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October 30th, 2010 09:43 pm - That. Was. Awesome.
...although to be honest I would have seriously considered going just so I could jump for Adam and Jamie. :D

Some notes from the Rally, mostly covering things that wouldn't have shown up on the TV coverage:

Some random notes on the Rally )

Anyway: Jon and Stephen live are adorbs. I hope Mitchell and Brooker are that adorable when they get their live show. And are forced to sing just as much.

12 photos, mostly crowd shots )

Current Mood:: [mood icon] exhausted

(25 comments | Reply)


October 22nd, 2010 10:25 pm - Local Politics
Welcome to your biennial edition of Melannen's Local Elections Voting Guide, special expanded insiders edition 2010!

(What "special expanded insiders edition" means is that I've just come back from being a presenter person at the big county candidates' question night and spent most of two hours staring at the backs of their heads. So I totes have special knowledges, all.)

Also, inspired by the lolitics' Top Trumps project, as well as mention of actual policy of varied seriousness, I will also be rating the candidates who I saw tonight on scales of Hotness, Accessorization, Durpiness, and Douchiness.

Maryland State Governor's Race )

Comptroller )

Attorney General )

U. S. Senator )

House of Representatives District 3 )

...okay, now we move on to the races with people who actually bothered to show up at the Candidates' Question Time tonight.

State Senator District 32 )

House of Delegates District 32 )
Special Bonus District 31 Section! )

County Executive )

County Council )

Judges )

State's Attorney )

Sheriff )

Board of Education )

The State Ballot Questions )

The County Ballot Questions )

And that's the ballot! Aren't elections fun?

(6 comments | Reply)


June 20th, 2010 05:33 am - Fandom, Copyright and Copyleft
This is the handout I wrote for Sunday's panel on fandom and copyright. I am posting it here because it is fifteen freaking pages long and I hope some people will read along on their netbooks and I don't need as many paper copies. But people not at con-txt are welcome to enjoy.

This is html-converted using OpenOffice; I apologize if it's ugly, I cheated because it's, um, 5:30 AM the day of the panel and I haven't slept yet. If you would rather download a .doc file, click this link: Copyleft and Copyright Handout.

Fandom, Copyright and Copyleft: The Basics of Intellectual Property for Fans )

(16 comments | Reply)


March 19th, 2010 07:31 pm - Mymy/Mav/Vyssu, OT3 4eva, srsly.
How about another post about the female characters of Sherlock Holmes fandom? (It's weird how *much* I have fixated on Mary Morstan in this fandom - I'll read the Holmes/Watson if it comes strongly recommended, but I only really get enthusiastic about any given fanwork if it has Mary (or Irene, or Mrs. Hudson but that never happens, so mostly Mary) in it, with the result that I've not been submerged nearly as much as I thought I would be. It's strange to be in a fandom where I'm actually exhibiting *taste* to the extent it limits my reading.)

There is not nearly enough of this sort of story coming through del.icio.us. So I have descended to going to the library and checking out these things made of sheets of paper glued together on one edge - apparently, you can get Holmes fanfic in that format, too. And apparently, if you want novels about the women, you're more likely to find them there...

First, though, a few more fic recs:

Scenes from an Unusual Domestic Arrangement, by [archiveofourown.org profile] lalaietha/[personal profile] recessional, OT4: If you're reading Holmes fic, you already know to read everything [personal profile] recessional writes, but if you only read one, read this one: it is the OT4 that must exist.

Imagine Me and You (and You and You), by [livejournal.com profile] flash_indie, OT4: More Mary-heavy OT4 that is awesome! And it's novella-length! This has Mary joining the boys as a full partner in the detectiving, and a really interesting working-out of the poly dynamic over time. Mary is occasionally a bit too modern for my taste, but the story carries you along anyway.

Not A Rational Organ, by [livejournal.com profile] bluepercy, bookverse, gen-ish with Holmes/Mary and implied OT3: This was written well before the movie and seems to have got very little attention post-movie, which is a shame, because I love it lots, and I believe it happened. Watson is taken captive as a result of one of Watson's cases, and Mary insists on coming with Holmes on the rescue, and they both love Watson enough to let him go, and during the adventure Holmes gets confused, stops seeing Mary as an enemy, and starts having unfamiliarly heterosexual thoughts about her. The only complaint I have about this story is it isn't the beginning of a twelve-book series.

Checkmate, by [personal profile] random_nexus, gen-ish OT3: another story from the pre-movie fandom. This is a short bit that is simply a conversation between Holmes and Mary Watson, in which she out-maneuvers, out-manipulates, and out-deduces him, and he likes it, and she knows he does. If that isn't enough to get you to read, well, we clearly have fundamental differences in our ways of thinking.


And now for the published fic: since this was written and printed for money, I am more comfortable being openly critical of it even when I liked it overall. So these reviews are at, um, somewhat greater length. (but, then, the stories are also of somewhat greater length.)

Good Morning, Irene, aka The Adventuress by Carole Nelson Douglas
Note: this is very much not movieverse Irene. I like this one better. )

Verdict: Will not be reading out of order, but will be keeping my eye out for the first book in the series.


Mrs. Hudson and the Spirits' Curse, by Martin Davies
Okay, when I heard that this series *existed* - the series in which Holmes is fairly incompetent and Mrs. Hudson is secretly feeding him all the clues - I knew I wanted try it out, even if it was crack-addled and/or just plain bad. )(Mrs. Hudson! More people need to write about Mrs. Hudson, yo! If Martin Davies can do it, so can you!)

Verdict: Fun but not life-changing; would read more if I stumbled upon it. Also, very glad it exists.


Their Majesties' Bucketeers, by L. Neil Smith
This is an AU where Holmes and Watson are Lamviin - small, trilaterally symmetrical crustaceans who live on a desert planet that is in their species' equivalent of our Victorian period. Also, they do *everything* in threes, not just symmetry - including sex and gender. )
Verdict: Will SO be requesting for Yuletide. :D (Also, *so* glad it exists. And Mymy/Mav/Vyssu is still my canon OT3 for all Holmes fandom everywhere. I had forgotten how deeply I loved this book in high school - my copy is falling apart, and I still have stretches memorized, ten years since my last re-read.)


...and while I was returning some of these to the library, I checked out the first Mary Russell book. And one of the Moriarty books (the series where it's Moriarty who secretly solves the crimes and gives Holmes the credit - no, I'm not sure how that works either) so there may be another set of these, after I read those. Also, I checked out Lord John and the Private Matter, Monstrous Regiment, and Pride/Prejudice, for all your Queer Age of Sail needs. I have reviews of those half-written that I'll probably post to [community profile] age_of_sail when they're done.

Current Music:: john oliver

(23 comments | Reply)


February 22nd, 2010 03:08 pm - Wulf and Eadwacer
So, a long, long time ago, before I had an online journal or interacted with fandom in any way, back before Wikipedia ruled the internets, I used to post on Everything2, which is a wikipedia competitor with a very different structure, ethos, and culture. (As much as I do like the Wiki system, I wish more sites used an E2 framework instead - I think it would've worked really well for fanlore, for ex., with its emphasis on multiple voices and automatic flow.)

Anyway, one of the things I posted there, over eight years ago (!!!), was an attempted translation of the Old English poem Wulf and Eadwacer into poetic Modern English. I'm no Anglo-Saxon scholar, but I go through phases of reading lots of early English poetry and poking at the language, so it may be a bad translation, but I like the poem, and I like my version better than any of the other translations I've found, and I have nothing at all staked on it being a good translation, so critique it all you want. (I am, oddly, very fragile when it comes to criticism of my fiction - I can get scared into writing nothing for months even by *effusively good* feedback - but have a very thick skin about my poetry - say whatever you want about it, it won't change what the poem means to me.)

So there's this translation, that's been sitting pretty much ignored on a website that's been slowly dwindling in readership, until [personal profile] shanaqui with her riddles on [community profile] poetry inspired me to look it up again and repost my Wulf and Eadwacer there.

And what should I discover but that someone has quoted my translation in an academic paper, as far as I can tell from Google pretty much in full, and published it in the journal "Language and Literature" only this month.

I am trying to articulate why this pisses me off so much. Given that I generally approve of fair use and quotation and derivative/transformative work with or without permission, and am pretty radically anti-intellectual-property in general, and strongly support acafandom in using internet postings in published papers, I ought to just be happy that somebody (somebody who I rather admire as a writer and scholar) has noticed my un-expert little translation and thought it worth talking about.

But, well, what pisses me off? Is that the journal's publisher wants 25 dollars from me in exchange for the privilege of looking for only 24 hours at the article about my work that they published without even notifying me.

<I>That</i> pisses me the hell off (pardon my Anglo-Saxon. And Old French.) Cue rant. )

Short version: if Transformative Works and Cultures was pay-only, I would be a lot less supportive of it, that's for darn sure.

(I tend to think that fanacademia, even beyond TWC, tends to be fairly good about freely sharing info - even when papers are published behind pay-only, it's been fairly easy for me to get copies for free - but that might be because accumulated fanmeta rep has gotten *me* inside several locked walls of access that I don't even see any more.)

(Also, said fan network has already gotten me a copy of the paper about Wulf and Eadwacer that discusses me. I am now officially recorded in the ongoing conversation of Western Thought as "Melannen, a kind of 'groupie' for wit and wisdom" --- I'll take it! Could be worse. Also, my e2 post is "not exactly post-structural exegesis," but rather "a crude recommendation" to "make the empty room exciting with your own furnishings". Hmm, you know, I don't have any titles on my DW journal pages yet... :D But seriously folks, it's a reasonably good paper which is doing pretty much the same thing I tried to do in my e2 post but better - the quotes are actually a compliment, because I'm the only one of six translators - including Burton Raffel - he actually discusses at any length whatsoever. Even if he is baffled by the internets and the way learnings happen there. And he got the date of publication of the E2 entry wrong by five years somehow. And altered my translation in a fairly significant way without, apparently, noticing.)


...er. Speaking of the value of a public domain, last weekend I was at Farpoint - my first ever sci-fi con! - and spent most of the time trying to pretend it was con.txt, which meant hanging around the do-it-yourself panel rooms and figuring out how to talk about fanfic in them without outright admitting I'm a fanfic writer. (Panels I either gave or attended: Writing SF Erotica, DIY Social, SF Worldbuilding, Webcomics 101, Sex and SciFi, Not Everyone's a Pro, Copyright/Copywrong, Convention Sales for Creative Types, and Sherlock Holmes. I want to talk more about the con later, but this post is going to be long enough already.)

One of the coolest ones I attended was The Copyright, Copywrong panel, which was recorded and is available as a podcast. )
...anyway it also features me as "person in audience who wouldn't stop talking". Hear! Me attempt to talk to Marc Okrand without getting squee all over him! Hear! Me slip slash discussion in under the radar by casually mentioning the OTW without explaining what it is! Hear! Me get scolded for talking too much and not letting other people participate! Hear! Me completely fail to mention Interrobang Studios, which is ostensibly why I was at the con!


(and for the record, if I was not so lazy I would officially put all of my work under a creative commons share-alike license, the share-alike being most important and the attribution being least.)

Current Mood:: [mood icon] amused

(30 comments | Reply)


February 7th, 2010 10:12 pm - 101 fic kinks
Yeah, every so often I do a meme. :D

This is the "list 101 things you like to see in fiction" meme. [personal profile] stultiloquentia has a list of people's lists following the spread of the meme.

These are not all sex-related, in fact most of 'em aren't. And they're not bulletproof: most of them make me as unhappy when badly done as happy when well done, unfortunately, and many of them are very frequently screwed up. (But I still give people credit for trying!)

101 Fic Kinks )


...yes, we are still snowed in, what gave you that idea? Also, wow, my list of kinks seems to be considerably more upbeat than most of the other lists I'm reading! I like stories where people get to be happy and functional. D:

(I was actually planning to try to make the Holmes vid that's currently haunting my dreams, but after I did all the clipping, I realized that trying to make a narrative-heavy, 8-minute-long constructed reality vid about a character for whom there is less than four minutes of footage total *might* be a tad ambitious when I haven't vidded in five years. So I got an insane Mary/Irene pre-movie bunny instead and have been re-reading "Sign of the Four" by candlelight.)

(24 comments | Reply)


January 16th, 2010 03:46 pm - Science, y'all.
ETA early morning jan 18: a short follow-up with more poll numbers + things /ETA

I was going to wait and post this later, with a much more elaborate stastistical work-up, population variables and meta-analysis - because I think it's interesting in its own right - but the ongoing conversation I'm seeing, and the extremely clear result I'm getting, is making me think it's more important to get the facts out there, than to make them pretty.

So: Are slashers straight?

I spent an afternoon and evening finding all of the polls & surveys of slash demographics I could that included a question on sexuality. Some I already had bookmarked, some I found through google, delicious, and following citations in academic papers. I'm sure there are more out there, and if you have links to more more polls I would love to add their data to my analysis. But you know what? The results of the ones I've found are pretty consistent, across a large range of survey population. And it is, to be quite honest, not the result I was expecting, even as a slasher who does not herself identify as straight, and is used to finding people like her in fandom.

Are slashers straight?

Over half of slashers self-identify as somewhere on the spectrum of lgbqqa. )

So, over 9 polls, in a variety of slash subfandoms from the late-teens yaoi set to the mid-thirties meta fans set, dates ranging over 7 years. Only onetwo polls had less than 50% queer participants, and that wasone of them the earliest one, and even they were at 37% and 47%. The median percent of queer participants was 59.7%, and the mean was 61.5% 60.8%.

SO when people say things like "slash fans are appropriating queer experience", what THE MAJORITY OF SLASHERS, WHO IDENTIFY AS QUEER hear is either "you aren't queer enough, your queer identity isn't real" or "male voices are the only ones qualified to speak for the queer community."

I think the question of how queer women can appropriate queer men's identity, and the damage that can be done when gay men speaking about themselves are drowned out by women, are valid discussion topics, and worth addressing. That is not a conversation that is going to happen as long as THE MAJORITY OF SLASHERS, WHO IDENTIFY AS QUEER, are being erased from the discussion. fyi.

And SO when people say things like "slash is a legitimate way for straight women to express their sexuality", what THE MAJORITY OF SLASHERS, WHO IDENTIFY AS QUEER hear is either "you aren't queer enough, your queer identity isn't relevant" or "straight voices are the only ones qualified to speak for the slash community".

I think the question of how straight women's sexuality interacts with queer sexuality, and the ways straight women's sexuality defines slash, are valid discussion topics, and worth addressing. That is not a conversation that is going to happen as long as THE MAJORITY OF SLASHERS, WHO IDENTIFY AS QUEER, are being erased from the discussion. fyi.

Can I say that one more time? I like saying it. Science makes me happy.

THE MAJORITY OF SLASHERS IDENTIFY AS QUEER.

ETA: People in comments have pointed out math errors that change the numbers slightly: I've added corrections in the relevant places. The conclusions still stand, however (for now.)

ETA 2 early morning jan 18: a short follow-up with more poll numbers + things /ETA 2

Current Music:: mc hawking - what we need more of is science

(263 comments | Reply)


January 4th, 2010 12:20 am - Why yes, this post is longer than the fic.
I haven't had time to do much reading in the yuletide archive yet, but I want to talk about the fandom I wrote in, which was Miss Madelyn Mack, Detective.

When I was hinting around about what it was, [personal profile] elspethdixon guessed "a steampunk comic about superheroes fighting crime in 1890s NYC, that being the most awesome madlibs example I can think of at the moment."

She was incorrect: it's actually a collection of short stories and two mostly-lost silent films, not a comic; and they were written between 1909 and 1914, not in the 1890s.

...the rest was pretty much right. I was going for "A hundred-year-old book about lesbians fighting crime in gaslit New York City."

Since it's mostly only steampunk in that Madelyn carries a pocket telephone, and in that it's set in the era when most of the steampunk technology was actually becoming real; and it's mostly only superheroes in that her dear companion Nora is a girl reporter working for the Daily Bugle, and in that they are both very good at fighting crime.

But then, they're only lesbians in that ... no, actually they're fairly obviously lesbians to anyone who's read the book, and my yuletide feedback agrees with me on that :D

[personal profile] cinaed, my assigned recipient, describes the fandom as " - it's pretty much a genderswap of Holmes and Watson". It's not the fandom we matched on (there will be a post about that one later), but how was I supposed to resist at least looking it up with a summary like that?

The complete Madelyn Mack story collection is available for free download through archive.org, and the PDF is illustrated with stills from the films. The Alice Joyce website also has contemporary reviews of the lost films.

I started reading ...three pages in, and Madelyn telling Nora how she's a greater detective than "our old friend Sherlock Holmes" because women are naturally better at that sort of thing, and I was pretty much a lost cause.

So is it really just a genderswap of Holmes and Watson set in gaslight New York City? I have prepared a convenient comparison chart so you can judge for yourself!

Convenient Comparison Chart for Sherlock Holmes and Madelyn Mack )

Final score: Sherlock 4, Madelyn 12 Madelyn wins!

Am I seriously claiming it's better than Holmes? No, of course not. Nora and Madelyn and the world they inhabit are fabulous and fabulously drawn, and as Edwardian genre stories they are certainly still eminently readable, and I am so very, very glad they exist; and a blatant Holmesian pastiche that consistently fails the reverse Bechdel is just so much *fun* to play in, and I really do wish they had a living fandom like Holmes has (or, failing that, they were part of Holmes-universe fanon!) But realistically, the mysteries aren't nearly as clever, as a writer Hugh C. Weir is no Conan Doyle, and with only five stories and two lost film shorts to work with, there's not nearly as much there.

And then there's the last and longest story, The Purple Thumb. TPT is ... problematic.

Extensive notes on 'The Purple Thumb' and its problems )

An outline of the fixit fic I would have written, had I world enough and time )

As for the story I actually wrote, as opposed to the one I dreamed about:

Silver Buttons All Down Her Back, 4300 words, explicit Madelyn/Nora first-time, gratuitous Sherlock Holmes crossover and clapping-rhyme references. I think it's possibly the best fic I have ever published, certainly the best I've done for yuletide. Damning with faint praise, I know.

Notes on 'Silver Buttons' )

I really feel like I want to talk more about why Miss Madelyn Mack is so deeply awesome, but really, the story I wrote is 4,300 words of me showing you all why, and after staring at this entry for several hours days, I realize that what I actually want to do is a line-by-line director's commentary of my fic. So...there is going to be another entry up shortly with that.

Anyway!

If you didn't feel like wading through all that, here's what you should know: Miss Madelyn Mack and Miss Nora Noraker are genderswapped Holmes and Watson in New York city; they are awesome and every bit as slashy as their counterparts, only with petticoats; and you can read the entire book at archive.org legally: Miss Madelyn Mack Detective; and you should. Also I will so be cosplaying her at some point: I already have a vintage 1914 black gown and black lace petticoats a Victorian adventurer's magnifying glass and stompy boots and an awesome hat; all I need is some cola berries and a locket to put them in! (I really want to find & try some kola nut, actually, it sounds interesting.)

Here is a picture of Miss Madelyn Mack:

Current Mood:: [mood icon] artistic

(24 comments | Reply)



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