{ thinking out loud about the things i care about }

Fall 2010 TV: What I’m Planning to Watch

September 14th, 2010

It’s getting close to that most exciting time of year when some of my favourite TV shows come out of hibernation for another season. In anticipatory celebration, I present a breakdown of the new shows I’m excited for, the returning shows I’m waiting for, and the ones I’m foot-tapping about.


New Shows I’m Gonna Check Out:

The Whole Truth: September 22
Courtroom drama, which is so close to a crime procedural that it’s probably no surprise to anyone it’s on my list. It sounds interesting in part because it seems to be focusing on both the defence and the prosecution rather than picking one side or the other. This “both sides” feel is one of the many things I loved about Boston Legal, and while this show is unlikely to rival that one for my affections I’m interested enough to watch the first couple of episodes.

Undercovers: September 22
Spy show from JJ Abrams that promises more awesome action-packed spy-win and less wacky Rambaldi nonsense. Also, the leads are a married couple which intrigues me: so many other action-centric shows feature and rely on sexual tension of star-crossed lovers, and the idea of one that centres around a couple that already is is fascinating to me.

No Ordinary Family: September 28
Family crashes into a mysterious lagoon and get super powers. The premise is promising, but this one will be all about the delivery.

Boardwalk Empire: September 19
Period drama from HBO set in the prohibition era. From Martin Scorsese. Yeah, I’m definitely gonna try this one on for size.


Returning Shows I’ll Be Watching:

Chuck: September 20
I devoured the first three seasons of this show over the summer and am eagerly anticipating the next season. I’ve heard there are currently only 13 episodes bought and paid for with the option for another 9, but I kinda hope it sticks with the 13 episode format. I find shorter seasons are usually tighter.

I’m a little leery about the ongoing angst of the Chuck/Sarah relationship. Their dance was great while it lasted, but I think that horse has been flogged well enough now, and rather than retreading that ground over and over (and over) again, I’d really like to see the show allow Chuck and Sarah to grow into their relationship and transition into a space where they are firmly together, yet still struggling with the day-to-day realities of being a couple. Relationship drama doesn’t need a constant breakup cycle to be interesting.

I’m also wondering how the show will change now that all the major characters know about Chuck’s involvement with the CIA. His secret keeping and lying was an integral part of the show, and while I’m sure there will still be secrets kept — because Chuck is an almost compulsive liar in some ways — I think this is going to be a hugely transitional year for Chuck in a lot of ways. We are in prime shark-jumping territory here.

Dexter: September 26
So apparently Julia Stiles will be in this season. Huh.

I really, really hope this season deals with Dexter dealing with Rita’s death well, especially since Rita’s memory cannot be so simply cast aside in this show given Dexter has been left with three young children to care for. I love that they had Dexter kill Arthur Mitchell before he discovered Rita, because it leaves him without an outlet for vengeance that might ease his guilt.

I hope for more awesome with Deb, and wow do I ever want her to be the primary external stressor for Dexter this year. The possibilities and multiple potential paths for her character if she discovers Dexter’s serial killing secret are all fascinating and I can’t yet pick which one I want more.

Criminal Minds: September 22
Obviously I’ll be watching Criminal Minds. I’m heartbroken AJ Cook is leaving and Paget Brewster only has 10 episodes this year however. All my wonderful, awesome women! Who will Garcia have to keep her sane in that pool of testosterone once JJ and Emily aren’t there? D:

Castle: September 20
Yeah, there’s no way I’m not gonna watch a show that is A) a crime procedural, which we all know I am incapable of resisting; and B) contains Nathan Fillion, Edmontonian, Joss-veteran and wisecracking wisecracker.

Bones: September 23
After last year’s epic moment between Booth and Bones where Bones has to admit out loud how broken she is and why she can’t allow herself to love Booth even though she very clearly does already, this show has killed me even more than it did before. I love this show for so many reasons despite that fact that sometimes it is full of fail and just a little bit awful. I love it because of the fantastic women it contains, I love it because — for once — the wrangler is the male while the eccentric genius is the woman. Not cold, not cruel: broken. She’s detached without being icy. How often do we get that with female characters?

And? The chemistry between Booth and Brennan is just too good to ignore.

NCIS: September 24
This is one of those shows I tend to watch in bursts. When everything is on a two or three week break, I tend to bulk download whatever episodes of NCIS have aired since the last time I watched it.

Merlin: September 12
Yeah, this one already started but I’ve yet to watch it. Like NCIS this is one of those shows I watch when I have time. I’m kind of meh about the whole thing overall, but it’s entertaining enough to keep up with when things are quiet.


Returning Shows I’ll Probably Watch But Are On Notice

How I Met Your Mother: September 20
Okay, last season was almost entirely disappointing. Remember all that character development that happened? Yeah, if we get some of that again this season I’ll hang on. But the thread is thin.

Barney is hilarious, often even when his character is static. But he’s so much more interesting when given a little bit of real meat to cling to around all that corn and sausage.

Also? A return of awesome Robin would be nice, too.

The Big Bang Theory: September 23
Sheldon is too hilarious for me to completely avoid this show, and almost everything about the friendship/stalemate between Sheldon and Penny is gold. Everything else about this one is completely forgettable, irksomely irritating, or completely maddening.

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Open Letter: The Importance of Capitalization

August 31st, 2010

Dear People of the Internet:

I know it’s hip and cool right now to use all lowercase letters in your brand names, menus and whatnot. Heck, I do it too — just look up at my header and you’ll note a lack of proper case.


This does not mean you should completely abandon reason in your quest to appear youthful and edgy. Capitalization serves a legitimate purpose in the English language: it helps us decipher proper nouns and names from other words, especially when a word could be either. On the internet correct case performs an even more important task: proper use of capital letters helps us scan content quickly. Capitalization often indicates important keywords like place and name. It also helps us quickly identify and digest those clever informational chunks known as “sentences”. Without capital letters, periods get easily lost and sentences blur together visually, making it difficult and frustrating to read quickly.

Blog post titles and any website body content that is longer than six or seven words should always use proper case. At least, they always should if you’d actually like people to read the stuff you’ve written. Branding is great, but when it gets in the way of what you’re trying to say you’re probably doing it wrong.

Missing those capital letters,


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Photoshopping & Body Image on SheThought.com

August 26th, 2010

SheThought Banner

SheThought, a blog for, by and about women and critical thinking, is fast becoming one of my most favourite places on the Internet. The contributors include a variety of people from different backgrounds from science to arts and varying exposure to the online or offline feminist movement. The one thing they all share is a desire to think rationally, to be thoughtful about issues and ideas, and to embrace open discussion and civil, constructive conversation.

Recently, contributor Ben Radford had some thoughts on the reactions to a poll on girls and what they think about Photoshop and fashion photography. I had time to participate and ask questions in comments — which is not something I usually do — and though I haven’t had the opportunity yet to look up some of the studies he pointed me to, it’s on my To-Do list.

The idea that being surrounded by images of unrealistic female bodies has impacted the female gender’s collective cultural body image is one of those things that everybody “knows” in the same way that everybody “knows” images — especially fashion and celebrity photos — are heavily altered and Photoshopped, but where did these ideas come from? Is there valid data to support these “known” facts? This is a legitimate question I hadn’t spent much time thinking about: I assumed somewhere, someone had done the legwork and filed it away as fact before disseminating it to the masses. As I become increasingly interested in the skeptical movement I’m discovering this isn’t always true. I’m still learning what differentiates a good, scientific study from a less solid one so I can be better equipped to spot faulty methodologies that lead to incorrect assumptions. The last thing women need is to put our efforts into fighting the wrong battles, and if this is potentially one of them I think it’s valid to look critically at.

Having said that, I still think there is value for everyone in our culture in seeing a broader representation of body type and beauty in all media, from fashion magazine to movies to television. I have no studies of my own to back up that thought, only the anecdotal knowledge that TV characters like Criminal Minds’ Penelope Garcia who illustrate happiness in life and love isn’t dependant on your waist size can be important cultural role models that we can use more of. And while I’ve always thought the fashion industry gets too much blame when it comes to body image issues, I also believe there’s no downside in people of all shapes, sizes and colours seeing themselves represented there more often. If fashion is art, then the bodies that wear it are canvases, so why stick to a one-size mentality? Wall art comes in sizes that vary from hand-held to house-sized, so why can’t haute couture?

I definitely recommend adding SheThought to your reading list: there hasn’t been a post yet I haven’t found interesting, and while I have focused here on a feminism-related article, I love that this is a place for women to speak and be heard on topics that aren’t necessarily “women’s issues”. It’s a place for and about women, but it’s not all “about women”. Women think and have opinions about everything from science to politics to comedy, and not all of our online spaces have to be about the experience of being a woman all the time.

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Linkspam: Feminism, Privilege & Menswear Squee

August 25th, 2010

I am officially switching linkspam day from Monday to Tuesday. I hardly have time to eat on Mondays never mind blog, so I’m not sure what I was thinking when I picked that day. So, technically, that means I’m not actually late. *wink*

Feminism & Women
  • Feministe asks why, when asked to cover Reshma Saujani’s New York Congressional campaign, the reporter chose to write, not about issues, but about shoes. This is a long-standing debate about the way things should be and the way things are, and how and when females do or should respond in which way. A female Congressional candidate shouldn’t have to worry about the message her shoes are sending any more than a male Congressional candidate worries about his. The reality, however, is that women in politics will be judged on their appearance and fashion choices in the current cultural climate and have to deal with it and all its maddening mixed messages if they want their opinions heard. Fair is not always synonymous with reality is the point I think Susan Dominus was trying to make in the origina New York Times article, though in a roundabout, meandering sort of way. In the end, the article seemed to be more about the shoes than it was about anything else, which is probably a pretty good example of exactly what we’re talking about here.
  • On Livejournal, Karnythia talks about the challenges of being pretty. Society does privilege attractive people, but as a woman and a person of colour the intersections of misogyny still cause problems, some of which can be exacerbated by being pretty. More opportunity, but also more grabbie hands (and sometimes actual hands, because being female means your body is public property to some people).
  • In news about women being just as bad as men when it comes to sexism, Caster Semenya’s competitors are still flailing about her gender. Outstanding talent and ability in athletes — male and female — should be praised, not vilified. Regardless of whether or not this issue should have ever even been an issue (much less a public one) it has been officially settled. Calling her a “man” at this point is a cheap shot. How can women ever expect men to treat us better if we don’t treat each other better?


  • This post is called The Myth of White Male Geek Rationality but it’s valid reading for everyone. This is about the realities of implicit bias, of unconscious -isms, of invisible discrimination and na├»vety. The tricky thing about -isms is how subconscious they are, how they set into our brains without our knowing it and create rules we don’t consciously know about. Think you’re “colourblind”? Think you don’t treat women differently than men? You’re not and you do. This isn’t something we should feel guilty about, but it is something we must awknowledge in order to change. We are all biased: no one is exempt. Some people are just more aware of our biases than others, and actively try to catch and correct them.


Clothing & Costuming
  • A fantastic primer on menswear, with special emphasis on suit styles and cuts. I cannot begin to express my glee at this. I love menswear, and wish more of my male friends would let me go clothing shopping with them. As much as I didn’t enjoy the cut-through culture of working at Tip Top Tailors years ago, I do miss the deep satisfaction of matching men with just the right suit, shirt and tie. This tutorial may appear to the uninformed to be comprehensive, but menswear lovers will know this is just the tip of the iceberg.
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Linkspam: Feminism, Science & Usability

August 16th, 2010

Even during crazy weeks when I’m up to my eyeballs in work, Fringe shows and social appointments, I still manage to read piles of stuff on the Internet. Here is a sampling of the most interesting things I’ve stumbled upon this week.

Feminism & Women


Science & Technology




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