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So a few months ago, I restarted my Steam account because I heard they had FFVII on sale there. Since then, I've been exploring their library of games and I've been really happy that they have some oldschool games that I thought I wouldn't be able to play anymore. During their Winter sale, I saw they had the Tomb Raider bundle available and it included ALL the current Tomb Raider titles- including the 2013 reboot. Now Lara Croft is one of my favorite gaming characters of all time and so when I saw they had the bundle AND it was on sale, I bought it. Since then, I've been replaying all the Tomb Raider games I once played as well as playing the titles I haven't tried and it's been bringing back all sorts of memories. The game play is really fun and I really like the character of Lara while realizing that she's also problematic.

Her original character design is clearly meant to be an adolescent boy's fantasy. She has a highly unrealistic hip-waist-bust ratio and I'm fairly certain the skin-tight clothing she wears offers minimal protection in the environments that she's adventuring in. And who goes tomb raiding with lipstick? Hey, she may have forgotten a map and water- but at least she has lipstick!

But the things I like about Lara far exceed the problems I have with her. She's not like the Token Female Character who's a sidekick to a male protagonist- she's the star! And in the original game, she didn't have any male sidekicks- she did all the research and adventuring herself. When you visit her home, you get the sense that she lives alone and there isn't a Mr. Croft or that she even has a boyfriend. This could've been a deliberate choice by the designers to make her more appealing to male gamers because maybe then they could imagine being her boyfriend (or something) or maybe it's a little easier to accept a single woman doing all this dangerous stuff than a woman in a relationship, but as a woman who played the original, it did feel good that she wasn't penalized for choosing to be single. In the opening cinematic, you even get the sense that she has no interest in a relationship as she rebuffs the flirtations of a gentleman. And in other Tomb Raider games, I never got the sense that she regretted not being in a relationship. She was a completely self-reliant and independent woman. However, this could be a fact that the Tomb Raider games were about the plot and not about any deep character studies on Lara or her life outside of adventuring, aside from her family.

The other thing I like about Lara is she's intelligent and smart. I always got the sense that she is very educated, knows a lot about history, art, civilization, and can speak and understand several languages. I think you'd have to be if you wanted to be an archeologist and explorer, but it showed that it's ok for girls to be smart.

So I like to look at the positive side of things. I'm glad to see in recent Tomb Raider games, they have made her body proportions more realistic, though she is still conventionally attractive. I'm somehow not able to play the 2013 Tomb Raider because my computer isn't powerful enough to process the graphics, but I've heard they took the character of Lara in a new direction. It's suppose to be her first adventure so she's younger and not as confident and self-assured as past Tomb Raiders which makes sense.

So yes, that's why Lara Croft is one of my favorite characters :). Also, the gameplay is just really fun!
So I like to watch this one internet reviewer who looks at arthouse films. I saw his review about "A Serbian Film" and decided to Google it to find out more about the plot and about the internet reaction to the movie. Ahh, I don't think I'll be watching this film. It sounds... gross, to put it mildly. Read the Wikipedia entry for more information. And please dear GOD tell me all the sex and violence was simulated.

Related to "A Serbian Film" that popped up on Google was the movie "The Human Centipede." I'd heard of it and since I knew it was a horror movie, I have never seen it. Well, I clicked on links for that movie to find out more about the plot. It sounds more watchable than "A Serbian Film," but the premise does not sound enjoyable. Once again, probably won't be seeing it.

Anyone, looking up all these horror movies has made me feeling a little ill in the stomach. And somewhere, my curiosity is pointing and laughing at me...

About clothes

Would anyone like to get dressed up in fancy clothes and go to a nice restaurant? Or maybe just hang out in fancy clothes? We wouldn't even need to do anything fancy; I just need an excuse to wear more fancy dresses.

Last week, I found a fashion find that I must brag about. Around Prom time, JC Penny started carrying a dress label called Pearl designed by Georgina Chapman, one of ladies behind the designer duo of Marchesa. These dresses were GORGEOUS. They had ruffles, embroidered lace, lace overlays, and fishtail skirts. Clearly, they were meant for prom but I would've been happy to buy one just to wear to the next fancy ball I might happen to go to. However, these dresses were also about a $100+. The most expensive was $180. So, I didn't buy one at the time.

Last week, I decided to pop into a JC Penny because they carry Betseyville and I wanted to see if any of the jewelry was on clearance. Imagine my delight when I found those Pearl/Georgina dresses on clearance! And reduced to just $20! I bought 4 of them AND used a coupon that took $15 off a purchase of $75 or more. And in my size! Well, almost. One dress is a tad too big, but I'd rather have something fit just a little too big than too small.

I was putting them away in my closet today and I just kept admiring all the lovely details. But now I have to problem of too many dresses (as if that's possible). And like, fancy dresses. I need excuses to wear them! I'm so happy Dietrich likes to dress up sometimes AND that he likes going to Lolita meetups AND that he's WILLING to dress up for Lolita meetups ^_^.

I guess I have had clothes on the mind a lot recently. Today, my order of officially licensed BSG double tank tops arrived! I'm SOOOO excited! They are screen accurate and sourced from the same manufacture that made the tank tops for the TV show :D. Also, I recently organized a Bodyline group order.

Feminism and fantasy fiction

So I'm halfway through season 3 of Game of Thrones (and I'll try not to give away too many spoilers) and while I'm really enjoying it (and OHMYGOD WHAT'S GOING TO HAPPEN?!) one thing that has always annoyed me about the show is the treatment of women.

Now my annoyances are not limited to Game of Thrones but perhaps to the genre of fantasy fiction in general. I'll try to explain my analysis comparing fantasy to science fiction. High fantasy fiction is very past oriented and science fiction is very future oriented... for obvious reasons. I suppose in the distant past of human history especially during Medieval European times, we feel that was a time of heroes, battles on horseback fought with swords, and before science was a thing so certain things seemed like magic- perfect fodder for a high fantasy setting. It's also been in the past that women were treated as objects and possessions and things to be married off to make alliances and bare heirs- another thing that has found its way into high fantasy fiction. However the thing that I've been thinking about lately is why is this sexist treatment of women the way fantasy fiction is? I used to read A LOT of high fantasy novels and series and women warriors, sailors, and the like were also anomalies in the fantasy worlds. When I think about it, I don't think I've ever read a work of high fantasy in which there was a woman in a very actiony role that wasn't commented upon. This is FANTASY- this is a made up realm with dragons, dwarves, elves, talking animals, and magic so WHY are gender roles still the same as in Reality? Or at least in the past. I mean fantasy is suppose to be very imaginative and creative- no one has ever thought to make a world in which men and women are equals and men can be caretakers and there are women soldiers running around? Or how about a place where men are the 2nd class gender to women? Or maybe a world where there are intersexed characters alongside men and women? Maybe make dragons intersexed?

The one thing that makes me appreciate science fiction a little more nowadays than fantasy is how (for the most part) women can have the same roles as men (though it would be nice to see a man do something that would normally be done by a woman, like a babysitter). Science fiction seems to be more open to the notion of women taking on more active roles, probably because in the future, it's suppose to be a more-enlightened time so who cares what gender you are as long as you can do the job? Now, if we could all be comfortable with the idea of men being in caretaker roles and then I'll be happy, but one thing at a time.

So yeah, I don't really like how the women in Game of Thrones just don't say "no, I don't want to marry [X]" or "I will not be your political pawn because I have my own goals I want to accomplish." Albeit, this would change the dynamic of GoT very much and I shouldn't blame the show because it's based upon books and maybe I shouldn't even blame George R.R. Martin because he's probably just following in the footsteps of fantasy works before him that make up the Canon of High Fantasy Literature. Well, maybe I can blame him because he could have broken the mold in this respect but he didn't. Or maybe I should just write my own fantasy novel :P. And if anyone has fantasy series recommendations that break this mold, please tell me about them. This is just my experience with fantasy literature.

More about Panama

So it's been almost 2 weeks since I got back from my trip and I wanted to write a little more about it.

The places we went to were Panama City and three different resorts in three different parts of the country. The first was Playa Blanco, Playa Tortuga, and Hotel Escondido.

The place we stayed at in Panama City was a house and it was the 2nd home of my cousin-in-law's uncle's house. His family has a very successful import and export business and have a lot of money that are invested in multiple homes and properties. Anyway his uncle was kind enough to let everyone stay at his secondary residence. The area used to be part of a US airbase and was maybe a kilometer or 2 from an airstrip. During the day, we could actually hear jets taking off. There was also a Merchant Marine base nearby as well as some other fancy-looking martial bases in the area. Apparently because of the house' proximity to an airbase, it could (theoretically) survive a missile attack. It was a three-story house with air-conditioning in all the rooms (thank God!) and it had a 2nd story balcony with 2 hammocks!

Playa Blanco (meaning white beach) was about 1.5 hours from Panama City and it was a very nice resort. They have two very large cages with a pair of toucans in one and 4 macaws in the other! Needless to say, I visited the birds everyday. The food was alright but the beach was beautiful. What was really great was that I got a room all to myself with a king-size bed! And then it was really great to wake up in the morning to sound of birds singing, and I don't mean just a few birds, I mean like several flocks of birds singing and chirping in the tress!

Playa Tortuga (meaning beach of turtles. Apparently during mating season, the resort is located on a popular beach for sea turtles to lay their eggs on. It was not egg-season when we were there.) This was located way in the northeast corner of Panama and we had to travel for 10 hours to get there and take a boat trip to get out to the island. The area we were in was called Bocas del Torro (because the island looks like a bull's head) and this part of Panama faced out to the Caribbean Ocean. It was beautiful! We went dolphin watching! Bad part is I got sick while here >_<. And most random encounter! I met a Rastafarian! I was going back to the room to take a much-needed nap when I passed a room in which a black man with dreadlocks was coming out of. He said 'hola' to me and I said 'hello' back and then he said "oh! you speak English," and this is what started our conversation. He was a nice guy and we just talked about why we were there (he was apparently doing some research on Marcus Garvey). I asked where he was from and he said he's from Panama from Bocas del Torro, but he lived a few years in the US (and where he learned to speak English) but he also lived a few years in Taiwan. We also spoke about China and it's economic rise (he was very impressed that I knew how many people have been raised out of poverty lol). It was just such a random encounter and he was so chill like how people might imagine a Rastafarian to be (or at least me). He also said he did not smoke marijuana (we got on that topic because I mentioned I was from Oregon and he was like "that's close to Washington. I don't smoke, but I heard they legalized marijuana"). So just lettin' people know, not all Rastafarians smoke :P. My cousins saw me talking to him and later on they checked up on me asking who that was and if I was alright and I had to assure them we started talking because we both spoke English.

I think I'm definitely the most approachable one in my immediate family because no way would my parents ever talk to this guy.

Anyway, by far my most favorite place was Hotel Escondido in Boquete, a lovely town in the highlands of Panama. The resort was so lush and pretty with a stream running through it! The landscape architecture was so pretty with curving paths throughout so wandering through the resort felt kind of like an adventure. This was also my favorite place because we visited a coffee plantation and I learned a lot about coffee and a little about local politics.

A lot of US retirees have recently discovered Boquete and are buying up homes and building gated communities in the area because the climate there is very nice and the fact that Panama uses US currency also probably helps. The standard of living is also not as good in the US so things are a little cheaper- BUT the cost is going up because of all the rich retirees buying homes and vacation homes in the area. This has created some conflict with the locals because land and property values are going up so much that some locals can't even afford to live there anymore. Every year, Panama is producing less coffee because the land value is worth more than growing coffee so coffee growers are selling their land, which causes a dip in the local economy. Indicative of this is I Googled "boquete" to make sure I would spell it right and about the 5th hit down was information on buying a house in Boquete. Some of the search suggestions that came up were "boquete real estate" and "boquete rentals." I feel really bad for the local people that have to deal with all these rich people flocking to their town and developers buying up all the coffee lands, but it's a complex situation. Perhaps the bubble will burst and the gated communities will revert back to coffee plantations.

SO ABOUT COFFEE. The plantation we visited is part of Cafe Ruiz, a Panamanian coffee company run by senor Ruiz and his family. Our tour guide said that Mr. Ruiz and his family do not ever want to sell their land. Mr. Ruiz is 91 years old and yet he still visits his plantations everyday and walks the fields. He also drinks his own coffee (lol). And what's even more adorable, his house is right across the parking lot from his packaging facility and coffee shop ^_^. I saw Mr. Ruiz when he was outside and I took a picture. He does not look 91! It also sounds like it's a fair trade company and the tour guide was also a plantation worker and he sounded like he had a lot of pride in the quality of coffee that Cafe Ruiz makes. They do sell internationally and it's sold at Stumptown! This is where I need to insert a macro image because I don't always drink coffee, but when I do, it's Cafe Ruiz. I just got the feeling that it was a very smartly run company that cares about it's workers, make a very good product, and care about the environment. The tour guide said they have a lot biodiversity on the plantations and select fruit trees that encourage birds and insects so they'll come and pollinate the plantation.

And yes, I did get to taste some coffee. Apparently, you're not suppose to drink coffee with cream and sugar. The tour guide said, if you have to add cream and sugar, it's a sign you don't like the taste and you're drinking bad coffee. Also, more bitter the coffee does not mean it's stronger- it's just bitter coffee. Also, Starbucks is a coffee company for people that don't like coffee (lol). There are also several ways to make coffee. Instant coffee is also made from the bad beans. It's also best to buy the roasted beans so you can see what you're getting and store them in the freezer when you're not going to grind and drink them. It takes about 600 pounds of raw, unprocessed beans to make 1 pound of roasted beans. Taste of the coffee can also differ. I thought all coffee tasted the same- BOY WAS I WRONG. Some hits your tongue and you can immediately taste the acidity but it's smooth going down, some are smooth at first but a little citrisy going down, and some are even a little sweet and floral. A coffee tasting is also a lot like a wine tasting. It was just so very interesting and I really hope Panama continues to produce coffee even if Cafe Ruiz is the last Panamanian coffee producer. And for my coffee drinking friends, I would encourage you guys to seek out Cafe Ruiz coffee and support an environmentally-conscience and fair-trade company. I will admit, it is expensive and definitely a premium and gourmet coffee, but it's really good.

Last goodbyes to DS9

I finished DS9 today! I watched the whole 9-part series finale in one giant marathon and it was a satisfying ending. I do have some nit-picky things though.

I kind of wish Dukat was given a better ending. He was the series main villain and his ending felt like an afterthought. Like the writers were like "oh yeah. We have to tie-up Dukat's loose ends so what do we do with him?" However, he's still my 3rd favorite character.

Garak's ending could have been a little more cheery. It's sort of hinted that he helps to rebuild Cardassia, but he's also all sad about the Dominion destroying his planet. Why can't he concentrate on the good parts like this'll give the Cardassians a chance to rebuild their civilization but not one focused on conquest and military might, but on peace and friendship. Also art. As Garak says, their music, literature, and art were once second to none. They could become a society of artists, writers, and musicians again.

I feel like Quark didn't really make any progress. He ends up pretty much where he began. Then again, the only stated goals he ever had in the show was to make more profit. It is mentioned a few times how he's the DS9 Commerce Chairman (or something that represents all the other shopkeepers on DS9)- I wish they would have explored that a little more. That could've been his goal on the station and that's what he could've become at the end. Or maybe the Bajorans would see what a changed and charitable Ferengi he's become and the Bajoran government could've asked him to come to Bajor to help in their economic development. And then Rom could've taken over the bar which would have also payed off Rom's character because that's all he ever wanted anyway (though becoming Grand Nagus was also pretty cool).

I also wish Bajor would have taken over more of the station operations at the end. It always felt like the Federation was the parent to the helpless, baby Bajoran people. It's like on out planet, when a government is overthrown, theirs international aid and help but after a while, the people start to stand on their own. I guess that's one think I don't like about the Federation is their smug superiority in their belief that their way is the right way (that's how I know Star Trek is an American show), At the beginning, it made sense because the Cardassians just pulled out and the situation on Bajor was very tenuous. But after a couple years, I would think the Bajorans would kindly ask the Federation to give them more independence. Then once the Bajorans were more self-sufficient, they would join the Federation.

Some good points about the ending is I think they tied up most of the primary characters pretty well. It's nice to see Julian finally end up with someone (even though it's not Garak :P) and is also good payoff for Dax, it's good to see Miles move on to bigger and better things, Worf becomes Ambassador, Kira's in charge of the station (so maybe the Bajorans are standing on their own two feet slowly), Odo returns to his people to help rebuild them, Nog is a Lieutenant, and Jake... ok, I kinda forgot about Jake. What DOES he do now? Maybe he goes back to Earth and goes to that school he was accepted into. Maybe him and Cassidy both move back to Earth and he helps take care of his new half-sibling. So I guess there's another character that I wasn't too happy with how they tied up his story.

I also saw so many of Ronald D. Moore's proto-seeds of BSG in DS9, especially in the last 2 seasons. For example, the Vorta are clones and when one clone dies, another is reactivated- like Cylons. Characters are faced with questions of moral ambiguity and "the ends justifying the means" like in BSG. Religion and prophecy play a big part in the events of both shows. There are also some episodes of DS9 that are as dark as BSG, but that didn't happen too often (because there isn't a whole lot of darkness in the Star Trek universe). I just couldn't help but see certain themes come back again in BSG.

So overall, I enjoyed DS9 :).

I'll be sad when it's over

I'm now halfway through season 6 of DS9, which means only a few episodes and 1 season left of DS9. I look forward to how it all comes together, but I'll also be sad when it's over. But a few complaints about season 6- why aren't there more Odo and Garak episodes?!

As far as Odo goes, he's in the beginning of the season but after Sisko chases the Dominion out, you don't hear or see him again. I feel Kira and Odo never got an episode (or even a B-story plot) about how they made-up and are friends again. The writers tried to address that in the episode about Jadzia and Worf's wedding, but I wish they would've replaced "You Are Cordially Invited" with a plot about how Odo and Kira feel about each other. I frankly would have found that more interesting than Jadzia and Worf getting married because even before I ever saw the episode, I knew what was going to happen because it was so cliche. Engaged couple invite friends and family to wedding, conflict arises because of friends/family/cultural differences, wedding is called off, daddy-figure smooths things over, and couple gets married in the end. It happened in Downton Abbey and it happened on DS9.

I would have loved to have a camera in Dax's bathroom (or was it her closet?) when Kira and Odo were talking. I can only speculate what they must've said to each other. I know that scene was written in to give some closer to Kira/Odo after the occupation, but it was such a cop-out. Odo nearly went over to the Dominion and was responsible for almost getting a friend executed and Kira who's now aware of Odo's feelings for her is feeling very conflicted and angry at Odo and after avoiding each other and being all awkward around each other, they FINALLY agree to talk (at Dax's party of all places) and the show ISN'T going to let us in on their conversation?! The audience has been waiting SO LONG for them to get together and after Odo finally realizing what a giant fucktard he was in being more interested in The Link than fighting the Dominion, a conversation with Kira would have been great payoff for that whole plot point. It could have left their relationship the same, maybe it would have opened up new territory for them but I think their relationship was due an on-camera conversation. I mean, what could they have been talking about ALL NIGHT and even into morning. Worf/Jadzia aren't interesting to me- Kira/Odo are.

And SINCE the occupation, there hasn't BEEN an Odo-centered episode. He's just been sidelined it feels like in season 6. The lack of Garak I can understand because he is a secondary character, but Odo IS one of the main cast members- DO SOMETHING WITH HIM. Have an episode where he investigates something, have an episode where he longs to return to his people, have him and Quark go at it with one another just... anything. He can't just be sitting around in the security office or quarters all day. He has to be having feelings of conflict about the occupation. Or maybe, instead of the episode when O'Brien infiltrates the Orion Syndicate, Odo could have infiltrated the Dominion to get important  intelligence information.

While I do mourn for the lack of Garak and Odo appearances, why don't Garak and Bashir have lunch anymore? They haven't been seen eating on screen I think since several seasons ago. Why don't we see more of Garak mourning the death of Ziyal? She loved him and it's unclear how he felt about her, but she was the only other Cardassian on the station. They were very similar in a lot of ways and now she's gone- how does Garak feel about this?

*sigh* I'm getting frustrated at the show. That's one thing I don't like about DS9- how inconsistent it can be sometimes. They bring up some very interesting plot points sometimes but then they're left unexplored or unmentioned again. While I hate comparing two shows, but this is one reason why I love BSG- they leave NOTHING unexplored. BSG however was much more character-driven than DS9 (a much more plot and story-driven show) so the writers of BSG always looked for what served the character best whereas I think DS9 looks for what serves the plot best and if you have to lose some character along the way, so be it- and both ways are fine ways of telling a story.

Some DS9 love

I've made a few posts about the things that bother me about Star Trek and DS9. I feel I should balance the hate with a little love because I'm now onto season 3 and there are things I like about the show.

First off, I watch it for the characters. My favorite is Garak because he's the most interesting to me. The least is known about him and you never quite know where his loyalties lie and I find that very compelling. I want to know more about him so I like episodes that have him in it.

Second favorite is Odo. I find his grumpiness, constant brooding, stiffness, and awkwardness to be kind of endearing. I also find something very cute about him and his bucket :).

Third favorite is actually Gul Dukat. The episode in which I really liked him was "Civil Defense," where the DS9 crew accidentally activated an anti-insurgency program and then Dukat goes to the station. When a phaser thingy is shooting all around Operations and the crew is ducking for cover, Dukat just calmly walks around and is like "oh, I see you're in trouble and the station might blow up... and I seem to be the only one that can help. I guess I'll help you." He even replicates a cup of tea! I just think that was so funny and yet so deviously cute. Also, is it weird I find him strangely attractive? Something about the prominent brow ridge and jaw line. And not Marc Alaimo, but Gul Dukat.

I'm also noticing a tonal shift in season 3. I attribute that to Ronald D. Moore (yay!) becoming Supervising Producer (whatever that means) for DS9 and I'm not sure if I like it or not, but definitely a shift.

Another thing I like about Star Trek is how you don't need to commit a lot of attention to it but you can still know what's going on. I've been working on a cross-stitching project which watching it and sometimes, my attention will drift, but when I get back to the episode, I still know what's going on. Not so say it's boring or that nothing happens, but it's paced in such a way that things are easy to follow. Now I don't know if I want to stay up and watch some DS9 or go to bed. I don't really have anything to do tomorrow...

More nerd-raging

I'm about 2/3 of the way done with DS9 season 2 and one more thing that I forgot to mention in my list of grievances with Star Trek: how heterosexual the show is. Everyone is assumed straight but I find that a little hard to believe when in the Star Trek universe, it's suppose to be a wide a varied galaxy but there aren't at least a few people that are homosexual? That's the one topic Star Trek seemed to never go near with a 10-foot pole- LGBT issues. They tackle war, racism, xenophobia, religion vs. secularism but LGBT issues was something that I don't think was ever even thought about. The DS9 character Garak is coded gay, though in an interview Andrew J. Robinson gave was that he intended for Garak to be omnisexual (which is why he's a little flirtatious with Bashir when he introduces himself), but apparently people (I'm guessing network executives) had problems with this so he removed that aspect of Garak, but I still read him as a coded not-entirely-heterosexual character.

So... does everyone breed sexually in the Star Trek universe? There aren't a few species that are hermaphrodites? This is suppose to be a very progressive future we live in but at the same time the avoidance of LGBT issues make it feel like a very conservative future.

Ok, I'm nitpicking again. This was like 1992 and there was still a lot of taboo at the mere hint of a gay character and there was still a lot of stigma with being gay and AIDS so I accept that LGBT issues weren't an issues, but I kind of wonder if in the upcoming JJ Abrams Star Trek movie if there will be any LGBT characters (hh my gosh- if Benedict Cummberbatch kisses a guy in "Into Darkness" I'm going to SQUEEEEE so hard). I mean, Zachary Quinto is gay (which is probably giving those Kirk/Spock fanfic shippers a field day) so maybe he's advocated for the inclusion of some not-exactly-straight characters.

On my mind

My new favorite video game lately is an independent game called "Journey." It's an adventure-puzzle game and it's pretty simple but I find it very compelling because I think it has a lot going on for it. I've been working on my analysis of the game because that'll help me work out what I think the game is about but what started as just a few paragraphs has turned into (so far) a page and a half single-spaced. I just find the more I write that more I think and the more I think the more I write. For a game with no dialogue and is told only through sound and visuals, it's kind of complex as far as figuring out what is going on. I'm particularly interested in the ending. However, while working on this, some other things that have been on my mind: Star Trek.

I enjoy Star Trek, but I wouldn't consider myself a Trekkie. I don't go to cons that have cast members as guests and I don't feel like ever doing a Star Trek cosplay, but if the shows on I'll watch. So Bart lent me DS9 and while I kind of watched it when I was growing up, I don't remember a whole lot of what was going on. I've gotten through season 1 and I'm halfway through season 2 and while I've enjoyed them so far, I can't say a whole lot because it's Star Trek. If you've seen one episode then you're familiar with the style. However, DS9 also reminds me of reasons why I probably never got into Star Trek. I know how ironic this is going to sound but I never liked how Human and Earth-centric it is. I'm going to use DS9 because that's my latest point of reference.

One thing that bothers me about the show is how easy cross species breeding happens. Star Trek makes it look like if you have one sexual encounter with an alien, you could have a half-something, half-something child. If we look at planet Earth's biology, this is not as easy as Star Trek makes it look. With Lonesome George (RIP), they tried breeding him with the most genetically compatible female tortoise and while there were a few eggs laid, none of them hatched. There are even some animals on Earth that have a hard time breeding with their own species so what makes the writers of Star Trek think that two completely different sentient organisms that have evolved differently to adapt to their planet's climate are genetically compatible to make a baby?

Another problem: the assumption that all other planets have a 24-hour cycle. I remember in an episode of DS9 S1 with the Tosk, while O'Brian is showing Tosk around, he asks about sleep and Tosk replies he only needs like 17 minutes a day. O'Brian replies he needs 8 hours. Later on Tosk says how can O'Brian sleep a full 1/3 of his rotation. I might just be nitpicking because this is ONE example and they haven't talked about day cycles yet for other species, but I remembered that.

Another problem: all planets have just one climate. So I just finished an episode in S2 entitled "Sanctuary" in which the crew encounter refugees from the Gamma quadrant. They find them a new planet to resettle on and they talk about how it has a temperate climate good for growing things, plenty of water, etc. Once again, you look at Earth and not all of Earth is one climate. Some places are really hot and some places are really cold. Also what bothered me about that episode is calling a geographical location the Bajor the "Northwest Peninsula." ...that's not a place, that's a general term for a land mass. Once again, looking at Earth, ask where THE Northwest Peninsula is and I think people would give you a look of like "which peninsula? There are lots of them." I find it unlikely as far as geology goes that there's only ONE Northwest Peninsula on ALL the continents of Bajor and with such a generalized name, EVERYONE knows where that is.

Another problem I've always had with Star Trek: all aliens have one culture. Once again, looking at Earth, we all don't share the same religion, clothing, values, or celebrations. In the Star Trek universe however, ALL Bajorans share the same religion and they dress relatively the same. ALL Ferengi are greedy and underhanded. It's like aliens on Star Trek are stereotypes and caricatures while humans on can show the full range of culture. For example, Keiko O'Brian is Japanese so they put her in Japanese clothes sometimes. Chakotay is Native American so they have him do Native American things sometimes. You don't see that kind of cultural diversity even among alien species and I have a hard time believing that every member of an alien species all thinks the same. Also, why do all aliens look the same (like there aren't any dark-skinned Bajorans?); not all humans look the same. Perhaps the only time you do see differences is politically,

Another problem: going back to the whole evolution/adaptation thing, I'm actually bothered by how many humanoid aliens there are walking around. They all seem to have skin or scales; I haven't seen any aliens with fur or feathers. Or maybe even an exoskeleton.

Also the episode in S2 "Melora" bothered me. They establish she grew up in a low gravity planet (or zero G I can't remember) but if it was at least a low G planet, than the scene with her floating around with Bashir MAKES NO SENSE. The moon has gravity and you can't float on the moon! Also, her bone structure would be so brittle, she may not be able to handle the gravity that humans are adapted to and her physiology might be tall and slender.

Ok, I'm seriously nerd-raging at Star Trek's science, cultural diversity, geography, and planet exploration but I'm also being very nit-picky. I usually can overlook these things. But I guess people don't watch the show for the science; they watch it for the story and the characters, which has always been the most interesting part of the series or at least the most interesting part to me. I'm not sure if this was so much the case in the original series or TNG, but in DS9 each episode is centered around one of the main cast members. I also understand the creators have to make the show exotic and accessible at the same time so they use shorthand and tropes to communicate information to the audience without going into big, long exposition. It would also probably really bog-down the writers to develop culturally distinct ethnicities even among alien species, so they simplify it dramatically to establish all Bajorans are spiritual, all Vulcans are very logical, etc. As far as alien designs, that's probably a constraint of the budget and the make-up and costume department. CGI wasn't all that great either so having CGI aliens wandering around might look kind of cheesy if they didn't blend seamlessly into the scene.

But one more thing about my problems with Star Trek- I guess I never liked how... simple the series was. I never felt like the characters, while interesting, were rounded people. Also, things never carried over from episode to episode. Like one week someone has their body taken over by an alien and after the problem is solved, no one mentions it ever again. Now I understand having such an episodic show makes it very accessible to people because then the average person can just sit down, watch an episode and understand what was going on without a whole lot of backstory but to me, that takes some of the realism away. Yeah! That's it- I never felt Star Trek was very realistic! The characters always felt more like puddy to me than real people in that they were molded to fit whatever plot role was needed for the episode. I mean, that is part of it's charm and I like it for it's simplicity in showing a future where space travle is normal, but that's also why I've never been a fanatic of Star Trek.

So overall, I enjoy Star Trek and I will finish watching DS9... but I'm not going to cosplay as Kira Nerys anytime soon (though I do think Trill makeup would be fun to try out).