My Long Term Relationship With Pain

I remember the first time I hated my body. I was maybe nine years old in the second grade, and it was the height of Jenny Craig and the “before and after” picture method of advertising. I can still remember thinking: “someday I want to be an after picture.” I was a chubby kid but, seriously, why was that bad? From the vantage point of a couple decades later, I’m angry. I remember, around the same time period, first trying to talk to a doctor about my pain. We moved, I talked to other doctors, and they always told me to take a shower and stand under the hot water for awhile and I’d feel better. I wish I had kept track of how many times I was taught to ignore what my body was telling me. When I went to the doctor, they told me to lose weight and I’d talk about how difficult it was. I felt embarrassed, stupid, and frustrated that I couldn’t “stick with it” the way the doctors encouraged. Clearly I was depressed, and instead of treating me, they assigned blame to the fact that my mother was dying. It’s not that they were ...

Shabcast 22ish

Another week, another Shabcast. 

Sadly, I haven't been able to manufacture an actual brand-new episode recently, so I've put together a compilation of some of the more interesting bits of previous Shabcasts which had to be cut for one reason or another.  But it does mean that you get more guests for your money.  This episode features myself in conversation with Daniel, Jane, Josh and Elliot.  If it's the most disjointed Shabcast ever, it's also the second-most populous after the Christmas episode. 

Enjoy here

Comics Reviews (July 27th, 2016)

Oof. Rough week. From worst to best of it.

Mechanism #1

Another dud for my "Image #1s" policy. The most immediately obvious problem is an art style that seems to be traced from 3D rendering software, giving all the characters a frustrating woodenness. Two big sci-fi concepts in "a world that's been invaded by lizard people" and "a world with intelligent robots" are both undersold. The only female character gets fridged. The premise isn't clear by the end. Generally a trainwreck.

Batgirl #1

An undercooked "the hero tours Asia" concept that's high on western stereotypes, and that sets up "next month a new location" instead of trying to build on any of the ideas it sets up. Of course the Burnside supporting cast is immediately jettisoned in favor of a bespoke childhood friend of Barbara's. And you've got to raise an eyebrow at the choice of the artist of the Batgirl "Joker variat" cover for the book - not that I particularly blame him for taking a commission DC never should have given, but man, exact wrong book to put him on. Generally speaking this isn't particularly grating in its badness, but it's not ...

Myriad Universes: Divided Light Part 1: Companionship

This is far and away among the weirder story arcs in the DC Star Trek: The Next Generation series. And given this is a comic book line that had the Enterprise literally meet Santa Claus in 1987, that goes a way towards saying something. And yet Divided Light is *just* audacious and weird enough to work: Michael Jan Friedman's signature deft hand at writing the crew and his knack for having his stories' main themes and motifs reoccur on multiple levels makes this one memorable for all the right reasons instead of all the wrong ones. Perhaps most importantly for our purposes, it marks the beginning of a critical and formative time when the spin-off media, particularly the comic books, steered the course of Star Trek: The Next Generation and Star Trek: Deep Space Nine.
 
Lwaxana Troi is aboard, and is regaling her daughter with stories of her recent tryst with Constable Odo on Deep Space 9. Deanna seems a bit unconvinced that Odo is quite as malleable and impressionable as Lawxana seems to think he is, but as far as Lwxana is concerned Odo is her dream man. But Lwaxana isn't aboard the Enterprise solely for ...

Lost Exegesis (Solitary) -- Part 2

In the first part of our Exegesis of Solitary, we explored the mirror-twinning of Sayid and Danielle, the meaning of do-overs or “mulligans” in golf, and the principle that “names are important” when it comes to decoding LOST in our discussion of Nadia.  We now enter the second part of theses essays, an Intermission where we dive deep into the intertextuality of the show.

 

Intermission

Jean-Jacques Rousseau

With the introduction of Danielle Rousseau, we get our second invocation (after John Locke) to another Enlightenment-era philosopher.  Jean-Jacques Rousseau (1712 – 1778) was born in Geneva, Switzerland, and his mother died nine days later due to complications from the childbirth.  His personal life was, frankly, a mess.  With his semi-literate seamstress, Thérèse Levasseur, he sired five children, all of whom were deposited at a foundling hospital soon after birth, which Rousseau later regretted.  His early writings on music were published in an early Encyclopedia, and he even invented a new system of musical notation based on numbers, but those works were never considered very important.  He alienated every colleague he ever worked with, from Diderot to Hume, and his antagonistic writings against religion forced him ...

A Brief Treatise on the Rules of Thrones 4.09: The Watchers on the Wall

At last, Jon Snow's four-season long constipation lets up.

State of Play

The choir goes off. The board is laid out thusly.

Direwolves of the Wall: Jon Snow
Archers of the Wall: Samwell Tarly
Flowers of the Wall: Gilly
Bows of the Wall: Ygritte
Paws of the Wall: Tormund Giantsbane

King’s Landing, Moat Cailin, Winterfell, Braavos, and Meereen are abandoned.

The episode is in one part running forty-seven minutes and set at the Wall; it is divided into sections. The first section is four minutes long; the opening image is of torches atop the wall. The second section is two minutes long; the transition is by image, from an owl to the warg controlling it. The third is fifteen minutes long; the transition is by image, from the fires at Tormund and Ygritte’s camp to the candle by which Samwell is reading. The fourth is two minutes long; the transition is by hard cut, from Jon to Ygritte. The fifth is four minutes long; the transition is by hard cut, from a random guy dying to a giant on a mammoth. The fifth is one minute long; the transition is by hard cut, from Janos Slynt and Gilly staring ...

Salty Parabolas, Summer Jobs, and Steven Moffat

In what is as close to a hot take as Oi! Spaceman is ever likely to get, this week we actually covered a still-in-theaters film, rather than a sixty-five year old piece of film noir history. Shana was still out of town (but she'll be back next week), so I was joined by friend of the show Jessica from The Web of Queer (which is a show more people should know about, so go click that link) to discuss the Paul Feig re-imagining of Ghostbusters. The film is largely just a pleasing bit of comedy and eye candy, so Jessica and I mostly just had a fun conversation about the things the film does regarding representation of women, queer characters, and queer characters who happen to be women. Also, I make a firm anti-Nazi stance and swoon over Kate McKinnon. 

Over on They Must Be Destroyed on Sight, we're still doing sex comedies for another couple of weeks. This time we looked at one of the worst films of the genre, Summer Job (1989) and Bikini Drive-In (1995), which is one of Lee's favorites. I also happened to do a bit of research on ...

Fun With Dan and Jane (A Casual Chat About Steven Moffat)

I was supposed to write an essay for you guys this week, hypothetically on de-normalizing the nuclear family, but I sort of fell into the RNC k-hole for a couple of days and found myself much less productive while staring into the gaping maw of that Nuremberg Rally/reality show blend as put on by some third-rate high school AV Club. That's the official version I'm presenting to the public, at least. 

Anyway, Shana was out of town this week so I didn't get the chance to record anything with her, but when Jane co-hosted a couple of weeks back on The Time Monster, she and I had a couple of hours of chatting casually after the end of the official recording. Because I have a Nixon-like paranoia about keeping all my interpersonal conversations on public record, I had a tape, and with her permission (and some edits) I've decided to share that with you this week. 

Please note, neither of us prepared ahead of time to discuss these topics and so we both feel this doesn't quite get at the core of some issues, but I think Jane's going to come ...

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