Archive for January, 2004

New Muse Declared

Thursday, January 22nd, 2004

SCO quote of the day: “I can’t believe that SCO is interested in opening a new legal front. It’s a little like Napoleon invading Russia. At some point, you are overextended. Then it’s winter. Then it’s over.” –GrokLaw
Mars attack of the day: OMG! They Killed Spirit!
RSS link of the day: iTunes Store RSS generator

In hindsight it was obvious. I think Jerie was the first to suggest that Jack was my Stargate muse, but I knew it couldn’t be just any Jack. It had to be a particular Jack, like the AU General O’Neill, or mini-Jack. Today I realized that my Jack muse is Bitter!Jack:

O’NEILL: What are you doing here?
CARTER: It turns out we made a mistake. A big one.
O’NEILL: Which one? We made a few.
CARTER: Our alliance with the Aschen.
O’NEILL: Oh that. Not working out, is it? Gosh, I wish I’d seen that coming. Oh, wait… I did see that coming.

In honor of Bitter!Jack, I’ve put up my “2010″ drabble, I do not love you Thursday, and an only marginally longer story along the same lines, And why you come complaining. Both titles are from “Thursday” by Edna St. Vincent Millay, and the poem is included with the longer story for your convenience.

Sam is Sam

Wednesday, January 21st, 2004

Sports stat of the day: The Mars Scorecard, though it gives the home team way too much credit for partly-functional landers
Warning: Second-hand spoilers for Stargate season 7, first-hand for S4 “Beneath the Surface”

Jerie has been blogging about the Real Sam again. Now I don’t object to the hussy at all, but I do object to the idea that the Sam we usually see is some fake Sam, or Sam with the military mask on, or anything less than real 100% Sam.

To me, the Sam doing the hussy with The Boyfriend is no more or less the Real Sam than the Sam mowing down Jaffa on alien planets. If you want to see Sam with a boyfriend, Jack or not, that’s fine, but that’s just a little piece of Sam. Sam had no boyfriend for six and a half years, and yet she was a character who smiled and frowned and felt plenty of emotions.

I admit that Sam is an enigma and a hard character to write, not unlike Buffy. But that enigma includes her previous boyfriend episodes. I didn’t find that Narim or Martouf or even Jonah cleared up the Sam question, so I doubt that The Boyfriend will do for me what he’s done for Jerie. We did have a fun chat about it a while back, though, in which I told her:

Open your eyes!
You are looking at Sam! The real Sam!
Not the mask of Sam - that’s Sam! The one on the show!
The Person On The Show Is The Real Sam.
She is not a front for some fanon Sam. Look at Sam! She’s right there on the screen! I see Sam’s feelings all the time.
I don’t know which ones she’s hiding.

Jack can’t figure her out when they’re having a conversation about it. I mean Jonah -
Jonah was all nervous about his feelings
because he didn’t know,
because even with free-the-brain-stamp,
she was still being Buddy Thera instead of kissyface Thera.
He was nervous about telling her about his feelings,
he said so - he made some disclaimer,
like would it be okay to tell you I remember feelings?
Why would he have to ask that if he knew?

But all along it’s totally obvious that Jonah is nuts about Thera.
She’s kind of fond of him,
the way Sam is kind of fond of Jack.
But it isn’t obvious that it’s more to her.
Even when he drags it out of her,
he gets some one word answer like “I’m glad”
- open profession of undying love it isn’t.
And [Thera putting her head on Jonah’s shoulder] may constitute marriage on some planets,
but in my book it’s just cute and says I’m kind of fond of you Jonah,
but who knows how fond?

Thera is the unhidden Sam.
In fact, Thera acts very much like the real Sam, showing us that the real Sam isn’t hiding her feelings, any more than Thera is.
That is Sam. Sam is Sam.
One must accept the Sam. Visualize the sound of one Sam clapping…
Do not look for other, inner Sams until you understand the outer Sam.
For this is TV, and the outer surface is all you get.

So you see I’m kind of zen about the whole Sam thing.

Dancing on the Grave

Tuesday, January 20th, 2004

Desktop icons of the day: Snow

There’s an ENT-bashing party going on at Slashdot over the recent rumors that ENT will be cancelled soon. It amazes me that something so much worse than Stargate is allowed on the air. It doesn’t surprise me that there’s fanfic, though - I’ve always thought that the worse the show, the better the fanfic potential. VOY was a mediocre show that inspired reams of fanfic.

But write it fast, you ENT writers, because the axe is about to strike…


Monday, January 19th, 2004

Warning: Spoilers for 2010

I watched 2010 today and was shocked by Sam’s hussy marriage. Since the episode appears in so many spoiler warnings for Sam/Jack fic, I naturally assumed it was shippy. Once I accepted it for the evil anti-ship episode it was, however, I got into it and thought it was an excellent ep. Nice sets, nice lighting, nice Bitter Jack (with a side order of I Told You So), nice to see the ladies dressed up in nice clothes (even if the species has no place to go) - and of course the total annihilation of the human race, with bonus death scenes for all Our Heroes. (Of course Janet and Hammond had to die off-screen. They deserve a pair of nice death fics. Jerie?)

And that’s my hussy! Way to marry a genocidal maniac - maybe someone at Showtime wanted to one-up “Counterpoint.” He’s sweet and loving and he must have realized why you couldn’t get pregnant. I’d love to go on more about the episode, but I feel a drabble coming on.

The Return of the King II

Saturday, January 17th, 2004

My friend who braved the cold to visit Boston this weekend also braved the boredom to re-watch The Return of the King tonight. Silly me, I said it couldn’t be sold out anymore, but it was. Fortunately Loews Boston Common was showing it in two theaters, so we only had to wait an extra hour to see Aragorn come into his own. (Our show sold out as well.)

We enjoyed it more the second time around. My friend got to see the parts she slept through previously. For me, I was too distracted the first time by all the things that violated the letter and spirit of the book, and I was with someone who was getting just as offended and was also checking points of canon with me. (It’s scary how much I know - eg., what happened to the seven rings for the dwarf lords in their halls of stone?)

This time I got to sit back and watch without any distractions - the movie didn’t seem nearly as long. Since I wasn’t so busy getting offended, I could appreciate it for what it was. Elijah Wood still can’t act, but the other hobbits were fun, as were Gimli, Gandalf, and, in his own way, Aragorn. Arwen’s mysterious allergy to Sauron doesn’t improve with a second viewing, but the sections filmed in Elfvision were cool from a stylistic point of view.

My favorite character is still Pippin. Anduril, Flame of the West, gets a lot of Gratuitously Long Sword shots to balance out the traditional Gratuitous Whispering Ring shots. I can see myself blowing a day sometime in the future to watch all three movies on DVD - but I won’t be the one buying the DVD’s.

On Resignation

Friday, January 16th, 2004

Scary Boston weather of the day: record low temperatures

I’ve been thinking about the difference between the traditional fanfic solutions to the J/C problem and those applied to Sam/Jack. I wasn’t expecting there to be a difference; in fact, my first Sam/Jack fic corresponds closely in approach to my first J/C fic. My idea for an ice planet fic similarly resembles my second J/C fic. And I’m not the only one giving me VOY flashbacks - SuzVoy gives me the same sense of J/C deja vu.

I was never one for taking the traditional J/C approach in which Janeway suddenly comes to her senses, tosses Starfleet regulations aside, and lives happily ever after with Chakotay. I preferred more exotic solutions to the problem of protocol. I think Suz was willing to toss protocol aside; she’s brought that plot over to Stargate - but in my ickle newbie experience, she’s in the minority. The traditional Sam/Jack approach is rather to have Jack retire from the Air Force (or otherwise slip out of the chain of command) so that Our Couple can fraternize happily ever after.

So my question is, Why? Starting with two ships that share the same basic premise (two officers who can’t be together because of military regulations), how do you get two bodies of fic that are so different, especially considering the influx of J/C fans into Stargate fandom? Why are there so many fics in which Jack retires and Sam takes over the team, but none worth mentioning in which Janeway retires and Chakotay takes over the ship? Why is protocol all in Janeway’s mind, but not all in Jack’s mind?

I know some C/7 fans who would say that this is actually the same approach - J/C fans emasculate Chakotay by making him a lapdog, and Sam/Jack fans emasculate Jack by forcing him into retirement. Jack is getting a much worse deal, though - at least Chakotay gets to keep his job, if not his dignity. Not only is retirement bad for Jack, but don’t you think Sam enjoys saving the world with Jack? Yes, she could command SG-1 herself, but Sam is a Riker - she likes it where she is.

I don’t want to get all feminist-meta on this issue. I’m not asking anyone to password protect their swooning idiot women. At this point I’d love to see Sam give up her career for Jack, just for the change of pace. In fact, within the context of their respective shows, it would be a lot easier for Sam or Chakotay to go civilian yet keep on doing their jobs. So why aren’t there as many Sam resignation fics as there are Jack resignation fics? At least Sam has marketable skills.

All meta aside, it comes down to an issue of writing: why solve the protocol problem the same way every time, when there are so many other approaches that are being neglected? For me, fanfic is about the variety. I like to use technobabble or matchmaking aliens, but you can make your pairing a test case for fraternization as in the Captain and Counselor series, or start a court martial trend to rival the Janeway/Maquis/Equinox Trial tradition of Voyager fandom. The possibilities are endless.

Then again, the problem may be all in my mind. I’m the ickle newbie so I haven’t read that many fics. Resignation may be just a passing fad.

Man on the Moon

Thursday, January 15th, 2004

Birthday of the day: Happy birthday, Seema!

I listened to President Bush’s speech yesterday about a new space program, and I was disappointed. It reminded me of the former President Bush’s space program - maybe not as pricey, but just as misguided. It’s better than no plan at all, but with the shuttles going to pot we were unlikely to end up with no plan at all.

Consider, for example, that the plan is to have men on the moon sometime between 2015 and 2020. May I remind El Presidente that we had men on the moon in 1969? There’s nothing on the moon. It’s not a good place to make rocket fuel or oxygen or anything else. The moon is the Mohave Desert of space - there’s nothing there. There’s no gravity. There’s no atmosphere. There’s no sunlight for 14 days a month. Anyone we send there will be permanently dependent on Earth for supplies. Considering that the last shipment was in 1972, I wouldn’t want to be the one up there waiting for the next batch of groceries.

There’s only one place worth going at our current level of technology - Mars. Mars has an atmosphere. Mars has gravity. Mars is a great place to make rocket fuel and oxygen and anything else you need. According to the BBC, the Russians have a clue; they’re planning to go to Mars within a decade. They probably read the book.

Go Ruskies!


Wednesday, January 14th, 2004

Mars picture of the day: a Martian

Heat has returned to the nether reaches of my apartment. In celebration, I’ve put up three new Stargate drabbles, which can be found on the fic list. Jade’s drabble pick of the day is We have no joy on the burn, my “Tangent” episode addition. Jerie also endorses it, so you can’t go wrong there.

Smushing the Bushing

Wednesday, January 14th, 2004

Continuing the saga of the broken radiator

The plumber replaced the trap and another one somewhere in the building. It was a loud, long process during which the heat had to be off for the entire building. (You’d think they’d separate the risers, at least, but no…) In the process the bushing sprang a leak. Apparently you can’t get a concentric bushing to fit an 80-year-old steam radiator anywhere in town, but the bushing is in the mail. It may show up tomorrow, or maybe next week, which means several more days of not sleeping in because the plumber could show up at any time. I suppose it’s better than freezing.

For the moment, I have epoxy on my bushing. I’ve been waiting for it to dry, and now I’m going to turn the radiator back on and see what I get in the way of hot water leaks. If I never blog again, you can assume the bushing blew and took me out.

Shiver Me Timbers

Wednesday, January 14th, 2004

It’s a toasty 0°F in sunny Boston this morning, with a windchill of only -20°. Maybe I should go for a walk before the cold weather returns. Or maybe I should wait for the -40° windchill, just to be masochistic.

Last night’s ice is still lingering on one window, and the plumber is out retrieving a new trap for my broken radiator. It’s exploding pipes season here in Boston - he told me how one house lost its entire heating system when the heat went out and all the radiators froze and burst. Fortunately I still have 2 radiators that work, so nothing’s at risk of freezing besides yours truly.