I AM DONE.  On Boxing Day last year, I impulsively rewatched “Caretaker”.  As of five minutes ago, I have finished my Voyager rewatch — skipping certain episodes (“Threshold”) that I knew weren’t worth seeing again, but ploughing through the slab of late seventh season episodes I skipped because, having had a VHS copy of “Endgame” sent from the US, I couldn’t be arsed renting the rest of the season on video.  (Also, I was a student, and I was broke.)

I have vague thoughts that I may eventually blog about, like (a) Seven/Chakotay is not actually 100% terrible until the finale when it is the actual worst thing in history; (b) despite the perception that Seven steals all the attention from other cast members when she joins, she actually gets fewer very special episodes than the Doctor — but no one notices that, because he’s a white male and hence the default human; (c) okay, show of my teenage heart, you were kind of not very good but I love you anyway.

But I’m here now to talk about Next Generation.

You see, my flatmate, E, who is generally very television literate, has never seen any TNG.  She’s seen all of DS9, BSG and even Babylon 5, but somehow TNG bypassed her.  As did Voyager, but Voyager, bless its happy little heart, was never regarded as groundbreaking television.  TNG, while working within the considerable limitations of Gene Roddenberry’s increasingly weird “vision” (he didn’t want an episode about a child mourning his dead mother, because the humans of the future would have evolved past grief?  AND THIS WAS MEANT TO BE A UTOPIAN IDEAL?), managed to lay the groundwork for 1990s science fiction.  We remember it now as episodic and continuity-lite, but Ronald D Moore had his first taste of arc-plotting with Klingon politics, and whatever JMS tells you, Babylon 5 owed a ton to TNG.  And BSG is just B5 + DS9 + some extra misogyny and a dash of post 9/11 moral ambiguity.

But having said all that … seven seasons is a lot of television.  And let’s face it, a fair amount of TNG is kind of skippable.  Grant Watson, over at The Angriest, suggests that the very early phases of the show weren’t so much ’80s television as ’60s television with an ’80s budget.  That feels about right.  It’s interesting, but not necessarily good.  And I say that as a person who was quite impressed when she rewatched season 1 a few years back.

So I’m asking, oh internet, what do you consider the unmissable episodes of TNG?  Not necessarily the ones where Patrick Stewart acts a lot, but the ones that made you fall in love?

I, for example, am very strongly inclined to include season 1’s “The Battle”, because when I was a kid, it was the episode that made me think of Picard as an interesting character.  Earlier I had written him off as Grown-Up, Authority Figure, Therefore Scary.  (I was also … hmmm, you know, I think I saw this episode before I was even properly watching the show.  I might have been about eight?  The point is, I found Picard pretty scary.  Stop laughing, I was also scared of the Seventh Doctor at that age.)

So the first season 1 episodes I’ll probably show E are:

  • “Encounter at Farpoint” (you have to start somewhere!)
  • “The Battle”
  • “The Big Goodbye”
  • “Datalore”
  • “Conspiracy”

(I know “Conspiracy” is really disappointing on a Doylist level, because it sets up this arc that actually never goes anywhere, but I just really enjoy it.  I have a big old girlcrush on Captain Tryla Scott, okay?)

Season 2?  I have a grudge against season 2 for not having Beverly Crusher.  But it does have some important episodes.  I guess I’d go…

  • “Elementary Dear Data”
  • “The Measure of a Man”
  • “Q Who”
  • “The Emissary”
  • NOT “SHADES OF GREY”, I’M NOT A MONSTER, YOU KNOW

Season 3 is where it gets tricky, being actually good.  But I feel like at this point, E will have feelings about some characters, and I don’t want to skip, say, “Booby Trap” if Geordi is her favourite.

Let me hear your arguments, guys.  What are your essential episodes of TNG and why?

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I bought a sewing machine!  And although it took me a while, I eventually realised I could make clothes with it.  First a gathered skirt, which was basically two rectangles sewn together, and then a top, which was two different rectangles sewn together.

Then I decided to take the plunge and try a pattern.

I did home ec in high school, but never quite got the hang of patterns.  Everything I made always ended up too small.  So I selected for this first-attempt-in-a-decade the Mabel skirt by Colette Patterns.  It’s simple, cute, designed for generously-proportioned women, and it seemed pretty easy.

And … it was.

Not perfect — turns out that, while my little sewing machine can do heavy knits, it doesn’t really like it, and will demonstrate its displeasure with a series of passive-aggressive mechanical problems.  And I’ve yet to master the straight line.  But I’ve produced a skirt which is cute, has a bit more structure than the two black mini-skirts I already own, and is (just) long enough for work.

The squinty face is just an added bonus.

The squinty face is just an added bonus.  The sun was in my eyes!

Also, it’s 1996 again in my heart and in my house.

I didn’t hem Mabel, because it was perilously close to being Too Short For Work, and I didn’t think I was capable of working with that small a margin.  And I like it as it is.

There are three variations of Mabel, and this is the first, and the simplest.  I fully intend to have another go, but with thinner fabric next time.  That patterned knit is gorgeous, and I love wearing it, but it’s just too much for my sewing machine to handle.  I have heaps left, though, so maybe I can use it in smaller quantities as a trim in the future.

(Oh, and that’s the two-rectangles shirt I made.  Don’t laugh; I’ve paid a lot of money for factory-made shirts with that design.)

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The cat was unimpressed, but he disapproves of any hobby that doesn’t directly involve himself.

This post contains spoilers for the Veronica Mars movie, along with gratuitous Dandy Warhols lyrics because that’s compulsory for VMars posts now.

I was a Veronica Mars fan without being in the fandom.  By the time it aired in Australia, it was already in its second season in the US, and I knew, without being spoiled, that disappointment lay ahead.  I actually enjoyed the second season, probably because my expectations had been lowered, but I bailed part-way through season 3, partially because I found the mysteries unengaging, but mostly because I was sick of Logan.

So when the Kickstarter appeared last year, I was intrigued, but not inclined to give it actual money.  (I was, however, quite disappointed to discover that there was only one cinema screening in Melbourne — and that was sold out before I knew it was happening.)  But through the miracle of simultaneous worldwide digital releases, on Saturday night I sat down to catch up with the residents of Neptune, California.

I didn’t hate it.  I’m not sorry at all that I spent an evening watching it.  But days have passed, and I keep coming back to its storytelling choices and going, “…Really?”

A few weeks ago, I said on Twitter that the only thing that would make this movie work for me is if Logan is totally guilty, and it ends with Veronica watching stoically as he goes to prison.  Alas, saying things like, “This will only work for me if…” never ends well.  It was clear from the first round of publicity that this wasn’t going to be that movie.

On Saturday night I tweeted, “I wish the VMars kickstarter had had a level where the reward was a movie without Logan.”  But that’s not fair.  In the TV series, when it was at its best, Logan was an interesting and dynamic character.  And it’s not like he was even in this movie, anyway.  Jason Dohring gave a perfectly performance as Stepford Logan, bad boy turned air force hero.  And that was fine and all, except for the complete lack of tension — sexual or otherwise.  Is Logan guilty?  Not for a second.  Are he and Veronica going to hook up?  Yep.  Does anyone who’s not a long-standing LoVe shipper care?  Well.

(Things I hold against Logan:  not only did he hijack the series to a considerable extent, but his name comes first in the pairing portmanteau.  Sure, it’s cute, but it’s kiiiiind of symbolic of the way Logan, and Veronica’s romantic relationship with him, became the show’s albatross.)

So Logan has abandoned his rich jerk lifestyle to become a naval pilot/JAG officer (obligatory comment about his ill-fitting uniform here) who allegedly engaged in dogfights with the Taliban.  (We hear so little in the media about the Taliban’s air force!  Why is that, I wonder?)

I double checked with Google, and the only dogfighting in Afghanistan is the kind that involves real dogs, which is apparently undergoing a resurgence in popularity.  And while that doesn’t seem beyond the kid who organised fights between homeless guys, I don’t think it’s what we’re meant to be thinking.  Nor are we meant to be thinking that Logan has been dropping bombs on civilian populations, I suppose, because being in the military is supposed to be a sign that he’s respectable now.

(Obligatory statement of ambivalence towards military organisations in general and the US military in particular.)

It’s a real shame to see Logan go from Homme Fatale to Woobie, but that’s what happens when you love a character too much.  Well, you love a character and you don’t to piss off the shipper-heavy fanbase that just paid for your movie.  And it’s not really a surprise, because this started well before Kickstarter even existed.  (This is a good article about the problem of Logan.)

It’s more disappointing to see Logan’s partner-in-douchebaggery, Dick Casablancas, being equally softened.  Sure, he’s still a sexist jerk, but the script goes out of its way to prevent him from being a suspect in the crime-that-triggered-the-crime-that-starts-the-movie.

In fact, the ultimate guilty party is a kid from the wrong side of the tracks who didn’t know his place.  And that doesn’t sit right.  “When the class war comes, Neptune will be ground zero,” says Veronica in the rather stilted opening montage.  So it’s kind of awkward that the two rich white dudes are above suspicion, and we’re left with the “total trailer park weirdo” as the criminal.  This could have been interesting, setting him up as a foil to Veronica, another outsider who observes and critiques the corruption of Neptune’s stratified society.  But it all falls flat.

I also have problems with Weevil’s subplot, not so much that he doesn’t get justice — it’s noir, after all — but because he gets four scenes, and the last one is just a glimpse of him riding with his gang again.  Is he seeking justice on his own terms, or has he given up?  What has happened to his family?  It’s a problem that we don’t know.  People are suggesting that this is all going to be answered in some form of spin off or sequel, but so far, the next entry in the Veronica Mars franchise looks like a webseries about … Dick Casablancas.

This is particularly sad because Rob Thomas says good things about class and race and injustice.  But the actual movie isn’t quite there yet.

And what of Veronica?  We end the movie with her abandoning her career in law and moving back to Neptune to continue her work as a PI and her relationship with the new, cuddly Logan.  At first I liked this — the career move, not the relationship — but it’s feeling increasingly like a step in the wrong direction.  It’s all very well for Veronica to mock the school bitches for reliving their glory days in high school, but look who’s going back to her after school job?

Meanwhile, she has a law degree.  Sure, it would take some work to pass the bar in California when she’s been studying for New York, but it’s not impossible.  And we already know she’s quicker and smarter than the attorney working for her father.  Veronica Mars, Attorney at Law.  An ally to her father, rather than an employee.

All in all, this felt like a high school reunion, and not in a good way.  Decade-old in-jokes and too much time spent with dickheads, not enough time with your actual friends.  I suppose we’re lucky that we didn’t catch up with the student played by Paris Hilton.  Though at least I remembered who she was.

One good thing, though, the movie really has me wanting to watch the series again.  And who knows, maybe this time I’ll finish season 3.

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Remember my post about Tsaritsa Sophia Alekseyevna of Russa and her amazingly cranky face? Well, I accidentally inspired an anthology, which is crowdfunding as we speak.  This is the most viral a post of mine has ever gone.

The crowdfunding campaign coincides with a blog tour celebrating various cranky women in history, so if you enjoy history, feminism or good stories, this is your lucky month.

Which brings me to today’s Cranky Lady, Janet Kincaid.

You probably haven’t heard of Janet.  The problem with history is that, by and large, we mostly know about the wealthy and powerful.  Monarchs and aristocrats and people who happened to be in the right place at the right time and were remarkable enough that others paid attention and wrote about them.

Janet Kincaid is not one of those people.  In the mid-nineteenth century, her husband went to try his luck on the Victorian goldfields, leaving Janet in Glasgow to care for their six children.  By sheer luck, one of her letters to her feckless husband survived, leaving us with a vivid impression of a very cranky woman:

You left to better your family, you don’t need to write that any more, we have had enough of that talk.  You had better do something for them.  You left the ship to better your self and to get your money to your self.  You never earned much for your family, far less for your Wife, you sent five Pounds, two years and a half ago.  You mention in a letter to me that you made more money at the digging than ever you made at home.  You might have sent us the half of what you made.  You are a hard hearted Father when you could sit down and eat up your children’s meat your self.  I was a poor unfortunate Wretch, little did I think when I was young what I had to come through with your conduck.  We might have been the happiest couple in Greenock, you got a good wife and many a good job at home if you had been inclined to do well but folks that cante do well at home is not to be trusted Abroad … poor Duncan does not know what sort of thing a Father is, he thinks it is something for eating … find a proper place where I will send my letters.  No more at present from your deserted Wife Janet Kincaid.

The letter is in the archives at the State Library of Victoria, so it presumably reached the elusive Mr Kincaid.  How he replied, if at all, is unknown.

The narrative of the Victorian goldfields, when I was growing up, was about the Brave Single Man, Seeking His Fortune.  Janet’s letter was printed in Clare Wright’s The Forgotten Rebels of Eureka, a book rich with cranky ladies, which points out that many of those gold diggers had families left behind — and many others brought their families to the camps.  It’s a shame Janet Kincaid and her six children didn’t come to Australia — or maybe they did, and the record is lost.

“You left to better your family, you don’t need to write that any more, we have had enough of that talk.” Ladies and gentlemen, an 1850s Skyler White.  Respect.

 

This post is written as part of the Women’s History Month Cranky Ladies of History blog tour. If  you would like to read more about cranky ladies from the past, you might like to support the FableCroft Publishing Pozible campaign, crowd-funding an anthology of short stories about Cranky Ladies of History from all over the world.

After I made the other day’s post, I hopped on a tram to the library and picked up the DVD, then scurried home to watch it.

The most important thing first:  Carmel’s brother Vince drives the exact same bright yellow ute used by Tara’s dad in Dance Academy.  God bless Our ABC.

Yellow ute 1999

Yellow ute, 2010

Yellow ute, 2010

I’m not saying that my next step is to watch every single ABC series with rural scenes, but I’m a little bit tempted.

My friend the yellow ute aside, I’m quite mixed about the mini-series, and am mostly inclined to come down on the side of “nice try, but this was not a good adaptation”.  But since the book and series are both divided into three — with an epilogue, or fourth episode in the TV format — I’ll break it down.

CarmelAdaptation-wise, Carmel’s story is the best — but then, it was also the easiest to adapt, which is probably why it spills out over all the other episodes as well.  Alicia Gardiner is perfect, and it’s a joy to watch Carmel’s confidence grow.  At first I thought her voice was all wrong for Carmel, who is described as having a really deep voice, but as Carmel became braver, her voice deepened as well.

Her family, too, were great.  Ben Mendelsohn plays Vince, and while he’s way too young and skinny to remotely look like the mental image I had, he has a quiet strength that’s ideal for the part.  Carol Burns as Nance McCaffrey somehow sounded exactly like the character in my head.

I was, however, disappointed with the casting of Carmel’s boyfriend Anton, who is supposed to be tall and skinny, attractive in an off-centre sort of way.  In the role is Justin Smith, a short guy with no chin.  I was also let down by the writing — although Anton betrays Carmel in the book, he basically comes across as a strong, reliable guy who, having failed once, will never do it again.  TV!Anton is more like a petulant brat.

vlcsnap-2014-03-01-12h55m39s189Jude’s episode was a mixed bag.  She’s portrayed as suffering from PTSD from her experiences in Chile as a child, which make perfect sense, and is really well-portrayed.  But once again, we have a disappointing love interest — Eduardo has gone from being a brooding, young factory worker to a married older man, and Jude just goes to pieces over their relationship in a way that doesn’t reflect well on her.  In theory I like the idea that she realises that, while she’s great at helping others, she has a blind spot where her own life is concerned — but this Jude never really comes to that realisation.

Incidentally, while I thought the actress was fine as Cynthia — although not at all how I pictured her — I kept being distracted by her strong resemblance to Pauline Hanson.

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I bet that actress had a great time in the ’90s.

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Kat’s episode was where I went, “Right, nope, this is not good.”  Her story is completely soft-pedalled — her drug use is dramatically toned down, Jordan make a pass instead of raping her, and Jules, the book’s only gay character*, is replaced by a douchey boyfriend.  Oh, and instead of having her nude pictures published by a tabloid, her dad just finds them in her car.

I can’t quite believe I’m regretting the removal of a rape plot, but Kat’s experiences were really important to me growing up.  Through Kat, I learned about impaired consent and victim-blaming.  And it was important, too, that she really experiences injustice — from everything she goes through herself, to witnessing the homophobia of the Victorian police — because you end the book with a strong feeling that Kat is going to become a fighter for the oppressed as much as Jude, just in the legal arena.  (I expect she will also spend a lot of time representing Jude for petty protest-related crimes.)

Kat’s story is so weakened, she ultimately comes across now as a spoilt child, and very much responsible for her situation.

Finally, instead of an epilogue, we have a whole fourth episode.  That makes sense!  You need to wrap things up, and it’s not like they can go, “Yeah, we’re just gonna end it in 30 minutes.”

Only, the final episode is incredibly bloated, and I spent much of it wanting to smack Carmel for abandoning her character development.  (And maybe I wasn’t paying attention, but this other guy started having scenes with her?  And I thought, oh, that must be one of her brothers.  Then they started making out.  I WAS QUITE CONFUSED.)

On the other hand, this episode had four shearing montages, which is just about the most Australian thing ever put on television.

One final letdown: like so many Australian dramas of this era — and now — this was cheap.  Sure, there are lovely, sweeping helicopter shots of the countryside, but Anton’s window isn’t stained glass, and the gay rave Kat attends in the book becomes a cheap, nasty looking nightclub.  (To which she drives.  Who drives to a nightclub?!)  The cheapness meant that a lot of the iconic scenes of the book were watered down,or removed all together.  And that’s a real shame.

*  Only openly gay character, I should say.  I am firmly convinced that if there was a sequel, it would be called Jude Realises She Was Bisexual All Along And Also She Is Vegan Now, Would You Like To Sign This Petition For Amnesty?

Edit: My arm has been twisted — twisted, I say! — into signing up for the AWW 2014 Challenge!  I promise to do better than last year.

I’ve signed up to read at least four books by Australian women and review at least three.  I guess this ties neatly into my vague plan of reading all the non-fiction nominated for the Stella Prize!

Queen Kat, Carmel and St Jude Get A Life

I didn’t read much YA as a teen.  Once I realised my dad’s Arthur C. Clarke and Isaac Asimov books were aimed at adult audiences, I figured that reading anything aimed at a younger age group would be a regression.  Had the young adult market been flooded with fantasy and SF as it is today, it might be been a different story.

Nevertheless, there were exceptions.  Maureen McCarthy’s Queen Kat, Carmel and St Jude Get A Life was one of them.  It was published in 1995, when I was thirteen, and I fell instantly in love with its characters and situations.

It’s hard to describe Queen Kat without making it sound cliched.  Three girls, all from the same country town — but from different schools — wind up sharing a house in Fitzroy as they take their first steps in the adult world.  Carmel is shy and fat.  Jude is a bolshy political activist.  Katerina is spoilt, rich and beautiful.

This was the cover of the first edition. Can you imagine anything more perfectly ’90s?

It is full of cliches.  Carmel develops self-confidence.  Katerina gets in over her head in the drug scene.  But they’re executed so well, it’s easy to forget we’ve seen these stories before.

And in between Carmel and Katerina’s stories is Jude, the one that defies cliche.  Jude’s father was a Chilean revolutionary, and she discovers that the man who ordered his execution is living a happy, comfortable life in Melbourne.  Jude’s story is heavy stuff, covering the torture of her parents and the US-sanctioned human rights violations in South America in the ’70s.  Pretty harrowing stuff for a book that was marketed to young teen girls.  

Not that the other two protagonists have it much easier.  Carmel’s chapters vividly encapsulate her self-loathing and body-hatred.  Her family, cash-strapped farmers, are vividly drawn, from her mother — a sharp woman who can’t stop herself from striking at Carmel’s vulnerable points — to her charismatic and charming oldest brother.  They feel like real people.

Katerina’s story runs the risk of feeling like an after school special.  Wealthy and beautiful, she falls in with a dangerous crowd who flatter and exploit her.  Katerina winds up posing for a semi-consensual softcore photoshoot that ends with her rape.  Later she attends a rave which is raided by the police, and is caught with a large quantity of pills.

It all sounds very melodramatic, and it’s without doubt the plot that stretches credibility furthest.  (I can totally buy that she dabbles in modelling, but the front cover of Australian Vogue?)  But it’s well-executed, not least because hints are dropped throughout the book that something is very wrong in Katerina-land.

The current edition, the one I own, has a shot from the TV adaptation on the cover. I appreciate that Carmel actually looks like a fat girl here.

Now, I’m quite finicky about POV in my reading material, and I strongly dislike multiple first person narrators.  (Even though I’ve written it myself in fic — but that’s okay, because fan fiction is amateur!)  So I was rather surprised to realise that this, one of my very favourite novels, has not only three first person narrators — a third of each book is devoted to one of the girls — but it opens with three passages written in third person.

I need to reconsider everything I’ve ever thought about POV, because this totally worked.  The third person narratives introduced the girls and their backgrounds without letting us get too close — and then we’re immersed in each characters’ head for a significant chunk of the story.

The other thing that I loved: the setting.  Now, I first read this many, many years before I moved to Melbourne, but I strongly suspect it shaped my whole idea of the place.  I mean, it’s a book about a bunch of wine-drinking young women living in Melbourne’s inner north, and now I am a wine-drinking young woman living in Melbourne’s north.  Thanks, book!

Having said that, it all feels much richer now that I know Melbourne.  I’ve walked and cycled down Canning Street, where the girls live.  I’ve caught the trams they catch.

At the same time, though, a lot of their Melbourne is gone.  The department stores where Carmel tries on clothes she can’t afford have closed.  The Chilean cafes in Collingwood and Fitzroy serve Tex Mex now.  These girls were the first wave of a gentrification that has dramatically changed the inner north.

Sadly, the mini-series is no longer in print, or whatever you call it when DVDs are available.

In fact, the book is so very much a product of the mid-90s that I’m curious to see how the 1999 TV adaptation works.  Jude’s family history means you can’t place the story anywhere but in the mid-90s.  The DVD is no longer available in stores, but there is a copy waiting for me at my library as we speak.  STAY TUNED.

I hope it’s not a spoiler to say that No Award has some bird-related guest posts coming up.  I’m in favour of guest posts in general, but I do have to take a moment to express my feelings about birds.

They are horrible.

THERE, I SAID IT.

I didn’t always hate birds — I used to be quite indifferent — but I was swooped by one too many magpies as a teen, and now I flinch if I hear wings flapping behind me.  It isn’t easy, walking home from school after a bird has flown off with a chunk of your scalp.  Not to mention some hair which it no doubt used to line its nest and signal to other birds that it was a great nestmaker.  I begrudge every hair that magpie took.

Many years ago, when I worked in a book store, our back room was invaded by a pigeon.  It perched high atop the shelves and stared down at us, daring us to come and get it.  “Just try it,”  it seemed to say, “and I’ll shit on some new releases.”  It had beady little eyes that burned with hatred for humanity and books.  We eventually chased it out with a broom, but I’ve been strongly anti-bird ever since.

My mother has a pet budgie named Charlie.  Charlie seems harmless enough, but Mum bought her thinking she was a boy budgie. Then Charlie began laying eggs.  An innocent mistake on the part of a pet store owner?  Or a nefarious budgerigar conspiracy to expand its population?  Well, the joke’s on Charlie, since Mum only bought the one bird.

Mum lets Charlie out of her cage to walk around the kitchen table.  “Pock, pock, pock,” go her talons as she marches over my laptop, examining the keyboard like it was composing an essay on birds rights activism.

Birds are basically miniature dinosaurs — the exception being, of course, that miniature dinosaurs are ADORABLE, and also don’t exist anymore.  Except in the form of birds.  And birds remember.  “Liz,” you say, “they’re not that bright.  There is no way birds have a genetic memory of their lives as dinosaurs.  And avian reincarnation is theologically dubious on a number of grounds.”  Sure.  That’s just what they want you to think.

How do I know there’s a vast bird conspiracy?  Because we live in an age when you can put a bird on something and just call it art.  Portlandia was a warning, people!  One that we didn’t hear, because we were distracted by twee bird prints and plush owls and flying ducks!

Chickens will eat each other if you give them a chance.  They also eat their own eggs.  THAT IS NOT COOL BEHAVIOUR.  Frankly it’s a little troubling, and I think chickens should seek counselling for their cannibalist urges, though obviously not from this guy.  In the meantime, buy organic chicken and free range eggs, and under no circumstances trust a chicken.

I speak with some authority about birds, because once a bird tried to use me as a mule in its attempt to escape a pet store.  There I was, innocently admiring some kittens, when I felt something move … and when I looked down, there was a budgie attached to my skirt.  Attempting to blend in, so I’d carry it away from the pet store and into Ikea.

Don’t worry, though.  I single-handedly prevented the avian invasion of Sweden by yelping and jumping, and then making high-pitched squeaking noises until a shop assistant took the bird away.

Some particularly evil birds

An emu gazes at the camera. Its eyes are empty, its gaze hollow.

Seconds after this picture was taken, the photographer was murdered in cold blood by the emu. I expect.

Bird apologists will tell you that emus are just inquisitive birds whose habit of pecking at anything they find interesting is easily mistaken for aggression.  THAT IS A LIE.  And even if it was true, what do emus even need to be curious about?!  Are they the intelligence-gathering vanguard of an invasion?

Simplistic pixel art depicting a bird.

Even pixellated birds are evil.

Okay, yes, Flappy Bird went from “explosive meme” to “old meme” in, like, three days.  This monstrous game was basically unwinnable, and if anyone tells you otherwise, they are a sneaky bird appeaser.  Now it’s come out that some of the knock-offs contain malware.  So that’s great.  Please hold while I delete some stuff from my phone…

The main birds of Angry Birds. They look contemplative. I don't know why.

Some of these birds don’t even look angry!

While we’re on the subject of birds that make people want to throw their smartphones…

Look, Angry Birds, I get it.  Pigs have stolen your eggs, and that makes you mad.  But then, you avian hypocrites, you send your hens off with explosive eggs!  To save your children, you must kill them!  You are well over the moral event horizon, birds.  Not to mention that it’s totally problematic how the hens are the weakest of you.  Let’s talk about the unexamined misogyny inherent in Angry Birds.  Let’s think about your bird privilege.  I’m calling you out on Tumblr as we speak, that’s how strongly I feel about this.

I’m not racist.  I don’t hate all birds.  Why, some of my best friends are birds!  Like that time my BFF jumped up on the futon and pretended to be a bird.  Although that was horrible.  She made her hands into talons and had the wild-eyed look of a person who would stop at nothing to get a reaction.  It was remarkably like that episode of The Carrie Diaries where Freema Agyeman’s character mixes ecstasy and LSD and hallucinates that she’s a bird, only it happened eight years earlier and my BFF isn’t Freema Agyeman.

Freema Agyeman, looking divine yet somehow evil, wearing feathers - it's a high fashion Hallowe'en costume.

But here’s a picture of Freema from that episode anyway.

Anyway, the point was, I don’t hate all birdkind.

Here are some birds which aren’t terrible

Big Bird! Looking happy and waving.

I especially enjoy it when he roller skates.

Look, I’m not a monster. How could anyone hate Big Bird?

Although I do find it troubling that he’s basically a giant four year old running around Sesame Street without a guardian.

I’m in favour of Muppet birds generally, as a matter of fact, because all the evil of birds is concentrated in Sam the Eagle, and he’s really not around that much.  However, I do think Bert needs a better hobby than pigeons.  Paperclips are where it’s at, Bert!

Mo Willems' The Pigeon waves at the reader.

‘Sup.

The Pigeon is actually my very favourite bird ever.  I wouldn’t let him drive the bus, but I’d probably share my hot dog with him.

Two galahs, pink birds with grey wings, gaze at the camera. They look pretty mellow.

Look at these guys! How can you hate them?!

Galahs just crack me up.  I see them hanging around, all puffed up, like they’re some kind of credible bird, and they have no idea they’re basically the same colour as Barbie’s Dreamhouse.  No one takes you seriously, galahs.  But I like you, I guess.

IN CONCLUSION, birds are mostly evil, but some are okay.  If a bird has infiltrated your home in the guise of a pet, I recommend approaching it with caution, treating it with affection, but maintaining CONSTANT VIGILANCE so you’ll be ready when it turns against you.