aesmael: (haircut)

I know I made a post just recently about my wish that adapting sff genre works from prose to television would become commonplace, but now news is going around about one such adaptation that I'm skeptical about, the Foundation series.

The Foundation stories are so much a bundled set of short stories with cast and time period changing what seems like every few thousand words, I wonder how they're going to manage any sense of continuity. At that rate I'd expect a cast turnover every couple of episodes.

Then again, Asimov's writing was so distant and sparsely characterised for the Foundation stories, maybe it would be a great opportunity for writers to dive in and explore character drama at length. Not as if there is much pre-existing material for them to conflict with here.

aesmael: (nervous)

First day NaNoWriMo. You sense a certain tension in the air...

Watched Waking the Dead S09E09 “Waterloo (Part 1)”. Looks like whatsisface is finally getting some comeuppance for his rights-violating style of policing. Possibly the final story of the show. So he decides to take on an intentionally last-case before he is done, the least clueful mystery he can find apparently. This one felt refreshingly investigative after Elementary (I took a break after ther first few minutes to watch Elementary).

Watched Elementary S02E03 with Ami. Neither of us particularly cared for the episode. There were some good character moments as usual, but the mystery itself was a combination of slight and worrying Law & Order style 'ripped from the headlines' which is not something we want to see. Also the murder itself seemed contrived and underdetailed, a bare excuse for them to proceed with a case that was otherwise 'chasing Edward Snowden'.

Whitechapel S04E02, back to the witch hunt. Very little to say about this, but still quite enjoying for quality.

Spectacular Spider-Man episode 20 “Identity Crisis”. This was a lot more fun and heartwarming, and hopefully the relationship drama will be resolved now. Don't tend to like stories where tension relies on people being secretive, especially concealing 'hidden world' secrets from close loved ones.

Silverwing episode 12 “Hibernaculum”. Continue to not like that the male hero who showed less interest and diligence is the one who keeps saving the day with his echo projection skills.

aesmael: (it would have been a scale model)

Ouran High School Host Club: Episode 4 “Attack of the Lady Manager!” ... this show still confuses me. Very emotionally extravagant. Whole lot of structured around deliberate sexualisation of men, which is unusual. This episode structured around stereotypes of violently romantically aggressive women. Show seems to revel in the presentation and play of stereotypes so maybe I shouldn't hold this against it. Does seem rather silly overall.

Doctor Who S06E01 “The Impossible Astronaut”. I will say one thing for Moffat as showrunner: he really likes to work in and with the time travel elements.

"We're his friends. We do what the Doctor's friends always do: as we're told." That doesn't sound like friendship.

Been thinking past couple of days, seems like the latest stretch of episodes are infantilising the character of the Doctor. Lot of focus on things like fizzy drinking straws and repeated conspicuous confusion at other people romantically kissing.

Doctor Who S06E01 “Day of the Moon”. Continuation of previous episode.

Weird seeing a British program associate triumphalism with US gun culture.

Spooks S09E07. Season coming to a head. Blackmailing and threatening a person who is blackmailing and threatening a regular character. Lots of Women In Peril this week. Also, mysterious backstory! Various musings on the dreadful things that spy-work does to the soul.

Taggart S11, episode 107 “Silent Truth”. Rarely do I see Scottish folk so heavily represented. On the other hand, lead investigator resenting having someone with various languages on hand for community liaison on this case. Also Iranian family whose son was murdered, being deported. This sort of topicality seems common for British crime shows of the period. Not that it's a bad idea for shows to address structural racism and asylum or migration.

The guy playing the role of sleazy community property-holder does it very, very well. Unpleasantly smiling and cheerful in a skin-crawling sort of way.

Doctor Who S06E03 “The Curse of the Black Spot”. Filler episode, does not especially make sense within itself.

Dear subtitler, I don't think the Doctor said 'protein circuitry'. I suspect you will find he said 'protean circuitry'.

Also apparently spousal consent / authority over medical treatment is a rule of the multiverse.

Star Wars: The Clone Wars S4E19 “Massacre”. Hey, back to this Ventress plot that's been lying fallow for about a month.

Star Wars: The Clone Wars S4E20 “Bounty”. Are we in one word title land now? Bad sign. Also, now that Dooku has destroyed her homeworld, Ventress turns to bounty hunting. This episode is surprisingly touching.

Reading over subject outline for the unit I will be taking over the summer, which begins in a few days. Since it is a social networking unit one of the requirements is to maintain an online study journal. This should not be tricky in itself, as despite my laxness over the past few years I do have a history of blogging and approximating some form of self-reflective learning.

However, I would like to keep that relatively disconnected from my existing online presence. That seems like it would be prudent. So I need to find somewhere to host m'self that is not my existing things. Maybe use that account I have at PBWorks and make a little wiki specialised for purpose. Couldn't make public pages of the one I already use because the URL would be indicative.

On the other hand I will probably mirror my posts for that 'OLJ' (Online Learning Journal) to my regular haunts, which is hardly a judicious application of secrecy. Will have to think of a professional sort of Twitter handle to use also.

While I had the course site open - actually originally trying to retrieve a citation for a reading I'd been trying to go over - figured I may as well check my grades, which I am very frightened to do. Looks like my overall mark for the information literacy unit is 50.0, which I am hoping means a pass. No grade back on my second assignment for the other, introductory unit, which worries me as the return date was a few days ago. I know I don't deserve to pass these units but I am desperately hoping I do anyway, as so much of my plans and hopes is bound with this course and trying to graduate.

I wonder if I could still move and do this course slower. If I do fail, if I do find two units per most semesters is too much for me.

Bawden, D. (2001). Information and digital literacies: A review of concepts. Journal of Documentation, 57(2), 218-259.

First attempt at catching up on readings post-assignments, but terribly undisciplined I am have still not finished this. Got to press harder.

Musings from original reading pass:

"The first and simplest meaning implies only the ability to read and write. The second certainly implies this ability, but also requires something beyond it. ‘The concept of literacy goes beyond simply being able to read; it has always meant the ability to read with meaning, and to understand. It is the fundamental act of cognition’ [23]." Can one be said to be able to read without meaning?

"‘Literacy can be defined as having the skills one needs to make the connection to the information necessary to survive in society’" In an inequitable society literacy itself may be insufficient; may also require luck. Further question: how does this relate to a society where the information needed to survive does not exist? Particularly, even if we are regarding information as not a 'thing', if you do not yourself possess the skillset to create that information.

Literacy as a term for fluency or competence in a field of study or practical endeavour.

Sword & Sorcery story. Bit silly of me to think of writing one, when I have not experience reading them. How does one target a genre one is not familiar with? Maybe the cultural idea of sword and sorcery will do. Plus, not like genres of fiction are immutably bestowed upon humanity from some higher authority. What I want to capture is a feel, a style, and maybe that will turn out to mesh with the sword & sorcery that is an accepted genre, and maybe it will not.

Meant to be a 'quick writing' story, something I could make up stories for easily and at length, unlike all the mulling and musing and prevaricating I tend to do when writing. So in that regard it would seem the perfect tale to make a NaNoWriMo run with. Especially since the plot is as vague and alike as any story I ever do - “Here are some characters, they travel and have adventures together”.

The idea quickly attached itself to a setting I had been vaguely mulling for several years previous and enabled them both to develop detail more confidently. Main idea behind the setting was to try and be a bit more fantasy in my fantasy, something I have a history of being bad at. Main signature idea (of setting) for me personally is the realisation of “this is fantasy, it is not actually required that, for example, living beings function according to biology as she is normally told”. Like, there could be vitalism. Some sort of magical life force. And then you don't need internal organs, right? So there we go.

Characters I don't remember so much how those came up except that I probably wanted a change from defaulting to human as I tend to do. Which is silly in some sense because what is there to write about but humans and their manity?

aesmael: (just people)

Episode of Nikita taking place in Hong Kong, person they are pursuing murders his girlfriend and calls the police to stymie them. Spy agency folk at their office describe it as there having been "a 911 call" placed, but in Hong Kong as in England the number is 999.

What bugs me is the prominence US media gives to their local emergency number. Not so much for it being a bad idea or thing to do in itself, but the knock-on effects of this tendency. Other nations don't give their local number such prominence in their media - I think this might be a mistake on their part. Where a British or Australian show would say "call the police", a US program would say "call 911".

Effective device for educating the populace on the number to call in case of emergency, but with the pervasive export of US media, leads to people living internationally thinking first of the foreign number to call instead of their own local number.

Originally published at a denizen's entertainment. You can comment here or there.

I really should have said something all the way back when I first heard about it, because then it might have been news to someone who read this and cared about it too, but it seems Good Omens by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman is being made into a miniseries. That's potentially good news to me, since I liked Good Omens a lot when I read it in high school, borrowing it from the library to read over again.

What's more surprising is Pratchett's Watch subseries (of the Discworld series) is being adapted into a semi-original television series, what looks to be telling new mystery stories using the established characters. Am even more curious how that will turn out. Would have guessed it to be animated, but since the company making it (also making the Good Omens miniseries) also made the previous Discworld live adaptations I'd bet on it being live action, if I were to bet.

Originally published at a denizen's entertainment. You can comment here or there.

Looked in on ABC3 a few nights ago, which I had not done in many months. They had some show on called Vampire Knight, and from the description I was thinking it would be similar to The Worst Witch so I decided to try watching an episode. Surprised to find it is actually a dubbed anime series as I hadn't thought that to be the sort of thing they air.

Seems to star a girl called Yuki who attends Cross Academy and works as a guardian protecting the Day Class (humans) from students in the Night Class (vampires). Even though the plot I think doesn't much resemble either it kept putting me in mind of a Harry Potter x Twilight situation. Mainly, I suppose, because we have a supernatural sort of school with a changing roster of mysterious teachers, and a girl as protagonist who is constantly being attacked and seems entirely incapable of protecting herself, needing an assortment of male characters to step in and save her.

I had a very hard time believing she is really supposed to protect other students at that school, since she seemed barely able to protect herself from a papercut, and my announce was compounded by other characters needing to explain to her what seem to be very basic aspects of the setting. Maybe my expectations were badly set, but I had been kind of hoping for some sort of active, clueful protagonist. Would be tempted to dismiss it as badly written, but perhaps it is a well-written example of something I don't like? From what little I've seen so far, the story feels claustrophobic and emotionally dangerous, in ways that make me think I might be better off avoiding it in future.

Originally published at a denizen's entertainment. You can comment here or there.

Yesterday morning I caught a few minutes at the end of a program called Pororo the Little Penguin that at first seemed fairly dead-on in its portrayal of a character with an eating disorder. So, naturally, descriptive triggers follow in the recounting of it.

What I saw started with a pink beaver character (named Loopy according to the Wikipedia article) moping, looking at herself in the mirror and sighing that she is 'chubby'. Then her friends come over for lunch and are enjoying themselves, while she quietly sips a drink through a straw instead of eating. While doing so she visualises herself expanding in size as she drinks, and puts even that away.

While she is lamenting that she is chubby and should not eat or drink anything, her friends are admiring a model in a magazine she has lying around. When they notice she is upset about her weight, they try to tell her she is not chubby but she does not believe them.

And then... it all falls apart. She says she wants to be thin and pretty like the model in the magazine and the polar bear tells her if she wants to be thin she should exercise, and that dancing is great exercise. They all get up and dance happily.

~ fin ~

Speaking as someone who hasn't experienced it first-hand, that seemed an accurate and distressing portrayal of someone suffering from an eating disorder, immediately followed up by what is just about the worst possible response you could give in that situation presented as a permanent solution. From everything I've seen personally and elsewhere, eating disorders pretty commonly include obsessive exercising as part of their manifestation, so advising someone in any stage of one that exercise will solve eir problems is more likely just adding to them.

Originally published at a denizen's entertainment. You can comment here or there.

Some weeks ago the British series Misfits started airing here. It seems to be another in a line of attempts to show 'how superheroes would be in the real world', like the series No Heroics. The characters in this one are certainly convincing enough; I've been meeting people like them all my life. But, I don't like them and in the two episodes I watched there wasn't either any plot or drama that made me want to keep watching in spite of the characters.

For me, perhaps the problem is these interpretations starting with the idea 'realistic superheroes' and going from there to 'superheroes are petty, vain, selfish, and often bullies or bullied losers of some sort', and there's nothing left in it to hold my attention. Without the SF elements it would be a comedy or drama I wouldn't be interested in, and despite my interest being as biased toward SF as it is, nothing is done with those elements that might overcome my disinterest with the rest of the show. And the obsession with rape does not exactly help my interest (Timebomb on No Heroics, being gay and 'dark', sometimes threatens to rape people; one of the characters in Misfits has the uncontrolled power that sometimes skin contact with men compels them to try and rape her [no indication in the two episodes I saw if that works on women too]).

Hm. I was going to use My Hero as a comparative example where I like both the comedy and the superhero aspects, but I can't really imagine it without the superhero component, while I can imagine No Heroics without that, despite us seeing more direct heroing in the latter.

I don't think I opposed to the idea of 'dark' television treatments of superheroes, but I am annoyed that the concept of people being idealistic and heroic seems increasingly to get treated as an obstacle to putting superheroes on television.

Well, most of my annoyance is directed at No Heroics; Misfits I mainly don't like the characters and aren't interested to see more of them. It could be that I am reading them both wrong and they aren't superhero shows, but rather the former is a sitcom whose cast happens to be superheroes and the latter a youth drama featuring a cast who suddenly gained powers and has to deal with that. In which cases, I'm still not enjoying them enough to keep watching.

aesmael: (haircut)
Yesterday was the first full day for aimed-at-children network ABC3. I ended up watching a fair bit of it, since there were superhero cartoons I was curious about. Also Skyland, which as far as I can tell is Star Wars but intend to keep watching anyway in case maybe it actually isn't.

The other shows were all based on Marvel Comics franchises (and bear in mind almost my only exposure to comicbooks is from cartoons like these, live action films, television series and [ profile] lost_angelwings). First, okay, first was The Spectacular Spider-Man on a different channel which is fun, but I can never seem to tell where in the series we are.

Later was Wolverine and the X-Men, which I had already watched most of so this time around is more to fill in the gaps than anything else. I prefer to call it 'The Wolverine Show' and although it is not bad, have a lot more fun talking about with [ profile] lost_angelwings than watching alone. Like the time Shadowcat phases through ice into the ocean during a battle and isn't seen again for several episodes.

After that was The Super Hero Squad Show. I'd heard from [ profile] lost_angelwings that she dislikes the show. After watching an episode I also dislike it. The animation was unpleasant to watch and the show itself wasn't fun to me. Reminded me a bit of Muppet Babies although maybe that show had redeeming qualities (I don't remember if it was good or bad). Maybe part of the problem is I am not fond of or attached to most of the characters, although that hasn't been a problem for me with Justice League episodes and actually I think I recognised most of the characters - Iron Man, Hulk, Thor, Storm, Ms Marvel, Wolverine, Silver Surfer... probably missed a few. Wikipedia says I missed many.

In the first episode they ended up fighting Mole Man (not the one from The Simpsons and a Japanese Kaiju movie. That sounds much more fun than it ended up being. Maybe the problem is the target audience is too young for me? I don't quite think so since it spent a lot of time being almost but not quite enjoyable, but I was a bad judge of what children would enjoy even when I was a child so maybe. There wasn't anything I saw on Wikipedia suggesting what age group it was targeted at though.

Iron Man is Batman, apparently. His mouth moves when he talks (as does Doctor Doom's) and that bugs me.

Hulk is Grimlock and that makes me sad.

That Silver Surfer was given a Californian Surfer accent confuses and angers me.

From what I heard I think I would enjoy seeing Ms Marvel in a different, fun context.

Last was the first four episodes of Iron Man: Armoured Adventures which I was surprised to find is my favourite of these so far. I was going to say while talking about The Super Hero Squad Show that just about anything describable with "... but as kids!" is almost bound to be bad (although they aren't actually younger in that show, the animation just makes that connection for me). Fortunately I did not, since this show stars a teenaged Tony Stark, Pepper Potts and James Rhodes.

In this version Tony's father Howard Stark was the founder of Stark Industries and killed by Obadiah Stane, who took over the company and now Tony has to attend high school.

In only vaguely related news, the final episode of Ergo Proxy played last week. It had I think a nice blend of resolution and openness at the end, and I was quite fond of a lot of the devices used during the latter part of the series. Tomorrow they begin broadcast of Death Note in the same timeslot, which is handy since as [ profile] infinitely_late may recall, I did not have access to ABC2 the last time it aired.
aesmael: (haircut)
Was watching the Doctor Who special The Waters of Mars earlier. Since the rest of this post contains my thoughts about that, it goes behind a cut in case someone who wants to watch it unspoiled is reading this and hasn't done so.

This is that cut )
aesmael: (Electric Waves)
Watching Bones and something is up such that I see the picture fine, music is heard, sound effects are heard, but not voice. So it seems voice is transmitted in a separate track to other components of the broadcast?

Some checking revealed voice was audible on a different version of the channel so it seemed more likely to be a transmission problem than a matter of settings on the television. Shortly after the credits voice returned to the channel in question accompanied by a puzzling flickering of the captions when they appear. My guess is someone at the station managed to fix the problem, perhaps by adding the voice track to the broadcast a second time - if the captions are carried on the same track as the voices being captioned that might explain the flickering since they are appearing on screen twice.

But, I don't know enough about television to be confident in this. In fact, I would be surprised if I learned I was correct in these conclusions, since why would the distributors deliver episodes to television networks in pieces to be assembled in broadcast? Although there is that tendency to overlay things like ads and voiceovers onto programs, but I don't think that is the same thing.

So, I've had some ideas but I don't know what is actually going on or why. Interesting error though.
aesmael: (haircut)
Only recently we got a television which can display closed captions. I don't normally need those to be able to understand what is on television but I often find them a great aid at times when my auditory processing is disrupted. Even otherwise they usually help me understand what is being said better.

Consequently now that I am able to access the state of closed captioning I am very disappointed in it. When I can understand what is being said the words on the screen are sometimes jumbled, overlapping, at the wrong times (such as showing after the preceding sentence(s)) or just wrong. Which is not the same as edits for ease of reading or clarity, and live captioned programs are not what I am talking about. Two of the newest television channels often seem not to have captions at all, which is especially infuriating, although I think my sisters appreciate it since they don't like when I have the captions on.

Maybe it is just this particular television acting up, or maybe I am seeing things wrong but if not, it is disappointing the state of captioning is not what it could be.

(I do tend to use subtitles where available in DVDs and games where available, and my impression of those is of being more accurate and comprehensible)
aesmael: (haircut)
In the currently playing episode of Poirot he [Hercule Poirot] is complaining of a play he saw, that it is unfair because the resolution depended on information not available until the end.

Depending if he means 'was discovered at the end of the story' or 'was not revealed to the audience until the solution was expounded on to the audience', I think maybe he is being unfair. The latter case I would agree is cheating, but in the former, is it not how detective stories go that they are a process of uncovering the information which indicates the solution? And therefore that the story typically ends once we have all the facts in hand because those facts indicate the answer and thus our mystery is solved?
aesmael: (tricicat)
I always thought of Kill Bill as basically the Mirror Universe version of Charlie's Angels.

Edit: The part where she goes after O-Ren Ishii reminds me of the Hundred Man Battle from Berserk, with Gogo in the role of Adon's brother (same weapon and all, updated), although... hard to say who fared better. Guts seemed to manage the fighting easier, but The Bride can walk away under her own power at the end.

Edit2: I'll take that back. Accounting for the story styles those events are embedded in, I'd say they do about even.
aesmael: (just people)
Two sorts of things which have been bugging that I think are probably meant to be pro-women.

1) Sitcoms, where a male character expresses something sexist in the presence of women, either who gets mad at him or who the presentation of the show promises will 'get even' with him off-screen. A lot of the time it looks like not 'sexism is bad, don't be sexist' but instead 'everyone knows this but don't say it in front of women because they don't like it' with a side of 'sexism is okay so long as there is comeuppance'.

This dynamic tends to feed the idea that men are socially disadvantaged relative to men because women hold power over them primarily in the form of controlling access to sex (as if sexual assault and rape were not prevalent, and as if these shows do not commonly depict men harassing and pressuring women into unwanted sex and humorous in an 'it's funny because it's true' sense), but also depicting women as generally bossy, controlling and otherwise humorously abusive toward men - showing a social fiction where men are obliged not to express what they consider right and natural and true in the presence of women because women (in this imaginary world) dominate society via various channels of interpersonal coercion.

Despite sending the superficial message of 'don't express sexism', I don't think this is a very feminist depiction.

2) Webcomics, mostly fantasy webcomics in my experience, which seem to be attempting to establish feminist credibility by having characters encounter a bunch of men acting in a strongly misogynistic, derisive way and then having them shown up / beat up / whatever by the heroic leads, often women.

Really, if someone wants to make a feminist / pro-feminist fantasy webcomic I would rather see an example of a world in which sexism is not a problem than one in which our heroes keep beating up the occasional gang of louts who think they're hopeless. As much as it can be satisfying to see expressed sexism flung back in someone's face, I really want to see more examples of worlds where sexism isn't even a problem people have to deal with. Especially since a lot of the time these happenings feel to me, not insincere, but as if these are staged events to establish for us that either our leads are truly virtuous because they won't stand for sexism or, if women, to clarify that they are indeed Strong Female Characters.

It bugs me, and I am having difficulty expressing why. Maybe because when this happens with female characters the only reason they succeed at standing up to the Token Sexist Jerks is because they have some kind of elite ability, and the way the confrontation is framed any random woman would have been cowed or worse - 'confronting sexism is for heroic or elite women only' message. Maybe because I come away with the feeling authors who do this think all sexism is of the overt sort and the way to confront it is by having a bigger stick. Maybe because I get frustrated that so often it seems people can't imagine the idea of a society which lacks sexism, racism, ablism, queerphobia, etc. and thus the only way to have a remotely humanist sort of work apparently is with these staged, stark black hat - white hat confrontations.

Yes, this one gets crossposted to my journal and [ profile] feminist_rage.
aesmael: (sudden sailor)
Just finished watching Dr. Strangelove for the first time. There is a terrible beauty to it.
aesmael: (tricicat)
This is a show I have been curious about for a while. When it was first broadcast here it was on at the same time as Criminal Minds so I did not give it a look until tonight.

After about a quarter hour my sister and I came to the conclusion that, like Bokugan, this program was generated by a machine which had been fed standard characters, scenarios and dialogue but had no understanding of what it was producing. We switched back to Bones.

Fun, but apparently not something I could take seriously. Maybe for riffing.
aesmael: (tricicat)
Shore Leave... apparently this is the episode in which Kirk spends ten minutes hitting a guy.
aesmael: (Electric Waves)
New show advertised recently, Eli Stone. Seemed like fun, a main character having extravagant, perhaps prophetic visions. I thought I would give this sort of show another try after snarling at Medium.

I don't like it. After a few minutes, I realised this was the show I heard about some months ago, in which the opening episode establishes in court that vaccinations using thimerosol (faintly disguised as 'mercurisol' in the show) as a preservative cause autism, and that the company producing the vaccine was aware of this.

I don't like seeing such a charged falsehood presented on television as fact, considering it has been established firmly in multiple studies that there is no such link, and yet there are still numerous parents trying to sue companies which produce vaccines for 'making their child autistic'.

That, and the scene toward the end in which, after the main character is told that his visions are caused by an inoperable brain aneurysm, another character tells him they can have another explanation and perhaps he is a prophet, apparently in a Christian framework (Moses is referenced as an example 'I'm not' 'but God told Moses he would send a prophet to every generation'). The main character says he does not believe in God and gets told "Do you believe in right and wrong? Do you believe in justice? Do you believe in love? Then you believe in God." This sort of declaration that being a moral person is identical with belief in the Christian God annoys me a lot.

Plus, I would have preferred if he decided to attribute significance to his visions on his own.

Perhaps it would have been better viewed as some sort of alternate reality story or fantasy, but I think I would rather not watch a show which seems to have as its primary message that evidence-free belief and decision-making is better than the other kind.
aesmael: (haircut)
[ profile] lost_angelwings has complained to me a few times about the awfulness of a morning cartoon called "Bakugan," on one occasion directing me to a clip of the show hosted on Youtube to demonstrate. From the evidence presented I can only concluded this show has no author. Rather, it appears to be generated by some machine similar to those from which entertainment was produced in Nineteen Eighty-Four, standardised tropes, themes, characters and dialogue assembled into the shape of a story; nothing human went into this program.



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