Monday, 31 October 2016

Timeless in October 2016

There’s a new time travel show on television these days - “Timeless”. (There’s also “Frequency”, but it’s based on the former movie, plus it doesn’t seem to air where I am in Canada. Ditto for “12 Monkeys”, come to think of it.) Since time travel IS one of my things though, I thought I’d offer up my thoughts on it. Here was their promo, it began airing the first Monday of October.

In brief, without spoilers: "Timeless" has it’s problems, but I'd say it's worthwhile. It certainly pulled me in more than “Daybreak” did back in 2006 (where a detective relives the same day over and over), which was the last time I tried watching a temporal series. The main issue I have with it is that there are too many plot threads, all seemingly demanding attention... and so characterization suffers.

Random side note before spoilers. The wikipedia page for the series currently says that Shawn Ryan and Eric Kripke (creators and show runners) drew inspiration from Quantum Leap, Back to the Future, and Voyagers!. The first two being staples of time travel for me, and the third source - being unknown. Something I might want to look into. That’s not really the side note.

The note is that they are being SUED by “Onza Entertainment” for copyright infringement, claiming “Timeless” is based on the Spanish series “El Ministerio del Tiempo” (The Ministry of Time) for - I’m baffled here - the fact that it’s a three person time preservation team made up of two men and a woman. Really? I looked up the Spanish series. Their solider is from the 16th century, their woman is 19th century, and their third member from present day isn’t a black man who pilots them, but is instead a white paramedic.

I’m not saying the Spanish series isn’t good or anything - I haven’t seen it, and certainly this reviewer speaks highly of it in that post there (from a year ago, it’s got a third season now). But copyright? The world seems to be getting too copyright happy.

Okay, getting into some SPOILERS now for the “Timeless” run in October 2016. I’ve seen the first five episodes. And as I do with my Doctor Who stuff, scroll below the picture for the rest. (Alternatively, check out my time travel serial at that link...)


The pilot episode had to do a lot (setup premise, characters, conflict), and I felt it did that well. We jumped right into the time travel, the timeship looks pretty cool, the characters are likeable, and they gave shout-outs to time travel pitfalls with just enough awareness to satisfy me. (We can’t go back and try again, bad things happen if you exist at the same time as yourself - they didn’t get a complete pilot back the time they tried it.) Also, the main plot of using a backup time machine to go after the stolen one felt very clever.

WHO ARE THESE PEOPLE


As I mentioned above, the main trouble I have is characterization. After the pilot, I expected them to put the brakes on a little. Lucy had just returned to a present family which was NOT the one she left. She has a new fiancé for goodness sakes! And yet... those ramifications were swept aside very quickly for the next trip. And more or less again in episode three. And four. We finally get something at five, but not with the fiancé.

Granted, the eventual explanation for why things changed for Lucy was genius (at any rate, I sure didn’t see it coming) but her life still feels like it’s dangling out there like a loose thread. Why do we even have the cast return to their present lives if we’re not going to stay there for more than two minutes? If we’re not going to be able to use the time to learn more about these people? Heck, Lucy being motivated by her missing sister means more if we had more links to that relationship.

The plot for Rufus, where someone higher up in the corporation wants recordings of what they’re doing, seems to be getting more screen time. Which is not a bad plot. I suppose that it could also be linked into Lucy’s plot, but there’s no indications of that. It would probably mean more if we knew more about Rufus’ family.

Wyatt felt like the least developed initially. I couldn’t even remember his name until the third episode; granted I like the name “Lucy”, while “Rufus” makes me think of Bill & Ted, so they had an advantage there. (I’m not great with names in general.) Wyatt also had an early plot thread, in that his wife died... except the focus became more on his military experience (especially in episodes four and five).

I’m not saying he’s a bad character, episode five did good things in particular. But back in episode three, Wyatt tries to send a message to save his wife, and that fails... why? Swept aside. (Fun tidbit that “Back to the Future” exists for them though.) So there’s all these little character plots, but I’m not terribly invested in them yet, because I don’t really have a sense of the characters’ lives that well!

Also in episode three we start getting into plots for SECONDARY characters?! The “villain” of the piece has his own time pilot, and Rufus believes said pilot is working against his will, and yet it seems like that’s not the case. Meanwhile another minor character, one of the time technicians who Rufus seems to like, manages to work out a way of pinpointing where the stolen time ship is in the present. That would seem like a great opportunity to set a story IN the present, maybe deal more with the corporation or Lucy’s fiancé, but no, there’s a raid, and we’re gone again.

Swept aside, swept aside, coming back to it later, maybe.

You’ll also notice I’m putting “villain” in quotes - because he seems to have a diary that Lucy will write in the future. (Another plot!) So like all good villains he sees himself as the hero of the piece. Maybe he even is the hero. Or maybe Lucy’s diary is something she writes so that they can eventually catch him. Who knows? That feels like it should be a more central piece, but it’s only one cog in the wheel. Also, I forget the “villain”’s full name aside from “Flynn”. Slow down, there’s TOO MANY PLOTS.

It’s a huge credit to the actors that they can get me even partially invested in their personal problems, when so little time seems to be spent on them. The guy who plays Rufus hits a lot of the right notes in particular, and of course there’s his one quote I’ve found referenced in many review pieces of the show: “I am black. There is literally no place in American history that will be awesome for me.”

BACK IN TIME


Which segues me into the actual time travel aspect. The writers and the creative staff do seem aware of their time periods. I feel like they oversimplify - but I suppose to a certain extent that’s necessary, so I can forgive it. Plus they ARE changing history as they go, so they’ve got an excuse there. (Granted, they start each episode with the original history.) Though the changes being registered are somehow refreshing too, as long with the fact that the protagonists don’t always win.

In addition, the show does interest me in what aspects of the past really ARE true, so mission accomplished in terms of drawing me towards history. (Funny enough, history’s not my thing, despite my interest in time travel.) I was also worried that the show would be very American centred, rah rah, that sort of thing - but they went to Nazi Germany too, in the fourth episode, so that was a pleasant diversion.

I feel like the actual temporal elements are the show’s strength. And that’s what’s got me hooked, more than the human element. (But I’m only one person, here’s a reviewer who thinks a bit different.) At this point, I’m not sure how sustainable that focus is. Last week I watched the premiere of “Canada’s Worst Driver” instead of “Timeless”, but I did catch up online. And returned this week.

To reiterate, it has it’s problems, but it seems worthwhile. I’m still watching for now. Are you? If so, are you seeing things that I’m not? If not, does my summary interest you? Either way, what do you think about my take overall?

Oh, and if you’re interested in time travel, maybe check out my web serial “Time & Tied”, about a teenage girl with a temporal destiny. It’s got a slowly pace but with what I hope are interesting characters. Thanks for reading here, at the least!

Saturday, 29 October 2016

Not Teaching: Week 17

This was a week. A lot happened. I still need to do things. On the bright side, the “Time & Tied” story I’ve been tackling since JULY is DONE. (Well, the very end still needs some tidying, but aside from that.) So I can head into NaNoWriMo without dividing my writing attentions. Also heard from school that my music video has come together. Yay for finished projects. Boo for dry eyes.


Previous INDEX Next

Item counts run Sunday (October 23) to Saturday (October 29).

Step Count: About 48,300.
Up and down all week; slacked off on movement today, wanted to get T&T finished.

School Email Count: 63 New (3 sent)
A few of those related to Monday’s meeting.



Writing/Art Related Items (from Sun to Sat):
 -Finished T&T Parts 91 through 96. (Ok, not quite 96, but 90 wasn’t done this time last week) At maybe 4,000 words each, that’s 24,000 words?
 -Polished up T&T Commentary 21 to post

Non-Writing Items for the past week:
 -Dealt with leaves on driveway and eavestrough, put away hose
 -Math meeting on Monday and typed up minutes
 -Yoga Tuesday
 -Medical appointment Wednesday

PROBABLE PROJECTS in the coming week:
 -Work on Math Story NaNoWriMo Startup
 -NaNoWriMo social gathering event
 -Halloween and such
 -Catch back up on web serials and the like

WOULD BE NICE items:
 -Post recap about OAME (from May)
 -Post recap about Math PD (from Feb)
 -Post recap about Anime North (from May)
 -Post recap about CanCon 2016 (from Sept)
 -Post recap about COMA Social (from Sept)
 -Actually turn this into more of a newsletter?
 -Catch up with web serials I’ve enjoyed
 -Write a TANDQ article on Decision Fatigue
 -Write a post about types of praise/encouragement
 -Organize all the paper clutter from school
 -Organize all the electronic clutter from school
 -Weed through/organize emails
 -Do another Parody Math Video
 -French Citizenship project
 -Actually market some of my creative stuff
 -Binging Anime (Magical Index)
 -Binging Anime (Steins Gate)
 -Binging Anime (RWBY borrowed from Scott)
 -Catch up more on “Bones” (no spoilers past S11.16!*)
 -Get back onto tumblr.
 -Read some of the books sitting at my desk

This next week might be relaxing, compared to last week?


Previous INDEX Next

Saturday, 22 October 2016

Not Teaching: Week 16

Ran into Susan Rab in the mall early this week, only the second in-person encounter with a teacher from my school since start of the school year. Parent-teacher interviews were this past Thursday (and apparently in the Cafeteria/Library instead of the Gym?). Meanwhile, back at home, my wife celebrated her birthday, and I made a good cake. ^_^ Added raspberries, which I should remember to do next year. Late in the week, I found my writing groove, which is fortunate, since I seem to have a number of things that need doing this coming week.


Previous INDEX Next

I feel like this past week was somehow typical, which is weird, since it contained a number of unique events.

Item counts run Sunday (October 16) to Saturday (October 22).

Step Count: About 53,450.
Four days less than 7,000 but three days over 9,000.

School Email Count: 88 New (1 sent)
An online version of the OSSLT imploded. Sheesh.


Writing/Art Related Items (from Sun to Sat):
 -Finished T&T Part 87. And 88. And 89. And part of 90. Maybe 14,000 words?

Non-Writing Items for the past week:
 -Dining with in-laws or friends on Sunday, Monday and Tuesday.
 -Yoga Tuesday
 -Shopping (for card, new eavestrough guard, etc)
 -Got benefits figured out (I hope), being listed on “Deferred Leave”

PROBABLE PROJECTS in the coming week:
 -Deal with leaves on driveway and eavestrough
 -Math meeting on Monday
 -Yoga Tuesday
 -Medical appointment Wednesday
 -Finish editing on my T&T story
 -Work on Math Story NaNoWriMo Startup


Have a random meme from last month.

WOULD BE NICE items:
 -Post recap about OAME (from May)
 -Post recap about Math PD (from Feb)
 -Post recap about Anime North (from May)
 -Post recap about CanCon 2016 (from Sept)
 -Post recap about COMA Social (from Sept)
 -Actually turn this into more of a newsletter?
 -Catch up with web serials I’ve enjoyed
 -Write a TANDQ article on Decision Fatigue
 -Write a post about types of praise/encouragement
 -Organize all the paper clutter from school
 -Organize all the electronic clutter from school
 -Weed through/organize emails
 -Do another Parody Math Video
 -French Citizenship project
 -Actually market some of my creative stuff
 -Binging Anime (Magical Index)
 -Binging Anime (Steins Gate)
 -Binging Anime (RWBY borrowed from Scott)
 -Catch up more on “Bones” (no spoilers past S11.16!*)
 -Get back onto tumblr.
 -Read some of the books sitting at my desk

Yeah, this is kind of a busy week coming up.

Previous INDEX Next

Saturday, 15 October 2016

Not Teaching: Week 15

You know you’re a math teacher when you spot scientific calculators for 50% off and buy them even though you won’t have cause to use them in a classroom for months. Unrelated, I’ve been musing about why the writing is going slower this month. Some of it is being preoccupied with other things (like Thanksgiving) but other times when I could write, I don’t. Maybe I can only do something for so long before needing to try something else?

Previous INDEX Next

Still not sure how October is going to play out. Hoping I can finish all T&T edits before NaNoWriMo. Not sure what else.

Item counts run Sunday (October 9) to Saturday (October 15).

Step Count: About 59,600.
Only about 2,750 on Wednesday, wasn’t feeling great. Tried to make up for it afterwards with two 10k+ days. Took 10 flights of stairs every time I visited at Chapel St.

School Email Count: 38 New (1 sent)
News of the week is that apparently the school is phasing out the automated phone system in favour of an email one. Also I got benefit update information in the postal mail, which I need to act on. Feels like mixed signals.



Writing/Art Related Items (from Sun to Sat):
 -Finished T&T Part 86 at last. Started 87.
 -Signed up on the NaNoWriMo site. (mathtans)

Non-Writing Items for the past week:
 -Meeting with in-laws, driving home
 -Met friends on Monday
 -Actually, social eating every evening except Thurs
 -Yoga Tuesday
 -Shopping (for card), picked up glasses, etc.
 -Tidied up property, eavestrough guard, etc
 -Finished reading stories in “Temporal Element II”
 -Got into the “Abyss” with the game I’m playing

PROBABLE PROJECTS in the coming week:
 -Anne-Lise’s birthday, yaay!
 -Call OTIP to figure out why I didn’t get a benefits email.
 -??? Just going to play this week out I guess.


Tidied from Week 13.
That is a computer running Windows ME.

WOULD BE NICE items:
 -Post recap about OAME (from May)
 -Post recap about Math PD (from Feb)
 -Post recap about Anime North (from May)
 -Post recap about CanCon 2016 (from Sept)
 -Post recap about COMA Social (from Sept)
 -Do more editing on my T&T story
 -Actually turn this into more of a newsletter?
 -Catch up with web serials I’ve enjoyed
 -Write a TANDQ article on Decision Fatigue
 -Write a post about types of praise/encouragement
 -Organize all the paper clutter from school
 -Organize all the electronic clutter from school

 -Weed through/organize emails
 -Do another Parody Math Video
 -French Citizenship project
 -Actually market some of my creative stuff
 -Binging Anime (Magical Index)
 -Binging Anime (Steins Gate)
 -Binging Anime (RWBY borrowed from Scott)
 -Catch up more on “Bones” (no spoilers past S11.16!*)
 -Get back onto tumblr.
 -Read some of the books sitting at my desk

No real concluding statement here.

Previous INDEX Next

Saturday, 8 October 2016

Not Teaching: Week 14

Belatedly realized a quarter year has passed since I was last teaching. Feels too soon for a round-up though. My writing feels like it’s stalled, and I’m not sure why the motivation isn’t there. Been playing more of the computer game.


Previous INDEX Next

Also, the biggest news is my car died on Monday, so I couldn’t drive home Thursday... so I ended up attending the french provincial math conference in Ottawa on Thursday instead. Meaning I had to wake up at 7am while my wife slept in. Life is strange. Tensioner bolts are problematic.

Item counts run Sunday (October 2) to Saturday (October 8).

Step Count: About 55,800.
Over 7,000 per day. Only 3 days topping 8000 though. Went walking with my Dad today, that was nice.

School Email Count: 61 New (2 sent)
Last week I mentioned booking of parent-teacher interviews online; apparently the glitches are still being worked out? Good times. Also, staff meetings may no longer have snacks.



Writing/Art Related Items (from Sun to Sat):
 -Some back edits through T&T following some blog comments.

Non-Writing Items for the past week:
 -Reinstalled Windows ME computer in my office
 -Medical Appointment Monday
 -Dealing with broken down car ;.;
 -Watched “Timeless” TV show premiere, it was okay
 -Mowed lawn
 -Yoga Tuesday
 -Haircut
 -Somewhat dealt with full camera memory card
 -French Math Conference Wed eve & Thurs
 -Visiting home for Thanksgiving
 -Bit more reading in “Temporal Element II”.

PROBABLE PROJECTS in the coming week:
 -Meeting with in-laws to start week
 -Should get back to recaps or SOMETHING


My old bedroom... Jays cup from 1993...

WOULD BE NICE items:
 -Actually turn this into more of a newsletter?
 -Post recap about OAME (from May)
 -Post recap about Math PD (from Feb)
 -Post recap about Anime North (from May)
 -Post recap about CanCon 2016 (from Sept)
 -Post recap about COMA Social (from Sept)
 -Do more editing on my T&T story
 -Catch up with web serials I’ve enjoyed
 -Write a TANDQ article on Decision Fatigue
 -Write a post about types of praise/encouragement
 -Organize all the paper clutter from school
 -Organize all the electronic clutter from school
 -Weed through/organize emails
 -Do another Parody Math Video
 -French Citizenship project
 -Actually market some of my creative stuff
 -Binging Anime (Magical Index)
 -Binging Anime (Steins Gate)
 -Binging Anime (RWBY borrowed from Scott)
 -Catch up more on “Bones” (no spoilers past S11.16!*)
 -Get back onto tumblr.
 -Read some of the books sitting at my desk

I think I have a week coming up without obligations.
Previous INDEX Next

Saturday, 1 October 2016

Not Teaching: Week 13

I’ve started goofing off a bit, playing a computer game. (With writing, you can kinda get away with that guilt-free, not so much with teaching.) I did have a few appointments and meetings this week, so maybe that was a factor, seeking more down time. I got my eyes checked for the first time in maybe four years, since an eye was bothering me (it's fine). Also went to the bookstore. A former student recognized me (Sydney P) and we chatted. Yay for high school teachers.

I was going to design a “Time Lines” banner for these posts, kinda started it, feel it needs more, might happen before Thanksgiving (next weekend), might not. Sidebar, I’m caught up with “Agents of SHIELD”, which resumed earlier this month, and saw more “Bones”, from last season.


Previous INDEX Next

Item counts run Sunday (September 25) to Saturday (October 1).

Step Count: About 62,500.
Sunday was under 3k. But three days were over 10k.

School Email Count: 74 New (2 sent)
Apparently parent-teacher interviews are now going to be booked online, and we have to sign up for the system ourselves. Something else to look forward to when I get back.



Writing/Art Related Items (from Sun to Sat):
 -Posted about NaNoWriMo Options
 -Queued up all posts for T&T in October
 -Started Part 86 edits in T&T

Non-Writing Items for the past week:
 -Finished Volume 4 of “Buffy Season 8”, got them to Scott
 -Met friends on Monday
 -Eye appointment on Tuesday
 -Yoga Tuesday
 -Math Social Thursday, took notes
 -Caught up with Back to the Future comic
 -Caught up with EVW’s “Sakura Dungeon” play through - and bought the game
 -Bit more reading in “Temporal Element II”.

PROBABLE PROJECTS in the coming week:
 -Medical appointment Monday
 -Tidy up the side of the room that’s not my desk (below)
 -Headed home for Thanksgiving


What's been next to my desk for, um, years.

WOULD BE NICE items:
 -Actually turn this into more of a newsletter?
 -Deal with full memory card on camera
 -French Citizenship project
 -Post recap about OAME (from May)
 -Post recap about Math PD (from Feb)
 -Post recap about Anime North (from May)
 -Post recap about CanCon 2016 (from Sept)
 -Post recap about COMA Social (from Sept) (**NEW)
 -Do more editing on my T&T story
 -Catch up with web serials I’ve enjoyed
 -Write a TANDQ article on Decision Fatigue
 -Write a post about types of praise/encouragement
 -Organize all the paper clutter from school
 -Organize all the electronic clutter from school
 -Weed through/organize emails
 -Do another Parody Math Video
 -Actually market some of my creative stuff
 -Binging Anime (Magical Index)
 -Binging Anime (Steins Gate)
 -Binging Anime (RWBY borrowed from Scott)
 -Catch up more on “Bones” (no spoilers past S11.16!*)
 -Get back onto tumblr.
 -Read some of the books sitting at my desk

One thing doing these posts makes me realize is how much stuff actually DOES get done on weeks where I feel like I didn’t do much.
Previous INDEX Next