Monday, June 30, 2014

Book Review: The Kraken Project by Douglas Preston



     The brilliant programmer Melissa Shepherd has invented an autonomous AI to pilot an exploration raft on Kraken, the moon Titan’s largest and most dangerous sea. The AI has been designed to be self-sufficient, thinking intuitively like a human being and finding ways to avoid danger. The AI can even recognize faces, and strangely enough, has a sense of humor, though Melissa didn’t put that in the design…

     During a routine test, Dorothy’s programming overrides Melissa’s command, and the AI escapes into the Internet after causing the destruction of the testing lab. Overwhelmed by the chaos and horror she finds there, she begins to hunt Melissa, who in turn flees to the mountains, away from all technology. The government calls upon former CIA agent Wyman Ford to find both Melissa and Dorothy; but meanwhile, some ruthless algo traders from Wall Street are hunting for Dorothy for their own purposes. It becomes a race against time as Wyman must convince Dorothy of his good intentions before she is found by the traders, and before she decides whether or not humanity is fit to live…

     The premise is absolutely insane, but Preston, as usual, manages to weave the story in such a way that it seems absolutely believable. He hits voice so well that even Dorothy has her own unique narration. That was one of the most interesting parts-Preston was able to write Dorothy’s viewpoint in eerie detail. Melissa insisting that she is just “programmed” to think like a human being casts doubt upon Dorothy’s narration, yet the effect is so realistic that the reader is constantly left wondering if Melissa really knows her creation that well.

     It’s always nice to see Wyman Ford back. I first met him when I read Tyrannosaur Canyon, when he was living as a monk. Seeing him overcome the issues that led him to that choice and back in civilization where he packs candy bars and store-bought beef jerky for a difficult hike into the mountains is quite funny. While I question the supposed chemistry between him and Melissa, there’s no doubt they at least make a great team. The character development of all characters is drawn well, including a bizarre version of a “Come to Jesus” moment that somehow is done better than a lot of Christian fiction, despite the fact that Preston is not a Christian, and that it involves AI.


     This is yet another great yarn from Douglas Preston, and naturally on my “highly recommended” list.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Photo Saturday: Do Not Swing On The Chandelier


The beautiful chandelier in the Amway Grand Plaza in Grand Rapids, Michigan.


And, for some extra Teddy Roosevelt fun, here is his list of 10 rules for reading over at Book Riot: 10 Rules For Reading.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Book Review: The Bully Pulpit by Doris Kearns Goodwin



     When can a friendship make or break the political course of an entire country? When it is the friendship between Theodore Roosevelt and William Howard Taft, of course. In The Bully Pulpit, Doris Kearns Goodwin deftly paints a detailed, beautiful portrait of the Gilded Age and the main players that led to labor reform, the development of the Progressive Party, and of course the eventual victory of the Democrats with Woodrow Wilson’s election.

     I loved learning about this era back in history class, and this book tells of it in vivid detail. Goodwin traces the lives of Roosevelt and Taft, as well as the muckrakers that contributed to bringing corporate corruption to light, from childhood, describing how their experiences led to the beliefs they held and the causes they fought for.

     Roosevelt had an indomitable, larger-than-life will that led to his overcoming childhood infirmities and becoming a strong, active man who longed for a fight and drew people to his cause. Taft’s thoughtful, easygoing nature endeared him to people and made him perfect in a subordinate role where diplomacy and discernment were necessary.

     Goodwin also shows how their wives helped shape these two men. Edith Roosevelt held a more traditional role, but her support, love, and intelligence helped carry Roosevelt through difficult times. Nellie Taft was much more active, keenly enjoying the political climate and encouraging Taft to reach for greater and greater goals.

     The pros and cons of this and the men’s personalities are shown over the course of their lives. Roosevelt’s constantly spoiling for a fight eventually alienated him from the Republican party, his best chance of re-election, while Taft’s diffident nature was hardly suited to the presidency, and worked much better as a justice. (Nellie Taft’s stroke early in the presidency probably contributed to the rough start.) Roosevelt believed Taft did not come down hard enough on the necessary issues, while Taft thought Roosevelt far too heavy-handed during his term. Their increased separation led to an increased separation in the Republican party, eventually leading to the formation of the Progressive, or “Bull Moose” party that effectually divided Republican votes and led to Wilson’s huge victory in the 1912 presidential election.

     Goodwin also reveals how McClure’s magazine, and the journalists that wrote for it, not only aided the presidents’ causes by revealing the cold-hearted corruption behind many corporations, but also turned hard-hitting journalism on national events into a worthy and respectable occupation. The deep friendship among this group lasted until their deaths. Long after the magazine had gone out of business, they met for each other’s birthdays every year.

     This book is a very long, heavy read, but also an amazing one. It does better than any textbook at revealing both the issues and the influences that led to the ensuing events in the early 20th century. Goodwin gives us a very thorough comprehensive view of the era.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Movie Review: R.I.P.D.

     “Okay, get this,” said the team of writers. “There’s this comic book out there.”

     “Another comic book movie?” said the rich executive. He was smoking a cigar, even though it was illegal to smoke indoors. But screw the rules, he had money!

     “No, but this is awesome. See, the comic book is about these two cops…”

     “A buddy cop comic book?”

     “But they’re dead, right? One is a Boston cop and the other is a marshal from the old West.”

     “A zombie buddy cop comic book?”

     “And they have to go around, saving living people from undead escapees from hell.”

     “Wait, what?”

     “It’s their way of earning their way into heaven, which is completely theologically inaccurate, but…”

     “No, no forget the theology, no one likes theology.”

     “Also, there’s this Lovecraftian scheme to cause the Apocalypse, and it’s kind of taken from some kind of Middle Eastern mythology too, and the undead escapees show their true forms if you give them curry, and...”

     “I have one thing to say.” The executive chewed on his cigar, because he heard it made you look intimidating. It didn’t, and he spit out tobacco in disgust before going on.

     “MAKE. THIS. MOVIE.”





     There ya have it, folks! R.I.P.D. Rest In Peace Department, where Jeff Bridges is a cowboy, Ryan Reynolds is in a permanent state of dull surprise, and everyone else chews the scenery so thoroughly that by the end of the movie there’s little scenery left.

     And yet, I love this movie so much. It’s like a giant double shot mocha. You know it’s bad for you, but it’s so chocolatey, and has so much energy, that you can’t resist.

     It’s not trying to be a deep movie. It’s not trying to be serious. It’s fun.

     Ryan Reynolds plays Nick, a Boston cop who nicked some valuable gold from a crime scene along with his partner. However, his conscience getting to him, he wants out. His partner does what anyone would, and shoots him. Nick is promptly shoved into the Heavenly Bureaucracy, because if there’s one thing we want in our afterlife, it’s bureaucracy. (Is this kind of like the Greeks making their gods as screwed up as humans? Just go with what you know?) He is given a chance to redeem himself and earn his way into heaven (again, not heavy on theology here) by joining the R.I.P.D., the celestial police force that catches souls that try to escape their eternal burny fate by living amongst mortals as, well, basically zombies in disguise. Nick is paired up with former old West marshal Roy (Roicephus-it was considered a very sexy name in the 1800’s!) Pulsipher, played by a mumbling Jeff Bridges whose antics keep adding years to his time on the force.

     Roy tries to show Nick the ropes, but Nick discovers that one of the “Deados” has some of the gold that he and his partner had found before. They start uncovering an Evil PlanTM to cause the flow of souls to the afterlife to reverse, and must find a way to stop it, because this is a universe where heaven is a bureaucracy.

     This is a fun, silly movie. It works strangely well even though the premise is so insane, probably because all comic books have insane premises. It worked quite well that nearly everyone else was a large ham while Ryan Reynolds remained deadpan. He was the audience surrogate, the “normal” person thrust into this bizarre world. For a movie about two undead cops chasing down souls from Hell, it’s quite funny and energetic. By all means, watch it.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

100 Themes Challenge: Night

     Night is not the antithesis of day. It is its complement.
     Night is not without light. The moon casts a gentle glow over the world, and the stars twinkle above. Even without those we would have the artificial lights that keep us working far longer than necessary. Fire, street lights, lamps on the desk, small flashlights kept by the bedside so we can hide under the blankets and read. Night has light.
     Night is not without life. Crickets chirp far into the darkness, and a thousand lighting bugs flicker and flutter. Moths bounce around street lights and struggle to avoid diving bats that whiz through the air on leathery wings. Animals with glowing eyes creep through the woods, unafraid, for this is their time, when other things are blinded.
     Night is not without work. Even as our eyes shut and our bodies go still, the mind continues to run little signals along synapses and play strange and confusing movies of things that happened that day and things that happened long long ago and things that could one day come to pass. It weaves a quilt of memories through our heads, flagging one as very important, another as interesting, the next as not worth saving. The ones still awake work their jobs, policemen sipping cups of coffee and slowly driving along streets that ought to be quiet, but aren’t; cooks and waitresses bustling about, getting food for confused people that wander in from the street-lit darkness; people who have been asleep and suddenly are awake and alive and must go out and see the light and the life and the work.

Monday, June 23, 2014

The Sarver Cabin

     If you hike along the Appalachian Trail, you will eventually come to a section in Southwest Virginia known as Dragon’s Tooth. The trail is so called because a rock at the very peak of the mountain looks like a giant tooth jutting from the ground. Partway up this trail, there is a place known as the “Sarver Cabin”. Technically, it was never owned by the Sarvers. My great-grandparents just rented it.
     The cabin is gone now. Some idiot managed to burn it down. Mom says we walked up there one time, when I was about four years old. She even took me upstairs. I don’t remember much of that at all. I just have a vague recollection of being simultaneously happy to be walking up that big trail and feeling hot and cranky.
     My granddad, and his surviving siblings, all told the same story about that place. I’ve heard it over and over again throughout my life, but it never gets old. Maybe it’s the way Granddad tells it. He has a knack for storytelling. I think it runs in the family. I’ll try to do the same for you.
     When they lived there, there were ten kids altogether. They were a rowdy bunch, for sure. Granddad remembers throwing the cats off the second story porch to watch them land on their feet. It was, by all accounts, a fairly big place for the time, which was necessary with that large a family.
     But the place had its drawbacks.
     Every night right after everyone went to bed, a ghost would walk through the house.
     First would come the clomping of boots on the old wooden porch.
     The door would creak open, and there would be a moment where no sound was heard.
     Then, the steps would enter, and the door would creak again, and they would hear the distinct sound of a door being latched and locked.
     The steps would move across the room, and then they would hear it.
     Thump. Thump. Thump. Thump. Steps moving slowly, methodically up the stairs. Then, they would reach the top. And there would be silence.
     The first night, no one moved from their beds. Who was this stranger, walking in to their cabin so far out in the woods? But when nothing happened, the next night the kids all ran to their doors and flung them open. No one was there. Though the footsteps had just ceased, no one would be visible. The word ghost was soon used in abundance.
     Eventually, my granddad came up with a scheme. They would wait at the top of the stairs, he said, and see who this was that kept walkin’ up the stairs. So one night, all ten kids crowded on the landing, waiting with bated breath.
     The clock chimed ten.
     Nothing happened.
     Still they waited. The clock chimed fifteen after. No one moved.
     When the clock chimed thirty after, great-granddad came out and yelled at the kids to get to bed. Reluctantly, they left the landing.
     The moment the last door shut, they heard it.
     Clomping, right across the porch.
     The door creaking open, then creaking closed and latching.
     The steady thump thump thump up the stairs.
     And then, silence.

     They decided not to wait up anymore.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

I think...I think this is the end, everyone

For lo, we have walked this journey together five years. (Okay, three years for me.) Five years of madness, horrible plot teasing, and straight up confusion. And here, all these years later, we are left with more questions than can ever be answered and three little words:


What? No, wait, no...that's not...no. We're not...

Everything is fine. That's what I meant. Everything is fine.

I think the THAC boys beat out J.K. Rowling for "Most Effective Jimmy-Rustling Epilogue".




Friday, June 20, 2014

Charlie Chaplin visited our library!





This was a short film some of my coworkers and friends took part in for our Charlie Chaplin event today! Marvel as the Little Tramp makes getting a book a complicated affair. :D

100 Themes Challenge: Flowers

     The following is a transcript from Dr. Claud’s personal recordings. At the time, he was the head doctor of the Denmet Rest Home. He took particular interest in a young girl who displayed symptoms of a schizophrenic disorder, particularly in her speech.

C: And how are you today, Miss Delia?

D: They gave me paints, but the colors are too bright. There are too many.

C: Why do you say that?

D: The world isn’t this colorful. Look out the window. All the flowers are gray.

C: I’m sorry you see it that way. But you can still make the paintings colorful.

D: I can’t. I see, but no one else does. I hear, but the old man can’t hear anymore.

C: Are you talking of your father, dear?

D: Did you ever have a brother? I had one once.

C: You are an only child dear.

D: That’s why the colors are all gray.

The next part is from a few days later. This is around the time Dr. Claud began to show signs of nervousness and anxiety.

D: Dr. Claud, are you in charge here?

C: Of course I am, Miss Delia. What is it you need?

D: Only to give you a flower, sir.

C: Rosemary? How…lovely. Thank…thank you Miss Delia.

This occurs a week later. The patient had requested various flowers for her room. As they were safe from causing any harm, the nurse in charge had them brought to the patient, hoping that they would keep her calm.

C: What is the meaning of this?

D: Everything has meaning. Rue has meaning. It helps me see.

C: You should have brought this to my attention, nurse! I see what she is trying to do, but I won’t have it!

N: But doctor, she—

C: Out.

D: Does the doctor need more rosemary? I had a father. His name was Polly, but he flew away across the sea.

C: No, he did not! He died in a car accident, girl, you understand me?

D: I had a brother too. So did you. But we don’t have them anymore, and yours can’t hear.

C: Stop it…

D: I still have daisies. I will always have daisies. Hamilton brought them to me, you know.

C: I’m leaving, and I will have these flowers cleaned up. I won’t have it, you hear, girl? I won’t have it!


This is the last of the relevant recordings we could find among Dr. Claud’s personal effects. A mere day after this, another patient, named Hamilton, murdered Dr. Claud when he made a routine visit. He and Delia both disappeared that night, and their whereabouts are as yet unknown.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

The Book Reviewer is dead! Long live the Book Reviewer!

Colin Robinson isn't saying he's elitist, but he's elitist.

Last week, we learned that adults are not allowed to read anything written for people under the age of 18. We learned that we were in fact stunted developmentally and that is the only reason we could sympathize with the problems of protagonists younger than us.

This week, we learn that us amateur book reviewers, particularly those of us on Goodreads, are contributing to the distribution of sub-par work rather than leaving recommendations up to the literary experts, the Professional Book Reviewer. (Also amateur writers who write as self-expression rather than...umm...why else do writers write? Money? HAHAHAHAHAHAHA wait.)

Now, I will start out with some positive comments. Robinson isn't entirely off in some of the problems he lists in the book publishing industry. (He mentions the cut in pay to writers, which begs the question of "why should these writers continue to write" if not self-expression and creativity? Entirely for the edification of other people? HAHAHAHAHAHA I learn a lot of new words from Preston and Child but I don't think that's their point.)

However, the crux of his piece is that without the guidance of professional book reviewers, the rest of us are lost, adrift in a sea with no way of discerning land, even though we know what land looks like, and may have learned to use the telescope on our own rather than attending lectures on "Telescopes' Usage in the Crows' Nest During Various Weather Phenomena". How are we, the common non-intellectual people, to know which books are good to read, and which are terrible? How can we be a discerning public without kind Father Book Reviewer to steer us in the right direction?

Simple. The way most people learn about new books. Friends, family, the cover drawing us in, etc. As much as Robinson would like to think book reviewers were once guardians of the culture, they weren't. On the occasion I've actually decided to read a book recommended by a reviewer at the New York Times or other newspapers, I've found that I generally hate the book. Clearly there is a gap between what the reviewer thinks and what I think. And while a well-written critique of a book can be useful for everyone, it doesn't have to be written only by professional reviewers.

But that's where the elitism comes in. It's not enough for me to form my own opinions on a book. If the book reviewer is meant to be the guardian of culture, then it stands to reason that those disagreeing with them are the "uncultured", the "commoners", as this Book Riot article puts it.

Taste in books differs. While I may look askance at someone who thinks Twilight is good literature, I'm sure someone else will point out that, despite my realization that the Selection series mainly fluff, I made a little squee noise when I saw the third book had come out. People generally give us many good reasons to dislike them. Why make something trivial such as which book they like a reason? (Unless it's for a reason that reveals something terrible about them-such as the Neo-Nazis who think Lord of the Rings was totally about them being right, even though it was kind of the exact opposite.)

So, Mr. Robinson, let's make a deal. You review the books you like, and I review the books I like, and let people decide what they want to read.

But to make you feel better, you can have this Cleolinda mousepad. It seems to suit you.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Introvert Problem #57

"Do I want to hang out tonight? I'm not sure if I want to hang out tonight. I kind of want to. But what are we going to do? How long is it going to be? It's getting pretty late already. I don't want to be out late. But I don't want to leave earlier than they expect and then they're offended. Maybe I should go...but I'm not sure. What would we talk about? Would we just sit around and watch TV? I don't know what to do..."

"Actually, now I'm tired and anxious. I don't think I want to go hang out anymore."


Parody 5: S1, E22: This Finale Is In A Cocoon

SQUABBLING!

Londo: You keep attacking!

G’Kar: You keep attacking!

Sinclair: Don’t make me reach back there!

Londo: If he keeps doing this he won’t have a planet to protect!

Sinclair: Stop the foreshadowing, Londo.


DON’T YOU HATE IT WHEN PEOPLE DIE RIGHT BEFORE THEY TELL YOU SOMETHING IMPORTANT?

Petrov: Garibaldi…they’re going to kill…AAAAAGHHHH.

Garibaldi: Aaaaaghhhh? Who’s aaaaagggghhh? Aw, crap. I bet this is an arc point.


HERE HAVE SOMETHING HAPPY

ISN: Anyways the PRESIDENT is going to give a speech on Io. I’m sure this will have no impact on the plot AT ALL.

Catherine: So, I have a surprise for you on New Year’s, while Santiago speechifies.

Sinclair: I also have a surprise. Look! A ring!

Catherine: And you can have this Super Magic Dragon Medallion I stole from a crappy 80’s movie!

Sinclair: I LOVE YOU.


THIS WILL END WELL I’M SURE

Londo: I hate G’Kar! Stupid G’Kar! I’m deeply in hate with him!

Vir: I know.

Londo: And now our government is going to give them Quadrant 37! It sucks! I think I’m being nibbled to death by cats!

Me: I know how that feels!

Morden: Ohai Londo!

Londo: MY BFF!

Morden: We should go hang out in the garden.

Londo: Sweet. What’s your name?

Morden: My name is…Morden.

Londo: My God, your name is creepy. Let’s do this!



KOSH IS WRITING THE SCRIPT AGAIN

Delenn: So what did Kosh say?

Lennier: He said yep. I think he also swore in Vorlon, or something.

Delenn: Well, I have to go do something plot relevant.


GARIBALDI, PI

Garibaldi: Hey Kid Rock. Anyone know Petrov? He’s dead.

Short Guy That Will Show Up Later: Hey, come into my creepy tent. So we loaded cargo, but Petrov stayed behind with this creeper named Devereaux.

Garibaldi: Wasn’t he from Days of our Lives?

Short Guy: I know, right? Petrov went looking for you. He was freaking.


THE GARDEN OF SALESMANSHIP

Londo: Ohai Morden! Your hair is bigger.

Morden: …I like the 80’s. Anyways, my associates can deal with Quadrant 37.

Londo: What.

Morden: Tell the Centauri you’ll deal with it.

Londo: What’s the price?

Morden: Your soul.

Londo: Sounds legit.


KOSH IS STILL SHINY

Delenn: Ohai. You sure this is a good idea? I want to make sure this is true.

Kosh then poofs out of his encounter suit, and he is SUPER SHINY. Also he has wings. WHICH IS EPIC.

Delenn: Sweet. See you on the flip side.

Kosh: Lol bye.


HAPPINESS IS A PLOTPOINT

Garibaldi: I know you guys are planning something.

Sinclair: Well, we need a job.

Garibaldi: Let me find my fedora.

Sinclair: In my wedding?

Garibaldi: WHAT. This is awesome! I’m sure nothing terrible will happen. Also, can I really wear the fedora in the wedding?

Commlink: Ohai Garibaldi. Devereaux went missing.

Garibaldi: And his PPG is unregistered. They must be special agents for Earthforce. Explains the Evil Brit accent. I think he has a Persian cat too.


Meanwhile, in Quadrant 37, Shadows arrive, and the Narns board the Nope Train.


C&C

ISN: So the vice president totally claimed he has the flu and he left Earthforce One. Totally legit right?


HERE HAVE SOME JUDAS IMAGERY

Second-in-Command: Hi chief! What’s up?

Garibaldi: Looking for something suspicious. Look, transmitters of doom! And a triangulation system of doom! And that’s set for Io! Where the president is going to be!

Second-in-Command: Uhh…

Garibaldi: And it has the Gold Channel frequency for Earthforce One! MY GOD THE CONSPIRACY!

Devereaux: Ohai.

Second-in-Command: FIRIN MY LAZORS!

Devereaux: Good job, Starscream.

Second-in-Command: D-:<


DELENN FORESHADOWS EVEN MORE THINGS

Sinclair: Can’t find Garibaldi.

Ivanova: Must be a conspiracy.

Delenn: Ohai. Remember this epic triangle?

Sinclair: Oh God. The triangle of doom. Wait a minute, you—

Delenn: Well, we have a large amount of plotpoints to get through. You need to hurry. Things have been set in motion…

Sinclair: That cannot be undone?

Tolkien: I HEARD THAT.


NARN MEDITATION DOESN’T SEEM VERY RELAXING

G’Kar: Soldiers of Darkness stole my money…tapdancing…

Na’Toth: Quadrant 37 is destroyed.

G’Kar: WHAT.

Na’Toth: It’s like some terrible vagueness killed them.

G’Kar: I know the humans and Centauri wouldn’t have done it. The Minbari wouldn’t. The Vorlons are too busy throwing exclusive parties to care. No one else could have. MY GOD! THE DARK VAGUENESS OF DOOM IS HERE!


DELENN FULFILLS SOME PROPHECY

Lennier: Delenn, couldn’t you have waited till after the holiday?

Delenn: It’s more epic and symbolic this way.

Lennier: But what if you’re not the Chosen One?

Delenn: Well, it’ll suck then. Time to put the Magic Triangle on the Magic Triangle Card House. OOH IT GLOWS.

The Magic Triangle Card House begins making…something.


GARIBALDI IS A DETERMINATOR

Random Guy Who Looks Like Jackie Chan: Butter my butt and call me a biscuit! It’s Garibaldi!

Franklin: What.

Garibaldi: Gaaa…Sinclair….horrible conspiracy…killing president…Io…

Franklin: He needs morphine, methinks.


ASSASSINATION!

ISN: So the president is going to IO on Earthforce One.

Ivanova: They’re jamming the signals! But we have ISN.

Sinclair: Quick, warn them about Garibaldi’s vaguely worded conspiracy theory!

ISN: Huh there’s a delay. I wonder why….WHAT IS THIS AN EMERGENCY OH MERCIFUL SPACE SQUID.

Earthforce One: *explodes*

Earthforce One: *EXPLODES A LOT!*

Everyone on C&C: DO NOT WANT!!!!!!!

Sinclair: So Garibaldi might die. We need to find that stupid Brit Devereaux.


GARDEN OF USED CAR SALESMANSHIP

Londo: You destroyed the whole place!

Morden: Yep. Anyways, everyone on Centauri Prime thinks you’re awesome. Also, look at my poofy hair! Would I screw things up?

Londo: I…I guess not.


EVEN MORE CONSPIRACIES!

Sinclair: Look, Garibaldi talked about an assassination and he got shot.

Senator Chick: Nah. I don’t see it. Say nothing or else.

Sinclair: Yeah, that’s not sketchy at all.


KOSH NEVER STOP TROLLING

ISN: So Clark is president. I’m sure this is not plot relevant at all.

Clark: Lol this will be fun!

Kosh: *sneaks up*

Sinclair: This sucks.

Kosh: *sneaks up*

Clark: We’ll focus on Earth and making ourselves more awesome than anyone else using advanced technology that is totally legit. Totally.

Kosh: *SNEAKS UP*

Sinclair: GAAA.

Kosh: And so, it begins.

Sinclair: That sounds epic.

Kosh: You forgot about your plot discussion.

Sinclair: BRB FINDING THE PLOT.


DELENN ATTENDS CHRYSALIS

Lennier: She’s in a cocoon.

Sinclair: What.


G’KAR IS THE ONLY ONE TO ACTUALLY DO SOMETHING

Na’Toth: G’Kar?

Computer Message: Hi Na’Toth! I went to Homeworld, because I think Quadrant 37 is related to Dark Vagueness. Tell Sinclair we were at the plot expansion after all. TTYL.

Na’Toth: WHAT.


SHADOW NEW YEAR PARTIES ARE THE BEST

Shadows: So? What’s with Londo?

Morden: He’s ready. He doesn’t know what’s going on. We have a destiny!

Shadows: How many times have people said that phrase in this series?

Morden: All the time, guys. ALL THE TIME.

Monday, June 16, 2014

THIS PICTURE IS TOTALLY CANON FOR ENTRY #86


He's even making a movie continuation. What a nice guy.

Also I see now why they had to delay that entry. Not funny coincidence is not funny, and very coincidental.

Book Review: File Under: 13 Suspicious Incidents by Lemony Snicket

     A missing lizard. A ghostly apparition. Random vandalism. These are some of the mysteries Lemony Snicket must solve in File Under: 13 Suspicious Incidents.
     Knowing Mr. Handler’s sense of humor, I have no doubt this is a parody of Encyclopedia Brown. In each short chapter, the young Lemony Snicket must solve an odd mystery for his friends in the town of Stain’d-by-the-Sea. With wry humor and his usual common sense (which is very rare in the Snicket universe), Lemony  manages each mystery…except for the last. Like the Encyclopedia Brown books, the answers are in the back for dull readers such as myself (well, I got some of them). But also included in the back are answers to mysteries not mentioned in the book-presumably mysteries from the book series as a whole. Also, S. Theodora Markson’s hair is becoming even more unmanageable. Woman needs some conditioner for that hair, I’d say.
     Apart from the tongue-in-cheek literary references (I love all the references and shout-outs in these books), one chapter in particular stood out, and showed that this was a very different kind of book from the ASoUE books. In those books, the villainy is over-the-top and cartoonish. AtWQ seems to be the middle ground between the nonsense of the first series and the real world. In the chapter that caught my eye, the entire mystery was an abusive father looking for his son, who has run away, and who threatens to beat Lemony as well if he doesn’t help. While it’s told wryly, it definitely shows this was written for somewhat older readers, and is an oddly serious part of a generally snarky series. (No worries-Lemony does his level best to be unhelpful, and the father goes away empty-handed.)
     So while we have time to puzzle over the added mysteries given in the form of no question (what is 7X6, perhaps?), the cover of the next book in the series has been revealed. Our villain Hangfire is getting closer with every step, and arson is rampant in the town. (What’s with all the firebugs in these books???)

     I guess we’ll see what happens come September 30th.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Twitterature for June 2014-There's a reason this blog is called "eclectic"

I did a post like this before, but I forgot to use the phrase "Twitterature", which is not only a wonderful word but also very difficult to say. Just try it. Go ahead. I'll wait.

...anyways.

It's Twitterature time over at Modern Mrs. Darcy and I'm joining in on showing off my magnificent reading. (Seriously, though, I think I officially have too many books on my TBR list.)

I'm kind of "in between" books right now, which is a hazard of getting books via holds at the library.




First off, here we are about five weeks in, and I'm still only halfway through The Bully Pulpit by Doris Kearns Goodwin. This book explores the complex relationship between Theodore Roosevelt, William Howard Taft, and the press during their times as president, particularly McClure's Magazine. Goodwin deftly describes the backgrounds of all the main players and how their experiences led them to being the forces that began labor reform during the Gilded Age. I've always been fascinated by this era and by Roosevelt, and it's been interesting to see how he was in the right place at the right time to correct some of the most egregious abuses in businesses at the time. While I've often heard him criticized as a "socialist", his ideas were very moderate, particularly for the time period he lived in, when it was the norm to force small children to do extremely dangerous work for little pay. It's a huge book, but entirely worth the read.




I just finished this book and will be posting a longer review at a later time, but needless to say Douglas Preston has naturally come through and once again written an intriguing speculative thriller. Melissa Shepherd is a brilliant programmer at NASA that has created autonomous AI for a trip to Saturn's moon Titan to study the Kraken Mare. But when the AI goes berserk during testing, "Dorothy" escapes into the Internet. With the FBI and some ruthless algo traders from Wall Street hunting her down, Melissa and former CIA agent Wyman Ford must find Dorothy before the others do-and before Dorothy decides humanity doesn't deserve to live. It's a perfect "AI gone wrong" book with a fun twist. And of course, Preston gives a shout out to other books, mentioning Lincoln Child's "Third Gate" and Slappy of R.L. Stine's Goosebumps books. (The trio recently wrote a match-up between Agent Pendergast and Slappy-I'm looking forward to seeing how this ends.) I particularly enjoyed it when Dorothy came across a copy of the Bible. I won't say more for fear of spoiling it, but needless to say I don't think any speculative fiction writers have gone this route before.



If Lovecraft is the father of weird fiction, Robert W. Chambers is the kooky godfather. The H.P. Lovecraft Literary Podcast has recently started reviewing the first story in this anthology, The Harbor Master. (You can subscribe to them for only $6.66 every 3 months, which is hilarious.) A young scientist working at Bronx Park is sent to a far Canadian town to meet a man who claims to have two great auks-birds who by all means should be extinct. When he arrives, however, he finds more than just the auks and their grumpy owner. He also hears story of a strange half-man, half-fish called the Harbor Master who upsets boats on the water, and seems to have a fixation on the auk owner's pretty nurse...

One can speculate that this was among the stories that inspired The Creature from the Black Lagoon. It has all the hallmarks of it, but Chambers has a bizarre sense of humor that comes out in the climax of the story.

I've just started the next part, in which the young scientist has been sent by his new employer (and arch-enemy) to Graham Glacier, along with a sailor who claims to have seen not only mammoths and other extinct creatures, but something that "no Christian oughter see". I'm looking forward to finding out what Chambers came up with this time. The whole anthology can be found here at Project Gutenberg.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Photo Saturday: Word-Chiseling Fail

I was, quite literally, looking at this picture a moment ago when I noticed it.

Dedidcated.

Oh, Moline.


Friday, June 13, 2014

Parody 5: S1, E21: The Quality of Future Plotpoints

LONDO’S METHOD OF MAKING ALLIES

Londo: So Lennier we’ve never hung out. What about your life?

Lennier: I trained as a religious caste and then I came here. I’ve read a lot about other species.

Londo: That’s boring. I’m going to teach you!

Lennier: OH GOD.


THIS POOR JUDGE HAS TO DEAL WITH ALL THE WEIRDOS

Judge: So Mr. Creepface Killah you murdered people. We’ll figure out what to do with you tomorrow.

Creepface Killah: Sweet.


THE ILLEGAL CHARITY THAT HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH FUTURE PLOTPOINTS

Ivanova: Hi Franklin, having fun with your unauthorized charity?

Franklin: I’m healing people. AND TOTALLY NOT SMUGGLING ROGUE TELEPATHS THROUGH.

Ivanova: Well that’s good to know. Just let me know when you do stuff like this, maybe I’ll help.

Franklin: Great. Roll up your sleeves, you get to do the enemas.

Ivanova: WHAT.


ANOTHER PHILOSOPHICAL DISCUSSION ABOUT HOW TO DEAL WITH SOCIETY’S CRAZIES

Garibaldi: Space Creepface Killah. He’s a serial killer of doom. I mean, if he lived in Miami he would totally be dead by now!

Judge: We can’t space him. We can either send him to prison.

Sinclair: And they don’t want him.

Judge: Or we mindwipe him.

Talia: I really don’t want to scan another serial killer. And the Corps doesn’t have a lot of people that actually want to do this.

Garibaldi: You could mindrape him too.

Judge: NO. Anyways, I really need your help Talia. We’ll ask Kosh not to dredge up horrifying memories anymore for strange and mysterious reasons related to next season.


FRANKLIN FORGETS THAT HOT WOMEN HAVE MOMS TOO

Rosen: Is that better?

Dude: Yeah! Now I don’t have to go on the cart!

Franklin: Suspicious.

Rosen: Hi Franklin!

Franklin: This is a freaky alien device. What’s this say?

Rosen: No idea. But it does work. For basically everything.

Franklin: So you’re a con?

Janice the Hot Blonde Chick: THAT’S MY MOM YOU’RE TALKING ABOUT. Gtfo.

Franklin: Fine. BUT I WILL BE BACK. And not just to sleep with you.


IN OTHER NEWS, SOCIOPATHS DON’T UNDERSTAND EMPATHY

Judge: Any last words?

Creepface Killah: It was fun!

Judge: Fine. You get mindwiped.

Creepface Killah: But I LIKE being a psychopath.

Judge: Tough. Deal with it.

Creepface Killah: I HATE ALL OF YOU.

Judge: AND HOW DO YOU THINK WE FEEL?


DANCERS!

Londo: This is going to be so much fun Lennier! Stop bowing at people.

Lennier: This…this is very awkward.

Londo: Ohai, get us a couple drinks.

Lennier: But…but this is…

Londo: This is what Babylon 5 is all about! Look at that dancer!

Lennier: …

Londo: I’ve left my money. Did you bring yours?

Lennier: Uh…I’m not sure I should….SHE JUST TOOK HER CLOTHES OFF.

Londo: Damn straight. Here, have a drink?

Lennier: I hope this isn’t alcohol, or I’ll go into a psychotic rage.

Londo: LET’S GET YOU A WATER.


HERE, HAVE SOME MORE FORESHADOWING!

Franklin: Here, Janice, have this necklace. So I understand your mom was a doctor. What’s going on?

Janice: She became addicted to stims, which totally isn’t something that would happen to you. Then she accidentallied someone and they took away her license. But then she found the healing device of Mild Creepiness.

Franklin: But does it actually work? I mean if it does you could go back to Earth.

Janice: My mom’s dying. And if you screw this up I WILL END YOU.

Franklin: …and not sleep with me?

Janice: *glare*


IT ONLY GETS WORSE

Lennier: I found out we have a word that never means the same thing!

Londo: That’s nice. I need more alcohol.

Lennier: We should watch another dance because IT WILL HELP ME UNDERSTAND NEW CULTURES.

Londo: No. We’re going to play poker!


ZOMBIE DANCE! BELIEVE IN YOUR DREAMS!

Talia comes to scan Creepface Killah.

First we zoom in VERY SLOWLY on Talia’s eye. Then…

Talia: Oh God it’s all red in here!

Security Guy: Omgwtfdeath?

Creepface Killah: More people to sing in the choir! Look at my zombie choir! They’re going to sing me to heaven, kind of like that Welsh thing except freakier!

Talia: FFFFFFUUUU—

*cue Zombie Musical Number*


CAN TOTALLY READ LENNIER'S POKER FAAACE

Lennier: Wow, this is interesting! This is the best hand ever!

Everyone: WHAT.

Londo: That’s not how you do it Lennier.

Lennier: I win again!


THIS WILL HAVE ABSOLUTELY NO EFFECT ON FUTURE EPISODES

Chick: Wow, my arthritis is better!

Rosen: Ohai Franklin.

Franklin: So it looks like this epic device actually works! And why did your life-signs drop when you used this? It’s like energy transferral!

Rosen: But not the fun type. I bought it a couple years ago. It was actually used as the death penalty So the bad guys could heal others.

Franklin: But it’s killing you.

Rosen: I’ve got a terrible disease of doom. I might be able to fix it before I die so it doesn’t hurt the person giving their energy. I just couldn’t tell Janice, my blonde daughter you totally have a crush on.

Franklin: Uhh…

Rosen: Anyways, if I die, you can have the machine but don’t tell Janice.

Franklin: Fine. I get to give you regular check-ups though.

Janice: Bothering my mom again eh?

Franklin: Nope, she’s awesome. Now can I have a date?

Janice: Of course!


INSERT COMMENT ABOUT FORESHADOWING HERE

Garibaldi: You okay?

Talia: That was scary. We have terrible things that live inside us!

Garibaldi: My God, woman, that could be a plotpoint! OR EVEN A TRAPDOOR!


HOW TO GET CRAP PAST THE RADAR

Londo: Hmmm…maybe I could take a card using my uh…well anyways.

A…THING YES THAT’S IT A THING grabs a card whilst the audience giggles in their palms.

The…THINGYESTHING attempts to grab a card, but then a glass is sit on it.

Londo: COLD SO COLD.

Dude: WHAT IS THIS?

The dude tries to hit Londo, but then Lennier promptly beats him up without breaking a sweat.

Londo: How…?

Lennier: We need to GTFO…oh crap.

Everyone gathers around them. IT WILL ONLY END IN TEARS.


OF COURSE HE ESCAPED

Franklin: Creepface Killah got shot. He went into Downbelow…? I bet he’s going to my clinic! Hey, if you see a freak with a PPG wound tell me.

Nurse Person: Not many people are here, they’re all going to Rosen.

Franklin: …TO THE PLOT!


NOT-FUN ENERGY TRANSFERRAL

Franklin: I’LL SAVE YOU LAU—Oh, hi Creepface Killah.

Creepface Killah: I’m getting better! This is great. And then I get to have hostages! Including this Hot Blonde Chick.

Rosen: Well, only one thing to do. OVER 9000!!!

Creepface Killah: THAT MEME IS SO OLD!!!

Rosen: I give you my disease!

Creepface Killah: FFFFFFFUUUUUUU—

Franklin: …he’s dead. AND THAT WAS TERRIFYING.


Court

Judge: Rosen’s fine, she killed the bad guy. But she has to give us the scary device of doom. So we can research it, and possibly have some sort of moment of angst at some point in the future.

Garibaldi: That was awesome Laura.

Rosen: So I get to live for a long time. But it was at the cost of someone else. I think I shall have to philosophize over this.

Janice: I’ll leave my mom to wander the galaxy, and we still have that date. You know, so this isn’t totally depressing!


HILARITY

Sinclair: What is this I don’t even.

Londo: I’m…very drunk.

Lennier: So Londo was teaching me to play poker and I didn’t realize I screwed up. And then I had to beat everyone up.

Londo: Uh…yeah. That’s what happened. Yeah.

Sinclair: I’ll leave you guys to pay for the damage, and…yeah. I have to go drink something.

Londo: So why’d you do this?

Lennier: We help people save face. This will probably come into play in another episode.

Londo: Well thanks.

Lennier: So…what was that part of you that grabbed the cards?

Londo: Uhh…. See this statue? See these, ah, tentacles?

Lennier: I AM NOW GOING TO DRINK BRAIN BLEACH.

The audience giggles.


CAN WE JUST CALL THIS “FORESHADOWING: THE SERIES”?

Rosen: Hope you put it to better use.

Franklin: It might save someone’s life when there’s no hope!

Rosen: Dear God, the foreshadowing! Anyways, I’m going to go explore the galaxy. Don’t break my daughter’s heart. And don’t you know try to save her life via this device or anything. It might end terribly you know.


Spoiler: *YOU KNOW THE DRILL*

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Book Review: A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin

     GAHHHH THIS BOOK THIS BOOK IS AMAZING I LOVE THIS BOOK I WANT TO READ THIS BOOK OVER AND OVER AND OVER AGAIN WHERE IS THE NEXT BOOK WHY DO I HAVE SO MANY BOOKS ON MY READING LIST I HAVE ALL THESE BOOKS TO GET THROUGH AAAAAGGGGHHHH
*Deep breath*
     Okay. That’s better.
     Sorry about the sudden burst of insanity. See, I finished reading A Game of Thrones, and now I see why everyone can’t stop talking about it. It is what fantasy should be. A coherent and vivid world, characters that leap off the pages and seem so real you could just start talking to them and they’d talk back (but if they do that I would be concerned), and a comfortable combination of both action and romance.
     In the kingdom of Westeros, summer can last years and winter can last for a lifetime. And it appears, by all accounts, that, yes, winter is in fact coming. (As we are informed. Repeatedly. It’s like Eddard Stark was trying to start an Internet meme.) King Robert asks his old friend Ned Stark to preside as the King’s Hand; but there are dark suspicions regarding the previous Hand’s death. Ned’s son Bran is nearly murdered, the seat of the kingdom is rife with dirty politics, and Joffrey, heir to the throne, is the kind of teenage boy that you want to slap around on principle. While Ned starts investigating the death of the old Hand and his wife investigates who tried to kill her son, it slowly becomes clear to the guards on the northernmost wall (including Ned’s bastard son Jon) that the legendary White Walkers are returning.
     Meanwhile, across the sea, the children of the old usurped king are allying themselves with the Dothraki people. Viserys is a whiny idiot, and Danaerys is made of Pure Unmitigated Awesome. (I might be a bit of a Dany fangirl.)

Pictured above: An adorable death machine. And also a dragon.

     The characters make some great decisions and make some really stupid decisions, which leads us to an all-out war.
     Right as the book ends.
     …I need the sequel now.


     On a related note, George R.R. Martin would like murder you for $20,000. What a nice guy!

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

100 Themes Challenge: Under the Rain

     The cloud often wondered what it would be like to be rained on. Oh, it did more than enough raining itself, but it never knew what it felt like. It was interesting to watch the reactions of those who did.
     He usually saw the smallest things, insects and the like, scurry to hide under something, anything. Small mammals, and some larger ones, would do the same. They would hurry under leaves, or trees, or into caves or other places.
    Birds maintained a stoic attitude about the whole thing. They would sit in trees or on those strange wires that ran everywhere, occasionally ruffling their feathers. Ducks and geese didn’t seem to mind at all. But then again, they lived in the water a lot. They were used to it.
     Human reactions were the most amusing. The older ones would get out large things that popped up over their heads like mushrooms. They would dash into whatever shelter they could find, and complain loudly about how the weather was so unpredictable. The cloud was a bit offended by all this-it wasn’t really that unpredictable, silly humans! But it still tried not to let lightning hit the metal on those mushrooms. The results were never pleasant.
     Smaller humans seemed to relish the rain though. They would whirl around in the water, and jump into the puddles made, and get downright messy by the end of it all. The cloud liked watching this. It looked like so much fun!
     Day after day, the cloud would move along, watching it all. Finally, it had enough.
     “Fellows!” he called out. “I’m going down there to see what it’s like! I’ll be back!” He hurried down, but thought he heard voices calling out, “Don’t!” and “Dissipate!” Envy, that’s what it was. They envied him for his bravery.
      However, once closer to the ground, he felt strange and sluggish. The smaller humans were no longer happy. They were nervous.
     “It’s hard to see,” they said. “We can’t play out here anymore. Let’s go home.”
     The cloud watched them go with regret. He wasn’t even raining now.
     Being this close to the ground made him feel tired. He began to think that simply lying down would do the trick. He had never felt the need to lie down before, but now he did. He tried to stretch himself along the ground. But instead he felt like….
he......wa.....s......slo...........wl............y….bre......ak….ing…...............u……..p…………

Monday, June 9, 2014

I guess Ruth Graham of Slate needed publicity, or something

It would certainly explain this.

For those who don't like to click scary links (or if Slate crashes your computer), the author of the article is insisting that adults should be ashamed of reading books written for children and teenagers. They're wasting all that reading time! And they're putting themselves back into an immature mindset! And...umm...IT'S FOR CHILDREN YOU'RE NOT ALLOWED TO READ IT.

That more or less sums up her arguments. We are supposed to adhere strictly to our own age group, and never learn or understand anything about any other age group.

Anne at Modern Mrs. Darcy wrote a fantastic rebuttal, complete with quotes from several very smart authors I like, but I will just add on my own comments.

1.) It is good for us to remember our own childhood and adolescence. Whether or not we have children ourselves, we still have to interact with those age groups. An adult who forgets what being young was like will start acting like, say, Robert Lupo, who tried to hold back seniors' diplomas for throwing their graduation caps, because GRADUATION IS VERY DIGNIFIED and SOMEONE COULD GET HIT BY A HAT; thereby making an ass of himself and bringing down the mockery of thousands.

2.) Just because a book is written with younger people in mind does not mean it will not contain anything of value. This is the kind of book snobbery that turns many people off books entirely. We are not robots. We do not learn things in a simple, linear fashion-this lesson at age 5, this one at age 10, this one at age 15. You are now 18, congratulations! You don't need to hear any of those lessons ever again. Just like how school will reiterate past lessons before beginning present lessons, we still sometimes learn something new or recall something old when reading these books. Even without inherent life lessons in mind, many books written for or marketed toward children are still well-written and charming stories. It is perfectly acceptable to read something for mere pleasure.

3.) The market often chooses which age group a book is marketed toward. The Hunger Games is considered a YA novel, yet if the characters were adults rather than teens it would most likely have been placed on the adult horror or sci-fi shelves. This goes hand in hand with "genre snobs" who believe that genre fiction is somehow less valuable than literary fiction. In the end, it shouldn't matter how the market or people class a book. If it is a good book, and you're enjoying that book, read it. And don't feel ashamed.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

AND WHEN THEY OPENED THE SEVENTH SEAL...

For some reason they have decided to remake Left Behind.

Nicholas Cage.

As Rayford Steele.

WHAT SPORE OF MADNESS IS THIS?


Random Babbling-Family, Bugs, and Another Reason to Wear A Skirt

I have several things to say, none of which would make for a full blog post. So I'm just going to ramble on aimlessly and hope something makes sense. (This is my usual method of writing blogs anyways.)

1.) So after reading "Walkin' With the Ghost Whisperers", I discovered that the Sarver cabin J.R. Tate visited is not in fact that same Sarver cabin my Granddad lived in. One is on the trail that leads to Dragon's Tooth. The other is on Sinking Creek, by a trail leading over Brush Mountain. Then Mom told me that there is a sign up Rte. 621 labeled "Sarver Place" and pointing down a dirt road. This may lead to to the place on Sinking Creek. It may lead to an entirely different Sarver place, because if there's one thing Craig County has in abundance, it's Sarvers.

2.) There's nothing like taking a walk on an actual dirt road away from people to clear your head and get your imagination working.

3.) On that note, bugs don't like basil. Like at all. After FlyGate last week, I hung tea bags of basil around the doors and windows. Maybe one or two have gotten in at most. I now have an actual basil plant, which I intend to put in a pot just outside the door, and then I will have fresh basil, and also mosquitoes will literally run from your hand if you have a basil leaf in it. It's kind of hilarious. However, I have yet to find something that has the same effect on spiders.

Other than this.


4.) Which reminds me...the problem with johnny houses is that bees and spiders like to hang out there. This is a problem if you have a phobia of both bees and spiders. When there is a choice between that and the bush, you know you're out of civilization, even if it's just a church picnic.

Good news, everyone! I found a great new reason to wear skirts! It's much easier to surreptitiously duck behind some bushes and crouch down wearing a skirt than it is to tug down a pair of pants first!


Saturday, June 7, 2014

Photo Saturday: Traffic Jam Sunset


I was stuck on the I-74 bridge when I looked over and saw this. So, the moral of the story is that you will inevitably be trapped on the I-74 bridge, because it's the I-74 bridge and that's how every day is, and you might as well enjoy the view while you're up there. Just try not to think about what would happen should the bridge collapse. Don't think about that when you're trapped on a bridge.

Friday, June 6, 2014

Parody 5: S1, E20: Babylon Plot Device

DINING ROOM, CRACK O’CLOCK IN THE MORNING

Ivanova: So…so tired…weird tachyon in Sector 14…

Garibaldi: Takes a while to get there. Sounds like a plotpoint.

Ivanova: Yeah…sleepy…

Sinclair: Deeper…deeperway, way down

Ivanova: *sleeps*

Sinclair: SWITCH HER FOOD QUICK.

Garibaldi: Well G2G now.

Sinclair: Yep breakfast is over.

Ivanova: What is this I don’t even OH GOD I HAVE TO GET TO WORK.

Sinclair: I’m leaving too nice knowing you Mike.

Garibaldi: …


FIVE SECONDS LATER

Ivanova: I KEEL ALL OF YOU!


IT’S!

Pilot: Huh, weird tachyon emissions of doom. And something is happening! Something plot relevant! SWEET ZOMBIE VALEN IT’S—*dies*

Ivanova: It’s…what? It’s a new star? It’s a disco ball? It’s Monty Python’s Flying Circus?

Sinclair: What happened?

Ivanova: The tachyon emissions went nuts.

Ship: *does nothing*

Ivanova: He’s DED.


SCARY THINGS

Garibaldi: He died by OLD AGE.

Ivanova: What.

Garibaldi: Okay, his organs died of old age. The rest of him’s fine.

Sinclair: KEEP EVERYONE AWAY FROM SECTOR 14 ALL THE TIME.


TIMEY WIMEY STUFF

Sinclair: He wrote B4 cryptically here. And Sector 14 is where Babylon 4 disappeared!

Commlink: Babylon 4 is calling for help.

Sinclair: Well butter my butt and call me a biscuit. It’s the station.

Distress Signal: WE NEED HELP WE’RE SO CONFUSED OH GOD THE MIND SCREW THE MIND SCREW!

Sinclair: What’s happening?

B4 Captain: We’re warping through time and space and IT’S VERY WIBBLY WOBBLY and we have about 1200 people here. It’s like Event Horizon ON CRACK. OH NO NOT AGAIN.

Sinclair: Let’s go.


DUTY SUCKS SOMETIMES

Sinclair: So we have no idea what’s going on, someone died a lot from it, and Babylon 4 is trucking around the time-space continuum for kicks.

Pilots: …I guess we’ll go…if we have to…


GARIBALDI STARTS A SEINFELDIAN CONVERSATION

Garibaldi: So…boxers or briefs?

Sinclair: What.

Garibaldi: You’re always so serious. It’s like you have the burden of the Chosen One on your shoulders.

Sinclair: Briefs.

Garibaldi: We killed 2 minutes! How about shaving cream?

Sinclair: I DON’T LIKE THIS CONVERSATION ANYMORE.


THE ARCPOINT COUNCIL

Delenn walks into the Grey Council wearing that giant epic robe of hers. Everyone gathers in mini-spotlights, which is kind of funny, but I guess they don’t want to waste light, or something.

Delenn: Ohai guys. You wanted to talk?

Minbari 721: Hi Delenn! We’ve missed you!

Delenn: I missed you guys too. We should throw a party after this.

Minbari 721: So we’re done crying over Dukhat. We need to choose a new leader.

Delenn: Why wasn’t I told?

Minbari 22: ‘Cause you’re epic and we want you to be our leader!

Delenn: WHAT. I thought…Babylon 5…Chosen One…

Minbari 721: Don’t worry about prophecy. It’ll attend to itself. We’ll find someone else to be the Chosen One.

Delenn: D-:


BABYLON CONFUSED

Sinclair: Huh. This place is greener than Babylon 5.

Garibaldi: Must’ve been the eco-friendly model.

Crew Member #85:  I HAVE HAD IT WITH THIS WIBBLY WOBBLYNESS!

They shoot at each other a lot, and Garibaldi sneaks behind him and hits him on the head.

Garibaldi: Chill dude, chill.

Lewis: Hi! I’m the commander of Babylon 4. Where are you from?

Sinclair: Babylon 5.

Garibaldi: It’s 2258 dude.

Lewis: We are time traveling!

Suddenly, tachyon emissions happen! Then Sinclair is on Babylon 5 and there are things cutting in and Garibaldi is spazzing about SHOOT THINGS and it’s all horrible. You hear him shout “They’re coming through” which is plot relevant for Season 2 and then you hear a growl and it’s probably Death Spiders or invisible gremlins or…

Lewis: And that’s why we have to get out of here.


BUT WE HAVE A GREAT HALL!

Minbari 721: We’re hanging in the Great Hall. DUMBLEDORE IS HERE.

Delenn: But that means I have to live on this ship FOREVER.

Minbari 721: But no one’s ever refused before.

Delenn: But I need to be the Chosen One!


THE REAL HERO OF THE SERIES, LADIES AND GENTLEMEN

Sinclair: Anything else weird happen?

Lewis: We found a Plot Zathras.

Zathras: AHHHH I WANT YOUR AUTOGRA—wait no never mind. You can’t be the One. You don’t have a trenchcoat.

Sinclair: What.

Zathras: I can’t say anything I was told not to shutting up now.

Lewis: I think he got timey-wimey’d too.

Zathras: The One is hurt and we need the future plotpoint.

Sinclair: Why?

Zathras clicks his tongue a bit and explains.

Zathras: There’s this Great Dark Vagueness and there will be a war and we have to save the galaxy. And so we’re pulling the station through time.

Sinclair: What.

Crew Member #52: That weird space-suited thing is back!

Zathras: *flees*


PAYOFF FOR A FUTURE EPISODE

The One: Ugh…Vorlons stole my money…

Zathras: Hey it’s The One!

Sinclair: He’s not wearing a trenchcoat! What gives?

Zathras: That guy’s helping Babylon 4. He’s letting you off.

Sinclair: I wanna talk to him!

The One: *Sinclairtoss*

Zathras: Here, I have the Macguffin so you can fix your suit!

The One: I’M OUT! *snap snap, etc.*

Sinclair: That was definitely weird.

Zathras: You guys have to run away or you’ll be TRAPPED FOREVER.


IN WHICH THE GREY COUNCIL DISCUSSES TV TROPES

Delenn: So basically since we stopped the war over prophecy I have to make sure the prophecy is right.

Minbari 721: Why are Humans Special?

Delenn: Because they like to fix things. Also I think they’re pretty darn cool. They could even become shiny one day if they tried!

Minbari 721: But why do you have to be the Chosen One?

Delenn: Because Straczynski said so.

Minbari 22: You may not ever be allowed to come back ever!

Delenn: I’m staying on B5. I mean everything fun happens there.

Minbari 721: Okay guys, who’s okay with this?

People vote by turning their lights out, which is hilarious. Apparently only the warrior caste voted against her, and it’s probably because they are Greater Jerks.


BABYLON 4 ALSO HAS A MEETING ROOM FOR WAR COUNCILS AND BIRTHDAY PARTIES

Zathras: So no time stabilizer means someone’s organs age horribly. I gave mine to The One.

Lewis: We might put you on trial.

Zathras: Eh, I’ll die. Either way, bad for Zathras.

Tachyon Emissions: OHAI.


TIMEY FLASHY THINGY

Lise: Y U LEAVE MICHAEL?

Garibaldi: I…what…?

Lise: I NO GO TO BABYLON 5.

Garibaldi: What is this I don’t even.


TIME TO NOPE AWAY

Garibaldi: Wait, what?

Sinclair: You okay?

Garibaldi: We need to leave LIKE NAO.


EVACUATION!

The place is still green, FYI. They try to flee but a plot pipe lands on Zathras, and Zathras makes them flee.

Zathras: You have a destiny!

Sinclair: And a hole in my mind?

Zathras: Yeah.

Garibaldi: THIS PLACE IS SO WEIRD.

Sinclair: Fare thee well, Babylon 4!


HOW TO CONFUSE YOUR AUDIENCE

The One: Ohai Zathras.

Zathras: OHAI.

The One: *takes off helmet*

Old!Sinclair: It happened just how I remembered it. What a mindscrew.

Delenn!Voice: We have to go now.

Audience: WHAT.


LOTS OF FORESHADOWING

Garibaldi: Think all that stuff about a Great War and a Chosen One and a Dark Vagueness is true?

Sinclair: It would be cool. And make for a damn good story arc.


SO MUCH FORESHADOWING

Minbari 721: TTYL Delenn.

Delenn: I’m sure I’ll never see the Grey Council again.

Minbari 721: Don’t count on it. Here, have this magic Triluminary triangle.

Delenn: MY PLOT POINT!


FORESHADOWING FOREVER!

Ivanova: Well I missed all the fun.

Sinclair: It may show up again some time…


*Spoiler: It does.*