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, 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, 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, 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, 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.


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:


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, 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, 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


cut for huge tumblr table copypastey, and rantingCollapse )

This entry was originally posted at, 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. 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, 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.

A poem

I am writing you a little piece of crummy poetry
To express how I am sick of playing Final Fantasy III.
I've been playing it since back in Jul-ee,
With the hope of analysing it quite interestingly,
And seeing it in context of later Final Fantasy,
But it has been a slogfest of maximum shittery.
And I have many better things that I can do, frank-lee.
I find the game quite bland and boring, tenuous and twee,
I like some of the characters but Luneth annoys me,
FFII was worse but had more interest I could see,
My emulator plays it but all kind of stuttery,
And frankly I'm as fed up with it as a girl can be.

Despite this I will not let myself from my misery,
I'm too far in to stop playing, engage in quittery,
And to give up at Eureka would make me feel guilty,
But I must admit that I do not like Final Fantasy III.

This entry was originally posted at, 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.

ESTA form

I don't understand the purpose of the questions on my ESTA form.

What would I have said if I WAS planning on going to the US to engage in 'immoral activity'? Or what if I WAS a convicted Nazi?


For the slow amongst my four readers: yes, I am going to America. Specifically, Boston, with a weekend in New York. I'll be at PAX East. You can say hi if you want!

This entry was originally posted at, 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.


Latest Month

November 2014



RSS Atom
Powered by
Designed by Tiffany Chow