Thursday, January 5, 2006

all the ladies in the house say "where's my spaceship"

Happy New Year, everyone! I'm back from surprisingly snowy England, fresh from days of tea and sudoku puzzles, and starting off the year of blogging with (surprise) ranting. Woo!

Found from the Glyphs blog - take a look at Pam Noles' essay on The Wizard of Earthsea.

It's timely to me because lately I've been going through another bout of "Damn, seriously, where are the movies for women who like sci-fi and fantasy?" All of the classic science-fiction and fantasy movies - if the women exist at all, it's in a Smurfette capacity, one women to a bunch of guys. Boys who like to play-act can be Luke, Han, Vader, Obi-Wan, C3PO, R2D2 ... girls can be Leia. Woo hah. Hope there aren't two or more girls who want to play girls like themselves. It's a matter of projecting into fantasy worlds - if you like a world, you look around it for people like you, for your potential place in it. Apparently I'm asking a lot when I look for sci-fi and fantasy females who aren't just "the love interest" and who aren't the only woman in the film.

This flipped scenario has been running in my head:

Picture this movie, The Lady of the Rings. An evil queen creates a dark magical ring. Eons later, a halfling lady finds it. Her niece and three of her niece's girlfriends team up with the lost human queen, fending off nine undead queens to get the ring to the elves' safehaven, while a powerful gray witch and white witch fight about it themselves. At the elven house, the elf lady declares that nine of the women will set out on a quest to destroy the ring. You want men in this film? Well, there's a nice elf lord with some screentime, but he's mainly the love interest of the lost human queen. Plus there's an ancient elf lord in this one other scene, and some guys in the background in the village in the beginning.

Would people watch this? Would people expect men and boys to project onto the movie and play-act the characters? Would defenders justify it by saying that the story comes from old-school source material that we should respect and preserve?

I know that this is a bit of a simplistic take on it, that the marketing forces and the 18-35 male demographic and Hollywood business play into it, cash money, etc., etc. But it's still frustrating. Why am I expected to roll over, accept that there aren't people like me in the movie, and be grateful to get any fantasy movie at all? Why am I supposed to "lie back and think of sci-fi"?

Monday, January 9, 2006

bite-sized books: anglophilia

I've made my way through a few more bite-sized books on my work commute. I have English family and a streak of Anglophilia a mile wide, so at any given time, odds are likely that I'm ploughing through some book on English history or culture. Here are a few of the recent bite-sized ones:

Great Tales of English History
English history is full of great stories and characters - the Battle of Hastings, Lady Godiva, the Venerable Bede. This book by Robert Lacey is a great primer on these tales, and it's extremely bite-sized to boot (each chapter is just a few pages long). The stories are exciting and have a touch of humor, rather than the usual "X went to Y and killed Z in 1143". Lacey also offers up plenty of interesting background information, explaining names and word origins as he goes along. This volume begins with Cheddar Man in about 7150 BC and finishes up with the Peasants' Revolt in 1381 AD. I have volume 2 on my bookshelf and am looking forward to the release of volume 3. Highly recommended!

Little Dick the Smuggler and other East Anglian Eccentrics
As the title says, this was a fun little book of short tales about some very strange peeps from East Anglia. Unlike Great Tales of English History, these people were ordinary folks rather than royalty and famous names: a botanist, a miserly squire, a compulsive poet, and more. Odd stuff and very amusing.

Ghosts of East Anglia
This volume was a nice collection of regional ghost stories, spooky and quaint. I swear, though, there must be a law somewhere saying that every collection of ghost stories must contain some version of the "dead hitchhiker" story and the one about the guy who accidentally nails his coat to the haunted door/grave and scares himself to death. They're inescapable! Like many "local" ghost stories (rather than tales deliberately written to terrify), these are fun but sometimes lack, well, punchlines. A typical ending might be "And they never found out what the ghost was pointing to, The End." Again, spooky and quaint. The last tale, "An Unforgettable Night", scared the poo right out of me, though, and left me wide awake at night, looking over my shoulder for the ghoulies and thinking, Aw man, I didn't expect it to creep me out this much. Stupid stories. Also: I'm a huge wuss.

Thursday, January 12, 2006


I read an interesting little blog called information aesthetics, and a short while back they posted on the "emotional wardrobe", clothing that responds to the wearer's body through sensors and translates changes through light displays.

Every single thing in my head wraps back around to comics, because when I read this, the first thing I thought was, Oh man! That's just like that issue of that sci-fi Archie book Archie 3000, when Veronica bought the synthesizer that let her change her outfit using her thoughts!

Panels from *Archie 3000* showing Veronica using a thought-based outfit transformer

And because it's an Archie comic, naturally, hilarity ensues: Veronica's outfit synthesizer starts to respond to her emotions as well. Comedy gold!

Panels from *Archie 3000* showing Veronica's outfit  unexpectedly changing to match her emotions

I only ever bought three issues of Archie 3000, but man, it wrecked my head. That was one strange comic.

Monday, January 16, 2006

Fill-in City Blues

Panel from a fill-in strip for *Sordid City Blues*, written and drawn by Kitty

Go and check out pal Charles' webcomic Sordid City Blues - the page for Monday, January 16 is a fill-in piece guest-created by me!

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

like a pro

Dear hipster coders: Please promote your development projects professionally. I'd like to be able to share your Ajax library with my boss without worrying that your description says "helps you get shit done" or "makes the code suck less" or that it refers to "pimping", "making love", or "sexiness".

Argh! The crossover between work and play is frustrating. Blogs serve up a combo platter of professional developer articles and personal expression. It's more than likely that when I browse to someone's blog for an article on a new CSS layout technique, when I scroll up or down, I'll find a screencap from a pornographic Transformers fan video or rude road sign. And I'm completely fine with this, really - in real life, I swear like a sailor and make the most suggestive comments possible. It's just so squirmingly awkward when I'm sitting at work in my shared office space, hoping that the guy behind me doesn't turn around and see the naughties on my monitor. I'm researching for work! I swear! ::attempts to hide site sporting a "Suicide Girls" ad::

I cut slack when it comes to blogs, though. They're mostly personal space. For non-personal sites, however, I have no patience. I'll be the one to say it: laid-back writing makes your work look less professional. It makes me less likely to take your product seriously. Yes, maybe you have the Mad Skillz and the Raw Power, but if your online portfolio is labelled "My Crap" or if you curse in the description for your freeware, I'm probably gonna write you off.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

in the year 3000

Out-of-context panels from Archie 3000:

Panels of Reggie kissing Moose in *Archie 3000*

Oh, Reggie! You don't have to wait until 3000 to be true to your heart. You come up to Massachusetts, fella, they've got your back.

Monday, January 23, 2006

lex luthor is love

I am an efficient kitty and smack two birds with one Photoshop.

Lex Luthor pic of Legomancer

Friday, January 27, 2006

meme: four things

I am having a pretty meme-ulous time this week. The "Four Things" meme as tagged by sidesh0w:

Four jobs I've had:

  1. Library assistant
  2. Web developer
  3. Systems administration intern
  4. Sunday school teacher

Four movies I can watch over and over:

  1. Fight Club
  2. Mulan
  3. Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers
  4. The Mummy (don't judge me, I knooow!)

Four places I've lived:

  1. New England, USA
  2. Florence, Italy
  3. Central Germany
  4. England

Four TV shows I love:

  1. The Invisible Man
  2. Brimstone
  3. Homicide: Life on the Street
  4. Rick Steves' Europe

Four places I've vacationed:

  1. Cologne, Germany
  2. Dublin, Ireland
  3. Reykjavik, Iceland
  4. Istanbul, Turkey

Four of my favorite dishes:

  1. Gnocchi with alfredo sauce
  2. Shepherd's pie
  3. Strawberry rhubarb pie
  4. Macaroni and cheese

Four sites I visit daily:

  1. Overheard in the Office
  2. LiveJournal
  3. Comic Weblog Updates
  4. AlterNet

Four places I would rather be right now:

  1. London, England
  2. Berlin, Germany
  3. Museum of Fine Arts
  4. My comfy couch

Four bloggers I am tagging:

  1. BeaucoupKevin
  2. Jumbotron3000
  3. TangognaT
  4. Dave Ex Machina

Thursday, February 2, 2006

Comics artist Seth Fisher has died

Aw, NO. Today's bad news is that comics artist Seth Fisher has died.

This is such a loss. He had a strange style unique in comics - there was nobody like him. He did a lot of work, but to me, he's always going to be "the guy who drew that one disco bit in The Big Book of the 70's and "the guy who illustrated Vertigo Pop! Tokyo." Those have a special spot in my heart.

Monday, February 6, 2006

essential doctor strange!

I finally finished slogging my way through Marvel's Essential Doctor Strange, Volume 1. That was surprisingly dense! You really get your money's worth of story with these Essential collections.

This was completely trippy stuff. After reading several volumes of the usual Marvel superheros-punching-things stories, it was a treat and an utter headtrip to read these stories. Spellcasting, astral projection, alternate worlds, interdimensional baddies, and Doctor Strange striding into the middle of it all like the take-charge guy in a big silly cape that he is.

The collection has its share of bizarre mystic "F*@% Yeah!" moments. Not many other comics would have situations where the hero has to astrally lead his own incapacitated body out of the baddie's fortress. AWESOME!

Panel - Dr. Strange astrally projects himself

Plus the occasional moments where it's just not worth it to bust a few Crimson Bands of Cytorrak when you can just bust some heads:

Panel - Dr. Strange busting some heads

And the strange little side bits like this, when things in the world went topsy-turvy due to malevolent influences:

Panel - Milk is green! What gives!

I enjoyed the hell out of the first half or so, but after a while, it felt a bit repetitive. There's only so many times you can watch Doc Strange point his hands and boom "By the toecheese of Tarragon!" before you start hankering for a bit more. With stories on such a cosmic scale, the writers kept having to up the ante, and after a while it felt a bit Authority-esque with the stream of successively larger baddies.

For one moment I thought that story was going to take a typical Stan Lee turn and Doctor Strange was going to have all kinds of real-world problems:

Panel - Dr. Strange cannot pay his pharmacy bills

But I think the editorial smackdown must've landed, because this segued into a different story, and a few issues later, Doc was back to being above it all. Financial issues are so bourgeois.

Panel - Dr. Strange thinks money problems are for losers

And, of course, there's got to be a girl, even if it's a twisty-haired one from another dimension.

Panel - Clea wears silly shoes

Look at those heels! Even in faraway dimensions, women's shoe design is lame.

I'll tell you this about Doctor Strange stories - they're really not big on girls.

Panel - Dr. Strange senses a female!

What few women there are, they're either in need of rescuing or they're completely evil biotechs. Of course, I'd probably be a bit biotechy too if writers kept calling me a "female" all the time. "Woman" isn't a copyrighted word, guys! Feel free to use it!

These being old-school Marvel, there was a fair amount of meta-silliness to the comics. I kind of miss that these days. You'd never see a panel like this on the cover of a NuMarvel comic:

Cover panel - Dr. Doom is not in this issue

Or these kind of interior credits:

Panel - Marvel creators love their crazy credits

Or this cover blurb:

Cover panel - Dr. Strange is in this issue, we swear

Or this storyline, which, as Sweet Toasty Jesus is my witness, I have got to find:

Cover panel - The Thing and the Human Torch with mop tops!

Sunday, February 12, 2006

photos: England, winter 2005

Butcher shop window display

I'd love to see a Butcher Pride parade.

Round theater in the forest

This outdoor theater was news to me, but apparently my family has known about it for years. Go figure.

Southwark, London

Southwark, the part of London where the Design Museum is located.

Graffiti on Berlin Wall chunk

A section of the Berlin Wall, outside the doors of the Imperial War Museum. Fitting.

Propaganda poster about knitting socks

The war museum is also a great source of crazy old-school propaganda. Drinkerthinker, man, I tried so hard to find a postcard of this!

Monday, February 27, 2006

note to self: don't.

Note to self:

Even if it's tempting, even if you think the novel is just about complete when you're within fifteen pages of the ending, do not start Googling information on the book, reading online reviews, or checking Wikipedia for criticism, 'cause as sure as I'm typing here you will stumble across a massive spoiler about those last fifteen pages.

Man. It was a Hermann Hesse novel! I'd just waded through several hundred pages of serene arguments, calm meditative reflection, and well-spoken debates. So I figured, fifteen pages left, hey, I bet it ends with some quiet, sublime insight, and hmm, I wonder what other people have to say about it.

Note to self: SERIOUSLY, DON'T.

Wednesday, March 1, 2006

march madness: an invitation to madness event!

Promotional image: March Madness, online Invitation to Madness cartoons in March 2006

Stay tuned through the month of March for new Invitation to Madness cartoons starring everyone's favorite shrieky moppet Raging Mary and introducing Raging Mommy!

And if you're looking for even more cartoons, why not pick up a copy of the original Invitation to Madness minicomic?

Thursday, March 2, 2006

invitation to madness: the new place

Cartoon about Raging Mary showing her mother around her new apartment

Thursday, March 9, 2006

next weekend: Boston Zinefair

Zinefair! The Boston Zinefair is coming to town! Not this weekend but next, March 18-19, come to Massachusetts College of Art's Pozen Center (621 Huntington Avenue, Longwood stop on the Green E line) between 10am and 6pm for tons of zines, minicomics, artwork, crafts, and crazy, crazy people. Stop by and hi to me - I'll be at a table hawking my minicomics!

Kittywatch! This weekend, I will be in Austin, Texas, for South by Southwest Interactive. See you all in a bit, and look forward to more Invitation to Madness next week!

Thursday, March 16, 2006

back from SXSWi

I'm back in town after South by Southwest Interactive. What a fantastic time! Holler out to all the excellent people I met there, and a special buttercreme-topped holler out to the ones who bought minicomics from me. Thanks!

It's a funny thing - I recently finished rereading the fantastic Buddhism intro book The Beginner's Guide to Walking the Buddha's Eightfold Path. The author described how introducing mindfulness into everyday situations helps you to become more aware and notice details, such as the grain of the wood when you focus on polishing the kitchen table. In a similar vein, attending SXSWi has helped me to appreciate my own job even more. Nothing makes you take a step back and really think about what you do for a living than having to describe it in quick terms to total strangers.

Friday, March 17, 2006

invitation to madness: bathroom

Cartoon about Raging Mary freaking out about her bathroom, part 1 Cartoon about Raging Mary freaking out about her bathroom, part 2

Friday, March 24, 2006

invitation to madness: quilt

Cartoon about Raging Mommy showing off a baby quilt

Saturday, March 25, 2006

u for underwhelming

It's funny that the latest post on the blog Creating Passionate Users discussed Intermittent Variable Reinforcement, the training of behavior through inconsistent rewards. Kathy Sierra uses it to describe the behavior of constantly checking email in hopes that you'll be rewarded with new messages. Sometimes you get them, and sometimes you don't, and you repeat the behavior, like a slot machine player.

It reminds me of how I felt watching V for Vendetta yesterday. It was a thoroughly inconsistent experience, with poor writing, cheesy dialogue, and clumsy messages, and I kept thinking "Why am I still sitting here watching this?", but then something fantastic would emerge (the Valerie sequence, a nifty fight scene, a clever line, a breathtaking visual) and I would go right back to sitting through the chaff and hoping to be treated to another good bit.

On a related note, I would like a love bomb. Why do creators keep cluttering up perfectly good stories by jamming in a romantic subplot? Why don't they think we can identify with characters whose motivations aren't romantic in nature? I would love to see more movies about people driven by curiosity, a sense of adventure, the need to create, a rebellious streak against conformity, a passion for anything beyond their own personal interests, but instead I always find myself mired in movies where people act based on romance and sweethearts. I saw V for Vendetta looking forward to people confronting a stifling fascist hierarchy, but instead the movie was more about one particular man and Evey's passion for him, which completely undercuts the whole theme of empowering ordinary people and making government less about following one specific person. I feel like I see that over and over in movies: "scientific curiosity" swapped out for "trying to get the girl back" (The Time Machine, which I still can't believe I saw), struggles for independence watered down with lovey subthreads and "you touched my stuff" personal motivation (Braveheart), and so on. It just gets old, and it makes me want to hurl a love bomb right at the screen.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

invitation to madness: muffin

Cartoon about Raging Mary talking about the body, part 1 Cartoon about Raging Mary talking about the body

Thursday, March 30, 2006

invitation to madness: goodbye

Cartoon about Raging Mommy saying her goodbye to Raging Mary

And that wraps things up for March Madness! Thanks to everyone who sent in comments - I hope you've enjoyed the comics. You can find them all archived on the comics page, under "Online Comics". Please stay tuned to this blog for more webcomics in the future!

Thursday, April 6, 2006

the city speaks

Just like Tom O'Bedlam said, sometimes the city tells you things through its signs and words.

Photo of city words: Please don't settle Photo of city words: No life without water Photo of city words: Gulp and watch Photo of city words: Babycakes

Not sure about those last two, though. Hey city, you keep your hands to yourself, missy.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

o'brien torturethon 2006

Logo: O'Brien TortureThon 2006

It was one of those jokes that spirals into a life of its own, like how the Upper Crust was created or Snakes on a Plane. In our case, the joke was, "Ha ha, let's watch a bunch of episodes of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine where Chief Engineer O'Brien gets completely shat upon!" Seriously, my IM conversations keep degenerating from "funny what-if discussion" to "agenda for this weekend".

So, that's what we did! Jeph, K, and I kicked off O'Brien Torturethon 2006 with coffee and donuts, and then we sat on the couch, yelling at the TV and giggling about every twenty seconds, followed by someone starting off a chorus of "O'Brien!"s.


O'Brien returns from a mission to find that everyone around him is acting very peculiarly. Paranoid, uncomfortable fun.

O'Brien is accused of a mystery crime and becomes a victim of the twisty Cardassian justice system. Frustrating, like watching an episode of Law and Order where all of the evidence gets thrown out due to technicality, but times twenty.

A radiation accident sets O'Brien jumping in time just a few hours into the future, which is all fun and novel until he witnesses his own death. Ahh!

"The Assignment"
O'Brien's wife is taken over by a hostile alien spirit, who forces O'Brien to unwillingly sabotage Deep Space Nine. Cue angst!

"Hard Time"
As punishment for a crime, O'Brien's brain is implanted with memories that he just spent twenty years in prison (cheaper than maintaining a physical prison), and now he must become reaccustomed to his life. Ugh, this was soul-numbing.

Banner by Jeph: O'Brien TortureThon 2006

Jeph sets the mood with this lovingly created banner.

I have never really watched much of DS9, so it was a surprise to find how much I enjoyed the episodes. It reminded me of what I liked so much about sci-fi similar series Babylon 5 - the concept of maintaining a sort of diplomatic crossroads and living station (as opposed to just bopping around on adventures as the other Trek series do). Jeph chose well - these were highly enjoyable and tightly written episodes with interesting character development (but also with enough silliness for us to poke fun at, because we are a snarky group).

Chief O'Brien in his people's native state

Our Snarky Quotations

"The Bajorans are the space Polish."

"Three-quarter sleeves look good on girls."
-- "I know what you like on girls: Girls!"

O'Brien switches off the life support power on his transport ship.
"I hope he didn't divert power away from the bathroom."
-- "That's why they have a transporter."

"Hot pre-emptive action!"

K suddenly gets the baddie about half an hour after everyone else.
"It was the man with the moustache!!!!"

Jeph describes female Cardassians' cosmetics.
"They put a stripe on their left and right shoulders, and they color in their ... uh, head labia."

We also love Dr. Julian Bashir, the doctor on DS9.
"Dr. Sexy Bashir should prescribe you some meds. 100 CC's meat injection twice daily!"
"Twice daily until pain subsides."
-- "What pain?"
"... Mm-hmm."

"Are there any episodes where Bashir tries to get girls who aren't O'Brien?"

Our Favorite Out-of-Context Line
Bashir to O'Brien from "The Assignment": "I've seen you handle your wife thousands of times!"

We enjoyed this line so much that K ended up doodling it as a cartoon, which pitched us into about ten more fits of giggles.

K's cartoon of Chief O'Brien and Dr. Bashir

It's the eyelashes on Bashir that make it. Heh! We love it! That's why we're making our next Trekthon all about that guy.

ps. O'Brien!

Monday, April 17, 2006

snark 'n' links

I can't seem to walk past posters for Take the Lead without wanting to snark back.

Poster for movie _Take the Lead_

Yeah, "Never Follow" ... except for the 50% of you dancers who do need to follow if you want to, you know, actually ballroom dance. If you need a tagline for a movie like this, why not "Follow your bliss" or "Follow your own path", something that's not the exact opposite of what you're actually doing? Honestly.

TBS has some very silly Lord of the Rings promo ads.

Hey ladies, Glad Rags is offering 15% off if you sign up for their newsletter!

I was namechecked on Sequential Tart! Thanks, Jim!

BBC History offers a fun Flash game Kings and Queens Through Time, where you can try to put Britain's kings and queens in order. I completely aced this game but I can't even name the first five American presidents. My citizenship priorities are completely out of whack.

For the Cambridge locals, sci-fi bookshop Pandemonium has new digs (thanks to Drinkerthinker for the tip), and next month is the city's annual DanceMonth.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

supersonic ladies on a leash

Looks like Aeon Flux is out on DVD, and I'm sure sister action cheesefest movie Ultraviolet won't be too far behind. Every time I saw the commercials for these flicks, I thought of Jhonen Vasquez' parody superheroine character Lady Sexhole.

Image of Jhonen Vasquez's parody character Lady Sexhole

Media at my house is always interactive. Insert image of me yelling that line at the TV every time Ultrajovovich showed up to bare her midriff and shoot things and that's about the state of it.

To me, this kind of character always smacks of a media cliché I encounter in sci-fi and action stories - the Engineered Woman. She's a human machine, trained and/or superhumanly altered by and for the service of an organization (usually one with strong hierarchical or patriarchal overtones - a government agency, or a secret society run by old men in dark suits). More often than not, she's some kind of killing tool.

A related character type is the superwoman who doesn't need engineering but who still acts as a tool for an agency. Buffy Summers is a great example - in spite of her powers, she is still trained and managed by the Watchers, and even the Slayer power itself turns out to be the result of a group of male magicians thrusting it unwanted on the first Slayer girl. But what I find interesting about the list above is the weird voyeur-sadist angle - we're invited to watch these woman being broken, being altered. The transformation scenes are usually explicit.

Are there male examples of this kind of character process? Movies, TV, and comics are filled with "assassin superbaddie" men, but I feel like I don't usually see them in the explicit process of creation: being abducted from their former lives, being stripped of identities and emotions, being trained and forcibly reshaped. (I bet they're out there, but the only example I can come up with is Wolverine.)

It's also interesting to think on what the transformation strips away: all traces of traditional femininity, except the sexy bits. Swap out nurturing and caring for rock-hard stoicism and casual attitude toward killing, but leave the sex drive. It's like Lady Macbeth in leather.

Image of Ultraviolet mashed up with Lady Macbeth monologue

So as a final result, we end up with this power fantasy character - who wouldn't want to be a catsuited überpowerful babe with one-liners and assault rifles, seriously. But is it really a power fantasy? After the amp-up, these characters become immense sources of power, but they don't usually control it. Again, they're the tools and catspaws. Operations sets the agenda for Nikita, Buffy is ordered around by the Watchers when they come to town, and Bill is the boss. The women have the power but they don't call the shots.

It's frustrating. These are the characters held up as great female action heroes, but half the time they're just Barbie dolls built by their masters. Hot as all hell and great with guns, but uncomplicated by emotions or physical weakness. She'll do what you want to an inhuman degree, and she'll still look eminently sexable. That's a nice feature list for the owner, not a character description to aspire to. Again, are there male characters like this? Wolverine was a hard badass engineered and controlled by others, but he isn't usually presented as being deliberately sexed up on top of that. Well, maybe. He does walk around with no shirt on pretty often.

The gratifying moments come when the women fight back. Smash the masters! It's like Frankenstein, where the creation comes back around to boot the ass of those who try to control too much. Yay and all, but often it still feels to me a bit like women are portrayed as a force of nature, fertility and entropy rising up against the sterile clinical men who try to bottle them. Come on now, these are people, not dinosaurs from Jurassic Park.

Thursday, May 4, 2006

comic: kitty's wishlist

Comic strip: Two girls on the couch suggesting a yaoi series based on *The Usual Suspects*

(And you know I'd buy it tomorrow if it existed, too.)

Thursday, May 25, 2006

careful now!

Congratulations to Father Ted for finally winning the Eurosong competition!

Monday, May 29, 2006

bashirfest 2006

Logo for Star Trek DS9 Julian 
Bashir marathon

It's Bashir O'Clock!

After the great fun that was the O'Brien Torturethon, Jeph, K, and I hit the couch again for a TV party devoted to Deep Space Nine's chief medical officer, Dr. Julian Bashir. Look at those eyes! Set phasers to "sex bomb", everybody!


The Wire
Bashir's buddy-antagonist-mysteryman Garak collapses due to misuse of an implant in his head, and Bashir must race against the clock to find out about Garak's past and cure him. Cue hurt/comfort by the bucketload and a really unconvincing sickroom fight scene.

Photo of Star Trek DS9's 
Dr. Julian Bashir

I guess I can see where all of the Bashir/Garak fanfiction comes from, but dear god, Garak is really annoying. That is one fandom I'm steering clear of.

Hippocratic Oath
Bashir and O'Brien crash on a planet and encounter a group of Jem'Hadar trying to wean themselves off the drug that binds them to the Dominion. Bashir does his best to formulate a cure, while O'Brien does what he can to ensure their escape. Meanwhile, back on DS9, Worf is new to the station and completely screws up because he doesn't quite get the chain of command.

Glad to see more O'Brien (c'mon everybody: "O'BRIEN!"), and especially O'Brien getting his insubordination on. I appreciated how the guys did not resolve the problem in the end - no cure-all pills nor good resolution for the Jem'Hadar, who look kind of like triceratops. Kind of a downer; sad characters, no happy ending, and Worf gets professionally embarrassed. No good times!

Our Man Bashir
Bashir slips into his James Bond-shaped fiction suit in the holosuites, but non-hilarity ensues when a malfunction forces him and Garak to remain in character or risk the deaths of several other crew members.

"We can't stop the program or they'll die!" "The safety has been deactivated - we could actually be killed!" Throw in genre costumes, kissing the girls, biffing the baddies, and you could get completely hammered playing this round of Holodeck Cliches Drinking Game.

That being said, it's a fun holiday to see everyone acting completely out of character. We'd happily watch an entire show starring Sisko's mad genius character "Dr. Noah." He has a crazy, delightful yelp for "laugh of disbelief." A pleasant change from most of the other episodes where he's doing his best to channel Shatner.

Also, Star Trek needs more excuses for Bashir to wear dapper suits.

The Quickening (no, not that kind, a plaguey kind)
Bashir and Dax happen upon a distant planet cursed by punishing biological warfare left by Jem'Hadar. Born with plague, the people eventually sicken and die painfully; their only option is a ritualized chemical suicide that allows them to die peacefully. Bashir and Dax struggle to formulate a cure for the plague, though their efforts mostly make things worse.

Another downer episode with a mildly hopeful ending. Bashir reminds me of the doctors on House in that he's written to be an expert in everything medical. Maybe his super fantabulous 24th century medical technology is doing all the real work. Or maybe he really is that good, as the next episode hints?

Doctor Bashir, I Presume
When Bashir is suggested as the template for a new version of Starfleet hologram doctor, background investigation brings to light his deepest secret: his parents arranged for him to undergo illegal genetic modification as a child to help his severely lagging academic performance.

It's funny - I found this "Flowers for Bashir" episode more touching and sad than the deliberately heartstring-twanging episodes described above. Family dramas always make me a bit damp-eyed. Plus there's the fact that the other sad episodes above were "on location", set on object-lesson planets, while the conflict in this episode felt more claustrophobic and anxious to me for being on DS9, in Bashir's home. No rescue ship or reactivated transporter could get him out of that situation.

On a lighter note, Bashir's parents reminded me of the Kumars. I would watch The Bashirs at Spaceship 42 in a heartbeat.

And not having watched much else of DS9, I have to ask - do they touch much on Bashir's genetic enhancements again? I can easily picture him acting like X-Factor's Quicksilver, constantly irritated by all the slowbies around him with their poor hand-eye coordination and inability to reason quickly. Then again, years of Starfleet training in compassion and being kind to others probably drummed all the bitchy out of him.

Thoughts and Observations

We can't draw Bashir! What is wrong with us? We found this very difficult, even with a stack of Star Trek reference books. Baffled!

Girls love bubble tea.

Bashir is practically two-dimensional. He is one slender mofo, I'll tell you that.

We have no plans to watch an entire TV fest devoted to Garak or Quark. I would probably set the DVDs on fire before that came to pass.

Our Snarky Quotations Know No Bounds

"You know what I noticed about your TV? There's no Bashir on it right now."
-- "You know what I noticed about you ...?"

"That's like a Little Golden Book: The Lumpiest Klingon."

"You should have a sexy suit like Bashir."
-- "You mean I should put on a Starfleet uniform? And make love to you? Because that is my dream."

"It kinda sucks that they live in a death world."

Our Favorite Out-of-Context Line

Bashir talks to O'Brien about Mrs. O'Brien: "So ... you wish Keiko ... were a man?"

Wednesday, June 7, 2006

See you at MoCCA this weekend

Coming up this weekend in Manhattan: MoCCA Art Festival! This is my first time hitting this cartoons and comics fiesta, and I'm really looking forward to it.

If you're there, hit me up for a free Geraniums and Bacon sampler issue! I'll be giving away a minicomic with shorts from G&B issues 1-3 and oh crazy! sneak preview material from this year's upcoming Geraniums and Bacon #4!

Hope to see you peeps in New York!

Thursday, June 15, 2006

mocca artfest 2006

I attended MoCCA Art Fest last weekend. What a time! Beautiful weather and comics as far as you could look. This was my first time there, and it was a bit overwhelming. So much going on, so much talent and self-expression crammed into one small place, and from the plain building exterior, you'd have no idea that it was happening. I get the impression that a lot of New York is like that.

I met and met up with dozens of cool people, including Kevin, Neilalien, Chris, Ed, GinaFirstSecond of First Second Books, Jim, Miriam, Colleen, Keith Knight, Bill, and so many others it makes my brain bleed. I also walked away with a ridiculous amount of comics. I'm stocked through next year and beyond!

I saw an emphasis on the handmade and handcrafted: silkscreens and Gocco works and hand-printed minis and illustrations, real objects of lovingly created art. It's a pleasure to see these works in this era of mass-manufactured everything. This must be how William Morris felt.

And unrelated to the art fest, I stood in line for ages to meet Grant Morrison in person at comic shop Forbidden Planet. Woo! I ended up meeting some nice people in line, to boot, and got to see mock-luchadors roam the sidewalk promoting Nacho Libre.

In other observations, I officially have only one smile. That's it! One! I look through my photos and they might as well be Photoshopped. I'm like that one girl that BoingBoing featured a while back. That does it, I'm scheduling some mirror time to work on some new smiles. It's at the point where other people remark, "You can tell Kitty's happy because she's squinting." This must change! Maybe I'll be like the guy in Men Behaving Badly, the time when Gary explains how roommate Tony had him rate his smiles to figure out which looked the best.

A final recommendation: when in New York, crash at Manhattan Inn Hostel, right downtown and much cheaper and more entertaining than normal dull hotels.

Saturday, June 24, 2006

alerts and webcomics


If you're hooked on blog carnivals like I am, you'll be psyched to hear about the new Carnival of Feminist Science Fiction and Fantasy Fans, organized by Ragnell. The deadline for submissions for the first edition is June 29.


I'm also getting increasingly hooked on webcomics, which is great considering how many excellent examples are out there. The comedy of it is that even though I work in IT and spend most of my day on the internerd, often it still takes my finding the comics in tree-corpse format to appreciate them. Here are a few I've enjoyed lately.

Exhibit A. "I do like time like I was pluggin' the meter" is the best thing I've heard in ages.

Dinosaur Comics
Exhibit A. Bought the collected edition at MoCCA, kicked myself for having known about it for years but not getting around to diving in.

The Amazing Adventures of Bill
Exhibit A. I picked up the print version of this strip at MoCCA and laughed the whole subway ride back to the hostel. Aces!

Perfect Stars
Exhibit A. This is like my Velvet Goldmine of comics (and not just because the Exhibit A strip stars Oscar Wilde). Rich artwork!


One fan's customized action figures of the Invisibles

Coming soon: League of Extraordinary Gentlemen: The Black Dossier

The Boston Police Department has a blog.

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Comic: Whole Lotta School Still

And yet I keep entertaining the idea of grad school. What the heck?

SCHOOL: "Aw, you come back to me, baby, I won't hurt you so much this time, you know I love you."

ME: "Awright, honey, just this once more!"