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Because I post like mad on my day off:

Spoilers for Alias S1 ahead:

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Sun, Sep. 28th, 2003 02:26 am
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By the way... the boy and I are finishing up Alias S1. Alias S2 isn't coming out until December... Alias S3 just started. Unlike me, who knows the general outlines of S1 and S2, the boy is completely unspoiled (except for the S2 finale) and doesn't want to start watching 3 yet until we've seen two... so is there anyway I can download season three episodes so we can catch up after the S2 DVDs come out? All the bittorrent sites I know seem to not be hosting episodes anymore...
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Sun, Sep. 28th, 2003 02:05 am
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Another bad thing about my job: I process lots and lots of books and software, and now my reading list is sky high. Plus, I am now itching to try out a lot of the software, even though I know deep down that I generally do not mix well with computer games! But the packaging is so enticing....

So glad I can borrow books from the store.

Almost finished with the Otherland series, so will do a write up... I swear, the thing has sucked me up alive. It's four books, each about 1000 some pages, and I've been immersed in it for the past two weeks maybe... long time for me and one book (because it's generally like one book split into four, not like a series per se).

Ren fair tomorrow!

Picked up Alias again because the boy read about it in my TV Guide and is now interested as to how things got to the point where Sydney is in Hong Kong with two years missing. Still have my quibbles with it, but it's so much more sophisticated than La Femme Nikita! This is why it's so annoying when they use La Femme Nikita bits -- "Sydney, you can't quit SD-6 because you save too many people!" or just Sarah McLachlan playing all the time (or so it feels).

Just watched the Prophecy... the boy noticed Roger Moore guest starring while I noticed they had Lindsey Crouse/Prof. Walsh! Goes to show what we respectively watch....
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I am now seven sentences into my thesis. This is kind of sad and pathetic. I feel as though I haven't really written anything academic for so long that now I'm out of the habit, which is just not true because Reading Period wasn't all that long ago. I also think that the problem is I can't quite divorce myself from the fact that this is my thesis. This stupid paper is supposed to represent the peak of my academic work here; it's supposed to break new ground, be insightful, well written, well organized, and extremely well thought out. And because of this, I find myself agonizing over every single sentence. If I write at this rate, I'll never be done in time. Maybe waking up (relatively) early tomorrow will help me get in the mood. Otherwise, I'll just push on stubbornly, disregarding bad sentences and lack of proof. Suddenly, starting to write this, I feel an urgent need to go to the library and get loads more research done, which is quite silly. No matter how much research I do, I'll always end up feeling this way, just because that's the way I do things.

It's ok. I can write ten pages by Monday. Really. How hard can this be? I managed to do thirty pages in one night once. Granted, they weren't very good pages, but still. And this is just a first draft, so I shouldn't be stressing over it this much. Guh. High expectations always leads to extremely bad writer's block for me. I should really just pretend that this is a silly paper for a class I'm PDF-ing, and the ten pages will be done in a flash. Yes. Good idea, me.

And now for something completely different... I will keep watching Alias for now, because there's an interesting new dynamic! Vaughn and Sydney's dad met for the first time, and whoo, very sparky. In that antagonistic way. Not slashy. Although...

So as of now, my favorite Alias character is without a doubt Jack Bristow. I have no idea who plays him, but whoever does is doing a pretty good job. He manages to be a cold, emotionless secret agent, a loving father, an uneasy subordinate, and a nervous mole all at the same time. It's quite nifty. I like Sloane a lot too right now... can see a great deal of potential for him. I do like Vaughn, but the writers aren't doing very much interesting with him. He's not all that conflicted, not even about Sydney. Obviously, he likes Sydney and considers her very valuable, and he isn't afraid to express that at all, as opposed to Jack, who seems to switch from Sydney's superior in SD-6 to her father to an old hand at spying in a blink of an eye. *sigh* If Sydney were just a little like Jack, the show would be so kickass.

I think I definitely have a thing for ambiguous characters with a cold streak in them... Jack Bristow, Wesley, Spike, etc. And very cool girl characters. Like Cordy used to be. I miss old Cordy so much.

Well. Too much procrastination for me. More writing shall commence tomorrow, when I move all my thesis stuff into the boy's room. I hate my laptop, which (hopefully) is currently being gutted by Toshiba.

Procrastination

Sat, Mar. 1st, 2003 04:35 pm
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Technically I'm supposed to start my thesis today. One ten page introduction to go! Except I just don't want to start it, even though I could probably write this part in my sleep. Okay. I'm not going to think of this as the start of a very large thesis. I will just pretend that this is a ten page paper on the history of shoujo manga that I have to turn in on Monday. Yes. Right then... go me.

So basically the only thing I've been up to lately is watching TV. It's quite sad, really. I was wondering, what did I do before? And generally I think I just tend to sit around all day, reading for school, reading for fun, and of course, wasting a lot of time on the internet. I live a sad, stationary life. The boy and I finally finished watching Neon Genesis Evangelion, which would be maybe the 8th time I've watched it and the first time for him. I'm not sure what he thinks. He's probably too weirded out right now from the final few episodes to really think anything. So now I want to watch End of Evangelion. And IMO, Evangelion is still the best thing that's ever aired on TV. Ever. This includes all of Joss' shows. Combined, maybe. It does great things playing with anime stereotypes, coupled with a really cool idea, a complete revamping of the mecha genre, along with an extremely deep look into the characters' psyches. Ever. Hee. I'm not biased at all. But Evangelion tends to be a little mind-blowing, so then we switched to watching a little more Alias.

I'm not sure I can watch Alias now. *sigh* And I was all excited about finding a new show, especially now that it's official that Buffy's ending and there's no Faith spinoff. I hope there's some sort of spinoff or something. Anyway, as long as Joss has a show on air, I will be watching it. The problem with Alias is that it's got great action sequences and really fun spy stuff, but the characters are almost all stupid. It's quite frustrating. Like Sydney. She's supposed to be someone who's been working for SD-6 for almost 7 years, and she still can't figure out how to control her own emotions in case people suspect her of something? The thing that probably annoyed me most was in this one episode, when a mistake she's made ends up killing a few CIA agents, she just sits there, gawking at the accident even while her SD-6 partner keeps asking her to move. I mean, I understand that she feels absolutely awful about it, but I just thought it'd be more effective to show her breaking down sometime more safe instead of making her just look kind of careless. And she keeps confronting her dad with stuff she's learned from the CIA in SD-6, where oh, of course they're not being monitored or anything. Grrr.

Then there's just all the drama going on with her friends, which I also think is kind of silly. I love the spy stuff, but the drama with the friends just feels contrived and not emotionally true at all. Kind of like Ally McBeal. And I can't quite figure out why they show them anyhow, when their problems, compared to Sydney's life, really doesn't make for riveting TV watching. On to the characters now. I think I would like Sydney if she just stopped doing all those stupid emotional things that could potentially compromise her position in SD-6 or her mission or something. I don't particularly mind when she's being stubborn and bone-headed and compromising the mission, because that seems to be part of her personality and part of what makes her a good spy as well. It seems to be more of her mode of operation, very gung-ho. But when she gets all emotional, it just turns annoying, like the writers have decided that some piece of information must affect Sydney emotionally. But of course she can't show it in a normal manner, she has to let it break out in the worst time possible. Like in SD-6. Or in the middle of a mission. I didn't mind at all when she was weepy because her dad didn't show for a dinner date, because that was completely outside of work. I think all of her friends are silly right now, and Will is definitely going to get himself killed. And he's just annoying. Francie is also annoying. It's only the sixth episode, and they're already playing the whole she mistakes her boyfriend doing something secret as having an affair and can't be bothered to communicate. Grrr. As I said, Ally McBeal. The SD-6 and CIA people are much better though. Sloane is nicely matter-of-fact, get-the-job-done, except in a way that you know will turn out being extremely chilling later. I adore Vaughn. Vaughn is great. Vaughn gets to slap Sydney down when she's being stupid. And Vaughn is funny. I also like Sydney's dad a lot. For all the random emotional punches that she keeps giving him, he still can show he loves her somehow, yet can't get too close to her. Dixon is functional. The Q guy is dorky, but might get annoying later. So maybe I will keep watching for the plot twists and hope that some of the random character stupidity that spawns out of emotion will be fixed soon.

After being completely frustrated with Alias, I made the boy watch Selfless with me. And it is still an awesome episode. I love how Buffy's entire "I am the law" speech has completely foreshadowed what she's doing right now. Personally, I think her speechifying, general in charge attitude is going to end very badly for her. She's Buffy, and she's acting like Giles from the Gift. What I love about Buffy is that, even though it's set on a Hellmouth with demons running amok, somehow the show can always pull me in and make me feel all the emotions I should be, instead of generally making me feel slightly manipulated, like Alias does right now.

Alias

Sat, Feb. 22nd, 2003 01:37 pm
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I think I've found a new TV show! Well, it's not exactly new... I've been meaning to watch it for a while, just never got around to it. I love the Princeton network. So I'm going to watch Alias now, I think. It seems like a nice, fun show. Not as well-written as Buffy, most likely, but at least it'll be fun. And Sydney kicks ass.

So the pilot was pretty cool. That's all I've seen so far, but it had nifty spy tricks, death of kind of beloved characters, and enough plot twists in an hour to make my head spin. Poor Danny =(.

Although I had one major quibble with it. They messed up Taiwan! For the first time in forever, Taiwan (!!) was mentioned in a TV show! Yay! My island is in pop culture! *jigs* But when they showed the big street shots of Taiwan, it wasn't Taiwan at all! It was Hong Kong! I can tell. I watched the scenes some 20 times to make sure. First, all the neon signs stretching across the street is definitely a Kowloon thing. Second, they had a shot of Maxim's Restaurant, which is definitely a Hong Kong thing. So there. Take that Alias people. You thought you'd get away with it? And not only that, but all the Chinese actors they hired were speaking Cantonese! Well, I'm not so sure about this one. It sounded a lot like Cantonese to me, and I'm pretty sure I can tell the difference between Cantonese and Taiwanese. I guess it could have been Taiwanese, but that just wouldn't have made that much sense. Mandarin is the official government language of Taiwan. *sigh* But then, the really weird thing was, the shots of Sydney in the streets really looked like Taiwan streets. The cars were driving on the right side of the road (as opposed to Hong Kong, which still does things the British way), and all the cars had Taiwan lisence plates. I'm so confused.

So then I got into a discussion with the boy as to why Hollywood can't seem to tell the difference between Mandarin and Cantonese. Goodness. You'd think they'd try to get a language right, especially one spoken by so many people. At least Buffy managed to figure this out, thank you Joss. Even though Firefly the ship speaks Cantonese and all the characters speak Mandarin. *sigh*. And knowing one does not mean knowing another. Cantonese is very closely related to Mandarin, but it's still a lot more different that, say, British English vs. American English. People also don't seem to know that written down, Cantonese and the other Chinese dialects are basically Mandarin, although they do have some words that are different. It's mostly the pronunciation that's completely different. And people in Taiwan speak Mandarin and Taiwanese. And Taiwanese is not Cantonese, even though they're both southern Chinese dialects. And the potential from Shanghai? Who was speaking Cantonese? She sounded like she was from Hong Kong. And people from Shanghai usually speak Shanghainese. Well. I guess I will just be happy that they even mentioned Taiwan, even though they got it totally wrong. It didn't look like Taiwan at all!

And at least Alias didn't do the same horrible thing Spy Game did. Spy Game moved an entire province and placed it on the coast of China. My parents thought it was a very stupid movie. I think it's kind of silly that a major Hollywood movie couldn't even bother to check their geography.
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