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January 5th, 2011 06:09 pm - Why I Have Gotten Nothing Done Since New Year's
I was going to save this to post after I had done some of the other things I am supposed to be doing (finishing up yuletide, making those two recs posts I owe people, answering comments, etc and so on) but it is becoming increasingly clear that I need to post this now so that I can at least attempt explain why those other things aren't getting done.

So, here it is:

How [personal profile] melannen Gets Into A New Fandom

A Case Study using The Dresden Files )

Current Music:: incidentally, this timeline also covers the period of "me being on the rag"

(43 comments | Reply)

January 1st, 2011 09:29 am - New Year!
1. Here is your silly-but-good improvised cocktail recipe for 2011. I am calling it a "Sonic Shark", mostly because I can:

Make a basic Sonic Screwdriver with lemon-lime soda, blue curaçao and plain vodka, without shaking or stirring. (If you want to do a non-alcoholic version, you could use the lemon-lime with blue raspberry soda and skip the vodka.)

Then add freshly-made whole pineapple juice, nice and pulpy, about as much as the curaçao and vodka combined. (The host of our NY party got a juicer for Christmas, you see. There has been much juicing in that house of late.) The pineapple pulp should nucleate the soda-pop, causing a sudden uprush of foam like a toy volcano, and it will also make the foam persistent, so that your drink keeps a head. Also the pineapple juice makes it yummy. :D

(Why yes, we have watched the DW Christmas special.)

2. Also finally went to see the latest Harry Potter movie yesterday. I was not unimpressed - I know you all have been saying it's good, and it was: it somehow managed to follow the book pretty much exactly and yet still make a good movie, which considering my mixed impressions of the book is saying something.

Mostly, though, it made me want to go on a long backpacking trip around Britain. (I was possibly the only person who read that book and said "I wish she'd gone into more detail on the camping!) :D Especially combined with the fact that I got A Walk in the Woods for Christmas and have read it already. (In which our author attempts to walk the Appalachian trail and spends a fair amount of time whining about how hiking in the US is so much harder than hiking in Europe. And he skipped my state entirely and *didn't even mention it*. BAH.)

Also, I spent most of my Christmas gift card money at Target on a 20°F 2.5 lb backpacker's mummy bag, marked down to half-price, which has only been on my wish list for years, and I have slept a night in it already, and we loves it, precious. (Now what is replacing it on my backpacking wishlist is a Kelly Kettle-type stove, but apparently Americans, being addicted as we are to fancy distilled-and-refined fuels, have no need of such things, because nobody seems to make them for us, which means my chances of finding a cheap used one are about zip, and the import ones are out of my budget >:| I have heard rumors that dirt-cheap samovars can be bought in some ethnic neighborhoods in big cities here but I bet they're all electric.)

Anyway I think my official goal for this year is to do a solo backpacking trip at least once. You know, once it is not winter any more.

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November 24th, 2010 04:45 pm - Five things make a post?
1. I am going through today and subscribing back to a bunch of people who've been subscribed to me for a while; I've been letting my reading list sit, partly because I'm lazy, partly because my reading list is already very close to Dunbar's number*, and partly because quite a few of the people who subscribed to me recently are folks who I've gotten used to thinking of as way out of my league, too smart and too popular for me. But I have got to the point again where I am spending time reloading my list saying "why are there no new posts?" (I realize the answer is 'holiday weekend already' but I am ignoring that.) So. Um. Hi?

*I have issues with Dunbar's number as a hard limit, but for a single network, it does seem to make sense. And to be about where I settle naturally when it comes to active posters on a reading list.

2. Three fics which I recently found which I must share! And one of them isn't even my fault in any way!
  • Sherlock Holmes, Petticoat Detective by [personal profile] verity, which I linked in my yuletide letter, but deserves to be seen above a cut. Remember how back when BBC Sherlock was first gaining steam, I posted about how my issue with a modern!Holmes AU is that without Victorian!Holmes, modern culture would be very, very different?

    Apparently while I was off ignoring the fandom for my own sanity, some of them decided that the answer to that problem was that, instead of Holmes being the trope maker and archetype of the genius detective, in that universe, Madelyn Mack was. THIS IS BRILLIANT AND MAKES MY HEART SING.

    And [personal profile] verity has actually writ fic about it! Linked above is just a short ficlet, but what she manages to cram into the ficlet about what this means for Holmes - that the archetype he's built his self-image onto is one that pop culture thinks is a girl's - is amazing and I am in love with it. And [personal profile] verity tells me that more is coming, yay!

  • The Lambda Quadrant by [profile] peapods24. I repeat my comment to the author: OMG Bill of Rights fic! With Rachel/Ana! Luring Keith into a gay bar of shiny! !!!! This is sheer beauty! ...and I love particularly (well, after Keith getting pinched by the bouncer. And Anderson's drooping anntenae.) the commentary you've worked in here on what being gay means on this Earth. I think it's a bit fluffier than I would have written it, but it's definitely the way things *should* be on TOS!Eearth. Proving that Earth understands IDIC better than Surak does, one glittery gay bar at a time. :D

  • The World That You Need by [personal profile] dira. This is a Vorkosigan-verse series, up to about 50,000 words total, set during the first half of Vor Game, about how Cordelia Vorkosigan talked her husband into seducing his (male) secretary, because his happiness delights her. It is the best exploration of what it means to be homosexual on Barrayar that has ever been written; it is one of the best stories about poly relationships that I have seen in fandom, period; it is just a really good story about Cordelia and Aral and their marriage, and about Jole, the minor canon character that Dira has given amazing depths to; and it is just full of joy and love, even as it delves into some really dark and painful things on the way to happy-ever-after. This fic is now canon to me, but I really recommend it even to people who aren't Bujold fans, if you like reading fic that addresses LGBT themes deeply - it's just that good, and I want it to go on forever. I have read it about six times since it was posted.

3. The other day I went to The Star Toys Museum and donated five boxes of Star Wars crap to them, in exchange for a tour )

4. I finally finished listening to the audiobook of A Wizard Of Mars, after being unable to acquire a copy of the written book without using money. I was... kind of disappointed in it? Maybe it's partly because it was on audiobook, which meant that when I came to the bits I disliked, I had to just slog through, instead of skimming or skipping, so they seemed even longer. But the reason it took so long was that there was a long section in the middle where Nita and Kit aren't telling each other, or their supervisors, things that they really should, by their established character from previous books, be telling them. It is one of those annoying "if they talked to each other there would be no narrative tension, so they are just going to keep secrets for no reason other than angst" things. DD seemed to expect people to buy it just because Nita and Kit and proper teenagers now, and hormones do strange things? Maybe it's just that I was never a proper teenager, maybe it was hitting my embarrassment squick a bit, but I didn't buy it at all, even though spoiler cut )

5. Last night, seeking to prove that there really *wasn't* anything good on any of her hundreds of FIOS channels (she was wrong from the outset, 'cause there was a Top Gear rerun on BBCA, but still), Mom put on an episode of the old live-action Hulk TV series. It was - bizarrely - not terrible. It was actually really fun, in that seventies-TV way. And I am thinking of submitting Dr. David Banner to the crushes of shame on [journalfen.net profile] hot_daily, because wow, if there was ever a character designed to appeal to little fangirl hearts! And I love love love the oldschool special effects, too. Where is the fic for this?

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September 29th, 2010 09:59 pm - FANDOM NEWS NOW
1. If you want to know where I am in terms of fandom-ness at the moment, I did finally post a polished (and much abridged) version of The Guide To International Fake News (English-language edition) at [community profile] punditfic - that pretty much covers it. October approacheth with alacrity, which means new Have I Got News For You soon! Quite Interesting is back already! I am writing a Paul/Ian schoolboys AU! And there is a march on Washington to go to!

2. Also, I need to print out a copy of Balanced Conversationalist so that I can roll it up and be thwacked on the head with it when necessary. (I have actually been where liberal!Stephen is in that strip. Except I have gone past "ritual suicide is cultural appropriation" to "you having persistent suicidal thoughts at all is ablist appropriation of actual depressed people's lives, anyway!" Yeah. That's actually kind of why I suddenly fell into BBC RPF; for awhile there it was the only thing I could watch or read that didn't trigger severe liberal guilt spirals. (That's not why I'm still in to it, mind; the cure has mostly worked - I'm still into it because it's lovely and topical and gay, and US news is currently making me depressed for entirely different reasons.)

3. And for something completely different, here are Paul McDermott and Mark Trevorrow singing a duet of "Stop in the Name of Love" like the 'old show-biz pals' they are (complete with crotch-nuzzling), from Good News Week several weeks ago. You're welcome.
My first video embed ever! )

4. Oh, speaking of small punk-ish boys doing stagegay! Everybody is all excited about the new MCR shenanigans! And I am puzzling over why I can get into fandoms for everyone from slightly pathetic Australian comedians to Swiss figure-skaters to British wine critics but I remain largely uninterested in bandom, despite the fact that I *want* to like MCR. I think there are several factors, but the one I can't get past is that I can't listen to their music. :/ It's not that I dislike their music, it's just that there's something people can do with electric guitars that makes me filter all of their music out as mental static, and whatever it is, MCR does it a lot. I literally can't listen to it. And 90% of media interviews with celebrities of any sort trip my embarrassment squick. Bandom has its own canonical term for embarrassment squick, which is one of many reasons I want to like it. But if I can't do the interviews or the music, it makes it very difficult to get more into the fandom than just reading the more highly-recced crackfic.

...in summary, you should all read River Rats by Caroline Stevermer, and then we all can write book-based cheerfully post-apocalyptic rockstar gutterpunk epics instead, and I won't have to listen to the music. ^_^ (Although Loitering With Intent I can actually listen to! Though probably not the River Rats' cover. I should totally throw together a River Rats fanmix. With nanananananana in it, yes, I'll just have to skip that track.)

5. I watched Hot Fuzz last night! Only a few years after everybody else was over it! Okay, I sort of get the Simon Pegg & Nick Frost thing now, although I also need more Bill Bailey. (Good thing he was just on QI!) And I kind of want to watch it again :D (And, wow, it is really obvious which scenes were originally written for a female love interest.) Please tell me somebody has written crossover fic about Nicholas Angel and Sam Tyler? I mean, it must exist, right? I just haven't been looking for it the right way?

6. I need to stay firm. My yuletide requests are Miss Madelyn Mack, A Night In the Lonesome October, Their Majesties' Bucketeers, and Hodgmanverse; I decided than months ago. NOBODY LET ME CHANGE MY MIND.

Current Music:: Think it o-o-over~~~ I've been good to you~~
Current Mood:: [mood icon] bouncy

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May 8th, 2010 10:31 am - Not Exactly Follow Friday (Again)
It says ... something ... about just what kind of a dork I am that I went to see Iron Man II, and while there were many things about the movie that I liked and would enjoy discussing, the actual squee!OMG! moments?


...I guess I am still a math geek at heart.

Also, a double pendulum (aka "Chaos Machine") is the best symbol for movie!Tony ever. I could go on and on about the scene with Tony and the double pendulum.

If I was the sort of person who could make things like that, I would figure out how to make a wind-up clock with a double-pendulum tick. I have wanted to for years. Since I can't, I am so tempted to go down to the cave tonight and build me just the pendulum, counterweighted to swing a long time like the one in the movie. With a box of scraps.

(Note: this is not cut because neither the pendulum nor the tesseracts have any actual spoilery significance whatsoever; they were set dressing. Thus my enormous levels of geekery.)


Click on this cut if you would like to see some racy vintage postcards of silent-movie era Hollywood Bathing Beauties. )

If you are not interested in racy vintage postcards of women wearing bathing costumes I would dearly like to own, then we clearly have very different tastes in postcards. But perhaps you would be more interested in one of these posts I have recently made on dreamwidth communities:

At [community profile] sca_attire, photographs of me wearing nothing but a period linen shirt! I understand some of you are interested in that sort of thing. Also featuring: discussion of crossdressing while re-enacting, and me whining about how sewing is hard.
At [community profile] topgearslash (locked) and [community profile] crossovers (unlocked), Part One of the Top Gear/Dr. Who(/Torchwood/Sarah Jane/Big Finish) crossover of doomy doom! (Featuring: men who love their cars and/or spaceships too much, and also bonus multimedia enrichment downloads.)
At [community profile] poetry, this week I am posting an elaborate four-part stealth argument-by-example for poetry as fanwork: NASA RPS from 1970, three variations on Dover Beach, and about a Flemish tapestry. And also some very silly things.
And at [community profile] common_nature, an account of a trip to the beach, in which there are kites, hidden treasures and fossil-hunting.


Also, overcome by election coverage (OMG, I have discovered that it is possible to be fannish over election results for countries that *are not mine*! So exciting: all the fun, 75% less stress. Hooray!) I have started writing up a post - probably to be posted to [community profile] punditfic - entitled "A Guide To British Fake News for Americans". Are there any British persons reading this who would like to look it over before I post it, for blatant errors?

I also now really, really want the alternate future where David Mitchell started the revolution, Charlie Brooker led it, Andy Zaltzman ended up Home Secretary, and mtf!Patchula J. Oliver spent years in prison after Bristol Palin was elected President of the USA. (They write these things *for* us, guys.)

And finally, if you would like to be on my "obsessing over diversity, privilege and appropriation re: my original characters as an excuse to not actually write anything in their universes" filter, first post to go up soon entitled "wow I have a lot of trans* characters", please click here:
Open to: Registered Users, detailed results viewable to: Just the Poll Creator, participants: 38

I would like to be on the original fiction filter:

38 (100.0%)

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April 14th, 2009 09:51 am - Leverage
So I just watched Leverage. (It was an accident! It's only half a season, it's totally possible to accidentally watch half a season. And we'll leave off the vast amount of frustration involved in figuring out how to get the TNT streaming video to work. And in finding the list of episodes in original intended order. It was completely and totally an accident1.)

And the most interesting thing about this experience is: when I saw the first shot of the team, I was *completely* wrong about which character was which - I thought Nate was Eliot, Eliot was Alec, Alec was Nate, Sophie was Parker and Parker was Sophie.

This is interesting because I had just read through most of [profile] brown_betty's Leverage recs list, so you'd think I'd know which of the characters was black and which had long hair and which was freaky-pale blond and which was a brunette. But no. I had it not only wrong, but pretty much backward. (For the record, best as I can reconstruct: I thought Hardison looked vaguely like Justin Long, Eliot was the stocky, buttoned-up type, Parker looked like a grown-up River, and Sophie vaguely like Cordelia, only shorter, grown-up and more authentically blonde. Nate was just this shadowy, Tracer Bullet-like figure off in a corner somewhere. Yeah, I was a BIT WRONG. Oh, and Sterling was young and lanky.)

This could be just me. I am also the person who managed to get through two entire Harry Potter books thinking Malfoy had dark hair and remained convinced that Director Skinner was black even after watching several episodes of the X-Files with him in them, including the one where he's wearing nothing but Y-fronts. And I know that in my own writing, fan and otherwise, there tends to be almost no physical description of characters at all, unless I make a special effort to put it in. But I went back and re-read some of the same fic, and no, there really wasn't anything I was missing.

I was thinking about this especially in light of [personal profile] zvi's recent post about skin color in fic, which interestingly managed to be inspired by a Leverage fic and *still* not spoil me for the skin color of the characters. Obviously, what I was noticing isn't just race, but is there a tendency for fic writers of a certain style and feel to simply leave out all the character description, or to leave out certain kinds? Is it something I manage to self-select for when I'm just starting a fandom? (I went back to that recs list and pulled out a couple more stories, and a couple of them would have made it very clear who was who.)

Anyway, Leverage is amazing and fun. More first reaction to Leverage under the cut )

...also, Leverage didn't hit the embarassment squick once, even though it seemed like the sort of show that would. I think it's because they're all so completely in control so much of the time, and I trust the characters and the narrative to take care of it, whatever it is.

1 Why it was Leverage I accidentally watched when I have Merlin, Torchwood, a bunch of Doctor Who and Stargate and Bones and House, and Highlander and Due South and Naruto all queued up to watch? When I was little, turning the TV on was a privilege you only got when everything else was taken care of. So now I'm a grown-up, it seems to work the same way: I can only watch shows two ways, either as a major treat to get when I've accomplished a lot, or by accident. All those other shows have been built up into something major. So I watched Leverage by accident instead.

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June 3rd, 2007 01:09 pm - canon-rereading
The whole thing with p_p over on lj getting suspended made we want to get back into HP fic-writing - I have some stories that I've been meaning to post to that comm since 2004, no lie, still unfinished. I still like those stories, though, the characters and situations I came up with. And when I do a periodic re-reading of all my old unfinished stories, those are some of the ones that make me think "Wow, this is suprisingly good! Who's the author, and how can I bug her to update? ... oh wait."

The problem, though (beyond my ongoing difficulties with finishing *anything*) is that I haven't re-read the whole series since before book six came out, and I've only read five and six one time each. I tried to sit down and re-read yesterday (okay, sit down and re-listen, since we have the unabridged book on tape and I needed to finish some embroidery) and ... it just wasn't fun.

The HP fandom has ruined the books for me.

It isn't even the fandom's fault, either. I'm glad of the time I was really active in HP, and I still love the corners that I lurk in, and I like the people there and the stories they write. It's just ... the books don't really fit the canon all that well. I mean, they do, but. It's not that the books that have come out since I joined the fandom are *bad*. I quite loved Six at the time I read it, but I read it while on an Indian reservation in the middle of Tennessee after several weeks without regular Internet or being at home. Five was, I believe, in Iowa somewhere. . . hey, wait, that's what a journal's for! I can go back and check.

Book five: Yes, probably somewhere around Iowa. We spent the night in that tiny little family-owned motel in the middle of a cornfield, which must have had a name like "The American Eagle" or something and had the cutest little swimming pool. I was on that road trip with two people who are now dead ...

Book six: Cherokee Reservation, South Carolina: well, just over the river from Tennessee. Also that post from almost two years ago says a lot of the same things I'm trying to say now - I just didn't expect that feeling to last as long, because usually the magic recharges after awhile. But here it is almost time for the new book and I can't even get through the ones in front of me. :/

I think I should arrange to be elsewhere when book seven is out, and keep up the tradition! Hmm. That sounds like a good time to finally do an overnight backpacking trip.

I really to think it's not so much burnout, or being more invested in the fic, as that I've come to associate the books with stress, and arguing, and thinking too hard, and taking things way too seriously. Not that HP fandom in general is particularly bad about that, but when I'm just hovering on the fringes it's most of what catches in my memory, alas.

Strangely, this doesn't apply in the same way to non-book fandoms, though. It did burn me out a bit on the books of both of my last two yuletide stories. But even the tv fandoms where I pretty much *only* go back to the canon for fandom purposes - like XF and HL - manage to suck me into the story right quick.

Although it is happening a bit right now with SGA. Especially after I heard everyone groaning about the last few episodes for six months before they appeared in my area. Maybe it's just that I'm not built to follow ongoing series. Hmm. What d'you think?

Current Mood::

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