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Apr. 11th, 2015

I've started a proper Doctor Who blog, in case anyone's interested. Linked is an essay about The Brain of Morbius. It's actually a love story! In a way.

This entry was originally posted at http://firefly99.dreamwidth.org/661922.html, but you are completely welcome to comment here if you like! There are comment count unavailable comments there and you can join the conversation using your DW account or OpenID.

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classic who is ruined by shippers

I
Oh, Doctor, honey, you and the Brigadier are never going to work. You go on about how you need him, but you aren't being honest - you've got no need for money or material possessions and even without the car you've got access to any form of public transport on Earth. You can't convince me that a man of your charm and intelligence, with your history of being able to show up anywhere you like and become the centre of the world, couldn't talk your way into a job interview for anyone else. You've got your house and your car now, and even as much as you love them they don't tie you down as scarcity does not exist in your world.

You don't really think you need him, you think he needs you. You think he needs you to stop him. (You're not yet at a stage in your life where you need others to stop you - you've only really done one cold judgmental genocide and turned yourself in to be regenerated in the next story but one, as if you knew it meant you'd gone too far.) Remember when you saw him murdering thousands of people out of racism, committing a genocide against a race he refused to try to understand, only seeing their different skin colour and how much their radicals hated you and bombing them while they slept - you knew he would do it, you asked him twice not to, you knew he was going to do it and yet you still saw him and your voice quaked with rage as you accused him of murder. And you went back to work the next story. You made a dark comment to Liz about how the Brigadier must be out of people to kill, but you went back to work the next story. Hell, both you and Liz have different haircuts in the next story, so maybe some time did pass, some time and anguish and reconciliation, but why would you go back to him for the next story at all?

You need to realise that you aren't going to change him, he is too stupid to change. Forty/howevermany years from now, when you're allowed to actually kiss your companions instead of just having relationshippy resonance in the way your platonic allegiences go, you'll be surrounded by girls who are cleverer than you by virtue of insight - 'but, Doctor, I believe you can save everyone and you don't have to do this terrible thing' girls. You've had some of those already in the past, though they were a little less obvious about it. Liz is clever, and you treat her like an equal, with great fondness and respect, but the Brigadier is stupid. His main contributions are telling people to do what they're already doing anyway, murdering people and wasting bullets shooting at invincible and friendly aliens in astronaut costumes. Doctor, honey, he's handsome, and he bought you an expensive gift, but some people are just toxic. He's made it clear that he'll continue acting in the same way he does no matter what you do to stop him. These are irreconcilable differences, and you need to dump him.

II
Oh, Doctor, you got it so close. You came so close to walking out on him and you ended up getting dumped yourself - literally dumped, stuck in the UNIT rubbish dump seconds into the future, after attempting to storm out with a faulty TARDIS. Then you apologised to him because you didn't want to go back and dig it out. You could have done better.

There were a lot of emotions at play. You'd failed to save Nazi alternate universe versions of your friends from drowning in fire, which has got to make you feel a little bit stressed, but that probably wasn't why you snapped at him. In fact, before then, you'd even slipped up and called him 'Brigade Leader', the title of his fascist version - you genuinely fell to the most clichéd slipup of faithless lovers. The Brigade Leader was not much of a better catch - he beat you, tortured you, threatened to shoot you even though he knew you were unable to save him, and (by your stated opinion) not as handsome without the moustache - but he left an impression on you, and I think it was probably down to his vulnerability. You were able to break him, you see. Your Brigadier observes, acts, and never reacts; the Brigade Leader emotes, panics, lashes out. Surrounded by the trappings of absolute power, he felt secure enough to show the little boy playing at being a soldier that you always suspected he is, but that he never, ever trusts you with. And, look at that. You got him to change.

The Brigade Leader would be better for you if he wasn't stuck in an alternate universe drowning in magma while hairy fire zombies tear people to pieces in the background. So what you do is you literally dump yourself and literally get back together with him after literally two seconds by convincing him you need him. You think you've had it confirmed that he can change, but actually it's the opposite. Change is impossible. You can do better.

III
Wow, Doctor, is that you? You look amazing! You're smiling so much more, and I love the cardigan and the big pockets and the shoes and is that a new hair colour? Oh my god, I'm so glad you finally dumped him. The lines have gone from your face. Even your voice sounds stronger.

I suppose there has to be some significance to the way you finally managed to get out of it. When you tried to dump him in dramatics, in anger and inferno, you ended up tossing yourself into the trash. So instead you just left with boredom, left him without a word positive or negative (except for a rare-for-you moment of vulnerability when you punched a brick while almost tearfully telling Sarah Jane that you won't won't won't go on like this), without a journalist and without a doctor and without a Doctor, running off to find something fun to do leaving him to stand around waiting for you to come back. With a booking for one of those awful dinner parties he used to take you to, the ones which are always just an excuse to show off how much cooler and more powerful his friends are than yours.

Two major things happened around the time you finally cut him out of your life. The first thing, on shallow inspection, just seems like more of the same; more shooting at beautiful things he doesn't understand. But there's more to it than that - he wasn't satisfying you any more. Never before have his ineffectual bullets and macho military action been so sexual, so impotent; we cut from you telling your new friend Harry (who is much better for you than the Brigadier, did I say?) about the Freudian theory of 'compensation' to the Brigadier firing a huge, pink-tipped gun from crotch level while grunting about giving the killer robot something. But the size is soon dwarfed, because the robot gets hit by the gun and immediately grows so much bigger, while the Brigadier looks on in despair at his own limp tool. Never before has the Brigadier been shown to be so unsatisfying. You put the robot back to normal size by chucking a cold shower over it, but even the girthy cannons on the Brigadier's tanks looked like toys in comparison. No wonder you were bored.

The second thing that happened is a little more beautiful. Didn't I tell you you couldn't change him? You never managed. You never changed him. In the end the answer was give yourself a little time alone to think, to face your fears, and then to let everything you learned tear you apart on the inside until it changed you. The hurt's going to fade, and you're going to remember and miss the good times - you're going to look upon him later in life as a loyal friend instead of as the genocidal, militaristic shit who committed a genocide and got away with it scot-free while simultaneously ruining everything you tried to accomplish. Maybe in the near future, when you're hurting for a friend and you're drowning in violence for a week, you might find yourself seeking out a soldier again who you have to convince not to kill things she doesn't understand - but do yourself a favour and make sure she's someone who's willing to change.

There might have been a moral in this post about how other people than you, Doctor, should have their relationships, but if there is one I have no idea what it is.

This entry was originally posted at http://firefly99.dreamwidth.org/661652.html, but you are completely welcome to comment here if you like! There are comment count unavailable comments there and you can join the conversation using your DW account or OpenID.

Nov. 11th, 2014

Doctor Who meta - On Toberman from Tomb of the Cybermen. Spoilers for that story, as well as for Dark Water/Death in HeavenCollapse )

This entry was originally posted at http://firefly99.dreamwidth.org/661316.html, but you are completely welcome to comment here if you like! There are comment count unavailable comments there and you can join the conversation using your DW account or OpenID.

the best is yeti to come

Hi people. Haven't been here in years, probably more. It's fine. I've been fine. I've been trying to watch all of Classic Doctor Who. So have a post about Macra and monsters.

--

I hate The Web of Fear. It's not the worst Doctor Who story I've watched on a structural level (The Celestial Toymaker can't be beaten here, though it's definitely one of the worst) or the one that has pissed me off the most (Day of the Moon, Angels Take Manhattan, Let's Kill Hitler) or the most racist (Tomb of the Cybermen can fuck off), but by god, I hate it. I hate it and I hate the fact that most Who fans take it seriously just because it was missing for years and has the Brigadier in it. I hate the fact that the fanbase consensus is that the slow-motion Mornington Crescent-em-up The Web of Fear is a classic and hate things like The Gunfighters and The Underwater Menace for being quirky and including singing.

(Classic Doctor Who fandom doesn't really seem to like the comedy stories as much as you'd expect. It does seem to be based around the idea that Doctor Who would be better if it was more like Star Trek, or even Star Wars. People love City of Death, all right, but at the time of broadcast people criticised it for being silly - and then the writer went on to become incredibly famous for creating a series of really funny books that everyone loves, so now it's considered genius. Of course, this is bollocks - there's no reason why good comedy is any lower than good horror - and it's especially cruel to judge comedy in a series where the most obvious appeal is that the main character is an eccentric who pulls googly-eyed faces and clowns around and defeats humourless racist robots by being funnier than everyone else in the room. Say what you like about NuWho fandom, but at least most of the Tennant-GIF-and-fez-brigade understand that jokes need to be there, and that it's good having fun.)

The first couple of episodes of The Web of Fear aren't really that much worse than anything, and even have at least two good scenes. There's a nicely obvious Strong Female Character bit where Miss Travers tells a sexist jerk asking her how she got her job, "When I was a little girl, I thought I would like to become a scientist. So I became a scientist", and an oddly warm part where a couple of UNIT soldiers speculate ignorantly about whether the London Underground-invading robot yeti shooting webs out of guns (yes, I know, more about this later) are sent by the Russians, lacking the knowledge, interest and power needed to ever get an answer. But then the third episode tosses in the Brigadier and then he needs to have the plot explained to him for the entire episode, and so nothing happens in it, and then we're far beyond the point of no return.

The Great Intelligence - one of those villains Doctor Who fandom fetishises because it looks a bit like something HP Lovecraft would create - claims it has no interest in revenge ("a very human emotion") and immediately explains to the Doctor that it's going to get revenge on him. I think this is deliberate - I think the Great Intelligence is a cosmic manchild, neither as powerful nor as inhuman as it pretends to be. The Great Intelligence can possess people but needs to construct machines in order to get anything done, and wants to steal the Doctor's brain out of what is probably just a wounded ego. It's the most insecure eldritch horror I think I've ever encountered. It delivers these threats to the Doctor through the possessed mouth of Professor Travers, an old ally of the Doctor from the story The Abominable Snowman and one of the most likeable characters in the story, and the writers flat out forget to have the Doctor appear at all upset about the fact that the Great Intelligence has hollowed out his friend's mind - he just reacts with Doctorish indignation, and some frowning and companion homoeroticism on account of those being his gimmicks in this incarnation.

Say what you like about Moffat, but at least he bothered to have the Doctor be properly upset about Walter Simeon's possession. The characterisation of the Great Intelligence is actually very consistent, and you should not listen to anyone saying otherwise.

I think I did mention the fact that the monsters in the story are London Underground-infesting robot Yeti with glowing eyes and handheld smoke pistols, ridiculous in clawlike hands, a child with a latex halloween glove and a spud gun. This smoke coalesces into spiderweb-like structures that block radio waves and control people's minds and do whatever they're supposed to at that point in the story. They are controlled by floating metal spheres, or by manipulating wooden carvings of Yeti which act as homing devices. If this sounds like a pile of completely random traits I'm pulling out of a stovepipe hat, that's exactly what it's like. And that is why The Web of Fear completely falls for me.

What is a Yeti? A miserable pile of spooky traits, shoved together with no rhyme or reason. The Yeti make no sense, and there is no context to them. The Yeti are not a metaphor.

The Daleks are a metaphor for fascism and paranoia. They wall themselves off from a world they're frightened of and do not seek to understand and then scream threats and bigotry at it from behind an expressionless luminous screen, like you or someone you know is probably doing in a comment section right now. They are Nazis in The Dalek Invasion of Earth, Communist agents in Power of the Daleks, dark alchemies and magic formed from the evil side of human nature in Evil of the Daleks, and Dalekmania-induced mascots in The Chase, but even if what they mean changes between stories their meaning is always there and it is always significant.

The Yeti, in their first story, did represent something. The Doctor defends a Buddhist monastery from suddenly violent native wildlife which turns out to be not native at all, but robots built to look like Yeti. An inorganic but somehow thinking being, metal spheres and glass, has already subverted the priest (a five hundred year old being of great wisdom and quasi-magical powers) and is using his religious influence to shield itself. In the climax, the giant pyramid mountains appear illuminated and glassy like the pyramid structure of the Intelligence, the land itself becoming the evil influence; and while the Doctor teaches the monks to go against the teachings which caused the toxicity to take hold, he also has the monks teach Victoria a prayer in order to help her resist its influence. In this world, the Yeti are technological encroachment on a traditional way of life, a creation of a deeper cultural corruption that prizes power more than spirituality.

But what are they in The Web of Fear? They're just there because... the Yeti are fun. They are just there to be monsters, gain a bunch of other arbitrary traits and mean nothing. There is nothing that would change in the plot if you replaced the Great Intelligence with WOTAN and the Yeti with the War Machines - in fact, that'd improve it, since the Machines are a product of the future promised by 1960s London. Or replaced the GI with the Animus and the Yeti with the Zarbi - this would also work better, since the Animus was at least established to manipulate the world around it with webs. (There was a First Doctor comic with Zarbi invading the London Underground, actually. The Zarbi walked on six bug legs instead of two obviously human ones, though, and the writer seemed to think that the First Doctor's gimmick of calling Ian slightly incorrect names was something he did all the time instead of when he was trying to annoy Ian.) A monster that means nothing is no monster, less than a monster. It makes the story less than a story, chokes understanding out of it. Like that stupid orange clam monster that Harry steps in around the late middle of Genesis of the Daleks for no reason other than to make the plot worse, the Yeti are an impediment to the story's own theme. I've watched a lot of bad Doctor Who but The Web of Fear is the first one that actually means nothing.

The litmus test for whether a monster means anything is to remove it from the story and look at what is left behind. Have a go, it's like a game. Take the Yeti from The Web of Fear and you're left with a story about the London Underground getting cunked up, something thoroughly nothing to do with the Yeti. But if you take the Daleks (and the clams, I suppose) out of Genesis of the Daleks what you're left with is a bunch of racist politicians who have already decided that terrible decisions must be made to determine their own survival, while the Doctor gets squeamish over whether to stop them in case his own view of how things should be is as megalomaniacal as theirs.

Nothing unexpected there, but then I tried doing it to The Macra Terror. People seem to see The Macra Terror as a generic runaround in a quirky setting with some fun Delia Derbyshire music, but take out the giant crab monsters hypnotising a holiday camp planet and what you get is - Ben, a young man, realises his apparently happy world is one where people have to work themselves to death in dehumanising jobs for no benefit to anybody, with the sole thing to look up to being the occasional week in Butlin's. He eventually comes to believe in this world until his countercultural friend reminds him what life is really about.

And suddenly, Gridlock makes sense - it's a fairly common opinion in Doctor Who fandom that the Macra should not have been used in Gridlock because their personalities are so different, much like how the new series ruined the Great Intelligence by bringing him back explicitly and openly obsessed with revenge instead of hiding it with a veneer of hipster irony. This has decent reasoning behind it - the Macra go from being hyperintelligent spacefarers to speechless animals, although they still share an interest in feeding on toxic gas. But, crucially, what the Macra represent is the same. The people in Gridlock are lovely, intelligent, creative and different individuals literally trapped on their commute to work all their lives, with only their decorated homes, chatting with their friends and singing hymns to keep them going. The fundamental horror in the lives of the colonists and the lives of the New New Yorkers is the same, and, so, so is the monster.

This is how watching bad television can teach you more than good television, at least if all you care about is crabs.

This entry was originally posted at http://firefly99.dreamwidth.org/661231.html, but you are completely welcome to comment here if you like! There are comment count unavailable comments there and you can join the conversation using your DW account or OpenID.
So if you've been paying attention to the blister saga which is half as rapt as the attention I've been paying, you will be as confused as I am that the thing miraculously healed overnight yesterday. It had been getting steadily better, and the clear fluid had drained out of it, leaving an off-green cottage cheese-like emulsion of pus, slime and dead bacteria trapped beneath the skin.

Anyway, today, it has all magically disappeared. I have no idea where it went, since it seemed pretty clear to me my body had no interest in sucking it back up again. Maybe the Pus Fairy took it. I was watching this thing last night before I went to sleep, so, who knows, maybe Jesus did it. It's a miracle!

Of course I had an appointment to see the nurse at 11:30 today to get it lanced, so what this post boils down to is THANK YOU JESUS FOR WASTING THE NHS'S TIME (imagine like a big JPG-distorted image of a smiling jesus from a horrible american children's book holding like a child and a lamb and gurning all over the place and that caption over it in flashing comic sans or something, I am on my phone, but use your imagination).

Hey I think I have discovered a loophole that means I will never need to open Photoshop again

This entry was originally posted at http://firefly99.dreamwidth.org/660743.html, but you are completely welcome to comment here if you like! There are comment count unavailable comments there and you can join the conversation using your DW account or OpenID.

The LiveJournal Book Of The Dead

1 They laid LiveJournal in an open coffin, face made up as in life, scented with spices. An Orthodox cross was carved into his headstone. His flower display was wired-and-foamed into the shape of a furry with an erection, as he would have wanted if he had been alive.

2 Facebook and Twitter wore blue stripes in memory of him. Tumblr, ever the manic pixie dream girl, dyed her hair blue in the bathroom sink, and piled it atop her head. Dreamwidth, to stand away from him, wore red, and Plurk, less connected to him than others, wore the same orange and green hijab as usual. I wore old unfashionable jeans and a men's Metal Gear Solid tshirt because I could not believe he was gone so soon.

3 'hey, baby', Twitter verbally sexted as he saw me. He grabbed me, kissed me like that photo of the soldier and nurse. 'just call LiveJournal elenor rigby because at this funeral nobody came yet THOUGH NOT FOR LONG I GUESS' He caressed my fingers, nibbled at my neck. He wasn't the only one - reddit and imgur were practically sticking their whole heads down into each others's stomachs, although in a totally straight way because who can deal with women. It's not their fault they don't care. Making yourself care is hard work.

4 Remember when people used to play fandom games together? Games of participation and community? With you gone it's become a game of who can shout the loudest over a million people shouting, a game that is basically a roulette. Many a flower is destined to blush unseen, and waste its perfume on the desert air.

5 And remember when you could learn things about people's lives because you were both interested in the same things? Where Plurk created a land of perpetual secrecy and names that shift like sand, you gave completeness, wholeness, a platform for both enthusiasm and for solo reflection.

6 Comment-pride feels healthier than reblog pride. 12 comments are the seed of twelve discussions, a sign twelve people cared enough to caress your thoughts with theirs. But 120 notes just feels bad for you, a calorie label empty of nutrients, worth of throwing up in the toilet to purge. Such attention is never enough, and never deserved, as the content was not your own and not transformative.

7 How can you be famous in a collaborative universe? Social worlds, forums and communities, create obscurity. Blogging platforms, microblogging platforms, create fame. The purpose of Tumblr is merely to trade time for non-content, all collaboration selfish.

8 Some people say Facebook killed him. Others say it was Tumblr. Still others say the Russian gangsters put a bullet in the back of his neck. A few say old age. But it was none of those things - it was thinspo; desperate lunging to be more like the others at the expense of whose who loved it. But Dreamwidth is barely alive, as it is not moving with the times.

9 He was there for me all my high school, all my sixth form college, all my university years, and yet if I could have him back as he was, I would not care any more. This is because I am depressed, which is medical-speak for 'self centred'.

10 Note also I declare myself the arbiter of what is alive. After all, LiveJournal's body still festers away. It is riddled with decomposition, which creeps, and worms, which are alive. His library, his great contribution, is maintained, which is a kind of life. But I wrote down all of my thoughts and feelings for eleven years and no matter how much of yourself you write down into a book, it can never become you.

11 I passed 4chan on the way out. He, too, dressed in blue, but carried a homophobic sign, picketing the funeral. I rolled my eyes and walked past, and continued crying about what a wonderful thing it is that we have all lost. But those wonderful things still continue. I am just too stupid to work out how to get to them, or to make them mean to me what they once meant.

Better is the end of a thing than its beginning, and the patient in spirit is better than the proud in spirit. Be not quick in your spirit to become angry, for anger lodges in the heart of fools. Say not, "Why were the former days better than these?" For it is not from wisdom that you ask this.

(Ecclesiastes 7:8 - 10)

This entry was originally posted at http://firefly99.dreamwidth.org/660227.html, but you are completely welcome to comment here if you like! There are comment count unavailable comments there and you can join the conversation using your DW account or OpenID.

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Mar. 13th, 2013

The thing I miss about myself the most from a year ago was that I actually gave a rancid steaming crap about some things, even if they were fandom timesinks rather than anything of value. But for the last six months, I haven't been caring about anything at all, and that's why I've been popping St John's Wort like it's candy.

Am I depressed? Am I recovering from depression? I honestly don't know any more. Right now, feeling like I am recovering, it feels to me that it is like one of those disturbing, vivid dreams you have which alter your perception of reality. I had one of those pretty recently - I dreamt I was a tiny shrimp living on the ocean floor, experiencing the world like a shrimp would, with no higher thoughts. I feel the same way about myself now that I did about myself then. Everything is just terrible.

Anyway, permanent change or otherwise, here are some things that are not terrible:

1) I AM FLYING TO BOSTON ON THE 19TH. AAAAAAAAH

2) On Friday I am going down to the district nurse to have my blister [WARNING - HORRIBLE GIFS OF A RANCID PUS-FILLED SKIN NODULE] stabbed to a deserved death. Right now, I am wearing a pair of geta-style sandals I brought on a whim from Taobao, because they're the only shoes I own that don't cover the thing. My mother hates them and has insulted my taste many times.

This entry was originally posted at http://firefly99.dreamwidth.org/660077.html, but you are completely welcome to comment here if you like! There are comment count unavailable comments there and you can join the conversation using your DW account or OpenID.

Feb. 18th, 2013



AU where Terezi is the bassist for an influential 1970s punk band who is introduced to a Faygo addiction by a glamorous hateclown fanboy, and together they spiral down into substance abuse and murder.

This entry was originally posted at http://firefly99.dreamwidth.org/659275.html, but you are completely welcome to comment here if you like! There are comment count unavailable comments there and you can join the conversation using your DW account or OpenID.

Feb. 11th, 2013

SO I'VE BEEN READING SOME DOCTOR WHO META AND GETTING MY RAGE MUSCLE ALL ANGER FLEXED. YOU'D BETTER CHECK OUT THESE FURY GUNS BECAUSE DAMN, I AM HATERIPPED.

cut for huge tumblr table copypastey, and rantingCollapse )

This entry was originally posted at http://firefly99.dreamwidth.org/659100.html, but you are completely welcome to comment here if you like! There are comment count unavailable comments there and you can join the conversation using your DW account or OpenID.

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Feb. 10th, 2013

[00:20:28] Rich: I quite liked "Zolom National Park"
[00:20:37] Rich: Seeing as it's just a glorified swamp
[00:20:39] fireholly99: i love everything else about the sign, for real.
[00:20:43] Rich: in a world where the environment has gone to shit
[00:20:50] fireholly99: it is SO SHINRA to call it a national park
[00:20:58] fireholly99: i hate to imagine what they think of the Ancient Forest as
[00:21:12] Rich: an opportunity? :P
[00:21:21] fireholly99: actually GOOD QUESTION
[00:21:40] fireholly99: why didn't they exploit the Ancient Forest? i mean other than the fact it's obviously a tacked on area to fill up disc space
[00:21:59] fireholly99: i think it was added in the international version or something?
[00:22:11] fireholly99: which is why no-one ever mentions it
[00:22:54] fireholly99: i shall believe the first reactor crews just got swallowed up by huge carnivorous plants and no-one wanted to go there again
[00:23:16] fireholly99: either that or they ran out of frogs
[00:23:16] Rich: ha
[00:23:30] Rich: the other bits and bobs I'm going to try and do tonight
[00:23:35] Rich: Sector 7 Memorial Park plate
[00:23:39] fireholly99: which raises another question. why is it ethical to have a game about the environment which encourages you to stuff innocent frogs into plants?
[00:24:00] fireholly99: there ARE killer frogs in FF7 and those aren't it
[00:24:09] fireholly99: I NEED TO GO TO BED WHY AM I AWAKE

This entry was originally posted at http://firefly99.dreamwidth.org/658787.html, but you are completely welcome to comment here if you like! There are comment count unavailable comments there and you can join the conversation using your DW account or OpenID.

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