Star Wars: The Clone Wars

Feb. 6th, 2016 05:11 pm
selenak: (Ashoka Tano by Dasakuryo)
[personal profile] selenak
I finished marathoning Star Wars: The Clone Wars on Netflix (five full seasons and an incomplete sixth one – because by the time of the sixth season, Disney was buying LucasFilm and promptly cancelled the show) and am consequently in a curious mood, somewhere between narratively satisfied (Ashoka’s arc!) and despondent - no more Clone Wars, and yes, I know Ashoka is also an occasional guest star on Rebels, but this is as good a place as any to explain why as opposed to Disney, Abrams and most of the fandom I’m not interested in more of the set up that makes the OT, and now the new movie, i.e. brave rebels versus evil Empire.

Because, you see: one of the things I dig about the Prequels is that they don’t do that and go for a far more interesting (to me) and difficult emotional scenario. The Evil Empire in the OT is, well, evil. Unrelentingly so. The rebels are good, fighting for freedom, their cause is completely right, no question about it, and everyone on their side is good. The Empire is also OTHER, consisting of faceless stormtroopers, some bureaucrafts played by British actors, a faceless cyborg in black whose human face (in both senses) we don’t see until the trilogy is nearly over, and an evil witch king who looks like a grotesque walking corpse. What the Empire, Vader/Anakin revelation notwithstanding, most definitely is not is something related to the audience, or what the audience reality could turn into.

Meanwhile, the Republic of the Prequel era? Is not conquered by the Empire, as fans pre- prequels probably assumed. Instead, it over the course of three movies becomes the Empire. And not just because Anakin Skywalker turns in the third movie. (If he had died instead, it still would have happened.) Because of inherent flaws of its leaders, skilled manipulation that ensures that because of an ongoing (self produced) war, more and more rights are abandoned and the militarized state becomes the status quo. I don’t know about you, but that sounds awfully familiar to me.

Ramblings about the Prequel premise, relevance and implications ensues )

After this lengthy preamble: of course, The Clone Wars provides its share of boo-hiss, uniformly bad Separatist villains which can easily compete in one dimensionality with the Imperials (or for that matter the First Order). It’s not until the third season that we meet well intentioned Separatist leaders (political, not military). However, Chancellor Palpatine is a regular and an ongoing reminder that the Republic is led by the most evil overlord of them all who keeps orchestrating a galactic wide war. And the question of how the Jedi can in any sense still claim to be Peacekeepers when they are part of one of the armies conducting said war is raised by more and more characters through the show.

Not to give you the wrong impression: this isn’t Battlestar Galactica. But for a show aimed at a younger/family audience, it tackles amazingly dark themes at times. And not just by the implication of the premise: since it’s set between Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith, most of the cast is doomed by movie plot. Most, but not all.

While I appreciate the fleshing out /giving personality to the Jedi we see otherwise in mostly silent roles through the prequels (Luminara Unduli, Plo Koon, Adi Gallia, etc., almost all, as I mentioned in an earlier post, non-humans, which pleases the alien lover in me), the standout narrative arcs to me were those given to the Clones on the one hand and Ashoka Tano on the other.

Spoilers for the show beneath the cut )
In conclusion: this show, you must watch. There is no try.

Interesting Links for 06-02-2016

Feb. 6th, 2016 12:00 pm

(no subject)

Feb. 6th, 2016 12:19 am
sholio: sun on winter trees (Default)
[personal profile] sholio
Writing about writing ... instead of actually writing. But I figured out a plot problem today and the solution was interesting, so I decided to make a post about it.

There was this interesting post about the "mid-book slump", i.e. writing middles of books, at [personal profile] marthawells today. This isn't quite what she was talking about, but it got me thinking along similar lines.

On my current novel (poker players on a cruise ship) I've been stuck for days on a particular chapter. There are two things I wanted to happen in it, during the Big Game that is currently taking place: a supporting character is accused of cheating, and the protagonist runs into somebody he hasn't seen since he was a child.

And I just couldn't get it to work. I'd written part of each scene, and they were just lying there, flat. I could've just slammed out something terrible and moved on to the next bit, but these scenes were going to influence the details of the next one, so I felt like I had to get them nailed down before I could move on.

What I realized was that I could switch around the order of the scenes -- instead of the current "meeting, then cheating", I could make it "cheating, then meeting" and have the childhood-friend meeting result directly from that character's attention being drawn by the altercation that came out of the cheating accusation. The problem, I think, is that in the original version, the two scenes just happened, as opposed to one being directly caused by the other. Which meant they both had equal weight to the reader, so there was this stuttery "event! -- then relax -- then event!" thing happening.

Okay, the only way these "drawn in 20 seconds on my Wacom" graphics could be worse would be if I'd figured out how to do them in ASCII, but ...

Sometimes you'll run into stories where the plotting basically has this choppy staccato feeling, like this:

graphic1

You get it in chaptered WIP fanfics a lot, for example. A thing happens ... and then another thing ... and then another thing. Each of them might be an interesting thing by itself, but after awhile it starts to feel very self-similar and dull, because it doesn't seem to be going anywhere. There might even be a plot progression happening (for example, the main character finds a clue, then another clue, then yet another, and now they have enough clues to put the mystery together) but the scenes still feel repetitive because the emotional stress and plot tension is roughly the same in each one.

As opposed to the first thing directly leading to the second thing, and the second thing causing the third thing, which feels more like this:

graphic2

... because it's subconsciously cranking up the plot tension on each iteration. #2 couldn't have happened without #1, which in turn causes #3, etc.

Which, when you see the graphic, is basic plotting 101, right? Like this. But it's hard to see it in practice, when you've got a number of different events plotted out that are supposed to happen, and the connections between them might not be obvious. You might have to create those connections, especially if you're shifting back and forth between different storylines, which is what I was doing here. And it helped me a lot to stop thinking, as I had been, "how can I make this scene happen, and this other scene happen" and instead start thinking in terms of, "I have these two scenes happening together in the same chapter; how can I make one of them directly result in the other?"

It doesn't even have to be a big, important connection. This definitely wasn't. But it made the whole thing feel like a unified whole, instead of some different things that just happened to occur in the same chapter.

Daily Happiness

Feb. 6th, 2016 12:33 am
torachan: aradia from homestuck (aradia)
[personal profile] torachan
1. The two-year contract I had for internet service apparently ran out last month, so they hiked up the monthly fee by about $20. Carla called Verizon today to see if there was any cheaper plan, since the one I had includes basic TV and we don't watch actual live-as-it's-airing TV at all (I only took that plan because it was cheaper for the bundle than just internet on its own). It turns out they don't have anything cheaper, but for only about $10 more than the newly-jacked-up price, we can get 4x faster internet, so...we're switching to that. 100/100!

2. I got a lot done at work today, even though I kept getting interrupted.

3. We got Carl's Jr for dinner. I really like their steakhouse burger with crispy fried onions and blue cheese and bacon. It's so good!

4. It got pretty hot today, which I'm not thrilled about, but the heat peaked while I was at work in the air-conditioning, so that was good! It's back to being pretty chilly now.
the_future_modernes: a shot of the earth from the perspective of someone on a rock in space (Default)
[personal profile] the_future_modernes
i need to hit the grocery store tommorrow whether i want to or not. I would really really like to not. But needs must.

I bought a beautiful necklace recently and when it arrived it looked even better than the photo, which is not the usual thing. I am pleased.

Hilary Clinton is annoying me. Progressive men calling her misogynistic names and using misogynistic frames of critique are annoying me even more. We cant change the world until we change ourselves, people! Hypocrisy undermines the movement just as much as people opposed to what we want and stand for.

I kinda wish i could make apps for voting, especially to mobilize voting for congress around midterms. Because if its one thing that Obama's reign has taught me, the presidency is actually pretty fucking weak and congress seems to be where some serious "lets change the world" power lies. The movies lie. Real change is not usually from one chosen person, its usually collective action. Which of course makes it so much harder to achieve. Yuck.

Writing is hard. I am procrastinating. But the sekrit project is doing fairly well.

I think i have been reading too many easy pieces and i want to start to read more difficult material, sharpen up my thinking. I have a ton of ideas. I just need to start the practice. And keep it up.

Lemme get the hell outta here and write for at least 1/2 hour.

Meanwhile in Carterlandia

Feb. 5th, 2016 03:01 pm
sholio: Peggy Carter smiling (Avengers-Peggy smile)
[personal profile] sholio
A passing comment on the promo stills for Agent Carter 2x06 (that's the episode for week after next).

Under the cut, because spoilers, obviously )
andrewducker: (Default)
[personal profile] andrewducker
I understand that being able to find the power button for a monitor in the dark might be something that some people need to do occasionally. And that flashing lights on a network device let you know that it's talking to other network devices, and not taking a long nap.

But when people build technology nowadays they realy, really should take into consideration that people tend to have tech in their bedrooms. And that monitors, computers, networking switches, powerline adapters, power extenders, wifi points, and anything else that might ever plausibly be in the same room as someone trying to sleep should have a "Completely fucking dark" option.

Cool Stuff Friday

Feb. 5th, 2016 11:01 am
jimhines: (Snoopy Writing)
[personal profile] jimhines

Friday is the droid we’re all looking for.

Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.

See you on Jupiter

Feb. 5th, 2016 04:50 pm
selenak: (Breaking Bad by Wicked Signs)
[personal profile] selenak
So Manhattan got cancelled. Which doesn't suprise me: the s2 finale very much felt like a show finale, they raced the show to get there, including time jumps, so the writing staff must have been strongly aware of the likelihood they wouldn't get a third season, and the ratings were terrible. Otoh, my problems with some of the s2 creative decisions not withstanding, this was an intriguing, well acted and often well written show, and I am glad we got at least two seasons out of it.

Elementary 4.11

Feb. 5th, 2016 04:17 pm
selenak: (Lucy Liu by Venusinthenight)
[personal profile] selenak
In which Detective Cortez turns out to be a Batman character.

Read more... )

Today can just fuck the hell off.

Feb. 5th, 2016 07:24 am
kate: Jared says 'BREAK ME'. Go on, I dare ya. (30stm: Jared 'break me')
[personal profile] kate
1. Boston is snowing. I already came in early (Sunday night) and stayed late (today) and if I can't get home for at least a two day weekend I am going to murder things.
2. My cabbie completely missed my fucking street, and instead of driving around the block to deliver me (IN THE SNOW) to my destination, he pulled over and let me out half a block down the street.
3. There was disgusting slush all the way down the street.
4. My shoes, socks, and the bottom 6 inches of my pants were SOAKED.
5. I decided to change into a different pair of pants and socks because why not? I have my suitcase with me.
6. Somewhere between the office where I store my luggage and the office I work in, I LOST ONE OF THE SOCKS. It's maybe 100 feet of hallway between here and there, and I have searched it and both offices thoroughly.
7. Those were my favorite socks. :(

ETA: SOCK FOUND! It was on top of someone's cubicle! Which, embarrassing, but oh well. Apparently I was in such a huff, it went flying. /o\

Daily Happiness

Feb. 5th, 2016 12:30 am
torachan: close-up of a sleepy kitten face (sleepy molly)
[personal profile] torachan
1. I got so much translating done today! Like really a lot. I didn't get some of every series I'm working on done, but I did seven different series and instead of my usual five-page chunks, on most of them I did ten or even fifteen pages, so it added up to a lot!

2. I also got the house vacuumed, which I haven't been able to do on my last couple days off, so it really needed it. I hope we can get a quieter vacuum soon because the sound really bothers both Carla and the cats, so I hate doing it, but sweeping just isn't enough to get up all the cat hair and dustbunnies.

3. I totally forgot tomorrow is payday! I just went to check and see if my check had been deposited, since it's after midnight, and not only is my paycheck there, but so is the federal tax refund!

4. My cats are super cute. Look at that Molly loaf.

alias_sqbr: (spoons)
[personal profile] alias_sqbr
As always, bear in mind that my standard go way down when I'm sick.

Books:

Sword of the Guardian by Merry Shannon (On sale right now!) This is basically a cheesy, tropey 90s-esque eurofantasy romance... with lesbians! AND I LOVED IT. Stoic, protective, crossdressing butch bodyguard and feisty, headstrong princess yesss. Many of the tropes are questionable-if-iddy (eg there's a bunch of dub con kisses that "don't count") to outright unfortunate ("swarthy barbarians", really?) and it is SUPER earnest but the ratio of cheese I enjoyed to cheese I didn't worked for me. nb the cover art whitewashes the bodyguard, who has a dark olive complexion which is a bit exoticised.

Apparently the sequel is about the buxom lesbian chambermaid, SOUNDS GOOD.
Books! Games! Movies, even! )

Weekly Reading

Feb. 4th, 2016 05:53 pm
torachan: a cartoon owl with the text "everyone is fond of owls" (everyone is fond of owls)
[personal profile] torachan
What are you currently reading?
Same stuff as last time. Haven't gotten much further on Console Wars, but still haven't given up on it, either.

I'm about a bit more than a third of the way through Kingdom Coming, though, and continue to enjoy that. It was published about ten years ago, though, so a lot of it just makes me want to read a more current take. For example, I just finished a chapter on the Christian attack on gay rights, and obviously in that regard a lot has changed in ten years!

I'm on volume five of Shibito no Koe wo Kiku ga Yoi, and as I mentioned the other day, have already started translating it, despite having a bazillion other ongoing projects. But it's an easy job, so it will be quick going and not take up a ton of extra time. And considering that scanlations is my main hobby these days, one more can't hurt. :)

Anyway, it continues to be a fun read and I'm really enjoying it a lot. Considering the bulk of the chapters are stand-alone events, I'm impressed at the number of scenarios the author has managed to come up with. Some are pretty standard, but others are more unique, such as one where a guy whose house has a "path of the dead" in it, so there's ghosts walking through the house all the time on their way to the afterlife. The twist comes when he gets sucked into the path himself and ends up escaping it only to have the path now run through his own body.

What did you recently finish reading?
I have finished several volumes of Shibito, but that's it.

What do you think you'll read next?
I have only one more volume of that, so I'll have to move on to a new manga soon, but not sure what... (There are seven volumes out, but I haven't been able to get my hands on volume seven yet as it's quite new.)

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