ve agency

Let’s be honest, Todd’s gonna kiss Dirk long before Dirk even realizes it’s a possibility.

At some point in the not-so-distant future, after Dirk gets away from Blackwing, after all the CIA heat dies down, after they’ve established their detective agency and have a handful of successful albeit terrifying and life-altering cases under their belt, Todd will, without ever really meaning to, kiss Dirk.

Maybe it’ll come in the middle of a case, their latest near-death experience thrumming in his veins. Or maybe it’ll come at the end of a case, after they’ve all gone out for a celebratory drink, Todd loose and relaxed and genuinely happy. Or maybe it’ll happen in between cases, Dirk bleeding unused energy all over Todd’s flat. It might even happen after a pararibulitis attack, Todd’s skin still tingling from where the Rowdy 3 have drained his energy. It’s not the where or when that matters. What does matter is that it’s always, always Todd who initiates it.

And then promptly realizes what he’s done.

And of course Dirk, who adores Todd, who’s probably been half in love with Todd since his future-self introduced him to Todd, needs only half a second to process the turn of events before he is 110% on board. Unfortunately, that’s just enough time for Todd to change his mind.

Because he’s a shitty friend, but he’s an even worse boyfriend and he doesn’t want to mess up what they have. He certainly doesn’t want to run the risk of ruining the first friendship he’s had in years. He doesn’t want to lose Dirk or leave the comfortable bubble they’ve made for themselves even though Dirk’s pretty much the only person he ever thinks about. Certainly Dirk’s the only person he can really see himself spending the rest of his life with.

None of that’s important, though, because Todd’s an asshole and a screw-up and if there’s anything he can fuck up spectacularly, it’s this.

So he makes excuses.

Except, that’s all they are, excuses, and if anyone can see through Todd’s bullshit it’s Dirk, so Dirk makes it his mission to change Todd’s mind, because now that he knows he can have this he sure is hell isn’t going to back down just because Todd’s got cold feet.

Besides, he has a good feeling about this.

And Todd? Todd doesn’t stand a chance. He didn’t stand a chance when Dirk was obliviously happy calling Todd his BFF. What chance does he have now that Dirk knows? Now that Dirk’s decided the universe wants them together. It’s a battle he’s destined to lose. A battle he’s not even sure he wants to wage.

A battle he’s kind of hoping Dirk wins.

Running Man Members Group Chat

Kwang Soo: I can’t believe this

Kwang Soo: This can’t be real right?

Jong Kook: What can’t you believe? I already told you immediately after I found out, I got fired. Don’t worry too much about it- the show will go on just fine without me, plus I have album stuff coming up anyway.

Haha: Hyung, he’s not talking about you

Kwang Soo: I just read a news report that said Ji Hyo Noona’s quitting Running Man. And since they said that you were quitting Running Man too, it’s safe to assume that it’s bullshit and Ji Hyo Noona just got fired off Running Man

Jong Kook: WHAT??

Jong Kook: This can’t be happening- Ji Hyo got fired?

Kwang Soo: Noona, are you there? Why didn’t you tell us what happened??

Ji Hyo: Because I had no idea

Ji Hyo: I just found out from the news

Ji Hyo: I’ve already contacted my agency- they said it’s true

Ji Hyo: I am no longer a member of Running Man

Haha: I… I just can’t believe they’d do this?

Jong Kook: Ji Hyo that’s just terrible. They can’t do that to you

Ji Hyo: Well they just did

Ji Hyo: They did that to you too, oppa.

Jong Kook: It was worse for you

Jong Kook: And completely unfair for you

Jong Kook: It makes no sense to me, Ji Hyo you’re irreplaceable

Ji Hyo: So are you

Ji Hyo: but apparently the show doesn’t think the same

Suk Jin: You’re both irreplaceable

Suk Jin: I’m honestly surprised that I wasn’t fired first

Jong Kook: Hyung don’t you dare think that

Ji Hyo: Yeah, Running Man needs you

Suk Jin: You are always welcome to guest on my radio show

Jae Suk: Hyung don’t use this situation to coerce them to go on your show

Jae Suk: I’ve made some calls. I need to know what the hell is going on

Jong Kook: We got fired. Ji Hyo and I. That’s what’s going on.

Jae Suk: I know that, I’m trying to find a way to stop this madness from happening

Haha: Some people are going to get seriously nagged at

Kwang Soo: LOL

Jong Kook: Hyung you don’t have to do that for us

Ji Hyo: yeah oppa don’t go to all that trouble

Ji Hyo: I don’t want to get you into any hot water

Jae Suk: I don’t care about that

Jae Suk: The show can’t go on without the two of you

Jae Suk: I won’t let it

Suk Jin: I heard that Ho Dong is joining our show?

Jae Suk: I had a long talk with him. He’s decided to decline the offer

Kwang Soo: Hyung if this is really a permanent thing and Jong Kook Hyung and Ji Hyo Noona are really gone from the show…

Kwang Soo: I’m quitting

Haha: I’m quitting too

Jong Kook: No one is quitting

Jong Kook: That’s just stupid

Gary: excuse me?

Gary: who are you calling stupid?

Kwang Soo: Hyung??

Kwang Soo: you’re still in this group??

Gary: yeah

Gary: also Jong Kook Hyung and Ji Hyo, im really sorry this happened to you two

Kwang Soo: hyung why are you still in this group? You haven’t said a thing in here since you quit. I thought you left the group

Gary: nope

Gary: might have wanted to stay in the group just in case any of you talked shit

Haha: im perfectly capable of talking shit in your face hyung

Haha: also I’m wondering if Jong Kook Hyung and Ji Hyo would’ve still gotten fired if you had stayed

Haha: still respect your decision to leave tho

Ji Hyo: Kwang Soo if you quit the show I will personally come over to your house and smack you in the face

Kwang Soo: aww noona and here I was starting to miss you

Ji Hyo: Noona will be fine. You don’t have to worry about me. I’ll get more time to do dramas and I have that new show with JTBC

Suk Jin: Can I come on your show

Haha: I expect an invite too

Jong Kook: Can I cohost

Ji Hyo: …I’ll see what I can do

Kwang Soo: But Noona, Running Man won’t be the same without you! And Jong Kook Hyung

Kwang Soo: Plus I can focus on my acting career too! Like Joong Ki

Jae Suk: Kwang Soo for your sake I suggest you stay put

Kwang Soo: You’re all terrible. Noona I want to guest on your new make up show too

Ji Hyo: you’re not allowed on my show

Kwang Soo: what?? So the others get to show up but I can’t?

Ji Hyo: yes

(Gary has left the group)

(Gary has been added back into the group)

Gary: what the hell

Kwang Soo: you’re not allowed to leave anymore

Gary: I’m composing! The notifications are distracting!

Kwang Soo: too bad

Kwang Soo: maybe the buzz of your phone will inspire you

The Saints Row protagonist is a legitimately great character

A few years back, I wrote an article arguing that the concept of a videogame protagonist is a tricky storytelling challenge, since there’s an inherent conflict between the player’s own actions and what a writer might demand of a character. I used the now-classic example of Adam Jensen in Deus Ex: Human Revolution, who is largely an audience surrogate but will occasionally do something moronic in a cutscene and thus force the player to clean up his mess once they’ve regained control of him. This is still a problem I see a lot of games suffer with whenever they try to tell a decent story, but nobody was more surprised than me when I started playing through the Saints Row series and discovered that it might have one of the best compromises between characterisation and player agency I’ve ever seen in all my years of unhealthily obsessive gaming.

The boss of the Third Street Saints is a character with no canonically determined gender, sexuality, race or even voice. But their dialogue and general manner paints quite a vivid picture of a witty, confident and frequently psychotic individual. Their story is of a no-name street thug who rises through the ranks and ultimately seizes the presidency of the United States before having to fend off an alien invasion. But through it all they maintain a jovial, potentially amorous relationship with their lieutenants and display such enthusiasm towards violence and domination that it’s believable they’d insist on continuing to help out with the ground-level crime even once they’ve built the Saints up to the point that they command a fleet of laser-equipped VTOLs. In short, they’re a completely irredeemable bastard who still manages to be relatable because of their charisma and the fact that their behaviour lines up perfectly with how most players tend to react when dropped into a sandbox full of flamethrowers and dildo bats.

I think Saints Row as a franchise is deceptively clever in its design beneath all the manure-spraying and pop culture references, and how the protagonist is used throughout the overarching story is pretty damn unique. Most truly memorable game characters tend to be the people you meet as you steer your generic avatar around like Sheldon Cooper’s virtual presence device, whereas Saints Row is as much of a character piece about the Saints Boss as anything else. Saints Row 2 in particular managed some good tonal variety and established a level of customisation and open-ended design that ended up making me weirdly invested in the expansion of my criminal empire. Whether by intention or by accident, Volition hit some kind of magical sweet spot that gave players great freedom in how they expressed themselves while still presenting a memorable and almost worryingly relatable main character.

So am I saying that every game should embrace Saints Row’s very specific brand of protagonist? Absolutely not. But think of how many games settle for a bland, personality-free protagonist seemingly because the creators assume the audience won’t care, when giving players a character they can become attached to in their own way can help cultivate the sort of devoted following Saints Row has enjoyed. If I was feeling hyperbolic, I might even say that Saints Row is the RoboCop of videogames: an intelligent work of fiction that’s not afraid to revel in explosions and dick jokes.

And if you enjoyed this post, I have many other similarly fabulous game articles you might find pleasurable.

Not another list of au’s!
  • “I deliver hickory farms gift baskets for a living and I’ve delivered one to your door everyday for the past week. What the fuck are you doing with all that meat and cheese??? How can you afford this every basket is at least a hundred dollars??” au
  • “you’re weirdly attached to the decrepit tree house in the back yard of your old house, so when a destruction crew comes to tear it down it wasn’t really surprising to hear that you staked out inside it so they couldn’t. But you’re hot and I’ve sorta grown attached to this old wood pile too, considering I live here now. Care if I join you in your protest?” au
  • “you work for this sales agency i’ve managed to dodge for the past few years, but you must be new because all the other people who’ve called haven’t been nearly as hellbent on selling me shit as you are. now i’m intrigued and your voice is kinda really hot so do you wanna maybe have a private phone call after I buy whatever the fuck it is your selling?“ au
  • “you’re my best friend’s roommate and anytime your name is mentioned they moon over the sunshine that apparently shines out of your ass. i kinda hate you for it, even though ive never met you. my best friend is convinced we’ll get along but I don’t buy it for a second” au 
  • “i’ve had this ridiculous crush on you for a while so i let you talk me into being the prompter for the up and coming play our university is putting on but now I’m really regretting it??? you didn’t tell me it was going to be as raunchy and scandalous as it is?? I know the director is trying to push the boundaries, but this dialogue is oBSCENE??? GOD DAMMIT I KNOW YOU KNOW YOUR LINES STOP FORGETTING THEM ON PURPOSE JUST SO YOU CAN SEE ME BLUSH AND HEAR ME TELL YOU ALL THE NAUGHTY THINGS YOU’RE MEANT TO SAY” au
  • “ive been in love with you for years but was too scared to do anything about it. now the whole goddamn world has gone to shit and everyone I know is dying and i’ll never get to tell you because you’re probably dead too. except shit you just showed up out of no where and saved me from becoming zombie chow and you’re covered in blood and dirt and your clothes are ripped and fuck it if I don’t love you even more now” au 
  • “you’re an author of children books and my kid is in love with everything you’ve written so when you come into town for a reading I thought it’d be fun to take my kid to hear you. only you are not at all what I expected and for a moment i’m worried that we’re not at the right place, but then you start reading with animated eyes and an engagingly kind voice and aha, ha ha oh no. I’m so fucked” au
  • “we’ve been dance rivals for years but when your studio burns down you and the rest of your snobby gang have no choice but to join ours. We might share the same floor now, but there’s no way in hell this rivalry is over” au
  • “i may look harmless but i’m hosting thanksgiving this year and I have a house full of hungry guests and no turkey so you better believe I’ll punch you in the fucking throat if you try to take the last one” au 
  • “i work at the daycare center at the grocery store and the highlight of my day is always when you come to drop off your adorable daughter” au
  • “i don’t know you, you don’t know me, but they’re giving a thousand bucks to the couple that can hold hands the longest. What do you say?” au

Let me just point out the beauty and elegance of these lines:

Sherlock (to disguised Mary): “You have an impish sense of humour which currently you are deploying to ease a degree of personal anguish. You have recently married a man of a seemingly kindly disposition who has now abandoned you for an unsavoury companion of dubious morals. You’ve come to this agency as a last resort in the hope that reconciliation may still be possible.”

Pretty precise and accurate depiction of Mary, don’t you think? However, first-time viewer does not know that the person hiding behind a black veil is John’s wife. First-time viewer naturaly presumes that the “unsavoury companion” is another woman, black woman’s replacement, another romantic interest. Otherwise, why would husband have to abandon her in order to be with said companion? Abandonment is a strong statement: it suggests that one has to make a decision to leave one in favour of another. 

To a second-time viewer, however, it is clear that the “unsavoury companion” is in fact Sherlock. Presumably, Sherlock and John serve different roles in John’s life - Mary is John’s wife and Sherlock is his best friend. There is no need for competition because they need different kinds of John in their life, right?

We all know that is, in fact, wrong. Sherlock and Mary are, in every sense of the word, rivals. They are in a competition to claim the same position in John’s life - the position of his romantic life partner. Sherlock and Mary cannot share John and ultimately, he is the one who has to make a decision and abandon one in favour of another.

If you don’t believe me, just look at this gorgeously suggestive framing. 

John in one frame, Sherlock and Mary in another. Remember, nothing is accidental and everything is deliberate. John has his own frame: he is the one who remains no matter what because he is the one who makes a final choice. Sherlock and Mary, on the other hand, are awkwardly squeezed together, battling for the same position, for the same frame. Ultimately, one of them will have to be removed from the picture, and we all know who that person will be.

farewell, 2015!

Here are nine times that women spoke up, spoke out, and challenged our deeply held biases. They’ve showed us what happens when talented individuals are given the opportunity to shine. They’ve come out against slut-shaming, islamophobia, and harmful gender binaries and come out in favor of intersectional feminism. They’ve asserted their agency and owned their sexuality.  More than anything, in 2015, we were inspired by the many women who called out systems they think are unfair, and asked us to change our thinking. 

Here’s to 2016, may more women continue to find their voices and speak up against the biases that hold women back.

It’s 2015 and I still think the clone inhibitor chip was a bad idea.

The fact that it’s supposed to make clones less independent and more loyal? Got it. Tracking. I can get behind that. The fact that it sort of overrode all brain power and made them compliant zombies for Order 66? Stupid.

They could’ve said that, under direct order, clones knowingly gunned down their own Jedi generals and I would have no problem believing it.

Look who gave the order. The Supreme Chancellor of the Galactic Republic personally contacted clone commanders. That’s like if the President of the United States personally called me and told me that my general was now a traitor to the country. Why would I have reason to doubt the President? He gets intel briefs from echelons and agencies I’ve probably never even heard of. And here he is telling me that my general is compromised. It doesn’t matter if I’m on good terms with the general; once that information is made known, it now colors all my opinions and assumptions.

Not everyone knows the general. It’s great to see how well Torrent Company gets along with Anakin. The 212th with Obi-Wan. The Wolfpack with Plo. In all my years in the service, outside of formal ceremonies where you see the brass from a distance, I’ve yet to meet my general face to face. I’ve yet to actually talk to him. 99% of clones (millions of clones, thousands of Jedi) are NOT going to interact with someone as high ranking as the general. They’re not going to form the bond that the clone commanders had with their superiors. They’re not going to have experiences that would possibly make them question an order from the Supreme Chancellor, and are more prone to follow a command from someone who is considered to outrank even the Jedi.

Contingency plans for worst-case scenarios exist. “If this were to happen, no matter how unlikely, we’ll respond like this.” On the surface, Order 66 appears to be a sensible precaution. It gives clones, bred to be unwaveringly loyal, the ability to remove their general from power if that general becomes compromised. And while you look at Jedi like Obi-Wan and Mace Windu and think, “How would clones ever believe these guys could be bad?” I look at a Jedi like Pong Krell and think, “Order 66 this loser now.”

Their duty is to the Republic, not their general. Solidarity is great, but if your leadership is now believed to be helping the enemy– in any capacity– your friendship is worthless anymore. Order 66 implies their Jedi already betrayed them by working against the interests of the Republic. Betraying the Republic is treason. Treason during warfare is punishable by death. (Civilian mindset: That’s too harsh a punishment! Military mindset: No, it’s not.)

The brain chip strikes me as lazy storytelling from people who don’t grasp the military mindset. It’s the “Greedo shot first” way out of a situation: to make clones look like the victims of the evil Palpatine instead of the aggressors. And while it could be argued that the brain chip fully takes away their ability to make decisions, basically turning them into obedient droids and further violating their humanity (adding to the long list of injustices the clones suffered because the Kaminoans saw them as less-than-sentient), it comes across as a cop-out. “The clones aren’t bad. They were taken advantage of! Palpatine’s the only bad one here.”

Without the brain chip, you’re left with: men who were given a direct order from the highest echelon to legally implement a contingency plan they’d had all along to eradicate a superior that was now seen as a willful traitor.

Tell me that clones knowingly, intelligently and voluntarily executed Order 66 against their Jedi leadership, and I’d believe it.

7

I’ve told you my stories for years now,some have been about coming of age,some have been about coming undone. This is a story about coming in into your own and as a result… coming alive - taylorswift

Clarification: Scotch and Bourbon didn’t work for the same agency!

I’ve seen a bit of confusion over this recently; Bourbon’s agency has never been clearly been stated before, so everybody just assumed he and Scotch worked for the same agency, but that is not the case!

As stated by Bourbon in File 938, Scotch was a member of the Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department Public Security Bureau (警視庁公安部 Keishichō-kōanbu), as division of the Tokyo MPD; police officers like Megure, Takagi and Sato also work for the MPD, but in the Criminal Investigation Bureau.

安室の所属は、「警察庁警備局警備企画課」だよ!
Amuro belongs to the National Police Agency (警察庁 Keisatsu-chō), Security Bureau (警備局 Keibi-kyoku), Security Planning Division (警備企画課 Keibi Kikaku-ka)!

This recent postcard by Gosho revealed what Bourbon works for: a division of the National Police Agency, which governs the police in all of Japan in general. The Security Bureau in particular is responsible for supervising and executing Japanese national security policies, which is probably how Bourbon came in contact with Scotch and his undercover operation.

right i’ve been thinking about the bubblehead charm in harry potter and it seems to provide a constant supply of fresh oxygen no matter how long you’re underwater (?) and also able to withstand heavy pressure, e.g. deep in a very large very cold lake. so what i want to know is where are the wizards strengthening and adapting this apparently simple charm (if a 17 year old can efficiently cast it) and joining the space race? where is my wizarding space agency? they’ve nailed teleportation already so interstellar travel can’t be far off. wizarding nasa. special wizarding universities that merge muggle astrophysics with advanced space travel charms. WIZARDS IN SPACE.

“companion”

Further to @cat-on-court’s excellent post about this line from TAB:

Sherlock (to disguised Mary): “You have an impish sense of humour which currently you are deploying to ease a degree of personal anguish. You have recently married a man of a seemingly kindly disposition who has now abandoned you for an unsavoury companion of dubious morals. You’ve come to this agency as a last resort in the hope that reconciliation may still be possible.

Companion. COMPANION. This word has been used before. Specifically, two times, applied to two different people associated with John Watson, in TBB:

She’s talking to John, and talking about Sherlock (while under the impression that John is Sherlock). 

And the other “companion” in this scene?

Yup, it’s Sarah!

John has two companions–one is “pretty.” The other is, well

He’s quite pretty, too.

The rich text of the entire series has become so much richer, thanks to TAB. “Companion” has always had a bidirectional meaning. CONFIRMED! 

I thought that’s all I wanted to say, but bonus symbolic / ridiculously Freudian side note, could they have made the crossbow machine thinger look any more like a vagina?

A death vagina. A vagina of death that is deadly because it houses a (not phallic at all) ENORMOUS bolt / arrow / spear. 

AMAZINGLY, it’s John Watson, John “I’m not gay!” Watson, John “wtf how can I help I’m tied to a chair” Watson,

who awkwardly shimmies

falls to the ground and squirms on his side, laboriously, 

all so he can deflect the vaginal death machine so the spear doesn’t hit Sarah (“it” doesn’t “hit” Sarah), simultaneously saving Sherlock. It hits Zhi Zhu, a dude, instead? 

Dying = sexing, etc., etc. This is also the same dude who, as others have pointed out, literally twirled and fell down into a heart earlier in the episode:

I have no more words. Just, this is amazing, 

I think immediately we’re going to see Iris have a new sense of agency. We’ve begun shooting…and already I find myself often in S.T.A.R. Labs, so I thin it’s very safe to say that Iris is going to be a part of The Flash team in some aspect which I think is really cool. She’s very smart and very intelligent and has her own way of adding to the team. I always say that Cisco and Caitlin are the tech and the science behind what’s happening at S.T.A.R. Labs and Iris is more of heart and Earth. She can navigate Central City and talk to people in the streets and really get stories out of people that, you know, maybe other people can’t get. It’s going to be interesting to see how she uses her knowledge on the streets to help Team Flash.
—  Candice Patton on Iris West joining Team Flash