OK, I promised more chest hair. I can't find the exact spot on the video, but at some point he apparently got hot and the shirt kinda opened a bit and you can see more chest hair, so before we go to the serious and intellectual discussions of BSG, let's just have some eye candy.
Thanks for the photos to the lovely René Kissien of Caprica-City, as always.
Mmmm. Oh, James. Sweaty AND hot, that's...
OK, minds out of the gutter, girls. Let's get to business. First a note: [ev] means Eddie voice. I.e., Edward James Olmos voice. He does that so much that I actually need tags. :D Which is all kinds of awesome.
Asked if he's doing any theatre work right now:
No. Um, no. The last theatre work I did was a play in London called "Things You Shouldn't Say Past Midnight". [laughter] Again it was rather risqué. Basically, I ... Beginning of the play, I'm having sex with my girlfriend and we're really going for it, and whereupon... when she climaxes, she ... envokes... it's rather difficult to say.. but she basically says a racial slur while we're having sex. And I'm like, "What did you.. what did you just call me?" It's a brilliant play but it's a bit like Friends, and we're having such a bad time in our relationship that she decides to ring up her friend to counsel us through the problems we're having. So we were on this side of the stage, she rings up her friend, the lights come up on this side of the stage and suddenly we're in the light of her friend, who's having an affair with a gangsta. So it's a four-way conversation.A bit like Friends, maybe more like Three's Company though. Seriously, this sounds like a great play. Talking about it, James looks amused and like he's got fond memories of it. There's an article here that mentions the (pretty bad) racial slur - James sounds like he wants to say it but can't, either because it offends him, or he's shy to mention an anti-Jew sentiment in Germany, or he's just too polite. I do wish I could see him in theatre, although there's a very tiny chance of that ever happening. I understand some of the Unofficial Website people have been to see his plays, to which I can only say: lucky bloody Londoners.
(Aha! He's describing how the stage was divided into three parts :D)
And these two people then can't sort out our problems, so she rings up her shrink, and the stage then splits up into three parts, and the shrink is having an affair with a man, and it ends up this six-way conversation between myself and my girlfriend, her friend and her gangsta boyfriend, and the shrink and his boyfriend, and... There's a lot of um.. I say something that gets misheard or misconstrued, a lot of... I don't know what they call that, but I say something intended for somebody, and it gets heard by somebody else, and there ends up being a big row, but in the end, everything works out nicely.
That's the last play I did. It's rather difficult getting into, back into theatre cos it's such a huge commitment. Yeah, I haven't even read any... any scripts for going back.. Oh no, one thing was presented to me that I didn't want to do, straight after Battlestar. It was like, will you be a almost 50-year-old short order chef? And I said no. No. What would I do that for? How would I get.. they said, "It's a perfect opportunity for you to be..." I said, "Yeah, to be fifty years old, and then never get a job as a thirty-year-old while I am in my thirties." So... didn't seem like a great idea at the time. Not as yet. If the right thing came along I'd do it, that's kind of where.. that's my background in that way. You don't start out doing television and films, you start out doing plays and theatre and that stuff.
He sounds a bit like he misses the theatre days, but maybe I'm just reading into his tone. Also, late thirties, James, late thirties. Closer to forty. I can tease since I'll be (gulp) thirty next month. But he definitely doesn't look anywhere near fifty. On the other hand, he did go and play an ancient grumbly Merlin right after BSG, so if he only gets roles as old, bearded, grumbly men with Welsh accents, he only has himself to blame.
A fan begins by asking if he's comfortable standing up. "Are you gonna stand up..."
All the time? I might as well, you know, cos I've been sitting down on a flight, and sitting down in a car. And I suppose... this is the thing whereby one is peripatetic when one moves between the great seas, so... forever? I suppose ocassionally, I was thinking about sitting down on the chair here, but then half the people in the back would have to stand up. So it's absolutely fine. If it doesn't make you uncomfortable, I'm not uncomfortable.
Peripatetic. A person who walks around. I had to ask kixxa about the word. You know, it's nice and considerate of him to explain "risqué", but it's kind of telling that he doesn't even seem to notice all the other big words. I love how animated he is in this panel (and most panels I've seen). He's constantly moving, talking with his hands, walking around. He has all that energy. Is it the caffeine? Or just his natural thing? (I had written "hair" instead of "chair". And it took me three reads to catch that. Freudian slip?) Edit: and it's peripatetic with an i in the middle, thanks to kixxa for the correction. I'm apparently in the slow class this week. :D
The actual question is what parts of himself he brought to the character. (James' face: Hmm, I like this question.)
Everybody on the show brought large elements of themselves to the character. it's kind of... I don't kjnow... It's not a historical drama. You're not playing anybody who really lived, so you don't have to be real or true to anybody's image or idea in that way. Everything's up for grabs. And I think about.. you know, when you asked me that question, I think about everybody in the cast. What would Adama be like if Eddie hadn't done it? Or what would Roslin be like if Mary hadn't done it? Everybody brings HUGE amounts of themselves to the party. Um... I suppose I just came with, um... [laughter; a guy comes up and moves the chair James was just talking about closer to the table.]
I'm just trying to think of the words... I wasn't so concerned, you see, I'm not from America, I'm from England. I was doing, as far as I was concerned initially, a science fiction.. show. I was like, OK. By then everybody was going crazy: [crazy voice] "I'm doing science fiction!" [jumps around madly] Alright, calm down, it's just a TV show. So what I wanted to be was and the way I was, as well, is slightly... I dunno what the word is.. It's not necessarily unconcerned, but nonchalant. Nonchalant in a way that .. the rest of the ppl who were incolved with Galactica, it's about Galactica, in that fashion, I would say American fashion: Go, army! And there was, I suppose, myself with my own sense of humour that finds that slightly ridiculous. So that would come into the um... in the fray.
OMG, thank you for saying that. Because I found the army aspect very American also, watching the show. Sometimes it would annoy me, even the fan-favorite phrase "So say we all". It's this spirit... it's a bit hard to pinpoint, and of course it may be necessary at war, but there's something American about the spirit of fighting an enemy together and being so proud of your own nationality.
Also: I love how he spins his sleeve at the elbow while thinking of a response. It's like his hand is thinking with him. (L)!
If I had to do ... If I had any control at all about anything, one of the things I wanted to do was not come across as malicious, cos I was playing a monstrous character already. It would have been very... kind of? easy to not give out so much, be a bit colder and a bit... and that was something I desperately didn't want to do. So that it was surprising. It was surprising that Gaius should actually admire someone like Laura Roslin. I'm thinking of other conventional dramas, I'm trying to be out for her and get her! That's not really the way...
Another thing I loved about BSG. It's not about good guys vs. bad guys, and Gaius was never the typical bad guy who just wants to hurt others and destroy all the plans of the good guys. Gaius never wanted to hurt anyone, he just got caught up in it. The good side of his narcissism was that he was totally self-sufficient in some way; he was happy with the life he had, as long as he had women and money and fame.
I came across this idea that basically, if he was as brilliant as he was supposed to be as a scientist, then one of the things that he absolutely wouldn't do is play politics, you know. Politics for me on some level is a game of "how am I gonna screw you? But I've also got to look over my shoulder right now, keep all my bases covered." I was like, if you're extraordinarily brilliant, then you won't give a.. give a flying hell about that kind of stuff. I don't have to look over my shoulder, you know, I don't have to... Gaius of course is looking over his shoulder, but that was about his self-preservation, not about politics. So I tried to make him... very much like a square peg in a round hole. Everybody else on the ship would know what buttons to press and what to do, and they knew wehere they were going, I'm going to the bridge... [walks around a bit in determined steps] and Gaius would have no idea.I kinda would have liked to see the bits where he gets lost. It sounds pretty funny. And it would have been a nice parallel to those later scenes where he walks around the cylon baseship getting lost.
We actually filmed lots of stuff with Gaius getting lost. [laughter] With several directors and several episodes, and I just got back from the producers like, "It's not funny. So what, we've got.. whatever it was, we've got only so much like 42 minutes, we need to show the drama. It's not dramatic having you getting lost every week." It was one of my fine ideas, you know, just constantly getting... [looks around confused] getting lost and.. yes, I suppose as well, becasue I didn't take the genre very seriously before I came involved with it, I wanted to have a lugh. Let's do the thing that is possibly the most inappropriate thing to do, because that will get a reaction. So I remember there was one scene where Gaeta says something about, you know, billions of people have died, which is you know... what would you do? And it could be his fault. I remember making this face... [makes the face he made in the miniseries; shrugs shoulders and rolls eyes. It still looks hilarious. Laughter] I was like, who'd make a face like that? if you really were.. it was like.. don't do the thing that you would do.
I just had to make a few screenshots of him doing that face, and it probably looks crappy next to René's beautiful pictures but here goes:
This is actually as well, now you're making me think... Not just something I brought to the party, but [my family knew somebody] in London who I really respect. He's a brilliant writer, and he's a really briliant doctor. And he happens to be the worst liar I've ever met. So he's really brilliant but he's utterly transparent, and I really wanted to make Gaius a bad liar, so it's like "I'm sure this guy's lying to me", but there's nothing that they can do or say. You think, "If that guy were straight, would he really give me an answer like that?" And that's something I wantd to bring to the party, that he was a really bad liar. And I think he was, I look back at certain things and I'm like, "Oh *I* don't believe me, so how do they believe me?" Part of the fun...
I suppose as well to have as much fun as was humanly possible and as I could. You know, when Americans play the president, there's a big deal there, like they're taking on the mantle of something terribly important and very serious. It goes thru their history and the constitution, it's not to be taken lightly. When I played the president, I just drank a lot, slept with prostitutes and took drugs. [laughter] And it was like, "How could you do that, you're the president?" Yeah, you know... ok..[shrugs] So I suppose I took everything with a pinch of salt, which was quite helpful. Does that answer the qestion? I bet it's answered not just that question but loads of other questions as well.
Finland has a president, but s/he (right now it's a she) doesn't really have a lot of power. So maybe the idea of American presidents - which is like a personal cult more than just reverence - seems a little different from a Finnish perspective as well. The real power lies with the government and that's the whole "corrupt politicians" thing. It's interesting that while the Americans may think of politicians like James does - i.e. that it's a bit of an ugly, dishonest game - a lot of them think very highly of the president and his integrity. But come on, if Gaius Baltar were a president, wouldn't he do just that? Would his moral fiber suddenly add up 100 % and make him straight-backed and non-narcissistic? It's amusing really that they'd say that.
The lying aspect is really amusing and one of the things I enjoy the most in the earlier seasons. Why would anyone believe him? I guess he can, to some extent, fool the military types with his science babble and obviously invented words thrown in there, but still. His expressions give him away.
The next question is, what was Gaius' goal or aim? Did he have a long-term plan? (James' face: hmmm, I don't really know how to answer this question)
I really don't know. It's a good question, but I think in that way.. He never had a long term plan, he couldn't. His whole thing was like, how am I surviving from one second to the next? There was never anything that he could really put into action, some plan, a long way down the line. He was just flying by the seat of his pants every minute of every day, and I... I don't know wha the wanted.. I suppose... like anybody living in some kind of dreadful nightmare, what you want is on some level is to go to sleep, and then when you wake up, it will all be... like you will be back in Caprica and the bombs haven't started and you're not part of it. You want the impossible, and therefore you clog your mind and your life with everything you an do to.. it's about, on some level , it's about living in the now, living right now. Then you're less afraid about other stuff and your demons that are chasing you constantly.
I like this answer. I think he doesn't have any real answer to the question, but he still manages to make it pretty deep.
A question about Taking a Break From All Your Worries, and how that episode was shot. This is awesome.
("Must be clean-shaven, you'll look a lot nicer!")
Yeah, it was an amazing episode to do. It was amazing also because Eddie was directing it. What happened then? I think we filmed it after the summer hiatus, so we'd had four weeks away and... I'd come back with a thick beard that I wanted cos I was like... We weren't the first to the idea of you know... lifting things iconically from the headlines, and I was like you know, several people are like, what about Saddam Hussein when he got caught in his... I dunno what they call it, in his fox hole, or rat hole. So I was like, yeah, let's be looking a bit like this. And several people were like this, "No no no, mustn't mustn't! Must be clean shaven, must be! You look a lot nicer!" it's not about looking a lot nicer the guy's a war criminmal and.. so we really went there.
And I think we really, as well, we went to this place, this really dark place, in a big scene that they had written, where I'm confronted by Laura Roslin and she basically, in the script, BREAKS me! BREAKS ME! And I was like, excuse my French, fuck off! No, she's not going to break me. I've been thru hell and high water, I've tried to hang myself. I've tried to do so many... This woman screaming at me means nothing, so you try and break me. And then suddenly everybody's, "No! That's what it says in the script! We have to do what it says in the script!" I'm like, "No, I don't have to do whatever I don't want to do. I don't!" Mary was getting very irate, going over to Eddie going, [in American accent; the first part is a bit mumbled] "? ? it says in the script he falls down in the corridor and breaks down, he cries." I'm like, "Well, you do something then that's really gonna make me do that." And then Eddie was saying to me, [ev] "It's written this way, give us something, you've gotta break..." [/ev] So I said, Eddie, you're a man, aren't you? And I'm a man too. So if somebody comes up to you and they're giving you all this crap, what are you gonna do? Listen, I'll do it if you do it first. You break down like a little girl right now and like slide against the corridor. Let me see you go that way. let's see it.
("She just BREAKS me!")
He went, "OK. Give her hell!" [laughter] Which I'm not sure he told Mary. And we went for each other in this room, cos essentially what she wanted was... That's all that thing about throwing those photographs at me, have you seen this one, have you... What she was in, that... as it were, like a train on a track, she's following the lines of the script: the more I carry on this line, this guy will break down against the corridor and simper like a little girl. And what she got me was going utterly crazy back at her, to the extent of.. it was...possibly the closest thing to like a real row. And watching back that scene is an entry?. I can't hear what she's saying I can hear what I'm saying. And that's very interesting; it doesn't really matter. It's about the raw emotions kicking up. I'm not giving her the satisfaction, which is what she wants.. Just because it's written that way doesn't mean that it's gonna play out that way. I imagine in a lot of other shows, in a lot of other circumstances, that's possibly when I'd have got my marching orders. "You don't wanna say what we've written for you? Guess what? Meet hte airlock, James!" [laughter] "That's it, bye!" But we all had a lot of lee.. everybody wanted the best from one another. And... yes, I felt very much like, I suppose, that was one of my big episodes, big chances to really show...
I didn't want to cry like a girl in front of her, because she didn't actually get it out of me. I was like, you know something, this guy cries for himself because of what he's been involved with. It actually cheapens him in a big way, you're not going to get the sympathy for this man if he cries like a girl in the corridor. No. He actually has to shout and scream back at her and try to punch her face off. Then you might actually have some respect for him. Um.. And so ... That was actually the spring board for the whole of the episode.
He sounds very passionate when he talks about this. I love when he talks about his vision, his idea of how Baltar would react. He really thinks of these things deeply, and I'm always grateful and happy hearing about his influence. I'm trying to imagine the scene with him crying, and I think I would have felt the compassion anyway. It would still have been powerful. However, given his growth, the baseship, the suicide attempt... I think he's right: Baltar's already been broken, he needs to get stronger now and hold his own. Awesome.
The beard: honestly, I hate it. It ages him and makes him look not like himself. BUT I must grudgingly admit it fits that phase in Baltar's development. I'm glad it was only a couple of episodes, is all I can say.
Yes, Eddie wantd me to be in the shark tank at the Vancouver Aquarium. He was convinced, convinced, that he'd make one phone call and we'd be in. He was like, [ev] "Are you good with sharks? You don't have to worry bc I will be in th shark tank with you." [/ev] [he pretends to look at someone all weirded out. Guh so cute.] What are you talking about, Eddie? I'd actually just been to the Vancouver Aquarium, because like I said, we've got children and we take them there. You can't sneeze over the shark tank. If you do, you're like lifted out of there... "You're contaminating the sharks!" You can't put your hands over the barrier of the shark tank.Edit: "siphoned" edited in thanks to kixxa, see comments below. :D An interesting word choice - I thought it meant fabric?
There was one lady who dropped, I think, a pair of glasses in like the dolphin pool. She was arrested. It was a mistake, but she was arrested! And the dolphins were siphoned out into another pool while their whole thing is totally turned over with.. whatever it is, chlorine or whatever.. and then they're allowed back in, because even like one pair of glasses [shows his own for emphasis] could contaminate the water. I told Eddie that. I said, that's one pair of glasses, Eddie. And now it's you and me and the film crew in the shark tank.[laughter] Are you nuts? It's never gonna happen! Actually I should have put a bet on it, because I would have won. It didn't happen.
What we then did was, he went like, "OK, what about snakes?" OK, snakes, [go and get a snake]. Surprisingly, or as if not surprisingly, we couldn't get any snakes. Nobody who was a snake wrangler actually wanted to use their snakes in this. So I don't know if you've seen this, but it was not a real snake in the tank. I don't.. It was so dark that you may not even have seen that that was what was going on, but it was really, I think, you know, am dram, amateur dramatic. It was like a few coat hangers stuck together with cellotape and like a woolly sock stcuk over them. And like this man in the tank very near me going, "oooo..." [laughter] Eddie went, "You're terrified, you're terrified! Scream!!" I'm like oh.. god...[amused voice] boohoo help me help me! So and.. I suppose that was.. That was a difficult day flming in the tank. That was finished when we didn't do the sharks and had this fake snake.. fake snake [smiles].
I love how much he enjoys word play. He has to stop and repeat "fake snake". Maybe he loves words, like me. These are the little things that make me love him more.
It's hilarious about the snake, and I don't think I actually saw it in the darkness. It's weird that the darkest, most depressing episode would be so comical to shoot. Maybe he also likes to talk about the comical aspects to keep the darkness and the memory of it all somewhat out of his mind.
I guess I could see how a pair of glasses would contaminate the tank, because glasses must have germs from behind your ears, as well as from your temples (sweat and all that). But arresting someone for that? What's the charge? Attempted murder of dolphins?
And the episode finished off with me being stabbed thru the neck by Alessandro. Where those really simple things... An interesting thing, they planned it, they said, "the plan is.." you know I had to write something for Alessandro, something about.. some algorithms.Wasn't it his - or the cylons' - calculations of how they'd get to Earth? It didn't seem to matter very much in the end, did it?
I really love how he goes over the whole episode. It seems to have been a particularly meaningful one for him (and for good reason).
And they said, "Listen, the whole scene has to be on the floor. You have to be on the floor doing this." And uh.. This is an interesting thing about my acting or performing. If you get on the floor like this [gets on the floor] and having a conversation isn't civil. There's nothing civil about it. I look like some kind of cave man with drawings. What's really fascinating is if you're in a prison and it's like, I dunno, several prisoners spring to mind that are on the news all the time, at some high security thing.. that people still have the air of civility like they're in the outside world. You have a table and chairs. But it's all wrong. It's like at any moment, gods can come in and take the chair away, and you're back in your cell. I was like, if I'm going to give something to this guy, then there has to be some form of creature... I have to believe in my mind that there's some air of civility about it. If you want me to draw a map on the wall and you're not gonna see the connection.
A simple thing like that took something like an hour and a half or two housr discussion. [ev] "It has to be on the floor" [/ev] "I can't do it ont he floor. [ev] "No, it has to be on the floor" [/ev] "I can't do it on the floor." Little things like that and then you see the scene back, it's like.. I'm really glad we stuck up the table and chair.. the simplest thing like table and chairs can change practically everything.
So... It was a great episode to be directed by him cos he can really go to those places and he really.. We followed him to god only knows where, Eddie. Cos he really is quite amazing and a very powerful man. When he has an idea, when he wants us to do something, also he has this beautiful, artistic view, his mis-en-scene, the way he creates things. And he's very friendly and he's been schooled on some level by this guy called Bob Young, who's one of the first documentary makers. And this is a phrase I had never heard before Battlestar, but they were constantly talking about the psychological truth. The psychological truth of the matter. I know you've written this, but what's the psychological truth? Where's this one coming from, where's that one coming from? And that word was nearly always bounced around in any.. nearly heated arguments. And it would always be the decider, wherever the psychological truth landed is actually what we would film or what we'd gravitate towards.
That's very interesting. I think it's a way of making a show that is truly character-based, and this is one of the strengths of BSG. You can tell they really thought about these things before shooting them, and the actors were on board with giving the characters realistic and relatable emotions.
I suppose like anybody in that show, what you're trying to do... Cos you're trying to make it look as real as possible and not like acting. Being tortured like that was .. that was horrible for everybody. There are some of the scenes you love to do, you could do them again and again and again and again. Some witty line you have to say, something funny.. some clever thing you're doing with a prop and whatever... These are things that you just like, you know you're gonna do them again and again so they get the shot on me, the shot on Mary and Eddie and the ? and everything.. and it's like pulling teeth. It's a real... you're obviously not being tortured but you're going thru something that's like.. you're waiting for a bell to go on and them to say "stop" and that's the same for like.. everybody involved.It's torture to watch it, too. I love those episodes in one way. They show James' range so well, and they're so ... realistic on some level. Yet I can barely watch them again, because I can't stand to see him in pain. It really becomes tangible and becomes my pain, and that's when I have to just turn it off. Torture can very easily be comical if the actors and directors don't know what they're doing. If the emotion is too overdone, the music is too loud and booming, the moral dilemmas are presented too obviously, it's just a disaster. I think this is something that only the most intelligent shows should attempt, in that way. BSG did it well and that's one of the great things about the show, even if I hate watching those episodes.
It's funny that he says "you're waiting for a bell to go on", because while he's saying this, there are church bells in the background. Maybe the same ones he heard on his way there?
[The next question is quite long. During it, James sits down, takes a sip of water and takes off his coat. Mm chest hair... He rolls up his sleeves as the fan explains that he was unsure at first about the new BSG bc he loves the old one, but he's grown to love it. James looks happy about the reaction.]
The questions are if James has seen the old show and if he tried to be like John Colicos while playing Baltar; and how he felt about playing the scenes on New Caprica in the beginning of season one.
(Adorable boyish smile, after the first sentence below..)
I'll answer the first bit first, if I remember it. [laughter] Of course I've seen John Colicos, he's like an icon, legendary. Who's going tgo forget John Colicos, if you've seen the original? What a mean.. like.. what a bad guy! And I always joke that there was practically no incentive for his character to want to sell out the human race. I used to joke that he'd ben offered a bathrobe by the cylons, some monogrammed bathrobe that said "Baltar", [laughter] He's like [silly voice] "OK, I sell out [?] but I do get this bathrobe, it's pretty nice."I must say I don't think much of the original, based on what I've heard. Especially Baltar, I mean why would you just have a bad guy be plain bad and just sell out everyone for no reason? It's his world being destroyed too, isn't it? But I haven't seen it, so as usual, I'll try to be civil about the original. It did inspire the new show, and James sounds genuinely impressed with John Colicos' acting. And as always, I must mention how similar a name James Callis is to John Colicos. I also think it's amusing that Jon Cryer auditioned for Baltar. Is there some rule about initials JC?
So from the very onset I didn't want to be on Battlestar Galactica, I was surprised that I was given the scirpt. My first time in Los Angeles, I was like, "I don't want to do this! Why would I want to do this.. and it's for the part of Baltar? Why would I want to do that? That's revolting, this revolting man!" So I just wanted to be as different as I possibly could from... him. I was lucky cos the writers had written Number Six, and therefore they'd given Baltar some motivation in our show for why he'd sold the defense codes or.. what he'd done. Which is not there in the original.
And I also started off on the first day with an American accent. I decided it would be a bit more like everyone else in the show...
[in an American accent] Why should I be the only guy on the show who had an English accent? I started like this on the chair and I was doing that interview and I was like, "Thank you Kellen...Well you know, the thing..." The director Michael Rymer ran out, "What the hell are you doing?" I said, "Well, I've you know, it's months since the autidions, I've decided that I'm gonna be like everyone else." "Yeah well, decide again, you're not! We can't have that, can't have that at all!" I'm like, "It's gonna stick out like a sore thumb if I'm the only English guy." He went, "No no no, that's why we cast YOU. We want you to do what you were doing, that's why you got the part. And you won't have the part if you put on an American voice. I don't want your character to do any posturing, I don't want it to look like you're acting. I want it to be the most natural thing for you."
Because he knew even then, "The audience are going to see Galactica thru your eyes. You're like the touchstone. And if you're not on.. if you're too... much like something or like a stereotype, then suddenly you've become not real or natural and can't... we've lost all sympathy for you totally. I think it was a good decision.
Hee! His American accent isn't bad, but it always sounds like he's putting it on, and that would have destroyed Baltar a little, I think. Besides, his British accent is very sexy. ;) I do think they explained it well in the later seasons: he's from Aerilon and his accent is an imitation of a Caprican accent, not a real Caprican accent. It makes perfect sense to me now.
So that's the one-hour spot. He continues with the second question, which is very important stuff, but I'll divide the posts here. I'm actually almost done with the third post as well, so expect it soon.