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[personal profile] eldabe2012-12-09 12:52 pm

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Just a reminder that this community is mirrored on Livejournal at [livejournal.com profile] tw_meta. I'm going to try and keep both communities updated, so there's no pressure to cross-post across platforms. (That said, thank you, [personal profile] arnica! You rock!)

[livejournal.com profile] oninomaggie put up a post about being a new fan in Torchwood and asking for clarification on show-canon, extended-universe canon, fanon and head-canon. The comments are a really interesting reflective on how the fandom looks as itself.

[livejournal.com profile] itsmeyousee put up a post about the moments where Jack seems to be making a choice between Ianto and Gwen. It's an opportunity to dig into some of Jack's thought processes, not debate the relative qualities of Ianto and Gwen.
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[personal profile] arnica2012-12-09 12:06 am

The technology of Torchwood. Item one; Vortex manipulator


Ladies and Gentlemen I have a confession. I obsess over how to make fictional objects work. If you have ever seen someone put down a book with a world weary sigh and stalk out of the room only to return with reference books, legal pads, graph paper, and drafting pencils, odds are good you've seen me or one of my ilk. I get distracted sketching out schematics, making notes, and leave real and digital sticky notes with drabbles and snippits focused on what an object does. I love cool gadgets and the less sense they make, the more I obsess.

Case in point, the Vortex Manipulator of a Time Agent. At first glance it's totally fine. Visibly rugged? Check. Able to fit into the vast majority of cultures and time periods as imagined by human beings? Sure! A couple lights, sleek design, and buttons to press? Hey, it has all of that! The vortex Manipulator is obviously the accessory of the Future! 

Yeah, I made that joke. Shake your head and move on.

The point is that it looks awesome and does a perfect job as Jack's do-anything-never-fail gadget (you know, like Bob's keytool Glitch, or Inspector Gadget's hat) unless like myself you are an obsessive world builder who must know how everything works. In that case you, like me, find yourself congratulating the Time Agency on inventing the most useless super powered mini-computer ever. Think carefully about Jack's wrist strap for me.

  here's a peek if you don't have it memorized.

People, this thing has three buttons. THREE BUTTONS. Three freaking buttons, the D-pad from a Nintendo DS, a light that you probably shouldn't look directly into,(but I would. Every time cause it's just so blue)  and a screen roughly a quarter the size of an ipod nano (which is only a little more than twice the size of my icon). It looks slick, but when you consider the fact that this thing does all of the following according to Tardis.wikia...
...some problems arise.

I'm surely not the only person who sees that these are a lot of complex features of ask of three buttons, a d-pad, and a screen too small to read a tweet on! It drives me insane. I have spent good man hours working out all sorts of awesome sci-fi crazy ways for this thing to do all those functions at the same time. I've played with omni-tech capabilities where the manipulator is designed to assimilate pathways Borg style to adapt other bits of period appropriate technology as it's control panel, but it made a much better steampunk picture than it did description in a story. I've had crazy fun with developing a really complex version on the Vortex manipulator where symbiotic nanites produced by the strap allow the agent to sync themselves at the push of one of those three stupid buttons and use their own body as monitor, mouse, and keyboard, forming extra connections that allow themselves to see a HUD display similar to the contact technology Torchwood uses in cannon without the contacts while allowing for a full visual mode that operates a full scale interactive holographic interface. (Like Jarvis from Iron Man). There was even an explanation cut from a longer piece where agents wrist straps were programmed to respond on a psychic level using buttons just for things like hitting enter or cancel. 

Sorry, I was imagining tweeting at the speed of thought again. It's sooooo good. Anyway.

I think about how much memory they need and how to store it (It was a ridiculous hunt through Wikipedia to discover that the largest unit of data storage invented by man is the Yottabyte. It is, seriously, 1 quadrillion bytes. A QUADRILLION. I figure a manipulator must need approximately that to be able to handle time travel) I imagine using actual clouds (nebula clouds to be precise) to encrypt and store data. I almost literally drive myself insane coming up with complex ways for these things to work that never leave the notes pages because they'd bog down a story line.


I am not alone. I know I cannot be the only person who stays awake at night pondering the line between physics and metaphysics. Have you ever given Jack's wrist strap any thought? How do you think it works? Do you hate the possibilities I've thrown together? What are your favorite non-cannon features to add to a vortex manipulator? Does Jack use it more like a Wikipedia that just happens to time travel when in good repair, is it full of pictures/holograms/recordings or his life? Does it secretly hold Earths largest digital music collection? The topic is Vortex Manipulators and all the odd quirky thoughts about them that you've never been able to fit into a normal conversation. This is your chance. Tell me about them.

I'm REALLY interested.
eldabe: Image of canal in Venice (Default)
[personal profile] eldabe2012-11-20 02:24 pm

Meta Rec: Jack/Ianto Dynamic

Let's kick this off with something fun!

[livejournal.com profile] fodian does the most awesome and hilarious breakdown of the Jack/Ianto dynamic in this post. It's mostly a line-by-line analysis of Ianto and Jack's conversations in Kiss Kiss Bang Bang and Meat.

My favorite part of this meta (besides the uproarious laughing) is how Ianto is clearly a total eyerolling sarcastic bad-ass who balances his uncertainty and hesitance without letting it affect his performance.

It also points out the double layers and emotional acting in the show. [livejournal.com profile] fodian shows how eyerolls and pointed looks are just as important as actual bits of dialogue. There's an awful lot that goes unsaid in this show, that comes across in only hints and nods. It's one of the things that leaves so much room for us fans to play, but it also means that we can (and do!) spend a lot of time poring over scenes for those hidden gems that aren't spelled out for us.
eldabe: Image of canal in Venice (Default)
[personal profile] eldabe2012-11-13 02:24 pm

Jack and The Supremes, or Music Didn't Stop in 1948

I've mentioned this before, but I'm convinced Jack is a Supremes fan. In my head he's all over Diana Ross and totally went to at least one performance when they toured the UK and were super popular. There's a nice Supremes section in his record collection. (Which is probably quite large. For most of the time Jack was stuck on the slow path, records were the chosen medium for music. They're still available, for heaven's sake.)

All of this means that Back in My Arms Again is a definitive Jack/Ianto song to me. :D


For the best discussion I've ever seen on the music tastes of Torchwood characters, check out this fantastic entry on [livejournal.com profile] sariagray's journal.

So how do you feel about Torchwood and their music tastes? Do you think Jack's tastes froze in the 40's? What songs does Owen blast when he's working in the morgue? Who's playing when Gwen and Rhys go to performances together? Do you think any of them really like musical theater?
eldabe: Image of canal in Venice (Default)
[personal profile] eldabe2012-11-07 10:13 pm

The Cyberman vs. Lisa

Most of the time, my personal canon is that Jack is fully convinced that Lisa died at Canary Wharf, and the shell of her body had been controlled by a Cyberman brain before Ianto ever got to her. The Cyberman convinced Ianto (not, perhaps, without a little wishful hope in Ianto's part) into thinking it was still Lisa and guided Ianto sometimes to do what would benefit the Cybermen the most.

Ianto, meanwhile, quietly knows it was Lisa until the Tanizaki started tinkering and while he can accept that maybe it was impossible to save her, he still believes it was her until moment when the Cyberman was finally switched on.

Post-Canary-Wharf-Lisa is one of the things they do not talk about.


Thoughts? Ideas? I know many fics have theorized that Jack was only able to forgive and/or let Ianto back onto the team once Ianto came to the realization that Lisa had been a Cyberwoman all along. Any thoughts on that?

(This is posted on our sisters site on livejournal [livejournal.com profile] tw_meta.)