aesmael: (sudden sailor)

[This post is talking about the DCI Banks episode "Friend of the Devil" and anyone reading who wants to avoid spoilers for that story would be advised to avoid reading this post. Also, the subject of the crimes is mostly violent rape and murder.]

Last night I watched an episode of DCI Banks which struck me as very pro-police. I mean, you could probably safely assume that any mystery series in which the protagonists are police who solve crimes is going to be pro-police but in this case it seemed quite thematic in favour of police handling crime and against vigilantism.

We have a father ranting about the police not helping and 'dragging the family's name through the mud' after the rape and murder of his daughter. Who then is arrested for assault in attempting to get revenge for it, and just as well he didn't get up the nerve to use the knife he'd bought for that purpose, as it turns out that guy was innocent.

We have more vigilantism when the murder in another case turns out to be a revenge killing of a woman (Lucy Payne) convicted for being complicit in the rape and murder of other women, our Mr Banks being upset that justice has now been denied. Finally, misguided vigilantism sees the killing of an innocent police officer, having mistaken him for the man who raped and murdered the woman mentioned in the previous paragraph when he was actually worked up in excess distress over her death and patrolling out of duty to protect women.

Early on Banks asks a forensic examiner if there were signs of struggle and she leaps to remind him that lack of such signs do not mean it was not rape, when in fact he was just wondering if there might be DNA obtainable from skin under the fingernails. But it's okay that she was overly-defensive of the integrity of rape victims like that because as it turns out she is a serial killer! Murdered Lucy earlier, killed the police officer earlier, mistaking him for a bad man instead of a good man, and murdered the guy who raped her many years ago instead of cooperating with police to bring him to justice.

It all felt a bit heavy-handed. Vengeful dad insults police, assaults the wrong man. Vengeful woman lies to police, murders already-sentenced convict, kills a cop in error, finally takes her own life when confronted with this. Normally I just want a mystery solved with detecting, not so much of the karmic leave it to police.

aesmael: (haircut)
Put in my last assignment of the semester the night before last. Not best pleased with the job I did, but at least I got it done.

Now I have time to devote to other postponed life activities like enrolling in important school stuff before it is too late (hopefully it is not too late), seeking professional development opportunities and being prompt and organised for next semester's classes. Which are not showing up on the student portal yet, so I haven't yet failed on that one.

Also, making myself follow up on the offer of support services from the beginning of the semester, even though I have no idea what a disability accommodation that would actually help me might be.

Also also, entertainment stuff. Been aspiring to see more movies at the cinema and most of the recent ones I might see haven't stopped showing yet. Plus a series of concerts featuring Beethoven's piano concertos at the Opera House. I suspect these will exhaust my reserves for spending money on myself for a long while, but I've been looking forward to them for a year, so I suppose I had better try and go.

Feeling tired again just thinking about trying to do stuff.

I wrote a lot (for me) in April, but had to stop again through May because school and deadlines. Would like to do more of that again. Would be satisfying. Think there may have been more I wanted to ramble, but don't remember it now.
aesmael: (transformation)

(obviously I start with this one because it is the oldest. we'll talk about that problem some other time.)

As the first item in my list of anime to watch, I figured I may as well get on with sourcing it. How does that go?

Quickflix: no results, so I'm not subscribing to them yet.

Madman: no results, but then I'd rather not buy something on DVD without knowing if I like it - the space it would occupy is a bigger reason to hesitate than cost in the long run.

CrunchyRoll: yes, but region-locked so that I can't watch it (same with Hulu).

Fishpond: incomplete copy of the series on region 1 DVD.

Amazon: incomplete copy of the series on DVD, region-locked, and reviews suggest the series will not be getting a complete DVD release.

Pirate Bay: complete copy of the series available with subtitles.

That's five failed attempts to watch this via corporate-approved means. Tried to pay money to watch this, but the only way to see the whole show is a free torrent or circumventing region blocks on CrunchyRoll or Hulu.

aesmael: (it would have been a scale model)

A while back I asked for some recommendations on anime to watch, mainly because I feel I have a much better handle on English language productions to watch, whereas a lot of contemporary interest in anime bypassed me for various social and financial reasons. Well that is true about a lot of other media, but those have more easily drifted to my awareness.

Here's where I'm at now, although further recommendations continue to be welcome.

Currently watching:

Akira; Ghost in the Shell; Serial Experiments Lain; Perfect Blue; Haibane Renmei; Berserk; Excel Saga; Spirited Away; Kiki's Delivery Service; Howl's Moving Castle; Laputa: Castle in the Sky; Porco Rosso; The Secret World of Arrietty; Afro Samurai; Samurai Champloo; Spice and Wolf; Darker Than Black; Azumanga Daioh; Last Exile; Fruits Basket; Blood: The Last Vampire; Ergo Proxy; Eden of the East; ...

Partially watched:
Sailor Moon; Dragon Ball Z; Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex; Cowboy Bebop; ...

To Watch (based on opportunity, remembered favourable reviews, or recommendations):
Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex; Cowboy Bebop; Moribito; DennĊ Coil; Madoka Magicka; Evangelion; Patlabor; Martian Successor Nadesico; Those Who Hunt Elves; Full Metal Panic; Fullmetal Alchemist; Noir; The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya; Fairy Tail; FLCL; Irresponsible Captain Taylor; Galaxy Express 999 (things by Leiji Matsumoto); Royal Space Force: Wings of Honneamise; Record of Lodoss War (OVA); Nadia: The Secret of Blue Water; Birdy the Mighty ('90s OVA); Outlaw Star; Kare Kano; Trigun; Hellsing

aesmael: (writing things down)

For some reason, streaming sites other than iView not working in Firefox today, despite doing fine yesterday. Also getting very frustrated and concerned about the about the length of time and number of errors being encountered in re-ripping these CDs of mine, especially the newer ones that have been kept safely stored and which ought to be in good condition. Very much hoping I do not need to do this again.

Grimm S02E17. They are still doing the plot where whatsername is trying to recover her memory and the two male leads are trying to help her. Except her memory loss is tied to primary lead's supernatural monster(person)-fighting secret and the telling to her thereof. And consequently also lying to her and striving to keep her from anything that may actually help her because it is tied to that. Very frustrating.

Thundercats S01E07 “Legacy”. I don't really remember Thundercats from my childhood. This is a more recent remake which didn't last.Very generic, but fun enough. Actually, I watched this one a while ago. *skips*

Recently, kid in the library whose presumed-parent was trying to get him to read something other than comics on the basis of those being 'too simple' for him. So I see him standing at the boundary between junior non-fiction and fiction saying “This is true, and this is fake”.

I felt like being all sarcastic about this, but it really surely is not so simple. Fiction and non-fiction are sort of aspirational labels. Plenty of stories that while made up are meant to be educational in some way or other, especially historical 'period feeling' books (thinking about junior fiction here, and stories that are meant to be an adventure + the child learns what life was like in Period N). And non-fiction is more of an aspiration than a guarantee - we think this is true, or thought so at the time.

Aaand there's plenty of stuff gets filed under non-fiction instead of fiction if we think people might want to do studiousness to it instead of entertainment, such as those plays of Shakespeare. Or material I'm not sure belongs simply into fiction / non-fiction like those 'search and find' books. They're not factual information, but they're not made-up stories either; they're something you do or play.

But then we get into my fanciful ideas of How To Catalogue Things and I know not of what I speak, truly.

P. S. got all the albums done, big relief.

aesmael: (sudden sailor)

Last night watched Fallen, which is one of those lesser-known films I am personally fond of. Tend to be disappointed there aren't more stories where a police investigation uncovers some supernatural crime, provoking a genre shift. Especially Criminal Minds I keep wanting them to stumbling across vampires or similar (or did, before I quit watching the show).

Had not realised on previous viewings how much this story is open to a sequel - there is an organisation of demon-aware people who hope to someday fight them, and the lead's nephew is possibly being raised by the daughter of the last cop to be destroyed by Azazel.

Also watched The Taking of Pelham One Two Three because that was on after, and it had gotten a couple of remakes, so I figured it was probably a good film. Turns out it was.

Today had an afternoon shift at the library, much more social than usual. Got to the sign-on book when I arrived and found a note for me from my supervisor, along with her copy of The Transformers soundtrack to borrow.

Got home, got changed, walked around barefoot on the lawn, enjoying the feel of wet grass under my feet.

Read an article interview with Terry Pratchett which touched on the toll alzheimers is taking on him.

Watched Grimm S02E14. Changed group dynamic! Lead's boss presenting himself as an ally now his nature has been revealed, which was odd as I'd been interpreting him as a secret adversary. This may still be true.

Watched Castle S06E01. Definitely missed the end of the last season. This show has almost no value to me as a mystery series; mostly watch for character fun and the way it plays up various genre tropes and references (not always mystery ones). Sort of like Scooby Doo in that Castle always reaches for the most extravagant and genre-riffic explanations he can find.

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: (tricicat)

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. S01E01. Don't like the opening narration. Feels a bit full of itself. Trying too hard to force a sense of awe, mysticism, that sort of thing. So far finding this show painful and aggravating.

Hey a Harry Potter (Hermione reference) slipped in as casual aside. Apparently that's where the world is now. Actually probably the fault of that Joss Whedon fellow, so ah well.

Oh also hey, character takes a shot at cosplayers. This is going well. ~.~

I tend to think of myself as having low to non-existent standards but... that was bad. Ugh. Formulaic, unexciting. The only traits it has to distinguish itself from other shows are

1. Tie-in with a film which was fun, but which is connected here in an indifferent manner which does not actually contribute to the show (and the show seems to be trying to distance itself from the Marvel film continuity, not referencing anyone by name, and using technical terms which I've been led to believe are not the terms in use within the Marvel universe)

2. Story for this first episode features a poor black guy, a factory worker who receives powers via experimentation thinking his intentions matter and that he can be a hero, stand up for people, do good, but who is 'actually' within the story dangerous and in need of being taken down by a team of white, well-funded governement agents. Incredibly tone-deaf.

This is disappointing.

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. S01E02. I reckon this show is liable to be the Torchwood to the Marvel films' Doctor Who.

Ouran High School Host Club episode 2 “Beware the Physical Exam!” This show is cute and very inexplicitly sexual (not actually inexplicable - it is a harem anime with a female lead instead of a guy.

Making some plans about what to write for this year's NaNoWriMo failure. Mostly trying to outline potential stories. Fortunately I've had a sword and sorcery thingy on the backburner for a few months that I've been trying to design as easy to write, so maybe I can get somewhere with that. As back-up there's a space fantasy series that was designed as porn but for which I keep forgetting to conceptually include the sex.

Outcasts episode 1. No particular thoughts. Waiting for sleep. Bit frustrating deliberately refraining from writing until the start of NaNoWriMo but it does not really matter, as I will not get far no matter where or when I start. Just the form of the thing is to be observed.

The Blacklist S01E01 “Pilot”. Standard introductory structure, does a fair job at weaving in backstory info on the characters without coming across too infodumpy. Probably leaning a bit heavy on the character-emotion weight.

S01E02 “The Freelancer”. Necessary preamble of realism before working relationship of characters falls into its stable pattern. Puts much in mind of shows like Covert Affairs where the story weaves both backward and forward doing its best to tease secrets from the female lead's past and significant male romantic relationship while not actually revealing anything if it can get away with that. Watching as personal drama rather than crime or spy fiction, will see if that changes.

Doctor Who “A Christmas Carol”. Uses the device of the Doctor being inspired by the Dickens story to justify using it as a template. Favourite part is the fish. Rest of the story is a bit contrived and meh.

Realised yesterday if I am planning on moving to the USA I should stop buying physical books. The cost of shipping any I do have from here to there will probably match for most of them the cost of buying those books over again. Plus I've got such a huge backlog I'm unlikely to run out of things to read before I move.

Archer S03E08 “Drift Problem”. I love this show but wouldn't recommend it to most people. Mostly about a group of spies being awful to each other and sometimes incidentally good at their job.

Library was busier than yesterday. Had much less time for my self-assigned shelf redistributing project. Basically just shuffling the books around in one section so that they are approximately evenly distributed on the shelves, instead of some being mostly empty and others being packed tight. So, busy. Also the wind blew a tree branch down on someone's car in the afternoon, which required a lot of fuss.

I think I want to make a go at NaNoWriMo again this year. Can't be a serious attempt, as I will have school to muddle through, but maybe I can manage a burst of something.

David Attenborough's First Life, Episode 2 “Conquest”. This was educational and nifty to watch.

Dalziel and Pascoe Series 5 Episode 1, “A Sweeter Lazarus”. Found this show hard to follow and unfulfilling when the ABC recently began airing it from the beginning, but it has grown on me hugely. Quite fond of the playfulness and little details that are left for the audience to pick up on and interpret. Main thing to be bothered by is Dalziel as the senior officer is very much of the politically incorrect sort, and despite the 'coming through when needed' and being supportive in action, he says plenty that is cringeworthy at best. Not that Pascoe as the junior member of the partnership is much better when it comes to marital stuff.

This is an interesting one, with getting a statement from a homeless woman (to establish a lack of foul play on Pascoe's part) turning into the mystery of a girl murdered 19 years and resurrected, despite a confession and conviction from the supposed murderer. I like that unexpected turn, though hopefully they don't ignore- well I suppose they don't need to ignore the multiple murder case they were investigating, as the killer's killed himself early on. Convenient that. Lets them focus on the twist. Complaints: not sure it isn't a bit too convenient overall; there is one short animation sequence which I think comes out as lying to the viewer.

Dalziel and Pascoe Series 5 Episode 2 “Cunning Old Fox”. Rather go to bed, as I've an early shift tomorrow and want sleep, but I'm backlogged and there's only an hour left in which this is available. Can't rely on it being resurrected like the previous one was, for which I'd missed the first available window.

Opens with a fox hunt but presumably that is not all there is to the title. Here we find that Dalziel is opposed to fox-hunting as barbaric, and thus conflict when he is called to investigate hunt-saboteurs on the death of a hunter tossed from a horse.

Surprised to see Dalziel doing a lot of cooking, as he's taken Pascoe in and there are a few home meal scenes - previously he'd seemed inclined to eat out whenever possible, but here he seems both capable and proud.

Kept falling asleep through the episode. Usual level of quality, another awkwardly contrived bit with a photo near the end tho.

Irony ending with the killer chased down by police through wood and field as if he were a fox hunted.

aesmael: (haircut)

Getting ready for morning exercise, receive call from library asking me to come in and work the afternoon and evening shifts. So, change of plans. Treadmill etc. put off until tomorrow. Instead, get breakfast and switch to pre-work routine.

The 99 Episode 4: “Unbound”. Big team heroism cooperative episode. Reminds me of Captain Planet in a good way. Nice to see a show unashamedly promoting virtuousness, even if it means the villain is correspondingly evil.

Doctor Who S5E13 “The Big Bang”. Yet another 'clap your hands if you believe in fairies' ending. Very common for the show's series finales. Time travel stuff is lots of fun, rest of the story rather rubbish.

Finished listening to "Fear of Dragons". Continue to hold my opinions from yesterday. It's a tale about fear and human weakness and strength, not an attempt to realise a world. Works quite well.

Nikita S3E10 “Brave New World”. I like that they say Spy-Fi. In this case comes across as a charming bit of self-awareness.

Too tired for much else thinking. Tired and sore and stiff from work.

aesmael: (haircut)

Miserable sort of day.

Been reconsidering how I use Twitter, wondering if I should adjust my use-patterns. Structurally it does not support mindfulness.

Maybe restrict my direct use to socialising and lightheartedness. If there is any serious news or activism or science stuff, I can either write a post about it and maybe link that, or else stick to reading only. That way if I have something to say in response to something I see then I say it in a form and on a platform that supports actual commentary and not just compressed snippery.

Good alternative to spamming people with a stream of stuff they don't find interesting or even do find actively annoying. As Tess said when I brought this up with her: “Twitter is good for sharing things, light conversation, as well as short broadcasts.[...] Twitter only supports one form of interaction by design. It's not meant to be a blogging platform.”

I called a place about organising hair removal on the 18th and left a message; they still have not gotten back to me. On Monday I will try calling another place and hopefully they will answer their phone.

Thinking about this reminded me that I had put out a call for assistance in finding resources, some means of locating places that did hair removal and were known to be trans friendly but had gotten zero response. Friends and loved ones I talk to online directly did help me search out and assess places from their web presences, but my call for help itself may as well have gone into the void; no one with any knowledge of the local scene or otherwise responded, nor did anyone who doesn't know me directly pass it on. Very disheartening, very upsetting.

So I am wondering if I should try and create a website that covers at least resources for New South Wales, with information on how trans positive a given service or location may be based on people's experiences.

I don't want to do any such thing, and would rather pass it on to someone else at the first opportunity. But I got silence when I asked for someone to point me to such a thing, and I couldn't find any when I searched myself that gave me useful information, so maybe there is no such thing and there probably ought to be.

Trying to think what I would need to do in order to get it operational. Would have to secure a domain name (something that makes sense to anyone who would be looking for it), hosting, some sort of platform to actually build the thing out of.

Trying to brainstorm what sort of content would need to be covered. Obviously the thing I was originally searching for - places that provide hair removal services and trans friendliness thereof. Other doctors, endocrinologists and otherwise. Shelters; can possibly contact those and get official policy on. Official stances on the law and transitioning (discrimination protections and limitations, change of name or gender markers), participating in sport (language on that Australian Sports Commission page is not great). Having trouble thinking what else but there is probably a whole lot of stuff I am overlooking. Of course then I would need to solicit input from the same silent void I didn't get help from in order to populate a lot of this information. So maybe it is a dead end.

Probably get abandoned and come to nothing, like anything else I ever attempt.

Watched The 99 Episode 3: “Jabbar, The Powerful”. Bit amused by how the new character recruitment in this episode plays out like a conversion narrative, almost like something out of a Chick Tract. Girl who has been living on the street acquires a Noor stone and uses it to make a living for herself as an arena fighter. One of the hero characters is trying to persuade her to join them and use her powers for the good of all rather than personal gain, and ends up throwing himself in front of the pain wave generated by one of his allies in their fight (misguided attempt to help him out), and spare her its effects. To this she explicitly says no one has ever done anything nice for her before. That was what struck me as like those narratives, where the convertee has never had the subject of conversion introduced to em before, and is so amazed by the idea that ey converts on the spot.

As it turns out, this recruitment wasn't the actual pivotal point of the episode like I'd thought it was, and the story actually turns on a cliffhanger at the end. This probably explains why her joining them, despite seeming to be the focus for so much of it is actually so abrupt and leaves room for the new twist at the end.

Watched Silverwing Episode 11: “Strange Batfellows”. I was expecting this show to have the characters journeying through a variety of environments, encountering new characters and situations each time, and while there technically is that, I am surprised by how quickly it settled onto a small number of recurring antagonists who are present every time, no matter how far, fast or desperately these protagonist bats fly.

Watched Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan with Ami. Mostly we were discussing what we liked about it as a film and what we thought was well done, as a contrast to things we dislike in newer films. In this case especially newer Star Trek films. A lot in relation to how it fits in with the Hero's Journey and how Khan's and Kirk's arcs relate to each other, but also other aspects like pacing - there were plenty of slow, conversational scenes, sometimes quite tense, that there don't seem to be as many of in new films, but yet the film overall is quite fast-paced and compact. Relatively little could be trimmed without harming the impact, and there is almost no spectacle for the sake of spectacle, especially by modern standards. We also noticed a lot of details which I think neither of us had picked up on from previous viewings, such as the colours distinguishing crew departments on the uniforms under the jackets everyone was wearing, or a lot of details of facial expression. One of the best examples of the latter is Chekhov's creepy stare into space when the rest of the crew find him; it isn't clear if it's solely due to trauma or what else might be going on.

It was also just a lot of fun watching a film I actually like and getting to discuss it with Ami. So often when I watch things these days my criticisms outweigh my praise to the extent I sometimes wonder if I am still capable of enjoying things without reservation, especially new things. I still have some nitpicks with Wrath of Khan, mostly astronomy details, but for me the net balance is strong enjoyment of both story and craft.

We also touched on a few other films in our conversation, such as how if you strip away the special effects and the pseudo-philosophic deepities of The Matrix there is still a decent story underneat, well told. Or the contrast in conveyance of dramatic and narrative significance for the duel between Obi-Wan Kenobi and Darth Vader in the original Star Wars film vs. the complete lack of same for the duel between Obi-Wan Kenobi and Darth Maul in The Phantom Menace - he's a sith, whatever that is, we're jedi, whatever that is, it's our mission to fight each other. I think that latter came up in context of the effectiveness of scenes like the Kobayashi Maru scenario at the beginning of The Wrath of Khan. We don't need a lengthy exposition on the details of the Neutral Zone or who Klingons are; it's clear from the small details that are dropped and the visuals, etc., that there is a treaty with a hostile power being violated and that's all we need to know for the scene as it plays out.

Also also, continue to very much enjoy the soundtrack. Would like to acquire soundtracks for most of the original series films someday.

I only got around to posting the diary entry I wrote in LyX today. It came out a lot better than I feared. The only clean-up I had to do was putting back in font details for emphasis (on which topic, thinking elsewhere I will switch to bold for titles and retain italics for emphasis, instead of having italics doing double duty). Biggest problem is that with LyX's focus on document structure and formatting ease I can't e.g. leave a space between my paragraphs to separate my thoughts and flit around between topics before drawing them together for organisation later. Not without delineating sections formally. So that may ultimately be an incentive for me to switch back to Notepad++ again.

Watched Grimm S2E13. Bit of humour at the beginning with the lead's friend urging him not to get into a precipitous confrontation when his phone rings and the lead - in his role as cop - is called in to investigate a quadruple homicide. His friend: “See? Your life isn't so bad”. Then he points out the location and gets “Oh, that quadruple homicide” because it is, of course, the assailants they fought off and killed at the end of the previous episode.

Episode is getting to the pointy end of the season, I think, so this one is less exceedingly aggravating with the people not talking honestly with each other when they really should be honest with each other. Or understanding that people are ensorcelled and perhaps that is a situation which should be dealt with as a magic thing rather than treating those affected as clear-minded and responsible.

Show seems to rely on being frustration-driven? As it proceeds toward a state of sensibility and communication relief at these developments is mistaken for satisfaction. Passable.

Because I missed diarying yesterday, and because in this case I find it interesting enough to do so (don't plan on doing this every time, who knows what will happen), some listening I did on my drive to / from work. Skip over the 2005 Philosopher's Zone episode on the work of Quine, as philosophy is not-so my 'thing', and being only a couple of episodes into that program I think all I am up for is listening and getting, I hope, my bearings.

Listened to an episode of Planetary Radio from December 2002 mainly interviewing a scientist behind the SETI@Home program. It was strange listening to this for the first time in 2013 and realising that at the time this originally aired I was a student of astronomy in a course that touched frequently on SETI - this radio program would have been very relevant to my studies. A sense of dislocation, perhaps, of what might have been.

I find the music they use very reminiscent of Sim City, by the way. It's cute and amusing.

On the way back I listened to the first part of a series from the Australian Music Unit on the group Continuum Sax. Tend to think of myself as someone who does not like brass instruments (their colours are too yellow-red and 'hot') but I quite liked the focal piece played in this instalment, “Dreams you might not come back from”.

Lastly was part of the Podcastle story “For Fear of Dragons” by Carrie Vaughn which, being only part-way through I couldn't say too much on. It felt woman-authored, in a textural way, touching on details and in ways which seem more characteristic of stories by women and bringing a stronger sense of personal reality to the story. Despite this it also felt more like... a 'story told in a world without dragons'? Not a story in the sense of a sequence of events happening in a self-consistent world that has developed as itself, but rather as a tale told of a fictional realm. This is no strike against it, and we have yet to see how it plays out so perhaps this feeling shall be changed.

aesmael: (haircut)

Rewatched Elementary S2E2. The mysteries continue to be rather slight, and this one felt especially so (plus I don't think the subject matter works that way), but the character lines continue to be the main appeal. It is a rare pleasure seeing such a well-drawn and developing friendship in any story format, let alone between Holmes and Watson. It was nice seeing how their friendship has grown that Holmes is displaying concern for Watson's well-being outside of their work, and a desire to become more involved in her life. Also odd that Gregson has been a minimal presence in the second season so far; mostly they've been dealing with original character Bell on the police side.

Read nifty article on the history and mysteries of our understanding of tyrannosaurus rex.

Watched Spooks S9E6. Not much to say about. Standard well-done tense espionage stuff. On-going plot with the character Lucas and mentally urging him not to comply with blackmail. One impression I get is a strong sense of frustration from the team at the overshadowing pressure from the US they work under, having to keep them happy and comply with their wishes.

Watched Taggart series 11, "Abuse of Trust". New show to me (or I think I may have watched some years ago, don't recall specifics of - effectively new). First thoughts, lead investigator seems a bit too abrasive with the forensics people, demanding a higher level of confidence than they are prepared to claim. Overall different tone from other crime shows I've watched, bit more "realistic scattershot?" May have just been because the show is unfamiliar and I don't know its rhythms or styles yet.

Watched Doctor Who S5E12 "The Pandorica Opens". Show continues to make no sense on any level but dramatic-thematic, which naturally rather annoys me. This episode's musical cue: strains from Elgar's "Pomp and Circumstance March No. 1" accompanying the reappearance of Rory and his rescuing of Amy. Found it rather obnoxious really. Repeated at the other emotional climax with the Doctor's misguided imprisonment, I believe.

Watched two episodes of Star Wars: The Clone Wars, concluding a plot in which Obi-Wan goes undercover as a bounty hunter. Was neat seeing how he wove his principles into the role he was bound to play, plus further development of Anakin's future fall to the dark side in a more believable and less abrupt way than the the films suggested.

Watched episode two of Ouran High School Host Club "The Job of a High School Host!". New show, no particular thoughts as yet.

In the morning got called to take an evening shift at the library. Seems a couple of people are out sick, so it was just three of us casuals in the building for the final three hour shift. One of the senior staff made sure to verify my ability to set the alarms for closing, which was awkward as I've done that many times before.

While searching out several holds at once from a section of relatively unsorted children's books was interested to notice which untargeted titles got flagged in my awareness as 'similar to what I'm searching for, needs further investigation'. There were about six titles I was after from that which, being unsorted, I would need to either go through every book there once for each title I was looking for, or get my list of all six and try and compare against that whole list at once. Obviously I opted for the latter and that was more than I could cleanly handle at once, so they seemed to get somewhat replaced by easier category markers. Frex, seeking a copy of The Princess and the Pea, I seemed to have that flagged as 'fairy tale', so any title I encountered in my search that was similarly flagged as 'fairy tale' got inspected to see if it was the exact title I was seeking.

Also inadvertently intercepted a call from my supervisor to the person I was filling in for, meant to advise that she would not be in tomorrow, so I ended up being assigned that desk shift also. Unexpected burst of hours at the end of the roster period is very welcome for the pay.

I was disappointed I could not find those aforementioned books, as otherwise my holds-locating was going better than usual. Well, them and a copy of Ender's Game that I'm fairly confident is missing. Very quiet evening so far as patron requests go, so I got to finish moving some books around in the Premier's Reading Challenge area of the collection in order to get them fitting on the shelves without being so tightly squeezed. Was disappointed when the library closed for the night as I was just getting into shelf-checking the books I'd been shuffling.

At least I get to be the first person on that desk again tomorrow so can pick up where I left off. If I don't get to do something demanding at least I can force some order via the miracle of shelf-checking.

Being Thursday night, there were three episodes of Deep Space Nine on after I got home. Did not find them especially engaging or pay much attention despite trying to.

aesmael: (friendly)

Finished watching the first season of The IT Crowd. Fun show, bit like a hybrid of Black Books and Dilbert. And particularly similar to Dilbert in that while many episodes entertain me with hijinx, some just make me cringe. Case in point: final episode of the first season was an extended joke on menstruation and femininity stereotypes.

Watched final episode of Whitechapel, season 2. Didn't watch the first season because I did not think I would be interested, regret this now. Rather especially like that the character DI Joseph Chandler has OCD. Don't often see that treated in fiction as a serious, life-affecting condition. So far feels overall well-written, with awareness of genre tropes and displaying discretion in when and how to deploy them.

Also after much frustrated searching resolved a problem I had been having in my attempted adoption of LyX for document editing. The problem was simple - representing cancellation in mathematics - and so was the solution. The hard part was finding a tutorial such that I could follow and work from without having to master LaTeX formatting overall. Been trying to get the hang of LyX by copying out some of my old study practice notes.

Still unsure what to use LyX for. At first I thought it would be a great way to lay out my assignments for my classes. The only formats the university interface claims to handle are RTF, DOC and PDF, and while LyX's finished output is PDFs, feedback on one of the assignments I submitted earlier asked me not to submit in PDF format in future for the markers' convenience. Bit awkward, as I've not had Microsoft Office installed on a computer that I've owned since an old hand-me-down a decade ago. Does get to be an ongoing frustration schools not accepting documents in any of the formats I actually work in.

Right. Unsure what to use LyX for. PDFs for submitting assignments is apparently out, a shame as LyX appears to be built primarily with academic documents in mind. Maybe ask the unit coordinators each time. Might be able to work it for my self-directed study writings, especially now I've resolved the cancellation issue. LyX seems much better suited to handling mathematical input than LibreOffice, which I'd previously been using. Journal posting, maybe.

As an experiment I am writing this post out in LyX. My main concern is what will happen with the formatting when I paste text from this editor into the post editors at deninet and Dreamwidth. Also being intended for transposition into a different environment means most of LyX's semantic features are off-limits. Shall see how this one goes; quite possibly will go back to drafting these posts in Notepad++. Meanwhile for fiction I will probably stick to using tools intended for that purpose such as yWriter.

Watched Doctor Who S5E11, The Lodger. Kind of nice episode, not especially great or terrible, a bit sweet. Was a bit amused to notice, right where one of the guest characters touches a bit of alien discolouration that causes him to fall deathly ill the music briefly echoes the theme from Close Encounters of the Third Kind.

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

Just started watching a video of someone playing Doom and had to stop because in the first 20 seconds the player made two 360 degree clockwise rotations while looking around. Problem is first that ey completed the rotation, but moreso that ey made the second rotation and I know ey're not going to reverse that because why would ey? No need to, right? But it is making me twitchy and panicky.

Doesn't usually get me so bad. Hope I can go back and finish watching the video.

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

Watching the movie Next starring Nicholas Cage. Have decided prescience is memory theft. We see an exchange between people happen, come to a conclusion, then the film jerks time back to show it has not happened yet and our protagonist takes a different path so what we saw never happens. So, he's stealing memories from the people around him, he remembers what no longer will happen and they don't get to.

Clearly the theft of future memories is what powers his abilities. There is no other logical conclusion.

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 I watched a Care Bears movie (Care Bears Movie II: A New Generation), because it was on and I was curious how I would respond to it. I've never been familiar with the Care Bears franchise, wondered if it would evoke childhood nostalgia or not.

About half an hour in I decided the movie made a good metaphor for the cold war. At that point the Care Bears have just taken a couple of dispirited blond kids to their realm and given them a boost of caring and self esteem. Meanwhile Dark Heart has extorted control over their brunette friend with the promise of power.

So, proxy warfare by two competing interests to decide how third parties will live.

I do like the end credits song a lot. I was first shown that piece (Forever Young) by Elena and have enjoyed it very much since. Very straightforward song of friendship.

I was a bit taken back by race in the movie. All the humans I saw were very white, except one non-speaking background child who was black. That seemed very odd.

Speaking of which, I was disappointed to discover in starting a new game of Doom 3 that there are no character customisation options beyond choosing a name.

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.



September 2017

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