Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Drifting With The Currents

Current clothes: Black t-shirt with a picture of a Dalek on it, gray shorts, black sport socks.

Current mood: Swinging wildly back and forth between "happy" and "frazzled." So... "hazzled!" Or possibly "frappy."

Current music: Tom Petty's Full Moon Fever.

Current annoyance: I spent a week playing phone tag with a painter, and then when I finally got hold of him, he said he could come out and look at what I needed done sometime on Monday... then never called or showed. And I'm getting his answering machine again. Sigh. This is how things go in this town.

Current thing: Trying to do every expensive thing I need done in my life all at once. Travel to Australia! Household repairs! Computer stuff! Sigh. My sense of timing sucks.

Current desktop picture: M78 and reflecting dust clouds in Orion.

Current book: Americans' Survival Guide to Australia and Australian-American Dictionary by Rusty Geller. I am attempting to be well-informed and prepared before I travel! This is a pretty good book for it, too. Much of it is aimed at people who are planning on living in Australia, but there's also a lot of information that's useful for tourists. It is, however, mostly succeeding in making me suspect that I'm not going to be able to understand a damned word anybody is saying, and that I will probably starve to death because I am too incapable of internalizing the local customs to ever be able to figure out how to procure food. (They want you to have reservations at a lunch counter and the supermarkets all close at 6 PM? Really?)

Current song in head: It's mostly random cacophony in here right now, but a minute ago my brain appeared to be playing the theme song to Bonanza. It does that occasionally. I have no idea why. I've never even seen a full episode of Bonanza.

Current DVD in player: Nothing at the moment. Most recently, I think, last week's Torchwood. Have I mentioned how much better this season was than last season? Because that level of improvement is really very impressive.

Current refreshment: Oh, hang on! I heated some water for tea and then forgot about it! Back in a sec... OK, cool. Now I have tea brewing.

Current worry: Oh, there are so many of them, but the most immediate one is... Well, let me put it this way. I sat down and accounted for all the time zone changes and eventually discovered that, counting the drive to the airport, time spent at the airport, the flight to Los Angeles, the layover in LAX, and the flight to Melbourne, I am going to be travelling for approximately 27 hours. I'm honestly not sure about my ability to survive that. I start hyperventilating a little just thinking about it. I mean, four hours spent in a car, an airplane seat, or even in an airport is about the point where I start to get a little bit crazy.

Current thought: Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaargh! *deep breath* OK, there, that's better. I just needed to release some of this tension. Honestly, once I'm there, I'm sure I'll have lots of fun. All I need to do is to survive the trip... Do you guys think thirteen books ought to be enough?

(Hey, speak of the devil! I was just about to post this when the painter called. He said yesterday was "a very, very, very, very bad day." I decided I probably didn't want to know the details. Anyway, he's supposed to show up on Wednesday now. I'll be keeping my fingers crossed.)


  1. "Currant Worries" You said you are coming to Melbourne. Yay.

  2. Of course I didnt mean Currant.

  3. Sorry, wrong Melbourne. :)

    Also, currants sound good. :)

  4. I've still got the season finale to watch, but I still can't get over how improved Torchwood is this season. With the exception of "From Out of the Rain," there really hasn't been a bad episode, and there have been a few genuinely great ones. A far cry over last year when there were mostly lousy episodes, with only occasional moments and hope to keep me watching. I'm not sure if I'd be as impressed if the show had started out like this, but it's really a very decent show now. And I don't think I've ever seen a show improve itself so remarkably between seasons.

  5. Yes, "From Out of the Rain" was kind of a stinker, and I think there were a few others that were only so-so, but overall it's been a surprisingly enjoyable season, and there've been a few episodes that I thought were just really good, with no qualifications whatsoever. I think that would be a lot less impressive if it weren't for the enormous contrast, but, y'know, I'll take it!

    I'd be interested to hear what you think of the season finale once you've seen it. Although it's probably not something we're going to be able to discuss without spoiler warnings. :)

  6. Very much agreed about the remarkable impriovement in Torchwood. My memory is so bad that I had to look up "From Out of the Rain" to see which episode it was. The episode was a bit of a mess, and suspension of disbelief was almost impossible, but it was based on an interesting premise and had some arresting visual images, so even it wasn't a toral write-uff. I can imagine Neil Gaiman, say, producing something wonderful from the same concept.

  7. Actually, I think one of the things that actively bothered me about "From out of the Rain" is precisely that it could have been really interesting and creepy, if it had been handled with any skill. Which made the fact that it fell completely flat quite disappointing.

  8. What in particular makes it better? Mostly it was a show to watch just because - what makes it a show that should be watched now?

  9. Well, this is all only My Humble Opinion, obviously, but I'd say that this season they've:

    1) Done a much better job overall of making the individual characters likable, interesting and real. In particular, Jack is (mostly) back to being more the fun, flirty figure I loved on Doctor Who; Ianto has developed a personality and a rather wonderful dry, snarky wit; Tosh, while still rather underserved, was more appealing and did have some very good moments; Rhys was developed much more; Gwen acquired a welcome streak of leadership ability and strength; Martha in her brief appearances was marvelous; and as for Owen... Well, they did some very interesting things with Owen. I cared way more about all of them this season that I did last season. Plus, as a team, they were a lot more competent than last season, too.

    2) Featured some really good stories. There's one particular episode that really knocked my socks off, although other people seem to have hated it. Still, the overall writing quality is definitely better, even if it's still highly variable.

    3) Added more touches of humor than the last season had. I think this raises its entertainment value a fair bit (not least because John Barrowman is better when given a bit of comedy to work with).

    4) Had some really excellent guest actors. James Marsters is the most high-profile of them, but (with one or two unfortunate exceptions) most of the guest actors they've had on this season have been extremely impressive.

    So, yeah, while it's still far from perfect, it definitely seems to be evolving into genuinely worthwhile television.

  10. Just watched the season finale. Wow, that was...I still get over that this is the same show, but really good. But you're right, discussing it without spoilers is probably impossible. I'm genuinely looking forward to the third season (whenever that happens).

    I'm curious, though, about which episode you're talking about in #2 above.

  11. Yeah, you see what I mean. It really was... not discussable without spoilers. :)

    I'm looking forward to season three, myself. I have a little trepidation, perhaps, about the question of where they're going to go from there, but mostly I am looking forward to it.

    The episode I was referring to was "A Day in the Death." I've seen quite a few comments from people who apparently put it in the "Worst. Episode. Ever." category, but I thought it was fascinating, brilliantly acted, genuinely moving, and basically an episode any show could be proud of, let alone a hit-and-miss kind of show like Torchwood. But then, I thought the, erm, particular character development twist upon which it was predicated was the single best idea that series has ever had, and I know other people's mileage varies on that one.

    (And, whew! That was me doing the spoiler limbo, right there. :))

  12. Worst episode ever? Haven't these people seen "Small Worlds" or "Cyberwoman"?

  13. I dunno... I thought "Small Worlds" was actually one of the better episodes of season 1, and found "Cyberwoman" more entertaining than most of them, too.

  14. Only thing I liked about "Cyberwoman" was that they used Mogwai at the beginning. But then, I do have the album...

  15. I'm just a sucker for anything that features a cyborg and a pterodactyl fighting in barbecue sauce. I don't care how cheesy it is. :)