Friday, August 21, 2009

Gimmick or Driving Force

I have been away for "Fantasieland" (which, you guessed it, would translate to fantasy land), which is the smaller brother of "Kinderdorp" the past three days, but I'll talk about that later. Right now I wanted to talk about something even more recent. I just watched the first episode of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine.
I intend to watch all Star Trek episodes some time. As a kid I watched a number of stray episodes, but never watched it all. I started by watching Voyager, as I had seen the most episodes of it. Next I decided for DS9 because it plays in the same time.

The first thing that my eye fell on in the series opener is how the anomaly in the episode is a gimmick rather than the main drive of the episode. Here, the wormhole is an important plot point for the series, but the episode is not about it. The timeless alien (which is not executed flawlessly* by the way) is used as little more than a gimmick. In Voyager if such a strange thing showed up it would always be the focus of the episode. I like this way better (or at least, it not always being the focal point of the episode). I have yet to watch the rest of the show, so I'll have to see if this continues to be this way. Anyway, that makes one point for DS9 (of shich I have only seen the series opener) against only a handful for Voyager (all of which I have seen).

* There are two problems with the alien. First, it fears to be destroyed. Second, it agrees to let ships through from now on. Neither of these fit the model of an alien who has trouble understanding beings living in linear time. I don't know if these problems could have been avoided, though.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Kinderdorp 2009

For the past week, I have been working (on voluntary basis) at Kinderdorp (translated: Children's Village). The main activity of building huts. A good amount of space and wood is reserved for this. However, there's a lot more to it. The tents also take a good amount of the space. There's a podium, a 'crea' tent, the KD bar, a dancing tent, a face paint tent, and a lot more. I was in the crea tent, where the childeren could play with clay, saw nice shapes in thin wooden plancks, paint or make just about anything with all the materials lying around.
We had a reasonable year with over 1600 kids most of the days. And believe me, with no more than 143 volunteers (and quite a few of them only part-timers) that meant some hard working. And man, you're glad when, at 4 o'clock, the children leave. Anyway, some 1700 people had a good five days and I was one of them.