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Update grab-bag...

You know, I got the second cat because I felt that my first cat was bored and could use the company, not to mention the exercise of maybe playing chasey-chasey more often. Well, Emily *was* bored, it was true. And now we've gotten to the point where she and Morgan are mostly settled into being buds, and they have mostly worked out each other's play signals and stuff. But you know what?

I really didn't intend for "play time" to be 5:00 freakin' AM. Especially since [a] they sound like a herd of rhinos, and [b] my bed is apparently part of the "path of fun".


I have joined the ranks of the TiVolution. It only took something like four and a half hours and the expert help of telepresence to get the damned thing hooked up properly (unless you count the fact that I still have to return the defective wireless ethernet adapter and get a new, working one). But it works. YAY!

Among other things this means I will never have to miss Stargate because I was out and set it up to tape but like a goober forgot to check to see if there was room on the tape, and then have to whine and beg at telepresence to make a tape copy for me so that I can finally get to see what everybody said was a great episode.

Also, I got to see the Daily Show, which TiVo is helpful for because apparently I couldn't set my brain to remember to turn on the TV at 7pm to see it. And this is a good thing, because the ep that TiVo got for me and which I watched at my leisure last night was the one from, like, last week, when Bill Clinton was the guest, and it was AWESOME, from start to finish.


I hate performance evaluations with the white-hot passion of a thousand suns. So does my supervisor, actually. (Actual quote: "So, what are the consequences if we simply 'forget' to do this?") But, we gotta do it. Today. Blah.


troyswann inspired me to go through my iTunes and make a playlist of Sappy Songs. Since I managed to come up with about a hundred of them from my library, I am refraining from spamming her "what would you include on a sappy-songs CD?" thread, but will probably post it here later, as it amuses me.


And finally...

Well, I thought it rocked. YES! Let the record show! For the first time, there has been an episode written by Damian Kindler, and I really could not find a nit to pick with it! I thought that the set-up of the premise was maybe a little clunky, info-heavy, but I didn't think it was that big a flaw. Otherwise, great ep.

(Caveat: I have heard some reports that although it is not credited as a co-write, Robert Cooper did a lot of work on the ep as well, and it sounds like he is responsible for some of the more nuanced characterization writing, especially that of Teal'c. To which I say: yeah, I can believe that. I've only been saying since I first began bitching about DK that I gave credit to his enthusiasm and some of his creativity, but that he needed to be paired with a better writer who could help polish his stories/scripts, introduce more nuance, and fix some of the plot-hole problems. If that's what RCC did on "Avatar", then, dandy -- they finally employed the right formula, using DK's strengths while making up for his weaknesses.)

Things I loved:

-- the premise of the learning, VR "video game" as a training tool. I was fine with that (I knew some people, like my_tallest, who hasn't yet seen the ep and therefore probably is not reading this because he is Spoiler-Phobe!Boy, were pessimistic about the concept).

-- the fact that this VR-training tool technology didn't just come out of nowhere, but was linked into the continuity by relating it back to S2's episode "The Gamekeeper". I really like it when the show picks up on somewhere it's been or something it's seen, and then shows how, maybe years down the line, we're still seeing the results unfold. I especially liked that they didn't only explain that "Gamekeeper" is where they got the technology, but, that references were made to continuing contact with the people on that planet, who themselves have been developing and advancing the same technology.

(-- a note, specifically aimed at my_tallest again so it's a pity he isn't reading this -- it's not really fair to see from a preview that the show is doing another "trapped in a VR game" episode, and to exclaim that it's a sign that the show is creatively bankrupt and running out of ideas. You can't have it both ways. You cannot on the one hand praise a show for *having* a continuity that sometimes refers back to events in the show's history, or brings back technology and applies it to new situations, and on the other hand, slap the show down when it does so, by saying it's repeating ideas. In this case, while the idea was *related* to "The Gamekeeper", this episode wasn't a mere rehash of that one, although the problem was broadly similar. But it was similar on purpose, and the suggestion that the SGC would have been working to use the technology discovered in S2 to develop a VR form of training exercise makes a great deal of sense.)

-- I squealed with delight every time they showed us the CGI-SGC. I suppose it could have gone either way -- been dorky, or cute. I was into the episode by that point, and thought it was just cute as all get out. I also appreciated that it wasn't over-used. I felt that they used it just enough for it to be effective, and not enough for me to get sick of it.

-- Further, I liked the employment of stuff like that weird sped-up, pivoting camera-work (you know what I mean, I can't explain it better than that), to signal game-space versus real-space. It's a wacky effect and I wouldn't like to see it used in real-time storytelling, but felt that it was effectively used here.

-- I loved feeling for Teal'c as the experience wore on and he began to show the strain of what he was going through. I loved the sequence in which he spent so many resets just sitting out in the hall, letting it all go to hell around him because it was pointless to do anything. Loved the nuanced consideration of his characterization, and how it has changed over the years (the sophistication of drawing a distinction between what Teal'c's headspace was like in S2, versus what it's like now, is one of the things I would have to lay at RCC's doorstep, because honestly I don't think DK is usually *that* insightful and that aware of continuity). Especially loved the observation that the entire problem was due to Teal'c's ego, after all.

-- I liked Dr. Cartwright, although I do have a bone to pick with him -- or, with the writers, actually. Or with somebody. Because...I *liked* him. He was a real guy. He had a personality, he sparkled, he had *some* charisma. That being the case -- why was it so difficult to do the same thing for a new FEMALE doctor? I refer of course to Dr. Brightman, who debuted so blandly in "Lockdown". I just feel like it's symptomatic of the show being not so great in general at writing female characters, and indicative of how lucky they were in the hiring of AT and TR, both of whom brought gobs of charisma and sparkle to their roles. Maybe it's a casting thing, in part. I would be perfectly happy if Dr. Cartwright became the new CMO of the SGC -- except, that I also would like there to be another semi-regular female character on the show, and apparently the CMO is the slot for that. So really, what I want is for the writers and casting people or WHOEVER to get on the ball and do up a new female doctor who can fill Janet's cute little pumps. Going by what we saw of Dr. Cartwright, it *CAN* be done. Now, just...do it with a woman.

-- I loved the sense of "team" that the story still managed to convey, even though it was really a Teal'c-heavy episode with a side-order of Daniel. I loved that moment in which Jack, Daniel, and Sam, in unison, said, "I'll go."

-- Further, I loved the fact that although the overall reason for Daniel being the one to go was probably driven by other things, there was an intelligent-decision foundation behind his selection, *AND*, that they proceeded to have that intelligent-decision mentioned on-screen (rather than left to our assumption/conjecture). I refer to the bit where Sam tells Jack, in effect, "The last thing we needed, sir, is for the machine to start learning from YOUR tactical expertise". YES! THANK YOU! Thank you for giving a good in-story reason for it to have been Daniel rather than Jack (or Sam, really), even beyond the obvious reason (which was that Jack wouldn't be allowed to go, any more, because we can't have the general of the SGC trapped in a VR game). Thank you for making it a reason based not just on the situation, but on a *truth* of the *character*. (Although it wasn't said, that was obviously also the reason not to allow Sam to be the one to go in -- the other last thing they needed was for the machine to have access to all the techspertise in Sam's brain.) I could have kissed the screen, at that moment.

(It made up for what may be my only mild nitpick with the ep -- some of those bits were just a *WEE* too heavy on the Dumb!Jack thing that I'm not fond of. Jack was a *WEE* bit too dense about some of the explanations being bandied around -- Dr. Lee's original summation of the problem really wasn't that difficult to understand. As it is, what we ended up with was a somewhat Dense!Jack portrayal, alongside spoken acknowledgement of Jack's intellectual strengths.)

-- I did, however, like Jack's, "I don't ever want to *SEE* that again!" squeak. Because I simply love it when Jack actually shows that he's squicked by something. I found it adorable.

-- LOVED the reappearence of Dr. Evil Jackson. Further loved that Daniel's entry in the game consisted of Teal'c killing him several times in succession, as a result.

-- Overall just really liked Daniel's performance in the game, and the Daniel-Teal'c teamwork and so on. I liked the employment of the "two seconds' worth of precog" ability. I liked Daniel in a tight black tee and black BDU pants, and hell, Daniel doesn't even ring *my* bells!

-- And HOW MUCH did I love the 4-way Mexican-standoff between the team, at the end? raqs had a good point about this, which was that, after all this time, there are few ways the show can really shock us. Everybody's shot everybody else, many of them have turned Evil, etc. Somehow, though, watching the four of them -- even when two were just VR constructs -- facing off like that was really effective.

-- And Siler was the Goa'uld! Go, Siler!

-- After watching the ep, I really had to agree with raqs's assessment of "season 8, when Teal'c is gettin' some". Not that the ep made very overtly with the Teal'c/Sam lurve, but JEEZ, what with everybody wanting to go rescue him, and Daniel playing White Knight, and us getting an actual grin-with-TEETH type smile out of Jack at the end (really, we can count on one hand the number of times we've seen Jack with that big a smile on his face). Wow. Teal'c is gettin' it *ALL*. As well he should, of course.

So, that was "Avatar". Maybe I'll remember a dozen other things I really liked about it after posting this, but, that's quite enough, for now.


( 9 comments — Leave a comment )
Aug. 18th, 2004 10:00 am (UTC)
us getting an actual grin-with-TEETH type smile

I just noticed that when I was rewatching the end last night. So cute! Actually, that's something I try to make a point of remembering when I write Jack--he jokes around a lot, yes, but he doesn't smile much, really.
Aug. 18th, 2004 10:17 am (UTC)
Yes! Or, actually, he does smile a fair bit, but he employs the smile for many things (sometimes it's a smirk, a wry quirk of the lips, and so on; and I love all of those looks and their subtly different meanings), not only for "happiness", *and* -- it's a *smile* (closed-lips), it's not a *grin* (yeah, yeah, I did look it up; going back to the etymology of the word, "grin" refers to showing teeth, while smile doesn't necessarily).

It's one of the things that I notice, like a small pebble in my shoe, in a lot of fanfic, even otherwise very good and well-characterized fanfic. Too many people write Jack as grinning. And he...just...doesn't. (Especially after S1.)

I, uh...may have spent an inordinate amount of time studying Jack's mouth and what it does. Maybe.
Aug. 18th, 2004 10:12 am (UTC)
i have learned that getting another cat because the reigning feline of my house is bored is really an unwise move. oh yes, he is no longer bored, but i, on the other hand, am sleep-deprived and contemplating turning the younger one into earmuffs. the 2am floor shows have stopped, only to be replaced by the 5am frenzies across my bed.
i think you own my cats.
Aug. 18th, 2004 10:23 am (UTC)
You thought you could expect what cats were going to do?

Aug. 18th, 2004 10:32 am (UTC)
I think it was more...failing to take into account the actual geography of my new apartment, as opposed to the old one, which was the last place in which I observed the behavior of Emily playing with other cats. In the old one, it was spread-out, and my bedroom was off tucked away at an end, and there was plenty of room in other parts of the apartment for chasey-chasey at whatever-time of the night/morning, without my noticing. Now my apartment consists of a mere three rooms in a row, with my bedroom being the middle one which is the direct path between the other two. Had I thought about this, I would have realized what the only possible "path of fun" was going to be.
Aug. 18th, 2004 11:33 am (UTC)
Chasey-chasey. Hee.
Aug. 22nd, 2004 02:18 pm (UTC)
regarding the "chasey-chasey" well, they say that living well is the best revenge. wait until they are both asleep, presumably exhausted from their games. then *sneak* up on them and play wakey-wakey. it worked for me. *G*

you know, there is a cross-over potential between the avatar plot and the chasey-chasey plot. (i'm thinking 'path of fun' type stuff) ;)
Aug. 24th, 2004 07:24 am (UTC)
Oh man, I totally do that all the time! "Aw, look at the sweet, cute little sleeping cat with her fluffy belly! I think I'll MESS WITH IT! *wuffle, wuffle*"

Unfortunately, since cats sleep most of the time anyway, it's really difficult for this to have any impact on their energy levels. More's the pity.
Aug. 24th, 2004 01:42 pm (UTC)
but it still frells with their heads.....they look at one as if to say 'what happened?' heee. this also works with horses. *veg*
( 9 comments — Leave a comment )