September 26th, 2017
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
This is an advance announcement for the Tuesday, October 3, 2017 Poetry Fishbowl. This time the theme will be "Otherkin and Other-nesses." I'll be soliciting ideas for Otherkin, furries, anthropomophs, therianthropes, fae, outcasts, unlikely allies, antagonists, black sheep, scapegoats, aliens, othering, racewashing, facing thresholds, shunning, kinmaking, belonging, questioning, debating labels, dropping out, losing everything, hiding in the closet, exploring your true nature, learning what you can do, coming out, telling your own story, discovering new relationships, building a support network, helping other people, faerie mounds, alien planets, alleys, classrooms, counseling offices, neighborhoods, plazas and other public places, bohemian hangouts, the developmental arc of identity literature, self-discovery, self-awareness, intentional neighboring, vested interest, personhood, erasure, alienation, rejection, attachment issues, oppression, challenges of getting a job, sexualization of the Other, reproductive freedom, transformation into the Other, fae family dynamics, legal rights, and poetic forms in particular.

I have a linkback poem, "Gliding In" (9 verses, Polychrome Heroics). 

If you're interested, mark the date on your calendar, and please hold actual prompts until the "Poetry Fishbowl Open" post next week.  (If you're not available that day, or you live in a time zone that makes it hard to reach me, you can leave advance prompts.  I am now.)  Meanwhile, if you want to help with promotion, please feel free to link back here or repost this on your blog. 

New to the fishbowl? Read all about it! )

Mood:: 'busy' busy
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
Here's an article about divergences in magazine submission between men and women. It raised some interesting ideas ...

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posted by [personal profile] sabethea at 06:09pm on 26/09/2017 under ,
So, Mouse has just shared with me a fan theory that I'd not heard (probably everyone else has and I'm not in the loop) about the three brothers in the Beedle The Bard fairy story all being actual people.

The Youngest Brother is, obviously, Harry.
The Middle Brother is Snape.
The Oldest Brother is Voldemort.
Death is Dumbledore.

Okay, if you haven't heard this before, hear me out. but I'll cut it because I'm now convinced everyone but me knows it )
I rather like it, actually.
dine: (siddig axe - misbegotten)
iosonochesono: (Corpse Bride: Emily Proper)
posted by [personal profile] iosonochesono at 04:31am on 26/09/2017
To London. For April Second.

That's going to really push me to get things done. Get my passport. Get the TEFL completed. Regularly take the Contrave and exercise. Stop eating out. Practice my photography. Try to pave the way for school in Europe.

It's not the hugest expenditure. I can decide I don't want to go.

But I'm pretty sure I want to.
miss_s_b: (Default)
posted by [personal profile] miss_s_b at 11:00am on 26/09/2017
miss_s_b: (Sci-fi: McCoy)
posted by [personal profile] miss_s_b at 08:14am on 26/09/2017 under
First new Trek series in more than 20 years! And I'm happy to report I really loved it, although I had a couple of niggles:cut for Spoilerphobes )
All in all, a solid start and I am actually excited to see how it goes from here.
September 25th, 2017
ysabetwordsmith: Damask smiling over their shoulder (polychrome)
These are the footnotes for "Everything That Is Real About Us."

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Mood:: 'busy' busy
jkusters: (Default)
Anyone who knows me for even a brief time learns fairly quickly that I'm an old school Trekkie. I've been a fan of the show since early childhood, can name any TOS episode within a couple seconds of the beginning of the episode, and used to have all the star dates memorized. I quite enjoyed all of the subsequent offerings, some more than others. I even enjoy the JJ Abrams movies, though I consider them more "Star Trek Anime" than mainline Trek. So, it was with great anticipation that I sat down to watch the newest offering, Star Trek: Discovery.

It did not win me over in the pilot, two-part episode, sadly. It was definitely Star Trek, and there was a lot I liked, but overall I felt disappointed. I will try to capture both the positive and negative thoughts about the show shortly. But I do intend to keep watching, remembering the pain that was the first episode of nearly every Trek show to date. Can you imagine judging all of The Next Generation simply from "Encounter at Far Point"?

So, on to the review... Oh, be warned, SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS!!!

There Be Klingons!

I'm okay with the visual redesign of the Klingons. Every generation puts their own spin on the venerable enemy, and this new version isn't any better or worse than previous ones. (And let me go on record to say I disliked Enterprise's attempt to reconcile the visual differences between the different generations of Klingons. I was perfectly fine with Gene's explanation that the Klingons from The Motion Picture, which were modernized into the Klingons of TNG and DS9 shows, were what the Klingons from TOS were always supposed to look like.)

I do kind of like the thought of a rogue member of a disgraced house being the one to try and unite the Great Houses with his crew of outcasts. The guy with nothing to lose is, thematically, the best person to kick off such a conflagration. And if he feels that the Klingons have lost their edge and stopped being a warrior race, what better way to hone the species than a major war with a neighboring power? My big gripe is that they seemed as fervent as a group of radical, fundamentalist religious members. But I recognize that's more my problem with fundamentalists of any stripe than a story problem.

But I found myself drifting way during the ponderous scenes involving the Klingons. The decision to make all of those scenes with Klingon language dialog, paced slowly to make sure that the viewers could read the caption, just did not work for me. It made the scenes slow, and I kept tuning out, then having to re-focus my attention on reading the text if I wanted to know what was happening. Marc Okrand, the inventor of the language, claims that it should be spoken rapid-fire, as if giving commands on the bridge of a Klingon ship in the heat of battle. This was anything but rapid-fire. I wish they had found some way, as they did in Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country, to have them speaking in Klingon but us hearing it as English. It would have made those scenes more bearable.

And speaking of things slow and ponderous, it seemed to me that the costumes the Klingons were wearing, the highly filagreed armor, was perhaps too bulky. They all moved slowly, as if highly encumbered. For a warrior race that should value being able to move quickly and freely, that armor seemed all wrong. It didn't help that it was easily penetrated by their own weapons and the weapons that our heroes brought. If we are to see more Klingons, I hope the ditch the highly encumbering and apparently useless armor for something more practical.

Oh, and somehow only T'Kuvma has a cloaking device. Where did he get it from? No idea. I don't think he developed it on his own, and I doubt that he made personal inquiries to the Romulans to obtain the technology. As with many things in the show, it seemed a technology far too advanced for the era depicted.

The USS Shenzhou

Overall, I liked the ship. Sadly, we probably won't see it again.

I liked the "lateral vector transporters" and that it was considered antiquated. Though I do wonder how they went from the transporters they showed in Enterprise (the more familiar vertical format) to the lateral kind and then back by the time of TOS.

I liked that the bridge was on the bottom of the saucer section, though I did wonder if there was a particular reason for it other than it seemed cool at the time.

I did not like that the technology seemed considerably far ahead of what we would see in TOS, which is supposed to happen ten years after the events shown in Discovery (I think ten years is too short, if Kirk is reading about the Klingon-Federation war as a past subject in Star Fleet Academy a decade or more before he took command of the Enterprise). Emergency force fields protecting the bridge? Free-standing forcefields around the cells of the brig? In the TOS era, force fields were reserved for doorways and similar easily constrained areas. That Shenzhou can have arbitrarily shaped force fields, and ones that can open holes in the field, seems far too advanced for the era.

I also found many of the inhabitants of the bridge to be anomalous. We had a guy with some kind of wrap-around metal and plastic prosthetic, we had what appeared to be a robot with several small displays for a face, we had some person with wires extending from wrist to fingertips, and some kind of alien with asymmetric patterns on its skin. What was that wraparound prosthetic? Was he like Lobot from The Empire Strikes Back? Was the robot looking thing an alien with an encounter suit? Or was it actually a robot? If a robot, was it sentient, like Data? (That would violate canon, since Data was supposed to be the first artificial life form serving on a Federation ship.) What was the purpose of those wires on that persons fingers? We also seemed to have a lot of nameless crewmen and -women. I guess that's expected since the ship doesn't make it past the pilot, but still it felt strange.

Also, holographic communications? I don't recall the Federation ships having such technology in TOS days.

But as I said, overall, I like the look of the ship. I'm slightly disappointed that we probably won't be seeing it again.

Captain Philippa Georgiou

I liked her as a captain. A temperament equally balanced between boldness and caution, willing to listen to her officers, but willing to make hard calls. I also quite enjoyed what seemed to be a wry sense of humor. And she seemed very dedicated to her crew. Her death seemed to be such a waste. We never really got to know her well, which is a pity. Maybe some day we can see the earlier adventures of Georgiou and her ship.

One thing I did not like about her, though, was her decision to use the Klingon dead as a means to deliver a photon torpedo warhead onto the nameless Klingon ship. That did not seem to be the principled actions of a Star Fleet captain, especially one trying to avoid an all-out war.

Commander Michael Burnham

I wanted to like Commander, the focus of the series. But she failed to win me over. Her actions continually seemed at odds with her history and stated intentions.

We didn't get enough information about her background and what led her to be Sarek's ward. Something about a Human/Vulcan science outpost, attacked by Klingons (whom we haven't seen in a hundred years, but who we know attacked the outpost), with Michael winding up being an orphan. And then, somehow, illogically, Sarek takes Michael into his household to mentor and mold? Why? Wouldn't have been better for Michael to send her to family elsewhere in the Federation? Why impose Vulcan training on an ill-prepared human child? She obviously failed to live up to Sarek's expectations of her.

And why did he bring her aboard the Shenzhou and then leave her in the care of Captain Georgiou? As far as I can tell, Michael did not attend Star Fleet Academy, and did not seem to come aboard the ship as a member of Star Fleet. And yet she rose to the rank of Commander and the position of First Officer? In seven years? I'm a bit incredulous.

And while I did enjoy the depiction of her friendship and interactions with Captain Georgiou, it turns out that when a crisis arose, the Captain learns the hard way that she never really knew her protege. That was jarring.

Actually, Burnham herself was jarring. For someone apparently raised in the Vulcan way, she seemed impetuous, thoughtless, rash, and prone to emotional outbursts. She took every opportunity to be insubordinate. Starting with her promise to only conduct a "fly by" scan of the anomalous object (the beacon), which she violated by choosing to land on it, to her eventual mutiny, she failed to follow orders and respect the chain of command. This is highly illogical, and decidedly anti-Vulcan. She was smart and resourceful, but rash, and untrue to her stated background. She even admits it:

"You wanna know how I turned on you? I believed saving you and the crew was more important than Starfleet's principles. Was it logical? Emotional? I don't know."
 
Finally, wasn't she the one who advocated for capturing the Klingon leader rather than killing him? Wasn't she the one afraid of making him a martyr? And then, when faced with him after he killed her captain, she just kills him? That made absolutely no sense whatsoever.

I suppose this is the foundation for the rest of the series, a redemption story of a person who took rash actions that resulted in a war, and how she atones for it. You need a flawed character for that story to work well. But why burden her with this whole "grew up on Vulcan" backstory if at every step along the way she goes against her teaching?

I hope she grows on me.

Final Thoughts

So, those are my thoughts on the show. There's promise, and perhaps it's just a "slow out of the gate" kind of thing, but overall I disliked it. The pacing was slow throughout most of the show, the technology seemed out of whack for the era in which it is placed, and the main character is not really very likable.

I will continue watching for at least a few more episodes. It's pretty clear that the pilot was mostly prologue for the real story, so I want to get a taste of that before making final decision. But at this point, it's not compelling.

krait: chibi Soubi (Loveless) whistling smugly (smug Soubi)
I spent far too much of today reading Prince of Tennis Silver Pair slash! I haven't watched PoT in forever, but it was like somebody reached into my head late Saturday night and twisted a dial around hard; I have quite methodically worked my way through the eight pages of Ao3 results and every working bookmark in my collection.

If anyone has any non-AO3 recs, I'd welcome them! Or just babble at me about this (whether "this" is Prince of Tennis, or getting ambushed by weird fic cravings, or that one fandom that you never thought you'd be into) in the comments.

As tends to happen when I fic-binge, I've ended up thinking a lot about what works for me and what doesn't, both for a specific canon and more broadly. This fandom definitely hits a couple of bulletproof narrative kinks for me - especially 'struggling with an unwanted attraction'/'questioning one's orientation' (with a side of 'concealing it in a hostile environment'), and 'deep platonic loyalty' - and that might explain why I'm so invested in a couple of characters from a shounen sports anime, despite having no interest in school settings or sports.

Does anyone else have an "outlier" fandom or OTP that helped shed light on your narrative kinks? (Also, why are a bunch of mine so hard to describe? It's difficult to go looking for more of something when it takes a paragraph and a half just to summarise the basic concept!)
ysabetwordsmith: Damask smiling over their shoulder (polychrome)
dewline: (canadian media)
I was going to explore my reactions to Star Trek: Discovery(AKA "DSC") in greater depth, and you may expect that later in this entry. For the moment, a surprising bit of news from closer to home arrived this morning: Rick Mercer's announcement that the Mercer Report will be closing up shop at the end of what will be its fifteenth season CBC Television.

Allow me to share his announcement via his own recording...



I admit that I see this as another sign of something akin to a Canadian Apocalypse. Some of you who've been watching this weblog for a while will be making informed deductions and/or guesses as to what some of the other signs are.

I'm not happy. But it's Rick's choice to make. Not mine. Not CBC's.

Okay, on to DSC.

What we ended up getting on Sunday night, after delays thanks to CBS' contractual obligations to the NFL impacting on BellMedia's obligations to CBS, was the first two episodes of DSC. Aired back to back, with "The Vulcan Hello" followed immediately by "Battle at the Binary Stars". Together they form what you might call either a prologue or a full Act One of the first season's larger story.

Without giving away too much, it's a good setup for whatever else we're about to get this year.

I'm still getting over my bout of design history dissonance considering this is supposed to be happening about a year after the events of "The Cage" and ten years before "Where No Man Has Gone Before". The uniforms, the user interface designs, the starship architecture...all seem a bit out of place with those two episodes of the original series. We're being promised explanations and evolution over time, to be sure. How fast the production team delivers is up to them. Our reactions to that speed - or the lack of it - are up to us.

Just about everything else: the scripts, the performances of the live actors, the visual effects work...all meet my hopes.

That visual dissonance remains. For now, anyway.

One bit of advice to CBS and its production partners: please show the episode titles in the episode itself.
Mood:: 'busy' busy
ysabetwordsmith: Damask smiling over their shoulder (polychrome)
This poem is spillover from the August 15, 2017 Poetry Fishbowl. It was inspired by a prompt from [personal profile] dialecticdreamer. It also fills the "family of choice" square in my 7-31-17 card for the Cottoncandy Bingo fest. This poem has been sponsored by Anthony & Shirley Barrette. It belongs to the Shiv thread of the Polychrome Heroics series, and directly follows "An Atmosphere of Shame."

Warning: This poem is flangst. Highlight to read the warnings, some of which are spoilers. Shiv has trouble relaxing and having fun, due to his history of abuse and neglect, so a beach trip is more complicated for him than for most people. ECR Boy! The poem includes multiple flashbacks, social anxiety, financial anxiety, extreme body modesty, hypervigilance, reference to past near-drowning, emergency manhandling (by Aida of Shiv and by Shiv of Edison), flibbering over acceptance vs. rejection, awkward interactions with another family, mild overstrain of superpowers, awkward apologies, Edison is blunt as a bowling ball and has no filter because he is four, and Shiv is little better due to past abuse, frustration over solar limitations, and other challenges. On the whole, though, it has a positive tone. If these are sensitive issues for you, please consider your tastes and headspace before reading onward. This is the second in the beach thread, and you'll need it to make sense of later poetry as well as [personal profile] dialecticdreamer's story "Family Stories."


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Mood:: 'busy' busy
ysabetwordsmith: Artwork of the wordsmith typing. (typing)
posted by [personal profile] ysabetwordsmith at 02:18pm on 25/09/2017 under ,
These are some posts from the later part of last week in case you missed them:
Poem: "We Must Bear Witness"
Poem: "An Atmosphere of Shame"
Poem: "Black Swan Lake"
Saturday Yardening
Crowdfunding Creative Jam
The Jewel in the Heart of Quantum Physics
Birdfeeding
Hard Things


The half-price sale in Polychrome Heroics is now complete.  I have a few new poems up already, and more to post.

"Branded in His Memory" is fully committed, so if you pledged money toward that, now is the time to send it (not counting the person who specified a later date of donation).  Look on the sale page to see the tally; I had to put it there because the donor comments kind of spread around several posts.

The discussion "Working Around Microphones" has gained a lot of attention. If you're concerned about accessibility and diversity, please check out this list of ideas for supporting everyone's comfort and communication. If you're an organizer, or you know someone who is, by all means print it out and pass it around.


Poetry in Microfunding:
"The Inner Transition" belongs to Polychrome Heroics: Berettaflies.  Stylet enjoys a shower and Valor's Widow starts cooking.  "The Higher a Monkey Climbs" belongs to Polychrome Heroics and has 23 new verses.  Pips and Jules discuss what to get for G and Joshua after the fire.  "Two Foxes" belongs to Polychrome Heroics: Iron Horses.  The Iron Horses tell Kenzie what happened to the gaybashers.  

Weather has been hot and muggy.  Currently blooming: dandelions, marigolds, petunias, lantana, million bells,  firecracker plant, white and red clover, morning glories, frost asters, torenia, purple aster, sawtooth sunflowers, pink sedum, purple sedum.
dine: (bite me)
autopope: Me, myself, and I (Default)
alias_sqbr: "Creative genius" with an arrow pointing to a sketch of me (genius!)
posted by [personal profile] alias_sqbr at 10:18pm on 25/09/2017 under , , , , , , ,
I did Dragon Age Remix and Remix Revival one after the other, which means I have a WHOLE HEAP of remixes by both me and other people to link to. Below the cut: Eight works about female characters from Dragon Age (mostly dwarves), and one Portal fic.

Image descriptions at each link.
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flamebyrd: (Default)
posted by [personal profile] flamebyrd at 08:13pm on 25/09/2017 under ,
Usually I post these on Wednesdays, but time is meaningless, so.

Books
Timekeeper - Tara Sim

Movies
Tales From Earthsea (2006)
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol.2 (2017)
Finding Dory (2016)
Wonder Woman (2017)

Anime
Bodacious Space Pirates 1x05-1x08
lullabymoon: (Default)
iosonochesono: (Default)
I just found out that the other medication in Contrave is an antidepressant.

I've been saying I need to go back on antidepressants anyway, so that's good.

I'm hoping it'll help me kick soda and fast food for good, I'll lose lots of weight, get into kickboxing and become badass (in my own mind, anyway.)




If Jessica goes to Tawain next year, I'm invited. So I have that to look forward to.




I looked up Jordan's FaceBook page to see if he got to the U.K. all right.

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