atomic_fungus (atomic_fungus) wrote,

#5845: Miscellanious

So, Maki's home from the clinic, and he's running around at Warp Factor six. He went to sleep and slept through the night in his kennel here, but after four days in a kennel at the animal hospital he's full of energy, and it's okay to let him run, so we're letting him.

His leg does not have as much range of motion as we could have hoped for, but he's doing okay. I did some half-assed PT while petting him here at the computer, but I'll do a full course of it a little later on.

He's going to be just fine. He certainly doesn't have any trouble running, jumping, or climbing!

Later I intend to post x-rays and a writeup of what happened, but that's too involved for me at the moment.

* * *

In a fail vid on YouTube I saw a grain elevator coming apart. The video starts in the middle, with the corrugated sheet steel structure already buckling and grain coming out around the bottom; after a few moments it fails completely and begins to fall over. As clouds of grain dust begin to billow, flame appears, and the scene abrubptly shifts to gravel as the person filming the event tries to run away from it. But it's not confined, so there's no explosion, and the fire peters out rather quickly.

It really is fascinating to me that something like flour can form an explosive mixture with air. When I really begin to think about it the wonder kind of dissipates a bit, but it's still interesting.

* * *

Mrs. Fungus' boss suggested she watch Dark Matter. We tried watching the first episode. Basic premise: six people awaken from suspended animation aboard a starship loaded with weapons, without any memories of who they are or how they got there. All such information has been wiped from the ship's computer, as well. It was pretty bad and I don't think we'll watch more.

Here there be spoilers, but--as always--I'm doing you a favor.

Apropos of nothing at all, the characters follow the lead of this woman whom I dubbed "Bare Midriff" after her clothing, because the characters wake from suspended animation not knowing their own names and I didn't bother to remember what number she was. (For identifiers, they assign themselves numbers in the order they woke up from suspension.)

With no names and no introductions, I didn't care about any of the characters. I assigned them names based on their defining characteristics. Bare Midriff got that name from the crop top she wore. Then there was Mr. Hardhead, whose personality consisted of saying, "You gotta be kiddin' me!" The teenaged girl was dubbed "Girl in Tights" because of the geometric patterned cloth on her legs. The black guy was "Token Black Guy". Asian dude with all kinds of swords and knives became "Mr. Samurai". Finally, the first person to wake up, "That Guy", who had no apparent distinguishing features.

Anyway, they get to a planet and four of them--the men, plus the ship's android--are about to go down to the surface in the ship's shuttle, with Bare Midriff remaining behind, alone with Girl in Tights, on the ship. Of course the camera focuses lovingly on her butt as she walks away, and I made some sarcastic comment or other about how the boss has a bare midriff and oh look she has an ass, too, blah blah blah etcetera.

Mrs. Fungus put on one of the voices she uses to mock stupid things on TV and said, "Ooh, I bet she has sex, sometimes." Then she started laughing and we had to pause playback while she got over that one.

Later I reprised the joke, using the voice I employ when I want to simulate someone with a sophomoric view of prurient matters: "Yeah, I bet she has sex sometimes, an', an' she takes all her clothes off, an' you can see her titties and stuff. Huhhuhhuhuh."

That was the most entertaining part of the show: the wisecracks. Yeah.

What didn't help matters any was that about halfway through I realized this was someone's attempt at capitalizing on the cult success of Firefly. Okay, Mr. Hardhead was obviously a poor imitation of Jayne Cobb. Bare Midriff is Zoe Washburne. Girl in Tights was a combination of River Tam and Kaylee Frye. Token Black Guy was Wash. Mr. Samurai doesn't have an analog, but he also didn't have a personality so that's no loss. "That Guy" is closest to Simon Tam, but he has no apparent function or personality.

So when the ship's robot manages to recover some of the deleted information we're treated to wanted posters for each of the six characters, including names and rap sheets. The six of them turn out to be this crew of "troubleshooters" that interstellar corporations use to eliminate "problems", such as the small mining colony on a planet which is in the same star system as a massive deposit of unobtanium, and of course the conglomerates "don't like to share". It's implied that these guys were sent to wipe out the colonists. (The planet they get to is the one nearest their location at the beginning of the story, and it takes a mere 12 hours in FTL drive to get there, and the robot recovers the destination from the deleted information in the computer.)

The ship's robot is something of a deus ex machina as it allows the characters, shorn of their memories, to do--well, anything at all, like fly the ship.

The first few moments of show--for fuck's sake, what do you call it? That Guy wakes up first in a ship with failing life support. He gets to the control room and is looking at the console, trying to make sense of the problem, when Bare Midriff shows up and kicks the shit out of him. They have a fight, she wins, and then she diddles the controls, restoring life support.

"Why'd you attack me?" He asks her.

"You were in my way," she replies.

"Oh, of course!" I erupted. "Kicking the shit out of someone takes a lot less time than saying, 'Hey, get out of my way!'"

It was done solely to establish Bare Midriff as Badass #1 but it was heavy-handed and stupid, and totally illogical. Most of the rest of the episode was the same way; they find the ship's robot, also in suspension, and when they activate it, it attacks them for no apparent reason. After being rebooted, the robot doesn't remember why it attacked them.

Then, right after the ship's robot starts doing things on the bridge, it discovers that the ship is sending out a distress call. Then a ship shows up, but it turns out to be hostile...and it launches all of two missiles at the ship. The robot manages to evade the missiles long enough to calculate a jump to lightspeed, which gets them away from the missiles, and of course it turns out that the robot recovered their original destination from deleted data somewhere along the line and put them back on course to that planet.

Just two missiles? If I'm serious about blowing something up, I don't launch a mere two friggin' missiles unless that's all I have. The ship is immediately and obviously hostile, so where was the rest of the attack? It doesn't make sense in light of what is revealed later in the episode, about who they are and what they do.

The endangered colonists pooled their money and bought a crapton of weapons. Ship has crapton of weapons aboard, but ship is also the Raza, crewed with dreaded "fixers" for the eeevil interstellar corporations. None of it makes a lick of sense; if the ship is there to deliver weapons, why are the people who are supposed to eliminate the colonists delivering them? If they successfully intercepted the weapons en route to the colony, how did they end up in the situation they're in at the beginning of the story?

I suppose that watching more episodes of this dreck would bring some light to these questions, but the first ep was such clusterfuckery that I'm not optimistic, and it seems like a waste of time to bother.

When I read the cast of characters at Wikipedia I am not encouraged. And just to make it clear who is who:
One = That Guy
Two = Bare Midriff
Three = Mr. Hardhead
Four = Mr. Samurai
Five = Girl in Tights
Six = Token Black Guy
Those descriptions are all you really get for most of the episode, and as I said it's not enough to make you give a rat's ass about any of them.

In contrast to that, I watched part of the first ep of Enterprise the other day. After twenty minutes, we know who the principle characters are, and the writers have generated some sympathy for them. We know what the basic astropolitical situation is, and that aliens (Vulcans, but if you didn't know who Vulcans are it wouldn't matter to you) are stifling the humans' urge to get out into the universe and explore it. Considering that this story takes place about a hundred years after Zefram Cochrane's first warp flight, and before Starfleet has been established, the writers really didn't have any Star Trek universe shortcuts they could rely on. Not like Star Trek: The Next Generation or Deep Space Nine, where they could use the basic Starfleet scaffolding set up by the original Star Trek.

You can do a story where no one knows who they are, and make it interesting; Dark Matter failed at that.

* * *

Republicans who think they can keep lying to their base had better wise up fast. 2018 will be a rude awakening. Certainly 2020 will.

* * *

I have a myriad of chores to attend to today. I'm hoping to get the front hall painted. We'll see how I do.
Tags: #1

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