well, getting the ceiling fixed where it was damaged by the leaky roof would be nice. And getting the rest of the skirting on. And, oh, yeah, permanently plugging up that big ol' hole in the roof where there used to be a second swamp cooler.

    4. What are four books you want to read this year? Listen, I've got well over 400 unread books sitting in piles in my bedroom, and I honestly do intend to read every single one of 'em Real Soon Now. I don't particularly see the point in picking out four titles at random.

    5. What are five promises you have kept to yourself? Um... I don't know. I generally try to avoid promises unless somebody forces one out of me, because once I promise something I feel honor-bound to keep it. And I don't usually go around forcing them out of myself, so... *Shrug.*

    Wow. How's that for a big ol' bunch of non-answers?

    Thursday, January 23, 2003

    Oh, Well, How 'Bout I Just Offer You a Thousand Words, Instead?

    I just got my new scanner in the mail (I had to ditch the old one when I got my new PC because it turned out not to be compatible with Windows XP), and my first thought was, "Hey, cool! I should put up some pictures and link to 'em from my blog page!" My next thought, however, was the realization that I don't actually have any pictures worth putting up. I still haven't gotten the ones I took at Christmas developed, and, given how many shots I've still got left on the film, it may well be next Christmas before I do. It's times like these when I start to think that maybe I really need a digital camera, not because I take a lot of pictures, but because I don't...

    Wednesday, January 22, 2003

    Not Exactly a Book Review

    You know how it is when you read a book as a kid and thought it was just terrific, and then you come back to it as an adult and can't for the life of you figure out what you ever saw in it? You know how disappointing that is, not just because you didn't enjoy re-reading the book as much as you expected, but also because it feels like you've just been cheated out of a tiny piece of your childhood?

    Well, I'm pleased to report that John Christopher's Tripods trilogy doesn't suffer that fate. I just finished re-reading The White Mountains, and it was just as involving as when I originally read it, way back in elementary school. Gee, sometimes I did have good taste as a kid!

    Well, it looks like I'm going to be working another butt-load of overtime this weekend, too. Hey, that's OK. The first batch will pay for the complete set of Blackadder DVDs I just ordered. Now maybe I'll spring for the first season of Babylon 5, too.

    Or I could pay my income tax and credit card bills and stuff. But how much fun is that?
    I Thought I Was Pretty Solid On That Whole "Difference Between Reality and Fantasy" Thing, But Part of Me Is Almost Starting to Believe That Buffy Characters Really Are Posting on the Internet.

    OK, first somebody starting keeping a LiveJournal in-character as the First Evil, and that was amusing. Then somebody else(?) started one up for Willow, and that was even cooler, because the voice was very Willow, and it did a nice, imaginative job of filling in the gaps of what happened between episodes. Now it seems Oz has a Journal. (As you can imagine, it's pretty... terse.) And at some point, as I was reading along in these things, something really strange happened. It suddenly ceased to feel quite so much like reading a clever and innovative bit of fan fiction and much more like eavesdropping on the lives of actual, real people. I think it was the comments that did it. I mean, Oz creates a journal and posts one two-line entry ("Everyone's got journals. Sunnydale got weird.") and suddenly there's 50 comments from various denizens of Sunnydale, mostly saying things like, "Oz! How are you doing? How's Tibet? Gee, never figured you for the LiveJournal type! Keep in touch, man! How come you never write?" It's all so bizarrely real and normal that it's actually kind of jarring to remind myself that these people don't exist.

    If I were feeling up to serious deep thought today, I might go off into a discussion of how the internet is changing the nature of fiction, perhaps even blurring the boundaries between fiction and reality, and speculate a bit on what that might mean in the grand scheme of things. But I don't particularly feel up to that, so instead I think I'll just sit here and quietly worry about my sanity...

    Tuesday, January 21, 2003

    So, I Just Watched Tonight's Episode of Buffy... (Warning: Major Spoilers!)

    I have to admit, I've been a little disappointed in Buffy recently. After a spectacular buildup, the last couple of episodes were pretty lackluster, and this one didn't exactly break the streak the way I was hoping. On the other hand, it did redeem itself a great deal in the last ten minutes or so. Truly, I spent the vast majority of the episode thinking "Oh, gee, Dawn as the next slayer. Wow, who didn't see that coming? You know, it's just really not like the Buffy writers to go for the obvious plot twist like that and then act like it's all shocking..." Well, I was right, it's not like them, and I should have had a bit more faith.

    And, hey, speaking of Faith... OK, I'm officially confused. I thought I had the whole slayer mythology sorted out, but recent eps seem to be telling me otherwise (and this one was pretty darned explicit about it). Here's how I thought it worked: Buffy's (temporary) death in the first season triggered the calling of Kendra. Kendra's death triggered the calling of Faith. When Buffy died the second time (which episode I still haven't seen, but I'll doubtless get to it eventually), no new slayer was called, because technically the succession had already passed from Buffy and the fact that she was still walking around alive up 'til that point was something of a fluke. All of this would seem to indicate that, whatever might happen to Buffy in the meantime, no new slayer will be called until Faith dies. Yes? So why is Buffy telling these kids that one of them will be called when she (Buffy) dies? Continuity? Hello? I mean, did I just miss an episode where they explained everything, or is this as big a gaffe as it seems to be?

    On the up side, I loved the line comparing Andrew to a mushroom...

    Monday, January 20, 2003

    Go, Me!

    Well, I ended up putting in 11 hours of overtime this weekend, and still managed to find the time to do the grocery shopping, wash the dishes, watch another episode of Buffy, and even do a bit of (non-blog-related!) writing. And, I gotta tell ya, I'm feeling pretty darned good about it all. I'd expected this week to really suck, between all the extra hours, and the fact that I'm still on morning shift (and thus having to get up at what I consider an utterly indecent hour), and the huge amount of work we're still swamped with... But I'm actually in a really good mood. Wow. Wonder how long that'll last?

    Saturday, January 18, 2003


    Ever wanted to try your hand at managing a nuclear power plant? Well, now's your chance! I gotta say, it's a weirdly compelling little game. Kind of difficult, though. By the third try I was managing not to melt down the reactor and was feeling extremely pround of myself, but when I got to the end it told me that my average power output was horrible and that I should "find a less demanding job." Sniff.
    Still More Wacky Search Requests

    Hey, this always cheers me up when I'm bored... I therefore present to you the latest goodies found in my site referrer logs:

  • Philly cheesesteak stand: Mmmm, cheesesteak. Damn, now I'm hungry.

  • Fish Entertainment Center: Because it is very important to keep your fish entertained.

  • "Star Trek Voyager" "Event Horizon" "Random Thoughts": My random thoughts about Star Trek: Voyager are that the writers don't have Clue One about what an event horizon is. I never did forgive them for "Parallax."

  • download buffy having sex: You could just go rent the second season DVDs. I believe there's a steamy Buffy/Angel scene on there somewhere. It was a pretty important plot point, you know.

  • naked betty: You don't want to see that. Trust me.

  • sikozu and scorpius: Sittin' in a tree! K-I-S-S-I-N-G! Except it ain't Sputnik we've actually seen him kissing... You know, for a guy with a face like that, Scorpy really does get around... (I'm sorry. That wasn't even a silly search request. I just can't resist opportunities to make jokes about Scorpy's sex life. I am a deeply disturbed individual, I know.)

  • download i am a weasel eps: OK, there's actually a show called I Am a Weasel? Is it actually about a weasel? And if so, why?

  • nude "blake's 7" pictures: Who told you I'd been looking at nude Blake's 7 pictures? It's a lie, I tell you! A vile, slanderous lie! Really!

  • Super 5's housekeeping principle: I have no idea who or what "Super 5" might be (is it anything like the Fantastic 4?), but their housekeeping principles have almost certainly got to be better than mine. I can barely see my bathroom sink through the layer of soap scum.

  • naked pictures of buzz lightyear of star command characters (the tv show): I hereby nominate this for Disturbing Search Request of the Month.

  • farscape hamman side: OK, here's where I have to dispell the illusion that I am some kind of Ultimate Farscape Fan and admit that I can never remember which one is the hamman side. Actually, I can't even remember using the phrase "hamman side." Weird.

  • my home page naked: Well, put something on it! There's not much point in a completely bare home page!

  • legolas sexing: Despite his pretty features, I'm almost certain that he's male. Hope that helps.

  • And for the last time, people, I have NO NUDE PICTURES OF LEGOLAS! Sheesh.
    Yet Another Work-Related Post

    Today was supposed to be my day off, but we had a major screw-up here at work that means most of what we've done over the last two weeks is completely useless and has to be done all over again... Including one particularly huge and annoying project that I was feeling exceedingly glad to have seen the back of (or so I thought).

    Anyway, this means that we've now gone from "just about caught up" to "seriously behind," and the boss asked us if we'd be willing to come in and put in some OT. A lot of OT. As much OT as we are able and willing to work. Which in my case is going to be at least 8-12 hours (depending on whether someone is going to be in to relieve me this afternoon or not -- I'm a little unclear on that). Possibly more. At time-and-a-half, that translates into some serious additional bucks, and I can always use serious additional bucks, so I'm not complaining. Well, not much, anyway. Even though I would rather have stayed home and watched Buffy DVDs. Ah, the sacrifices we make in the line of duty...
    This Seems Appropriate After Yesterday's Episode

    Why Christmas in the Uncharted Territories Sucks.

    Friday, January 17, 2003

    The Critics Have It Right: How Could Anybody Watch This and Possibly Imagine That This Show Was Ready for Cancellation? (WARNING: Spoilers for Farscape Episode 4.13, "Terra Firma")

    I don't care what the ratings say. I don't care what Sci Fi says. I don't care what anybody says, this week's episode is proof incontrovertible that Farscape is one of the very best damned shows ever to grace our unworthy TV screens. I'm not pegging "Terra Firma" as my favorite epsiode ever -- the competition is far too stiff for that -- but it is definitely up there. Way, way, up there.

    If nothing else, it stands as a blazing example of just how very different Farscape is from every other show on TV. If you ever watched Star Trek: Voyager, think of how many times you must've said to yourself, "Of course, they can't get home. Not for real. Not without a catch. Because if they did, the show would be over." Think of how many times you've thought something similar about other shows, whatever their not-to-be-tampered-with premise might be. But Farscape... Farscape does the un-doable and makes it work. Surprise! John Crichton got home, and -- boneheaded decisions from Sci-Fi aside -- the show is very, very far from over. And this works, not because there's some cop-out plot button that gets pressed at the end to reset everything so the status quo can resume next week, but because John Crichton is doing what it is in character for John Crichton to do. Hell, in many ways, this episode can be seen as the culmination of three and a half years of his character arc. And because of that, Crichton's decision not to stay feels right. A year ago, it wouldn't have. Now, it does. The show can change its premises, because the characters can change. Geez, what a concept!

    Other examples of things in this episode that you most likely wouldn't see anywhere else on TV? Well, I might mention the fascinating incongruity of the spiky-leather-wearing, good-guy-torturing, ugly-as-sin, scary-as-hell Bad Guy expressing a calm willingness to give his life to keep Our Hero alive. Ah, complex motives... Everybody on Farscape's got 'em. Indeed, one thing that the show excels at is not giving in to the dramatic urge to simplify that which should be complex. Another case in point: the delicate topic of the current political situation on Earth. How many other shows would feel the need to Take a Stand, to preach, to make explicit the comparisons between current world politics and the whole Sebacean/Scarren/wormhole mess we've been dealing with for the past three seasons? How many would end up attempting to flatten the whole complicated mess -- either mess -- until it could be summed up with a feel-good platitude or two? Farscape acknowledges the political realities of the situation, it lets the characters express their own opinions of them... and then it leaves them, complexities intact and answers nowhere to be found.

    But, even apart from all that, "Terra Firma" is just a damned good episode. Indeed, this one delivered absolutely everything that I was disappointed we didn't get last week, in spades. All the emotions, all the responses that ought to be there as John truly, finally gets home again, were there, and they were all, without exception, perfect. Perfectly characterized, perfectly acted. In fact, I think "Terra Firma" features some of the best acting we've ever seen in this series, from everyone. Every single one of the regular actors did an incredible, above-and-beyond job (and, yes, I include Kent McCord, David Franklin, and even Rebecca Riggs, much though I dislike her character). And between the acting and the writing, it managed to put me through an amazing range of emotional responses, myself: from laughter to warm fuzzies to horror to genuine adrenalin-pounding fear to... Well, I have to admit, I actually got a little teary there at the end.

    Honest to god, this was so good that, for the duration of the hour, I actually forgot how upset I was that the show is scheduled to come to an end. Of course, now that the hour is over, I'm even more pissed off about it than ever...

    Come on, Skiffy! Get a frelling clue!
    Workin' for a Living

    I do think the Friday Five gang are running out of things to ask. Didn't they do questions about work already at some point? And, man, I seem to be talking about work quite a lot lately. Well, at least compared to the amount I usually talk about it, which is not at all. Anyway, here we go:

    1. Where do you currently work? At the National Radio Astronomy Observatory's Array Operations Center in Socorro, New Mexcio.

    2. How many other jobs have you had and where? I had three jobs while I was in college: working the circulation desk at the college library, working in the campus print shop, and doin' the fast-food wage-slave thing at Blake's Lotaburger. And that's it. I got my current job shortly after graduation. (Thank goodness! If I'd had to stay at that burger place much longer, I quite likely would have forgotten my pseudo-pacifistic ways and shown up with a weapon of mass destruction someday.)

    3. What do you like best about your job? Oh, I think this requires a sub-list. Let's see: A) The hours, weirdly enough. I hate working morning shift, but I do like both evenings and nights, although I'd hate to do either one for extended periods. So, now that we're back on a reasonable rotation, I actually like doing the shift work. (And it'll get even better if they ever undo the hiring freeze and get us the fourth person we're supposed to have.) B) The fact that it's mostly very low-pressure and doesn't require much of me. A lot of the time, I really just need to be awake and in the room, so I can read or surf the web, or amuse myself however I want, which is pretty cool. But there are also times when problem-solving or good judgment in a (minor) crisis are necessary, so I don't feel like I'm useless or wasted. C) I like the people that I'm working with and for. In particular, my bosses give me exactly the right amount of guidance and the right amount of autonomy. (I've worked for people who tended to micromanage and for people who left you floundering around wondering what was expected of you -- both at the same time, in fact -- and they both suck equally.) Even better, when I do something wrong, I get told about it without recriminations, and when I do something right, I get praised for it. That's worth a lot. D) I do feel like I'm contributing to something worthwhile, even if I'm only a very small cog in the machinery of scientific advancement. And, E) There is a certain coolness factor involved. People are impressed when I tell them what I do (even if in reality is isn't all that exciting). My work area looks like it would make a great setting for a Doctor Who episode. There's a sign on the door that says "Control Room." And I've gotten to go out and crawl around on radiotelescope dishes. I mean, how nifty is that?

    4. What do you like least about your job? Ooh, 'nother list. A) It does get really tedious sometimes, and all that time for reading and web-surfing is also time which you can spend thinking about all the other things you'd really like to be doing instead of working. B) It involves sitting in a chair in more-or-less one position for long periods of time, which is something I've always found difficult. C) It's kind of a dead-end job, without much in the way of room for advancement or anything. I mean, it's really a job and not a career. Which I actually don't mind all that much, not being a terribly ambitious type, but that very lack of ambition, and the way my job evidences that lack of ambition, does bug me a little. D) We're pretty much at the mercy of the US government for our operating budget, and lately they've been very stingy with it. Add to that the fact that our division is fairly low-priority for the Observatory these days (compared to the big new projects they've got going), and it adds up to a monetary pain in the ass. Hiring freezes, difficulty in keeping our equipment maintained, reduction of benefits... It really kind of sucks. E) There's a tiny bit of a job-security issue. Five years from now, my job might not remotely resemble what it is now, due to the introduction of new technologies. Or, in a worst-case scenario, it might not even exist. And my set of job skills is very narrow; the number of "correlator operators" in the world can't be more than a few dozen, at most. Not that there's a big worry there, but the thought does niggle a bit.

    5. What is your dream job? I'd like to get paid for sitting around watching DVDs, reading science fiction novels, and discussing TV shows with people on the internet. OK, more seriously, I've always secretly fancied the idea of running a used bookstore. Except I know that in reality that would involve long hours, little money, and far more financial acumen than I in fact possess. The being around books all day part probably wouldn't be worth the headache.

    Thursday, January 16, 2003

    Quantify the Comprehensiveness of Your Verbal Perspicacity

    Here's a cool little vocabulary quiz. My score was 171, which apparently isn't too shabby. But then, my entire life, people have been telling me that I use too many big words...
    Now I'm Getting Fan Mail!

    I just got a letter of support from a complete stranger who read my TV Guide letter and wanted to let me know that she agreed with me and was glad they printed it. Wow. What's particularly interesting about this is that TV Guide didn't print my address, just my name and city. So, on the envelope she wrote "Box [blank space]" in-between the two, and seems to have trusted the Post Office to figure it out. Yep, there's that Scaper optimism I so love to see! As it happens, the thing was actually stamped "return to sender; not deliverable as addressed," but apparently somebody at the local post office recognized my name, knew which box I was, and just stuck it in. (I've been known to complain about the Post Office a lot, so it seems only fair to offer them props when they do something cool like this. I might also add that this people-actually-know-who-you-are phenomenon is one of the (comparatively few) advantages of small-town life, something about which I also often tend to complain.)

    Anyway, I'm quite surprised and flattered by this. Although it may simply be a symptom of the campaign mindset that says, "Write as many letters as possible to every single person you can possibly think of."

    Wednesday, January 15, 2003

    La Cazavampiros

    So, as I think I've mentioned here already, I finally got my Season Three Buffy discs, and I got a start on watching them last night (in fact, this is what I was doing instead of the laundry). Because I have a slightly odd sense of what's entertaining, at one point I switched over to the Spanish dub and re-watched bits of "Dead Man's Party" (that's the episode with the zombies).

    And an interesting experiment this was. I suppose the voices aren't too bad... It's really strange at first hearing everybody speaking in somebody else's voice, but you kind of get used to it after a while. And the actress dubbing Buffy actually does sound a bit like SMG.

    But as for what those voices are actually saying... Alas, even my rusty high school Spanish is enough to be able to tell that the quirky Buffy dialog does not translate well.

    An example:

    Buffy is trying to talk Willow into going to the Bronze with her.
    English: "Friends don't let friends Bronze alone."
    Spanish: "Friends don't abandon each other."


    Then there's the bit where Xander and the gang have taken Buffy to see Giles for the first time since she got back after skipping town and Xander says: "Mad? Just because you ran away and abandoned your post and your friends and your mom and made him lay awake every night worrying about you?" then turns to Oz and Willow and says, "Maybe we should wait out here." In Spanish, as far as I can tell, the first part's the same, but he finishes up with "I don't think so," instead of "maybe we should wait out here." Which, if you ask me, is not nearly as funny.

    Or there's the scene where Buffy's Mom has invited "Willow and Mr. Giles and everybody" over for dinner, and asks Buffy to go get the "company plates." To which Buffy replies, "Mom, Willow and everybody aren't company-plate people. They're normal-plate people." Only in Spanish, she says something like, "Mom, Willow and my friends aren't just guests, they're my friends!" Is it just me, or are the connotations there almost entirely different?

    It all makes me quite glad I speak English. It also makes me wonder just how much I'm missing when I do watch things that are dubbed from other languages...
    Is This One of Those "You Know You've Lived Alone Too Long When..." Things?

    I ran out of clean underwear yesterday and, instead of doing laundry, I went out and bought some more. What really bothers me about this is the fact that it doesn't bother me.

    Just thought I'd share.

    Tuesday, January 14, 2003

    More Stuff About Me You Probably Never Wanted to Know

    I shamelessly stole this one from JK over at The Trash Heap. Note that none of the lists are in any actual order.

    Ten bands you've seen live:
    10. Jethro Tull
    9. The Moody Blues
    8. Sting
    7. Rush
    6. Altan
    5. The Battlefield Band
    4. Lunasa
    3. Jonny Lang ('cause he opened for Sting)

    Damn. I'm out of bands. I so need to get out to more concerts.

    Nine favorite songs of the moment:
    I can never do these "favorite" things. So this is actually going to be more like "Nine songs I've been groovin' on lately, whether on the radio, the stereo, or in my head."
    9. "Sympathy for the Devil" by the Rolling Stones
    8. "Road to Nowhere" by the Talking Heads
    7. Everything on Queen's It's a Kind of Magic
    6. "Bohemian Rhapsody" (Yeah, so I'm on a bit of a Queen kick)
    5. "Diamonds in the Mine" by Leonard Cohen
    4. "High and Dry" by Radiohead
    3. Various tracks from The Best of Kansas, notably "No One Together"
    2. "One Week" by the Barenaked Ladies
    1. "Comfortably Numb" by Pink Floyd

    Eight things you do everyday
    8. Drink three cups of coffee
    7. Connect to the internet
    6. Eat
    5. Breathe
    4. Use the bathroom
    3. Sleep (well, usually)
    2. Feed the cats
    1. Shower

    Seven movies you could watch again and again
    7. Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan
    6. The Lost Boys
    5. The Muppet Movie
    4. The Fellowship of the Ring
    3. The Princess Bride
    2. Forbidden Planet
    1. Starman

    Six things that annoy you
    6. People who park in front of the ATM at my bank, thus blocking everybody else from being able to exit the parking lot
    5. Telemarketers
    4. Airplane seats
    3. Current trends in television
    2. Mornings
    1. Bigotry

    Five things you touch daily
    5. My eyeglasses
    4. Computer keyboard
    3. The cats
    2. Clothes
    1. Soap

    Four people you spend the most time with:
    Umm... Various friends and co-workers. I'm a) not remotely sure which four I spend the most time with, and b) tend not to to like mention to people by name here unless I'm referring to comments they've left here or linking to their webpages, because I have a highly overdeveloped sense of privacy (at least where it pertains to other people).

    Three things you're looking forward to
    3. The next episode of Farscape
    2. The Return of the King
    1. Watching the 3rd season Buffy discs I just got

    Two things you wear everyday
    2. Underwear
    1. A digital watch

    One person you could spend the rest of your life with
    1. Myself! (Lucky, that, huh?)

    Monday, January 13, 2003

    TV Guide's Matt Roush Slams Sci Fi (Again!)

    Man, I love this guy. Here he is, answering his reader mail:

    Question: I just read the Jan. 7 TV Guide Online interview with Sci Fi Channel president Bonnie Hammer about the cancellation of Farscape. I am copying the exact things she said: "Even though Stargate is sci fi, it's very broad sci fi. It's not serialized. Every episode, you can come to it whether you've watched the one before [or not]. They are self-contained.... Farscape, on the other hand, got very, very serialized. It got very 'in.' ... They had brilliant and sophisticated writing, but it was so narrow that it basically was an invitation to not tune in if you weren't totally familiar with the show. It was brilliant when you got it, and some of the characterizations were truly amazing, but it took a little too much work." So my question or comment is, Farscape is too serialized, yet Sci Fi just went out and purchased The X-Files and is now running reruns of this, one of TV's most serialized "in" shows around. They also showed Babylon 5, another very serialized show. Do you think they are covering up to try to make it the show's fault and the fans' fault? They seem to have given carte blanche on the direction of the show and never said they would like to see more stand-alone episodes. Does this make sense? — Theresa M.

    Matt: There's no good way to justify this cancellation, and in this interview, Hammer came perilously close to admitting what I believe to be the truth: Sci Fi believed Farscape was too smart for what it considers its core audience to be, whatever that is. This is yet another indication that any show that requires attention, demands loyalty and rewards intelligence is an increasingly endangered species, even on so-called niche networks that are supposed to be encouraging such things.

    Well, I Suppose It Had to Happen Sooner or Later

    Apparently, I missed last week's episode of Enterprise. I had somehow gotten the impression that it was a rerun and didn't bother setting the VCR, but I came across some new-episode reviews in a newsgroup just now, so it looks like, oops, I missed one.

    And you know... I'm sorry, but I just can't bring myself to care. I might be able to find somebody who taped it, but somehow it just doesn't seem worth the effort. Maybe I'll catch it on a rerun, maybe I won't. Maybe I won't even bother tuning in for next week's, for that matter.

    Hey, nobody can say I didn't give the show a fair try...
    This Picture Says it All!

    Warning: visual spoiler for the most recent Farscape ep.

    Sunday, January 12, 2003

    Geeking on Tolkien

    OK, it seems like nearly every blog I've surfed by in the last few days has posted a link to this (or something related to it), but I gotta join in, since this is way too much fun to miss: What if The Lord of the Rings Had Been Written By Someone Else?. Some of these are better than others, but the best ones are frickin' brilliant.

    Oh, and, by the way, I have also learned that my Tolkien Geek Test score is 29, meaning I have a long way to go before I start dressing up like a hobbit or naming my children Galadriel. Well, that's a relief.
    I Am Such a Slacker

    Remember how I said a couple of days ago that I was planning on getting some stuff accomplished around the house on Saturday? Man, I really shouldn't say things like that in public. Yes, that's right, I did nothing productive yesterday. I didn't even answer my e-mail (well, very little of it, anyway). My excuse for not doing the laundry is that I have to hang it out on the line, and it looked like it might rain. My excuse for not doing anything else is... Well, mostly that I just didn't feel like it, really. Though I'm inclined to blame that on the fact that I hadn't slept well the last couple of nights. (Rotating onto the morning shift is always tough.) Instead I spent pretty much the entire day hanging with friends and playing games. (For the record, I won one game of Chrononauts and one game of Star Wars Epic Duels (as part of team Dark Side), and lost at, well, a whole bunch of other things.) What a life...

    Saturday, January 11, 2003

    And You Were There, And You Were There... (WARNING: Spoilers for Farscape episode 4.12, "Kansas.")

    Well, that was fun. Not quite as satisfying as I'd hoped, though. After all, it was basically just a combination of standard time travel and aliens-on-Earth themes, minus any of the bizarre and unique twists Farscape usually tends to put on the old sci-fi standards. OK, I was probably meant to be having flashbacks to Back to the Future and E.T. and half a dozen other movies, but if you ask me, most elements of the plot were a bit too reminiscent of stuff I'd seen before to feel fresh, even when approached with the typically quirky Farscape style. On the other hand, there was some terrific humor, and it's good to see Crichton's background being built on a bit. And the surprise at the end certainly promises interesting things to come.

    Various random thoughts:

  • I really do wish I understood the whole "unrealized realities" thing better. Oh, I get the concept perfectly well, I'd just like a better feel for how and why the whole thing works. Not the technobabble (and Farscape tends to eschew technobabble, anyway), just a better sense of what goes on on a cause-and-effect level. Why did this particular change happen? Why haven't things like this happened every time someone has navigated a wormhole? That sort of thing.

  • There was far less of a language barrier than there ought to have been, and it bugged me. OK, Aeryn's been learning English; we've seen her diligently practicing. Her vocabulary seems a bit bigger than I would have expected, but I can accept that. But how come Chiana and Noranti seem to be able to communicate just fine?

  • I loved Aeryn watching Sesame Street, and not just for the clever Henson self-reference, either. And stealing candy from trick-or-treaters is just soooo Rygel!

  • In an interview a while back, Ben Browder mentioned that he thought even people who hadn't seen any previous epsiodes would likely be able to follow the current storyline, that it would be obvious that there was a backstory, but that the overall arc should stand alone. Based on how continuity-heavy the season's been thus far, I was very skeptical of this claim, but I think I can now see what he means. Which is something that bodes well for getting the ratings up, too...

  • I can never figure out whether Granny's an asset or a menace. Actually, I think the answer has finally come clear to me: she's both. Doing the Jedi mind trick on the cop = good. Testing out drugs on the hapless cop and nearly killing young Johnny = bad. Somebody start keeping a better eye on her, please!

  • Personally, I would not have left Sikozu and Scorpius alone on the ship. These folks have gotten way too trusting towards those two.

  • When young Johnny identified Chiana as "Karen Shaw," I actually had to hit the pause button and spend several mintues going, "Oh my god, no. Oh, that is so wrong!" before I could continue watching. Such are the hazards of having detailed character backstory knowledge...

  • Speaking of character backstory, we've gotten a number of hints over the course of the series that Crichton's home life as a kid was far from perfect, and what we see of it here fits very well with that. That's the kind of consistency I like to see. Actually, I would have liked to have gotten to know Teen Crichton better. I'm curious as to what he was like at that age, and we don't spend enough time around him to find out all that much.

  • So Braca was a spy for Scorpy all along?! I suspected as much, at first, but his behavior rapidly convinced me otherwise, and I haven't considered that as a real possibility for a long time. Either the guy's a much better actor than I ever figured, or there's something else going on... Actually, I think it'd pretty much have to be both. At the very least, I think there's been a lot more info flowing from Braca to Scorpy than vice versa. Among other things, I'm scratching my head over why he would have thought Scorpius was dead, if he was in on whatever plan it is Scorpy's got going. And how about that emotional reunion scene, huh?! Scorpius and Braca? Ya think? OK, I admit it, that thought might have crossed my mind at some point in the distant past, too... But I've just spent the past 11 epsiodes thinking of Braca as a traitorous, snivelling little weasel. Doggone it, I was just starting to really enjoy hating him, and now I'm not sure what to think of the guy! Though, wait, I'm not actually supposed to be on Scorpy's side anyway, am I? Does that mean it's still OK to hate Braca, even if my main reason for doing so has evaporated? So... very... confused. I don't even know who's a good guy and who's a bad guy anymore! In other words, it's Farscape as usual, doing one of the things I love best about the show. Cool. (Heh. You know, Sikozu's gonna be so jealous! No wonder he made her leave the room... Or am I just reading way too much into things?)

  • To answer the final trivia question: I believe it was a trout. What do I win (other than not being immediately shot by a paranoid John Crichton)?

  • Friday, January 10, 2003

    Since I'm Still Stuck Here, I Suppose I'll Take Some More Useless Quizzes

    Which Sims Edition Are You?

    I am 35% British, just like
    Just as happy in LA or London.
    Aren't the narrow roads in the UK quaint.

    Take the Brit Quiz at
    Quiz written by Daz

    Which SNL Character Are You?

    brought to you by Quizilla

    And I have no idea what to make of any of that...
    Friday Five

    1. Where are you right now? At work, lucky me. In fact, I'm sitting right here, although it doesn't look exactly like the picture any more, as we've moved some of the workstations around since it was taken.

    2. What time is it? As I type this? 5:39, by my watch, which I believe is a couple of minutes slow. I could go and look at the atomic clock on the other side of the room if I wanted to be really accurate, but that seems kind of pointless.

    3. What are you wearing? Blue jeans. A sweater that's mostly red with some black threads in it. White socks. Black sneakers.

    4. Any people or animals around you? Describe them. The current array operator is sitting across the room from me, but I can't see him through the big plastic partition.

    5. What are your plans for the weekend? Wait, didn't they ask this last time? Are we finally running out of new questions to ask? Well, let's see, tomorrow afternoon I'm hoping to get a few things accomplished around the house (e.g. laundry). Tomorrow evening I'll probably get together with some friends again and do board games or something, since our regular RPG session is still on hiatus. Sunday I'm working. "It's a full life, if a trifle banal." (Quick, name that Star Trek quote for 500 trivia points!)
    A Reminder

    For those in the US, we're finally getting new episodes of Farscape, starting tonight. If you've been watching, you won't want to miss the rest of Season 4, and if you haven't, well, now's your chance to see what all the fuss is about! It'll be on at 8 PM Eastern/Pacific (that translates to 7 Central and 6 Mountain) on the Sci-Fi Channel, with a repeat showing at midnight EST/PST. Me, I'm stuck at work until midnight, Mountain Time, which means that I'm gonna have to set the VCR and attempt to be patient until I get home. You may feel free to post mocking comments such as "Ha, ha, I know what happens and you don't!" below. But do watch, because there will be a quiz.

    (Oh, yeah, this is me: Farscape evangelist. Praise the Goddess and pass the chakan oil!)

    Thursday, January 09, 2003

    If Found, Please Return to Planet Earth

    I am seriously tempted to order one of these. I mean, what if I got abducted by aliens and I didn't have one? I'd feel pretty darned silly then, wouldn't I? Besides, it's just cool.
    Still More of Those Wacky Search Requests!

    There was a period there where, I swear, well over 1/3 of the hits on this page were from people looking for nude pictures of Legolas. Which I can understand. The fact that a smaller but still signficant percentage were from people looking for nude pictures of Wil Wheaton is something that I don't even want to think about. Much to my disappointment, though, I haven't gotten any new requests for naked Farscape characters (although I did get another one for Sikozu). Come on! Where are the scary, drooling Crais fans? I know you're out there!

    Anyway, here's the latest batch. Hey, it keeps me entertained.

  • pictures of legolas half naked: Of all the people looking for sexy elf pics, this one stands out. After umpty-zillion "naked pictures of legolas" requests, it was like a breath of fresh air. Not naked, but half-naked! What originality! I hope she eventually found what she was looking for...

  • naked sims wearing wellies: I'm afraid you're probably going to have to design those skins yourself, dude.

  • simming naked: I can honestly say that I have never simmed naked. Though I have done an awful lot of simming in my bathrobe.

  • blake's 7 grayza: Not a terribly wacky search request, but I thought I'd mention it because I'm actually quite surprised there weren't more google results on this one. It's amost irresistably easy, if you're familiar with both shows, to draw comparisons between Farscape's Commandant Grayza and B7's Supreme Commander Servalan. Though, personally, I much prefer Servalan. She may be ruthless and evil, but at least she's got style. Grayza is just... repulsive. Mind you, Scorpius is still a cooler bad guy than both of them put together.

  • maximum for guys: Maximum Verbosity is for both guys and gals! We're an equal-opportunity blog!

  • wampa sounds for desktop: Because who doesn't want their PC to sound like a wampa?

  • the mighty atom fetish: Ooooh, uranium!

  • what is verbosity: Verbosity is running on and on at the mouth and using more words than you really need to and just talking and talking and talking... So, congratulations, you've come to the right place!

  • any movies sexing: Huh?

  • betty boobs: My boobs are none of your damned business!

  • 2003 saccer players: I'm sure the members of the Society Against Cruelty to Crichton will be touched to know that you're thinking of them...
  • Wednesday, January 08, 2003

    Man, Everybody's Got a Blog These Days...

    Including the First Evil from Buffy. (Warning: spoilers!) Be sure to check out the touching tribute page. How can you help but be moved?
    A Matter of Some Gravity

    I just got a copy of this press release in my work e-mail, and thought it was interesting enough to be worth passing on. Apparently astronomers have measured the speed of gravity for the first time. (It's equal to the speed of light, within an accuracy of 20%, just to save you the suspense.) Hmm, I wonder if I correlated any of that data? It's quite likely that I did, but the nature of my job is such that I don't actually know what kind of observation I'm working on unless I go and look it up.
    Nothing New Under the... Uh, Moon?

    Having watched last night's episode of Buffy, I have only one thing to say: I am quite sure that the line "I'm what monsters have nightmares about" originally appeared in a Doctor Who novel.[*] Hmm. First we get some story elements and lines of dialog in Buffy and Firefly that are strangely remeniscent of Blake's 7, and now this... Coincidence? Well, probably, but it's kind of an interesting coincidence...

    [*] In fact, a quick google tells me that it was on pg. 137 of Love and War. I love the internet.

    Tuesday, January 07, 2003


    Is it time to do this again? Sure, why not...

    Current clothes: Black jeans. A white t-shirt from the Museum of Space History in Alamagordo that says "climb in/take off/space out" with "SPACE OUT" in huge black letters with the curve of the Earth as seen from space just visible in the bottom of the "OUT" part. There's an astronaut floating in front of the letters, part of a shuttle visible in the "P" and little American flags scattered around. I've also got on white socks and black sneakers.

    Current mood: I've been feeling a bit irritable today, but I'm starting to get over it now.

    Current music: In the stereo at home is the Barenaked Ladies' Stunt. In the walkman is The String Quartet Tribute to Pink Floyd. (Yes, seriously. It's a string quartet playing Floyd songs. And while some of the pieces translate over better than others, the overall result is surprisingly cool.)

    Current hair: Starting to get unruly again. Must call the beauty parlor tomorrow.

    Current annoyance: The fact that my nose is still stuffy. And the way that my blood pressure goes up everytime I read anything the executives at the Sci Fi Channel say.

    Current thing: E-mail. Unending streams of e-mail swamping me in a million fascinating but time-consuming discussions.

    Current desktop picture: The same Farscape screen capture as last time. I haven't been around enough this month to have gotten tired of looking at it yet.

    Current song stuck in head: The Schoolhouse Rock song about verbs, thanks to Wil Wheaton.

    Current book: O Jerusalem by Laurie R. King. I'm slowly working my way through this series. Along with about six other series...

    Current video in player: A tape I stuck in to catch tonight's Buffy while I'm at work.

    Current refreshment: Water.

    Current worry: I think I've been spending too much time lately worrying about what people think of me. Which is pointless, so I believe I'll stop.

    Current thought: The people at the Sci Fi Channel are such a bunch of wankers. (And thank you, British English, for providing me with the only word that will really do to convey my thoughts on the subject...)
    Yet Again Still More Farscape

    I just finished listening to a radio interview Farscape producer David Kemper gave a few days ago. (You can download it from here. It's kind of long, but the whole thing's well worth listening to.) And he had a lot of really interesting things to say. To begin with, he seems really optimistic about a possible future for the show. He says he believes that Sci Fi realized almost immediately that they had made a mistake but just don't want to admit it, that they seem to be treating the show better now than would be reasonable if it wasn't doing something for them, and that if the ratings for the second half of season 4 are high they might very well be willing to reconsider. He also repeated something we've heard many times from him and from other people who've worked on the show: that they are incredibly proud of the upcoming 11 eps, that they're among the best episodes they've ever done, and that they constitute the longest run of consistently superior episodes they've ever done. (And early praise from critics who've seen some of them already would seem to support that assertion, too!) He also talked a lot about a particular upcoming episode: 4.17. No spoilers, but he says that it took seven months to film, that it's as unique and different as the cartoon ep, and that it's guaranteed to get conversations started. (Aaargh, now I'm really feeling impatient!)

    He also talked about various other possibilities for getting more Farscape made, including an idea that I know has been discussed a bit among fans. Consider this: if there are three million Farscape fans, and every one of those people chipped in twenty bucks, it would be enough to get the series made. Kemper says the legal logistics of something like that would be insanely complicated, and he makes a careful point of not encouraging FS fans to try it, because the financial risks are so great, but adds that he believes something like that is bound to happen eventually. And you know what? The more I think about that idea, the more I like it. Not just as a possible means of bringing back Farscape, but the whole principle of the thing, the idea that, as viewers, we're not content to simply sit back and passively accept whatever pap the networks see fit to foist on us. Power to the people! Yeah! Seriously, even if it doesn't happen for Farscape, I would like to see it happen sometime...

    Monday, January 06, 2003

    You May Feel Free to Buy Me Things, If for Some Bizarre Reason You Really Want To

    I've noticed in my random blog-surfings that a lot of people have links to their Amazon wish lists in their sidebars. Being the copycat that I am, I've gone and done the same with mine. Of course, it's fairly typical of me to do that after Christmas... Not that I would have expected anybody to shop from it, anyway. I mostly keep it as a list of things I want to remember to buy when I actually have enough money. And goodness only knows what that collection of stuff says about me...

    Sunday, January 05, 2003

    Warning: This Post Rated "R" for Adult Situations and General Poor Taste

    In my surfings-around the other day, I came across this Buffy sex chart, which displays, in graphical form, which characters on Buffy the Vampire Slayer have had sex with which other characters. (It also includes kissing.) Mind you, I probably shouldn't have looked at it, since it seems to contain spoilerish stuff for a couple of epsiodes I haven't seen yet, but I've watched so much of that show completely out of order that I suppose it scarcely matters any more. Anyway, it's interesting to look at, because apparently it connects up pretty much everybody in Sunnydale. Here's hoping none of these people had VD, or they're likely all in for a trip to the clinic...

    I thought it might be fun (or at least, mildly boredom-relieving) to concoct a similar chart for Farscape, and I actually started drawing one up, but I rapidly began running into problems. I mean, to begin with, I would have had to do some serious research to figure out all the guest characters who ought to be connected to Chiana and D'Argo. I don't think we ever did get some of their names. I also realized that I really ought to add a different kind of connecting line for characters who didn't have sex and didn't kiss, but nonetheless engaged in activities I can only describe as "groping." There turned out to me a disturbingly large number of these. And then, what constitutes a kiss, anyway? Does it have to be on the lips? And why does pretty much everybody have to kiss Rygel at one point or another? I mean, ick. Having to sort through all the things that only happened in Crichton's imagination/hallucinations vs. things that happened in reality proved a bit of a stumbling block, too, if only because I wasn't sure which category to put the entire episode of "Scratch'n'Sniff" into. On top of all that, I was unhappy because I could link up almost all of the main characters in one way or another, but I couldn't work in Scorpius at all. Doggone it, why couldn't he (or for that matter, Sikozu, 'cause I can tie them together with one of those "ambiguous/unknown" lines) just give Rygel a big fat smooch like everybody else? Noranti didn't fit in, either, unless you want to count that interesting little long-distance experience she shared with D'Argo in "Coup by Clam." Which I don't, particularly, but once you start thinking about that sort of thing it's hard to stop, and you soon find yourself being led into a definitional morass of positively Clintonian proportions. The answer to the question of which characters have had sex really does depend on how you define the identity of a given character, and what one means by "having sex," and, yes, I swear, what the definition of "is" is. I mean, how do you handle characters who get to the "groping" stage while inhabiting other characters' bodies? What about alien possession? Psychic sex? Psychic sex with an alien possession? Do I need to split the circle for Crichton off into two branches when there are two of him? And, my god, what about Harvey, considering that he was actually present when T-John and Aeryn were...

    No. You can see why I stopped. This doesn't just get complicated, it gets downright disturbing. Yeah, leave it to science fiction to challenge our definitions and assumptions. And sanity. But how come they don't seem to have those sorts of problems on Buffy? You'd think with all the demons on the chart, things would be a bit... weirder.

    Man, I really do need a life, don't I?

    Saturday, January 04, 2003

    The Atomic Horror

    I've been playing this Atomica game so much lately that I'm starting to see little balls sliding around on grids when I shut my eyes. It sort of reminds of my Tetris addiction from back in my college days. (I knew I was in trouble then when my brain started playing Tetris with the tiles on the ladies' room floor.) You think maybe there's a "stupid addictive computer games" support group?

    Friday, January 03, 2003

    Yet Another Silly LotR Quiz

    You are a ghost that dwells in the hills, best known for
    your disembodied hand trick. And for being left out
    of the movie.

    Advice:Don't leave sharp objects near your prisoners.

    Hey, why wasn't I in the movie? Somebody call my agent!
    The Return of the Friday Five

    1. Do you wear any jewelry? What kind? Once in a great while I'll wear a necklace. Most often a silver chain with a unicorn's head pendant that my dad gave me ages ago. Even more rarely, I'll wear a little pin on my shirt or vest collar. I've got a couple of unicorns, a little Starfleet logo, and a bunch of other pins I almost never wear.

    2. How often do you wear it? See above.

    3. Do you have any piercings? If so, where? No, not even my ears. I have no desire to poke holes through my flesh, thank you very much. Always struck me as kind of a barbaric practice, really.

    4. Do you have any tattoos? If so, where? No. Tatoos involve needles, which would be enough to put me off the idea all by itself.

    5. What are your plans for the weekend? Tomorrow I'm probably going to go and hang out with some friends. Saturday is our usual RPG night, but since a key member of our group (i.e. the guy with the key to the room we usually use) isn't going to be able to make it, we're not going to be playing this week. Instead, we've been talking about doing board games or something. Sunday I'm fully intending to spend doing some much-needed vegging out. Maybe I'll make a start on getting caught up on all those videos and DVDs I still have to watch.

    Thursday, January 02, 2003

    And People Say Peter Jackson Maligned Faramir's Character...

    I was just checking out, gleefully rubbing my hands over the thought that it's only a few more days until season 3 of Buffy comes out on DVD (although how I'm going to find time to watch all the discs I've got already, I have no idea), and I notice that they're trying rather hard to sell me a Lord of the Rings computer game. Which isn't something I've got a whole lot of interest in, but it does bring back some memories for me... When I was a teenager, we had a Lord of the Rings computer game, extremely primitive by today's standards, no doubt, but we thought it was cool. You got to wander around the whole map of Middle Earth, controlling all nine members of the Fellowship, with the goal being to get the Ring to Mount Doom before the Black Riders killed you all and took it. This was not an easy goal to achieve. I remember, I ultimately found only one solution that would actually work: I had Aragorn take the thing, abandon his compatriots, and run like Shadowfax for Mordor while the Nazgul were distracted by the business of brutally slaughtering the rest of the party.

    I feel as if I should apologize to the spirit of Tolkien for this appalling combination of character assassination and story distortion. I also feel that this is probably a good example of why it may have been a good idea not to make The Lord of the Rings into a computer game.
    The Second Farscape Post of the New Year

    Check out the fan-produced radio ads! I think the first one ("The Mix") is particularly good: "chicks dig it, critics love it, and guys say it goes great with pizza." Although the "Muppet Sex" one is certainly... interesting.
    This Is Getting Old

    I still can't shake this stupid cold. My throat occasionally feels as if someone has been gouging at it with a spoon, my tonsils are approximately twice normal size, I've been producing mucus in a truly disturbing variety of colors from both chest and nose, and I've just felt tired and a bit "off" for the last few days. But none of it is quite bad enough to warrant calling in sick, climbing into bed with the covers pulled up to my chin, and watching videos all day. Which is kind of a pity, because that sounds really good.