Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Battlestar Galactica episodes 4.1 and 4.2

(the following are reflections on episodes 4.1 and 4.2, seeing as how they're kind of a two-parter)

Spoilers, obvz.

Battlestar do I love thee?

When episode 4-1 ended, I was in the throes of utter agony.  The rug had been ripped out.  Characters I had grown to love were suddenly struggling with shocking new revelations about themselves that couldn't be resolved or made to go away with some clever writing.  There are no take-backs once you find out you're a Cylon.  The intro is different.  Red Dress Six is now in a red business suit and somehow more sinister than ever.  And what the frak is going on with Baltar?  And we lost another ship and had our first major casualties leaving New Caprica.  And can we please just have an entire episode about what's happening to Colonel Tigh?  And the "I hate you SO MUCH" look on Adama's face when Lee tells him he's leaving the fleet.  To become a lawyer.  Which I still find rather incredulous, given how much the fleet probably needs ace pilots right now oh my gods the Cylons found us but whatever.  And Starbuck.

Oh Starbuck.

Oh honey...I'm SO afraid you're going to be our last Cylon.  Your ship, honey.  Your ship is brand new.  You conveniently don't remember how you got to Earth.  And you have these bizarre-o headaches every time Galactica FTL jumps to a new position.  You did this crazy karate-chop action on the guards and are holding Roslin hostage.  

When this episode ended, the whole show felt like it had twisted into something monstrous.  It was a nightmare.  It didn't matter what scene you saw, something weird or awful was happening with SOMEBODY.  The show had officially become a runaway train.  And there was nothing to hold onto anymore.

Except Hotdog.  He's still around, so that's something, I guess.

When episode 4-2 ended, I wasn't as wracked with woe as I was when 4-1 ended.  Partly because we got a little resolution (Starbuck and Helo got their own little sewage ship and Adama's blessing to go off and find Earth.  Somehow, I knew he'd work something out. ;) ).

But there were also diminishing woe-returns because there was a lot about this episode that was...unsatisfying.  Lots of long back-and-forth but little payoff.  

For instance--the bit about lobotomizing the Raiders.  Yeah, we GET it.  The Sixes think it's wrong, but the Ones (sitting in a very official-looking chair for someone who insists they're "not in charge") think it's necessary.  Neither of them manage to put up a super-compelling reason for their opposing stances, beyond "things have changed".  But it just kept going on and on and on.  As a result, I found myself disconnecting from the debate and not really caring too much either way.  

Until Six came in with her now-intelligent Centurions and ordered them to blast the conference room to smithereens.  Frankly, given the Centurions pathetically bad aim throughout the series (they're really good at shooting the ground right in front of their targets though!) I figured this scene would take much longer than it did.  I guess removing their Intelligence Inhibitors greatly improved their aim.  Continuity crisis averted!

Or is it?  Why were the Ones so concerned when the Centurions went all Mega Man on them?  Why did the others (I can never remember their number.  The Tour Guide guy from the mini-series) run for their lives in clear terror when they realized the Centurions we're locked and loaded?  They'll just re-download into new bodies!  Chill out guys!

Another example of this episode's buildup with kinda wonky payoff was Baltar's new fantasy.  Nope, it's not Red Dress Six, it's his own damn narcissistic self.  When it started, everything in me tingled with delight.  "Oh MAN.  This is gonna be CRAZY!"  But once they had exchanged a few little quips...that was kind of it.  Huh.    

Still, 4-2 was by no means BAD.  The scene where atheist Adama emotionally bitch-slaps Roslin while getting hammered (he's slipping!!  NO!  Not stalwart Admiral Adama!!) was brutal.  As was Roslin's surprising conviction that Starbuck is a perfect Cylon model and her unexpected decision about how best to deal with this information (bang, bang) brought back the crazy side of Roslin that suits their whole desperate scenario like a robot hand in robot glove.


I had my doubts about the Final Four at the end of season 3.  Maybe they were just misinterpreting what the song inside the frakking ship meant.  But at this point, once you change the intro to feature these four characters under the "FOUR LIVE IN SECRET" banner, it seems like it's pretty much a done deal.

However, this is Battlestar Galactica.  Just when you think you've got this show figured out, it throws you some curve balls you weren't expecting, so I'm holding out hope that at LEAST one of them isn't actually a Cylon.  Maybe whatshername...Tori.  Yeah.  Who even IS she?  It does beg the question...if the actor playing Billy hadn't wanted off the show, would HE have been one of the Final Four??

As to the final fifth Cylon, right now it's a toss up between Starbuck and Baltar.  Well, toss-up...ish.  Starbuck is feeling a bit too obvious.  Something is definitely screwy with her, sure.  Those weird headaches every time Galactica jumps the "wrong way" are just too bizarre, and her being a Cylon would certainly make sense of the time discrepancies and the fact that her ship is so brand new it doesn't have any log data on it.  But I've read enough Agatha Christie to know that when even the characters on the show are saying she's the prime candidate for Toaster of the Year, the writers are up to something.  

Which really just leaves us with Baltar.  Six explained to him that Cylons can "project".  Baltar's series-long descents into fantasy land and Red Dress Six's constant tormenting/real presence could very well be classic Cylon projecting.  Also, his gradual coming around to faith in the One True Cylon God plays perfectly into Red Dress Six's desires for him all along.  And the Hybrid that the end of RAZOR did say the final Cylon would awaken after much anguish and soul searching or something like that.  Seems like Baltar's been doing plenty of that too.  Right now, he's looking like our man.  Er.  Robot.

Screwball Prediction:

The final Cylon is Roslin.  I trust the writers enough to believe that her Cylon blood transfusion wasn't MERELY a happy device to stave off her cancer until it was more convenient.  The Pythian Prophecy stated something about a leader with a wasting disease who would lead his/her fellow humans to Earth, but leader wouldn't make it.

Because the human leader dies?  Or because the human leader...isn't HUMAN ANYMORE?!  TOASTER TIME, MADAME PRESIDENT!  What if Roslin's blood transfusion not only healed her cancer, but filled her body with Cylon nanotechnology that rewrote her DNA?  Or something??  We know everything about the Cylons is synthetic.  What if Roslin isn't dying at all?  What if she's in the process of transforming into the CYLON QUEEN who sits on a mechanical throne of toaster lies?!

It's BSG.  Who the frak knows.  Nothing is as it seems.  And I've long held a belief that Roslin is NOT the Dying Leader of the Pythian Prophecy.  So is there another character who may perhaps be unaware of having a wasting disease who could also lead the humans to Earth?

Well...there's always Starbuck...

Oh yeah.  And I'm not ruling out the idea of time travel.  Just.  For the record.

Battlestar Blog

It's been a LONG TIME since I've been on this blog.

But I thought I'd dust it off real quick to do something I hope will be kinda fun.

At the first of the year, my friends finally got me to watch Battlestar Galactica.  Every fiber of my being resisted them on this.  The title.  The TITLE.  It just sounds so NERDY and, worse, BORING.  Metal and steel and computer technobabble and All-The-Worst-Parts-of-Star-Trek boring boring boring.  I never in my wildest dreams thought I'd get sucked into this massive nerd fest of mega-nerdiest proportions.

And yet, here we are.

I didn't ever want to watch season four because I knew as long as I didn't watch it...Battlestar Galactica would NEVER HAVE TO END.  It would be out there forever, like some kind of nerd diamond.

But I've waited long enough.  It's time now.

I finally started the final season a few nights ago and I have a lot of feelings.  About what I'm seeing.  So instead of keeping my thoughts to myself, I thought I'd post them as I watch each episode.  To those of you who have already seen the show, hopefully you'll find this amusing.

Friday, August 31, 2012

Fork in New York

I'm back safe and sound. 

Well, safe anyway.  Jury's still out on the "sound" part.

Yeah.  Back in NYC after 2 months.  I was alarmed at how big my computer monitor looked and how clunky my keyboard felt after just using the MacBook Air all this time.  I took that feeling of looking at old things with fresh eyes outside as I walked over to the Chipotle for dinner. 

 And I's just funny.  2 months of seeing all sorts of neat new things, and then, walking through Times Square, I maybe looked up ONCE just to see what new billboards are up.  Let the Euros drink it in.  To me, it's dirty, noisy, but hey, at least I can walk everywhere.

I ran a few errands before forcing myself to stay up until 9:30 to try and beat jet lag.  It didn't work.  I didn't sleep at ALL last night.  Maybe just dozing here and there, but that's it.  So I'm feeling really out of it--as you may remember, I didn't sleep terribly well the night before at the airport hotel, and didn't sleep at all last night, and then another EARLY travel day tomorrow.  Fortunately, waking up early isn't a problem coming this way. 

Why, YES!  Another travel day!  You didn't think I was finished, did you?  I've got one more week of pinballing around airports before I'm settled in for the fall.  First up is a trip home for Labor Day weekend.  Seeing the sister and just generally hoping to provide some level of moral support.  Other goals include, but are not limited to:

Continuing to establish meaningful relationships with the kids
Getting over the jet lag
Going to the gym 

Since it's Labor Day weekend I wonder how crazy the airport will be tomorrow morning.  At 7am.  Freakin' 7am.  Which means I've got to be up at something like 4am to brush my teeth, hail a cab, and get there by 5 for two-hour chicken.

Check in.  Check.  In.

Did I mention I haven't slept?

So what's on the docket for my 24 hour shore leave you axe?

I have to get a little haircut, and a beard trim (because I get things like beard trims), unpack France stuff and re-pack with things to wear for the filming at Bible Study People for Life (yay pseudonyms!). 

After that, I'm really done for the day, however I REALLY want to hit the gym SOMEHOW.  I'm not sure... I thought about doing a bit of a leg workout day so I could focus on upper body in SC.  Reggie says I should avoid it altogether, as working out heavily the day after an overseas trip + jet lag is a recipe for certain sickness.

The thing is, things have gone just a little bit past "soft" and have moved slightly into the "I'm glad I brought my fat pants."  I think what I may do, instead of freaking about losing all this vacation weight, is to see if I can't balance it out by focusing my workouts mostly on gaining size and just try to hulk out a little bit, particularly as I'm about to be locked in with rehearsals for CAROL'S 2012 CHRISTMAS PLAY (another pseudonym!  I swear I'm not crazy!).

But before you start to worry that I MIGHT ACTUALLY BE crazy, take heart.  I have an October modeling gig at GeeCeeAee and I'm not planning on being a mess for that.  But still, I've got to get to work NOW to regain much of what I lost this past two months.

I know it's the jet lag and the amount of travel, but I really think I do miss Europe.  I REALLY wish there was something else I could do...another skill I could take with me to places like that.  And not live here anymore.  Or at least for a while.  Longer than just the 6 weeks.  Like a YEAR or two.  I actually really really enjoyed Holland, in spite of its pervasive superficiality and population of young, beautiful blondes who don't actually BELIEVE in anything.  It was nice. 

Okay.  Time to start stressing out about my day.  More later.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Still Up

I'm still up.

What am I still doing up?

I've been wanting to go to sleep since 5:30.  But I'm still awake.

I feel a little bit lame.  The plane ticket was originally booked to go in and out through Charles de Gaulle.  I thought about trying to change it to leave out of Amsterdam, but it didn't take much to realize it was going to be a major headache.  Booking a train ticket and a hotel at the airport was WAY more straightforward.  So here I am.

Re: Lameness.  I didn't see anything of Paris.  I feel kind of bad about that.  Like I should have just hopped on the train, snapped a picture of Notre Dame, and come back to the hotel.  But you know, I'm feeling a bit drained.

Drained partly from the goodbye party last night.  It was just me, Forko, and Waffelle, but Forko was dead-set on me having a "good time" with all those fancy Belgian beers, and he wouldn't take no for an answer.  And at some point we got to talking about the family.  Until 2am.

What a summer.  What a freakin' summer.

There's a bit too much personal stuff to post here.  Suffice it to say, people aren't doing at all well.  It's been a long two months of family drama, friend drama, and personal drama.  On one hand, I'm glad the summer is "ending" with my return to NYC, but at the same time, it's really just getting started.  It's going to be a long, hard fall.  I can tell.

It's only been two weeks since leaving Argenton, where the art school is, but it already feels like a far-distant memory.  Looking at pictures on the MyFace or things I snapped with my phone...I have those moments of, "Oh, I remember that!" when I see them.

Those ten days in the Netherlands.  Shewww...  It was like being on another planet.  And yes, the rumors are true.  I put on a ridiculous amount of vacation weight these two months here in Europe, what with the food and no gym and stress and a subconscious desire to feel "bigger" and more solid in the face of Hurricane Life and all that she brings.  I think I really am crazy.

Having a hard time focusing on the computer screen.  I swear, I really do have deep thoughts about what it means to have experienced all this and to be returning to boring old NYC, but they're just not coming at the moment.  Maybe because it's back to the slog, the noise, the dirt, and all the excitement.

Okay then.  Let's do it this way.  Things I really remember:

The Argenton town square, particularly on hot days
The house I stayed in and it's creepy bedroom
The view from the kitchen window
Daily baguettes
Walking down those narrow streets
Practicing French diligently
The Orchard walk
Getting the opening song from "Beauty and the Beast" stuck in my head every morning (Bonjour!)
Restaurant du Lac and their excellent cheeseburgers
The Friday Farmer's Markets
The Town Festival - pigeon, ostrich, snails
Catan games
Nutella on buttered baguette.  I mean seriously
The Shopi grocery store jingle

And then the Netherlands.  Good grief.  This one's easy:

The Van Gogh museum
The canals in Amsterdam
Bubbles the French Bulldog
Amsterdam in general
How awesome Leiden actually is
The Rijksmuseum
The Girl With the Pearl Earring being in Japan
The MC Escher museum
The Hague...the old part of town with the castle-y things
Meeting up with my old High School Youth Group leader in the Hague
The awful grocery store in the Hague
Dutch Masters
Belgian beer
The one night on my own in which I played my American Card and got crummy Italian food because at least I knew what it was.

And there you go.  The trip in a nutshell.  Okay.  Bed!

Sunday, August 19, 2012

In Leiden!

Okay, I guess I have to give up on the French for now.  Because NOBODY speaks it here.

It feels like I'm on another planet, actually.  There's something NOT French about this place.  Something fun and slick and old but new at the same time... it feels like Ikea.

Here with Forko and Waffelle and their cats.  Nena had a bit of a run-in with a scooter so she's on house rest for the next several days.  She's also a leopard cat, which are known for their surprising ability to communicate with humans due to their very unique and distinctive meows.  She's been demonstrating them all morning, letting us all know things like, "I'm hungry" and "I want to go outside" and "please let me go outside" and "I REALLY REALLY want to go outside NOW PLEASE."

Yesterday we revved my engines a bit for the trip to Amsterdam today.  And by "revved my engines" I mean "drank a lot in anticipation of drinking more once we get to Amsterdam."  I'm actually a bit grateful for the accrual of the last six weeks' pastry pudge as I think it gave me about 4 or 5 free gulps before the canal started spinning.

And now that it's almost noon, everyone is up with their coffee, bracing themselves for madness in Amsterdam.  Lawd, Lawd, am I ready for the red light district?

Friday, August 17, 2012


Woke up somewhere around 4:45 this morning and could NOT go back to sleep.

We had the End of the Summer potluck last night.  Food was eaten.  Beer was consumed.

There's something about beer that makes me wake up bright and early.

And also the little niggling anxiety of packing.

See, tomorrow is departure day.  Wake up at 7, hike up the hill to the student dorm and catch the specially-rented shuttle bus to the train station at Angers.  From there it's a hike across Paris and off to the Netherlands for the final part of the trip.

The final part?

Yep.  It's already been 6 weeks.

It's time to go around this little place I've been calling home for the past two months and gather up all the things that have gradually moved farther and farther away from the suitcase.  I guess that means I feel like I live here or something.

It's a really funny feeling.  On one hand, I feel like I just got here, and on the other, I DON'T.

Part of the anxiety, I think, comes from what the end of this MEANS.  It means I'm about to not have a house to live in.  It means I'm about to not have a gig again.  It means I'm about to go back to a stressful life in NYC, wondering how I'm gonna make it and what I'm really supposed to be doing.  It means I'm not going to say, "Desolee, je suis American.  Je ne comprond pas" NEARLY as much as I do now.

It also means leaving a bunch of people who have become a kind of...oh my goodness.  I can't say it.  No.  Not a FAMILY.  But...something LIKE a family, I guess.  All the stability and security and peace and quiet... say goodbye folks.

Another part of the anxiety is that, when the timer went off at the end of the last set yesterday, something felt so FINAL about it.  Like, "That's it, Forky.  Let's do something else now."  And that has me a little bit scared.  Because if I took the path of least resistance, I'd probably just do this for the rest of my life.  The problem is, I don't think I OUGHT to do this for the rest of my life.  This modeling thing has become a crazy career that I didn't mean to fall into.  It's safe, I'm good at it, and I enjoy working with extraordinary talents and having .jpegs of portraits I can print off and give to my family at Christmas.

But is that all that this little Forky is destined for?  Hey, not knocking it.  There are worse things.  But are there OTHER things?

Yesterday I guess I unofficially decided that, when I get back to NYC, I'm not going to model for a while.  Go back to temping, focus on Christmas Carol rehearsals, work on these long put-off illustrations for these little stories I've written...  As long as the modeling is there, why do I need to explore?  Why do I need to ask myself, "What else is out there that you'd really like to do?"

So the Nutella gut may be here a little while longer if it keeps me from leaping back onto the model stand.

Is this unwise?  Is this stupid?

I just re-read "when I get back to NYC, I'm not going to model for a while" and I suddenly felt really really SAD.  Okay, how about I put it THIS way instead:

When I get back to NYC, I'm going to focus heavily on creating something resembling a 5 year  Just 2 year plan.  Yeah, that's the ticket.

Okay.  I'll shut up now.  This suitcase isn't gonna pack itself.


Saturday, August 11, 2012

Trop Beaucoup de Vin

I guess the fact that the room is still spinning a little bit--just a little after noon--means that we had a really good time at the town festival last night.

Seriously...the Frogs throw back a TON of wine.  I don't know how they do it, but the would-be alcoholic in me probably needs to be a bit more vigilant the next time I go to a party and wine is flowing like a river.  I mean, a stranger saw that my glass was empty and just filled it right on up from his own bottle.

All good sense just goes right out the window.  And yet, all I can think about is the Wedding at Cana.  I feel like we ought not kid ourselves.  The implication in the text is that people were getting HAPPY thanks to the wine.

I dunno what that means for me today.  I guess just that the Lord had been to parties like the one last night, so in a funny way, I don't feel quite so guilt-ridden for telling myself, "Have another glass!  Party time!!"

But still.

We're about to begin the last week of the summer class.  Friday is Departure Day.  I CANNOT believe it's been 6 weeks already. I look at my beard, which has been growing this whole time, I kind of can.  It's feeling substantial again.  Just the way I like it.  On the road to Christmas Carol 2012.

But back to the town festival.  It was sort of a local thing, where people from the area come to sell their wares, everyone eats a ton, drinks more than is good for them, and watches a surprisingly impressive fireworks show.  And yes, everyone Oohs and Aahs in the same language.

Sampled some rather odd things...  Ostrich sausage, pigeon fillets, and my very first escargot.  At first I was resolved to never EVER eat a googly-eyed slug-in-a-shell, but then someone said they were basically oysters.  Flashback to Cousin Billy's oyster roast and I thought, "Okay.  Maybe I can do this."

Gotta start getting ready for an afternoon modeling session.  One of the instructors is bound and determined to finish this portrait this afternoon.  More later!