Wednesday, August 31, 2011

SGA Rewatch: The Gift

Alrighty, cats and kittens, it's time for another episode in the Stargate Atlantis rewatch! Huzzah! Today we'll be looking at the wonderfully Teyla-centric season one episode "The Gift."

Spoilers, spoilers, spoilers.


What Happened

Ah, nighttime in Atlantis...soldiers patrolling the gate room, gate techs running diagnostics, Rodney staying up all night and drinking way too much coffee, Sheppard sleeping under the watchful eyes of Johnny Cash, Teyla tossing and turning, a Wraith stalking the hallways...wait, what?

Turns out Teyla hasn't been sleeping very well at all lately, and when she has she is having some really nasty Wraith dreams, in which she and her BFF Sheppard are getting all kinds of fed on. Boo. The next morning Teyla and Sheppard are sparring as per usual, only this time Sheppard is managing to totally kick Teyla's butt. He asks if she is feeling alright and she confesses she has not been sleeping well and has been having nightmares. He remarks that both are pretty common problems in the city these days, and she responds that it has not been so bad for her since her father was taken by the Wraith.

Later we see that Elizabeth is holding a status report meeting with the senior staff and many of the scientists. Rodney and Zelenka think that their best bet of protection against the Wraith will be the city's Ancient control chair (a similar chair had been found on Earth and used to defend against a Goa'uld). The only problem is that they haven't even been able to initiate it yet, so they don't know if it is working properly or not at this point. Currently that is what they are working on (getting it initiated). Bates, meanwhile, has been scouting once more for an Alpha site in the case of evacuation. Should defense of the city fail, their plan is to fall back through the gate, taking the control crystal that lets them dial Earth, and set off the city's self-destruct. Bates has found a suitable site, it just needs final approval from Sheppard, and he is set to visit it later that afternoon. Elizabeth asks Teyla if her people are ready to be evacuated from the mainland once the Alpha site is ready and Teyla nearly bites her head off. She says of course her people are ready, but they do not need to be evacuated. They will stay and fight when the Wraith come.

Teyla is eating lunch alone in the Mess when she is approached by Dr. Kate Heightmeyer. Kate introduces herself and explains that she is the city's psychologist. Teyla does not understand the distinction so Kate explains that she deals with the mind, and helping to make sure no one cracks under the pressure. She talks with Teyla, asking her a few leading questions about her sleeplessness, and Teyla realizes what is going on. She asks if Sheppard sent Kate, who acknowledges that is the case. Teyla thanks her but replies that she is fine and leaves, Kate imploring her to come to her office if she decides she does want (or need) to talk.

Teyla then tracks down and confronts Sheppard, upset that he went to Kate about something she told him in confidence. He responds that she is part of his team and he is responsible for her. He sent Kate because she is capable of helping Teyla work through the lack of sleep and the nightmares. As he points out, even Teyla herself admitted she was off her game. He suggests that if she won't talk to Kate she at least sit out the mission to the Alpha site and try to get some rest. Teyla agrees, returning to her quarters to make an unsuccessful attempt at napping. She decides to swallow her pride and go to Kate after all. She gets there just as Rodney is leaving, and is surprised, but also reassured, to find her friend also seeking help from Kate (even though he tries to play it off like they have a romantic thing, rather than admitting he is seeing a shrink).

Teyla is unsure of how the process works, so Kate starts asking her questions to get her talking. She asks about Teyla's ability to sense the Wraith. Teyla eventually admits that she has had a knot inside her for some time now. Kate wonders if she can sense the approaching Wraith ships, but Teyla suspects it is because there are just so many of them awake now all of the time. Kate asks about the ability among the other Athosians. Teyla says it is rare, but not unknown. Among those who possess it, she is one of the strongest--always among the first to sense the Wraith. She admits that she worries about the ability, and has dreamed of herself as a Wraith. She finds this incredibly disturbing (who wouldn't?), and feels that her ability has always set her apart from her people. Kate suggests that it might be the fear of the unknown making her so uneasy about her ability. She thinks that Teyla should try to learn more about what causes it, try to understand it better, and that might put some of Teyla's fears to rest.

Teyla goes to Carson but he tells her he ran a full spectrum of tests on all of her people when they first met, and there was nothing to explain her ability. He doesn't know where it comes from. Teyla does suspect it is an inherited trait, and therefore biological. Carson admits this is possible but doesn't know how he would go about isolating its cause. Trying another tactic, Teyla goes to the mainland to visit her friend Charon, a woman who helped raise her after father was taken. She asks if Charon knows where the ability comes from and Charon reveals there is a story that her grandfather used to tell her, that no other living Athosian knows, and that Teyla's father didn't want told to her. Long ago, there was a planet where sometimes those who were culled by the Wraith came back. Those people returned with the ability to sense the Wraith. For a time they were looked upon as a blessing, but then they started to go mad, hearing voices and turning violent. The people of the planet exiled those with "the gift," and from that point on, no one who was taken on that planet returned again.

Teyla, armed with the gate address to this planet, asks Elizabeth to let the team go and check it out. She thinks that maybe her ancestors just didn't know what to look for and argues that this must all be coming to light now for a reason. Perhaps it will provide them with a new way to fight off the Wraith. Elizabeth gives the go-ahead and they head out to the planet. It has long since been abandoned, and at first they find nothing but ruins. Then Rodney detects an energy signal. It appears to lead to a blank wall and they are perplexed, but Teyla walks right through it, vanishing. A moment later, a doorway seems to appear in the wall, with Teyla standing on the other side. They find what appears to be an abandoned secret Wraith lab. Rodney manages to salvage a data device from the lab and takes it back to Atlantis for study.

He manages to decrypt the data, but it is in a language he doesn't recognize, presumably Wraith. Elizabeth volunteers to take a look at it and manages to translate a good chunk of it, learning it is a scientist's log. A Wraith was experimenting, in secret and in defiance of the other Wraith, on the people of the planet. He was trying to make humans a more "compatible" food source, and to make the feeding process more efficient. He did this by splicing Wraith DNA with that of the humans. Teyla is the descendant of one of those subjects, and that is why she can sense the Wraith--she has a little bit of Wraith DNA in her makeup.  Further translation revealed that the reason the Wraith stopped his experiments is that by introducing Wraith DNA into humans, he granted them the ability to hear the telepathic communication used by the Wraith (the voices the returned began to hear). He introduced them back into the general population hoping that breeding with normal humans would dilute the ability. When the other Wraith found out about the experiment, however, they wiped out the people of that planet--but not before the humans had exiled the test subjects off-world.

Elizabeth also realized that the Wraith's language is a derivative of that of the Ancients, confirming Carson's belief that the Wraith didn't evolve until after the Ancients arrived in the Pegasus galaxy. His theory is that the Ancients (who seeded human life in the galaxy), introduced humans on a world where the iratus bug was present--thus causing the evolution of the Wraith. It's all the Ancients' fault, whether by accident or sheer neglect.

Sheppard and Weir believe, from what they have learned, that Teyla's ability to sense the Wraith is actually just an offshoot of her ability to tap into their psychic friends network. They convince her to let Kate hypnotize her and try to guide her through making contact with the approaching Wraith, to see if they can get any more information about what they are facing. Her first attempt is successful, but shortly after she connects with a Wraith and realizes she can see, hear, and feel what he is doing, he goes to feed. Realizing that Teyla is experiencing the feeding, Elizabeth immediately orders Beckett to break the connection. She doesn't want to put Teyla through that again, but Teyla insists, saying it is worth the risk. The next time, Teyla manages to "follow" a Wraith all the way into a control room of some sort, but then he senses her connection and takes over her, speaking through her to threaten the gathered Lanteans until Elizabeth has Carson break the connection again.

Shortly after that, while Teyla is resting, Bates and his team dial in from the Alpha site, under attack. Everyone is more than a little freaked out, as that planet was completely uninhabited and it was like the Wraith knew they were there. Now they have to find a new Alpha site. As expected, when briefed on the situation with Teyla, Bates goes nuts. He jumps directly to the (likely) conclusion that the Wraith knew about the Alpha site because they got it from Teyla when she made her connection. He doesn't want her to attempt the connection again. Elizabeth is inclined to agree, for Teyla's own sake, but Teyla convinces them to let her try one more time. She says she was getting close to something important. So she goes under one more time and gets even further before the Wraith again senses her connection. This time though, the Wraith is able to seize full control of her body, and starts attacking everyone in the infirmary until Bates stuns her with a Wraith gun, knocking her out and breaking the connection.

When Teyla wakes she calls Elizabeth and Sheppard to tell them what she found out. She saw their route, their battle plan, and more importantly, she learned that their endgame is not to destroy Atlantis once and for all, but to take it. They know that Atlantis is the key to finding their rich new feeding ground of Earth.


Teyla has some seriously cute pajamas, y'all.

In all seriousness, though, this is actually a really solid episode. I always think of it as kind of a footnote episode, but I was pleasantly surprised to realize on this rewatch that it is actually really well done. We get the explanation of Teyla's spidey-sense (with the introduction of a new level of it) in a way that not only doesn't distract from the current story arc but actually manages to fit right in there like just another piece of the puzzle. Info was dropped in this episode too that is going to be very important next week, we'll learn.

I do think it interesting that it was Sheppard Teyla dreamed was killed by the Wraith first. I think that might be fallout from their fight last episode. Also, her hurt that he blabbed to Kate about her. Yeah, it makes perfect sense from a team-leader perspective, but Teyla is clearly still a little bit unsure about Sheppard and sorting out her feelings toward him at the moment. I am glad she ended up going to Kate on her own though, admitting that they are in a stressful situation and she is of no use to anyone if she can't deal with whatever is going on in her own head.

Also, once more we learn what callous disregard the Ancients had for the human life they brought to the galaxy. Yeah, sure, the Wraith evolving may have been an accident, but it's one the Ancients should have been on top of and able to put a stop to long before it got to the point that it did. I mean, it's not like the Wraith just showed up overnight, you know?

I do think it is weird how the fact that the Wraith are after Earth is treated like a big reveal in this episode. Didn't we know that already? The queen way back in the pilot as much as told Sheppard that they were all waking up because of the new rich feeding ground. Maybe she just told that to Sumner, and I have seen this series so many times I just pick up on all of the clues now as obvious evidence that what the Wraith want is Earth. I mean, why else are the Lanteans fighting so hard to keep the city itself out of the Wraith hands if they don't know that's why they want it? It's not like the Wraith can use the Ancient tech. That is really my only quibble with the episode though. Otherwise it is a nice solid bit of character development for Teyla and sets up the rest of the season (and a lot of stuff for the rest of the series) very nicely.

Favorite Quotes

"I have no explanation for any of your special super powers." (Carson)
"I only have one." (Teyla)
"I've seen you fight, my dear." (Carson)

"There's nothing there." (Sheppard)
"Well, the 'magic Ancient device' hasn't lied yet!" (Rodney)

"I wonder..." (Elizabeth)
"Just so you  know, you didn't actually finish that sentence out loud." (Rodney)

That wraps up our Stargate shenanigans for this week. Next week we'll close out season one, hurrah! See you back here Monday for "The Siege Part 1."

Tuesday, August 30, 2011


I know I keep talking about knitting socks. I certainly plan to start doing this. I just haven't really had the chance in between all of the other projects I have been working on this year. That doesn't mean I don't think about knitting socks all of the time. I think this has become pretty evident in my stash.

I finally sat down and pulled out all (well, most) of the sock yarn I have accumulated since I began planning to take up that hobby. You know, just to see what I've got going on.


Um, there is a lot of it. Most of it is in my "overflow" stash--the yarn that doesn't fit in my designated yarn storage containers. This is my overflow stash (with guardians*):

Stash dragons on duty! 

Here is all of the sock yarn from that pile:

Knit Picks Chroma (fingering) in Pool Party

Knit Picks Comfy (fingering) in Flamingo

Knit Picks Comfy (fingering) in Honeydew

Knit Picks Comfy (fingering) in Lilac

Knit Picks Comfy (fingering) in Marlin

Knit Picks Comfy (fingering) in Peapod

Knit Picks Comfy (fingering) in Peony

Knit Picks Comfy (fingering) in Semolina

Knit Picks Felici in Moonlit

Knit Picks Gloss in Coast Grey

Knit Picks Stroll Multi in Atmosphere

Knit Picks Stroll in Black

Knit Picks Stroll Tonal in Canopy

Knit Picks Stroll Multi in Diving Board

Knit Picks Stroll Multi in Lily Pad

Knit Picks Stroll Multi in Paisley

Knit Picks Stroll Multi in Pansy

Um, yeah, it is possible I may have been swayed by all of those sales on sock yarn that Knit Picks had this summer. Time to get knitting, I guess...

*Oh, and why yes, that is the Squishable massive dragon keeping my stash safe! He apparently decided he needed to come live with me. Arrived on my birthday, even. He is delightfully punctual. 

Monday, August 29, 2011

SGA Rewatch: Letters From Pegasus

Welcome to the Stargate Rewatch! Let's jump right on in with today's episode, "Letters From Pegasus," shall we?

Spoilers for the episode and any that came before it, as always. In addition, this week you have a Cori in danger of exploding from the pressure of not spoiling the end of the season as it relates to a few characters in this episode. Fun!

Well, on with it then.

What Happened

Now that we have learned that three Wraith hive ships are headed toward Atlantis and expected to arrive within two weeks, the city's leadership is struggling to avoid panic. Instead, they are focusing on brainstorming ideas to possibly get them out of this whole mess with their lives and the city intact. Ford makes the unpopular suggestion of stealing borrowing the ZPM from Kid Planet. At least that way they could have shields for a little while when the Wraith show up. They can always relocate the kiddos, right? Elizabeth and Teyla both shoot this idea down immediately, of course, and Teyla gives Ford a look as if she has never seen him before.

Rodney suggests that as an alternative to panicking, they could at least send a message back to Earth. While their generators don't have nearly enough power to maintain the connection to Earth long enough to send a person through, he has figured out they can open up a wormhole home and maintain a connection for 1.3 seconds. Sure that doesn't sound like much time, but Rodney McKay, resident genius, believes it is more than enough time to send back a message. Ford realizes they could send S.O.S. and Rodney scoffs at this technologically backward way of thinking. He explains that he has been working on an algorithm that will allow them to send all of their mission reports, gathered intel on the galaxy and the Ancients, and, most importantly, warn them about the Wraith and their determination to reach Earth. His algorithm will compress all of this data so it can be sent in their 1.3 second window of time, and Colonel Carter back on Earth should have no problem decompressing it. Elizabeth gives him the go-ahead to assemble all of the information they will send and he gets to work on it.

Zelenka, meanwhile, has been busy going over the data on the hive ships from the deep space sensors. He has found that the Wraith are stopping often in their journey to cull planets as they go. The data shows that their stops follow a fairly consistent--and therefore predictable--pattern. He is able to extrapolate the rest of their path and finds a planet with a stargate that they will be passing soon. Sheppard and Teyla volunteer to take a jumper to the planet and wait in stealth mode for the hive ships to pass by so they can collect as much intel on the coming threat as possible.

On the planet, Teyla sees an old friend of her father's and warns him of the pending Wraith attack, imploring him to warn his village, and then take his family and get to safety while there is still time. He tells her they will do their best to prepare but she knows as well as he that the Wraith are attacking planets all over the galaxy and he really doubts there is anywhere really "safe" anymore. Teyla then tells him that if the Wraith do come, he should gather his family and meet her and Sheppard at a place she designates, and she will get them off the planet to safety. Sheppard looks chagrined at this but merely tells Teyla's friend that he cannot make any promises they can take the man with them. He says they will come back if there is time. Then he and Teyla take the ship into orbit and cloak it to wait for the Wraith.

While waiting, they get into an argument. Sheppard is mad because this wasn't supposed to be a rescue mission. Teyla tells him that her friend is like family and if they can help him, they should. He reiterates that he said they would help if there was time, but their first priority is to gather intel and get it back to Atlantis. Their argument is cut short when the Wraith hive ships, plus many cruisers and other support vehicles, drop out of hyperspace and into orbit around the planet. They aren't just looking at three hive ships, they are looking at an armada. The Wraith immediately release their darts and begin culling the village. Sheppard heads for the gate, telling Teyla they definitely don't have time to stop, but before they can dial Atlantis, an incoming wormhole opens the gate. The Wraith have dialed in to prevent anyone from escaping their culling via the gate. Since they are stuck there until the gate shuts down, Sheppard makes for the place where Teyla had told her friend to meet them.

Waiting out the culling in the cloaked jumper, they get into another argument. Teyla is pissed that Sheppard was willing to abandon these people to their fate. He tries to explain the military logic and that they can't save everyone in the galaxy. Teyla tells him that may be true but they should help when they can and if they can save even just her friend and his family, they will have made a difference for good. She seems to be beginning to think that she has put too much faith in Sheppard and the expedition, expected too much of them.

Sheppard, of course, cannot sit still and wait while around him an entire planet is culled. He decides to leave the jumper and go get a closer look at what is going on. While he is gone, Teyla sees some of the villagers run by the jumper, not her friend or his family though. She steps out so they can see her and calls to them to join her, promising them safety. Sheppard returns just after the gate shuts down and wants to leave immediately to get back to Atlantis and report on the Wraith. Teyla begs him to give her friend just a little bit more time. He tells her he has to get back, and she says that she will then stay behind and continue to look for her friend, making her way back to the city after the Wraith have gone. Sheppard says he won't just leave her there so he agrees to wait just a little bit longer. Shortly afterwards, Teyla's friend finally makes it, herding a gaggle of children with him. He tells them that he had run into more people on his way and they are just behind him. Sheppard starts to object, saying that they cannot fit so many people in the jumper, but as the rest of the group appears, Wraith darts fly over their location. Sheppard and Teyla cram as many of the people as they can in the jumper, but some don't make it and are culled on the way. Once the dart leaves, Sheppard fires up the jumper and they hightail it out of there.

While Teyla and Sheppard were out of the city, Rodney managed to fit all of the data they wanted to send Earth into just 0.3 seconds once compressed. With a whole extra second to fill, Elizabeth gives the expedition members each a chance to record a video message for their friends and loved ones back home, a chance to say goodbye in case they don't survive the coming threat. She puts Ford in charge of gathering the messages.

We get to see everyone record their messages with Ford, with bits and pieces of previous episodes shown as each character reflects on their time in the Pegasus galaxy. Ford sends a message to his grandparents reassuring them that he is alright and hopes to see them soon. Carson gets all choked up trying to send a message to his mum, and keeps trying to remind her to take her medicine in order to avoid being emotional. Zelenka gives us a brilliant retelling of the rising of the city in Czech, looking perplexed when Ford asks him if he said anything that would require a security clearance to hear. Bates sends a super positive message to his little brother, avoiding saying goodbye--he doesn't want to make it worse in case he doesn't make it back. Elizabeth sends messages to the families of those they have lost over the course of the expedition. Rodney's assistant Miko sends a brief message (not sure to whom) talking about what an honor it is to serve under a brilliant mind like Rodney's. It is underscored with some very humorous scenes of Rodney's tyranny in the labs. Kavanagh, much to Ford's disgust, sends his message to General O'Neill, a laundry list of his complaints about the leaders of the expedition, specifically Elizabeth, blaming them for the whole mess in which they find themselves.

Then there is Rodney's message. Ah, Rodney. He hands Ford a self-recorded message in which we get clips here and there of his message addressed to "humanity in general," during which he waxes prolifically on all sorts of topics from his childhood bout of mono, his thing for blondes in general (and Carter in particular), movies he never got to see the end of, his preference for cats over dogs, and more. Each time he digresses he eventually lands back on his favorite topic, leadership. The best part, of course, is when he breaks down for a bit and gets completely serious, and sends a very bittersweet lovely message to his little sister Jeannie. It is clear they haven't spoken for some time and aren't on the best of terms, but he reveals that he has grown to see the members of the expedition as a sort of surrogate family, and he knows he messed up with her and hopes that, should he survive his current predicament, he can one day make amends with her.

When Sheppard and Teyla return and report on what they found, Elizabeth adds it in to their report for Earth, then tells him about the messages and asks if he would like to record one for anyone. He declines. She then tells him she has been recording messages for the families, but there is one last one she would like him to do instead, and we see him record a message for Colonel Sumner's family.

The episode closes with Elizabeth's actual personal message, to her boyfriend Simon. She tells him that she knows it isn't fair to him to ask him to put his life on hold and wait for her to come back, so he shouldn't. Then we get a montage of everyone's "goodbye" on their message and it is off to the Milky Way with them. The final scene shows Walter in the SGC control room announcing the incoming wormhole. He says there is a message and Colonel Carter sits down to look at it, shocked to learn it is from Atlantis.


Oh, so much foreshadowing. Gah. Must. Not. Spoil. Want to though, boy howdy. But won't. Let's just say that there is a lot in this episode that seems to just be little throwaway moments of character development but that actually end up setting the stage for or becoming very meaningful once future events unfold. That being said, let's also acknowledge this episode for what it is: a clip show. Good lordy how I hate clip shows. I have to admit, however, that this may just be the least annoying clip show I have ever seen. There is enough new and enough of an actual story here that it works and it isn't just forty-two minutes of sitting through material I have already seen that could have easily been summed up in a five minute discussion before moving on to more pressing matters. The "letters" home serve to remind us of who all of these people are, not just the specific characters but the expedition as a whole, and to really hit home with the immensity of what they are facing. The people of the expedition have all pretty much accepted that they are unlikely to survive the arrival of the Wraith, but every single one of them intends to go out fighting.

Plus, it reminds us all what an ass-hat Kavanagh is.

The other big thing in this episode is the conflict between Teyla and Sheppard. This is the first time in the series that we have really truly seen them angry with each other, and, I think, where they each start to realize how truly differently they see the world. If Sheppard had been any other soldier, I don't think Teyla would have been so surprised or disappointed by his strict military mindset in this situation. As much as he wants to help the Pegasus galaxy, and as much as he feels it is his duty to do so, he will put protecting Atlantis and Earth first. Their friendship certainly survives the encounter, but not unscathed. There has always been a large presence in the fanbase of Teyla/Sheppard shippers, but it is this episode where I think that possibility is ruled out. Up until now, Teyla had held the members of the expedition, Sheppard especially, on a bit of a pedestal. She had seen them as the salvation of the galaxy--or at least the seeds of that salvation. After this though, she begins to realize that the people from Earth will never save Pegasus on their own because they simply don't have the right perspective or priorities. I think this realization is a good thing though. Teyla is a natural leader in her own right--now she has the knowledge she needs to reassess how to proceed to help the Lanteans defeat the Wraith without forgetting that they are protecting the people of Pegasus as much as their own galaxy. She can see them as just people, rather than as saviors.

Favorite Quotes

"Don't be so analog!" (Rodney)

"There is nothing we can do." (Teyla)
"We can do a lot. It would just be the last thing we ever do." (Sheppard)

"You know what? How 'bout I leave the room and let you record your whining in private?" (Ford)

"Doc, you can't say Earthlings! Your mother doesn't have security clearance!" (Ford)
"She knows I'm from Earth, son. It's not a bloody secret!" (Carson)

That's all for this week. Stop by Wednesday and we'll check out the next episode, "The Gift."

Friday, August 26, 2011

A Much Needed Break

Phew. It has been a week. I, of course, managed to come down with a cold the day after my birthday (there's that small favor, at least), but it kicked my butt through Wednesday. When I wasn't feeling worn-down and miserable, I was feeling completely loopy and fuzzy-headed from the cold medicine.

Of course, my lovely, wonderful, sweet, adorable baby girl did her part to help matters by deciding to explore the myth of the "terrible twos." This pretty much sums up my week:

Nap time? Nah, I think I'll just destroy my room, thanks.

So yesterday I played hooky from Baby Girl's Little Gym class, letting my stupendously wonderful mother-in-law take her instead, and I went to a movie.

It was glorious.

Went and saw Rise of the Planet of the Apes and enjoyed it very much, despite never really caring for the original film (or the Marky Mark remake). It is just a very well-told story and a very well put-together movie. I highly recommend it if you are looking for a film to see this weekend and haven't caught it yet.

The timing yesterday worked out that I wouldn't be back in time for the movie if I tried to go to Little Gym, but I didn't need to actually head out until well after Baby Girl and Grandma left for class, so I ended up with a little over an hour all by myself at home yesterday morning. It was quite surreal. True alone time is a thing of distant memory for me these days, and I almost didn't know what to do with myself (I ended up playing Mass Effect for a bit before I had to leave).

Still, it was a nice break. Even though my husband and mother-in-law often try to remind me that I need to make time for myself, true "me" time, not just sneaking in some gaming or reading when Baby Girl is asleep, nothing really drives home the truth of that fact like actually getting some of that "me" time.

I need to start making more time to just take some time, you know? Realizing this and accepting it are only part of the equation. Now I just need to work on the actual doing part. At the very least, it will allow me to appreciate Baby Girl even more if I get a bit of extra time away from her. My first thought when I got home from the movie and she ran up to hug me? Man, I cannot wait until she's big enough to come to the movies with me!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Maybe Friendship Really Is Magic

Back in January, I wrote a post about My Little Pony spurred on by my daughter getting one of the happy meal toys based on the new version of that cartoon from my childhood. I was pretty disappointed with the new look of the updated ponies and had concluded that we would be sticking with the old school version of the cartoons when and if I let my daughter watch any MLP down the road. At the time, I saw that there had been a few straight-to-DVD movies released aroundabouts 2006 and they looked thoroughly meh, so I really didn't think they were worth my time and attention. What I had neglected to notice was that the toy that spurred my thoughts on the topic (and my daughter's toothpaste design) was actually brought in by a new new MLP show, My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic, created by a completely different team (as far as I can tell) than the 2006 movies. Had I noticed this at the time I probably still wouldn't have cared, I'll admit. My mind was pretty made up.

But then I was talking to my husband sometime in the last few months and we somehow got onto the topic of MLP (I have no idea how), and he asked if I had been watching the new version. I told him no, of course not. He said he had actually heard really good things about it, and that it was the people behind Powerpuff Girls who had made this new version. Now, I love PPG, and my husband knows it. I kind of feel like that is exactly the kind of cartoon I want my little girl to grow up watching, because while yeah, there's an element of the girly to it, it also has a huge element of kick-butt and independent thinking involved. As well as just being completely entertaining. My husband implored me to give the new MLP a try. That's right, my husband asked me to watch My Little Pony. I told him sure, I'd check it out at some point, and the matter didn't really come up again.

A little time goes by...and all of a sudden, I can't get away from the new ponies. Apparently there's this whole concept of "bronies" that has sprung up around Friendship is Magic. A combination of "bro" and "ponies" it refers to the fact that a ton of teenage and up guys (and gals) have totally gotten hooked on the show. Artist Lar DeSouza (who draws for two of my favorites, Looking for Group and Least I Could Do) is among their ranks, and in June finally gave in and started sketching his own ponies in homage. He drew himself as a pony, and then the Looking For Group character Richard as one as well (Richard's battle cry is "For Pony!" so this seemed especially appropriate). He spread his pony love by drawing fellow comic artist Joel Watson, of Hijinks Ensue, as a pony also. The last straw came about two weeks ago when Katie Cook, the genius behind Gronk, mentioned that she, too, has become totally enamored of Friendship is Magic and drew a Gronk pony, which was just the cutest thing ever. There's even a site on the CHEEZburger network called My Little Brony. It is LOLcats with ponies, y'all. These are two of my favorites that I've seen:

my little pony, friendship is magic, brony - I Don't Even Know

my little pony, friendship is magic, brony - Staring Contest

I finally caved and started watching the show. I set it to record in my DVR and my daughter and I have been catching up on the first season ever since. It is actually kind of spectacular. Suddenly the extra stylized look and big eyes of the new ponies are forgivable, because they make sense in the context of the show, which is drawn in a very anime-inspired style. The pony Pinkie Pie, with the balloons on her butt? Yeah, she's kind of one of my favorites now. Lauren Faust, who served as a writer and director for Powerpuff Girls, created Friendship is Magic, serving as a writer and producer on the first season, and set to continue as a writer for the upcoming second season. The PPG influence is definitely there for those who are looking for it, but I feel like it also manages to capture a lot of the spirit and charm of the original series, which was an extremely pleasant surprise for me. There's even a dragon, yay!

The basic premise of the show, from what I can gather, is that Twilight Sparkle, a student of pony royalty Princess Celestia, has been kind of isolated and had her nose stuck in her books for most of her life. So Princess Celestia decides to expand her pupil's education by sending Twilight Sparkle and her assistant Spike (the dragon) down to Ponyville to continue her studies but also to get out and meet other ponies and make friends. Each episode Twilight Sparkle learns some lesson of how friendship works and she sends a report back to Princess Celestia with what she's learned (the moral of the story, so to speak). It's a cutesy concept, sure, but it works to show that people ponies are not perfect and give and take is part of the normal course of things. Other than the bit at the end, the show doesn't try to cram the "lesson" down the viewer's throat, and the writers do a good job of just making it become apparent throughout the episode.

I like that there are different kinds of ponies as well--pegasus ponies, regular ponies, and unicorns (who have magic). It's fun to watch how the ponies manipulate their environment given that their hooves don't give them the best grasp of things and they lack opposable thumbs. That is a neat level of detail, and the fact that the show runners are paying attention to that kind of thing impresses me, I'll admit. Also, instead of saying "everyone" and "nobody" and the like, they all say "everypony" or "nopony." I have decided to find this cute rather than be annoyed by it.

In one of those weird convergences, we started watching the show right before my daughter's birthday, and even though I hadn't mentioned it to anyone, she got two different MLP toys for her birthday. I was very pleased to see that the actual toys are not so skinny as the happy meal toys were (even though the happy meal toys do seem to be more on par with how the ponies on the show look).

Sweetie Belle doll, Baby Girl loves giving her her bottle.

Twilight Sparkle balloon playset. 

A better look at Twilight Sparkle, not an anorexic pony, yay!

Spike the dragon.

Compare the happy meal version with the toy.

Happy Meal Twilight Sparkle.

Granted, I am not giving all updates of shows from my childhood a reprieve (I still refuse to budge on the Strawberry Shortcake nonsense), and I still would really rather people just came up with their own new thing. But I have to say, after giving the new My Little Pony a chance, I am definitely on board. It is fun to be able to watch it with my daughter and know that we are both enjoying it, even it if is on completely different levels. And I'll admit it, the thought of my daughter having her own set of ponies to play with as she grows up makes me a little warm and fuzzy inside. I've already hunted down the basic pony toys of the main six characters. I will likely be getting her at least a few of those for Christmas.

Still, I did go ahead and order the original movie. It doesn't hurt to make sure she knows where this is coming from, right? We watched it last night, and I can admit that, as much as I love the old-school version, as much as I will always love it, the new one is actually probably better. I think the storytelling on the modern version is a lot tighter and the production values, as you might expect with over twenty-five years of advancement, are much better. It is a kids show, sure, but it doesn't feel quite as slapped together as the fare from my day. I thought that Spike the baby dragon was a holdover from the original, and was glad to see I was right. In fact, he is the only character with the same name and appearance (if updated) from back in the day. Clearly Lauren Faust digs dragons. I can get behind that. I did enjoy picking out which old-school ponies had inspired the newer characters too.

And my daughter still totally dug it. That made me happy, oh yes it did.

my little pony, friendship is magic, brony - So THAT's What the B on his Hat Stood For

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

SGA Rewatch: The Brotherhood

Welcome to the Stargate Atlantis rewatch! Today we'll be looking at my favorite episode from season one, "The Brotherhood." Spoilers for the episode and all that came before.

What Happened

There are actually two separate stories in this episode and I think it might be best to not try to weave them in as the episode does but to give you each one in turn. The primary story deals with Sheppard's team tracking down Alt-Elizabeth's list of planets known to have held ZPMs. They find themselves on the planet of Dagan, where a ZPM had been entrusted to a culture known as the Sudarians. The Sudarians worshipped the ZPM, which they called the Potentia, as a holy relic and only brought it out to be put on display for their high holy days, as far as the Daganian researcher Allina has been able to discover. This suggests that they never actually used it, and it is likely to still be fully charged. When not on display it was protected by a group known as the Brotherhood of Fifteen, or the Quindosim. Allina and her team have recently unearthed three stones that she believes are part of nine stones that form a sort of map to the location of the Potentia, lost when the Quindosim were wiped out in a culling centuries before. With the help of the Lanteans, she believes they can find the Potentia.

While Allina and the team begin their search for the rest of the guide stones, we are taken to the Genii homeworld. Oh yes, those pesky Genii are back! It seems they have been keeping track of the Lanteans' exploits in the galaxy since their failed attempt to take the city. A soldier reports to Kolya that the Lanteans seem to be close to finding an artifact of great power on Dagan, and Kolya is determined to prevent them from benefiting from the artifact.

There is an archaeology montage on Dagan, and they manage to find five more of the stones. They take a break that evening and Rodney and Allina discuss a map on the wall of the old Quindosim monastery where the team is staying. It is quite clear that Allina kind of has the hots for Rodney, and equally clear that he is oblivious. While they are talking, Allina, clearly in awe of the Ancients, asks Rodney what it was like to grow up in the city of the Ancestors. He reveals to her that his people are actually brand new to the galaxy and only took up residence in Atlantis a few months ago. He then tells her he should get some sleep and leaves her with a thoughtful expression on her face as he makes his way over to the rest of his team to say goodnight. They tease him about Allina and explain that she has a crush on him. He is surprised and flattered but unsure of what he should do. Sheppard suggests he wait until the next day to pursue that matter, that way he will be rested and more "on his game."

The next day Rodney tries, and fails, to flirt with Allina, and the team has no success finding the ninth stone. What they do find in its stead is an underground chamber, marked with the symbol of the Quindosim and warning away any not of the brotherhood. As they lower themselves into the chamber to check it out, Kolya watches from afar, pleased at the opportunity that has been handed to him. Inside the chamber, they find a pedestal with places for the nine guide stones and realize the stones don't actually make a map to the Potentia as they had believed. While they are trying to figure out this new puzzle, Kolya knocks out Ford, who was left above on guard, and calls down to the team. He tells Sheppard he wants the ZPM basically just to keep it from them. He also reveals that Allina's assistant had been the one to keep the Genii informed of the Lantean's activities and purpose on Dagan. Rodney tells Kolya they have not quite found the ZPM yet but if Kolya lets everyone else go he'll help him retrieve it. Kolya pulls Rodney, Allina, and her assistant out of the hole, along with everyone else's weapons and radios, and they go in search of the ZPM.

After a few false starts, Allina and Rodney manage to locate the ninth stone, it was hidden in the map on the monastery wall. They return to the chamber and realize that the ZPM must be hidden inside of it. They have to arrange the stones in the correct order and place their hands on the pedestal, and the ZPM should appear. They learn, however, when Kolya's assistant rushes ahead to try to retrieve the ZPM, that if someone tries to retrieve the ZPM with the stones in the wrong positions, the pedestal will kill that someone. Kolya tells Rodney he has four tries to get the order correct, starting with Sheppard. The stones bear the ancient symbols for the numbers one through nine, and Sheppard figures out that they can be arranged in a pattern so that they add up to fifteen each way. Rodney is very surprised that Sheppard knew this, to which Sheppard quips he learned it while taking the MENSA test. 

They manage to retrieve the ZPM and then Ford sets off some flash-bangs he had prepared while Rodney and Kolya had been off finding the ninth stone. With Kolya's crew (along with Rodney and Allina) stunned, Teyla, Ford, and Sheppard are able to knock them all out and take the ZPM for themselves. They leave Kolya and his people in the chamber, and Kolya tells Sheppard the smart thing to do would be to just kill him. Sheppard says that maybe that's so, but he's gonna let Kolya live, this time. He wants points for it though, and tells Kolya if he ever does anything like that again, Sheppard will kill him. 

As they are leaving and Rodney is geeking out over his shiny new ZPM, Allina stops the team and they are surrounded by a group of armed Daganians. She thanks them for their help finding the Potentia but says that since they are not actually the Ancestors, she cannot let them keep it. It seems she is the leader of a new Brotherhood, one that sprung up from stumbling across the records and writing of the original order. Now that they have found the Potentia, they can hide it again (where only they can find it) and continue to keep it safe until the Ancestors actually do return for it. Rodney and Sheppard try to talk her out of this decision, explaining that Atlantis will fall without the ZPM and the Ancestors wouldn't have wanted that. Allina will not be dissuaded, however, and tells them she has no way of knowing what the Ancestors would have wanted. She can only carry out the last orders they left with the original Brotherhood. Sigh.

Meanwhile, back on Atlantis, while all of that was going on, Zelenka and Chuck the gate technician managed to accidentally activate the city's long range, deep space sensors. Surprised and delighted to discover the city has such a thing, Zelenka then must wonder why all of a sudden the system, which as apparently been running quietly in the background since their arrival, is jumping to the forefront of the other systems. Turns out there is a Wraith dart headed at full speed for the city. They only just manage to get three jumpers up in the air in time to intercept the thing. The dart takes out one of the jumpers (and Markham and Smith, inside of it), then proceeds to take off and scan the city while the other two jumpers pursue, trying to get a clean shot to take it down. Just as they finally get a clean shot, it self-destructs before either jumper can fire, however. They speculate that the dart must have been a scout of some sort but wonder why it self-destructed before it could return with whatever information it had gathered. Zelenka reveals that the dart had managed to send out a signal before blowing up. Weir asks him if he can try to trace the signal, and he gets to work.

When Sheppard and team return to Atlantis to report on their near miss with the ZPM, Weir in turn tells him of what happened while they were away. She says they really could have used that ZPM because Zelenka's trace of the dart's signal revealed three Wraith hive ships, en route for the city, due to arrive in two weeks. 


This is, for the most part, a pretty fun treasure hunt episode. Were it not fore the B story, it would be a completely stand-alone episode. It does manage to deepen the mythology of the Genii, and firmly set up Kolya as Sheppard's personal nemesis in the Pegasus Galaxy. This is also the point where the season pretty much gears up for it's last dash to home plate. From here on out it is trying to figure out how to deal with the threat of the inbound Wraith hive ships. 

We got a few lovely character pieces of Rodney put into place here. For example, he is oh so very bad at hitting on women. We already kind of knew this from his failed attempts to hit on Carter in his original appearances on SG-1, but is is firmly established in "The Brotherhood." While he was unaware of her attraction to him, he had no problems interacting with her, but afterward...well...yeah. It was just funny, if also painful, to watch. Although, once he and Allina were again thrust deep into the puzzle-solving aspect of finding the ZPM, he was able to once more act himself around her. Indeed, he was so engrossed in the act of figuring out the mystery that he even managed to totally forget the threat of the Genii pointing guns at him. Good stuff.

Allina, man. I just...she was so awesome....right up until the point that she turned into a religious zealot. I wonder, if the Lanteans had been up front about just living in Atlantis but not being Ancestors, rather than Rodney just letting it slip, if she might have been more reasonable about letting them have the ZPM. But I rather think not, sadly. I am just flat out amazed that anyone in that galaxy actually still believes that the Ancestors will return, let alone still worships them, after they abandoned all of the humans in the galaxy to deal with the Wraith, monsters that they had created. Sigh. Seriously, the fact that the Lanteans were able to find Atlantis, and live in it with its Ancient gene requirement really should have been argument enough for the Brotherhood that they were worthy of the Potentia, especially since they planned to use it to help the residents of the galaxy stand up against the Wraith. Grr. Argh.

I did find it really amusing that when Sheppard, Teyla, and Ford were stuck down in the chamber waiting for Rodney and the Genii to play treasure hunters, Sheppard was the only one without anything useful to contribute to the trap they set up. Teyla had managed to keep a knife hidden, and Ford had those flash bangs (which he described in such loving detail). This seriously seems to be a pattern with Sheppard. He must not have ever have been a Boy Scout, because being prepared for the unexpected is not really something he seems to be good at. I guess it is a good thing he manages to surround himself with the kind of people who excel at that then, huh?

Favorite Quotes

"Yes, well. Maybe if people stop insisting on having food and liquid in such close proximity to the ten thousand year old equipment..." (Zelenka)

"My kind of science is the good kind of science. The kind you can do sitting in a chair, or even lying on a couch!" (Rodney)

"I'm a doctor not a bloody fighter pilot!" (Carson)

"How'd you know that?" (Rodney)
"It was on the MENSA test." (Sheppard)
"You're a member of MENSA?" (Rodney)
"No, but I took the test." (Sheppard)

That's wraps up this week's Stargate. Only four more episodes to go this season. See you back here Monday for "Letters From Pegasus."

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Actually, I Can't Tell You

It dawned on me after I posted my last finished project that I won't actually be able to blog about my next few projects until after they are done and gifted to their intended recipients. Huh. I guess that means I will have to get creative for my next few yarny posts, huh?

That doesn't mean you guys aren't free to guess and/or speculate, however. So for today, I will show you the yarn at bat and on deck.

This is what I am working on right now. That top yarn is actually purple, though I couldn't get a shot that really showed off the color.

Caron Simply Soft in Dark Sage and Iris

Now this is what I got on my birthday trip to the local yarn store, Jenning Street Yarns. It's on deck. I am pretty stoked about it. The project it is for is going to require me to learn a new knitting technique, but hopefully it is a simple one. We shall just have to see, I suppose.

Berroco Vintage (Blue) and Berroco Comfort (Grey)

Speaking of my birthday, I got a lovely gift from my mother that I am pretty excited about.

Indigo Dragonfly Sock Yarn in TARDIS

I am really looking forward to working this up. It should be perfect for my TARDIS socks, assuming I ever get around to making them. They will go perfectly with my sonic screwdriver. I think, more than anything, I love that my mom saw yarn called TARDIS at Sock Summit and knew that she had to buy it for me. She may not always get my geeky ways, but she does understand that they are part of who I am. I love that about her.

Well, I've got some knitting to be doing, so I am off. Feel free to start formulating your hypotheses about what I might be making.

Have a great one, folks!

Monday, August 22, 2011

SGA Rewatch: Before I Sleep

Hello! Let's start this Monday off right with another entry in the Stargate Atlantis rewatch, shall we? I think we shall.

Today we'll look at the season one episode "Before I Sleep." Major spoilers for the episode, of course, and likely spoilers for anything before it. There will also be a few allusions to late-series SG-1, but I will try to keep from anything actually spoilery on that front.

Let's jump in.

What Happened

This episode starts off with Weir, I think we shall start calling her Elizabeth in light of this episode, standing at one of the city's balconies staring off into the ocean. Sheppard stops by and wishes her a happy birthday, giving her a bit of pottery he got from the Athosians. She thanks him for the gift, but gives him a wry look and asks how he found out. Elizabeth is obviously one of those insane people who doesn't actually like to celebrate her birthday. Crazy woman.

Anyhoo, Sheppard and team are off to do some exploration of the city, with Rodney monitoring from the control room. In addition to finding some new (larger) living quarters (Rodney is very interested in these), they also find a lab. Rodney is ready to shrug it off as the same old stuff, but Sheppard activates a panel in the lab and they discover a woman, a very, very, very old woman, asleep in a stasis pod.

Carson, Elizabeth, and Rodney join Sheppard and crew in the lab and Elizabeth makes the call to revive the woman, despite Carson's objections. Rodney tells them that according to the logs, she has been in stasis for ten thousand years. They all agree that the chance to talk to a living Ancient is worth the risks of reviving her. In the woman's hand they discover a scrap of paper with five gate addresses written upon it--one of them is the address for Kid Planet.

When the woman wakes up, she is very out of it, but she seems to know Carson, and everyone else. She tells them that she is Elizabeth, and explains that she got in the stasis pod because she had managed to travel back in time. Everyone is pretty surprised by this declaration--Elizabeth most of all--but a DNA test confirms that she is, indeed Elizabeth. Unfortunately, she is not in very good condition--well, okay, for a ten thousand year old woman, she's in great condition, actually, but she is dying. Her organs are all failing and she clearly doesn't have very long left to live. She wakes in fits and starts, and after a bit Elizabeth convinces Carson to give Alt-Elizabeth some mild stimulants to allow her to stay awake for a little bit longer at a time. Elizabeth senses that her counterpart wants to tell them as much of her story as possible before she goes.

Alt-Elizabeth does manage to tell them her story, in bits and pieces, played out for us in (slightly altered) flash back scenes of the first episode, as well as what happened beyond that. Alt-Elizabeth tells them that the first time the expedition came through to Atlantis from Earth, the shields started failing almost immediately, and there was no failsafe that caused the city to rise from the bottom of the ocean. Pretty much as soon as they got there, they had to find a way out. Time just wasn't on their side, however, and almost all of the expedition drowned as the city was flooded. Elizabeth, Sheppard, and Zelenka, who had been looking at a puddle jumper that was different from the others they found did manage to escape however, but their respite was brief.

They were somehow transported from the city to orbit and as soon as they appeared in orbit they found themselves under attack by ships that Alt-Elizabeth's audience recognized to be Wraith ships. They got in a few shots but their jumper was quickly shot down and Alt-Elizabeth knocked out. When she next awoke, she was in the city again, but it was alive and full of people. A Lantean named Janus, the ancient Roman god of doorways a bit of an Ancient inventor, explained to Elizabeth that she had traveled back in time ten thousand years in a timeship that he had designed. When the timeship jumped back, it appeared in orbit in the middle of the Wraith siege upon Atlantis. Their ship was shot down and the Lanteans retrieved it from the ocean floor. Sadly, Alt-Elizabeth was the only survivor.

Janus is delighted to learn that not only did his timeship work, but Atlantis itself, through his people's current actions, survived for ten thousand years on the ocean floor to be rediscovered by the second evolution of his kind (humans). The Lantean council, however, is not quite as delighted. The big cheese, Moros, is thoroughly pissed off, in fact. It seems the council had already forbid Janus' experiments in time-travel and had banned him from making such a ship as the one he had obviously gone ahead and built. Another council member points out that by using the timeship Alt-Elizabeth herself might have altered the course of time and prevented the future from playing out as she had experienced it. They tell Alt-Elizabeth she is welcome in the city but she has come at a really bad time, as they were all about to evacuate back to Earth. They invite her to come along with them, as she won't be going back to her own time. Moros flat out forbids that and orders the timeship destroyed, in fact.

Neither Alt-Elizabeth nor Janus are to be dissuaded, however. When the council refuses to hear any more on the matter, Janus devises a plan to save the city and the future expedition. He rigs the ZPMs to run consecutively, rather than simultaneously, after the city is abandoned. This will give the expedition a little bit of extra time upon arriving before the shields fail. Of course, someone will need to stay behind in stasis to switch out the ZPMs every couple of thousand years. Alt-Elizabeth is, of course, the obvious candidate for this. She does not balk at the chore, embracing the act that she believes will save her people and the city both from the destruction she witnessed. Janus hides her and tells the council she has already gone through to Earth, then he shows Alt-Elizabeth how to rotate the ZPMs and sets the stasis chamber to automatically wake her up at the required intervals, as well as when the expedition arrives. (We learn from Rodney in the present that the lab did, in fact, try to wake Alt-Elizabeth up upon their arrival into the city, but not knowing what that was and fearing power drainage, they had actually shut the process down, which is why Alt-Elizabeth didn't show up to tell them what was going on when they got there.) Janus' last acts before returning to Earth are to program in a failsafe to raise the city to the surface in the event that the power dropped to a critical point, and to make copies of his time-travel research, with the intention to try building another timeship behind the council's back.

With her story told, Alt-Elizabeth shares a few quiet moments with our Elizabeth. Elizabeth wonders that Alt-Elizabeth gave up her whole life just to try to change something that had, from her perspective, already happened. Alt-Elizabeth tells her that she still has her whole life ahead of her, because she and Elizabeth are the same person, so her adventures are really just beginning. She then imparts one last piece of information to Elizabeth. The note she had with the gate addresses is a list of five planets known to have ZPMs. She had managed to get the information from Janus before he left so that the expedition might be able to find them when they arrived in the galaxy. As Elizabeth is sharing this information with Sheppard and Rodney, Alt-Elizabeth passes on.

The episode closes with Elizabeth back on the balcony where we found her at the beginning. She is holding the pottery Sheppard had given her for her birthday and she opens it up and pours its contents--the ashes of her alternate self--out into the ocean. Sheppard comes out to tell her that they are ready to begin a mission briefing and she asks for a few moments, and there we leave her.


This is probably my second favorite episode of the season, and it is probably one of my top ten at least for the series as a whole. I love the purely science fiction concept of it. Alternate timelines are a fun way to shake things out without actually making any big changes. They also usually tend to go a long way towards character development, and this episode was no exception. I love that the whole Stargate franchise lends itself so readily to this kind of story. I think probably most of my favorite Stargate episodes involve either alternate universes or alternate timelines. I just love the whole "what if" of them.

The primary character development for this episode is, of course, Elizabeth. Here is where we really learn that she internalizes--she hates to show anything but strength on the outside, and it tends to make her a lonely person. But that does not mean that she doesn't care for her people. In fact, she cares very deeply for all of them, even though she tries to keep them at arm's length more often than not. I found the attitude of Alt-Elizabeth very interesting, and a rather refreshing change from the type of doppelganger tropes I have gotten used to in my scifi of late. Once that alternate timeline is created, she and Elizabeth are two very distinct people, separate and whole. She would be well within her rights to demand or fight for a continued existence. Yet she not only goes quietly and willingly away, she embraces that it doesn't matter what happens to her because Elizabeth will go on. From her point of view she lived her life up to the point of getting to Atlantis, had a brief detour, and then Elizabeth picked right back up in Atlantis and just kept going where she left off. She doesn't see them as two separate people. Even our Elizabeth seems to have a bit of a hard time with it, but I don't for a second believe she would react any differently had she been the one put in that situation. This episode sees an amazing performance by Torri Higginson as Elizabeth, and the actress who played Alt-Elizabeth was pretty spiffy as well.

We also get a bit of development for Rodney, witnessing how he fights to the last moment trying to buy time for as many members of the expedition to get out of Atlantis as possible. Even if he did fail in the end, he never stopped trying. That says so very much about Rodney McKay.

I loved the fact that Sheppard and Rodney were giving each other crap and competing over how their alternate selves went out. That takes a special kind of bond to be able to bicker about that kind of thing, and it was another lovely little sign of the progression of their friendship.

I think it bears noting that the Ancients had absolutely atrocious fashion sense. Seriously, what the heck is up with that? I just...yuck. It annoys me and I don't know why, but it really really does. I don't know if that is intentional or if someone in production gets a big fail for that whole concept (not the costumers, who I have no doubt did the best with that they were given).

One last thing worth noting is how much the events of this episode impact the mythology of SG-1. That bit about Janus continuing his research into time-travel? Yeah, that ends up being very important at the end of SG-1's eighth season. Moros, the council leader? He comes into play in a big way throughout seasons nine and ten. Sure, you could watch SG-1 without ever having seen Atlantis and the bits that tie back to this episode would still make perfect sense, but having watched both, and seeing the roots put down here, it really makes the mythology of the whole franchise that much deeper and more coherent, you know?

Favorite Quotes

"We're here to unlock the secrets to Atlantis." (Sheppard)

"Ten thousand years! You expect her to dance a bloody jig?" (Carson)

"Is time travel even possible?" (Ford)
"Well, according to Einstein's General Theory of Relativity, there's nothing in the laws of physics to prevent it. Extremely difficult to achieve, mind you--you need the technology to manipulate black holes to create wormholes not only through points in space but time." (Rodney)
"Not to mention a really nice DeLorean." (Sheppard)
"Don't even get me started on that movie!" (Rodney)
"I liked that movie!" (Sheppard)

"I thought this place couldn't get any weirder." (Sheppard)

"Are you in any pain?" (Elizabeth)
"Would we admit it if we were?" (Alt-Elizabeth)

That's all we've got for today, folks. See you back here on Wednesday for another excellent episode, "The Brotherhood."

Friday, August 19, 2011

Birthday Week!

We have had a kind of crazy (in a good way) week over here in Cori-land. My daughter turned two on Wednesday. I have always been one to make a to-do of my birthdays, and because she is the center of my world of course we had to have a party for her, even though she is entirely too little to really realize what's going on. Since her birthday was in the middle of the week, we decided to go ahead and have her party this past weekend, on Sunday evening. I am super glad we went that route, because it allowed us to get all of the crazy work part of the celebration out of the way and then just enjoy the rest of the week basking in the glow of the aftermath.

We hung balloons and streamers, picked up some barbecue, and I made cupcakes. I got bouncy balls for all of Baby Girl's friends, and set up Duplo and coloring stations for the kiddos. There were leis for everyone in general--until Baby Girl decided that she must have them all, that is. There was also Baby Girl's slide/fort that I put together inside the house when we got it and still haven't moved outside because it's too darn hot. Add to that family and friends and it was, I must say, a rousing success. Here are some of the highlights:

Balloons and streamers!

Indoor slide! Complete with QA Cat.

Bouncy balls for everyone!

Pineapple cupcakes, with lemon or strawberry frosting.

The birthday girl's cake.

Lei Collector in action.

Must have more leis!

Blowing out her candles.

She wasn't quite too sure about her cupcake, though.

Hugs for everyone!

Of course, that didn't mean that we did nothing for her actual birthday. Hubby took the day off and we spent it together. There was her two-year checkup in the morning, but we got that bit of unpleasantness out of the way bright and early. It wasn't even that bad, Baby Girl was incredibly well behaved, she didn't even cry when she got her shot, or her nasal flu vaccine. The doctor was impressed with her laid-back nature. I remarked to Hubby on the way out that Baby Girl sure does have everyone fooled. In the last six months she has managed to jump from the twenty-fifth to seventy-fifth percentile in height. She also jumped up from the very bottom of normal in weight to the twenty-fifth percentile (whew). Gonna be tall and skinny. She defintely doesn't get that from me. Thank goodness she takes after her father!

After lunch we let her open the rest of her presents.

Tony tests out the trampoline.

An easel to stretch her creative muscles.

She is starting to get the hang of this unwrapping thing.

Wally checks out the stomp rocket.


Feeding her My Little Pony a bottle.

I can't stress how much she wanted me to get Elmo out
of the box RIGHT NOW as soon as she saw him.

We wrapped up her birthday with dinner at a Mexican restaurant--that kid loves her salsa. She will eat it with a fork or spoon (and did this time) if I don't pay close enough attention. Then we went home, had brownies, and played until bedtime. All in all, it was a good day.

Of course, that's not the end of Birthday Week, oh no. Because today, my friends, is MY birthday, yay! (Baby Girl's first gift to me was saving me from having to go through labor on my birthday by arriving more or less on time.) We won't be doing anything quite so elaborate as the celebrations for Baby Girl. But Hubby did take the day off again, so I look forward to spending it with him. I will also be going to the yarn store in a little bit. Tonight I'll have dinner with my friends and family (we're going out to eat this time around so I don't have to clean up), then catching Conan the Barbarian after that. I mean, come on, shirtless Jason Momoa in a movie opening on my birthday? Clearly this is one of my presents.

So I am off to enjoy my day. I hope yours is lovely. Have a fantastic weekend folks, and I'll see you back here Monday.