pen_grunt: (Fred and Ginger Dance)
I've been watching Star Trek Enterprise lately. I've also been listening to The Greatest Generation podcast to and from work (it is Star Trek The Next Generation focused).

I made my way through many Star Trek properties, and I have opinions.

My ranking for Star Treks, influenced somewhat by nostalgia:

1. The Next Generation
2. The Original Series
3. Voyager
4. Deep Space 9
5. Enterprise

To be fair, I've only seen 3 episodes of Enterprise so far.

Allow me to do a lengthy trekkie rundown:

1. Next Generation.

I will admit that a great portion of my fondness for TNG comes from nostalgia. Even the "bad" first season episodes I find mostly not so bad.

  • The characters are, mostly, truly interesting and it's a joy to see them all interact as a cohesive unit that you can believe is friendly when the camera is "off". More than any other ST, they seem like they "go on" after the episode ends. It's fun to see the crew hang out.
  • Jean Luc Picard is a great captain and has great foils in Riker and the rest of the bridge crew. And his foils aren't extreme reactions to his personality, as in some other series.
  • Characters who are "different" have differences, but we aren't beaten over the head with them on a day-to-day basis when doing their job. Worf doesn't feel the need to point out "I AM A KLINGON" in every episode or at every moment.
  • It's a very Star Trekky kind of show. A lot of the episodes are character-building and world-building without any grave danger. They manage to do this without being boring OR without prolesthetizing too much. A lot of their focus is on solving philosophical issues or exploring a facet of humanity.
  • Guinan, Picard, Wesley (shut up, love him still), Riker, Q...all great characters. There are a ton of great, nuanced characters.
  • Lots of humor mixed in.

  • Most of the first season. Let's be honest.
  • Deanna Troi. She is useless most of the time. The caricature of her is quite sexist (oh, a woman loves chocolate and EMOTIONS). When she might actually be able to help with an issue she's mysteriously not in an episode. Also they use her as a rape-object far too much. Mostly it's mental, but sometimes not! Jesus.
  • The holodeck is interesting but problematic in so many ways.
  • Ferengi

2. The Original Series.

This, probably more than anything, is getting an artificially inflated ranking based on my nostalgia.

  • The original power of some of the ideas (equality, justice, etc.) are still strong and cannot be brushed aside--especially for its time.
  • Kirk/Spock/Bones trifecta is awesome.
  • Plays for a lot of humor. More than one might think.
  • Interesting philosophical questions/issues explored.
  • Shatner was hot.
  • The schmaltz factor is high.
  • It gets super hit-over-the-head preachy.
  • Slow moving.
  • Shatner's acting is...difficult to revisit as an adult, sometimes.
  • Lots of convenient plot action.
  • Sexism isn't supposed to be a "thing" but oh-ho, it still is.

3. Voyager

After watching DS9, I discovered that I really like a ship to be moving in space.

  • Janeway, about half the time.
  • Chakotay and Seven of Nine are really interesting, nuanced characters. Actually, I really really liked the addition of Seven of Nine.
  • No contact with traditional starfleet makes for some very interesting situations.
  • Interesting take with the holographic doctor.

  • Every alien species is just a human with some junk slapped on their forehead.
  • Tom Paris is annoying AF. Also, all his relationships.
  • Janeway, the other half of the time.
  • Inexplicable Barclay episodes. Holy crap, did I never miss him.

4. Deep Space 9

  • Sisko is awesome (even if he does speak every line as though it had a secret meaning that only he understands).
  • Really good toward the end of the show.
  • I like Bashir.
  • Manages to make Ferengis interesting.
  • Super interesting Cardassian subplots.

  • I do not give a fuck about the O'Briens. Not one solitary fuck--and they had tons of relationship episodes.
  • I do not give a fuck about the Bajoran religion.
  • This includes the emissary. DNGAF.
  • Ferengis are still pretty annoying.
  • I do not give a fuck about Odo/shapeshifters.
  • Dax is played with an awful wink-nod that the actress doesn't earn and can't pull off (but the Trill are kind of interesting).

5. Enterprise.

I haven't gotten that far in yet, so mostly I'll reserve judgement as it's clearly still finding its feet. However, the theme is atrocious and the acting so far is not strong. T'Pol bugs the shit out of me and Bakula isn't doing his best work here.

I was surprised how, in retrospect, I get really mad thinking about a lot of the DS9 subplots. Voyager certainly isn't great, but every time I think about the O'Briens fighting Voyager gets better and better. 

There's more to say, but I'll leave it there for now. Discuss!


Apr. 12th, 2017 10:36 am
pen_grunt: (Default)
I suppose I should start posting in dreamwidth so I don't have to re-import any LJ entries?

Ohgod, I hate change.
pen_grunt: (Default)
My boss, gushing about South Florida: You can get things here that you can't get anywhere else! Cuban cigars! Fresh mangos!

Me: Never-before-seen strains of herpes!

Oh Florida.
pen_grunt: (Monkey kisses)
I'm working at a coffee shop today because my car is broken and my child is at home. It's impossible to work with her around, right now ("Mommy! Moooooommmy!").

Sitting beside me are 4 elderly adults engaging in political conversation. They are so gentle and kind about their displeasure with Trump and their defense of Obama. It's heartening to hear.

ETA: One of them just referred to Paul Ryan as "That creepy little Eddie Munster." I couldn't help laughing. I apologized for eavesdropping.
pen_grunt: (Wild Thing)
My boss randomly gave me a $50 Amazon gift card today for writing a script that the client gushed over.

And then my car broke down on the way home and my toddler was -such- a toddler tonight.

I have no vehicle (Derrick is fixing out right now. A belt broke), but I can buy a book or something.
pen_grunt: (Default)
Nadia, stroking the side of my face: "Oh mommy. So cute my mommy."

Just when you're about to sell them to the gypsies...


Jan. 17th, 2017 11:08 am
pen_grunt: (Monkey kisses)
With all the crafting, some of it is bound to turn out kind of...not how I'd want it to.

I did a Frida Kahlo and it turned out like this:
Now, part of the issue is that there's a shadow under her brow from the way it's lit.
But...there's something not right about it. And it's in the face. I think the jaw is too rounded, maybe, too.

I'm disappointed in it. It's especially disappointing because the flower embroidery took for-ev-er. It sucks to work a long time on something and have it not turn out as you'd hoped.

(It's based on this picture.)


Jan. 15th, 2017 10:38 pm
pen_grunt: (Monkey kisses)
Show over. So tired.

We had big plans to go out to a nice dinner and get a drink or two. Because BOY HOWDY has this been a hell of a show.
But we got done at 2:30ish and after a little lunch:

Me, at 4:12: (Emoticons of drinks) tonight?
Boss, at 4:58: YES!
Me, at 6:22: I fell asleep.
Boss, at 7:26: Me too.
Me, at 8:30: I think we missed our shot.

We're across the street from a great steakhouse, but since it's Sunday night, everything closes at 9. It's deeply unfair after such a long, arduous week.

Room service again if I'm hungry, I guess.

The room service here is good, but I was getting tired of paying $70 per meal. (That's...without any alcoholic beverage.)


Jan. 8th, 2017 12:50 pm
pen_grunt: (Default)
Because my clients are complete flakes, they neglected to tell us that--despite what was contracted--they were unavailable for rehearsals on Wednesday, the day before the show.

So we have to rehearse Tuesday.
We were scheduled to get in Tuesday evening.

This has been, as one might predict, problematic.

So I leave tomorrow morning instead. Time to do all the things tonight.

This show. Um. Man. Let's hope I get out of it sane.


Jan. 4th, 2017 01:25 pm
pen_grunt: (Monkey kisses)
I get consumed by things.

I get ideas and I actually do them and then I REALLY do them. It doesn't matter if they're insignificant or big or somewhere in between. Scanning pictures, making things, I generally follow through.

So I started an Etsy Shop with the patterns for some of the felt crafts I've been making. And I've added to it.

I've designed more patterns--stuff that I want to see or think is cool.

Then I started a blog to detail some of the patterns/techniques/etc.

Because I have SO MUCH TIME, right? (I do not. I don't know where I'm getting the time save for never sleeping. When I get on a tear about something...I really just want to do it. Sleep is for those without projects, and I love having a project.)

And even though it's all very slapped together and quick and dirty...I did a thing. Boy-howdy. It's a good thing I never got into drugs, man. When I do a thing, I DO it.

I might be insane.

Oh, and I have two big shows this month.

Definitely insane.


Dec. 15th, 2016 04:47 pm
pen_grunt: (Default)
I really want to put up a little free library. It would be a great thing in my neighborhood.

I was driving by some earlier this week. There are often progressive, inclusive yard signs in LFL house yards too.

Come to think of it...I've never seen a LFL in the same yard as a Trump sign.

Funny, that.
pen_grunt: (Monkey kisses)
I've been making a lot of felt ornaments/finger puppets/etc., lately.

This is because:
• It's something concrete I can focus on. I like stuff that I actually physically make with my own hands.
• It's zen, for me. And a total indulgence in time. Sure, I go to bed at 3 a.m., but I'm ALONE in the quiet house watching whatever tv I want (or nothing at all).
• I enjoy the challenge of creating the patterns and then executing them; deciding how to layer everything for effect, etc.
• I'm actually pretty good at it. That increases the satisfaction level.
• People are impressed by it, generally (even if they think I'm a little off my rocker) and I enjoy people being impressed by me. Narcissistic, maybe, but true.
• The damned supplies are already all over. (As long as they're out I think that I might as well keep going. Because if I clean them up nicely and put them's going to be a long time before I revisit them again.)

Some, I've given away as gifts. Some I'm going to keep. But every time I post them I get mentions of selling them. (Which are honestly the best intentioned and very flattering--so I'm not complaining in the least.)

The thing's really a labor of love.

I made this ornament most recently:


(It's Ruth Bader Ginsburg.)

It took...oh...just under 3 hours to make? Probably a little less if I hadn't been interrupted occasionally by friend chats or whatnot. It was 3 episodes of Doctor Who.

So what would I sell this for? The materials are fairly cheap (~30-50 cents a page for felt, 30 cents for embroidery floss, etc.), but designing the pattern, cutting out the pattern pieces, cutting out the felt, doing stitching detail (that collar tho!), etc. is time consuming.

A felt ornament, in a store, would go for $2-5, maybe. Something fancy might be up to $10.
That's a totally fair price for a felt ornament. I don't know that people would pay more. But it's not worth the time for me for $10.

Hence the crafter's quandary. People are used to paying $50 for a really nice blanket and would balk at paying $250 for a handmade quilt--even though that would (maybe!) be only cost-recovery on materials and time.

Why pay $500+ for an original painting when you can get a nice looking print for $15 (framed and ready to go for under $50)?

Handmade things cost more, but a lot of people don't have the luxury of paying more when cheap, readily-available goods are everywhere. And, for the most part, these aren't items one *needs*.

Plus, well, we're not talking perfection here. My stitches could be improved (I made some mistakes on the collar that wouldn't happen in a second iteration), I would change hair color, I would fix the lip-technique and eyes. If I had an embroidery machine it would go much more quickly (but I also don't like the machine-embroidered look as much).

So I'd feel bad charging more. I'm not sure what the "worth it" price would be to me, honestly. Or what the market would bear (I wouldn't want to over-charge, either).

So I think I'm just going to create pattern instructions to go with the patterns and sell them for $1-2 a pop. Something that you'd feel okay impulse-buying and you'd even feel okay knowing that your ambition might outstrip your execution and you'd have an unused pattern lying around forever (the TNG busy book pattern I bought was $10...I figured if I never actually got around to it it was no huge loss).


Dec. 1st, 2016 08:24 am
pen_grunt: (Wild Thing)
"They're real and they're spectacular" *still* gets a huge laugh at corporate events. Thanks Seinfeld (which I haven't actually seen, but I know the line).

Believe me. No one is as shocked as me.

The reason is because it's just a teensy bit naughty while also being completely clean. (The original line referred to breasts.) That goes over big with executives.

It's also why 50 Shades of Grey is the gift that keeps on giving. It's so mainstream that it's totally safe...yet everyone knows it's a naughty reference.

I wonder what the next everlasting naughty-safe bit will be.


Nov. 15th, 2016 02:08 pm
pen_grunt: (Gay sex for god.)
I just cannot fucking believe that this country elected Donald fucking Trump to be the president.

It's a week later. I still can't believe it.

And then he was like: Haaay, how about I start fillin' up my staff positions with white supremacists!

Me: . . . Fuck.

I've been saying that a lot lately.
pen_grunt: (Monkey kisses)
Traveling frequently makes for weird brain-compartments where cities are concerned. Anywhere in Florida is always "going to Florida".

Someone mentioned I was going to Maryland next week and I had to think about it for a moment. Baltimore has such a strong name recognition that I forget it's Maryland. (I mean, I KNOW that it is, but that's not immediately what I associate it with.) The same is true for Boston. Boston is its own world. But's Massachusetts. Maybe it's this way with the East-Coast "legacy" cities more than the newer, younger cities that aren't so imprinted on my history brain. I never "forget" that Billings is in Montana or Dallas is in Texas.
pen_grunt: (Monkey kisses)
On the flight to Phoenix I sat next to two legit Trump supporters. I never would have guessed. They looked just like normal people. You know, only older and white.

They were parroting the talking points. Trump has created millions of jobs and Obama said you didn't build anything yourself! Hillary compromises national security with BENGHAZI! They don't know how women can vote for her (one was a woman, but older) the way she talked about her husband's mistresses!

Fuck, you guys. Talk me down. Someone convince me through stats or otherwise that it's not actually possible that Trump is going to win this thing. I keep finding pockets of unassuming Trump voters who, when confronted with their own, open their mouths and let the racism just fall out (these two were talking about the large Somali population in MN and how that was SO FUCKING HORRIBLE THEY SHOULD GO BACK TO SOMALIA THOSE TERRORISTS!). I kid you not. It was like a parody of Trump people...coming from normal people. It was horrifying.



Aug. 25th, 2016 11:44 am
pen_grunt: (Default)
I totally just saw Cameron Esposito at the airport. (Comic. Hilarious. Watch her.)

I'm a huge fan, but I'm not actually the type to approach someone in this kind of situation.

So this is all we get. Saw her. Recognized her. Did kind of a shocked double take recognition thing.

I'm so awkward. Damn.
pen_grunt: (Modern Times)
Oh hey. I made a thing.

I bought a pattern for a Star Trek busy book (or "quiet book") here:

And then I finally got around to making it.
Pictures are HERE:

The album should be public. It was the easiest way to keep posting photos as I make new pages. I shared it on Facebook because, took a lot of work and it's cool and I kind of wanted more than just D and N to see it.

When I get on a tear about something, I can really become absorbed. So I designed my own pages for TOS and more for TNG. I added more (mostly female) characters. Making-with-hands projects like this are super soothing and relaxing for me. The problem is time-time-time. I get absorbed in doing this and everything else falls away. Or, rather, everything else that could go in that little slot of spare time between when the baby goes to bed and when *I* must go to bed. If I had full days, or even a few full afternoons, the job would go much more expediently.

It's pretty cool though. There are two discrete books: TNG and TOS. I'll post pictures when they're all done-done and bound and such (TNG is almost to this state).

And I might have started designing a Monty Python book, too.

pen_grunt: (Monkey kisses)
Have (somewhat) narrowed down the car search.

Requirements: AWD, wagon, reliable, newer (not brand-new)
Almost-requirements: Heated seats (you would think this would be a non-issue in newer cars, but I'm looking at YOU, economy Subarus), not an awful color (I'm looking at you 90's Subaru Outback Teal)

Looking at:
Volvo XC70
Subaru Outback or Forester
Mercedes e320

Volvo: This has rock-solid ratings and a great interior. The problem is that unless I buy very-new, the next available model years seem to be 2008. Mileage creeps way up if at all newer. Because people drive these for-ev-er. It's a good sign, but it makes it tough to find at a reasonable price.

Subaru: Solid. Reliable. Great to drive in the snow. These are popular for a reason. People drive them forever. My issue is that the ride is sort of tinny and the cars have a very cheap interior feel. It's not a dealbreaker, of course, but it gives me slight pause. There's also this weird crossover where they started making the Outbacks more like mini-suvs...and I really don't want a mini-suv.

Mercedes: This was my old wagon. I loved my old wagon SO MUCH. The issue here is that these are becoming incredibly scarce, what's available generally is old and has high mileage, and there is a known issue with body rust. I wouldn't get the c-class again (my last car) but the e-class was amazing to drive. SO solid in the snow. So awesome to handle. Third row seats are also a plus.

I have pretty much eliminated the Audis (they're cheap and available, but their reliability ratings are crap), the Cadiallac SRX (too big...why was D showing me this car?!).

I'm open to looking at other wagons, but there really aren't a lot of them out there.


pen_grunt: (Default)

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