Category Archives: After Action Report

Mission reports filed after major actions against any and all enemies of The Collective.

My BSG Reboot Rewatch

My BSG Reboot Rewatch

Before we begin, I’d like to point out that this will contain unmarked spoilers for the Battlestar Galactica reboot series. Proceed at your own risk if you haven’t seen the show.

A few minutes ago, I finished my rewatch of the Battlestar Galactica reboot and it just about fucked me up. I watched the show when it first aired, and despite my misgivings about it (since I was a fan of the original), I really enjoyed it. I thought it was a well done show, with great writing, acting, production values, and most importantly, story. There is one exception to that. The story, which I did just call out for being great, does have a pretty big weakness to it. The writers seemed to have a significant over reliance on falling back to… well… magic to explain things. This is supposed to be a sci-fi show, but a lot of major plot developments end up being driven by God. Literally. The early seasons of the show have a line in the opening credits about the Cylons having a plan, but it quickly becomes apparent that it’s actually the writers’ interpretation of The One True God™ that actually has a plan.

This is… less than thrilling to me.

It would be one thing for this to be the case in some run of the mill drama or some specifically religious show, but it’s sci-fi. Science Fiction. SCIENCE Fiction. The key, defining feature of science fiction vs other forms of fiction is the science. It should be the science or things resulting from that science that frame the show, not magic or religion or mysticism or anything in that vein. It’s completely out of place and really damages my enjoyment of the show.

But you know what? I’ve mostly made my peace with that during the first run of the show. That’s not even what’s fucking me up about this.

The way it ended… man. It was kind of the capstone on this dread that I felt building the farther into the rewatch I got. While I still don’t like the direction they went with in the ending, they at least did it with their usual high quality. What fucked me up was just… all the loss. The entire human civilization gone, not once but twice. First on Kobol and then on the 12 colonies. Thirteen total planets filled with human life, all gone. And on a smaller scale, there were so many heroic deeds, people, ships even that helped save the remnants of humanity throughout the show and I feel like the way it ended, they’re all just gone and forgotten. It’s bothering me. A lot of stuff was wrapped up, but too much was left to the whole… “And they rode off into the sunset” sort of thing.

Let’s look at each group and how we got fucked out of an ending for each:

  • The Final Five – So these are the remnants of the Thirteenth Tribe of man. I wasn’t too clear on if they were a tribe of Cylons created by the 12 tribes of humans on Kobol, or if they were themselves human. There’s a scene where the rebel Cylon scientists talk about how the organic and machine remains somehow tested the same, meaning they were all Cylon. However that didn’t quite make sense to me because in none of the Final Five’s flashbacks do we see any Cylons, even after the revelation that that’s what they all were. Not only that, but why’d there be a scattering of Centurion-type Cylons mixed in with a world of Skinjobs? Did the Thirteenth Tribe decide to do their own AI research, forgetting about what happened on Kobol (I suspect hostilities between them and the other tribes led to the events that destroyed Kobol and split their tribe from the other 12, but who the fuck knows because maybe God did it), or was it that they just kept making a small number of Centurions to do the manual labor and… well no, that would basically be the same as the first thing I was thinking. Basically, the original Earth in this show is destroyed in what seems to be a Cylon uprising, but the inhabitants of the original Earth are all Cylons so who are the Cylons rebelling against? I’m down another rabbit hole here and this isn’t even the point I was trying to explore. The Final Five! OK, so these guys are the last survivors of Earth that was. They have their own arc and end up on Earth that is (those that survive, anyway). And… now what? They’re a distinct group of humans with literally thousands of years of history and they’re just gonna settle down in a nice animal skin tent by the woods? WTF? I mean, one of them even goes off to be a hermit. This is how the last of the Thirteenth Tribe, who fought so hard and so long (for thousands of years!) to survive and make sure humanity doesn’t repeat the same mistakes (which again, were they originally human or not? Like WTF.) goes out? This is how they meet their end? Shit.
  • Colonial Cylons – I guess by blowing up their home base, that means they’re all dead? What’s stopping all the rest of the Cylons who, you know… weren’t home when home blew up, from seeking revenge? Granted it seems they pulled out of their occupation of the 12 Colonies, but was the massive structure in the finale really all of the Colonial Cylons? There was that splinter group of Guardians mentioned in Season 2 or 3 that were guarding the first hybrid. They haven’t been destroyed and are there no other groups like that, or even fleets on patrol? What about the Cylons at New Caprica? Are they still there oppressing any humans that didn’t make the evacuation?
  • Rebel Cylons – So the rebel skinjobs are just gonna live out their lives on this new Earth, which is fine, but are they breeding with the humans, both Colonial and terrestrial? If so, how? They basically act like Hera is a miracle, which hey, with all the religious stuff in the show she probably is exactly that. The thing is, if she’s not magic, then why can’t there be other hybrid babies born? Since they seem to say that Hera was the mitochondrial Eve, did not a single other Skinjob fall in love with a single other human? So a Base Ship full of Skinjobs just lived out their natural lives and died, happy to have helped out? What? And what of the Centurions? They got the Base Ship and almost literally rode off into the sunset. No mention of them in the future/present day scene?
  • The fucking magic angels or whatever the fuck – Head Six and Head Baltar… What the shit was that? No explanation of who/what they actually are or who sent them. I mean, it’s probably God, but Head Baltar got all SUPER creepy and was all “HE DOESN’T LIKE THAT NAME!” when Head Six called him that, so is it God or some other shit? And maybe it’s just me, but I sort of got the sense that maybe Head Baltar was the she’s God or whatever, based on that last scene with him and Head Six. I could be and probably am wrong, but something about the way she talked to him and him getting his back up over the name “God” made me think that. While we’re at it, I’ll throw Starbuck the White in here as well. WTF was this shit? None of her arc made any goddamn sense. She blows up in a storm in a gas giant’s atmosphere and her remains and ship’s wreckage end up light years away on Earth that was? How? And Leoben doesn’t feel the need to tell anyone about Starbuck the White finding Starbuck they Gray’s body? WTF? Srsly, WTF! Beyond that, where did she actually come from? Who sent her? (God, obvs.) How did the first Hybrid in Razor know about her upcoming shenanigans since she hadn’t done her Gandalf thing yet? How did she just disappear if she was corporeal? I get Head Twins vanishing because they’re ghosts or angels or whatever, but Starbuck the White seemed to be more physical. So what’s up with that? She fulfills her literally God given destiny and just poof?

Plus, the main group of humanity’s survivors… You see what happens in their future and… Well, part of it ends up being a big fuck you, which I always hated, but part of it is they went so hard on the weird religious angle that the closing scene seems almost about the mysticism more so than the future of the people you spent 4 seasons giving a shit about. And if you’re going to go that route, THEN FOR FUCKS SAKE EXPLAIN WTF ALL THE GODDAMN WOO WOO MUMBO JUMBO SHIT WAS AND WHERE IT CAME FROM! Going beyond that, I just feel like the human sacrifice and the blood and hardship of these people will never be known and in the end, it was all for nothing, because humanity always falls into the same old patterns. The names of Galactica and Pegasus will never be known. Starbuck, Apollo, Admiral Adama, Colonel Tighe, Helo, Athena, Hot Dog, Kat, and so many other big damn heroes are just… forgotten. The Adama maneuver on New Caprica, the fight against Scar, Kat’s Radiation Rescue… It’s not all for nothing because all of these ships and people and acts of heroism helped save humanity but goddamn you’d think when they were throwing out all human progress because robots or whatever, they’d have at least kept fucking writing so they could tell the stories of these places and people and deeds. For fuck’s sake, if Pythia hadn’t recorded the account of the 13 tribes leaving Kobol, you fuckers would all be dead! Not one of you thought, “Hey, maybe we should keep good records just in case shit goes bad, our descendants will know what to do and maybe these records can even help them avoid the type of mistakes that led to all this. You know, kind of like what Pythia should have done instead of writing in bullshit metaphor and not actually mentioning the minor detail THAT IT WAS AN AI REBELLION THAT LEAD TO THE EXODUS FROM KOBOL SO HEY MAYBE TRY NOT TO MAKE ANY MORE AIS.” Granted, at least Pythia wrote some shit down, which did help, but a lot of trouble could have been avoided if she was better at her job. That aside, you’d think someone would want to be a Pythia analogue to maybe help out the future generations.

So humanity goes boldly into the future by literally forgetting it’s entire history so that they don’t make the same mistakes. The idea behind this being that if they leave behind all the trappings of their millennia long civilization, they won’t fuck up in the same old ways. See, the thing is, there’s that old saying we have about not learning from history and doomed to repeat mistakes and the like. Seems like this was actually exactly the wrong thing to do. I do think they also dishonor the memory of those who gave their lives to get humanity to this point by throwing away their past, which is a big part of what’s bothering me. All that knowledge, lost. All the stories of those people, lost. The ships, lost. Tales of heroism, lost. Why? Just so they don’t build murderbots again. Meanwhile, they could just try to rebuild civilization and make it their highest law not to build murderbots. Literally every person in their new civilization would know how bad it can be if you build murderbots, so they won’t do it. And if they teach this value properly to their kids and pass this cultural facet down to future generations, they’ll hold it in high enough regard not to build murderbots. To just throw everything away… goddamn.

That scene in… Daybreak I think it was, where Hot Dog is taking all the pictures of pilots off the memorial wall for safe keeping, that scene really fucked me up. Partly because of all those they’d lost, but also because of what he said about the other pictures being left behind. There was no one left who knew who they were. That’s heartbreaking. These were all someone’s loved ones. They’re gone and so are the people who survived the genocide and held them in loving memory. That scene left a deep ache in my chest. All of that knowledge and history lost. No family or friends to keep the memories alive on a small scale, and the collective output of a dozen worlds of civilization also gone. The Galactica was dying and could never be replaced, as was all the knowledge and history they’d left behind and as was now happening to all those people in the pictures. It really gave me pause. And then the finale, in which they go on a suicide mission to rescue the magic baby so that Starbuck could realize she had the jump coordinates to the new Earth… So much waste and loss and for what? I feel like there had to have been a smarter way to do this. Even though this is all fiction, the idea of the loss of that much knowledge, culture, history, and such hurts me as someone who’s scientist-trained and values knowledge and history quite highly.

The really fucked up part is that I think they were going for a hopeful note to the ending, but that’s not what I got from it at all. Especially with the montage of our own early forays into AI and robotic tech. As they said on the show, all this has happened before and all this will happen again.

Oneiric Ocelot!

Oneiric Ocelot!

Inspired by a recent Google+ post by someone in my Chromebook circle, I used Wubi to install Ubuntu 11.10 (AKA Oneiric Ocelot).  As much as I enjoy the look and feel of Ubuntu, and the fact that its generally pretty light weight on modern computers, I ran into the usual Linux tomfoolery one seems to run into with any new install.  Flash still isn’t working and connecting to my Ubuntu server’s shared drives is foolishly slow for no reason that I can discern.  Accessing those drives from Windows 7 is speedy and responsive, but for some reason with Ubuntu its not.  The ATi (or is it AMD now?) propriety graphics drivers are also screwy.  The main package installs, but the post release updates always fail, and when I restart, it appears as if the main package isn’t installed or active any more.  There is a high degree of shenanigans going on here.  I’m still trying to find equivalents to all my Windows programs so that the only reason I need to boot back into Windows is to play one of my PC games.

Speaking of which, I preordered the Diablo III collector’s edition.  I wouldn’t ordinarily take stock in the recent announcement of a release date of Diablo III, but Blizzard themselves are pre-selling the game.  Honestly, given their track record, I wouldn’t really be surprised if it didn’t come out on May 15th, as is currently claimed.  Blizzard is known for their fluid release dates.  Of course, the trade off is incredibly polished games, so I guess I can’t really complain.  In any event, I’m ready.  I should also let you all know that once that game is in my hands, its extremely unlikely that anyone will see or hear from me for a good long time.  Of all the games I’ve played and owned, I’m fairly certain I’ve clocked the most time with Diablo II, by a pretty decent margin.  Torchlight and Titan Quest had my attention for a good long time as well, so as you can see, I’m pretty weak to these types of games.  Diablo III will likely surpass them all.  This is fair warning.  I will be unavailable for several weeks, possibly months, after the release of this game.  It will consume me in its entirety.

Just so you know.

It’s-a me! A new theme!

It’s-a me! A new theme!

So I fixed the old theme, but then I realized I’d been using it for around two years. So after fixing it, I promptly changed it. This new theme here reminds me of Super Mario Galaxy, so that makes it full of win. Speaking of which, Super Mario Galaxy 2 is super awesome. I haven’t made too much progress yet, but so far it’s definitely more of a challenge than the first one. Of course, I’ve had to split my time between that and Homeworld 2, which I finally got working on Windows 7 through some… shall we say unconventional means. In any event it works, and I’ve got the Point Defense Systems (PDS) mod installed and running and its awesome. Homeworld 2 is probably the game that comes closest to being able to simulate the epic space battles of the Honor Harrington series of books, even more so with the PDS mod. The only thing I’d change is raising the limit on the ships that you can build so that you can set up truly massive space battles. I mean, only one superdreadnaught equivalent? That’s beyond lame. I think with PDS you’re limited to 9 capital ships at once. That’s no proper fleet! At best it’s an understrength task force! The mod has such a deep order of battle, but you never get to really take advantage of it because of the low limit. Hmmm… that gets me thinking… I wonder if there’s a way I can go into the mod files and alter that. I think I just found a project for my weekend! And on that note, I’m off. Work tomorrow, probably with more OT like tonight, so I need my sleep. Launches! Launches!

It’s done! I finished it! Ask the Fatty! is up and running and it’s fat-tastic! This has totally been one of those fool ideas that came from a joke which had no business springing to life into a full fledged project, but there you have it. Ask the Fatty! has got to be up there in my personal list of harebrained ideas, but goddamn if I’m not amused by the whole thing. I don’t really have a lot to say about it since my first few posts on the new site talk about the hilarious trials I had in getting it all off the ground and the sidebar contains the site’s origin story, which is actually factual!

Hey, here’s some insider info for my loyal readers: New features coming soon to Ask the Fatty!. I’ve found some plugins that will allow some pretty slick facey-place integration into both Ask the Fatty! and this site. That’ll probably be coming sometime in the next week cause I’m kinda burned after my week-long website creation/maintenance binge. I’m tired, it’s getting late (or I’m getting old, take your pick), and I’ve got work tomorrow. So for now, I sign off and bid you a good night.

PS: In case any one of you 1 or 2 long time visitors are worried, I’m not abandoning this in favor of Ask the Fatty!. That site has a narrow focus, and anything outside that focus will still be here. See, I’ll have 2 sites to neglect! updates here will continue in a frequent and regular fashion!

“If we do not live another day, say this over our pyre:

“If we do not live another day, say this over our pyre:

They died like High Guard Lancers with their faces to the fire.”
–Regimental Hymn of the 13th Imperial Lancers
CY 4233

The lovely quote above appeared as an episodic opening quote during the second season of “Andromeda.” As I headed out earlier today to face those barbarians, those agents of the darkness, the scourge everlasting, those foul creatures known as Black Friday shoppers, I thought of that hymn in hopes it would give me strength for the hordes I would face. After a tumultuous ride to the filthy mall, den of depravity and inequity, I arrived only to find my mettle tested from the start. I headed towards the parking lot I always park in, only to find it overrun with zerglings/soccer moms. Driving around the backside was an utter failure due to the giant semi who decided it would be a goodness to park across the lanes of travel and completely block access to the secondary lot through that access point. I managed to double back and cross a horribly busy intersection to get to another lot, which was as far as I could be from my target (the eyeglass place where I had to get my glasses fixed) and still be on Earth. Some fucking LZ.

After setting down my ISSCV, I proceeded to make my way to the installation, dodging large scale vehicular homicide all the way. After no loss of life or limb, but a slight shortening of my lifespan due to stark terror, I made it to an insertion point and began my assault. I manage to dodge the interceptors (read: cart vendors) and make my way to the target, where I presented the equipment requiring repair. I had been previously assured by the mission briefing that this operation would take no more than five minutes.

This intelligence was wrong.

I was appraised that repairs would now take 30 minutes. As remaining in my current position for that long was untenable, I left the equipment in the capable hands of the tech and headed out to make my fortune. Seeing a veritable tide of humanity rolling towards my position from the direction I came, I fell back to supplementary position alpha, codenamed “EB Games.” This position was thought to be hot, but there were enough marines here to control the swarming chaos. I hid in plain sight, as the saying goes, and searched amongst the flaming wreckage for anything that would add value to this forced diversion. My search was not in vain. I found two anthology sets, one which contained the Source versions of Half Life, Half Life: Blue Shift, Half Life: Opposing Force, and Half Life: Team Fortress Classic and the other housing Battlefield 1942, Battlefield 1942: Secret Weapons of WWII, Battlefield 1942: The Road to Rome, and Battlefield Vietnam. All of this was mine for a minor fee of $25. It would seem that Black Friday’s rampant consumerism was a benefit to me for the first time in 25 years. Using the enemy’s weapons on themselves is an exhilarating feeling.

By this time, the recent OMG ZERG RUSH KEKEKEKEKE!!!1! had broken momentarily, and I was able to maneuver my way through the chaos back to the repair facility. I retrieved the equipment, which has now been restored to fully operating status, and made my way to the nearest exit. Once there, I had to navigate the fields of vehicular manslaughter once more in order to make my way to the waiting ISSCV (my car). Retrieval operations were successful and the trip back to home base was uneventful.

This concludes the after action report for 25-11-2005 “Operation Black Friday Repair/Retrieval.”