Total Machine Creatures
I Don't Have A Soul//I have Software
31 May 2007
Doctor Who This Week

A few quick note on last Saturday's episode of Doctor Who, Human Nature, penned by Wisdom writer Paul Cornell (thanks to the ever-wise Rich Johnston for once again, pointing me in the right direction by pointing Cornell out):

  1. This is perhaps, the first episode in the new season that has ended on a cliff-hanger where I absolutely can not wait any longer to see resolved in the next episode. Really. I wake up every day, sweating. Of course, this can probably be attributed to the rapidly climing temperatures, and my lack of proper air conditioning, but I'm pretty sure it's because of Doctor Who.

  2. Jessica Fucking Stevenson/Hynes!!!

  3. My opinion of Freeman Agyeman keeps getting better and better with each episode. She was absurdly likable in this episode as well.

  4. Time travel stories are always most interesting, to me, when smart people are forced to break the rules. It's essentially drama being handed to writers on a silver platter, because speculative fiction has trained us to believe that if one rule is broken, the entire foundation of space/time is in jeopardy. Those are not stakes that I would ever want to play.

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24 May 2007
30 Signs That You May Qualify as a Nerd

So after reading this, I came up with a few very painfully obvious indicators that you have begun heading down the inescapable path towards a nerd. Keep in mind that all of these things, save for one item, are ripped straight out of the pages of my own life.

  1. The majority of your CDs are Japanese importted OSTs.

  2. Your contribution to any conversation among friends following a viewing of the newest big-budget Hollywood super hero adaptation always starts with "See, in the comic book..."

  3. You still watch Smallville.

  4. You were a regular viewer of Veronic Mars, but had a crush on Mac instead of Veronica.

  5. Similarly, you were a regular viewer of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, but had a crush on Alison Hannigan instead of Sarah Michelle Geller.

  6. The most used tag used in your account is "comics".

  7. The most used tag used in your account is "manga".

  8. The fact that you even have a account.

  9. Attractive women/men making reference to Star Wars excites you sexually.

  10. Attractive women making reference to Star Trek is par for the course.

  11. You know what Go-Rangers are.

  12. You know who Captain Harlock is.

  13. You lay awake at night thinking about the differences between Macross & Robotech.

  14. You lay awake at night thinking about who would win in a fight - Hulk or the Thing.

  15. You lay awake at night thinking about who would win in a fight between Superman & Thor, but then quickly assuage your concern by reminding yourself that it doesn't matter since they exist in two separate universes.

  16. Your dream job is working in the Gundam super-store in Osaka, Japan.

  17. You know that next week's new comic book day is Thursday, not the usual Wednesday.

  18. The underwear you've been wearing for the past few days begins to smell like a Port Authority bathroom.

  19. You get emotional over thinking about Newsarama's lack of an RSS feed.

  20. You use the terms "pwn3d" or "IRL" regularly.

  21. In a moment of emotional & psychological weakness, you begin to think that Welcome to the NHK is actually an anime adaptation of your life story beamed into your television/computer from the far-off future.

  22. Your other car is a TARDIS.

  23. You have a sci-fi/fantasy/comic book/LOST blog.

  24. Your summer job throughout most of high school was working the rennaisance fair, and you "score chicks" by making Lord of the Rings references.

  25. You continually get into heated arguments with complete strangers because they don't understand that the Flash is the greatest super hero character of all time.

  26. You have at one time in your life compiled a list longer than 4 entries, of your favorite Flashes in descending order.

  27. You regularly use the Justice League track jacket you bought at the last comic convention as a conversation starter.

  28. You wish that the Justice League track jacket you bought at the last comic convention could actually get you laid.

  29. Any of the items on this list made you laugh out loud in that "It's funny because it's true!" kind of way.

  30. Shortly after laughing, any of the items on this list make you cry in that "It's sad because it's true..." kind of way.

This one goes out to you Mallet. I may not be white, and I may not be over-weight, but I'm still a complete nerd through-and-through. We stand united, brother.

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I think I'm still hung over from last night's Lost season finale.

Can't find any images for bearded, Nirvana loving Jack, but how awesome was that shit? Because I always jam "Scentless Apprentice" when I'm out of my mind on Oxycotin.

A lot of people have been going on about potential plot points, and clues to mysteries, and while all of that is real exciting and cool, there was way more to last night's 2 hour episode.

Lost is one of the few shows on network television bold enough to ask the hard questions. We get hints of alternate dimensions/time-lines. Possible futures. The question of human destiny.

Speculative and slipstream fiction has, at this point, presented itself as a genre with so much story-telling, idea-spewing potential. It's always been that way, but something like Lost proves that it also has appeal. Maybe not the super wide appeal the series had in the very beginning, but definitely enough appeal to keep fans watching, and possibly suck in new fans who catch up on the DVDs over the summer.

Last night's episode only reaffirmed my love of the show. With so many of my favorite shows being canceled left and right this season, Lost is honestly the only television show left that I care about. Heroes and Raines are fun for their pastiche-ridden stabs at genre-fiction, but it's really about presenting a mainstream audience with things that may have only been familiar to a very niche market before. Lost is just next-level shit, through and through.

This season hasn't been the most consistent, and is still arguably the weakest thus far, but last night's season finale made all the weak moments more than worth it.

Again, motherfucking "Scentless Apprentice"!

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Possibly THEE Most Adorable Person on the Planet

In spite of having to go to a wedding this weekend (I hate weddings), I am really really amped to see this girl.

Me and her? We're like the Wonder Twins... Except with a five year age difference. And I hate water...

Like, really hate water.

But with our powers combined, we're unstoppable...

...and little.

But that's cool, because we cack suckahs left and right when they get in our way. All day, every day. That's just how we roll.

So fear our tiny Yellow Fury, which we deliver to you in tiny packages filled with wit and guile.


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23 May 2007
Flash!!! Ah-aah! Savior of the Universe!! BAM BA-BAM BAM BAM!!

So (link via Blog@Newsarama) has an interview with Eric Johnson, star of the Sci-Fi network's new Flash Gordon series.

I particularly like this bit:

What’s the mode of transport here?

It’s the old wormhole. Flash’s father was a scientist who was developing the technology. I thought he was lost in a fire, but it turns out he was sucked through this wormhole that he created. So now after 13 years, something came back through, and that something is not so nice, and it’s looking for me.

Now, is it me, or does this sound like the premise for a new season of Doctor Who? I don't know. Maybe I'm just obsessed. But whenever I hear "...something came back through, and that something is not so nice, and it's looking for me," it just reminds me of this, this, and this.

Also, if you replace "wormhole" with "Zeta Beam", the young Flash Gordon all of a sudden sounds like a teenage Adam Strange.

Also Flash gets a T-Bird.

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19 May 2007
Movie (link) Bits 19 May 2007

According to Film Ick:

Nathaniel R over at the Film Experience Blog has re-upped some illustrated memoirs of his summer movie experiences as a child.

Apparently Sandra Bullock still has fans.

I really like this picture of Jude Law.

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Battlestar Notes

As I've noted before, I am not the biggest enthusiast when it comes to the sub-genre of "space opera". I tend to be very particular about how I digest my melodrama.

In spite of all of this, I feel constantly obligated to endure Battestar Galactica.

It's not that the show is badly produced. I would concede the opposite in fact. It's extremely well produced. From the writing to the cinematography, it's a highly sophisticated sci-fi drama. The success and popularity of the show is a boon for genre television. But ultimately, that is all it is.

I have always been of the opinion that it is the duty of speculative and counter-factual fiction to take risks. Tackle the ideas and the concepts that are too elusive for us to deal with in the day-to-day. Ask the big questions that have the potential the compromise our foundations as a society and as a species. Make us face things that we have never faced before. But you have to do it out right. You have to exaggerate it, make it blatant and obvious. Make it impossible to miss.

BSG is not one of those pieces of fiction. Sure it's got some decent action, and I do find its alternate perspective on the human race (i.e. a polytheist society not born of Earth) to be interesting, but ultimately it is not asking any questions. It is barely giving answers. It is an anthropological work on contemporary society. It is a funhouse mirror. And while there is a deep tradition of science fiction television which serves this purpose, it is not enough.

The one facet of the show that I do find engaging is the way in which sleeper Cylon agents are used. Not only do they question the nature of humanity, but they force the human characters to stretch their humanity across a wider spectrum. I still have yet to see how exactly this will play out. It could ultimately be another piece of fiction which addresses the issues of the post 9/11 socio-political situation, which would date itself extremely, or it could actually lead to harder questions.

Enthusiasts of the show generally talk about the plot-driven drama. The twists and turns that come from being emotionally invested in serialized fiction. None of this is new to me, and while this may be a formula for success, it could also lead to the show losing steam. Heroes is an example of how the general American public is ready for fantastic fiction in a serialized format, but Lost is an even better of example of how the American public is not ready for it in long-form. Americans like to have their mysteries solved. They like clear-cut resolutions. But as the recent cancellation of Gilmore Girls has proven, they like good writiting like they like their flame-broiled burgers: They like it their way. While I find this to raise interesting issues in media theory and interactive entertainment, in my opinion, it will provide ultimately detrimental to the art of fiction.

Of course, I could always continue to watch BSG for the explosions and the "sexy robot bitches", but what is the fun in that?

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14 May 2007

See, this is what happens when I can't get my weekly Doctor fix: I watch sci-fi television series I have no particular interest in.

Finished watching Torchwood on Saturday. It's link to the Doctor Whoverse, and its standing as an official spin-off are somewhat perfunctory. Sure we have the appearance of a Cyber(wo)man, but a Cyber(wo)man whose appearance and behavior in no way resembles what we are used to seeing in Doctor Who. Sure the TARDIS makes a sort-of appearance or at least is alluded to at the very end of the series finale, after Captain Jack makes the first mention of the Doctor in the entire series. Other than that it just appears to be another mediocre sci-fi team drama.

That was mean, wasn't it? I mean, I do really like some of the characters. Of course, none of the characters that I'm supposed to love or simply be enamored with. I have such a contentious relationship with Captain Jack at this point that I can't decide whether I want to kiss him (which he would love) or if I want to punch him (which I'm sure he would also love in some sick/twisted way). I do, however, love Ianto & Toshiko. I can barely stand anyone else on the team at this point. Even if Owen did have a good performance during the whole Weevil/Fight Club thing.

My main problem with the show seems to be its fixation with "love" & sex. Not that there's anything wrong with a person being obsessed with that, I suppose.

Character "depth" comes in the form of an episode-long romance doomed to end tragically before the 50 minute mark. If the experience of said romance was particularly effecting, then that plot thread will continue into the next few episodes, only to be exploited on an explosive level in the season finale.

I had it pegged from episode three.

Over at the Journalista blog Dirk Deppy gave a perfect dissection of the state of current mainstream super hero comics [specifically pertaining to this image]:

"…isn’t that it’s misogynist, but that it’s fucking ridiculous. This looks like sexual-fetish material, sure, but it would have exactly the same weird-ass vibe if both of the depicted characters were men. This image isn’t “sexist,” it’s emotionally stunted. Wrapped in the garb of teenage fantasy, it cannot help but take on an air of unreality that no infusion of sex or violence will dispel. Sixty years of accumulated kiddybook clichés won’t suddenly become adult reading material if you add lesbian relationships, hardcore gore or extended scenes of chartered accountancy; the latter only throw spotlights on the childishness of the former."

Oddly enough, this tends to address almost all of my issues with Torchwood and a lot of genre fiction coming out these days in mainstream media outlets.

This leads me to another pont.

For almost a year now, I've had to listen to some of my closest friends colleagues sing the praises of Battlestar Galactica, to the point that I am now morally obligated, as a fan of science fiction, to catch up on the entire series. It's not that I haven't given the show a chance, it just honestly doesn't interest me that much.

That's right. I said it. I don't care about BSG.

I really don't.

The problem with shows like Torchwood and BSG, and subsequently most mainstream super hero comics, is that in spite of sci-fi and comics being treated as a cultural ghetto, these stories are trying desperately to tap into a cultural vein that allows more "mature" stories to be told within their respective genres. But as most intelligent comic fans know at this point, blood, guts, and sex do not a mature story make. I mean, any adolescent with a word processor can produce a work of fiction that contains "mature" elements like violence and sex, but that doesn't make it any better than the story they wrote when they were eight, that lacked those things.

Torchwood does not make sense to me as "Doctor Who for adults" or "Buffy the Vampire Slayer meets the X-Files". Likewise, BSG doesn't make sense to me as "The West Wing in space", because with each of these shows maintained/maintains an identity wholly unto itself. Doctor Who doesn't try to emulate anything other than Doctor Who. X-Files never claimed to be anything more than X-Files. These stories were strong enough to stand on their own without comparison and without contrast. I honestly don't believe that Torchwood proves itself to be a good enough work of fiction to do that. BSG's standing as a piece of fiction in this regard, after three seasons, is arguable.

It doesn't make sense to me that someone would write a novel or a short story, in hopes of being as good as or comparable to something else. That's just not how the creative process works.; Sure, there's the Picasso line about how "all artists borrow", but that's something entirely different. That's about the transference of inspiration, of ideas. If you set your sights to emulate a specific work of fiction, when your work reaches that level, but never manages to rise above that or become something wholly new and exciting, you have no one to blame but yourself.

You can't make "Buffy meets the X-Files" into a sustainable series. At a certain point, your story is going to have to grow wings of its own and be able to carry itself on its own merits. You can't emulate a show like The West Wing, but have your show set in space or under the sea or on a zepplin, and expect it to be any good. The West Wing operates on completely different rules than BSG.

Emulating a piece of fiction that is important, doesn't make your piece of fiction important by association. All it does is make your work momentarily relevant. There's nothing wrong with that, but it will certainly not go down in the history books as even a footnote. Your work can only be encompassed in the cultural dialog if you offer something new and noteworthy to say. It doesn't how clever you spin someone else's ideas, because at the end of the day, there still somebody else's ideas.

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01 May 2007
The new issue of Giant Robot (which came last week) has an awesome, awesome interview with the guys from TaroShoten. Wasn't able to find any info (in English) about these guys on the web. Will keep looking and deliver links accordingly.

::i like toys:: has a bunch of cool offerings today. I particularly like the new "Red Crest" version of touma's Knuckle Bear, whom I like to refer to as "Knuckle Bear Beyond" since he sort of looks like something out of Batman Beyond. They also have pics for the new Patrick Morgan's Whaleboy figure, along with a gilmpse at special edition versions, as well as some panels from the comic (which look great), as well as Brian Taylor's new Coney plush.

But more exciting than all that? New Devilrobot toys!!!!!!!!

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