19 February 2013

The Schizoid Man

Episode: s2, ep 6

What Happens
Pulaski's log kicks off the show (which is a first), the Enterprise picked up a distress signal requesting emergency medical aid for genius Ira Graves. His (unspecified) work is vital, so Starfleet decrees that his welfare is top priority. Meanwhile Data asks Troi and Geordi to visit him so he can show them his new beard. The hilarity is more than Troi can stand, and no one can blame her. The Enterprise receives a patchy distress signal from a stricken ship. Pulaski wants to help the distressed crew, rather than concentrating on one man. Picard agrees, sends a small team to Graves, and takes the Enterprise on a rescue mission.
Troi, Worf, Data and Dr Selar (a Vulcan Pulaski recommended) are beamed down at near-warp speed, which sends transporters wibbly and is very weird for those being transported. They are met by a young blonde woman, who called for aid in secret as her boss -the cranky, old genius- hates doctors and insists he's fine. Graves leers at Troi and Dr Selar & says "women aren't people, they're women".* He insults Worf by saying Klingons and Romulans act alike. Then he says he taught Data's creator everything he knew and claims to be Data's grandfather. Dr Selar sneaks up on him and confirms he has a terminal illness, but she misses a great opportunity to sedate him. Data spends a lot of time with Graves, who insists the android call him 'Grandpa' (he's clearly one of those embarrassing, sexist grandfathers you don't want your friends to meet). They discuss the human experience. The old man boasts about himself, then tells Data that he intends to upload his intellect into a computer and continue after death. Later, Data announces to the rest of the away team that Graves died in his arms.
Back on the Enterprise Graves's memorial service is held in the transporter room with about half a dozen people (including Wesley who never met the man, but is presumably shadowing someone there). Data makes a long speech about how wonderful, brilliant and modest 'Grandpa' was, and how much he was loved. Everyone looks confused and alarmed, but no one is suspicious. The assumption is that Data has been greatly affected by Graves's death. Picard gives Graves's young assistant Kareen a tour of the Bridge, 'Data' is clearly jealous and behaves badly. Picard has to send him to the Headmaster's Office Captain's Ready Room. Geordi runs a diagnostic but 'Data' seems to be functioning fine, though he's still sullen and rude. Troi suggests it may be a mental problem and does a standard psychological evaluation. She reports that 'Data' is hosting 2 personalities and his original one is being destroyed.
Worf is told to watch 'Data' and finds him in the bar harassing Kareen. Graves-as-Data reveals his true identity, Kareen hadn't realised (nor had anyone else). He offers her immortality in an android body, she is freaked out and he hurts her by squeezing her hand too hard, so she flees. Worf reports this to Picard, who says he'll deal with it.
Picard and Graves-as-Data face off by the engine, where Geordi and another engineer have been knocked unconscious. They discuss the morality of what Graves did to Data. Graves didn't mean to hurt the engineers, he's still getting used to Data's strength. Picard gets sickbay to report to Kareen's injuries, Graves fractured her wrist. Graves angrily knocks Picard out, but seems to feel remorse.
When Picard wakes he and several crewmembers find Data lying on the floor. When he wakes he asks oddly literal questions, meaning it could only be Data. Kareen thinks Grave's put himself into the ship's Computer (do they not have a firewall?). Picard's concluding log states that Graves's knowledge went into the ship, but wthout the 'human element'.

Oh Captain My Captain
At Graves's funeral Picard stops the boastful speech Graves-as-Data makes. Speeches are his superpower, so badly done ones are painful to Picard's ears. Even though it takes him a while to understand what's going on with Data it's clear Picard is concerned; he holds 5 separate staff meetings about it.
When Picard finally figures out what Graves has done (a whole staff meeting later than I thought he had) he decides to deal with it himself. He tells Worf to stand down, then sits and muses on the implications of what Graves has done. While transhumanism is amazingly paradigm-shifting, and raises a lot to think about, Graves-as-Data does knock out 2 crew members before Picard decides to go after him.
The confrontation by the engine has much speeching back and forth, which is to be expected from two men who enjoy talking. Troi already realised that Graves hated Picard specifically, and authority figures in general, so it's not surprising that he has a resistance to the Captain's speech. After Graves-as-Data (unintentionally?) knocks Picard out he seems to suddenly realise the error of his ways and goes to set everything right. Speeching says the day again.

Does Not Compute
Data is neither leered at nor insulted by Graves, and since he can't feel offence the rest of the away team leaves him to entertain the old man.
'Grandpa' hums ancient tune, If I Only Had a Heart, and briefly explains the context. Data believes a story of a mechanical man getting his wish is a happy ending, but Graves points out it's just a story. The scientist is curious about Data and questions him on pain, desire, envy and death as part of the inevitable 'so what makes life?' conversation. At one point Data confesses that he'll probably never know what desire is actually like (poor Tasha). It's clear that Graves' wish for Data to call him Grandpa is more egotistical than affectionate. In fact Graves calls Data pathetic towards the end of episode and literally treats him as a vessel.
It could be a bit disappointing (if Data feels disappointment) that his friends don't realise what's happened to him sooner. Obviously they're confused by his behaviour after the funeral, but they just assume the android doing his next odd/wacky thing. Even though what's happened is clearly unprecedented, it still seems as though everyone is being a bit slow on the uptake; Graves is naturally irrepressible so he doesn't hide his personality at all. Of course Data would normally be the one to figure this sort of thing out.

Counsellor Pointless
Troi's reaction to Data's beard is perfectly understandable. He looks ridiculous.
As ever she is very calm, even accepting, of how strange men react to her and single her out. On the one hand I get that this is part of the show's dynamic (and therefore part of the character), but it feels unrealistic and part of me thinks it sends a bad message.
Troi tells Graves's assistant Kareen that Graves was attracted to her, which could be a desperately awkward thing to tell a person. I don't know what it accomplishes at that point. Kareen knew and almost feels as though she could have reciprocated if it weren't for the age difference. The planet is clearly devoid of decent men and poor Kareen no little idea what a respectful relationship looks like.
When 'Data' acts out Troi says she can sense strong feelings from him, which she's never been able to do before. This makes her suspicious, though she doesn't figure out the truth. At least she's able to use her professional expertise to diagnose the problem. Still you'd have thought she might have noticed the similarity between Graves and the personality infesting Data.

The Boy
Even boy-wonder Wesley Crusher doesn't twig what's going on, despite 'Data' acting like an patronising old coot towards him (he doesn't actually say whipper-snapper, but it was coming). It's amusing to see Wesley's bewilderment. It's also great when Wesley responds to "When you get to be my age you will understand." by pointing out that actually Data's not that much older than him.
While we might expect more suspicion or insight from the kid who figured out the Lore impersonation last series, I have to say I think Wesley is being handled much better this series. He's not been a smug know-it-all so far, and we haven't yet been bashed over the head by his brilliance. He's mostly just been around getting on with things. While I still think his position on the ship is unfair on all the real Ensigns (and not just the ones currently on the Enterprise, but all the Academy-trained ones who aspire to command positions), at least it seems to have calmed him down. Which may mean Picard is much better at managing people than I give him credit for.

Staff Meetings:  5
1. Picard and Riker question Data about Graves's death and why he didn't fetch Dr. Selar. Data asks that Graves be honoured.
2. Picard speaks to Data after the funeral. He suggests Data is trying too hard to be human and should just be himself.
3. Picard reprimands Data for his behaviour on the Bridge, Data continues to be rude. Picard wants to send him down to Engineering for a diagnostic. Data claims to run a self diagnostic and says he's fine, for the first time Picard thinks he's lying.
4. Picard asks Geordi, as Data's best friend, what he thinks is going on. The Engineer reckons that Data gets confused when trying to act human. Troi bursts in and announces that her tests reveal Data is hosting two personalities. The stronger, more erratic one is growing and will soon destroy Data as they know him.
5. Picard asks Troi and Dr Selar about how long Data spent with Graves. Their description of Graves sounds very familiar (he's finally got it). After Worf reports that 'Data' has left TenForward Picard says he'll deal with it, but takes a few moments to muse.

Missed Opportunity
There could have been an interesting exploration of transhumanism, but there isn't.
There's no explanation for why only Graves's knowledge, and not his personality, is uploaded into the Computer. Presumably it was the usual reason, that having set up the situation there was under 10 minutes of airtime left, meaning everything had to be returned to normal and summed up in Picard's concluding log. Any more time spent on plot would eat into the end-of-episode joke.
I can't help wondering what would've happened if Graves had actually inhabited the ship. Much though I detested the character, having him exist in an entirely non-human form would've been interesting (and perhaps just what he deserved). It would also have created an odd dynamic for the crew. Though I suspect the ship would've become a rather unpleasant environment for female crewmembers.

Beard Thing
Data describes his fake beard as "fine, full [and] dignified". He seems to think it "commands respect and projects thoughtfulness and dignity".
As an android full of facts you'd think Data would know that facial hair is simply hair that grows from the face. It neither has nor bestows properties on an individual. In fact Trek canon would seem to suggest that beard = evil.
Mirror universe Data?

The End
Data tells Wesley that he can't remember anything from while he was possessed, and hopes his behaviour wasn't "unbecoming". Riker makes a comment about wrestling a Klingon targ, and Data asks if he won.
I'm assuming Riker is making a joke, and it's funny because Data doesn't know that. However I get the sneaking feeling that it could be a reference to an unused scene, it's a bit too random to be particularly amusing.

* Just so we're clear, at this point I hate Graves. As the episode progresses I do not feel better about the character. I wish I could say his attitude feels outdated because the episode was made in 1988, sadly society is still hung up on stuff like this.
I hate the idea that people are fundamentally different because of gender, it's not something I've ever really believed. Science has now proved it's just not true. It's mostly a societal construct, and a damaging one at that.

17 February 2013

The Assassin's Edge

I finally read the last Tale of Einarinn. It was good and a satisfying conclusion to the series, though somewhat different to what I was expecting.

My thoughts on the first four volumes:
The Thief's Gamble
The Swordsman's Oath
The Gambler's Fortune
The Warrior's Bond

The Asassin's Edge
by Juliet E. McKenna

 This final volume is narrated mostly by Livak, though Ryshad is in it a lot. There's a lot more detail of what they're actually like together. This is good, as much of their romantic relationship happened off-page. When they met in the first book I thought that Rysahd seemed a better match for Livak than her lover at the time. There followed 3 books in which both were off doing their own thing, though both thought about the other and seemed increasingly keen on building a life together. It's nice to see that pay off. At the start of this volume they have settled in the new (or should that be renewed) colony of Kellarin. Livak might be getting a bit bored of such a stable and fairly domestic life, but then the colony's peace is shattered by pirates.

I was not expecting the pirates. Like anything that happens in this series it makes perfect sense when you see the wider context. Of course pirates would prey on newly established trade routes. It soon becomes apparent that the pirates have been encouraged or aided by an old enemy who appeared in book one. What seemed like a complication before the inevitable confrontation turned out to be the spur that prompts the characters to act. A small party is sent back into dangerous territory to settle the problem once and for all. While the other main characters try to protect the community they've built. I had images of a larger, flashier final encounter (not that there isn't plenty of flash and big bang as well). I've since realised that in many ways a battle wouldn't actually make sense, and if there's one thing you can say for Juliet McKenna's books (or at least the ones I've read so far) it's that they always make sense, even if they don't do what you initially expected.

The actual ending sees a lot of happiness for characters, but isn't syrupy or even particularly sentimental. Life goes on, though there has been loss and hardship for some. There's an optimistic outlook, full of new opportunities and challenges. There's also scope to revisit characters later (and I know that some turn up in later series).

I don't feel like I need to recommend this book. It's a great read, but there seems little point in suggesting anyone reads it if they haven't read the previous volumes. Which is not to say that the book is inaccessible for new readers, there's enough background info, but you'd be missing a treat by skipping to the end.
If you have read the other books then you don't need my recommendation.

13 February 2013

The Reconstituted Corpse

Series 1, episode 3

First Scene
A glamorous blonde woman is interviewed for a TV spot about her new book, which details the extensive cosmetic surgery she underwent. Her former plastic surgeon/lover is brought on and angrily claims she lied about him in her book.

Who died?
1) Dr David Curchin - a plastic surgeon and Zola's ex-lover.

2) Zola Zbezewski - a much modified model.

What's weird
1) David Curchin was shot through the peephole of his front door, killing him instantly. An earring with Zola's DNA was found at the scene though she claims it's not hers. Her daughter, lover and manager all say she didn't do it.

2) Zola's body falls out of Maddy's new wardrobe just after it's carried up to her 4th floor flat. The wardrobe was definitely empty before being taken up the stairs.

Dragged In
Maddy has a lunch meeting with her publicist Barry. She spots a wardrobe in a shop across the road and nips off to buy it. While she's gone Barry takes a call on her mobile. It's Zola's daughter, Victoria, hoping Maddy can clear her mother of David Curchin's murder.
Jonathan asks about the case when he sees Maddy, but isn't actually involved until Zola's body impossibly falls out of Maddy's wardrobe and she calls him for help.

10 February 2013

Loud as a Whisper

Episode: s2, ep5

It's a disability episode, and today we are learning about deafness (with a brief look at blindness). What we mostly learn is that it's very inconvenient to talk to the deaf.
Also just because someone has a reputation for being very good at something doesn't mean they won't make basic and idiotic mistakes, it seems.

What Happens
The Enterprise is sent to take a hot-shot mediator to meet with 2 peoples locked in war. Starfleet is only allowed to transport the peacemaker, not to get involved in any discussions. Picard, Troi and Worf go to collect Mediator Riva, who they clearly know nothing about because they are surprised to discover that he is deaf and communicates through three translators. The translators are called his Chorus, they're attuned to his thoughts and each speaks for a different part of his personality. One man speaks for scholarly intellect and artistic imagination. The other man speaks for passion, lust and is a warrior. The woman speaks for balance, harmony and wisdom.
Riva is clearly attracted to Troi and takes her on a date, which seems to go well. He only brings the passion-speaker, which shows that the Chorus aren't inseparable from him, though we find out nothing about them as individuals. We learn that Riva can lip read, which explains the speed of his communication, even with the Chorus.
At the war-torn planet the ceasefire is broken so Riva's meeting with the representatives is all the more urgent. He is confident, even arrogant, about his professional abilities, though his reputation is formidable so Picard and Riker defer to him, despite reservations. He takes only Riker and Worf to the planet and tells them not to respond to the delegates, even if provoked. One of the hairy delegates tries to kill Riva, but destroys his Chorus instead (three people with one shot, this guy has some skills), the other hairy guy is aghast at this. Riker hurriedly beams Riva away.
Back on the Enterprise no one can understand Riva's angry gestures. Picard sends Data to learn whatever his gestural language is. Pulaski can't help at all as Riva is from a ruling family that has no hearing genes (despite having ears). Data learns various sign languages and is pointed at Riva. Picard offers Data's services, but Riva doesn't want that as there's no emotion or connection. Riva becomes withdrawn and uncooperative because he has no control (maybe he's also grieving his Chorus as they've been with him all his life).
Picard gives Troi permission to try and stop the war, even though she has no experience and they were ordered not to get involved. She asks Riva's advice, he lectures her on communication and promoting understanding and active listening (presumably this stuff is quite interesting to a counsellor). Troi turns these words back on him and his own situation, and suddenly he can do his job again.
Riva tells the Enterprise crew to leave him on the planet. He will teach the people signing so that they'll learn to communicate with each other as well as him. Riker unsurprisingly doesn't want to do that, but Riva decides that he'll be fine and that seems to be that.The Enterprise leaves.

Oh Captain My Captain
While it's obviously not Picard's job to actually research all the guests on the ship, he (or Riker) should probably make sure someone has done the work to prevent embarrassing oversights. It seems people were dazzled by Riva's reputation and no one looked into the practicalities of his requirements of the trip. What if he'd turned out to need different gravity? Like that disabled woman that Bashir dates* in an early episode of DS9 (back when it was still trying to be like TNG).
After the death of the Chorus, Picard seems frustrated about dealing with an angry, shocked and grief-stricken man who he can't understand. He refers to Riva's attempts to communicate as "some kind of gestural language", or y'know, sign language. Further failures in research it seems, even after Riva came aboard no one thought to check what language he uses. Lucky they have an android who can learn multiple languages in a short space of time. Still someone in hospitality deserves a dressing down.**
Picard eventually grabs Riva by his head and shouts into his face. This is not helpful! Or necessary. We know Riva can lip read. This is definitely not a thing you should do to someone you don't know well, deaf or not.
Though Picard's anxiety does make some sense. His superpower is making speeches, so deaf people are kinda like his kryptonite.

Riker: Lover, Adventurer, Middle-management (Hen?)
Riker is concerned about Picard leading the team to pick up Riva (does he live in a bad system?). Picard amusingly calls Riker a clucking 'mother hen', which funny because it's true.
On the war-torn planet Riker dives into danger to protect Riva, despite being asked not to.

Blind Engineer
There is a touching moment of empowered disability between Geordi & Riva. Stuff about blessings and being special.
Pulaski offers Geordi a new way of having 'normal' eyes and vision. They're less effective than the visor but would be painless, though for some reason the procedure is a one shot and there's no going back. This is a reminder that Geordi's always in pain (which no one mentions fixing, though I'd have thought he gets some treatment for that).

Counsellor (not so) Pointless
Troi tells Worf his feelings in front of everyone on the Bridge. He contradicts her (which might suggest he doesn't want to talk about it - and she should know that), but she continues.
Riva is immediately attracted to Troi and asks Picard's permission for Troi to escort him. I'm pretty sure only Troi's permission counts here. On their date Riva and Troi are joined, peripherally, by the passion/libido Chorus member. Riva sends him away after a bit, and Troi is concerned about how they'll communicate, if only she had mental powers that could help in this situation.
I am very impressed that Troi steps forward to offer her aid in negotiations. Even if it's part of a strategy to help Riva, it's still a decisive and effective move. By getting Riva to talk about his work she's able to get him out of his funk and restores all his determination.

Security Breach
Not easy targets, not at all
The entire first trip to the planet is a security nightmare. This is a place entrenched in war, an agreed ceasefire was recently broken and, much though these people are seeking help, it's obviously still dangerous and full of desperate extremists. Why is Riva more concerned with set dressing than security? Seriously he has no security besides grudgingly allowing Worf and Riker to stick around, instead he focuses on exact specifications for furniture and lighting. Riva mediates wars, and apparently brought the notion of peacemaker to the Klingons, but seems entirely unaware that he may face personal harm. What wars were these, battle of the bands?
The second trip to the planet involves even less security and no one to alert him to sounds. However the music is more optimistic and he's less cocky now, so it seems everything will be fine.

Death by Space Misadventure
Riva's Chorus.
All three are killed by a single laser, so presumably the extremist who fired the weapon was an amazing shot.
They didn't seem to have names, though a transcript I found describes them as Scholar, Adonis and Woman. So a designation, a name and a gender descriptor, hmmmm.
Riva ends up staying on the planet where they were killed, so I guess we can hope that he makes some memorial to them.

The End
Picard takes the time to thank Troi. He obviously had some staff relations training recently.

* Instead of 'dates' read: turns into a project. For that is how Dr Bashir handles romantic relationships.
** There must be a hospitality department, as they're constantly ferrying people about and have to deal with the needs of diverse species. Even Voyager had a hospitality department, albeit an unplanned one made up of  2 people, one of whom was deeply irritating.

5 February 2013


Back in my post about Eastercon last year I mentioned seeing author David Anthony Durham on a couple of panels. I resolved to read his fantasy books. Then my husband got me this book for my birthday. Then I didn't read it for months.
The problem with working in a library is that it is very easy to get distracted by books, and then you feel you have to read the library's copy quickly because you know someone else may want it. This means that -completely unintentionally- the best way for me to delay reading a book is to own it.*

After reading it a few months ago I didn't blog about it because I was getting stressed about stuff. At that point it seemed best to simply read things and not worry about coming up with anything intelligent to say about them. Now I'm feeling much better and would like to get back into talking about books. I can't guarantee it'll necessarily be intelligent though.

by David Anthony Durham

It took me a bit of time to get into the book, which is not unusual when being introduced to a new fantasy world (also there was the stress). The first section of the large book dealt with a plot against a powerful ruler, an advisor who isn't all he seemed and a hidden foe emerging. It was stuff I'd read before. However the later parts, which start nine years later, were something of a revelation opening up the world, characters and plot. After establishing a world and quickly changing its order, the author wastes no time in taking the plot where it needs to go. There are two major regime changes, and details of at least 5 very different cultures/ways of life, all of them are given the space they need but none are dwelt on overly long.

4 February 2013

The Outrageous Okona

Episode: s2, ep4
The episode starts out with a promise of space piracy and mischief, but it turns out to be about bad jokes and how overbearing fathers will make young people do crazy things. The fact that Okona is supposed to be really hot means I'm not attracted to him. Or maybe it's the overconfidence, I don't go for that.

What Happens
The Enterprise finds a small, malfunctioning vessel and offers help. The ship's captain, Okona, initially presents his arse to the screen and is generally cocky. The bridge crew discuss how roguish he is, because why just show things through characterisation when you can have other characters state it outright and hammer the point home? Okona arrives full of personality and charm, he tries to talk to Data about sex appeal, which Data says has no relevance to him (poor Tasha). There is a lot of stating the bleeding obvious, they want us to be really, really sure that Okona's a charming, zesty, roguish space pirate. As if the audience had failed to notice the actor's performance (or his baggy sleeves).
A tiny, mostly harmless vessel approaches and tries to be intimidating. The pompous bearded Captain claims Okona is a criminal and insists he's handed over. Another small ship with an angry (but non-bearded) Captain turns up, he also demands Okona. It turns out Beardy Captain is chasing him because Okona seduced and impregnated his daughter. Non-Beardy Captain says Okona stole a national treasure, using his son as his unwitting accomplice, the son tries to disagree (did Okona seduce him too?). Each Captain insists it'll be war if Okona is handed over to the other. Picard doesn't want to be involved with this nonsense. Okona offers to leave the Enterprise, though he'll certainly be caught.
After Data failed to get Okona's joke, Guinan agrees that he lacks hunour. Data goes to the holodeck to learn about humour from a holo-comic. This is a painful exercise because the comedian isn't that funny and Data analyses and explains everything. I assume the lack of humour in these sections is intentional.
After a talk with Wesley, Okona decides to make a stand and asks Picard to host his surrender. Okona explains that he didn't do what he's accused of, but he'll marry the girl anyway. This turns out to be a gambit to force the two young people together. Non-Beardy Captain's son is the father of the baby and Okona was the go-between for them and now convinces them they belong together. There's clearly still issues here, but the most important thing is that they aren't Picard's problem anymore.
Data and Guinan go back to the holodeck to try and crack this humour thing. A holo audience is created, but they'll laugh at anything. Data realises this. Guinan explains that humour doesn't equal humanity, Data is still disheartened.

Guest Star
Teri Hatcher plays the Transporter Engineer who Okona flirts with, presumably because she's the first female he sees. Her apparent disinterest proves to be ineffective as Okona visits her quarters and she's out of uniform. Since the show is so desperate for Okona to be a Space Pirate (despite giving him nothing piratey to do), does this make Terri Hatcher's character a Transporter Wench?

Oh Captain My Captain
Picard doesn't want to deal with the irritating Captains and their problems. He has Worf more or less drag Okona from a crewwoman's quarters to find out what's going on. Picard is clearly fed up of other people's nonsense getting in the way when he has things to do (probably). He agrees to host Okona's surrender and then things sort themselves out enough that he can get everyone off his ship.

Counsellor Pointless
Apparently Troi's empathic ability allows her to sneak a peek at people's character sheet.
She immediately identifies Okona's class as Rogue, but didn't get any other useful stats. Though if she's anything like me those numbers are pretty meaningless (which is why I rarely roleplay).

Jokes from the 1980s are always topical. ALWAYS
Does Not Compute
Okona tries to joke with Data at the beginning of the episode. Data realises he has no appreciation of a sense of humour and decides to rectify this. He tries to get advice from Guinan, but only makes her laugh inadvertently. He goes to the holodeck and tries to find out what's funny by talking to a simulated 1980s cheesy comedian. It gets kinda painful.
Guinan comes to see Data's act, but the holo-audience are programmed to laugh at anything. Data realises he's not understood humour at all and is still just mimicking humanity.

The Boy
Okona charmingly asks Wesley his name, after which Wesley is smitten. In their few scenes together Wesley gazes at Okona with an intensity that suggests a serious man-crush. He asks Okona how he copes being a wanderer, leaving people all the time, Wesley doesn't think he could live like that. Though he said goodbye to his mother readily enough. (I'm told that Wesley will later become the companion of the inter-dimensional Traveller, so I guess he gets over these concerns.)

Guinan's Hat: rose coloured
Guinan tries to help Data with his queries about humour. After trying to provoke a reaction with a witty period-appropriate play on words, Guinan suggests Data needs to consult a smarter computer.
Later she comes to see him perform in the holo-comedy club. As you can see it's not a success. Data is disappointed that he hasn't figured out humour, but Guinan tells him it isn't the be all and end all of humanity.

Random Crewmembers
These woman only seem to have beds in their quarters, which is odd. Shouldn't they have chairs and tables and replicators and weird future sculptures?

Security Breach
After the rogue discussion Worf suggests restricting Okona's access to the ship. Finally! People accessing whatever they feel like with the computer caused so many problems several times last series. Riker actually agrees, though probably out of some alpha-male instinct rather than because it's basically a sensible idea.

Future is Better
It's made very clear that Beardy Captain's outrage at the impregnation and abandonment of his daughter is archaic. Picard seems perplexed and irritated by the whole thing. Troi advises him that these ancient and meaningless codes about procreation are of great importance to Beardy Captain. I'm now a bit curious about what the utopian answer to this issue is.

The End
Data tries to tell a joke on the bridge. Everyone else ignores him and interrupts him until he stops.
Is that a boom box? What's next... a rubik's cube?

3 February 2013

A Month of Letters

A few weeks ago I discovered the Month of Letters challenge, which was started by author Mary Robinette Kowal. The idea is to send 24 letters (one each postal day) during the month of February.

I decided this sounded like an excellent idea. As a kid I had a few pen pals over the years (this was before email really took off) so I understand the basics of letter writing, even though I'm probably a bit out of practice.
There are plenty of people I call friends who I don't have much contact with any more, which is a shame. There are also people I've met over the last few years, mostly online or at conventions, who I'd like to become more friendly with. In both cases sending a good old-fashioned letter seems like a nice idea. It's also a good chance for me to do a bit of work on my handwriting, which is not brilliant.

A benefit of letters over emails is that you can also send physical things, though 3D printers may change that in the future. Since I've decided (again) that I'd like to do more sewing I've made some simple things to send with my correspondence. I'm actually a day behind already, but that was due to lack of sewing supplies.

As I'm using this to strengthen existing relationships I've got a few people in mind to send letters to (though I don't yet have all their addresses). If I start to run out of recipients I may do what others are doing and open the letter writing up to folk on the internet (or on twitter @LetterMonth), as a way of making new friends.

I'm actually quite excited about this at the moment, and looking forward to getting letters written.