Friday, April 29, 2016

11th Annual Kim Possible Fannies Nominations are April 29th through May 27th!

Ok, so you know how I've taken to writing Kim Possible fan stuff?  Well it turns out that they have a yearly awards thing.  The 11th annual awards will cover 2015.  As such, all Kim Possible stuff I wrote in 2015 is eligible for nomination.

I remember when the 10th annual ones came around I greatly perturbed that Being more than Simulacrum Part 5 was published two days into the new year and thus not eligible because it had “I know I said--she said, 'Mad Scientist,' when I--she first met him, but I've always felt he was more of an upset engineer,” and, “Evil scientists just have a hard time getting their work published in traditional peer reviewed journals and evil peer reviewed journals never work because everyone ends up afraid that the peer reviewers will steal their work,” in rapid succession and either would seem to be a great entry for the Best Single Line category.  Of course this year they're eligible.

Anyway, here's what qualifies:
So, now, here's the deal:

Once you have nominations in mind for as many categories as you think you're like to to have nominations in mind for, you copy the form that I'm going to paste at the bottom of this post into an email, fill our your nominations for each category (as many as few, as few as zero) and send the resulting email to kimmunityfannies (at) yahoo (dot) com.

Ok, so now lets talk about me.  Breaking up can be easy, Graduation 1.5, and Larry makes contact, aren't actually at fanfic dot net nor is the completely eligible Life After Chapter 3 (or the likewise eligible four, for that matter) if you nominate anything from any of those, be nice to the awards committee and provide a link.  Actually, links would be a good idea in general because it's just polite.

So, stuff for I can be nominated:

28) Best Writer:
All my stories:
14) Best Action/Adventure Story:
15) Best Drama Story:
28) Best Story Overall:
(Action adventure drama is kind of what I do in this fandom.)

Being more than a Simulacrum:
13) Best Friendship Story:
The story is composed of solid "Place makes friends".  An argument could be make for say Horatio-Surge in Forgotten Seeds or Shin-Jacob in Life After, but I think it would be an exceedingly weak argument.

Life After:
6) Best AU Story:
16) Best Unlikely/Unique Story:
It's an AU (alternate universe) because the time changing sends things spiraling off into a different direction, as for unlikely and/or unique, how many stories have you read where the dead are unleashed upon the living because a teleportation attempt bounced off of a fax machine causing an interdimentional rift between the living world and the seediest districts of Helheim?

Back to things that qualify:

1) Best KP Style Name:
Chi Mira (Chimera) from Bent, not Broken:
2) Best Original Character:
Leela Place Possible from Being More than a Simulacrum
Jacob from Life After Horatio from Forgotten Seeds
Darcy the Deliverator, Bent, not Broken Chapter 1
Drake and Amanda (firefighters) Bent, not Broken Chapter 3.
Chi (Mira) from Bent, not Broken in general.
I'm not sure where Surge, Blok, Hawk, and Henry from Forgotten Seeds along with Shin from Life After fall.  They're original characters, but they're my portrayal of other people's original characters.

3) Best Minor Character:
Tara, Josh Manky, Bonnie Rockweller from Life After
24) Best Single Line:
anything from any of the qualifying things that you think is good enough to stand above the other lines.  Well, all but one of the other lines since, do recall, you can nominate two things in each category.

So here's the form I said I'd copy and paste.  Then you copy it into an email, add zero, one, or two (but under no circumstances 3) nominations per category, and send it kimmunityfannies (at) yahoo (dot) com.

It's nominations don't close until the 27th so don't feel too rushed, but I really would like to win something which first requires being nominated, so pleas do actually nominate me for something somewhere if you feel the thing is worthy of nomination.

1) Best KP Style Name:
2) Best Original Character:
3) Best Minor Character:
4) Best Villain:
5) Best Songfic:
6) Best AU Story:
7) Best Crossover/Fusion:
8) Best Alternate Pairing:
9) Best KiGo Story:
10) Best Kim/Ron Story:
11) Best Comedy Story:
12) Best Romance Story:
13) Best Friendship Story:
14) Best Action/Adventure Story:
15) Best Drama Story:
16) Best Unlikely/Unique Story:
17) Best One-Shot Overall:
18) Best Novel-Sized Story:
19) Best Short Story:
20) Best Series Overall:
21) Best Writing Team:
22) Best Young Author:
23) Best New Author:
24) Best Single Line:
25) Best Reviewer:
26) CPNeb Kimmunity Award:
27) Kimmunity Achievement Award:
28) Best Story Overall:
29) Best Writer:

Friday, April 22, 2016

Kim Possible series bible

A series bible is used for two purposes.

Before the series exists it's used as part of the pitch.  "Here's what the show is going to be, give me money and a timeslot."

Once the show does exist it's used to keep the writers on the same page.  It has the basic facts that you do not want to fuck up, it has overviews of the characters so that they're in character, so forth.  The writers read it before they write and as a result (hopefully) the TV show has cohesion.

On April 18th one of the creators of Kim Possible, Bob Schooley, came across the pitch-era bible for the show while unpacking stuff into his new office (the two Kim Possible creators are going to be the ones doing the Big Hero 6 TV series at Disney.)

And thus began the tweeting of pages from said bible.  The bible was used to pitch the show in 2000.  The show hit the air in 2002.  As always with early production material it's interesting to see what changed and what remained the same.

Twelve pages of the bible have been released.  At some point I'll talk about what's to be gleaned from them, for now I'm in "I shouldn't even be doing this much this close to a screen" mode because concussion.

Speaking of, apparently I didn't forget about "brain rest", it's something that's relatively recent so it wouldn't have been mentioned last time I had a concussion.  But fuck are they right about it.  Screens and florescent lights are kryptonite to me right now and if I hadn't been told to stay away from them I'd have no clue because I'd be around them too often to notice the difference.  I'd just think the suffering was unavoidable.

So, until I do say something about the series bible, let me link you to what there is so you can look at it for yourself if you want to (these are all links to tweets, three of them links to the same tweet):

And that's it.

You can make out a bit of the text on the following page in most of the pictures which is how I know that there's one more "high school" character bio.

Oh, and if you have anything to say on any of that stuff, please do share it in the comments here.

Monday, April 18, 2016

The forklifts are coming! (An adventure I wasn't there for)

So brain rest means minimizing screen time and avoiding fluorescent lights.

It was near the computer/tablet/smartphone section of Costco that the problem inherent in accompanying Lonespark to Costco really made itself known.  Bear in mind that this is a giant warehouse whose ceiling is composed of 73% fluorescent lights, 6% security cameras, and 21% ceiling material which can only be entered by passing through a gauntlet of TV screens I'll never be able to afford showcasing the latest in screen technology.

(As I've mentioned once or twice, 4k is fucking amazing.  I don't think there's that much space left to go because while the technology will doubtless improve the human eye itself can only pick up so much detail.)

So I retreated and stayed in a mini-van while Lonespark was forced to face the warehouse boss all on her own.  She may be an impressive rogue, but I'm the party's fucking magical girl so without me there for support things could go sideways.

And go sideways they did.  They slid all the way into a spy thriller/heist movie.

Lonespark will give the details when she's good an ready, but the general is apparently that after the humans are kicked out the machines take over and you have to run from cover to cover for fear of becoming forklift prey.

She survived this adventure via the help of a native Costco guide, and thus she was able to return to me (well after all the other cars had fled the parking lot and the sun had shifted significantly in the sky) with meat.

Wondrous dead animal that we proceeded to eat yesterday night.


On a random meta/programming note, one thing that I'm doing during this, "Stay away from the screens or your brain will die, " time is working on Life After.  I've got a notebook, and a specific pen, devoted to it.

I've made significant progress toward finishing the revision of chapter 3 (so read chapters 1 and 2 to be ready) and a lot of more theoretical work on the overarching structure of the story.  The original plan was slapped together in a way that was random and arbitrary.  The new plan is nothing of the sort.

Even after I figured it out it took me a while to figure out why it was the way it is, but now that I do: Sierpinski triangles.

I need to stop screen time now, or maybe five minutes ago would be better, but before I flee I wanted to get to the point.  There's a decent chance that my next three posts will all be Life After related.  Those being the revised Chapter 3, an overhauled index, and a post on the structure of the story and Sierpinski triangles.

Friday, April 15, 2016

Please give me money, and why I need it, and all of that related stuff I write on the 15th of each month

Monthly money begging post time.

Short version:

I need money.  I don't have money.  If you have money that you don't need, and consider helping me a worthwhile way to spend that money, here's how to get that money to me:
  • If you have a Paypal account you can send me money by using my email address: cpw (at) maine (dot) rr (dot) com.  This is good and nice and stuff.  It's free, you see, meaning that every cent you send gets to me.
  • If you don't have a Paypal account then you can use the donate button in the upper righthand corner to get money to me (paypal takes a percentage.)  That said, don't try the recurring payments thing.  I don't know why, but every time someone has tried to be nice and schedule automatic monthly donations to me it has utterly failed.  Which is a shame because it's a nice thing for a person to do.
Long version:

Things are bad.  I have some hope that things will get better when I send in my SSI review paperwork and they realize that they were wrong and I don't have the eight fucking thousand dollars a year (and significant change) in income that they think I have and that really was just to pay for two semesters of school and not magic money I can conjure on command when I don't have school.

But until then my monthly income is lower than my monthly bills which means without help I get deeper and deeper in debt and that's before one considers the non-monthly bills ($267.50 three times a year, $657.72 four times a year, oil that's entirely unpredictable.)

My mother paid for the property insurance (the $267.50 one) and isn't expecting me to pay her back in the immediate future, though I should if I can, but she can't cover everything for me so the property taxes (the $657.72 one) that are due May 5th are very scary.

And my oil tank is really close to empty, minimum order of 100 gallons, current heating oil price in the area is $1.499 a gallon (it's good but going up) so I need $149.90 for that.

Do I have any of the $1075.12 I just described?  Of course not.

So, yeah.  That's where things stand at the moment.

Also, fucking concussion does not mix with computer screen.  Part of why I've had a general lack of output of late.  (The other part being the concussion in general which does not mix well with thinky pursuits.)


Oh, also:

No food or food money right now.  I failed to complete an annual review (because I didn't notice I'd gotten it) on time.  I can do that now that I know about that.

So the problem will be solved, but it takes time and thus right now no food or food money.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Apparently "Brain Rest" is a thing

You know what happens when you think you have a concussion?

They shine a light in your eyes, tell you "Squeeze this, push that, look over there," and so forth and finally say, "Yup, looks like a concussion.  Not a damned thing we can do about that.  You just need time and brain rest."

"Brain rest" is new on on me.  Stay away from screens, fluorescent lights, stuff like that, sleep and hydrate.  "Woo!" I say flatly and with no enthusiasm.

I've got a sprained ankle (but it's improved a lot; no crutches today and I didn't die) and apparently a bashed head.  You know what I can do if I have no screens?  Not a damned thing.  If not for the sprained ankle maybe I could make one last ditch effort to fix the washing machine or something, but with it ... not a lot of stuff that I can do here that doesn't involve me connecting to the wider world via things with screens.

So . . . yeah.

Sunday, April 10, 2016

I may be somewhat concussed

When I went to get my ankle checked they asked if I'd hit my head.  I said no.  True, things happened quickly and I didn't have all the details of how I ended up on the ground, but I definitely knew that the order of events was: collapse onto/because of right ankle, land on my left knee dissipating downward momentum, end up on ground after most of the force of the fall had been killed.

I've got the scar on my left knee to show that that's how it happened and it reminds me of it every time I kneel (kneeling on my right side not a good idea because the ankle isn't up for the position.

This is the sixth day.  As I adapt to the ankle and thus have fewer shots of "Oh my fucking God, that hurts!" something becomes undeniable.  I have a permaheadache without apparent explanation.

It's hard to exactly describe.  It feels a bit like dehydration, but it doesn't go away when I know I'm hydrated; it feels a bit like starvation, but it doesn't go away when I'm fed.  It feels a bit like sleep deprivation, and when I first wake up is the only time I'm free of it (though that could just be grogginess masking the pain), but it doesn't go away in spite of me having adequate sleep.

It feels a bit like many things.  But you know what it really feels like?  A fucking concussion.

I didn't feel any pain from hitting my head.  I didn't feel any impact to my head at all.  But with the state my ankle was in I wouldn't notice much of anything.

I may be somewhat concussed.

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Primary computer is home


That is all.

I think I want to design a wheelchair

When I went to get my ankle looked at and verify it was merely sprained and not something worse, they put me in a wheelchair.  Most movement involved being pushed around, but I did move and maneuver some on my own and... here's the thing: what I want in a wheelchair isn't really offered by the simple standard model.

On the flip side, the only time I'd ever be using a wheelchair is at times like this when I've sprained my ankle and I generally try to never do that again, so it's not as if I have much use for a wheelchair.  Especially since I'm generally just fine on crutches (though wheelchairs offer to vitally important things: a lap on which you can put stuff, and the ability to rest when stopped.*)

Those who actually use wheelchairs enough for wheelchair design to actually matter for them have not seen fit to make the kind of wheelchair I'd make.  So it seems likely that there isn't much call for it.  In fact it seems likely that the only person who would be interested in the wheelchair I'd like to design would be me, and I'm not exactly planning on being in a position to ever need to use a wheelchair much.

And yet, I think I want to design a wheelchair.

Part of it is probably just trying to make something in my mind into something real.  Could I do what I want while keeping the design relatively simple and light?  Would the mechanisms in my mind actually work the way I'd want them to?

Anyway, random thing going on in my head.


* Here's something I'd forgotten about a sprained ankle: your good foot never really gets to rest.  You can lean on the crutches heavily and balance with your sprained foot in order to lift the good foot off the ground, but that can be worrying because you're using the sprained ankle to keep you up (even if you're taking most of the weight off of it) and it feels like the sort of thing you don't want to do for long.

That said, it is a load bearing sprain that I have, and I'm doing around the house movement without the crutches at all, so it's really more of a confidence issue than an actual necessary effect of having my ankle sprained.

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Forgotten Seeds, Chapter 7: Between the Moon and New York City

While the others were securing the cargo in the shuttle, Kim had time to confer with Shego.

"What's your assessment?" Kim asked. No need to say of what, Shego had been looking over every conceivable part of the shuttle for hours.

"Fly by wire system with five hundred year old computers," Shego said. "What could go wrong?"

Kim sighed. She was too emotionally exhausted to respond with anything other than a tired: "Shego."

"Are we in private?" Shego asked.

Kim nodded, "Radios off, just you, me, and the room's atmosphere."

"All of the checks I've been able to do show everything is fine, but even a vacuum doesn't put the kibosh on entropy," Shego said. "Things degrade more slowly when they're not at the mercy of weathering, but they still degrade, and this is all very old.

"There's no way to know how the systems will respond to reentry until we actually try it."

"I thought the shuttle experienced 3 gs or less," Kim said.

"I'm more concerned about heat and turbulence than the number of gs we'll be pulling," Shego said.

"Ok, fine, whatever," Kim said. "Just walk me through the process."

"Autopilot is supposed to be able to do everything," Shego said. "In theory I could take a nap and wake up on the ground. Though it's traditional for the pilot to handle approach and landing.

"There are four main flight computers and one backup," Shego said. "If the backup stays working that's all that we need. If not then we only need two of of the primary computers. Even if the computers all fail, I can fly it down all of the way on manual, so the computers don't bother me.

"And that brings us back to fly by wire, if the circuits fry there are no mechanical linkages, no hydraulic connections, nothing but electronics connecting the controls to anything that matters," Shego said. "If the electronics don't mind their half a millennium long nap...

"This is where things begin to get interesting. At the beginning we use a reaction control system--"

"Thrusters," Kim said.

"Exactly," Shego said. "I've checked them all, all forty four work for now. We need to use them because at the start there's not enough air to rudder or flap worth a damn.

"Our forty four little thrusters are the things that are running on five hundred year old rocket fuel. Ever wonder if it gets stale over time?"

Of course Shego was going to make this as negative as possible. Still, apparently the old rocket fuel did work because, "You said they worked."

"Yeah, for now," Shego said. "Once we're into atmosphere for a while, we get to start using our flaps and elevons and even the rudder. Assuming that the auxiliary power units are still working at this stage and thus get hydraulic pressure to them and, I can't stress this enough, the fact that it's fly by wire doesn't bite us."

"You keep on harping on that," Kim said --no effort to hide her annoyance, there wasn't much point-- "when was the last time you flew something that wasn't fly by wire?"

"Oh, let's see..." Shego said in a way that meant her apparent thinking it over afterward was completely fake, "five hundred and some odd years ago."

Kim groaned, "Ok, stupid question."

"Very," Shego said. "The electronics are powered by hydrogen fuel cells, because nothing says, 'Put me in a high risk environment,' better than something known for its ability to burst into flame."

"Are the fuel cells working?" Kim asked.

"To the best of my ability to check," Shego said. "So, we're in a brick that's smashing into the atmosphere at eighteen thousand miles per hour, everything's shaking and just begging to break down, we're firing off bursts of rocket fuel to keep aimed in the proper direction, and then we start to meander."

That one caught Kim off guard.

"Meander?" she asked.

"It's not your dad's super slick almost mad-science level space plane, Kimmie," Shego said. "It's a space shuttle orbiter. If it's not handled just right it'll get pushed back up. Trust me, you don't even want to know what happens if we bounce on our initial attempt at reentry.

"So to bleed off our speed without getting pushed up we do some nice S curves: four steep banking turns --and I mean steep banks, 45 degree angles have got nothing on what we'll be doing-- that dissipate things sideways instead of up.

"And that's when we go into full glider mode, drop our nose, and head in for a landing," Shego said. "If the heat shield held out. Did I mention how very, very dead we'll become if the heat--"

"I Know!" Kim shouted. Apparently she wasn't quite as emotionally exhausted as she'd thought because she still had it in her to be pissed off at Shego.

"Ok, so, we land on the ice, assuming the landing gear still works after all of the stress we just put on the shuttle," Shego said. "Since we only have unpowered flight, there's only one chance to land right. Of course we don't exactly have a runway to line up with so...

"Oh, if we hit a bird we could all die. Forgot to mention that," Shego said, "touchdown speed will be over two hundred miles per hour, jets usually land at half that. There's a reason shuttle runways are some of the longest in the world. Or were, whatever."

"Area 51 had a much longer one," Kim said.

"You ever find out what they did there?" Shego asked.

"Flying saucers, alien technology, yada, yada, yada," Kim said flatly.

"That's what everyone assumed," Shego said, she sounded disappointed, "talk about anticlimactic."

"They figured that if they leaked the truth, no one would believe it," Kim said.

"That's one step short of the stupidity of a trap-trap," Shego said. "Anyway, I'm just going to assume that deploying the braking chute won't work--"

"Why?" Kim asked. Shego hadn't reported any obvious problems.

"Because I can only find passing references to the material it's made of and absolutely no information about the shelf life, as measured in centuries, for Kevlar," Shego said. "Plus, if something fails I'd rather it be that than, say, the heat shield.

"Anyway, we barrel across the ice until drag and friction --which won't be so useful because: ice--"

"Glacial ice," Kim said. "You'll get your friction."

"Whatever," Shego said. "Eventually we stop. Do you by any chance have equipment to remove toxic gasses from the shuttle once it's down?"


"More than twenty specially designed landed-space-shuttle processing vehicles?"


"A hundred and fifty people to make sure it's safe for us to get out?"

"Not even close."

"Did you know that it takes an hour for the shuttle to cool down?"


"Any chance you'd swap seats so that I'll be in the flying car and you'll be in the shuttle?"

"Not a chance."

"Get some of that will to live back?" Shego asked.

"You're a better pilot," Kim said.

Shego sighed. "I've done my preflight, and everything is in working order now. What I don't know is what's going to happen when we put this relic through the stress of reentry.

"If we lose power there is literally nothing I can do," Shego said.

"What happened to 'I can work with this'?" Kim asked.

"I can, and it'll be fun," Shego said, she even had a hint of a smirk, "if it works."

* * *

Surge helped Horatio strap into one of the seats in the shuttle.

"I don't see why Kim couldn't take you in Jade with her," she said.

"Best guess is that she's considering doing something profoundly stupid," Horatio said.

* * *

"Are we clear?" Kim asked.

"Perfectly clear," Jade said, "but I again remind you that the stresses involved could destroy both of us."

"Which is why we'll only do it as a last resort," Kim said.

"That has been noted," Jade said. "I repeat that there is no need for you to actually be within me for this mission."

"That has been noted," Kim said.

"If you had not taken steps to keep them in the dark," Jade said, "I believe the others would agree that there's no reason to put yourself at unnecessary risk."

"Which is why they're being kept in the dark," Kim said. Why she'd filled the cabin with air, cut the radio, and was having this conversation the old fashioned way: Jade's voice synthesizer and speakers to Kim's ears, Kim's voice to Jade's internal microphones. Why Kim was supposedly doing a final check of Jade alone while the others got ready for the trip. "If either of us thinks the probability of success for the shuttle is too low the backup plan starts immediately with no objection from the other."

"Understood," Jade said.

* * *

"Everybody's strapped in on the middeck," Hawk said. "I think Operation Horrible Idea is ready to start."

Shego nodded. As she looked to Drakken in the copilot's chair she heard Surge say, "I thought we were going with, 'Best Bad Idea'."

When Shego looked back at Surge and Horatio she saw they were ready too.

"Kimmie," Shego said, "we're ready on this end."

"Ok, I'm ready to tow," Kim said.

"Just remember," Shego said, "Mind the heat shield."

"It's why we're going for a vertical lift off," Kim said.

The shuttle began to tilt.

"This is fun," Amy said with her usual cheerfulness.

Shego rolled her eyes.

* * *

Hawk had a good view of Amy and Henry, but the arrangement of the middeck chairs meant that he couldn't see Blok. Still, if things went wrong Blok had a better chance of surviving than anyone else.

Amy was chipper, Henry was calm. Hopefully things would work out.

* * *

The moment the shuttle was close enough to vertical that they wouldn't be dragged along the heat shield, Shego said, "Alright Kimmy, we're probably crushing the hell out of the engines now, so get us off this rock as soon as you can."

"We will be ready to make the lift momentarily," Jade responded.

That's went the music started.

Horatio mumbled, "Good choice," in his ever deteriorating mode of speech and then Shego recognized the song.

"This is cliché," Shego said.

"It's tradition," Jade countered.

The shuttle started to lift.

The lyrics started:
I like to dream
yes, yes, right between my sound machine
On a cloud of sound I drift in the night
Any place it goes is right
Goes far, flies near, to the stars away from here

Well, you don't know what we can find
Why don't you come with me little girl
On a magic carpet ride
* * *

"We've reached the midpoint," Jade announced over the radio. "Beginning deceleration."

"I vote another episode the radio show," Hawk said, "When we left off Ford and Arthur were at the crossroads of two alternative futures and Zaphod was in an abducted building being towed to The Frogstar."

"Or we could just put on a concert," Henry said, "A decent concert would last us until we were back on earth, no need for more voting."

"Please think over your options for the next eight minutes," Jade said.

"Why eight minutes?" Amy asked.

Music started:
Slow ride; take it easy,
Slow ride; take it easy,
"Because we're decelerating," Shego said flatly. "How original."

"Don't talk over the music," Jade responded.

* * *

"We have reached Earth," Jade reported. "I will begin lining you up for your reentry vector."

* * *

"Braking maneuver is over," Shego said. "Flip us right-side up and detach the tow cable."

"Will do," Kim said. "And don't worry, we'll get any birds out of your way."

* * *

"The friction's going to fry us!" Drakken said.

"It's drag, not friction!" Shego shouted. Brilliant scientist, yes, but damn did he not know aeronautics. Shego growled. "Something's wrong here."

"What's wrong?" Kim asked over the radio.

"Don't know," Shego said. "I tried to switch over to full manual but it's acting like--" the controls went from sluggish to entirely non-responsive. "Shit! I've got no control."

* * *

Kim said, "Jade, it's time for--"

"Kimberley, you are lacking information," Jade said.

"We talked about--"

"You turned off the radio too soon," Jade said.

"They don't--"

There was a painful high pitched noise. Kim covered her ears and wondered what could have gone wrong to produce such a noise.

"Let me finish," Jade said.

Oh. Apparently the noise had been punishing her for not listening. Kim considered delivering a lecture on how cars aren't supposed to disobey their drivers, but she had a feeling Jade would ignore it.

Instead she just said, "That was not nice."

"This was moments after you stopped listening to the radio," Jade said.

Shego's voice came over the speakers, "Surge, I need you to talk to the shuttle."

"I thought everyone was against me using my powers," Surge said. "You know how they can be."

"Nothing fancy," Shego said, "just get the control surfaces to listen to me."

"Doesn't Sarah's power have a habit of blowing things up?" Kim asked.

"Attempting to steer the shuttle to a safe landing by repeatedly colliding with it to effect course corrections has a very low probability of success," Jade said. "At this point I estimate their odds of survival are better by a statistically significant margin if we allow them to attempt Shego's plan."

"Alright," Kim said. "But if that plan doesn't work we're implementing plan B"

"Agreed," Jade said.

* * *

Surge was out of her seat, space suit glove off, touching a wall of the cockpit.

"Something's wrong with the computers," Surge said, "it'll take me a minute to figure out how to get your commands around them."

"We don't have a minute," Shego said. "Make the ship bank left."

Sparks erupted from something Horatio was pretty sure sparks shouldn't come from. The shuttle banked.

"Steeper," Shego said. "A lot steeper."

"How steep?" Surge asked.

"Shoot for just shy of 90 degrees," Shego said.

"Things are going very wrong down here," Hawk reported.

"If it looks like lightning don't touch it," Shego said as the shuttle banked more steeply. "We've got bigger problems up here."

"I don't know how long I can keep this up," Surge said.

"Then now is the time to figure out how to make the shuttle listen to me," Shego said. Something on Shego's left --controls? a computer?-- exploded. Shego took a glance and then said, "We didn't need that anyway."

* * *

Horatio reached out and took Surge's free hand --her right hand. Her left was surrounded by pink plasma filaments and pressed against an electronic panel of some kind on side of the cockpit.

"The only way I can get your commands passed the computers is through me," Surge said. The plasma filaments multiplied and intensified. "You should be in control now Shego," Surge said, "but I have no idea how long I can hold it."

Hawk's voice came over the radio, "Things are getting very violent and very pink down here."

"If we live it'll be because of violent and pink," Shego said.

"There may be another way," Kim said over the radio.

"The other way she's referring to has an extremely low probability of success," Jade said.

Surge looked to Horatio, smiled, then said, "Profoundly stupid."

That was still Horatio's best guess, so he nodded. Then he said, "If we die, maybe you'll be with Jana again."

For a moment the name seemed to hit her like an electric shock, that hadn't been Horatio's intention and he was about to apologize when Surge's entire posture changed, something more calm, more determined, and then Surge asked, "She never gave up on me?"

"Never, Sarah," Horatio said. He had no idea what effect the words would have, but he wasn't going to lie.

Sarah --Surge-- closed her eyes, held Horatio's hand more tightly, and did something that made even more plasma filaments appear.

"Shego, get us home," Surge said.

* * *

"Get ready to deploy the landing gear," Shego said.

"Hydraulics are shot," Surge said. "All three sets."

"Tell it to deploy anyway!" Shego shouted.

"What goo--" Surge said. "Oh."

"What happened?" Blok asked.

"When the hydraulics failed stuff blew up and the gear deployed using springs," Surge said.

"This thing was built with redundancy in mind," Shego said. "Surge strap back in."

"You'll lose control," Surge said.

"I s-- brace!" Shego said.

A rough bump knocked Surge to the ground.

"We're on the ice," Shego said. "You still connected, Spark Plug?"

"Yeah, Glow Stick," Surge said from the floor.

"And we have drag chute deployment," Shego said. "Nothing left for you to do kid."

* * *

With the others finally back on earth, at long last Kim was able to breathe easy. It didn't last long.

"Shit!" came Shego's voice.

Kim didn't have time to see what was happening. Jade started moving very fast and announced, "Implementing plan B."

* * *

"Ow," Blok said.

Something crackled on a radio but he couldn't make it out. He slowly got to his feet. Earth gravity. Such a welcome burden. Based on the state of his space suit and the chair he'd been strapped into he must have turned to stone on instinct.

Always a shame that he couldn't take much more than basic textiles and leathers through the transformation with him.

What was left of the suit radio crackled again. He looked it over. The mic, transmitter, and receiver seemed fine, but the speaker was just too beat up to be of use. He could probably cannibalize one from elsewhere.

* * *

Amy, Hawk, and Henry were all alive, but he couldn't wake them. He'd check on the others, but for the moment he was working on the radio.

When he thought it would work he said, "My radio was damaged; I didn't receive any of your previous transmissions."

"I said," Jade said, "that it was good to finally have one of you humans awake. Then I kept on saying variations on, 'Can you here me now?'"

"What happened?" Block asked.

"The shuttle began a roll which could have killed you all," Jade said. "In order to get it back on the ground I rammed the rising right wing, forcing it back down. Kim and I were damaged in the process and I have no information on those inside the shuttle."

"Everyone is alive on the middeck," Block said. "I'm the only one conscious. I'm not a doctor so I can't assess them. I'm going to check the cockpit now."

* * *

"Please tell me that the planet that hit me was earth," Henry said as he woke up.

"It was indeed," Jade said. "You're only the second to wake up after the collision. Please assist Blok in bringing the others to me so that I can scan them."

* * *

"Get your hands off me or lose them!" Shego shouted.

"Sorry," Henry said.

"We didn't realize you were awake," Blok said.

"We're bringing everyone to the wonder car for medical scans," Henry said.

Shego nodded. "I can walk myself."

Blok shrugged, "Saves us some trouble." Then he turned to Henry and asked, "Who do you want to take next?"

"I'll carry Dr. D," Shego said, "you two get Surge and the self-proclaimed oracle."

* * *

Kim groaned as she woke up.

"You were right, Princess," Shego said from under Jade.

Kim's head hurt and she had no idea what Shego was talking about.

"That it was fly by wire wasn't the problem," Shego said. "If not for the computers refusing to relinquish control even after something made them stop giving orders to the flight surfaces, we'd have had a perfect trip."

"How is everyone?" Kim asked.

"You're the last to wake up," Shego said. "Your car scanned everyone."

"Everyone has survived with minimal injuries," Jade reported. "Though the five of you with concussions should know that the negative effects from even relatively minor concussions, like your own, can last for more than a month."

Horatio gave a flat, "Yay."

"They can also go away in a few days," Kim said, "so it might not be that bad."

"Thanks doc," Shego said to Kim as she rolled out from underneath Jade, "but I kind of trust the car more.

"Speaking of the car . . ." Shego said. "Jade, what do your diagnostics say now?"

"Your repairs, and the speed with which you did them, are impressive, Shego," Jade said. "I am again operating at 100% and believe I have found a new mechanic.

"Horatio, I would like to speak to you about your condition in private," Jade said, "and --with permission-- I will begin scouting the nearby area in greater detail."

"In private?" Kim asked.

"Jade has respect for doctor patient confidentiality," Hawk said as if it were a minor revelation. "Good ethics programming."

"Thank you," Jade said.

"You're welcome," Hawk said, then he turned to the others. "So what do we do while they're busy with that?"

"For now we make camp at the shuttle," Kim said. "So the first things we want working are the heaters, we can use the shuttle for shelter. Once that's done, we get down to the basics of staying alive."

"Food, water, weapons," Shego said.

* * *

Surge helped Horatio into Jade and then started to leave.

"You might as well stay," Horatio said. "It looks like you're the one who's stuck helping me, so . . . Jade, I authorize you to share my medical information with Surge starting now and ending if I tell you to stop."

"Understood," Jade said.

Surge walked around the car and got in via the other side. When she sat down beside Horatio she said, "I don't consider myself stuck; I'm helping you because I want to."

The car started to rise, "I'm going to be scouting the area while we speak."

* * *

Kim was setting up a heater in the shuttle's middeck, which seemed to be the general living area. Shego was on the middle bunk, sleeping. All the others were checking the cargo hold.

The airlock opened. Kim looked up to see Hawk, Blok, and Henry walk in.

"Obviously we haven't checked everything," Hawk said, "But it looks like none of the bigger things broke loose so nothing got smashed, crushed, or otherwise rendered useless by having something giant land on it."

"In fact, as near as we can tell," Blok says, "it looks like our supplies didn't get worse than some dings and dents."

"Amy and Drakken are checking on things with sensitive parts," Henry said; "seeing how they held up with the rough landing. Still, it's looking like pretty much everything stayed strapped in, just like us, and thus it couldn't get too badly damaged."

"Thanks for the damage report," Kim said. "For now, we'll check individual things as we need them. First things we're going to need are those water purifiers and food. If we do the water first, we can use dehydrated foodstuffs."

Henry cringed, "Have you ever tasted that stuff?"

"Unfortunately," Kim said. "But right now I just want to eat something, no matter how unappetizing it is."

"We're on it, Red," Blok said.

The three returned to the cargo hold and Kim was back working in silence. The difficulty wasn't the heater itself, it was making it work using the power sources they had on hand that was proving problematic.

Still, they were on earth, and she was making them a place to stay. They'd come home.

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

I sprained my ankle.

It happens fast.  I don't know if I fell because I sprained my ankle or I sprained my ankle because I fell.

Right ankle.  Always the right ankle.  Someday I need some foot doctor or something to tell me what's up with my right foot that it ends up in potential sprain position so often.  There are a lot more near misses than sprains.

I land on the side of my foot instead of the bottom, for some reason, and usually recover before damage can be done.  Sprains seem to be connected to things in the enviroment (is the ground slippery) or my shoelaces (if I step on the side of my foot when my shoe has come untied the odds of disaster are massively increased.)

Also bloodied my right knee.

I was on the ground for what felt like forever before I managed to pull things together enough to stand up.  On the road (well, sidewalk) between the school and my house.  I was heading to school.  I was closer to my house.  Hadn't even left South Portland yet.

Generally it takes a full on nervous breakdown to make me skip school and that's only happened, I think, once.

However, walking on a sprain is a painful and slow business.  I headed home.

I was crying, crying out in pain --screaming really-- and swearing.  While which one I was doing varied, taken together it was pretty constant.  There were prayers mixed in.  I called upon the gods of profanity for their analgesic effects.  I addressed prayers to whoever might be listening.

I suggested to Jesus that maybe, since I never asked for my sins to be forgiven, we could do a trade where the burden of my sins was lifted from him and dropped back on me in exchange for healing from time to time.

I called to gods Greek and Norse.

I stopped in at a Rite Aid about halfway through the walk home.  Two things drew me to it.  One, I haven't been to a store in Maine, my home state, since Easter.  I had no Cadbury eggs.  Two, bandages.  I call them ACE bandages but that's a brand name.  On the package it says, "self adhering athletic bandage".

I have come to realize that there was a third reason to go in that I never considered and never would have thought to consider: walking on a sprained ankle is never fun (barring significant improvement I'll be breaking out my crutches) but the uniform level floors of a store are heavenly when compared to the weathered sidewalk and road I had to walk on before and after.

So, here I am, back home, bad sprain, in pain.  My class started ten minutes ago.

It'll be longer when I hit post.


Don't let this post fool you into thinking that I'm not still interested in the music video with the orrery and the woman who was probably an alien in human form because I still totally want to know what the hell that was so that I can watch the whole thing.

It's just, you know, sprained ankle: big and painful deal.

In other news, repairs on my primary computer are now done,  so I just have to wait for it to be shipped back to the store and crutch on over to pick it up.

Monday, April 4, 2016

Looking for a music video (I think), please help

So I walked into a public place, the sort to have unremarkable inoffensive family friendly stuff on the TV.

At some point I take a look.  A woman is looking in the mirror, touches it, seems confused by it, ends up looking at her hand, same confusion.  I don't understand, possibly because I'm not hearing the lyrics.

I think it's when she starts poking an orrery (a model solar system) in the apartment that I realize that the reason for her confusion with the mirror, and her hand, is that she's probably meant to be an alien unused to human form.

When guy returns to the apartment she ups the orrery with some kind of holographic display thingumabob between her hands that shows a whole damned star field or something.

No time though, scary goons follow close behind, video ends, I don't catch the name.

I figure, how hard could it be to work out what this was?  How many music videos in current circulation involved a woman poking an orrery?

And the answer seems to be: no fucking clue because there's no decent way to search music videos by non-musical content.  There doesn't seem to be an indecent way either.

So I'm asking you:
Any idea what it was that I saw?

I'd be interested to see the whole video, and I might even be interested in the song that it was made for (though I kind of doubt it; what I like and what's popular parted ways before I was born.)



Thanks to Redcrow for finding out what it was: Something Better by Audien featuring Lady Antebellum*.

I probably saw it starting around two minutes in with the orrery appearing around 2:10/2:11.  What I saw was probably over by 2:40 or so.  So I caught around 18.6% of the video.  Probably the best 18.6 percent though.

Anyway, it really bugged me not knowing what it was that I saw.  I am bugged no longer.


* There's a problem with Lady Antebellum.

The problem is the name.  I don't know of anything bad about the band besides the name, and the way that they came by the name was itself fairly tame, but the name is still a problem.

"Antebellum" literally means "prewar" but in the United States it has a special meaning because it's used to refer to a specific war.  Generally also a specific region.  With respect to the region, when I read that the band members picked the name because they were photographing antebellum houses and someone commented that it would be a cool band name, I can be fairly certain that they weren't doing it north of the Mason-Dixon line.  Probably a safe bet that they weren't doing it in California either.

The war is the US Civil War.  The region isn't quite identical to the Confederate States of America because what the word "antebellum" really refers to in the US is slavery.

Remember when race based chattel slavery was completely ok and, with the exception of criminals like Harriet Tubman, the only opposition it faced was philosophical?  Remember the places that were built in a particular style only because of the supply of forced labor that they could use and that would be living in the general area?  Antebellum.

The antebellum houses that the band was photographing, for reasons that don't appear in the bio I just looked up, would be houses in an architecture style built on slavery.  Hence the regional limitation.  While the entire country was colluding in the massive crime that was slavery, for those in (for example) the northerly reaches the only effect it had upon their architecture was that they had money drenched in blood and human misery with which to pay for their buildings.  In the slave-holding areas things were different because the slaves were right fucking there.

And that's what the band name means: "Lady [time when it was legally and socially ok to have slaves]"  And that bothers me.

It is a cool band name.  It does have a nice sound to it.  But words don't exist in isolation.  If they did they'd be useless to us.  (How could we know what "chair" meant unless the word "chair" was connected to the thing chair?  That connection?  Lack of isolation.)  And thus the problem.  Antebellum means "back when slavery was ok (from the viewpoint of white people whose consciences were well restrained)" and thus it stops being a pretty word in spite of the nice sound it has.


Saturday, April 2, 2016

Watching "Them!" (1954), and the ideas that pour forth as a result.

Where to start?  Where to end?

Every entrance is covered either by a bazooka team or flame throwers.

Why not both?  You don't know which will be needed.

You want to know what isn't going to end well for you?  A fight where your opponent says, "You brought a bazooka to a flamethrower fight."

At that point the best you can hope for is to take them with you because you're not going to walk away.


They're alive, they're alive!

You don't say that now!

Damn it, you don't tell the mother they're alive until the kids are right in front of her.  Then you say, "Here are your kids, they're alive, hug them before we get eaten by giant ants."  Been nice knowing you, and all that.


Lonespark: Did they even bring any medics?


Well we've got to get through and check the egg chamber, find out if any new queens have hatched out.

Lonespark: I nominate people I don't like.


The guns that worked appeared to be ordinary machine guns, like the kinds that gangsters use.

I said something about breaking out the Tommy guns.

Lonespark asked why the mob wasn't called in and proposed a movie that involved the giant ants vs. the Mafia.


Lonespark: Let's talk more slowly so they'll have even more time to escape.


Other than Reign of Fire and certain zombie movies you never see things where the giant ants win and people have to survive in the after.

And what you really never see are the stories of riding out the apocalypse.  Everyone's all for stories told in the post apocalyptic world, but do you know how people got in that world?  People, often other people, started in the pre-apocalyptic world, worked fucking hard to live through the apocalyptic world, and finally succeeded in surviving into the the post apocalyptic world.

"The world as we know it is ending.  Time for a road trip!"

"We can't beat them so we go where they aren't."

Stuff like that.

And they probably had help from other people who had epic last stands to buy time for the survivors so that they could be survivors.

Initial proposal, Lonespark's idea: Three movie arc.
  1. The pre-apocalypse people try stop the apocalypse and, when that fails, have noble sacrifices so that this will be survivable for others.  Show cute children and cute hamsters being evacuated so that we understand that these sacrifices are worth it.
  2. During the apocalypse: people working together to survive through the collapse of civilization
  3. Post-apocalypse: This is how we live now.  It's not the way we lived before.
Alternate proposal, also Lonespark:
  1. Dystopia
  2. Collapse
  3. Utopia, or at least proto-utopia being established.
I suggested that we need more than three movies.

After you survive the collapse and the giant ants/dragons/zombies/zombie-ant-dragons, then you need to survive the preppers.  Then you need to survive the village next door because the good guys are the ones who help someone up if they trip during the "Run away" portion of survival while there are others who intentionally tripped people and left them for dead in order to buy themselves more time to run away during the "run away" portion.

And perhaps the second group started a Randian empire.

Lonespark: So you're talking about seven seasons of a TV show, so you can get all the viewpoints in.

Sure, why not?


Lonespark: Or fall and rise.  I'm partial to fall and rise.

Me: Yeah, fall and rise is so much better than rise and fall.


Before I started the post, what actually got me to start after watching more than half of the solid post-gold that is Them! was that martial law was declared on LA, the tanks and troops rolled in.  Actually, I don't remember if there were any tanks.

Regardless, I suggested a movie where a fascist regime uses an existential threat like the giant ants of Them! to take power, except they never actually took the threat seriously and didn't even believe it was real.

Then it turns out that the monsters were real, the monsters are really a serious threat, and the monsters don't like fascists.

"Yeah, we gotta eat, but why eat innocent people when there are plenty of these guys to munch on?" monster indicates fascist overlords.

Giant ants vs. the Fascists.


A reporter in the movie, before the general public knows that the threat is giant ants: "Has the Cold War gotten hot?"

Me: The Russians have nothing to do with this.  These aren't communists, they're monarchists!


There was a scene where a the telegraph operator on a ship is tapping out Morse code even as we watch his crewmates being killed by giant ants through the windows of the room he's in.  He doesn't stop tapping until an ant gets him, and even then doesn't stop until he's physically unable to tap the thingy anymore.

If you are ever hiring a communications officer, you want someone like this guy.  People may deride live tweeting your experience of being eaten by giant ants, but the fact of the matter is that our entire civilization owes huge debts to people who do just that.

Scholars, for example, who wrote the ongoing history of the Black Death while dying from it.

In fact, maybe we need a movie or two where we see someone doing something just like this and it is explicitly the information they were able to record/transmit that allows the movie to be triumph rather than tragedy.

Drums in the deep.  The record keeper does not leave zir post.  They are coming, but the telegraph officer doesn't stop tapping that Morse code thingy.


When they're keeping it a secret for no good reason and demanding that people who have committed no crime save honesty be institutionalized in a solitary way too keep that secrecy after promising the guy they'll try to get him released, the temptation arises to root for the ants and the fall of human civilization.


What else?  I need to just have a sound recorder going during such things so that I don't forget.

Here's one:

They think two boys are in the storm drains.  That's all that stops them from just lighting up the storm drains and then then checking the charred remains afterward to see if they got the job done.

Wait what?

Look, I don't know a damned thing about the LA river, but I'm guessing that two well off boys hiding from giant ants aren't the only people in those nice, sheltered places.  Seems like a good place to make your home if you don't have one.  Sure, a flash flood could take you out if you don't see it coming and evacuate, but until then it seems worlds better than something like under a bridge where you're unprotected from the sides.

Why the fuck don't you assholes give a damn about the homeless people?


Sound that isn't the wind.

"Maybe it's the wind."

No.  If the wind made a sound like that around there you'd mention it so that those of us watching who don't live around there would know that the wind was a possibility.  You'd say something like, "Odd, it usually it doesn't sound like this unless the wind is stronger," or some such.

Later, same characters in severe winds:

Me: For future reference, that's what the wind sounds like.


So forth.  Damn, that movie was solid gold when it comes to generating discussion, ideas, and snark opportunities.

KP EbE - Even though you're my best friend, I still think you're a freak (Attack of the Killer Bebes, post 1)

Ok, so we're moving to a four post per episode approach in hopes of cutting down on both walls of giant post and wait between installments and such.  On average each post will cover five minutes and twenty seconds, but depending on where the good points to break are that'll vary a bit.  (This post will cover a minute more than average, for example.)

The whole idea of one post per episode was either overly ambitious or vastly underestimating how much Disney was cramming into these things.

That said, I think that the first post in this new format might be a bit of a slower one so we'll see what happens.

Quick note on the episode title though.  They don't kill anyone, they don't try to kill anyone.  One character calls them "deadly" but they're really, very much, not.

* * *

We start with Ron backing out of a room at the school.

Ron: No, no,  No problem.  No, thank you.
*door slams*
Ron: My life is so over.
*Ron slumps to the ground*

Of course at this point we have no idea what his problem is, so. . .

There is only one place we can go to have our questions answered.

* * *

We arrive at Bueno Nacho, for it is the place where all maters of import are discussed.

Kim thinks that Ron is being overly dramatic and tells him to turn it down and eat.  Ron and Rufus are a sort of toned down version of Shaggy and Scooby.  They're always hungry and their gaping maws are black holes into which a seemingly infinite amount of stuff can disappear.

Also, they're the only people in their gang who have a well developed sense of cowardice (but that's toned down even more than the gluttony.)

So when Ron declares he's not hungry you know this is a big deal, what you still don't know is what "this" actually is.  Rufus, for his part, capitalizes on Ron's lack of hunger by diving (quite literally and in a full body fashion) into Ron's food.

And it finally comes out.  The guidance councilor is making Ron get an extra curricular activity because the guidance councilor apparently has more power than you'd expect and a lack of understanding of what the "extra" in "extra curricular" is there to signify.

To be clear, we're not talking about an elective.  This isn't something where it's a "Doing something is mandatory but which one you do is up to you" situation; this is something that you're not supposed to be forced into at all (unless you have overbearing parents who run your life.)  This is something that Ron will have to do on his own time and could conflict with long existing plans.

On the other hand, it's also because of long term planning since apparently the guidance councilor is pushing Ron to do this because it'll look good on a college application.

Thus Ron and Kim confer:

Kim: There's plenty of teams and clubs out there.  You could join . . . the Mathletes.
Ron: (sarcastic) Yeah right.  (serious) I can't get in that kind of shape.

Kim: How about the debate team?
Ron: Look, I'm not gonna argue with you Kim.

Kim's two ideas are to set up two jokes.  First, Ron has totally no idea what a mathlete is and thus responds in a way that's completely wrong.  Second, Ron's response to the debate team is a rhetorically perfect, if jerkish and overbearing, way to discourage further debate and thus win the point.  In other words, a sign that he'd be good on the debate team.

Those two gags out of the way, it's time for us to move toward the inevitable conclusion.

Kim: After school activities are great.  Like cheer squad for me.
*Ron's eyes open wide, his posture straightens out, and he gets a big smile*
Ron: Cheer Squad.
*Kim has a look of horror on her face*
Kim: For me; not you.
*In her shock Kim drops the pompom*
Ron: That's it.  I'm upbeat; I could do that!

Kim: Do what?
Ron: Cheerleader.

There's a bit more where Ron picks up Kim's dropped pompom and gives a short cheer and then, his appetite returned, picks up his burrito only to find Rufus is inside of it, but we've covered the main points.

* * *

* * *

Kim: My life is so over.

Pause to note that that is word for word identical to what Ron said at the beginning of the episode.

Anne: I think it's cute that Ron wants to be a cheerleader.
Kim: Mother, boy bands are cute; brown bear backpacks are cute.  Ron as a cheerleader: not cute.
Anne: He'll wear a different outfit, won't he?
*Kim gives a mirthless laugh*
Kim: Knowing Ron?

Pause also to note that Anne Possible, who was in the role of [Nameless Mother] until the very last episode of the post-cancellation fan-movement-revived season, actually gets to say things.

True, she has spoken in previous episodes as well, in fact she had lines in two of the three previous episodes.

Lets do a tally though.  In the first three episodes she's said a total of 85 words.  James Possible, Kim's dad, has had 291.  It's a little under three and a half times as many for dad as compared to mom. (3.42ish times as many words for dad to be slightly more precise.)

So you know what would be great?  If we could somehow bring dad into this conversation right now, or even make the episode all about him, so that this conversation between Kim and her mom doesn't threaten to reduce the gap in coverage.

Have I mentioned that this series was the brain child of two fathers?  Perhaps they should have had a mother or ten on hand to point out that mothers can do things other than say stuff is cute, tell you to eat all your peas, and silently cook breakfast while everyone else in the family talks around the table.  (that's what she's done so far, you see.)

Things get worse when we consider that uber-nerd and untouchable cousin Larry is only ever shown or said to have a mother, the same is true of Dr. Drakken, and I feel like there are other examples I simply can't bring to mind here.  Oh, also Bonnie, the quintessential popular mean girl and Kim's high school rival.  Mothers having too much of an influence on you apparently makes you socially untouchable, evil, or a mundane asshole.

But before we get to Anne switching the focus to James (which happens the very next line when she pulls out a phone) let's talk bout what we've got here.

Kim thinks it's the end of the world because Ron is going to try to join the pep squad.  Kim is the cheer captain so the pressure is all on her.  That said, not the end of the world.  Ron could be a spotter or just a strong base, or he could just not make the squad.

It's worth noting that Ron is every bit as athletic as Kim.  His body is on her level.  His mind . . . not so much.  I'm not talking about intelligence, Ron is shown to be incredibly smart when freed of his normal inhibitions.  The biggest of those inhibitions is low self esteem.

Ron's body can do pretty much whatever Kim's can do except for the fact that he doesn't believe it can and so things end up like this Disney flash game in which you record a cheer routine using Kim, Ron, or Rufus.  (Rufus has never considered joining the squad, so you can imagine how canon it is, but it gives a good idea of what happens when Ron-brain is holding back Ron-body.)

None of this really matters because Ron as a cheerleader is not cute (in Kim's eyes) and her life is so over.

The last thing before we move on and never have to hear another word from Kim's mom again is to repeat:

Anne: He'll wear a different outfit, won't he?
*Kim gives a mirthless laugh*
Kim: Knowing Ron?

Kim thinks Ron may well be thinking of wearing one of these outfits:

The cheer uniforms actually date the series.  After 2007 the rules of high school cheerleading changed so that the uniforms couldn't be nearly so midriff baring.

Anyway, Kim is the person who knows Ron best in all the world, so her thought that Ron would be totally ok with wearing that uniform is presumably accurate and actually kind of prescient.  We don't know exactly what changed Ron's mind, but when he shows up to try out for the pep squad he has something other than cheerleader in mind in spite of that being his original stated goal.

Two episodes later, though, is the body switching episode and as we saw in the title sequence that will include Ron, while he's in Kim's body, wearing a Middleton High School cheer-leading outfit.  He'll like it.

Our final thing to note before leaving Anne Possible behind is that she's supportive of Ron even when Kim, Ron's best friend, is not.  This will never be a major theme, but it will show up again next episode and it's kind of a nice thing for Ron to have.  Ron's own parents are uncommunicative and generally aloof (though not in the condescending/showing of distaste kind of way) so it's nice that somewhere out there is someone who's actually got his back and is sticking up for him.

Kim Possible always has an A and B story.  We've got one of them: My best friend is embarrassing and my life is so over.  Time to get the other:

* * *

*Anne holds up a finger because she just dialed the phone*
Anne: (into phone) Hi, Hun.  Pizza for dinner; what do you want on yours?

James: Hmm . . . toppings?
*turns away from window and leans on those red slider thingies while thinking*

*Beeping starts*
James: Well, you know I love bacon on pretty much everything.
*Launch countdown reaches zero*

James: Ok.  See you in thirty minutes or less.
*James laughs at his own joke*

*James turns round and sees the empty launch pad*
James: Ooh.  Gotta go.

James gets a call from his friend Bob Chen at the observatory.

We have now reached one more friend than Anne will ever be shown to have.  (Unless I've forgotten something.)  In other words, Anne will never be shown to have a single friend.

Anne currently outnumbers James in coworkers (when she had Kim on speakerphone during brain surgery she had a co-worker on either side of her, while none of James' have been shown yet) but that will change in future episodes and the people James knows will get much fuller characterization than the ones Anne knows.

So, yeah, Kim's mom being under utilized because dads are the ones that matter damn it (or so the show seems to be saying) is kind of a theme.

For the rest of this episode Anne is gone so once we've gotten to the end of this sequence, we're going to to be unable to say much more about her.  First we have to get to the end though, and that will take us to one more point to make about Anne vs. James.

Mr. Chen called James because he saw something that shouldn't have been there through the equipment at the observatory, so let's pick up there:

Bob Chen: Did you launch something over there?
*red eyes suddenly glow into visibility in the shadow behind Chen*
*observatory scene setting music gets a bit creepy*
James Possible: On the QT, Bob, prototype G6 rocket, went up like a dream; too bad it wasn't supposed to launch until next week, though.
*observatory scene setting music gets a bit more creepy*
Bob Chen: Lean on a button again?
*another pair of glowing red eyes open*
James Possible: Rodger on that, Bob.
*robot vision scans Chen*
Bob Chen: So, will we see you at the class reunion this weekend?
James Possible: Wouldn't miss it.

As you might have guessed by now, Chen is about to become the beginning of the save-the-day plot of the episode.  Before we get there, though, let's talk about Anne.

We will never find out what Anne did in her past.  We will not get flashbacks, we will not get people who know her well enough to knowingly ask, "[action] again?" we will not get her college friends, we will not get discussion of her class reunion, we will not have any Anne based missions.

James Timothy Possible is a character who exists in his own right.  He has his own history, his own friends and co-workers, his own reasons to call Kim in on missions, his own life.

Anne [Question Mark] Possible née [Unknown] exists in relation to others.  She is the mother of three children and the wife of one guy.  If she isn't in one of those roles she doesn't exist.  She has no life, no friends, no family aside from the guy she married and the kids they had, no story, no history, no . . . anything.

I like Anne.  When she's allowed to have character she's level-headed, smart, and nice.  That's a good combination.  But the fact that I have to preface that by saying, "When she's allowed to have character," is deeply fucked up.

We will never hear Anne in a conversation like the one James is in because outside of being a mother to Kim, Jim, and Tim, an being a wife to James, she doesn't exist.  Talking to a friend is out of the question.  The closest we will ever come is overhearing her say things like, "I need a suture here," to one of her coworkers when Kim calls her at work and the only reason that we get to hear that is because Anne is is a mother who is available to talk to 24/7 which means that sometimes she's trying to be an understanding and accessible mother to her daughter while preforming brain surgery.

So bonus points I guess for setting an impossibly high standard by which we can judge adult women while at the same time setting a depressingly low standard of how much to care about characterizing adult women.

In a show that was originally supposed to last (less than) three years at the absolute most it took them (more than) five years to even give Anne a name.  A character, a history, a circle of friends, a family outside of the one she married into or directly produced as the designated-womb-haver?  No.  They didn't care.

But the really, truly, horrible part is that I don't think this was part of some active decision.  I think they cared so little about Kim's mom that they never even noticed how little they were using her.

We are meeting James' college friends.  We will meet his coworkers.  We will see him save the day.  We will meet his brother and his niece, we will learn his childhood hero, we will hear stories of his past, we've already met Larry who is pretty clearly James' nephew and we will eventually meet Larry's mother June who is probably James' sister.  We will see things James has produced at his work (we will not see people Anne has operated on) we will see a villain who has sworn revenge on him, we will see him having plot-vital knowledge.  We will see . . . James has a life.  Anne does not.  We'll see her having none of that.

We won't see all of the above in this episode, but we're already making a start.

James: Ouch! Ugh.  Looks like the military is scrambling around my rocket, better hop off Bob.
Bob Chen: See you at the reunion buddy.
*Chen turns around in his chair but his eyes are on the phone he's hanging up.
*creepy music continues*
*Chen laughs*
Bob Chen: Same old Possible.

There are now three of the things with glowing eyes and robot vision and in the reverse shot we get pictures of more than just eyes glowing from shadows.  We get outlines.  Like this one:

And with that . . . well, with three of those, we cut back to the other plot of the episode.

* * *

It is an unfortunate fact that boys' and girls' --and indeed men's and women's-- restrooms and changing rooms are sometimes created by gender essentialist shitheads who will try to use architecture and color scheme to try to force girls (and women) to be "girly" and boys to . . . actually they tend to think of boys as default and so just make ordinary rooms for them.

Even so, the cheer changing room pictured above is way over the top and absurd.

Anyway, let us not focus on the room and instead the people in it.

If one compares the cheerleaders here to the cheerleaders in the shot above I used to give an example of what the uniform looked like, it will become apparent that one has been swapped out.

This is still early in the show and they're still working out who is who.  For example in the first episode there were all of five cheerleaders shown and one of them we may never see again.  The shot I used for uniforms is from an episode later than this so one might think that that this is more of things not yet being settled and not a choice.

Also, cheerleaders pop in and out of existence at random throughout the run of the show so. . . yeah.  In fact, at the end of this episode, there will be one cheerleader who pops out of existence before we can get a look at her face (she was in the back row.)

The main squad, however, is pretty well set.  They'll even end up with names.  Why all eight weren't in the shot I used for the uniforms I'm not sure, but I know exactly why they aren't all here.

Tara, the cheerleader with the wavy blonde hair, is a Ron fan.  She might be weirded out by Ron wanting to become a cheerleader (or might not), but she wouldn't be firmly against even allowing him to try out.

So she can't be here because the writers wanted this to be a thing that was unanimously against Ron.

She will be back for the performance at the end of the episode.

Bonnie: You cannot allow this, Kim.
Kim: Bonnie, I'm as freaked out about this as you are, but there is no rule that says Ron can't try out.
Bonnie: Check you're calendar, This is not "befriend a loser" week.
Kim: Ron is not a loser.  He's just . . . different.

Unfortunately Ron can't just wait outside while they have a "be pissed off at Ron" conference.  He has to do something really stupid and wrong.

He has his eyes covered (and presumably closed) so he won't see anything, even by accident, but it's still a case of, "No.  Just no."

*Ron opens the door to cheer changing room and sticks his head in*

I repeat: "No.  Just no."

Ron: Hey Ladies, Ready to boogie?
*reaction shot with six pissed off cheerleaders and a "What did I do to deserve this?" Kim*
Ron: Ladies?
*Three of them slam the door so hard that Ron goes flying*

Ron lands in the pompoms.  Make note of that thing in the lower right, by the way.

Ron: They take a long time to get dressed.

Yeah, no.  They're all already dressed.  Kim was the last one to get dressed and it looked like all she had to do was tie a shoe.

What they're taking a long time to do is have an anti-Ron meeting.

It's kind of disappointing that we didn't get to see more of that meeting because it would have given us a chance to get to know the squad and have them be more than background props.  Instead we get Bonnie vs. Kim and Bonnie is presented as "High School Evil" throughout the show.

She's a bully (words, not fists) she's stuck up, she's pissed off at anything that violates her hierarchical version of how high school is supposed to be, she embodies the the "Popular Bitch" archetype that appears in so many things, even ones like this show that would never allow the word "Bitch" to be uttered.

Bonnie is, in other words, a mass of negative stereotypes some of them explicitly misogynistic ones.  (In case my use of a misogynistic slur to describe the archetype she embodies didn't tip you off to that.)

Having her be the only one to actually voice opinions about the Ron-thing while the others remained silent in the background thus missed a lot of opportunity to look at reasons they might not want Ron that don't stem from, "I'm everything you hated about mean popular girls in high school."

For example, the pep squad is all female, that could make it a safe space for some of the girls on it who have had bad experiences.  Or just, "This isn't when we accept new applicants," or questions of if he's got the right personality.

We get none of that.  We get: "He's a loser, so make it not happen."

Also note that Ron isn't wearing the usual cheer uniform.  He's already failing to live down to Kim's expectations.  Things are better than she expected if we don't look at the "No.  Just no," bit.

*Kim pops her head out*
Kim: Hey
Ron: Where's the squad?  I'm pumped!
*Kim walks over*
Kim: They . . . um . . . uh . . . they take a long time to get dressed.

I'm tempted to note the fact that Ron being bodily thrown across a room doesn't faze him in the least and then go on about how this is another indication of the bullying against him that Kim doesn't notice.

He's so used to this treatment that it doesn't even occur to him that they might be pissed off about something.  It's unremarkable.

But that's not what we should be spending this post on.  Nor is it an idea time to dwell on things like the morality of lying to spare someone's feelings in a way that's pretty much doomed to fail anyway and will just lead to the person you're lying to trusting you less.

For one thing, it's such a fraught topic because of abusive situations.  No matter which route you take, you could be setting off someone's triggers.  For another, Kim immediately gets an out so the lie that should have failed might not because as it turns out, things are not as people assumed.

Kim (verging on shouting) Are you totally sure you want to be a cheerleader, Ron?
Ron: Oh, I'm not gonna be a cheerleader, KP.
Kim: (elated) You're not!?  Great.

*Kim realizes how this could look*
Kim: I mean, um, why not?

Ron: Because I'm going to be the mascot!
*Ron puts on mask*

Middleton High is home to the Middleton Mad Dogs.  With the dog mask he's got one part of it done (the dog part) but it is worth noting that most mascots have more than just a mask while he never will.

*Bonnie comes out in the background*
Kim: Where did you get that mask?
Ron: I made it with my Movie Makeup Magic kit.

I told you the thing in the corner would matter.

In, apparently, one night, Ron has decided to not be a cheerleader, quite possibly because he managed (in retrospect or off-screen interaction) to figure out how freaked out Kim was by that prospect, found a vacancy no one else has ever bothered to fill on squad he wants to join, and on his own created the equipment necessary.

This does get a vague kudos, though not for any of the stuff I just said.

*Rufus trots out in a Kim mask*
Rufus: What's the sitch?
*Kim picks up Kim mask*
Kim: I'm impressed.
*Kim picks up Beast --from Beauty and the Beast-- mask*
Kim: And disturbed.

Ron, however, does not know how to sell things.

Recall that if he gets the job he's going to be on the court or field and the people will be away in the bleachers.  They will definitely not be a few feet away, directly in front of him.  Thus when he shows his next feature (the Mad Dog, as a mad dog, foams at the mouth) it results in this:

That would never happen to spectators at a sporting event, and if by some chance some little bit of the foam did get on someone, Ron has what he thinks is a solution.

Ron: The crowd will eat it up.  I me-- Taste it.  It's banana cream.

But the crowd will not be left dripping with it.  Ron had a real shot here and he killed his chances.

The pep squad thought he was still hoping to be a cheerleader which they were dead set against (though other than Bonnie not wanting to associate with a "loser" we don't actually know why) so this is essentially serving as a much more palatable alternative proposal.

While Kim was far from sold, she wasn't against it until she ended up dripping in foam.

Kim: (slow sarcasm) Yum.
*Rufus climbs up Bonnie*
Rufus: Banana!
*Rufus starts to lick it off*
*Bonnie pulls Rufus off of herself*
Bonnie: This idea is idiotic.  The entire student body will laugh at you.

Ron: But--
Bonnie: Not "with", "at".  Loudly and cruelly, they will laugh.
Ron: You don't deserve to be kissed by a naked mole rat.

As insulting as she is, as annoyed as she is, Bonnie is actually . . . how to say this? She's not trying to be helpful, but she is actually trying to keep Ron out of a situation where he'd be humiliated.

That's kind of as close to nice as she gets.  Sure, she's doing it because she doesn't want to share the stage with humiliating mascot (who she considers a loser anyway), but since he's going to be separate from the squad it won't actually reflect badly on her and could be used to argue that Kim shouldn't be head of the pep squad.

Plus, it's more Bonnieish to see her trying to set up a situation where the entire student body will laugh at someone than prevent it.

She's pissed off, she's just been foamed (foam magically disappeared when the shot cut to Ron and then back to her), and so forth and yet . . . she's trying to diffuse the situation.  In the rudest and most insulting way, but she's trying to diffuse before Ron meets public humiliation.

I don't know exactly where to go with that.

She started with an insult, but most of what she said was a warning.  Caustic delivery, but she thinks it's a completely accurate warning.

And it's definitely more honest with Ron than Kim's "they take a long time to get dressed."

Back to the scene:

Kim: Ron. . .
Ron: I know, Kim; I know.  You believe in me, and you'll work on them.
Kim: Um, I. . . I kind of agree with Bonnie.
Ron: (looking at Kim) Oh.  (looking at Bonnie) Oh, I see. (looks back to Kim)
*Ron picks up the Mad Dog mask and walks away*

* * *

Part of me wonders if Kim is about to talk about this with her dad because she knows her mother might take Ron's side given that Anne thought it was cute that Ron wanted to be a cheerleader.

Another part of me wonders if I should tell the first part to shut up because she's talking to her dad about this for PLOT and STORY reasons and, furthermore, they basically never use Kim's mom (as talked about up-post) so . . . yeah.

Though it is worth noting that in the very next episode Kim will also have Ron things to deal with and end up talking to both of her parents (James at much greater length than Anne) so I think there's still room to say that she's trying to avoid the Ron-friendly viewpoint her mother might put forward.


Kim: Dad, I have a problem
James: Frankly . . . eh . . . your mother has the good advice vis-a-vis boy trouble.
Kim: This isn't about a boy. It's about Ron.
James: Oh. Gotcha.

Glad we cleared that one up.

Kim: Everyone got down on Ron, and I don't know, maybe I should have stuck up for him.
James: But you didn't . . .
Kim: He was foaming at the mouth. I'm only human.

This isn't entirely accurate.  She stuck up for him enough to say, "Ron is not a loser," which she then followed up by saying he was "different".  But that was the limit of her defense.  She was freaked out by the idea of him trying out for the squad, and she was as quick to dismiss the mascot idea as Bonnie.  (In her defense on the second point, she was covered in banana flavored foam.)

We don't know what happened before the scene in the cheer squad dressing room started.  Apparently everyone had their turn to get down on Ron off screen, and Kim didn't stick up for him then.

It would have been nice to see that, not for the Ron bashing but rather for the cheer squad characterization.

Anyway, as we learned in episode two, going to dads for stuff has them go off on tangential rambling rants.  But this tangent actually sticks close to the curve:

* * *

James: Well, you know, Kimmy, back when I was in college, I had a group of friends, my uh . . . my posse, if you will.
James: (voice over): It was the night of the big science department mixer.  In those days I wasn't exactly a ladies man.

James: Where's Drew? He was supposed to be here a half hour ago.
Chen: I knew he wouldn't come through with dates for us.
Ramesh: Hmph. What did you expect? He cannot even come through with a date for himself.
Chen: This was folly.

Granted I don't know a lot about social gatherings, but isn't the point of a mixer that you go there to meet people?  (You know, you go there to mix.)  I'd think being single was pretty acceptable and normal since it's a place where you might meet someone you'd want to date.  That could be awkward if you go there with someone you've never met before and thus may have no interest in.

"Go away random person I got as a date so I wouldn't be alone here, I want to flirt with this person, whom I actually find interesting," does not sound like a line likely to please anyone involved in the situation.

Anyway, Drew was supposed to acquire dates.

James: It was a nice dream, though.
*Drew opens door*
Drew: The Dream Is Real!

This will not go well for you Drew.

Chen: Drew! You found girls!
Drew: Found, ha! Gentlemen, tonight we make history. I give you the future!

Ok, this has potential.  They show up at the science department mixer with a bunch of robots and they're totally going to have a decent ice breaker.  They're not going to have the, "I'd like to meet someone who I could see myself dating but I have on my arm some random woman a friend found somewhere so it'll be awkward talking to people to find out if they're someone I can see myself dating," problem.

It's going to be science people talking tech.

This is before the parents Possible got together, a big class reunion is coming up, so this was at least 20 years ago.  This episode takes place in 2003, meaning that the flashback that Drew made the robots in takes place in 1983 or earlier.

Self driving, self propelled robots that respond to verbal commands are guaranteed to be a major conversation starter.  Drew didn't come through for their, frankly, stupid request.  But he did pull off something much better.

They show up with these things and they're guaranteed to be the center of attention in a very good way.

Just don't ask them to dance.

*James, Chen, and Ramesh look on with a mixture of disappointment, annoyance, and shock*
*maybe a bit of disgust too*
Lead Robot: My name is Bebe.
Drew: Bebe, would you like to dance?
Bebe: Affirmative. Bebe will dance.
*the robot starts dancing with Drew*
*the moves are fine but it's using way too much force*

*Drew makes embarased laugh*
Drew: As gentle as a summer shower, no?
James, Chen, and Ramesh: No.
*James, Chen, and Ramesh laugh*

*Drew growls*
Drew: All right. Go on, laugh away, but one day my genius will be recognized! Bebe will be perfect
*Bebe tightens grip*
Drew: (in obvious pain) and I will be the one laughing.

I wonder if this could be in any way related to the fact that robots with female silhouettes came after Bob Chen the week before their college reunion?

Anyway, back in the present, Kim's dad is finishing up the story

James: Drew dropped out and we never saw him again. I don't think he ever forgave us, and in some small way, maybe we never forgave ourselves.
Kim: For just a giggle fit?
James: No, no, Kimmy. We laughed for days. Long and loud with youthful abandon.
Kim: Oh. That was bad.


Granted I can see how it's funny in a "full of cringe" slapstick sort of way and I'm sure the weasels would laugh through the whole sequence, but we just saw a real show of genius and the only problem inherent in the device was that it was too strong with its dance partner: a calibration issue.

It was dancing fine (it even dipped Drew.)  Mind you it then hugged Drew so tightly that, after the last line I quoted, Drew's body was forced into the robot with such force that the Bebe knocked its own head off (which implies a safety feature: they break before they break someone) so the "too much force" issue was pretty extreme.

Still, there were two working models that they still could have taken to the mixer to be considered the awesome science people.  Instead they laughed at Drew when he was in pain.

James: So, you'll reconsider Ronald's dream?
Kim: I don't think so. His mad dog routine is way stupid.

So, stuff.

Kim hasn't seen his routine.  She's seen his mask and the mask's hidden "foam at the mouth" feature.  She and Bonnie alienated Ron enough that he stormed off after that.  He never showed his routine.

So now she's putting it down sight unseen.  She's beyond not sticking up for Ron, she's actively putting him down in ways she isn't even checking are accurate.

And that is where we close for today