April 20th, 2011


Skynet & Sarah Jane

Last night at 8:11pm, according to Terminator: the Sarah Connor Chronicles, Skynet was supposed to become self-aware. Judgement Day is tomorrow.

Instead, yesterday Elisabeth Sladen, who played Sarah Jane Smith on Doctor Who and on The Sarah Jane Adventures, died of cancer. This is not quite as bad as Judgement Day, but since it happened in the real world instead of a fictional one, it’s quite awful.

I’m not an old-school Who fan. Although, in the way of geeks, I certainly knew who Sarah Jane Smith was, the first time I met her was in “School Days”, when David Tennant–who is an old-school Who fan–playing the Tenth Doctor, saw the girl he’d left behind thirty years ago as an adult woman still carrying on saving the world, just as she had when she traveled with the Doctor.

Ten’s expression of delight and poignancy and pride and the sheer power of memory sweeping him just about broke my heart in that moment, which is really some pretty good acting. And it made me love Sarah Jane the way he did, which means that I was actually shocked last night when Lis Sladen’s name started trending on Twitter. I’m terribly sorry for her friends and family, and I’m sorry for all of us Who fans, too. She was awfully young, and it’s a damned shame.

The other thing I noticed, though, is that three of the ten trends on Twitter were Sarah Jane, Elisabeth Sladen, and Skynet. Pure geekery, shaping the popular topics on an international social network with over a billion users. Never doubt that the geeks have won.

(x-posted from the essential kit)

social whirlwind

I’ve been too busy to even post about how busy I’ve been.

A week ago Monday we went up to Monaghan and stayed at Castle Leslie overnight, which was a lot of fun. I have pictures but I can’t get them off the new camera because I”m not smart enough to open its USB port thing. Anyway, the place has been owned by the Leslie family since the 17th century, and the castle currently on the grounds (really a magnificent manor house more than what I’d think of as a castle) is beautiful, and was made into a hotel over the past ten or fifteen years. The current peer, Lord John Leslie, is 99 years old and came to dine in the dining room while we ate (our six course dinner!). There’s a very heavy old bell at the foot of the stairs, and at about 9:15 the bell rang, and it turns out Lord John picks it up every night and gives it a ring on his way up to bed. Announcing that His Lordship is retiring for the night, I guess! It’s neat. :) I’ll post pictures of the place as soon as I figure out how. :)

Then on the Tuesday we went out to the National Aquatic Centre, which is the only reason on earth I could imagine wanting to live in Blachardstown (they have a 50 meter pool! It’s cold! It’s not overly chlorinated! I lust after it in my lusty little heart!) and did an introduction to scuba diving lesson, which was also a lot of fun. That first moment when you put your face in the water and breathe is…utterly surreal. I think–possibly because I’ve spent so very very very much time in the water–that after that first moment of total surreality, that Ted found breathing underwater and the whole experience more *exciting* than I did. I enjoyed it a great deal, but it seemed very…natural. As if that was the way things should be. Anyway, so that was very cool and we’re looking forward to getting our PADI certificates.

Wednesday I did nothing. I mean, I worked, but I didn’t socialize.

Thursday, author Juliet E. McKenna/jemck and her family, who were over for the week, came in to Dublin and we had lunch and saw the National Museum with Baby As Tourguide, which actually worked quite well. Juliet’s family are lovely and I was delighted to get to meet them, having been hearing about them for literally years now.

Friday, author Jeri Smith-Ready, who was dashing up the Irish East coast and over to Glasgow in a hasty six-day book research tour, and her husband, met me in the city centre for lunch, where we had a lovely time and I warned them about Irish roads and the legendary customer service here. Jeri tweeted shortly after they left Ireland to say “OH MY GOD YOU WERE NOT KIDDING ABOUT THE ROADS.” Well, no, I wasn’t. :)

I think I actually did work on Saturday, and on Sunday spent the day with my boys, gallavanting about the place, plus there was surprise bonus irishkate/Kate! We all went to the Steve McCurry photo exhibition in Temple Bar (all together now: “Who?” “Steve McCurry. The guy who took the picture of the Afghan girl.” “Oh!”), which was *splendid*. Seeing the poster-sized photo of the Afghan girl next to the photo of the adult Sharbat Gula really made it easy to be absolutely certain it was, indeed, the same woman, and I am glad beyond words that I got to see that. The rest of his photography (much of which is recognizeable too, just not the most famous image in NatGeo history) is equally beautiful, with the same astounding strength of color and intensity of human gazes. If an exhibition of his work comes to your locale, I highly recommend attending.

Since then I’ve been working. :) But that was what I was up to and being so busy doing I didn’t even have time to mention it all! :)

(x-posted from the essential kit)