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xavery_islandx
I'm the worst person about keeping this journal active, ever. In fact, I'm so bad that I'm not even going to comment on the randomness of my entries again. There.

I'm currently in the process of contemplating a tattoo for myself. The thing is, I want it to be original, interesting, and artistic. So, it's giving me problems. I wonder if the base of the neck text is too cliche? I think that it is. I think that I want the word 'Engine' but I'm not sure......... and an old-fashioned airplane. frustrating. I need to make sure that whatever it is, I'd never be ashamed to show anyone.

(no subject)
xavery_islandx
I really like how people use words like "period" at the end of their statements and think that that settles the argument. For instance: "Being gay is a choice, period". Is it? Is it REALLY? Of course it's not, and all modern science backs this up. This sentence construction is a tool of ignorant people who can't argue their point because there is no evidence to support their empty and backwards point of view.

Every time I start to feel better about this situation, I run into some new piece of idiocy spouted by people like Rep. Sally Kern. Now, because I have a masochistic streak a mile and a half wide, I always read the comments on these articles, sometimes just to remind myself how horrible people can be. I forget sometimes. Lately, I've noticed a common thread amidst all the cracked-out religious frothing - an increasing tendency to rail against 'political correctness'.

I admit, sometimes the verbal acrobatics we have to go through to avoid offending people annoy even me. But really? NOT indulging in hate speech is not the same thing as being politically correct. They are significantly different.

Detailed Torchwood 2x02 Thoughts
xavery_islandx
I've blown off my real creative writing assignment... oops.

SPOILERS FOR EPISODE 2x02, SLEEPER

Okay, so, much as it pains me to admit, I had high hopes and mixed feelings for this episode. Since I inevitably spoil myself rotten for every episode, I knew what the outcome would be - not that it couldn't be guessed from the trailers - which took a bit of the suspense out of the whole mystery thing. We KNEW she was an alien before the episode began, although that doesn't explain how JACK did.

Seriously, when it comes to Torchwood I will suspend my disbelief to hell and back, but this episode tried even my generous willingness to just go along with it. First, as I'm sure it's been pointed out: Why did Torchwood investigate in the first place? Random policework isn't usually their thing. Good thing it turned out to be an alien invasion, right? -_- Second, since when do they kidnap people and bring them back to the Hub? Especially since Beth hadn't, at this point, shown any indication that she was an alien, and not, you know, a regular old murderer. Where they proceed to subject her to a rigorous interrogation. Personally, I didn't see any evidence at this point that the situation was dire in any way yet.

Which brings me to my absolute biggest problem with this episode: Jack himself. WTF, writers? We know that Jack can be tough at times, when there's no other choice. We get it. We also know that he isn't a bad person, and is really quite gentle-natured at heart. Jack's best and most meaningful moments are the quiet, compassionate ones, and as a character, he generally has excellent judgment about the right times to apply force. Which is why it was utterly bewildering to me to see him acting like such an overblown ass all episode. The shouting was painful to watch and made me wince (Never quite thought I'd say that about JB). Since when does Captain Jack flip a shit on a terrified woman? Very out-of-character. It didn't need to be broadcasted quite so loud that Jack is a FOILFOILFOIL for Gwen. We've got it, thanks.

In general I thought the characters were uneven throughout the episode, making for a jarring view. Tosh was unusually useless and Ianto (whom I usually adore and who can't do much wrong as far as I'm concerned) bothered me a lot. I understand that they're trying to lighten up his character after the excessive emo-ness of last season, but they've badly overshot their mark on this one. Like Jack, Ianto's best moments are the quiet ones. GDL is really an excellent actor, really subtle and in this episode they've pretty much gone from one extreme to another. To an extent I could make excuses for it: Ianto's really young, after all, maybe this was his personality before Lisa, happier now, Jack's back, blah blah blah. But I don't really buy it. His character can be really powerful, and I'm afraid they're going to go and make him the comic relief instead of the resident weepy teenager. They're cheapening his character by making pretty much all his lines zingy one-liners. Funny, but - necessary? No. Out of place? Yes, often. They need to tone it back. Keep it to one or two an episode, please.

That said, the scene with Jack after the interrogation? Tickled me to death. It was adorable and very well acted. And on a purely shallow basis, they have genuine chemistry and complement each other really well. I would keep that scene, and also the one where he's talking to Gwen about Jack in bed. That one was also cute. My favorite Ianto scene in this episode is, surprisingly, the one with Gwen in the morgue. He holds his arm out to her and the expression on his face is very soft and compassionate, much more in-character and moving. I would have expected him to be much more sensitive throughout the episode, because when he's dicking around, Jack acts like Daddy, and I find that incredibly creepy. D:

Strangely enough, my favorite part of the episode would be Gwen. Here, we finally get to see her the way I have a sneaking suspicion the creators had intended from the start. I got a genuine vibe of compassion and caring instead of the bleeding-heart whininess of earlier episodes. Bravo, Gwen. Also, I'm digging the platonic friendship between Jack and Gwen. They really do work well together and THANK YOU for not slapping me upside the head with a doomed romance.

In other notes, the guest star, as in some of my favorite Who episodes, really stole the show. I thought she acted beautifully; I really felt for Beth by the end of the episode. I was tearing up a little bit when she accidentally murders her husband whom she loves absolutely.

All in all, I was a bit underwhelmed by this one, though it's not keeping me from greatly anticipating next week. Tosh much?

Torchwood 2x01 (Part I: Gwen ran away from me)
xavery_islandx
Since it's safely been almost a week since I've seen it, and since I have continued in a condition generally termed 'squee' since I did, I thought it was about time to sort through my reactions to the episode.

SPOILERS!

As a whole, I thought the episode lived up to my excessive anticipation. The creators promised to fix the problems of the first season, and they delivered. From a purely narrative perspective, the new series flowed much better. Leaving that, I'd like to get my one issue with the new series off my chest before I embark on the praising. This would be, unsurprisingly, the character of Gwen.

My main problem with the character of Gwen is the incongruency between what we (the audience) are supposed to think of her and what her character actually comes across as. From the beginning of the first episode, Gwen is supposedly established as the 'heart' of the team. This is only reinforced by the Exposition-Fish's assessment of the team in KKBB. The problem is that Gwen doesn't read to me as an overly empathetic character; instead, she has a lot of big vague watery feelings for strangers (Carys) and cannibals (Countrycide) but is remarkably insensitive to the feelings of the people closest to her.

Unlike most of fandom, it seems, I liked Gwen at the start. I even liked her quite a bit during her affair with Owen; I really enjoyed the way the show portrayed the sometimes-messy nature of real-life relationships. But, please, do not try to sell her to me as the height of Torchwood's morality. First, because of her treatment of Tosh during her fling with Owen. It's obvious that Tosh has feelings for him, and while that wouldn't necessarily stop Gwen from pursuing a relationship with him, it should have warranted a bit of discretion and sensitivity on Gwen's part. Second, during the same time period, her treatment of the loyal boyfriend Rhys. The way Gwen deals with her relationship is, to me, absolutely appalling and motivated by selfishness rather than love. She *drugs* him while at the same time begging for forgiveness. Her treatment of Rhys is also reflective of the general way she treats the people from her old life (PC Andy); with a thin layer of condescension. She's become too *good* for them.

In 2x01 we get more of the same from Gwen. Once again, I took a deep breath and said, 'Gwen, I COULD like you, if you'd only give me the chance. Everyone's got problems and Owne's a wanker too but I like him all the same'. I loved her little hissed "drives me crazy" line in the opening scene. Unfortunatey, the writers have again insisted on making her unpalatable to me in several ways. Gwen has no subtlety, and her ego seems to have outstriped her skill level. In a bizarre move, she decides that she knows better how to deal with Captain John than Jack himself doesn't take Jack seriously when he warns her about him, and gets burned for it. What concrete skills does Gwen have, anyway? 'Carer'? Really?

The Jack/Gwen scene in that episode hit me like a punch in the face or an anvil dropped from the sky. The expression 'dead horse' comes to mind. This scene bothered me for several reasons. The first is the awkward placement; it interrupts the otherwise engaging narrative flow and pacing of the show, resulting in an unpleasant jolt for the viewer. The second is the actual content and portrayal of the characters during the scene. I believe they were shooting for ambiguity, and in a sense that's what they achieved - though it was less ambiguity and more confusion. Is Jack jealous? What is he feeling? Why is he touching her so intimately? Why are her eyes so freaking wide? Jack spent most of the first season pushing Gwen back into her regular life with Rhys. I've personally never seen any evidence that he has feelings for her; he was amused when she was with Owen, a bit pissed off at her treatment of Rhys, but I never got the sense of personal emotional involvement beyond her role as his friend and confidante.

I've read that there's been Jack/Gwen subtext building since the first series, although I never picked up on it apart from the gun-training scene, which was amusing and attractive but typical Jack behavior - nothing out of the ordinary for an extremely physically demonstrative man who enjoys flirtation of all kinds. Their body language doesn't typically indicate attraction or chemistry. The strangeness of this scene in the context of the rest of the show forced me to consider the creators' motivations for including it and after considering, I think it probably serves a similar function to Exposition-Fish. Because the show's on a new channel this series, it's pulling in an entirely new audience, one that perhaps isn't completely familiar with the characters yet. This scene just screams to me, 'Look! Jack's not gay! Really!' - bit cynical, but he has his scenes with both Captain John and Ianto in the rest of the episode, so I get the vibe they're just evening the score.

I will be upset if they pull an Anne Rice and have Jack ride off into the sunset with his woman, because Gay Never Works Out in the End.

Psshhht We Knew This Already: Also This Has Morphed into a Meandering Monster Rant
xavery_islandx
JK Rowling outs Dumbledore as gay! Alright, I'm SO behind the 8-ball on this rant. My roommate and I were discussing this earlier, so it just popped into my mind as I was procrastinating on a photography paper dealing with gender and sexuality. (:/ people are going to be so bored with me as this is all I seem to study and/or talk about.)

But anyway, I find this interesting for a few reasons. Number 1, although there is subtext like woah in the bit concerning Dumbledore's backstory, I didn't pay that much attention because this is the form of narrative referred to as 'infodump' and it's terribly boring to me.

Number 2: Rowling, if you're so concerned about tolerance, why not make this more explicit in the books? Yes, in an ideal world, heterosexuality would not be the automatic norm, but since this is not the case, a major, gay, role model character in a WILDLY RIDICULOUSLY ENORMOUSLY popular children's series is a BIG DEAL. The problem is, now it's post-book, and some people just don't consider that canon.

NOTE: I am especially angry about this part because I was recently fired up over the incident of some piece of shit scrawling the word 'fag' on one of our elevators. Thanks so much for alientating about 95% of our population. WHY DO YOU GO HERE? GET OFF MY CAMPUS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Number 3: The public's reaction. 'Oh no! This might make our children gay! The HORROR!' Really, people? I mean, seriously? This makes be boil a little bit inside. I am SICK and TIRED of homophobia in our society. Some person, commenting, said:

"I will not see the remaining movies and the books, dvd's and games I already own are now in the trash. I will never read another word J.K. Rowling writes and will, in time, completely forget the Harry Potter story I really enjoyed because it was based on a false premise - that the story was about the innocence of youth being thrust into the timeless war of good against evil."

This comment, I think reflects the fundamental prejudice of our society today. Homosexuals can never be a part of the ideal of innocence, because the very fact of their sexual orientation excludes them from virtue. You know what? Gay people are equally as likely as straight people to place value on sex. Your preference has NO BEARING WHATSOEVER on the choices you make concerning sex.

Also, to everyone who complains about homosexuality being shoved down their throats: how is this ANY different from what the mainstream, white heterosexual media does? Now, I won't go quoting some seriously dense academic papers at you because this is a goddamn RANT and I'm angry, but this is a construct of the dominant in society, meant to keep minorities subjugated.

I LOVE children's books and media. I ADORE them. As a child, I read extensively, and I still do, but my favorite are still the classic books geared towards children. Based on mine and others' experience, the existence of a gay character in children's media is not likely to do more than broaden their sense of humanity. It will not somehow magically turn them gay. Nothing I've experienced as a child was in any way 'tainted' by the existence of gay characters.

Returning to the more specific case of Dumbledore, I knew as soon as I heard the news that there would be disgusting references made to his mentor relationship with Harry. That deserves a rant all by itself. Suffice to say, homosexuality does NOT EQUAL, AND HAS NEVER EQUALED, pedophilia.

Also, some retard has just said she feels 'unsafe' with all the references to sexuality in the books. I really, honestly want to rip my hair out. I might end up dedicating my life's work to combating prejudice and ignorance, because I HATE IT. YES! have diversity in children's books, because impressions about the world are formed early.

In fact, I have to say that the only comfort I'm gleaning from this episode is the joyful and understanding reactions of the children in the audience. It kind of warms my heart a little bit, because deep down, I really just want us all to be friends, and haters stand in the way of that.

Goddamn, now I think I'm foaming at the mouth just a little bit. And still no paper.

ETA: 'Just live your lives and be quiet about it.' NO NO NO NO NO NO NO!!!!!!!!! And do you fuckers know what? There is NO SUCH THING as a 'simple story' and that an author shouldn't let her own feelings get in the way of a story. Where do you think stories COME from?

Now I have to go to a rally. Where the candidate doesn't support gay rights because of his religion. I'm REALLY going to be frothing then.

Oh I Get High With a Little Help From My Friends
xavery_islandx
No, this post has nothing to do with weed. And as a preface to my usual weekly rants, do you remember how GREAT Coldplay was before they started sucking? Maybe having a kid called Apple does something to your talent. Like making it disappear.

So this evening, I was watching the local Boston news and they had a story about a girl who checked out a copy of Gossip Girl from her local library, opened it up, and out popped some porn. I have to say, I've been searching for some Gossip Girl porn since I started watching the show, although this is somewhat off-topic because I'm depraved and this girl (13) apparently is not. But anyway, what 13-year-old finds a picture of a naked chick and is so traumatised she brings it straight to her mother? And if this is a typical reaction amongst this age group, we've got a national problem. Children this age are HAVING SEX.

PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT: If you're uncomfortable with nudity, you probably aren't ready to have sex. That is all.

Also, America as a whole needs to pull that stick out of its collective ass. Has anyone else noticed that we are a nation of puritan prudes? Europe would have scoffed at this. They're not like, OMG! Boobs! It's not like children have never seen BOOBS before. And seriously, a picture of one naked girl with her legs crossed barely even counts as soft-core porn.


***

In other news, I have discovered the existence of a genre called 'christian fiction', and no, it does not warrant a capital letter. This is what happens to kids who don't discover online porn by 13. This sort of story, in my opinion, is nothing more than spiritual masturbation. As far as I know, non-Christians don't read this shit and instantly convert. It's marketed towards Christian teens who can't consume media like the rest of us, because it might taint them.

***

Bleh. Speaking of unclean, I have to pitch a speech to my class tomorrow. I borrowed a topic from my very sweet suitemate, and I think I just don't have the personality to carry it off. Because, you know, I just don't care about the state of humanity in general. I'm that much of a bitch.

Product Plugs and the Drivel that is Reality TV
xavery_islandx
Bones, why? I love you. Really, I do. But did you think I wouldn't notice? There was a commercial two minutes before! So please tell me why it was necessary to insert some stilted dialogue, jolting me out of enjoying the great dynamic between Bones and Booth, to make a useless product placement for your idiotic reality show, 'Smarter than a 5th Grader'? You know something, I AM smarter than a fifth grader. I'm sure there are areas of trivia wherein a fifth grader would know more than me. I'm also sure that my cognitive skills are more advanced than those of a fifth grader. It's CHEATING when you take dumbasses and put them on your show. This program has been brought to you by a concerned citizen who only wants to go back to sick murder and maddening-but-oh-so-wonderful URST.

You know, the thing I really love about 'Bones' is the attention that has been paid to detail and the slow development of the relationship between Booth and Bones. It's the sneaky background thread that has been slowly growing in prominence since the very beginning. I love it! It's entirely believable, because they have made it develop like a real-life connection. Also, Booth and Bones DON'T agree on everything, but they're also not your stereotypical-infuriating-bickering couple. There's tangible, mutual affection there.

The one complaint I have this season is the over-the-top freakishness of Zack. He was such a great character and the best thing about him was his enthusiasm and naivete. Yes, I realize he went to Iraq and is now supposed to be all PTSD, but I feel that this mutation into zombie-like automaton has been at the unfortunate cost of the character's charm. Hopefully this will develop better as the season progresses.

In other news, House is fucking sick. Aside from a few minor slips in dialogue (Foreman, what the fuck?) and WTF brand new characterization (Chase, I loved you when you were a spineless bundle of issues, and NOT with Cameron), the show is great. You know has completely taken me by surprise this season is WILSON. His character, in the absence of the team, has really gotten some time in the spotlight, and I'm liking what I'm seeing. He and House are so adorable, and did anyone else catch that little nod to the slashers in the hospital room? Anyway, RSL is completely adorable and may turn out to be my TV crush of the season, at least until January when Torchwood begins airing in England.


All right, that was what is fantastic on TV, let's move onto the things that are pissing me off. Aaaand for the moment there's only 1: Tila-fucking-Tequila. Or whatever her name is. And her retarded new love show and her supposedly-bisexual self. What is up with that... "I'm a bisexual freak"? What is that implying? One thing our culture really doesn't need right now is a portrayal of bisexual people as being rabid sex fiends (Captain Jack SO doesn't count). Maybe she really is bi. I don't know. I can't tell. But this stupid show is reading to me like a ridiculous publicity stunt. And I want it gone.

(It annoys me even more than the Hills, Kid Nation, Smarter than a Fifth Grader, and pretty much everything else on MTV).

The Dark Side!
xavery_islandx
I've come to the unhappy realization that I am One of Those People, one of those writers who wants to talk about nothing but their work, or their craft in general. This must be a significant explanation for why artists and writers are generally so awkward.

On the other hand, I only have to wait until Friday to have my camera!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
(after which point I will be ENTIRELY insufferable).

I'm Excited for November 1!
xavery_islandx
Good news! I've pretty much decided that I'm going to be using Story #1 for my NaNoWriMo, because so much of the preliminary has been done, and I actually have some sound character motivations as well as complex emotional lives for them. :D

Of course, this enthusiasm for my creative project directly correlates to how little work I've done for my classes this weekend.

NaNoWriMo 2007
antique
xavery_islandx
So I've just signed up for NaNoWriMo (or National Novel Writing Month) 2007. Feel free to point and mock if, in November, I am occupied by activities other than writing.