tardis_stowaway: TARDIS under a starry sky and dark tree (death sandman)
Last night I discovered American Science & Surplus, which sells everything from laboratory beakers to brass sextants to military surplus "oxygen warning switches" to a package of 101 assorted springs.  There's not really anything there that I need, but there are zillions of things that appeal to the part of me that loves new laboratory gear, school supplies, and random weird stuff.  It's all so cheap, you find yourself thinking, "it only costs $3 for 20 five ml glass ampules!  I'm sure there's some use for them!" Plus, the descriptions are often quite entertaining (ex: Like a narcissistic fashion model, but much more useful. You get 10 feet of 3/8" wide, light-green hook-and-loop ribbon. Wouldn't our life be easier if we could say the word that rhymes with Welcro? Yes, it would.)   I'm putting together a steampunk outfit for DragonCon, and there's a bunch of stuff that looks like costume materials. 

I have a vid rec!  "You'll Be Bright" by [livejournal.com profile] diarmi is marvelous celebration of the female companions of New Who.  It's energetic and full of the wonder of exploration. Rose, Martha, Donna, and Amy all get plenty of love.  Here's the LJ entry for feedback or download, and here's the youtube version:

I think I'll finally finish off the blasted TV meme now.

Saddest character death. Cut for sadness. )

Urgh, that was depressing.  What we need now are some pictures of weird-looking animals.  There are plenty to be found on the Ugly Endangered Things blog, which highlights the plight and the coolness of endangered species that lack the charisma of giant pandas.  Some of the most recent entries are kind of stretching the definition of ugly, but the archives feature some real doozies, like the Ohio lamprey.
tardis_stowaway: TARDIS under a starry sky and dark tree (you're writing fanfic?!)
Meme time!  First, I'm nabbing the "seven things about my writing process" meme from [livejournal.com profile] eponymous_rose  and [livejournal.com profile] rosa_writes .  (Cue skeptical cries of "you have a writing process?!?"  Yes, I do. It's just so slow that it rarely results in actual fic.)

1.  Stories usually start with a general concept.  I turn that concept over in my head for a while, thinking of some scenes and plot elements that might happen in that scenario.  Usually by the time I start writing I have the beginning sitting in my head in a fair amount of detail, plus a few key scenes along the way.  The ending and the rest of the middle are generally much vaguer at the start.  This method results in a lot of temporarily stalled and permanently abandoned stories on my hard drive, but I like working things out as I go along.  Outlines are rare and generally made halfway through a story if I feel like I need a better idea of the structure. 

2.  For longer stories, I usually have one or more sources of mood inspiration besides the DW canon.  That inspiration typically gives me my titles as well as some themes or a tone.  For the "Illyria" series it's Twelfth Night.  For "Path of Needles," it's clearly oodles of fairy tales, especially Little Red Riding Hood, plus various works derived from fairy tales.  I'm working on a mostly-done Doctor/Jack story entitled "Mercy of the Fallen" after the Dar Williams song. 

3.  I do much of my writing in coffee shops.  I concentrate much more easily there than at home.  In addition to having caffeine, I think the effort of tuning out the other people focuses me on what I'm doing, plus the time limit of only having so long I can reasonably occupy a table tends to  prod me to get writing and not dither around on the internet.  My bank account doesn't like this habit, but I really am much more productive there than in my apartment.

4.  I edit incessantly as I write.  I've heard that this is a bad habit, but I just have trouble leaving a sentence alone until it's right.  I can sometimes manage to make myself a deal to come back later if I realize that a large section needs fixing.  Generally, however, I like to get things as good as possible before moving on.  Of course I edit even more once I'm done with a draft, but I rarely make large changes in the shape of the story once the ending is in place.

5.  I almost always type my stories rather than writing by hand first.  The ability to move words around easily is invaluable.  While I don't usually create fast enough for it to matter, on those magic days when my muse is in hyperdrive I type faster than I write.  On the rare occasions when I make an outline, however, these are always on paper.  MS Word's autoformatting is a pain in the butt, and if I'm going to have an outline I want to be able to see it without having to toggle between windows.

6.  When I decide I need to cut out or drastically revamp a paragraph or more, I usually paste the original version at the end of the story's file along with other cut snippets.  Knowing that I'm not yet irrevocably getting rid of those words I slaved over gives me the confidence to make bigger changes and try new things.  I rarely put the originals back, but I like having them there just in case I change my mind.

7.  I rarely place in chapter divisions as I write.  Every now and then events will clearly suggest a chapter break (like the moment Rose exploded in "Path of Needles," which was a chapter ending from before I set fingers to keyboard for that story), but usually I treat the story as a whole until the first draft is done.  Once I'm sure how long it is and I know the plot is basically settled, then it's time to divide it and tweak the story accordingly. 

And now, ye olde 30 Days of TV Meme.

Day 27:  Best pilot episode

Eh, most of my favorite shows were not at their best in their pilots.  I remember the pilot of Twin Peaks as being very good, if sad, though it's been many years since I saw that.  Lost had a cool pilot episode that did an impressive job of introducing a lot of characters and some mystery.  However, I think I may award this one to Heroes.  The beautifully shot pilot set up a bunch of intriguing characters.  When I rewatched Heroes S1 (the only season really worth a rewatch) a few months ago, I was astonished at how much happened in the pilot.  By the end of the episode, Hiro has had his "yatta!" moment of teleportation to NYC, Claire's dad is seen to be involved in some suspicious business, Isaac has painted the bomb exploding, and Peter has jumped off a building, only to be caught by Nathan. On first viewing, I was left eager to know more about these people, their powers, and how they could be connected. 

All three pilots I nominated are from shows I stopped watching before their endings.  Apparently a great beginning leads to increased likelihood of disappointing me later. 
tardis_stowaway: TARDIS under a starry sky and dark tree (book club adventures 9/rose)
Having missed a few days for no good reason, I'm going to do another double-header of the 30 days of TV meme.

Day 25:  A show you plan on watching (old or new)

There are many!  Here's a list of some of them. 

-True Blood (I actually just watched the first two eps.  The discs with the rest of the season are high in my Neflix queue.)
-Pushing Daisies
-Due South
-Ashes to Ashes
-Blood Ties
-Being Human
-Battlestar Galactica
-Brisco County Jr. (As a wee child, I actually watched this when it originally aired.  Recently I've been struck by the urge to rewatch to see if it was as much of an awesome western sci-fi comedy adventure as I vaguely remember.)
-possibly Glee

Day 26:  OMG WTF? Season Finale

This goes to the series finale of Angel, "Not Fade Away."  The episode featured the death of multiple important characters and ended with the remaining characters about to fight an impossible battle against a huge army of baddies, including a dragon.  The show left us dangling from a cliff and walked away forever.  I don't think it was a poor choice of ending; an overly neat or optimistic resolution would have felt out of keeping with the spirit of the show.  However, I was definitely left cursing at my TV screen and wondering where the hell the rest of the show went. 

Also, Spike read at a poetry slam.  That alone is enough to induce an OMG WTF?!  (and possibly a squee) among Whedonverse viewers.
tardis_stowaway: TARDIS under a starry sky and dark tree (it's my time war)
Much of the country is having a heat wave.  My foggy spot of the California coast is trying to join in.  Today, it was actually warm enough for me to wear a little sundress all afternoon and into the evening!  There was sunlight and everything!  *parties* 

The molasses cookies I made last night were quite tasty, although some of them got a tad burnt on the underside.  I counteracted the excessive number of cookies in my diet by deciding to start trying to up my fitness by mixing in a bit of running with my walk.  Conclusion:  running is tiring, y'all.  I would make a lousy companion on Doctor Who.  I'd like to try building myself up so I'm not so embarrassingly unfit at anything above a moderate walking pace. We shall see if this determination lasts.

30 Days of TV, Day 23:  Most annoying character
cut for those not wanting the negativity of this meme entry )


Jul. 4th, 2010 02:38 am
tardis_stowaway: TARDIS under a starry sky and dark tree (sorta fairytale 9/rose)
Tonight, I went to see Celtic band Molly's Revenge in concert.  I've seen them once before, but they were definitely worth a second visit.  They put on a wonderful, energetic show.  The presence of bagpipes in a fairly small concert venue means that the music overpowers you, but in a good way.  The feeling is not argh, my ears; it's hey, my toe is tapping of its own accord! Woo!  Meanwhile, I seem to have fallen behind in the TV meme again. 

Day 21:  Favorite Ship
pictures and a bit of squee behind cut )
tardis_stowaway: TARDIS under a starry sky and dark tree (nine/rose kiss)
Putting today's post together made my shipper heart very happy indeed.

Thirty Days of TV Meme, Day 20:  Favorite Kiss

I can't pick just one, so several favorite photos are under the cut! The last one is spoilery for DW "The Big Bang," but there is spoiler space so you can look at the others without seeing the spoiler )

still to come in the meme )
tardis_stowaway: TARDIS under a starry sky and dark tree (p & p lizzy wanderer)
News update:  still not Doctor Who time.  Existing in linear time is such a pain. 

Meanwhile, does it make me a horrible traitor that I would be content if Ghana beats the US in the World Cup?  I was initially rooting for South Africa, because I really loved the semester I spent living there and because they seem to have so much enthusiasm for hosting the cup, vuvuzelas and all.  (Speaking of vuvuzelas, I find all the hatred directed at them to be slightly off-putting.  Yeah, they're annoying.  Sports fans do loud and annoying things in all countries.  Vuvuzelas at least are less rude than screaming insults or making obscene gestures or starting riots.  Some of the commentary against them has a tone of cultural imperialism, assuming that ways people in Europe and the Americas celebrate are superior to the way all of those crass Africans are just making a bunch of noise.  No, vuvuzelas aren't very melodic, but I bet it's hella fun to blow one in the middle of a huge crowd of other people doing the same.  Plus, it's just fun to say "vuvuzela.")  Anyway, South Africa was thoroughly disqualified, but I think it would be great if at least one African team did really well in the continent's first World Cup.  Ghana's the only one left.  Also, while I have noticed what seems like an increased interest in this World Cup here in the US this year, I suspect that citizens of Ghana want it more.  So of course I'd be happy to see my home do well, but I won't be bothered if Ghana knocks us out.

In other news from South Africa, thieves ransacked a police station under renovation, taking pretty much everything including the kitchen sink.  I want to know how badly the thieves cleared out the bathroom; do the cops have anything to go on?

TV Meme, Day 17:  Favorite miniseries

It is a truth universally acknowledged... )
tardis_stowaway: TARDIS under a starry sky and dark tree (it's my time war)
Today I went in to donate blood, and they asked me if I'd be willing to donate platelets instead.  I decided to give it a shot.  It was a looong time to spend with a needle in my arm.  However, time is something I have plenty of right now, and it seems they were running a bit low on platelets, so I was glad to do it.  In other real life news, if someone in an area where it is way too hot would like to send over 10 or 15˚F, I think we'd both be happier. 

TV Meme, Day 16:  Your Guilty Pleasure Show

When I'm living on my own, I don't watch much TV other than the few quality shows I love, so no real guilty pleasures here.  When I visit my parents, it's a different story.  My dad is likely to flip the TV on just to see what's showing, and I sometimes join him so we can mock whatever bad stuff is on, like Sci-Fi channel original movies.  One really bad show I remember sitting through all the way on several occasions and guiltily enjoying was World's Wildest Police Chases.  It's just a bunch of real police chases with really cheesy, overdramatic voiceovers.  It has the sort of appeal that makes traffic slow down to look at wrecked cars, but with the show you get to see the action.  I'm not proud of enjoying seeing real-world destruction, but if I recall correctly the show stuck to chases where nobody died.

I suppose I also feel a little guilty about my fondness for Crocodile Hunter.  That show I will watch on my own if I notice it on, though it doesn't rerun as often now that Steve Irwin is dead.  The premise of the show is basically "let's go find some animals and grab them!!!  Wooo!!!"  Thoughtful science it ain't.  However, Steve Irwin's infectious enthusiasm for pretty much every living creature on earth was a genuine good thing for promoting conservation and inspiring kids to love even creepy crawly animals.  I only feel a teensy bit of guilt about this show.  

still to come in the meme )
tardis_stowaway: TARDIS under a starry sky and dark tree (donna+rose bench)

While I was prowling through the Awesome Ladies Ficathon reading fics, I seem to have ended up writing something.  It's a Dollhouse double-drabble focusing on Adelle DeWitt.  It's rather hasty and unbeta'ed, but anyone interested can find fic and prompt right here. If you want to find the many other ficlets better than mine and write/prompt some of your own (you should!) , here's the shiny banner to take you to them:

To sign up to write something longer than a comment, try part 2 of the ficathon here.

TV Meme, Day 15:  Favorite Female Character

Women who rock )
tardis_stowaway: TARDIS under a starry sky and dark tree (Time Lord moves)
 Just as Doctor Who is about to be done for a year, I am sadly at the end of available episodes of another show too.  Yes, I finally finished watching Merlin. Merlin spoilers through the end of S2 )

Day 14 - Favorite male character

This is another tricky one!  Declaring one a favorite feels like a betrayal of all the other characters I adore.  My preferences tend to shift with time.  I'm tempted just to say that the brief and hilarious appearance of Victopher on Dollhouse pwns all and be done with it.  However, I think I'm going to endeavor to make a choice.  First, let's hear it for some runners-up, in no particular order (and where they can be found):  Fox Mulder (X-Files),  Oz (BtVS), Captain Jack Harkness (your pants), Wash (Firefly), Spock (Star Trek:  TOS), Merlin (Merlin), Victor (aka Tony; Dollhouse), Spike (BtVS), Wilf (DW), Hiro Nakamura (Heroes), Sam Tyler (Life On Mars), Ianto Jones (Torchwood), and many others that I might list if you asked me on a different day. 

Those paying attention have probably noticed that one character is conspicuous in his absence from that list.  My choice for favorite male character is The Doctor. 
pics and some reasons behind the cut )
tardis_stowaway: TARDIS under a starry sky and dark tree (martha fierce)
Time for a gloomy news roundup!  It's time for some crude talk about oil spills.

scary yet visually striking photo (no animals in distress) )

The estimate of oil spilling into the Gulf of Mexico is now up to 60,000 barrels a day.  That's 2,500,000 (2.5 million) gallons. Every. Single. Day.  For those of you who prefer metric units, that's about 9.5 million liters/day. Pretty devastating, right? 

In Nigeria there are around 11 million gallons of oil spilling a year (over 30,000/day), which is slightly more than spilled from the Exxon Valdez...and this has been going on for the past 50 years.  (Figures based on this NY Times article. This Guardian article describes the situation with even more frightening detail with slightly different figures. Since it's few weeks old the Guardian's Gulf estimates are out of date; enormous uncertainty surrounds the Nigerian estimates.) I'd known that Nigeria's oil drilling resulted in really nasty environmental impacts, but I hadn't realized it was quite this horrendous.  Of course, since all this is going on a long way from where Americans vacation or buy lots of seafood, very little is done in the way of environmental cleanup or compensation for those whose health and livelihoods are damaged.  On top of all that, armed conflict and governmental corruption gush up like crude around the Nigerian oil industry. 

Well, shit.  For anyone who's boycotting BP, you might consider that Shell is the biggest culprit in Nigeria.  ExxonMobil also does some nasty business there, not to mention being perhaps the worst of the bad lot in terms of fighting against climate change regulation.  Chevron is responsible for some horrendous oil pollution in the rainforest in Ecuador.  If boycotting BP makes you feel better, go for it, but don't be under any illusions that you're supporting a more ethical way of doing business unless you are buying less total gas.  Letting our money do the talking is a fine idea, but when it comes to purchasing gas and oil there is not really any company that will let those dollars say anything other than "screw you, Earth!" 

Speaking of angry messages, on Tuesday the ship that's collecting a portion of the Gulf spewage was struck by lightning.  Also, as you may have heard, a six-story "touchdown Jesus" statue in Ohio was also recently struck by lightning and burnt to the ground (one of many articles).  Meanwhile, the more bloodthirsty nerds can apparently buy a lightsaber replica with a real laser powerful enough to blind instantly or set skin on fire.  Ponder that the next time you go to a con.

So, all this is really bad, but it's not like the universe is coming to an end, right?  Think again:  actual space pictures show what appears to be The Crack in the universe!!!  In the name of crispy touchdown Jesus, we're gonna die! 

*deep breath*  In other news, kittens are adorable!  Really, ridiculously adorable!  Like this:

I have watched that video about ten times today and laughed every single time.

And now, time for today's installment of the 30 days of tv meme )
tardis_stowaway: TARDIS under a starry sky and dark tree (prepare for awesomeness)
Day 9:  Best scene ever

How can I even answer this question?  There are so many scenes that are incredible in different ways.  Even if I confined myself to Doctor Who, I'm not sure I could choose one.  Should I choose the fantastic triumph of Bad Wolf Rose saving the Doctor in PotW?  The sidesplitting hilarity of the time the Doctor got poisoned in Unicorn and the Wasp and had to do charades with Donna to cure it?  The pure joy of "everybody lives!" in The Doctor Dances?  I could go back to Classic Who for Seven's final speech as he walked away with Ace (Somewhere there's danger, somewhere there's injustice, somewhere else the tea's getting cold. Come on, Ace. We've got work to do.)  As painful as it is, the wall scene from Doomsday does an outstanding job of combining acting, music, and visuals to pack a humongous emotional wallop. 

Consider that the best scene might not come from my favorite show and there are oodles more contenders.  The Topher twofer when VIctor got imprinted with Topher's personality in Dollhouse is a masterpiece of comedic writing and acting.  I love Buffy's confrontation with the first slayer in Restless, with her wonderful little speech affirming her life as a person as well as a slayer (I walk. I talk. I shop, I sneeze. I'm gonna be a fireman when the floods roll back. There's trees in the desert since you moved out, and I don't sleep on a bed of bones.)  The finale of "Once More With Feeling" with Buffy and Spike's duet and kiss certainly ranks high.  I could nominate the endless quotability of Monty Python's dead parrot sketch ('E's pining for the fjords!).  How about the beautiful surrealism of River Tam finding the hold of Serenity covered in leaves and picking up a stick, only to have it revealed as a gun? Argh, I am confounded by an excess of brilliant choices!

You know, I think I'm going to be generous with my definition of "scene."  Even if what's come afterward hasn't been perfect, this is still the best scene I've ever witnessed on TV:

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Indecision 2008: Barack Obama Wins
Daily Show Full EpisodesPolitical HumorTea Party

Meme progress and what's to come )
tardis_stowaway: TARDIS under a starry sky and dark tree (zoe show some respect)
I just saw The Secret of Kells at my local indie movie theater, and I highly recommend it.  The visuals were absolutely stunning.  Some sequences felt like being dropped into an illuminated manuscript.  The story was simple but heartfelt, and I really appreciated the reverence for books.  Now, on to the TV meme!  I'm making no attempt to catch up with a double header today.

Thirty Days of TV Meme, Day 8:  A show everyone should watch

While DW is my personal favorite show, I've found that reactions from my RL friends tend to be a bit mixed.  I've concluded that it's not for everybody.  *shrug*  Humans are weird.

However, I can say with confidence that everybody in the 'verse should watch Firefly.  If you are somehow reading this journal and have not seen it yet, please proceed immediately to netflix, a local business from which you can rent or purchase dvds, or other source.  Watch the whole series, then come and thank me.  Those of you who are familiar with Firefly are probably nodding in agreement by now. 

For previous fans who wish to share in the squee or future fans who need a little persuading, I shall elaborate.  Firefly's got some of the funniest, most quotable lines around (even the theme song is quotable, for crying out loud), but it's not just a collection of one-liners and banter.  The character-driven writing gives the brilliant ensemble cast plenty of chances to shine. The setting – human colonies in space with a Western/frontier vibe plus Chinese cultural influence – is creative and beautifully brought to life.  The ship looks and feels like a home inhabited by people operating on the margins of society.  This show was cut down after only 11 aired episodes (plus three unaired episodes on the DVD and the following movie), but every single one of those episodes is great television, and it was getting better as it went along.  Its early demise is one of the greatest mysteries and tragedies of recent television history.  On the plus side, that's a very short time commitment for those wanting to watch or rewatch. 

Firefly is so awesome that actual astronauts have taken the DVD into space. (Astronaut fans surely appreciate the fact that Firefly has relatively solid science for TV science fiction.  There's no sound in space!)  It inspires such loyalty in fans that they persuaded the powers that be to make a movie.  Even people who don't much care for Joss Whedon's other shows tend to enjoy Firefly.  So, go forth and watch it.  Bring your friends.  Bring your family.  Bring your plastic dinosaurs.

tardis_stowaway: TARDIS under a starry sky and dark tree (9/Rose/Jack banana)
Continuing to play catch up with this TV meme, have the best and worst of New Who!
Day Six (Favorite Ep) and Seven (Least Favorite Ep) )
tardis_stowaway: TARDIS under a starry sky and dark tree (run)
I'm back in California after my travels!  I may try to post a little about what that was like later, but the short summary is college reunion in Philadelphia = utterly wonderful, if overly humid and far too short; New York = expensive but generally fun; return trip by train = gorgeous, peaceful, a great experience, but boy was I glad to finally get a shower at the end.

With all of that traveling, I fell way behind in the TV meme that I foolishly started right before departure.  Rather than inundate you with all my thoughts about TV in one fell swoop, I think I'll post two or three a day until I'm caught up.

Day 3: Your Favorite Show Ever )

Day 4: A Show You Hate )
tardis_stowaway: closeup of Merlin's face with a half-smile (merlin)
Once again, my narrow viewing habits are problematic.  I haven't watched any shows that just started this season.  I guess I could list Moffat-era Doctor Who as a new show, but given all the Team Rusty vs. Team Moff growling that seems to be going on around the interwebs, I want to emphasize the continuity of DW.  Instead, let me discuss a show that's not new, but which I have just started watching this season:  Merlin.  It's new in the world of my brain, okay? 

more under the cut )
tardis_stowaway: TARDIS under a starry sky and dark tree (victor/sierra facepainting)
I'm going to cheat a little bit on this one.  I don't watch a lot of TV shows that are on currently.  Pretty much everybody reading this already watches Doctor Who and usually Torchwood, and a substantial portion of my flist already watches Merlin as well.  So I'm going to nominate a show that recently went off the air.  I wish more people had watched it when it was active, but now I would love it if my flist suddenly took up watching it on DVD to give it a bit more posthumous recognition.
the icon gives it away )
tardis_stowaway: TARDIS under a starry sky and dark tree (camping torchwood)
I am so late to the party that I don't think it's the same party any more.  Well, put on some tunes and call it an afterparty, because I have decided to share the geeky enthusiasm by participating in the 30 days of TV meme.

Day 01 - A show that should have never been canceled

answer under the cut )


tardis_stowaway: TARDIS under a starry sky and dark tree (Default)

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