Saturday, December 05, 2015

Saturday Barre, Yard and Hexacat

This morning I went to the Barre Basics class, now taught by Adela, at the Fauntleroy Y. She does things in a different order than Molly did, but both are or were excellent leaders: I always finish class well warmed, stretched out and worn.
The rest of the day was maintenance around the house, which is a great thing to do when it is so very soggy out. The branches in my yard seem to be settling into a Pacific Northwest look that is very different from that of a typical grass yard, and I look forward to seeing how it all shakes out.
Having finished Deep Space Nine, I don't especially feel the urge to watch more TV; it was fun but I have other interests. It's nice to have the option, I suppose.
We discussed giving a home to another cat. After all, we had no trouble supporting six cats, so now that Michelle has gone to live with Kris, there is room for one more - and one needing a home has been found. This is not a problem but it's nice to have adult family discussions on things - a bit of a new experience for me, but I could get used to it.

Wednesday, December 02, 2015

Wednesday Welcome News

The WSBA World Peace Through Law Section has an ongoing problem: most of our members cannot participate in meetings during the usual business day, even by teleconference. Most of them can't attend meetings in Seattle at al, or in any other particular location, because they live or work too far away - our Executive Board has several members who aren't even in Washington State!
Most sections must have this problem, of course, but at least their practice orientation rewards event attendees more directly than ours does; there really isn't much immediate financial advantage to uderstanding how law and peace can work together.
As a result, Section membership is small and not growing. Why would it? we aren't able to do much. I am personally unwilling to invest time in events that cannot be attendd by 90% or more of our ptential audience. If someone else wants to do the work, I'll support them and help as I can, but no-one has volunteered - perhaps I have been uniquely foolish in pursuing this windmill.
The final straw was my new gig starting December 14: I simply can not take time off work to do section events.
Resolved to see the positive side of this, I proposed to our Executive Board that we run meetings virtually, using the new forum as infrastructure. This would require a small procedural change, and I had hoped to pass this at the next Board meeting; but of course, there is no single time at which the Board's members can all meet, even by teleconference.
This is not such a bad thing, as it impelled me to write up the rule for the irtual meeting, and propose it. I'll give the Board a week to comment on it, and then propose it at the first sitting of the December meeting. Since the bylaws don't specify any particular quorum, I shoul be abe to get it passed with no organzational hurdles.
Whether it works in practice remains to be seen, but it's a reform with great promise. Let's hope for the best!

Tuesday, December 01, 2015

Tuesday: In Cider Ceritas

Most of the day I spent organizing for massive changes in support of my new gig. The mail included a letter from the Feds to my ex, which I figured was worth breaking radio silence since it might be important - it was easy enough to text her a photo. She asked to see it.
After another most excellent zumba session at Fauntleroy, I met Kris at the "Super Deli Mart" which is presumably next to her apartment building (officially I don't know where she lives) and gave her the envelope. It appears to be part of an investigation of me in connection with employment, which makes sense; she promised to fill it out accurately. We then talked over sandwiches, with a beer for her and a cider for me, mostly about her current suite of problems. She hasn't changed, which I suppose is reassuring for me.

Monday, November 30, 2015

Getting Organized Monday

In two weeks I'll be starting a new position, which will require radically revising my business model. It's going to work out great, but I have a lot of re-organizing to do. I'm re-thinking the use of every room in the first floor of this house, which projects I give priority to, and so forth. For example, no more meetings of any sort will be possible during normal business hours, so I need to figure out how to do the work of the World Peace Through Law Section and so forth in other ways.
It's a challenge and a puzzle, and I guess that's a good thing.

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Deep Space Sunday

When my house family offered to share Netflix with me, I initially discounted the offer, since I did not watch much TV. I'd rather participate in interactive or creative entertainment.
However, I had a nostaglia for Star Trek. I've re-viewed every episode of The Original Series as they became available on YouTube. I found Next Generation adequate but not worth chasing down; Voyager better than nothing but not much; and Enterprise unwatchable. Part of the problem may be the episodic nature of those series made building actual plots unlikely.
Deep Space Nine, however, had a seven-season story arc. I decided to rewatch the whole thing, and just finished up tonight.
The series holds up, for the most part, thanks to acting and writing. The special effects are sufficient for the story, and there are makeup problems now that we watch on very detailed screens (Nog and most of the Cardassians have visible blends between their prostheses and skin), but that doesn't detract from the thing overall.
The most important thing that the long story arc does for the series is that it lets the characters start our flawed and grow or heal. The episodic series don't do much of that; they may kill off a character, or let a child mature, but the actual adults in the episodic series can't change. Not only does that make every story more shallow, it makes the characters themselves more shallow: they have ideosyncracies rather than flaws.
In contrast, DS9 starts with a cast of broken characters: Sisko angrily mourns his dead wife and Kira is barely able to hold it together after a life of guerilla war. Over the arc of the series they heal, so that an episode from the seventh season is clearly distinguishable from one in the first season as much by the way they talk as by the number of pips on their collar (...they earn promotions, another thing not really allowed in episodic series.)
The Outsider character is often a problem in the various Star Treks. Spock set a very high standard by living in two words. Data, OTOH, despite the awesome acting of Brent Spiner, was merely annoying in his childishness, and occasionally embarrassing (e.g. the need to make him vulnerable has him disclose to Dr. Crusher that he has on "Off" switch in his back -  a stupid concept in itself, but in any event something that should have obvious to Starfleet long ago.) Voyager tried having a whole bunch of outsiders; both The Doctor and Seven of Nine were particularly fun to play with, but their outsider status didn't actually do much more than give individual stories some plot points.
Odo, OTOH, can fairly be viewed as the central character of the series, because the entirety of the Federation-Dominion war rests upon the misunderstanding of Solid by the Founders. Odo's learning how to be, well not human, but humanoid, is the key to resolving that conflict.
The one major character than consistently disappointed was Jadzia Dax. Make no mistake, she was easy on the eyes, and in interviews the actress came off as a nice person, but the character suffered by starting off near-perfect and having nothing to do but need a rescue or chase romance. In the first few seasons in particular, if Dax was in a situation, she was the one needing rescue. Cops arrest her for a murder in a past life, she twists her ankle in the thoroughly aweful "Move Along Home",  she has to be rescued in various other episodes; the nearest thing she does to rescuing anyone else is to join some Klingons in a revenge killing, and even then she dithers over whether or not to do it. The contrast with Kira is clear; one time the two of them are off in a spacecraft to do something dangerous; Kira kicks ass as a fighting pilot, Dax complains because working on the engine she bumped her head. It's especially embarassing in that we were told Jadzia was some kind of super genius with three PhD's even before being joined to Dax and gaining huge past experience, AND she's the station Science Officer to boot, but when there's a McGuffin to be made to save the day, it's O'Brien who says, "We need a magnetic diferential detectometer" and Jadzia Dax who says, "Gee what's that!"  It's not the actress' fault that her line was so stupid.
I am given to understand that lots of fans don't like Ezri Dax (the character that replaced Jadzia.) She certainly is less perfect; her insecurity is annoying. But the initial over-insecurity makes sense given her background, and she grows up over the course of a season, especially through a couple of strong character-growth adventures involving Worth and a madman. There was once dreadful episode about going home to help her mom that is better left forgotten, but otherwise the character had interesting flaws and grew out of them - what else do you want?
Finishing DS9 confirmed my feeling that offense, TOS and TNG ... it is simply the best Star Trek.
I believe that will do it for Netflix however; I now understand the pleasures of binge watching, and I'm not going to indulge again - I've got too much of my own stuff to write. However I am glad to have gone back to the Federation for one last visit.