thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
Dear Writer Person,

We matched! So basically know that I am extremely fond of you already, because clearly you are a person of taste and discernment, loving one of these small fandoms as much as I do.

I am, as always, going to provide you with all the details, because that's what I always hope to get from my recipient. But if that's not you, please tap out of this letter now. Just know that I really, really cannot handle child or animal harm or death, and I love you for volunteering for one of my tiny fandoms. See you on the 25th!

Or, if you want to know more, read on.

Me! )

80 Days, Manussiha )

Retired Basketball Player RPF, Magic Johnson/Larry Bird )

Tour of the Merrimack -- R. M. Meluch, Augustus/John Farragut )
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
Recently, I started thinking about the moments of being openly gay that I never see in fic. This was supposed to be a list of those.

It isn't.

~

Ever since we moved to this house, I've gone to the same pharmacy several times a month to pick up prescriptions. In the beginning, the earthling was with me in the sling, and later he'd accompany me walking on his own feet. There was a cashier, Maria, who always talked to him and me, who was friendly and remembered us and grabbed our prescriptions before we even got to the front of the line.

One day about a year ago I went to the pharmacy after the earthling was in bed. "Oh, where's your son?" Maria asked.

"He's at home with my wife. It's after his bedtime."

"…Oh," she said.

Since then, when I go, she still recognizes me, earthling or no, but she's all business. No chat, no talking about how big the earthling has gotten, no asking me about my day. There are a thousand possible reasons for this. At least. Most of them have nothing to do with me. Maybe she got yelled at for chatting with customers too much. Maybe she's been having a bad year. It could be anything. I know that.

But I will always wonder if it's because I'm queer. I can't not wonder. My queerness inflects every interaction I have like this, whether I acknowledge it ("my wife") or avoid it ("my partner"). And because queerness is not visible, cannot be known until I make it known, I often have situations like this, where there was a before and there is now an after and things are different. This is one of the minor costs of being openly queer: the voice in the back of your head that is always going, is this because I'm gay?

~

Coming out is supposed to happen in One Big Moment. Usually your One Big Moment involves coming out to your parents; sometimes, especially in fiction, it's coming out at a press conference or in front of an audience or something. But wherever it happens, the concept is the same: in that moment, your whole life changes. Before, you were closeted and ashamed, and after, you become open and honest. You have chewed your way out of the cocoon of secrecy to emerge as a beautiful gay butterfly!

My family doesn't do big moments well. I was in college, I was 19, I was in the apartment I shared with Best Beloved. And my mother called. After some chat, she got around to the purpose of her call.

"Last year," she said, "you told me you'd never get married. And I'm worrying about that. You're young and I don't want you to be alone forever."

"I won't be alone," I said. "I just won't be married because it's not legal for me to be. But I already consider myself married."

I should, at this (big and momentous!) point, mention a few things: this call was taking place in the morning, and my sister, Laura, was living with our mother at this time.

"Oh," my mother said. And right then, Laura, who is not and never has been entirely human in the mornings, came into the room.

"Is there milk?" she said crankily.

"In the refrigerator," my mother said to her. To me, she said, "Who are you married to?"

"[Best Beloved]," I said, honestly bewildered. (I thought they knew! Like -- why did they think we lived together? I assumed we'd been on the same page for years.)

"Oh," my mother said, reaching for a suitable reaction.

"No, there isn't," Laura said, attaining new heights of crankiness. "Are we out?"

"Your sister's a lesbian," my mother snapped at Laura. I think she meant: shut up about milk for a second. I'm trying to have a significant conversation and you're making it difficult.

Laura has never given a shit about anyone's sexual preference first thing in the morning. "That's nice," she said, summoning up every single fuck she could give about something before breakfast. "Are we out of milk or what?"

And at that point I think we all gave up on pretending this was a significant moment and just kind of moved on with our lives. I accepted that "That's nice. Are we out of milk or what?" would be my family's main reaction to my sexuality. Later that day, just to be sure we were all in the loop -- since my parents seemed strangely slow and clueless about these things -- I told my father in email. The paragraph dedicated to that revelation took a backseat to four paragraphs of discussion about my stupid physics professor. Those were my priorities.

He probably read it and wondered if he was out of milk.

Just to top things off, that night I realized to my eternal embarrassment that this all took place on National Coming Out Day, a "holiday" I don't even support. (Come out. Don't come out. Whatever you want, on your own terms. I'm not going to pressure you and no one else should, either. It's a bullshit concept.)

So my One Big Moment was -- not. It was not big. It was not dramatic. It was, to be honest, pretty comical. The most emotion experienced by anyone was Laura's sincere and honest anger about my mother using the last of the milk without even considering whether other people had had breakfast yet. It didn't even manage to be a single moment, since I spread it over most of a day.

This was probably much better preparation for the rest of my life than I thought at the time.

~

"Are you sisters?"

"No. No, we're… not sisters."

"Oh. Haha! You look just like each other."

~

In college, I fainted outside the student union building during finals week and ended up at student health. The nurse practitioner had only one question for me, phrased two dozen different ways: "Could you be pregnant?"

"No," I said. "I can't be pregnant."

She was already starting her next question before I finished my answer. "But did you have sex recently?"

I hesitated. Back then, coming out still felt like a big thing every time I did it. And, yes, I'd had sex with Best Beloved many times that month, but I knew she meant sex that involved a penis in my vagina. Did I really need to get into my current sexual history in detail with this woman? "No," I finally said, but my hesitation had convinced her.

"Are you sure?"

"Yes."

"Not at all?"

"No."

"Not even a teeny weeny bit?" she wheedled.

I just stared at her, trying to figure out how you have a teeny weeny bit of sex.

She moved on. "Did you black out, or take any drugs, or wake up and not know where you were at all recently?"

She'd accurately described most of my high school career, but those days were long gone. And I didn't think accidentally falling asleep after midnight in the bone lab counted. Dead people can't get you pregnant. "No."

We went around and around. After fifteen minutes, she was still finding new ways to ask if I might be pregnant, and I was watching time tick by and just yearning for a diagnosis already. Finally, she said, "What are you using for birth control?"

I gave up. My desire not to come out to her had lost out to my desire to be done with this question forever. "Lesbianism," I said. "I'm using lesbianism for birth control."

She nodded but did not deviate from her script. "So you're not on the pill? Did you have sex this month?"

"I only have sex with my girlfriend," I said, trying to make this whole lesbianism thing clearer. "She can't get me pregnant."

She sent me to get some blood tests. One of them was for hCG: a pregnancy test. I got it then and I get it now. The number of college girls who claim they can't possibly be pregnant and are wrong is greater than the number of college girls who have stress-induced fainting.

But I came out! It was an effort! And… she didn't even listen to me. Back then, it didn't matter to her the way it mattered to me.

~

After a while, it stops mattering. You do it so many times that it just gets old and dull and meaningless. But you don't get to stop there. Coming out is endless. I've done it thousands of times by now, each moment of coming out blurring together in my head until it's just a lifetime of saying over and over: "I'm a lesbian. I have a wife. I'm queer. I'm not straight." I don't play the pronoun game anymore, I don't reach for the careful, neutral phrasing, and so I'm coming out all the time, without even thinking about it. And it's so boring that I sometimes forget that it's new information, and sometimes a brand-new experience, for the person I'm coming out to.

"Is your husband Jewish?" the earthling's friend's mother asked me.

"My wife, actually. No, she's not."

And I was ready to move on, but she was freezing up. I've done this so many times I can monitor people's thoughts as they have them -- I can read them like thought bubbles.

She's a lesbian.

Wait. What do I say?

Oh no, I've waited too long and she thinks I'm a horrible bigot, even though I'm Canadian.

"Oh," she said, clearly wishing she was saying something else. But what? But what?

The earthling's friend, David, looked up at me. "Girls can't have a wife," he said confidently.

David's mother made a tiny horrified noise. I didn't even need to look at her to know that she was thinking now she thinks my children are horrible and bigoted too.

But children are easy. Children are never any problem. "Yes, they can," I said to David. "Men can marry men and women can marry women, and I'm married to [earthling]'s mommy." (Straight parents, a tip for you: The key is to sound blandly confident. Use the same tone you'd use to say, "Actually, the capital of California is Sacramento.")

David took the conversation back to what matters to small children: themselves. "My mommy is married to my daddy," he informed me, and he and the earthling went back to playing with leaves and sticks.

A minute later, David's mother, having processed her horror and figured out what to say, chimed in with, "Of course women and women can be married!" She pretty clearly had a whole speech ready, but too late. Small children learn hundreds of new things every week, and they just don't have a lot of time to spend on any single irrelevant, unimportant new fact, like that women can be married to women. David had already filed this away, and he wasn't listening anymore.

David's mother left the conversation embarrassed and worried. She was the only person involved who had any feelings about it at all. These days, it doesn't matter to me the way it matters to other people.

~

My family is pretty basic: two adults and a child. But even now, when we can legally be married, legally file taxes together, legally be co-parents -- even now, forms almost never have room for us. There's the basic ones that assume that each child has a mother and a father, of course, but recently we filled out some for the school distract that had a ton of options: mother/grandmother/legal guardian/caregiver/foster parent/other. And father/grandfather/legal guardian/caregiver/foster parent/other. The only possibility that seemed not to have occurred to the school was two parents of the same sex.

I always cross out "father" and write "mother" over it. I cross out "husband" and write "wife." Often, this leads to unhappiness on the part of a receptionist or records keeper somewhere. "But the computer doesn't have a place for that! Can I just put sister?"

"She's not my sister, and she is responsible for my medical bills if I die."

"I'll just put sister."

But then sometimes I pick up a form that says Parent 1 and Parent 2, or Spouse 1 and Spouse 2, or something along those lines.

As soon as I see that, I look behind the desk, analyzing. Who works in this office who is queer? I want to ask. Because we only ever fit on forms designed by people like us.

~

"Are you sisters?"

"No, we're not related."

"Oh, just really good friends then, huh? You look so much alike! You must get that a lot."

"Yeah, we get it a lot."

~

In college, I had a therapist. One day, she asked, "Are you still together with [Best Beloved]?"

"Yeah," I said, confused. I mean. I'd been with BB for years. Surely it would have come up in therapy if we'd broken up? I figured I'd have some feelings about it and all.

"Huh," she said. "I'm surprised. I guess I just see lesbian relationships as more ephemeral than straight ones." She continued on thoughtfully, "I don't know why that is. You'd think I'd know better; my sister's been with her partner for a decade, after all. Well. I'll have to do some work on that, won't I?"

For the record, she was a very good therapist.

This week, I took the earthling to his pediatrician, Dr. G. Dr. G has known him since he was born, and she's known us since I was six months pregnant. BB and I met her together at the pre-birth interview thing, and BB was there in the hospital when the earthling was born, and BB comes to appointments when she can.

As Dr. G entered some data about the earthling into her computer, she asked, "Are you still with [BB]?"

I blinked at her. "We just celebrated our twenty-first anniversary," I said, after a moment's pause.

"Oh! Wow! Congratulations," she said, and we moved on.

I really doubt she's ever asked my sister, whose kids also see this doctor, if she's still married to her husband. I've been married longer; BB was at my sister's wedding. But, hey, my marriage is ephemeral, right? It could end at any time. Unremarked upon, even.

For the record, Dr. G is a very good pediatrician.

~

"Are you twins?"

"…What?"

"You look like twins!"

"No, we're not related."

"Wow! You look just like each other. How crazy is that, huh?"

~

It's just a reflex by now.

We were checking in for a spa day that my mother schedule for us: me, my sister (except technically not my sister, who is always late), and Best Beloved. "Oh, are you all Ruth's daughters?" the receptionist asked.

"No. Laura and I are. [BB] is my wife," I said.

And I could, of course, see her thoughts as they happened:

Oh, they're lesbians!

I am entirely and sincerely pro-gay, and so is my workplace. I voted against Prop 8! Yay, gay people!

…But what do I say now?

"Oh," she said, straightening up a little.

Wait, that sounds dismissive. Say something else! Say a better thing! Say the right thing!

"That's great!" she said.

I glanced up at her. "Yes, it is." And then I went back to texting my sister to find out where she was.

~

"Are you twins?"

"No. She's my wife."

"…Oh. Um."

~

Straight people, I will tell you a secret: there is no right response. Just listen and get on with your lives. I've learned to.
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
A long time ago, I had a lot to say in rants about how people were DOING IT WRONG and should NOT WRITE THIS WAY but rather THIS OTHER WAY. (And, if I'm gonna be honest, those rants are all still there, just waiting for me to type them. Let me tell you about the Should You Use the Pluperfect? flowchart I made the other day. Or not, because honestly, TFV, nobody wants to hear that.) I was all, "People! Write better!"

Sorry, past me -- you were wrong. What I should have been saying was, "People! Write more! (Even if it's really bad!)"

Because, yes, I still think the word sensitized needs to be left to lie fallow for a decade. Where it can maybe cavort with its friend, lave. I still sometimes want to ban thesauruses. I still feel like maybe those weeping cocks should see a doctor, or perhaps a therapist.

But these days, I also think we're lucky to have those stories. I probably won't be reading them, but I'm happy they exist, for three reasons.

Writing is good. People are writing! For fun! Good news! Seriously, if I had spent more time writing down the hideously painful Mary Sue fan fiction I dreamed up when I was a wee teen, I might have spent less time on, you know, drugs and sucking the cocks of random strangers without protection. I'm always happy to see someone making better choices than I made.

Maybe you're now saying, "Okay, fine, but do they have to post those Mary Sue stories where I can see them?" If so, you're being a dick. Cut it out. The Archive of Our Own is not the Archive of Just What You Want to Read. It's the Archive of Fanworks. Is it a fanwork? Then it belongs there! And if you're incapable of scrolling past something, it's not that the Mary Sue writers are in the wrong place, it's that you are. (Also, I'm sorry, but I don't know where would be the right place for you. Everywhere is going to have stuff you don't like, because tastes are individual and all that. Maybe the internet just isn't for you.)

Crap is important. Sturgeon's law is right, but it misses the point. Ninety percent of everything has to be shit. That's how you get the 10% that's good.

Your favorite writers, fan fiction, published fiction, published fan fiction, whatever -- they didn't start out writing that way. There was a time when they wrote unspeakably awful crap. Writing unspeakably awful crap is how you learn to write only moderately awful crap, and then eventually maybe decent stuff, and then, if you're lucky, actually good things. There are not two classes of people, those who are good writers and those who are bad writers, so that all you have to do to have only great stuff is scare away all the bad writers. There are people who used to write bad stuff, and there are people who are currently writing bad stuff, and there's a lot of crossover between the two. Some of the second category will one day be the first category. (Also, tomorrow some of the first category will move back to the second. No one hits it out of ballpark every time.) If you want to read new good stuff tomorrow, encourage the people writing bad stuff today. (And also maybe help them get betas. Betas are great.)

And, no, those people don't have to hide their work away until it gets better. They can share it with anyone who wants to read it. If they want to post it, they should. Wanting to is reason enough. (Although if you want another reason -- posting is how community happens. Which is how things like betas happen. People who share their work get better faster.)

Crap is a sign of life. New bad stories are a sign that this genre -- fan fiction, the genre I adore the most - is alive and well. Bad stories mean new people are trying to write in it, and people are trying to do new things with it, and maybe new people are joining the audience, too. When only the best and most popular are writing in a genre, it's on its deathbed. (See: Westerns and Louis L'Amour.) I want this genre to be here forever, because I want to read it forever. So I'm happy that teenagers are posting Mary Sue stories to the Archive of Our Own.

Does that mean you have to be happy? Nope. I can't make you do anything. (I can think you're wrong, but hey, being wrong on the internet is a time-honored tradition among our people.) But when you start making fun of a writer and bullying her in the comments of her story, simply because she's writing something you think is bad and embarrassing, well, that's when I say: shut the fuck up or get the fuck out. Because she's not a problem. She's just doing what we're all doing -- having fun, playing with words, throwing something out there on the internet to see if other people like it.

But you. You're trying to stop someone from having fun. You're trying to shame people into not writing anymore. And that, folks -- that is the definition of shitty behavior. (Mary Sue fantasies, on the other hand, are just the definition of human behavior.) It's bad for people, it's bad for the future, and it's bad for the genre. So you're a problem.

Please go away, problems, and let all of us write out our ids out in peace.

(And, yes, this was triggered by one specific story and some of the responses it's getting on the AO3. But it applies to all of them, all the fan fiction we don't like out there. Okay, I'm done.)

T-shirts!

Oct. 23rd, 2013 10:35 am
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
Okay, this is totally self-interested. Shinny Studio is considering printing a run of t-shirts with this on them:

Steel City Penguins


And I really, really want one. But she can only print them if she gets enough orders. So if you're a Penguins fan (or, I guess, just a fan of helmeted lowercase penguins), check out the order information post. (More pictures there, including an actual shirt on an actual person!)
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
This story was written for [personal profile] pentapus's Treehouse Reversebang challenge - she drew artwork for me, and I wrote a story inspired by it.

The unicorn came as a mild surprise. The length - the story was supposed to be a thousand words long - came as a more major one, and I'd like to thank pentapus for being patient as I battled my way to the end of this.

This was an incredible challenge, delightful to do, and even if you don't read the story, you should at least visit to see the artwork, which I have mentally titled "Sidney Crosby Confronts an Unimpressed Unicorn."

Highway Unicorn (20133 words) by thefourthvine, pentapus
Chapters: 4/4
Fandom: Hockey RPF
Rating: Explicit
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Relationships: Sidney Crosby/Evgeni Malkin
Additional Tags: Urban Fantasy, Treehouse Reversebang
Summary:

He saw the horn poking out from the pony's head, golden and straight and somehow delicate-looking despite the empty tuna can hanging off of it. The unicorn horn. "The fuck," Sidney said out loud, his eye skipping from the horn over the greyish-white body to the graceful gold-toned hooves.

thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
Dear Author Person,

We matched! So basically know that I am extremely fond of you already, because clearly you are a person of taste and discernment, loving one of these small fandoms as much as I do.

I am, as always, going to provide you with all the details, because that's what I hope to get from my recipient. But if that's not you, please tap out of this letter now. Just know that I really, really cannot handle child or animal harm or death, and I love you for volunteering for one of my tiny fandoms. See you on the 25th!

Me! )

Baseball RPF, Jose Fernandez/Yasiel Puig )

Basketball RPF, Magic Johnson/Larry Bird )

Flotsam, by David Wiesner )

Want You Bad (song), Narrator/Narrator's girlfriend )
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
Over on Twitter, people had questions about hockery RPF fandom folks, so we put together a poll. (When in doubt, TICKYBOXES. That is my motto.) If you've read/watched/listened to hockey RPF fanworks, please come take the poll! (And if you know anyone who's in the fandom, please tell them about it, too. Some data good, more data better.)
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
Okay, so a recent casual mention of blanket permission statements on Twitter taught me that:
  1. There are a lot of authors who would love to be podficced who don't have blanket permission statements. (If you're in this boat: a permissions statement doesn't guarantee anything, but the lack of one certainly lessens your chances considerably.)
  2. Many of these authors don't necessarily know what a BP statement is, or how to write one. (Spoiler: I'm going to cover this in considerable detail starting in about three paragraphs.)
  3. A lot of people don't know that podficcers keep track of who has a blanket permission statement and refer to the list regularly. (In other words, you basically only have to do it once, and then you're done unless something changes. Good deal! Also, good idea to check to be sure you're on it if you want to be.)
  4. A lot of people don't know how important having a statement - any statement, even if it's "no" or "maybe" - is to other fans.
So I thought I would talk about permission statements, since they are the greatest thing ever and I want everyone to have one.

Many years ago, I used to have the following experience:
  1. PM arrives from a person I don't know.
  2. I cringe and recoil and try to pretend it hasn't arrived, because PMs freak me right out.
  3. I avoid with varying levels of success for varying levels of time.
  4. Eventually I open it (maybe).
  5. It is a podfic request! That's awesome!
  6. ...Now I have to PM the podficcer back. Oh no.
  7. Sometimes I do. Sometimes I don't. Because communication is hard.
  8. If I don't, guilt.
  9. If I do, podfic!
It was an elaborate and moderately horrible process, obviously made that way entirely by my own idiosyncratic brain, and I loved that podfic happened but wished there was a way to tell podficcers to JUST DO IT PLEASE DON'T ASK JUST DO IT. For a while I tried putting JUST DO IT in my profile, but my profile was wordy and no one ever read all the way through it, so it didn't help (that I know of).

And then someone told me of the concept of blanket permission. And it was like the sun had risen. There was a way! A way to say yes, fine, go transform with my very best wishes, no need to ask! So I left a comment on some long-ago post saying so, and my relationship with podfic became a guilt- and stress-free one. Bliss.

Blanket permission is wonderful, is what I'm saying. Since I know podficcers now, I know that the stress was not entirely or even mostly on my side during my long, drawn-out struggles with my brain; the podficcer, who I used to sort of blithely assume had sent the PM and then forgotten about it, was actually probably checking her email reeeeeally regularly and hoping hoping hoping and oh god just GET BACK TO ME I just want to KNOW either WAY oh god are you even ALIVE? So blanket permission saves considerable wear and tear on both sides.

I am a big fan, basically. So, first, here's an example blanket permission statement. If you're already sold on permissions statements, go write one or modify this or just copy it and add it to your AO3 profile or wherever else you post your stories (if you comment here saying you've done so, I can make sure you're on the BP list, even!) and you're done.

"If you want to podfic any of my stories, go right ahead - no need to ask permission. Just please link back to the original story when you post your work, and let me know so I can go revel in whatever awesome thing you've done. Same goes for art or other creative or transformative works you might feel inspired to do. Just don't use my work for anything commercial, please!"

If you want to know more, or you aren't sure, or you have special circumstances, read on!

If you're thinking, yes, but I don't actually just want to say yes to everything, fear not! Blanket permission is a misnomer. (Or, okay, it isn't - it just means "this is the statement that covers everything you need to know." But it sort of sounds like you have to say yes to everything, no limits, no conditions when you give one. You don't!) You can say "sure, do what thou wilt" in one, but you can also be more specific. It's more like negotiated consent, actually - you say what you're comfortable with and what you want and need, and then a podficcer who is thinking about doing one of your stories can read it and decide if it matches what she wants and needs, making the process safer and easier for everyone.

So, for example, you can say, "Feel free to podfic anything except any story I've tagged juvenilia." Or you can say, "Feel free to podfic anything, but if it's posted archive-locked, I would like the podfic to also be archive-locked." Or whatever! State your conditions up front, basically.

You can even say, "I'm very open to podfic, and I will mostly say yes, but I still would like you to ask." This seems like a useless statement, but it includes two very important points: you are open to podfic and you will probably say yes. Many podficcers spend time trying to figure out if an author is potentially podfic-friendly before they ask permission. I have seen people do a LOT trying to figure this out, including:
  • Checking the blanket permission list
  • Checking all the author's profiles and masterlists everywhere, hoping one got missed (it happens, which is why it's a good idea for you to check, too)
  • Checking to see if there are other podfics of the author's work (which means she gave permission before and thus might again)
  • Checking to see if the author has pro-podfic friends
  • Asking the author's pro-podfic friends or betas if they know how the author feels about it
  • Asking other podficcers to see if they've ever asked the author for permission
  • And so on
Seriously. This process is a tense one for podficcers. Many of them work really hard to alleviate that tension somewhat before they take the leap of emailing a stranger for permission to do a fanwork. (Many of them have given up entirely and only podfic people with permissions statements, which is why not having one really reduces your chances of getting podficced.) So just saying somewhere public that you're into it is useful.

Your blanket permission statement can even look like this: "Please do not podfic any of my stories." (Or, in other words, a blanket no.) If you're going to say no to every request you get, why not just say that no in front and spare everyone, including you, the extra work? Plus, if you put yourself on the blanket no list, it will apply forever. Podficcers keep track. (Truth. When I started modifying my blanket permission statement, I was surprised to discover that the exact comment I'd left on that long-ago post had been carefully copy-pasted to Fanlore, which started years after that comment was made.) If you make a public statement of blanket no, you're done with podfic (unless you change your mind), and you've made everyone's lives easier. GO THERE, is my suggestion.

If you have other questions, I'm here to help. (Or more likely just ask people who know the answers, actually, but I stand willing to do that.) I want everyone to have a permissions statement, so we can have a world of blissfully consensual transformative works! (And don't forget to comment if you've added one, or if you've got one already but you're not on the list.)

YAY PERMISSIONS.

Thanks to [twitter.com profile] ParakaPodfic for reading over this and giving me a podficcer perspective on it. Further viewpoints welcome, of course, from podficcers, authors, lurkers, fanknitters, all kinds of people - comment away. But please don't say "podfic is creepy" or similar. I want this to be a place of fanwork acceptance. Thank you!
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
SO. Let us say there is a person who lives in Colorado who really really wants to learn to vid. (This person is not me. I do not live in Colorado.) How - how does this person go about this? Are there Colorado-based vidders who can mentor? Someone who does email or chat support for newbies? Online resources that are helpful? What takes a person from Not Vidding to Vidding? (I really want her to learn to vid because, um, she's going to make a vid I want to see. Look, a lot of fandom is enlightened self-interest, okay?)

All suggestions welcome!
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
I've been feeling snippety lately. Probably because I'm ramping up for the inevitable [livejournal.com profile] sixteenwins payoff post; my predictions for these NHL Playoffs weren't exactly golden, either. (Though I do have a fifty-fifty chance of getting the Cup winner right. Go me?) So, as I did before (with inverted tropes and kidfic), I'm doing little bits from stories about marriage. (And one kind of longer bit, because I couldn't figure out what to cut. Snippets are hard on wordy folk.) One of last year's snippets turned into a real story; maybe one of these will do the same.

In the meantime: four snapshots of marriage stories. All hockey RPF.

ETA: Since I am an AWFUL PERSON, I forgot to thank my betas! [personal profile] thehoyden beta-read the whole thing, [personal profile] anna_unfolding was the Anze/Bobby beta, and [personal profile] shihadchick was the Oilers beta. And, of course, Best Beloved was the alpha-reader. Thanks, all.

Intentional but still stupid marriage! )

Post-hockey marriage! )

Secret divorce! )

REALLY secret marriage! )
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
Hey, does anyone remember the greatest Nike commercial ever made? It turns out there's more of it! Like, a whole documentary of it! Except it's set in the past, not the future, and the dudes are some guys named Magic Johnson and Larry Bird.

Or, to put it another way - I have witnessed both cinematic greatness and an actual soulbonding story in real life. And it was called:

Magic & Bird: A Courtship of Rivals

Okay, so the title should already suggest that we are in for something incredibly special here. How often do legitimate sports documentary people select the word "courtship" for the titles of their works? NOT OFTEN is my guess, but I think the discussion around the table immediately after viewing the rough cut went something like this:

Marketer: How 'bout we call it Magic & Bird: A Love Story?
Producer: Accurate, but it lacks punch.
Director: I kind of want a basketball reference in the title.
Marketer: You mean a basketball reference besides the names of Magic Johnson and Larry Bird? You don't think that's already kind of enough?
Director: Well, basketball is one of the major elements of this story.
Marketer: ...I guess.
Producer: I know! Magic & Bird: A Basketball Love Story!
Marketer, cringing: That's a great option, but let's keep looking.
Associate: Hey, how about Magic & Bird: A Courtship of Rivals? See, it's got COURT right in the name, and also it doesn't run the risk of getting shelved in YA fiction.
Director, wild-eyed and feverish: Brilliant. Brilliant. God, that's everything I wanted. It expresses the totality of it, the substance, the quintessence, if you will...
[Awkward pause while no one looks at the director.]
Marketer: So, the next time we make one of these, it's definitely not going to be about two dudes in love, right?
Producer: Absolutely not. Next up is some weird hockey thing involving the Blackhawks.

I really can't see any other way this could have gone; I thought, before I watched it, that the title was over the top, but if anything it was understated.

And know this: it was not my intention to livetweet my viewing of this thing, but I was kind of overcome. Many times. The first time during the opening credits, which was when Magic and Bird began talking about their overpowering love. And I entered some kind of state for the entire last half-hour. I lost control of my ability to punctuate, write in lower case, and, in some cases, breathe. (If you want to view my total collapse, I storified my tweets, with notes. This contains spoilers, although not any spoilers beyond "And really bad stuff happened, but LOVE TRIUMPHED," which is basically a spoiler for like 40% of fiction. And also this totally true documentary.)

If you don't want to read all the tweets, though, I can give you the gist with just two of them. Near the beginning, I said:

Hey did you know Larry Bird and Magic Johnson soulbonded at Worlds? Because I think this documentary just told me they soulbonded at Worlds.

The reason I tweeted this is that LARRY BIRD AND MAGIC JOHNSON SOULBONDED AT WORLDS. (And then Larry Bird rejected his bondmate, that dick. Though the bond endures! He comes through in the end!) The documentary essentially comes right out and says so. Like, I turned to Best Beloved and said, "I've read this story. It was Patrick Kane/Jonathan Toews, but it was this exact story."

And then, towards the end, I tweeted this direct quote from the actual documentary, which is a factual type thing:

“Decades removed from the height of their rivalry, their bond endures. Two impossibly different men with a connection only they can fully grasp.”

I mean, this isn't just a love story. It's also about the rise of the NBA, and about race relations in the US, and obviously about HIV and AIDS. And it's good and informative on all those topics. But also it's about these two dudes, Magic Johnson and Larry Bird, who were awesome at basketball. And, oh yeah, totally soulbonded.

No matter how much I talk about this, I can't do it justice, because you have to see it to believe. Even if you don't like sports. Even if you have no idea who Magic Johnson and Larry Bird are. Even if you are a member of an alien race or an NSA employee monitoring this for exceptionally improbable national security reasons. Watch this documentary. It will astound you. (And my thanks to all the people who insisted I see this. It was even more than you promised it would be. SO MUCH MORE.)
thefourthvine: A picture of my kid looking solemn. (Earthling solemn green)
The earthling is four, and he's loved the Pigeon for half his life. This is an enduring love, is what I'm saying. And during all that time, he's believed that Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus is a basically unfair book. The Pigeon should get to drive the bus, is his feeling. It's not like there are any good reasons why not, beyond what a bus driver who didn't even stick around to drive his own bus wants.

But recently we bought the earthling the Pigeon app, and that has taken his Pigeon-bus anguish to new heights. You can change a lot of things about the story in the app, but you can't change the one thing the earthling desperately wants to. No matter what, you have to keep telling the Pigeon no.

I can only conclude that this strikes the earthling as terribly, fundamentally wrong. He's complained to us. He's protested to the app. Every time he plays the app, he gets his stuffed Pigeon out and lets him drive all the cars and trucks he owns, carefully playing through his ideal scenario, which goes like this:

"Can I drive the car transporter?" Pigeon says.

"Yes, you can. I'll help you."

"I'm so happy! This is the best day ever. I'm driving the car transporter!" Pigeon says.

This is an actual transcription, word-for-word, of one of his recent rounds of Pigeon Gets to Drive the Things. (Including the dialogue tags, because the earthling knows you have to specify who's talking.)

So it was against this background of extreme concern over rampant Pigeon-related injustice that I uttered the word "petition" to the earthling yesterday.

"What's petition?" he asked.

I tried to explain. "A petition is a letter you write to someone, asking for something you think should happen. And you sign it, and other people who agree with you sign it, and it's a way of showing that lots of people feel this way."

"Oh," he said, thinking. "Can we write a petition?"

"You have to have a thing you want to happen," I told him. "Like better lunches at school."

"Or the Pigeon to drive the bus?" he asked. I agreed that that is a thing you could write a petition about. "Let's do that," he said.

"But you need a reason," I said. "A good reason why the Pigeon should drive the bus."

"It will make him happy," he said. He thought some more. "He keeps asking and no one ever says yes. You have to say no even if you want yes."

"Any more?" I asked.

He thought some more. "It makes me sad to see him always get said no," he told me.

"You mean you'd rather see him get what he's dreamed of and worked for?" I asked, interpreting some.

"YES," the earthling said.

Those are perfectly good reasons, in my opinion. So, yeah, I made a petition for the earthling. And I'm asking you to sign it. Tell your friends, tell your family: we want the Pigeon to ride the bus. He's been asking for ten years and no one has EVER said yes. It's time to figure out how to make it happen.

Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus!

(Note: You can sign from anywhere in the world. You don't have to be in the US.)
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
Fastening One Heart to Every Falling Thing (51519 words) by thefourthvine
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: Hockey RPF
Rating: Explicit
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Relationships: Sidney Crosby/Evgeni Malkin, Evgeni Malkin/Alexander Ovechkin
Additional Tags: Alternate Universe, Alternate Universe - Soulbond, Trope Subversion/Inversion
Summary:

Geno can't. Sidney won't.

thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
I wrote one story for Yuletide 2012, for the doughty [personal profile] shrift, who gave me the best prompts in the world.

This Side of Paradise (17031 words) by thefourthvine
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: The Losers (2010)
Rating: Explicit
Warning: No Archive Warnings Apply
Relationships: Carlos "Cougar" Alvarez/Jake Jensen
Summary:

"I'm a good boyfriend," Cougar said.

I tell you what: in the planning stages, this story seemed like it would be fun and short, but it really only delivered on the fun front. I blame Jensen. Key lesson learned this Yuletide: If you want to write a Yuletide story that's less than 10k, don't use the motormouth's point of view. Use the PoV of the laconic guy with the sarcastic eyebrows. I mean, Cougar doesn't go into lengthy digressions about rude Canadians and the etiquette of three-ways and Star Trek.

And speaking of geeky movies, I totally salute [personal profile] thehoyden and [personal profile] frostfire for pointing out, during my Fucking Chris Evans Is in Fucking Everything breakdown, that he's never been in Star Trek. (And I salute [personal profile] frostfire for this conversation via IM while I was deep in the middle of writing this:

Frostfire: Hi! How are you?
Me: WEEPING BECAUSE SPOCK.
Frostfire: Did you watch Wrath of Khan again?
Me: DANTE'S PRAYER.
Frostfire: Awwwwwww.

Fandom: the place where people will always understand when you're sobbing incoherently about how he TOUCHES HIS CHAIR OH GOD.)

So, anyway. This story, thanks to Why Jake Can't Shut Up Jensen, became so long that I was in the painful position of not even being able to complain on Twitter about how long it was, because that might de-anon me. But it was a barrel of fun to write, for real.

And Nestra, Norah, Queue, and thehoyden were heroes of Yuletide for beta-reading this with such aplomb. Thanks, guys! Next year, I will try for shorter, and also way fewer run-on sentences. I swear.
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
I was going to do this as one general end-of-Yuletide wrap-up, the way I usually do, but the authors aren't revealed yet, and I don't want to wait any longer to brag about my gifts. So, hey: I got cool stuff! I got two fantastic stories:

My Only Self (4587 words) by Anonymous
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: Space Girl - The Imagined Village
Rating: Explicit
Warning: No Archive Warnings Apply
Relationships: Space Girl/Servo Robot Rocket Pilot
Characters: Space Girl, Servo Robot Rocket Pilot
Summary:

In the aftermath of a disastrous accident, Space Girl and her robot find a new understanding of each other—and possibly, forgiveness.



This is a story for the song Space Girl, by the Imagined Village, and it is wonderful. (It's also the first time I've read my Yuletide story and had suspicions about who wrote it.) Even if you've never heard the song (although I maintain that it is well worth a listen), if you like robots or technological sex or human-machine interaction, this is a story that is designed for you. (Well, technically I guess it was designed for me. Still.) Read!

And because I am the Luckiest Yuletider, I also got:

this obsessive idea (2847 words) by Anonymous
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: Literary RPF
Rating: Teen And Up Audiences
Warning: No Archive Warnings Apply
Relationships: Charles Baudelaire/Jeanne Duval
Characters: Charles Baudelaire, Édouard Manet, Jeanne Duval
Summary:

Paris, 1863. Édouard's new painting is finished, and he must decide if he should submit it to the Salon for consideration. Charles can't bring himself to care.



All those of you who have, through the years, looked at my ridiculous Charles Baudelaire prompt and wished someone else would write it: SOMEONE DID WRITE IT. And whoever it was did an amazing job. This story is incredible. Beautifully written, and it perfectly integrates the demons and terrors of Baudelaire's imagination with reality, so neither he nor you is ever sure what's real. So, so great.

And both of these stories deserve way more love than they've gotten. PLEASE GO LOVE MY STORIES THE WAY I DO.
thefourthvine: Art from Forsaken, with the text "I know politics bore you." (Politicis)
My son is in preschool right now. Since Newtown, I've been staring at his school, at his building, at his classmates, and thinking of all those kids who are dead now. I don't think any parent can help that.

And, hey, I am willing to do whatever it takes to stop that from happening again. Suggestions I've heard from gun control proponents: Reduce gun access, reduce rate of fire, increase waiting periods, make smart guns (with biometric chips to prevent firing by someone other than owner) mandatory.

Suggestion I've heard again and again from gun fanatics: Arm teachers. When every teacher has a gun, every child will be safe.

And that's what I want to talk about today. )
thefourthvine: Art from Forsaken, with the text "I know politics bore you." (Politicis)
(TW: abortion and the politics thereof.)

(Additional warning: serious business.)

Recently, I tweeted this:

"If you’re pro-life, you’d better also be pro-welfare. If you vote pro-life but against welfare, you’re actually pro-child-misery."

I assume this requires no explanation, but here's a brief one. Women know when they shouldn't have a baby. Many of them, when that is true, seek abortion. If your vote prevents them from getting it, you've forced a child to be born in a bad situation - just to name two examples, that child is at much higher risk of poverty and at much greater risk of living in a household affected by domestic violence. (Yes, you've also inflicted a great deal of harm on the woman herself, but if you're pro-life, you're okay with that. So we're focusing on the child, here. The person you claim you want to protect.) Welfare is one of the means we use to protect children in bad situations. If you simultaneously vote to stop abortion and to cut welfare (and, I might add, other government services), then what you're really saying is, "I'm absolutely in favor of children suffering. I'm entirely willing to increase the number of children in harm's way in this country, and I'm also entirely willing to make sure there's no help for them. Because that's easier and better for me."

In short: congratulations, you're a fucking asshole.

So tweeting this was interesting. I got a lot of FUCK YEAH type replies. I also got some replies from righties. And my discussions with them all fell apart at the same place.

"But the woman should take responsibility!"

"The woman should work to support her kid!"

"The man should stay and help raise his child!"

Yup. Every conversation fell apart as soon as the righty used the word "should."

Here is a true fact: fuck should. Should has no place in policy. We make laws about what is actually happening, not what would happen in an ideal universe, because, newsflash: we don't live in an ideal universe.

So I would point out that hey, this isn't how the world actually works. In reality, men leave. In reality, women can't simultaneously support their kids and pay for childcare on a minimum-wage income. In reality, a woman forced to have a child is in a bad situation, and it is likely to get worse, and if we have a law that put her in that place, that's on all of us. (And in case you think I'm just talking about abortion, and if we just allow abortion we can cut the safety net no problem: until we fix education, racism, abuse, addiction, and poverty, among other major issues, we've still got to step in. Because we owe it to our fellow humans not to let them suffer needlessly when we can help. The end.)

And the social conservative would either step out of the conversation entirely, or go into a sort of a critical error of the brain, except the blue screen of death in this case was just the repetition of the words "personal responsibility" and "should."

Social conservatives appear to think that if they just make laws that perfectly reflect their ideal universe, that universe will somehow be willed into being.

This hasn't worked yet. It's never going to work. It's fucking stupid. And these conservatives actually already know that. (Proof: most of these people are Christians, and Christians are supposed to be into peace and against killing, and yet I never once heard any of them argue that we should abolish the military.) They're just using their talisman words, "should" and "responsibility," to avoid confronting the fact that they, themselves, are personally responsible for the suffering of children.

So this has resulted in the formation of my new rule of political discourse: If you can't phrase your political argument without the word "should," you can't participate in the discussion at all. Seriously. Go away. You're done with politics; you need to take up model airplane building or knitting or something. (Tell the plane that the parts SHOULD be easy to put together! Tell the wool that it SHOULD NOT tangle!)

It's time for people who make some attempt to see reality to design policy.
thefourthvine: A weird festive creature. Text: "Yuletide squee!" (Yuletide Woot!)
Dear Author Person,

We matched! So, hey, here's some good news: three of my four requests this year are five minute fandoms - you can master all three of them in the time it takes to eat a sandwich. I hope that is a joy and a comfort to you, especially if we matched on the fourth request, which is, um, slightly more complicated.

I am, as always, going to provide you with all the details, because that's what I always hope to get from my recipient. But if that's not you, please tap out of this letter now. Just know that I really, really cannot handle child or animal harm or death, and I love you for volunteering for one of my tiny fandoms. See you on the 25th!

Me! )

This Is Where It Starts )

CinderFella -Todrick Hall )

Space Girl, by the Imagined Village )

Literary RPF (Charles Baudelaire) )
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
This is a recs set with a special purpose: to give some entertainment to [profile] thetankisclean, whose three-year-old son, Gus, has brain cancer. Obviously this is not a thing I can fix or even help with, but kidfic is her happy place. So I am recommending some long, happy kidfics for her; at least this way she'll have something to read on the many sleepless nights in her near future. (So far, by the way, the news on Gus is basically all good, or at least all the news that followed "he has brain cancer." I'm hoping hard that things stay good for Gus. And if you pray, [profile] thetankisclean has asked that people please pray for him to reach ten healthy and strong and relapse-free.)

The Only Fan Fiction Ever to Make Jeweled Teeth Endearing. (Note: Jeweled Teeth Are NOT Endearing.) The Place of That Desire, by [archiveofourown.org profile] yekoc. Swimming RPF, Ryan Lochte/Michael Phelps.

For those of you who, like me, were not really paying attention to the 2012 Olympics, let me assure you: Ryan Lochte is an appalling human being. This dude recently picked Auburn to win a college football game between Texas A&M and LSU, so we can see that he is not the brightest brick in the Duplo box. He has a signature word, and it's such an awful one that I refuse to type it here because I might teach my autocorrect terrible habits. He once tweeted "A Qm" (complete, total tweet) and people favorited the hell out of it as vintage Lochte at the very peak of his communications prowess.

And that's not even getting into his - attire issues. I mean, okay, I knew he had some weird thing about jeweled "grills," but I managed to persuade myself that this must merely mean buttons or maybe Elton John type sunglasses until I was in the middle of this story, when I could resist no longer. I googled. And then I bowed my head and WEPT FOR HUMANITY. (Don't google. If you haven't seen it, DON'T GOOGLE. Just know that he wears bejeweled mouthpieces and be grateful that the phenomenon hasn't spread to other sports. Or, if it has already spread to other sports, don't tell me about it.) And then I showed the picture to Best Beloved so we could weep a little more together. (TFV Marriage Tip #121: Spend a little time each day being mutually appalled together.)

But when we were done, I wiped my tears and kept reading, because this story is fantastic. I have a special love for stories that manage to make seriously disastrous people lovable without erasing any of their problematic elements. And I basically worship this story for convincing me that Ryan Lochte, Ryan Lochte, would be adorable with a baby. And good with a baby. And an actual quality parent. And that he's - yeah, okay, lovable.

Frankly, this story is not just sweet and adorable, and it doesn't just have its best scene take place in a pool, it's also deeply inspiring. At least if you are the kind of person (me) who can be inspired by the discovery that even profoundly flawed human beings can still be reasonably awesome ones. And if that's not enough for you, this has perhaps the best coming out scene in all of recorded fan fiction. At least if you like your coming out scenes the way I do. (My impression of coming out was forever warped by my own experience of it, which was notable for the following conversation between my mother and sister:

My sister, cranky because seriously don't talk to her in the morning she's a fuzzy ball of snit until ten: Are we out of milk?
My mother, on the phone to me: Your sister's a lesbian.
My sister: Fine. I NEED MILK FOR MY CEREAL.

If you're going to come out, and you're worried about the response you might get, I encourage you to practice on my sister in the morning. Okay, really any time, but you'll get much more amusing results if you start early.)

Location of the mother: Absent. But, I mean, this is a character who had unprotected sex with Ryan Lochte, so I can't think anyone would be surprised.

The One That Leaves Me Wishing I Could Download All the Adorable Photos Taken During the Story. Whyyyyy Can't I Make Photos Appear with Just the Power of My Brain? I Swear I Would Use My Power Only for Good! Enough to Crush Your Veins, by [personal profile] doctor_denmark. Hockey RPF, Jeff Skinner/Eric Staal.

When this story first came out, I had several late-night arguments with people about it. And that is definitely a sign of a quality story: people, some of whom have CHILDREN and all of whom have to get up in the morning, spending precious sleep time a) reading a story and b) communicating with friends in other locations who are also up way too late reading the same story. (My father, when I was little, used to tell me about a strange time in our country's history when almost everyone watched the SAME TV SHOWS at the SAME TIME. It was like the world's least social party, the way he described it. "That'll never happen again, of course," he said. If he were alive today, I would tell him that it still does happen. Sort of. In the sense of several thousand people all reading the same pornographic fan fiction story at the same time and mutually shrieking about it via email and Twitter. The thing about my dad is that he would probably have found that inspiring proof of humanity's basic amazingness.)

Anyway. So basically this is the story that put nanny AUs in a box marked done for me, because I'm never going to be able to read all the way through another one without taking this one out and reading it again. It is GREAT. It is CLASSIC. And it works for me - well, okay, first it works for me because the toddler OC is an actual toddler. (I cannot read stories featuring alien toddlers from another dimension. Unless of course they are billed that way. Which reminds me: why don't people write Vulcan toddlers more often? WHERE IS THE VULCAN TODDLER FIC?) But mostly it works because it takes an abused, overused plot element (two people who really need to talk to each other and yet don't) and perfects it. This is how that's supposed to be done, is basically what I take away from this story: two people being idiots, yes, but because of reasons! It makes all the difference.

And, oh, there is so much glorious stuff here. I don't want to spoil it for you, but trust me: if this is the kind of thing you like, then you will basically want to wallow in this story, roll around in it, maybe print out a copy so you can put hearts in the margins in some places. Not that I have done any of those things. (Except I do re-read this basically every time I'm sick, which, given that I have my very own germ vector, means I've re-read it at least 20 times since it was posted. In April. One area of raising a toddler where this story does not achieve realism is in the area of constant illness, but I just assume Eric and Jeff and Joey all have superhuman immune systems, which are probably issued to you free through public health care up in Canada.)

Location of the mother: Present (albeit temporarily in another country)! A good parent who is ACTUALLY INVOLVED IN HER CHILD'S LIFE WHAT IS THIS MADNESS.

The One That Confirms My Theory That Airports Were Put in This World to Test Us to Destruction. Don't You Shake Alone, by [personal profile] dira. Generation Kill, Brad Colbert/Nate Fick.

I always feel like I'm cheating when I recommend a story by Dira. Everyone knows she's good by now, right? Everyone who would even consider reading a lengthy Generation Kill based kidfic did so immediately after she posted it, right? It's like: Dira wrote a good story. In other news, Neil deGrasse Tyson is a basically perfect human being and this Labrador Retriever puppy is cute enough to make your teeth hurt.

But in the end, I don't recommend a story based on whether I think there's an English-reading fan anywhere in the solar system who is unaware of it; I recommend a story because a) I want to write about it and b) I want Best Beloved to read it. (She refuses to read stories I go on about at length unless I actually sit down and write about them. This is the motivation for like 90% of the recommendations I've made in the past four years. TFV Marriage Tip #382: Know how to motivate your partner, and then use that knowledge to make her do things she actually wants to do anyway.)

So. This story is incredible. And not just because it's frankly adorable kidfic set against a background of realistic PTSD, which is not something most writers could manage. This story - like, I read this and I cannot believe that Dira doesn't have children, because she depicts, perfectly and clearly, the complete sea change a new baby brings to your life, and how being a new parent is kind of like - well, in birth classes they talk about "pain with a purpose," because the purpose is supposed to make all the difference. As far as labor goes, this is bullshit. Labor pain is pain. (It's pain with an END, which is way more important than a purpose, at least to me.) But being the parent of a new baby actually is pain with a purpose, and the purpose is making you attach so fiercely to a tiny helpless human that you would cheerfully kill hundreds of people to protect the useless larva that has kept you from sleeping or doing any uninterrupted tasks for the past three months. If human beings were intelligently designed, it was by someone with a massively warped sense of humor.

And if there was ever a fandom designed to underscore the warped nature of human reproduction and development, Generation Kill is that fandom. No one gets how fucked up basically everything is like Marines, is what I'm saying. Plus, the fundamentals of baby care involve a lot of sleep deprivation and random bodily fluids. Again, sort of the wheelhouse of the US Marines. (I'd suggest everyone hire a Marine as a babysitter, but it would have a deleterious effect on the vocabulary of the next generation.)

So this story is just fundamentally right. Plus, you know, hot, sweet, gorgeous, perfect - enough said GO READ.

Location of the mother: Planned absence.

The One That Proves That What Every Parent Really Needs Is Superhuman Senses and Magical Powers. I - Find This Unfair. Kindred, by [livejournal.com profile] maldoror_gw. Naruto, Gaara/Rock Lee.

Yes, okay, technically this is a sequel (although you could read it as a standalone, but why in god's name would you want to?) to Diplomatic Relations. I'm recommending it anyway because:
  1. It is a great story in its own right.

  2. If you haven't read Diplomatic Relations yet, that's a tragedy, and if you want to live a tragedy that is your choice and I can't be held responsible. All I can do is try to show you the light.
So. Either you should go read Diplomatic Relations, stopping off if necessary at my original recommendation of it, or you have already done this task (and thus been fitter, happier, and more productive for the past four years) and are ready to move directly on to Kindred. Either way, let me tell you about Kindred.

My own theory for how [livejournal.com profile] maldoror_gw decided to write this story is that she was sitting in her home one day, thoughtfully considering Gaara, as you do, and she suddenly realized there was something even more terrifying to contemplate than Gaara in love: Gaara with a CHILD. Parenting a child. Raising a child! (If you have no idea who Gaara is, it shouldn't hold you back from reading this story, by the way. He's a psychopathic, demon-infested ninja whose childhood consisted entirely of trauma and killing. But as an adult he's really much improved, and some optimistic people even believe he might have a facial expression someday. In short: spacetoaster!) It really is the kind of concept to give you nightmares.

But this story is the exact opposite of a nightmare. Yes, that's in part because Rock Lee, whatever his other faults (mostly excessive enthusiasm and sincerity, and if you don't think sincerity can be a fault, obviously you need to read up on Rock Lee), was basically designed to be a good parent (despite having a traumatic childhood; as far as I can tell from my limited exposure to Naruto, the number of ninjas with traumatic childhoods is all of them). But it's also because Gaara is used to working around his faults, and there is no more accurate description of parenthood than that.

This story is funny, fun, and touching, basically all the things good kidfic should be. Plus it features ninjas in love. I'm not sure how things can ever be better than that. (Okay, maybe if you also added robots? I don't know, it might be overkill, but in my experience robots usually make things better.)

Location of the mother: Deceased, but this is Naruto, where like 80% of adults don't make it past 30, or at least that's how it looks to me from my place of total lack of canon knowledge. (To give you some idea, Rock Lee was orphaned at an early age. Gaara's mother died when he was born and his father died later; you could list "Gaara" as the cause of death for both of them with reasonable accuracy.)
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
It's Yuletide time! And thus time to bring out the Yuletide advice posts.

Every year I try to persuade someone new to Yuletide to sign up for it. I don't always succeed, but I always try. And part of what I offer to support them in the Yuletide hurly-burly is advice on signing up and selecting fandoms. And then I thought: what if there are other people, people who are signing up for the first time even though they are not being harassed by me, who might also want to know this stuff? Anything is possible!

So I am sharing. Selecting fandoms for Yuletide, TFV style.

The central thesis here - my single key piece of advice - is basically DON'T DO WHAT I HAVE DONE. And while I've made mistakes every single year, my first few years I made doozies. Let's discuss my errors, so that you can either learn from them or, you know, just laugh at me. Either one is a totally valid choice.

2004 was my first year, and I signed up in a total panic. I couldn't believe I was doing it, actually signing up for Yuletide. Because - this amazing challenge that actually got me into fandom! And me, who had never actually written any fan fiction! Surely a bad combination. Also I had a high fever. And that's why, instead of actually looking at all the fandoms, I went through the fandom list from the top - this was waaaaay back when, and the fandom list was this drop-down box with a billion options, ordered alphabetically. I just picked the first three fandoms I knew, fandoms that all began with A, and went back to bed.

This was an error. I missed several key steps in the offering process, including:
  • Considering what people might want in that fandom.
  • Considering how it would be to write in that fandom.
  • Imagining what a story in that fandom might actually look like, coming from me.
  • Involving my brain at any point in the process.
This is why I ended up getting assigned All Creatures Great and Small. Which, okay, back then the format for Yuletide fandoms wasn't written in stone the way it is now, and I didn't even know that there was a British TV miniseries based on the books. So I was offering the books. My recipient was requesting the miniseries. Problem! Also the books are these totally heartwarming stories told in a distinctive first person voice. I - do not do heartwarming. Another problem! One I really should have considered before I got my assignment. As I did not, by all rights my first Yuletide should have been a disaster. A fandom mismatch! A fandom I couldn't actually write! Oh god whyyyyyy? CUE PANIC.

I have three people to thank for getting me through that Yuletide: Best Beloved, who read and edited and soothed and supported, [personal profile] laurashapiro, who beta-read the story after BB was through with it, and Cassie, our beloved and much-missed Labrador Retriever, whose lifestyle choices (chew all the things, basically) gave me something to write about. I also have to thank [livejournal.com profile] artyartie, who saved my life by providing a very useful prompt, and who was the best recipient a first-time Yuletider could hope for. (Dear recipients everywhere: if you really want to make your writer's day, come back a year later and say how much you still love your story. [livejournal.com profile] artyartie did that for me, and my confidence as a Yuletider totally soared. Which I needed.)

My take-home lessons from my first Yuletide: Read the whole list of fandoms. Also, get a loved one to review your signup for sanity.

The next year, 2005, I was determined! I would do Yuletide again! I would make fewer mistakes this time! It was a good thing my goal did not involve making no mistakes, let's just say. I downloaded a spreadsheet with all the nominated fandoms on it and eliminated everything I didn't know, followed by everything I couldn't write. Then I considered what was left. This was a much better process. Unfortunately, I missed two key steps, which were:
  • Considering what people might want in the fandom.
  • Remembering that I might be assigned either gen or pairing.
The previous year, I'd been assigned gen. (For which I am eternally grateful to the Great Yuletide Sorter, because I don't think I could have stood it otherwise. I am bad at porn anyway, and given everything else I did wrong that first year, oh god no no no.) I forgot that lots of people, me included, sometimes want fan fiction that has sex in it. I had not, at this point in my fannish career, written any explicit porn. (There are many people who do Yuletide who are only really interested in writing gen or very non-explicit romance. At least some of them game their signups considerably to avoid fandoms where straight up smut is a likely request. I did not do this. This was an error.) And that was how I ended up getting assigned Mr. and Mrs. Smith, with the prompt of "hot het porn." I had never written het. I had never written explicit porn. I had never written anything hot. CUE PANIC.

I survived this Yuletide thanks to Best Beloved, my amazing betas, and my Emergency Yuletide Whining Filter. Best Beloved in particular went above and beyond the call of duty by saying such things as "get her hands on his cock right now" and "I really think you ought to get her skin-tight pants off before they have penis-in-vagina sex" and also reminding me that while I cannot write porn, I can write teasing indefinitely. And [personal profile] queue wins points forever for being the person to point out, gently and kindly, that I had given John two cocks, and this was not canonical.

My take-home lessons from Yuletide 2005: Sometimes people want pairings, and even porn. Also, only write doublecock porn if your recipient specifically requests doublecock porn.

In future years, I learned advanced lessons about considering what kind of time you have, what kind of Yuletide experience you want to have, what access to the source you have. But the basics are pretty simple:
  1. Get to a short list somehow. I go through the entire list of fandoms and delete everything I don't know and then everything I couldn't write, but you can do it however you want.

  2. When you have that short list, look at each one of them. Imagine how you would feel if you got it assigned to you. Imagine opening up your assignment letter and discovering that this is your fandom, that you have only a few weeks to write at least a thousand words in it. Imagine what story you'd write.

  3. Think about what stories a recipient might request. Common requests include:
    • A pairing of any two of the nominated characters. M/m, m/f, and f/f are all options, here. Threesomes are also a possibility, although I think less likely (based entirely on how I've never received a request for one; yes, this is SCIENCE).
    • Background. The history of a character, the history of some institution, how everything got to wherever it is in the canon.
    • Futurefic. How things turn out after the story ends.
    • Something just like canon - another episode, say.
    • Worldbuilding. This is obviously especially likely in any canon that takes place in a world obviously and significantly different than ours.
    Imagine writing each one of these types.

  4. If, after all that, you feel good about it, leave that fandom in. And if you can't imagine writing a story for it, throw it out.
Take whatever is left and divide it into two lists: fandoms for which you must specify characters (always an excellent choice if you're, say, happy to write Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure, but aren't really sure you could hack Bill/Ted's mom) and fandoms for which you can honestly offer any and all characters (because you are happy to write Bill/Ted's mom, or Bill/Billy the Kid, or Socrates/Joan of Arc!). Pick your top five specific-characters fandoms and offer those (or, if you have fewer than five, offer them all). Make the rest your bucket list.

And then PROFIT. Or, okay, don't profit, because this is fan fiction. My point is: click that submit button and go on your merry way. (Until you get your assignment letter a week or two later and inaugurate the great tradition of Yuletide Panic, at least if you're me.)

Anyone else have any tips to share?
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
Sometimes you see something and think, "I want more of this. So much more." And so you make it a Yuletide fandom. And sometimes you see a thing and think, "There is more to this story, and I want to know what it is," and so you make it a Yuletide fandom. This is both of those things. Go ahead, watch. It's better unspoiled, and it's three minutes long.

It's the video for Camille Harp's cover of "I'm on Fire."

Okay, so you've seen it now, right? So, like, there's an obvious narrative here, but what I love is that it doesn't quite work; it doesn't explain everything that we're seeing. THERE ARE SO MANY UNANSWERED QUESTIONS. (And unanswered questions are what a Yuletide fandom needs to thrive! Or at least to get to a thousand words of story.) What does she say to the dude over the phone? It can't be what we're hearing. What exactly does the dude think when he gets there? He's not pissed off and rageful, more rueful, like, well, crap, she got me. Might as well drink some of this alcohol she left for me and study the photo she partly burned and ponder this story that all three of us know so much better than the viewer. And what is this woman? She's wearing a tank top on a cold night and yet is obviously not cold, and also she seems sort of - strange. My own theory is some kind of supernatural deal, here (succubus for ladies?), but there are so many possibilities.

And then there's also the possibility for hot femslash. Which, you know, I am bang alongside. Basically, this is a no-lose Yuletide fandom.

(And even if you aren't interested in Yuletide, still click through so you do not miss the awesome genderswitched cover of "I'm on Fire." You can't tell me that isn't relevant to your interests.)
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
For my second sixteenwins payoff, I had to (Had to! Like it's a chore!) talk about kidfic. And, okay. I have always adored kidfic, but ever since I had a kid of my own, it's been - complicated. I still want all the characters to have all the kids, except the characters who obviously should not be permitted within fifty feet of children, but I have all these - opinions and standards and issues and shit. It's awful when reality gets in the way of your legitimate enjoyment of fan fiction.

So I guess I could have given [livejournal.com profile] quettaser a lengthy screed on my kidfic issues, but I'm trying to produce something she'll actually read all the way through. So instead: four summaries and snippets from kidfic stories I yearn to read. YEARN.

Thanks to my Flyers beta, [personal profile] paxpinnae, my Habs beta, [personal profile] katarin, and my pre-readers, [livejournal.com profile] thehoyden and Best Beloved.

Traditional kidfic! )

Non-traditional kidfic! )

Uncommon kidfic! )

Id kidfic! )

Poll! )
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
So, I put together two brackets for the Stanley Cup playoffs, and - I didn't think the Kings would win, okay? (I take comfort in the fact that no one thought the Kings would win. As the playoffs went on, I spent a lot of time collecting especially querulous articles talking about the Kings. Professional hockey commentators seemed a touch cranky. I can only conclude that the Kings fucked up their brackets, too.)

So, in the particular pool I was in, you have to pony up not money, but fannish stuff. I offered words. I have many, and other people generally want fewer of them, but in this case [livejournal.com profile] quettaser inexplicably wanted more of them. Her request:

Request! )

Now, extremely conveniently, just before she posted this request, I spent some time whining to [personal profile] frostfire about the particular manifestation my Bitter Old Fandom Queen disease was taking. Namely, I want all the tropes. But I want them backwards. So in part one of my payoff, I'm going to write about how, now that hockey fandom has done - okay, most of the tropes, although there is always room for more, or for that matter for the same ones again - it is time to shake the tropes, turn them inside out, and see what's in their pockets. (Not recommended with Jeff Carter or Mike Richards, since what's in their pockets this summer is: an assortment of, uh, entirely legal substances, condoms, lube, phone numbers scrawled on beer-stained napkins, an SD card containing the video of the threesome they had with the Cup, a half-eaten PowerBar from the sweep against the Blues, a badly-photoshopped picture of Paul Holmgren rimming himself, and a small laminated card that Kings management gave to all the players that says "Hi! I am a Stanley Cup winner. If I am found too drunk to walk or talk, please call my team and someone will be sent to collect me. REWARD.")

So, here are some inside-out tropes that I really, really yearn to see in hockey fandom. (And, uh, sorry, [livejournal.com profile] quettaser; I am a Penguins fan, which I think means we are sworn enemies for life and if we ever meet in person you are required to consume 3/8ths of my liver. But in both this and the kidfic post, I made a sincere attempt to include some Flyers content. And we can at least meet peaceably in the drunken, homoerotic presence of the Flyers West.) I have included concepts, summaries, and also story snippets.

Thanks to [personal profile] paxpinnae for being the Flyers fan beta, and to [livejournal.com profile] thehoyden and Best Beloved for general pre-reading.

Also in fairness I should note that I have 30k more words written on the full version of one of these. I. Look. It's been a long postseason, okay?

Accidental marriage! But not. )

Amnesia! But not. )

Prostitution! But not. )

Gay chicken! But not. )
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
Okay, so after my mistaken public posting earlier today, several people led me to an epiphany, which goes like this: why not share my list of Yuletide fandom links? Maybe people will be swayed and nominate them! Or swayed and WRITE them! Or, you know, just squee with me, so I have joy to tide me over until actual Yuletide.

So here's another one. Everyone I've shown this to has had roughly the same reaction, which goes like this:
  1. I - am not sure I can stand this. Do I really have to watch ALL SIX MINUTES?
  2. Things are looking up! Maybe it won't be torture!
  3. OH MY GOD THAT IS THE GREATEST.
  4. No. No, I was wrong, because this is clearly the greatest.
  5. WRONG AGAIN. That's for SURE the greatest.
  6. Ahahahahahaha.
  7. Awwwwwwwww.
  8. ...It's over? And I can't even buy the music? Suuuuuuuuuck. Better watch it again, I guess.
My point is, it is really important to muscle through the initial part, which is a little hard to take if you aren't a fan of wistfulness, to get to the parts that are the greatest. And I don't want to spoil it for you, so I'm going to link here and then discuss for a bit. Ready? Watch the WHOLE THING.

CinderFella, by Todrick Hall. (Warning for rapid cutting and flashing lights.)

There. If that didn't make you happy, I don't even want to know, because it makes me really, really happy. And I knew as soon as I saw it that it would be a Yuletide fandom for me, because I would take any story in this fandom. The main pairing, obviously - I want to know their happily ever after, because I am seriously invested in it. The princesses, oh hell yes, I want to know all about that - every detail, if you will. The fairy godmother! I want to know what she does on her days off. Anything. Anything at all.

My only real complaint here is that as far as I know I can't actually buy the music. But everything else is glorious.
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
So, this was in actual fact supposed to be a private post for future (Yuletide!) reference - yes, I really am the person who makes private posts with Yuletide fandom suggestions throughout the year, and it has always served me in good stead - but since I made it public I think I should leave it public. Bottom line:

Watch this commercial, which features basketball players growing up and then fucking each other. You think I'm kidding? You tell me what comes after the last shot. I seriously can't think of anything that doesn't involve cock no matter how hard I try.

(And then prepare to write it for Yuuuuuuuletide!)
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
Okay, I am fully aware that there is a solution to this somewhere on Google, but I am also aware that the chances of me finding it anytime in the next brief forever are very slim. (Basically, I had a con, which was great and good and wonderful. And then I came back from the con and realized my life is booked for eternity. And also everyone is sick and we are all apparently going to stay that way for roughly the same length of time. I wish there was a rule that illness and busyness were mutually exclusive, but no. Unfair, I say, unfair.)

So. I have a new main computer. Yay! Because of a disastrous third-party software misfire, I used the native Windows file transfer utility to move everything from my old XP computer to my new Windows 7 computer. (Yes, I know Macs are perfect and made of unicorn snot and that using one is basically the same as achieving union with the godhead. This is why I have a Mac laptop. But my main computer cannot be a Mac for work reasons the end.)

In the process, all my music transferred over, and all my iTunes data - play counts and playlists, particularly - transferred over, but iTunes can't find my music. It's not where it used to be. (And the folder in which it lives is locked? I think?) I do not want to lose all that data, because I'm not even sure how to navigate my sprawling music collection without it. On the other hand, iTunes is unusable at this point, which means my iPod is unupdateable, which means I am sad and bereft and pathetic. And Apple of course will not provide me with any support on this front, as I am evil, and Microsoft supporting anything - okay, I'll just stop here while you get the laughter out of your system

And, like I said, I am sure there is a fix for this, and I am also sure sufficient application to Google would tell me what that is. But I'm hoping someone out there already knows what it is. And can tell me. Ideally in steps that can be easily understood by a person on a lot of cough syrup, but at this point I will take helpful links or just basically anything. Even if the answer is that I'm doomed and must do a fresh install of iTunes, that would be useful to know because it would keep me from hoping.

Help? Someone? Please?

FIXED YOU ALL ARE GENIUSES AND I LOVE YOU. Thaaaaaaaaank you!
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
Okay, so. Today I tried on all my dresses and discovered, to my extreme lack of joy, that exactly two of them still fit over my post-breastfeeding boobs. Like, I thought the boobs were supposed to go back to normal, and in fact I thought they had, but after I saw myself in my pre-pregnancy all things to all parties dress (which I love and cannot stand the thought of getting rid of), with boob up as far as my ears, I was forced to conclude that that had maaaaaybe not happened.

So. Last year at VVC, I told myself that the next time I went, I would damned well bring a dress and wear it to Club Vivid. Obviously, my boobs are calling my bluff, since my choices now consist of:
  1. A nursing dress that, ironically, wouldn't fit over my boobs when I was nursing. It fits now. Pros: It is soft and comfy! It's kind of vaguely pretty! Cons: It's a nursing dress, and I'm not nursing anymore. Also, its style aesthetic can best be described as "schoolmarm who wants ready access to her boobs."

  2. A black lace dress that no one in this house remembers buying. Pros: It fits. And it's black. Cons: I'm not sure it ever was in style. It can best be described as "gothic schoolmarm."

  3. Pajamas. Pros: Comfortable. Cons: Not sure I want to be the girl who wore pajamas to the ball.

  4. My retired swimsuit. This is a suit I bought when I apparently believed I'd be attending a lot of underwater evening parties; it's black with a little drape and a short skirt and basically looks nothing like a swimsuit. Cons: Really not sure I want to be the girl who wore a swimsuit to the ball. Pros: Might be the most appropriate piece of attire I own that still fits over my boobs. Plus, if the hotel floods, I will be completely prepared and in a position to mock the attractive, well-dressed people flailing in their non-water-resistant clothing.
Since I am currently in an aggressive state of dither over all things relating to the trip (my brain currently sounds like this: eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeEEEEEEEEEEEEE, with occasionally side trips into what I was even thinking deciding to go somewhere), I can't decide. HELP.

Poll #11366 Dress Me
Open to: Registered Users, detailed results viewable to: All, participants: 251


What should I wear to the ball?

View Answers

The nursing schoolmarm dress. Ready access to your boobs can only be an advantage at a fannish con.
10 (4.0%)

The gothic schoolmarm dress. Black lace is the background for glowsticks this summer.
149 (59.4%)

The pajamas. Might as well not give any fucks at all, right?
24 (9.6%)

The swimsuit. The way the climate is currently behaving, being constantly prepared for sudden flooding is an A+ choice.
68 (27.1%)

thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
The other night, Best Beloved and I were reading before sleeping, as is the custom of our people, and I had to take a break from the story. In the days when I did most of my fan fiction reading on a computer, that meant just switching to another tab. But now I do most of it on my Kindle, and I can't switch in and out as quickly. (On the other hand, it's way easier to read fan fiction before bed.) So for short breaks, I just kind of - look away from the screen. Which is what I did.

"What?" BB said, looking up from her own Kindle.

"It's getting gross," I told her. I may have sounded a trifle grim when I said it.

There was a pause as she tried to figure out if she wanted to know, and decided she probably didn't, and then realized she couldn't stop herself from asking anyway. (This is, by the way, self-destructive curiosity. Normally I'm the one who has it. Not this time.) "Like - blood?" she asked. "Serial killers?"

"They're having feelings all over the place," I said. And I meant it.

See, even in stories, I prefer feelings in small doses. When people start having impassioned conversations in which they share their innermost thoughts, I have to stare into space for a while, even if they are totally great and in-character conversations and the story is awesome.

I realized, after BB finished laughing openly at me and returned to her book (in which people probably had feelings left, right, and center without her flinching at all, because she is weird enough that she believes a serial killing is more disgusting than emoting) that this was totally related to a question [personal profile] bethbethbeth posed quite a while back, about people's favorite character types.

This might lead you to believe that my favorite character is the strong silent type. And, okay, I do enjoy reading about people who, if they have a feeling, have to go ford a stream or hack through a jungle or venture into deepest space to deal with the trauma. But that isn't my type.

My type is the spacetoaster. I love spacetoasters. I can get into all kinds of fandoms and I can like all kinds of characters, but only a spacetoaster will force me to turn my brain into a sort of heart annex to hold all my feelings of love. (Yes. Irony: I live it.)

So it's probably pretty obvious, but I'd still like to define the spacetoaster.

A toaster, see, is someone with a feelings dysfunction. Maybe the toaster has few feelings. Maybe the toaster has lots of feelings and is totally bewildered by them. Maybe the toaster has spent a lifetime getting distance from any and all feelings, only to be suddenly confronted by them and fail to deal. Whatever. My point is: toasters don't get feelings. They spend a lot of their lives watching other people emote and wishing to be elsewhere, or having feelings themselves and thinking they're maybe hungry or something. (And, yes, there is a bond of sympathy here. I once had an argument with an art therapist in which I finally said, "But I don't have feelings all the time." "You do," she told me, using the tone that therapists used to get with teenaged me after half an hour or so of attempted therapy. "Everyone has feelings all the time. You just don't acknowledge them." And then the hour was up, thank god, but I still think I was right. Sometimes I don't have any particular feelings.)

But not all toasters meet my character needs. There are lots of people who are coldly efficient, or coldly correct, or coldly distant who in no way grip me, or at least don't specially grip me, because I am specifically interested in spacetoasters: toasters who are alien, or alienated. Or maybe just easiest to describe in alien terms. Whatever. My point is, if you have an alienesque person who dreams in black and white, a person who acts like all her feelings are beamed in from a space station orbiting Jupiter, you have a character I'm going to want to meet, and read about, and write about, and possibly pin up on my super-secret Wall of Spacetoasters.

This is why my reaction to Spock was, basically, where have you been all my life, you dreamy, dreamy spacetoaster? Spock is the exemplar, the archetype, the essence of spacetoasterdom. If you're looking for a spacetoaster, you can do no better than Spock. And if you're trying to build a better spacetoaster, I'm just going to have to laugh at you, because they don't get better than Spock. (Although I encourage you to try. So, so strongly encourage you to try.)

But there are other spacetoasters out there, of course. Benton Fraser, I would submit, is a spacetoaster - a guy routinely labeled a freak even by his fellow Mounties, whose only successful emotional relationship, as the series begins, has been with a dog. (Many spacetoasters are better with animals or babies than with adult humans.) Aeryn Sun would rather shoot everyone in a building, or indeed on a planet, than have a single heartfelt sharing moment, and she is, again, an actual alien: spacetoaster! (And, man, maybe it's just that I never really watch - uh, anything, basically - but to me it looks like there is a serious shortage of lady spacetoasters out there. Someone needs to get to work on that, stat. I mean, I get the sense that Temperance Brennan may be a spacetoaster, but I also get the sense that she's on an ensemble show, and I still have scars from the last ensemble show I tried to watch. Beyond that, and of course my beloved Queen of Attolia, I've got nothing.) Jamie Hyneman has three certified expressions, last had a feeling in the fall of '39, and is weird even to other Mythbusters: spacetoaster, spacetoaster, spacetoaster. Abed Nadir is, as far as I can make out, the result of Dan Harmon's actual attempt to build a better spacetoaster. (He failed, of course. There's only one Spock. But Abed is awesome, even so.) And then there's Sidney Crosby, who only has feelings during and about hockey, and who may actually be from space. Spacetoaster. (In fact, the word itself comes from a pathetically long email exchange on the subject of one Sidney Crosby. I am not going to implicate my co-conspirator, though, on the grounds that she might then refuse to finish a story I really want to read. Guess what it's about!)

So, you believe you may have a spacetoaster on your hands, but you aren't quite sure? Here are some signs! (Please note that, like many tests, this is not intended to diagnose. A high score merely provides a basis for further testing. The real proof of the spacetoaster is in the story.)
  1. Is your character highly competent at something that is not feelings or people? (If yes, +10 spacetoaster points.)
  2. Try writing a story from your suspected spacetoaster's first-person point of view. Then write the same story from some other character's point of view. If the first character requires more words to get to the same place, and those words aren't in dialogue, you may have a spacetoaster on your hands. (+1 spacetoaster point for every additional thousand words. In extreme cases, you can just stop the test here; some spacetoaster points of view can add 50k words to a story.)
  3. Imagine writing a story in which your suspected spacetoaster is a robot. Now imagine writing a story in which the same character spends fifteen minutes discussing his or her feelings intensely and sincerely. (+5 spacetoaster points if the robot was easier. +10 spacetoaster points if you fell over laughing when you tried to picture the second scenario. +15 if your character is actually already a robot.)
  4. Picture your possible spacetoaster receiving a heartfelt hug from an acquaintance. (+5 spacetoaster points if the character stands there stiffly. +10 if he or she recoils, flees, or flinches. +15 if it is impossible to picture an acquaintance hugging your character because the Do Not Touch field is so strong with this one.)
  5. Take a random sampling of five stories about the suspected spacetoaster, or five episodes, whatever you have. Count the number of times the character fails to understand some extremely basic human concept. (Example: if you want to kiss someone, that might mean you are attracted to that person!) (+1 point/incidence.)
  6. Consider the same random sample. Give one spacetoaster point for each incidence of the following:
    • Someone calls the character an alien.
    • The character must engage in some level of research (reading texts, calling friends or relations, setting up an elaborate double-blind study, whatever) to understand a joke.
    • The character avoids an emotional scene.
    • The character fails to notice an emotional scene.
    • The character wishes to be a robot.
    • The character fails to respond appropriately to a fairly basic cultural concept. (Example: not really understanding the rules of visiting a friend at home.)
Total up your points. The higher the number, the more likely it is that you should email me with news of your spacetoastery discovery. What, you thought you were taking this test for you? Don't be silly. (You might not even appreciate spacetoasters. Although I hope you do.) This is my attempt to get you to tell me about your favorite spacetoasters, because I might have missed some. And I'm sick. There's nothing like a spacetoaster when you're sick. The hopeless way she stares at you in distressed confusion, pats you awkwardly on the shoulder, and then disappears and comes back with a welding torch - it just sets you right up.

Tumblr?

Jul. 20th, 2012 11:36 pm
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
Okay, so I am sure you are all very tired of seeing posts by people going, "Who is Tumblr? What is she, that all our fans commend her?" But! I have a question, brought on by [livejournal.com profile] thehoyden, who is, it goes without saying, a terrible person. And so, yes, this is another How Does Tumblr post. Sorry.

See, I have always rejected Tumblr as Not for Me, because walls of text are not welcome there, and I am an entirely text-based creature. And I will probably always be a more or less passive Tumblr user, but - I was considering posting, like, shorter, single-thing recs there. For recs that will never fit in a set! Or whatever! It would still be all text, though. Is that a thing I should do? OPINE AT ME, Tumblr denizens! Assuming any of you still read this text-based medium.
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
I read a lot of hockey blogs, because that is the right and proper behavior of the obsessed sports fan, and I want to be right and proper. (Okay, no, that's a lie. I have no interest in being proper.) Yesterday, I found a post about summer hockey-related reading, and, wow. The post has three unsubtle messages for me:
  1. "Alas, these books are not for you." (This is the only message I'm not pissed off about, because it's all on me. Basically, if I'm going to break out of my non-fiction comfort zone, I need it to in some way involve Martha Wells, Naomi Novik, or spaceships.)
  2. "Get lost, this post is not for you."
  3. "Fuck off, this sport is not for you."
Yeah, it's those last two messages I wanted to rant about.

The author of the post is Philip Painter, whose business cards, I have to assume, say "not interested in the ladies" right under "Director of the Puerto Rican Ice Hockey Federation." And we should thank him, for he has provided an excellent, possibly even textbook example of using assumptions about your audience to make that audience smaller. (And, in the process, exclude and hurt a group of people. I get the feeling he'd be more worried about the first part, though.)

Because we all know the only people interested in reading books about hockey are dudes, right? Right, Painter says. But, he continues, these books are so good that "your woman" might actually want to read them, too. You might have to hold her Cosmo hostage to get them back! (Or her alcohol. Or you can just withhold sex. No, I'm not kidding, that's exactly what he says.) Gosh, Mr. Painter. Thank you! That is valuable advice that will surely save my marriage. Oh, wait, no, I meant the other thing. Fuck you. I meant fuck you.

And then there's this line, which is such an amazing gem I can't look directly at it:

...sometimes a female writer can grab the subtleties that men overlook.

Thank you for those few kind words, Mr. Painter. This female writer is really appreciative, and let me tell you, I am exactly the master of subtleties that you assume me to be; I totally get the subtle implications, here. (And since you complain about the lack of graphic sex in the female-authored book that you recommended, let me just reassure you: I do indeed write graphic sex. In fact, if you're short on hockey stories involving sufficient graphic sex, I can totally help you out with that.)

And the thing is, this post comes after a season in which female hockey bloggers had to beg people not to use women's names as insults for their most hated players. (The most tragic part of this: at least one of these articles focused just on begging other female hockey fans not to use misogynist insults. Apparently the male hockey fans are just irremediable, but we can maybe save some of the ladies if we try hard enough.) And let us not forget the delightful clusterfuck that was While the Men Watch, a Canadian TV show meant to bring relief to all the women who were watching hockey but secretly yearning to discuss manicures instead. (Though no one I read on this topic mentioned the sole draw of While the Men Watch, which was that it would give you something to drown out the inane and often worrisomely creepy official announcers. At least, I assume it did, because having to listen to Pierre "My love for Sidney Crosby is unwholesome" McGuire and exceedingly unfunny stereotype-based jokes is surely cruel and unusual punishment.)

But what the general hockey fandom has learned from both of these kerfluffles is, apparently, that the ladies sure do get worked up sometimes. And then you can't have sex with them until they get over themselves. So better do your misogyny where they can't see.

Dear male hockey fans: I can still see you.

I'm just starting to wonder if you can you see me. Like, did you set your shields to exclude female presence back in fourth grade and then forget to switch that off?

If you're wondering why hockey doesn't have a bigger fanbase in your city, if you're wondering why you never seem to meet women who like hockey, if you're confused about the preponderance of dicks on your dance floor, uh, let me clear this up for you: it's your fault. Yes, you, misogynist hockey fan, and also you and you and you. Because when you pull shit like this, and especially when you pull shit like this again and again, and then don't see any problem with it (when I checked the comments on Painter's post, they included one note that the post is, you know, a tiny bit offensive, and that comment was left by a woman - and let's not forget that the Puck Daddy editors let this post fly in the first place), you're doing everything in your power to push the ladies away.

(And so those ladies are going to go somewhere else and entertain each other. And if you just said, "Hey, can I watch?" out loud - yeah, those female hockey bloggers were right. You're irremediable. Congratulations! Now please shut up.)
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
Does anyone out there live in Edinburgh? Or near it? Or in some other large city in Europe? [personal profile] marina is looking for crash space for a few days in late August. And I hear she brings snacks to share. (So if you're willing to host a multilingual fannish visitor for a few days, she will definitely be a TASTY multilingual fannish visitor.) If you're in the vicinity (...of Europe), please go read her post!
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
I appear to have written a thing! And, since I'm concerned that the Archive might fall over and go boom again soon, I'm posting it here, too. ...I'll be honest; I've kind of forgotten how you post fan fiction to LJ/DW. Let's see how this goes.

Title: Your Daddy's Aim Is True
Fandom: Hockey RPF
Pairing: Patrick Kane/Jonathan Toews
Rating: Explicit
Notes: Written entirely to entertain thehoyden as she struggled with work badness. Thanks to her for beta-reading, and to Best Beloved for the usual stellar alpha-reading.
Also On: AO3

Papa never heard the cool. )
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
Recently, Best Beloved and I had the pleasure of being test subjects for [personal profile] rachelmanija. She needed a local couple that had been together at least six months to take a psychological assessment tool, and, well, we have indeed been together for more than six months, which apparently makes us something of a rarity in the greater Los Angeles area. I'm not depressed about that at all.

We filled out the instrument side by side, as instructed, which was a problem because, uh, Best Beloved and I are used to sharing our opinions. (And also asking for clarification. Given that when you're administering these tests, you can't say anything but "Just do the best you can" and "Pick whichever one seems most appropriate" without invalidating them, we are probably the worst subjects ever. Rachel used those sentences a lot. And the thing is, I knew she couldn't clarify, and yet I still wanted her to, which is a problem I have had with psychological tests since, basically, ever. I would just like everything to be clear, okay?) And we had a lot of opinions about that test. So it sort of went like this:

Me, to Best Beloved: Number 26. I mean, not on purpose, but -
Best Beloved: I know! I guess - false?
Rachel: Maybe try to collude a little less?
Us: Sorry.
Best Beloved: 44, though. I can't just do yes or no on that one!
Me: Well, I put true, because it's more true than false, but yeah, I need a scale.
Rachel: You're colluding again.
Us: Sorry.
Me: Oh, god, 81.
Best Beloved: I don't even know. Could go either way. I'm putting false.
Rachel: STOP COLLUDING.

I gather from this that relationship therapists have to spend a lot of time telling their clients to stop talking to each other, which is not how I envisioned it prior to this experience.

But my major take-home from all this was that, frankly, the instrument sucked. It was unclear, it had questions that were absolutes, and it had questions that made me want to write lengthy essays as opposed to circling true or false. (Also, it was hugely biased in favor of heterosexual, monogamous, gendernormative couples, which was no big deal in our case since we were basically taking it for kicks, but makes it much less useful in practice. If you're not straight, or not monogamous, or genderqueer, or in any way not in line with the cultural norm, then finding a relationship therapist is probably fraught with extra stress - like, not only do you have to go in there and deal with your shit, but you also have to go in there and hope the therapist takes your relationship seriously, which has got to just massively suck. And how great would it be, feeling that way, already nervous for all kinds of reasons, to sit down and take this very biased survey that says, "Hey! When I say 'relationship,' I don't mean you." NOT THAT GREAT, I'm guessing.)

Also, the test was just boring. I'm sorry, but people who already have problems should not be subjected to lengthy tests that are roughly as interesting as an eight-part documentary on dryer lint. I could not help it; I was compelled to write some more fannishly oriented questions. So, here you go:

The Fannish Relationship Survey
  1. If I were transported to another universe, I would immediately try to find my partner's analogue. (T/F)

  2. If it was an evil mirror universe, I would still try to find my partner's analogue. (T/F)

  3. I would also expect my partner's analogue to find me, even if said analogue had no way of knowing I was there. (T/F)

  4. My partner and I are capable of having complete conversations using only eyebrows, shoulder punches, or awkward, shuffling silences. (T/F)

  5. Other people have sometimes accused my partner and I of being telepathic. (T/F)

  6. If my partner or I were to turn evil, so that we had to spend the next fifty years as mortal enemies, I would still expect us to be there for each other in times of personal crisis. (T/F)

  7. I have brought my partner back from the dead, or my partner has brought me back from the dead. (T/F)

  8. I have sacrificed my life, my sanity, or other people's lives to bring my partner back from the dead, or vice versa. (T/F)

  9. I have remolded reality to protect my relationship. (T/F)

  10. Our souls, or a representation of our souls, have merged. (T/F)

  11. My partner's soul is as much my responsibility as my own. (T/F)

  12. If my partner is ever grievously injured, I will violate hospital protocols, not to mention health and safety regulations, to keep a weeping bedside vigil, even during lifesaving surgery. (T/F)

  13. If I am ever grievously injured, my partner is likely to quit, go catatonic, go berserk, or otherwise become a less than functional member of society. (T/F)

  14. At least one improbable being (mystical creature, copy of me from another dimension, minor deity, etc.) has declared that it is my destiny to be with my partner. (T/F)

  15. Basically the entire universe has declared that it is my destiny to be with my partner. (T/F)

  16. I am fairly sure that if I ever leave my partner, the universe will end. (T/F)

  17. My partner was at some point literally the only boy/girl/other in the world, and neither of us minded. (T/F)

  18. If one of us was transformed into a vampire, that person would immediately transform the other. (T/F)
(Scoring note: One point for every true. Anyone who scores more than 14 on this survey should probably take a different test. One that measures how well in touch you are with reality.)

See? Now there is a test that I would enjoy taking. Although I admit most of the pleasure would come from working with BB to identify all the couples references, which would mean Rachel would have to spend even more time telling us to stop talking to each other. (Eventually, she'd probably have to threaten to put us in separate rooms. The motto of psychological testing is, and always has been, "Stop having fun or I will turn this session around and no one will get any therapy.")
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
[personal profile] frostfire tends to tell me about whatever media she's consuming. (So, for example, I know a lot about True Blood for someone who has never seen it and never will. This gives me joy, since it lets me pretend I have some real connection with popular culture, instead of just a really long mental list of all the fictional people who should be fucking each other.) Recently, she told me about a story she was reading. (Just to give you some idea of what it's like, this is a story that forced us to use the terms cocksobriety and gaymaker a lot. Proper usage, in case you're curious: "That's it, he's fallen off the wagon. His cocksobriety is a thing of the past." "Yeah, [character] totally hit him with a gaymaker, and now he's just COCK COCK COCK all the time.") It is glorious. I can't remember the last time just hearing about a work of fiction made me so happy.

And probably the thing that has made me happiest is this key plot element: One of the characters has an enormous penis, and this gives him angst. Yes. This man's main source of anguish is his GIANT COCK. (No, this is in no way attached to other gender issues. He just - has tremendous insecurity, caused entirely by his HUMONGOUS WANG.)

Well. Obviously this is the best thing in the world. Because, first, it has finally given me a TV-Tropes-type name for a fiction phenomenon that has long irritated me, which is when the character has a trait that 99% of people would think is totally great and maybe even pay lots of money for, but which the author pretends is a major problem leading to extreme and possibly insurmountable trauma. I needed that. For the rest of my life, when I encounter a character who is gleamingly perfect except for all the tragedy arising from being, like, too happy or whatever, I will go, "Hello, GIANT COCK ANGST!" and giggle a lot.

But GIANT COCK ANGST did not stop giving there. I'd been thinking of TV Tropes, and from there it was a short step to just plain old tropes, and I realized that GIANT COCK ANGST is a concept that needs further exploring in fiction. I mean, just consider the potential in hockey RPF alone! Sidney Crosby (who was once rumored to have a giant cock) and his GIANT COCK ANGST, caused by the many remarks made in the locker room about his, you know, horsedick. (Obviously, Sidney would be a virgin because of his GIANT COCK ANGST.) And, of course, there should really be like eight stories called The Giant Cock Angst of Patrick Kane, because come on. Patrick Kane totally has GIANT COCK ANGST, despite having a completely normal-sized penis. (And he definitely talks about his GCA all the time, too, which leads to Tazer having a cock-related breakdown. (Quote from this imaginary story: "Baby, there is nothing average about this gorgeous piece of manmeat," Kaner says, sprawling really offensively to display his goods to maximum advantage. Johnny is pretty sure Kaner's practiced this in front of a mirror, just to make him crazy, and it pisses him off how well it's working.))

But the sad news I have for you today is that there I have no actual GIANT COCK ANGST stories to recommend. There's just the one I know of, and obviously I haven't even read it. So I am going to share with you these other stories. (I just want you to be thinking about GIANT COCK ANGST. Forever, basically. I know I will be.)

The One That at Long Last Satisfies My Desire to See a Vampire Get Called an Idiot a Lot. Look, I Read Interview with the Vampire at a Formative Age, Okay? Where the wild things are, by [livejournal.com profile] liketheroad. Hockey RPF, Patrick Kane/Jonathan Toews.

Midway through this story, I realized I was in pain. My face hurt. After several seconds of careful consideration, I realized I was experiencing muscle pain from smiling too much. And, you know, I smile a lot anyway, but apparently I don't smile for protracted periods of time without at least a small break. My cheek muscles were cramping.

So that's the center of my recommendation: This story made me smile until my face hurt so much I had to keep taking breaks to play Bubble Shooter. Maybe it will make your face hurt, too! Worth a shot.

And, okay, I have never read Twilight, and beyond the sparkling vampire thing, don't really know what goes on it. But if it's all Bella, like, yelling at Edward to get over his issues and stop being so creepy, and trying to force him to be more like an actual functional person, I am so ready to read it. I will borrow my mother's copies right now. (Yes. My mother has read the entire series. I don't want to talk about it.) This story - look, when there's an old immortal doing the Bonding Tango with a high school student, I worry. But that is seriously not a problem in this story, where Kaner is actually the one in charge of the entire pursuit-capture-turning thing, and Tazer's job is to stand around being confused and creepy and occasionally saving Kaner's life. (Kaner is also the more functional human being, which, given that we are talking about Patrick Kane, should tell you something about how vampirism affects Tazer.)

Although I really have to ask those of you who have read Twilight: Does Edward for serious spend his entire immortal life endlessly repeating high school? If so, why? Is he being punished? Because if he is, I salute the vampires for figuring out the perfect way to punish someone you can't really lock up or kill or spank or whatever, but I can only assume Edward did something really and truly awful (...attempted to destroy the planet?), in which case probably they shouldn't let him near Bella. And if he didn't do anything and is just spontaneously choosing to repeat high school endlessly, clearly there is something seriously wrong with him, and, again, he shouldn't be allowed near Bella. (Even if he was okay to start with, eternity in high school would eventually leave him barking, in which case, yes, he shouldn't be allowed near Bella.)

The One That Proves That at the End of the World, You're Going to Want to Be Able to Pickle. And Maybe Also Deal with Your Issues, but I Don't Know If It's Possible to Be Able to Do Both, and This Story Does Not Clear That Up. In Search Of, by [personal profile] toft. Mythbusters RPF, Jamie Hyneman/Adam Savage.

Okay. There are some stories you know you shouldn't read. This is absolutely one of those stories for me. It has animal harm! Child harm! The world ends! Bad stuff happens. And I am not a copes-well-with-bad-stuff person. I am a person who recently had an argument with her sister about who cries more easily. (We were waiting for the crowds to clear after a performance of Billy Elliot. It was topical. The conclusion, by the way: There comes a point where it doesn't matter, and that point is significantly behind both of us.)

So. This is not the story for me. I read it anyway. Partly that's because, hey, toft! She's good in anything! And partly - look. Sometimes I have Bad Story Sieges, where every single thing I attempt to read, no matter how good it looks, no matter how much I love the concept, no matter how sure I am it will be awesome, turns out to be a disaster. (I'm not sure if I hope I'm the only one this happens to, or if I want company in my misery.) In those situations, I will take risks I maybe shouldn't to break the siege. (For the record: If a beta of a story who knows your reading tastes only too well tells you that you absolutely should not read it, do not believe anyone else who tells you that you could. The beta knows it better. The end.) And this story did in fact break that particular streak of fan fiction disasters. You have to love a slumpbuster, even if it's not your usual fare.

But even if this story hadn't broken my siege, I think I would still have loved it. Yes, even though I reacted badly to certain sections. I love it enough to put up with the pain. Because, let's face it, Adam Savage and Jamie Hyneman are near the top of your Real People I Want to Team up with if the World Ends list. (Don't even tell me if you don't have that list, because I will just fret. Proper preparation prevents poor performance, people!) Because this story is something to bring to mind the next time you're stuck in traffic and wishing everyone would just disappear. Because Adam and Jamie adopt a baby and they name her Leia. I just: Adam. Jamie. Apocalypse. Baby. That right there is a winning recipe.

...If you can handle animal harm. For real don't read this if you can't.

The Series That Proves That Dira Can't Resist Having Babies of Some Species in Her Stories. Or, in Other Words: PUPPIES! (I Approve.) Every Marine a Wolfbrother, by [personal profile] dira. Generation Kill, Brad Colbert/Ray Person, Brad Colbert/Nate Fick, Brad Colbert/Awesome.

Okay, I think every single person who is willing to read a series featuring US Marines psychically bonded to wolves has already read this, but my philosophy about that is that I don't care, I'm recommending it anyway. If I worry about things like timeliness and so on, I will never get anything posted. (This is why I don't instarec. If I did, it would read like, "OMG you guys totally go check out Dorothy Sayers! And this Murasaki lady is pretty darned awesome as well!")

And I would actually have recommended it earlier except I kept debating about which of the stories in the series to recommend. I finally realized that this was a sign I should just go with the whole series. (Yes, I did already recommend the first story in this series. So good I recommended it twice!) Because this is amazing. I've mentioned before that I have never and will never read A Companion to Wolves, but this series does such an incredible job of updating it, bringing it into a modern context, and making it make sense. Which is. You know. Amazing. I mean, this is Dira, so you sort of expect amazing, but still. This series is basically the equivalent, in terms of challenge level and so on, of writing a Tolkien barista AU and making it work. (Oh, man, I bet Rivendell is the name of a massively snooty coffee shop (although people in the know call it Imladris), where all the employees are seriously gorgeous but will not give you the time of day. They have Dead Language Open Mic Nights and Crystal Instrument Musicale Tuesdays. Arwen is the daughter of the owner; she gets harassed a lot for wanting to marry this dude who is totally scruffy and, like, mainstream. No, wait, I am stopping this right now.)

Given that Dira makes this central concept work, it's almost beside the point to mention that she makes so many other things work. I mean. I can't quite call to mind any other story I've read recently in which the main pairing gets bored in the middle of sex and talks about surfing (no, Dom and Brian, talking about cars doesn't count, especially since for you that is sex), but that happens in one of these, and it works. Probably the key miracle in this series is that Dira switches pairings between the stories, which. Uh. I have a very sensitive OTP Detector, and generally I can read only one pairing per fandom. Multiple pairings in a single series is tough. Multiple pairings involving the same dude - that's basically impossible. (Although not hugely surprisingly in this case, since a side theme of the series, as with every Generation Kill story I have ever read, is "Wow, Brad Colbert is really awesome. I mean. Wow. I just. SO GREAT, people. SO GREAT. I think he's made entirely of sparkledust and swear words!") But Dira made me read it, buy it, and like it. I think she wins the Impossible Feat of the Year Award, hands-down.

Unless someone really does write that Tolkien barista AU, I guess. (Suggested name for a new AO3 collection: Tolkien AUs Are Fucking Hardcore.)

The One That Leaves Me Wondering if Anyone Ever Buys a Robot Who Totally 100% Means to Buy a Robot, or if in the Future All Robot Purchases Will Occur While Drunk, Upset, Concussed, Confused, or Whatever. (And Yes, I Do Wonder How That Will Affect Marketing Strategies.) The Chinese Room, by [livejournal.com profile] tyrannicides. Football RPF, Iker Casillas/Cesc Fabregas.

Okay, so this is a robot AU. Stop rolling your eyes at me, youngun. I do not recommend every single robot AU that comes down the pike. Just the awesome ones. It is not my fault if the trope tends to lead to awesome stories.

And this one is sincerely awesome. Unfortunately, it's incredibly hard to write about without spoiling it. (Although I will say this: if you read it and like it, read it twice. I liked this on first reading - lovely writing, gorgeous story, solid characterization given that I have basically no clue who these people are, etc. And then I re-read it and picked up so much more of what the author was doing. First time good, second time better!)

But this does leave me in a quandary. For reasons that do not require spoiling at this juncture, I can't talk about the story, beyond, you know, the basics (There's a writer with agoraphobia! He buys an android!). And since I don't know the characters basically at all, I can't talk about them. (They play for - football teams. In Spain. Beyond that, all I can tell you is that my conclusion is that Iker maybe has some issues, and might also be a trifle uptight. And Cesc is a puppy. Probably this one.) So what do I talk about in this rec?

I mean, I could tell you about the world building in this story. (Remarkable, especially given that we're talking about one character who basically does not leave his house and another character who has no understanding of what the world actually is.) I could tell you that this story really made me think about all the things you can do with a robot AU. (I guess there's nothing that lets you get to the heart of humanity like writing about someone who is not technically human and doesn't actually have a heart?) I could tell you about the writing. (It's lovely.) I could tell you how compelling this story is. (Very.) I could tell you this story legit made me tear up in several places. (Granted, this is not all that challenging, but still.) Or I could go the rec-unrelated-to-the-story route, always a favorite of mine, and, say, tell you about how I recently discovered that my son's first preschool teacher maaaaaaybe has been able to hear my wife and I having sex for the last three years. (Whoops.)

Or I could just tell you to go read the story. Yeah, let's go with that option. (Go read it! It's good!)
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
The playoffs are depressing the fuck out of me, people. (And it's not like this week was not already bad enough. I mean. Someone should have warned me the playoffs would be agony (ALL OF YOU should have warned me the playoffs would be agony), and then I would not also have chosen this week to attempt a major technological change and a major household change.) So I thought I'd take a moment to remind myself why hockey is not just misery and pain. Because there are things I love about hockey, too. Right? Right. Let's talk about THOSE for a change.

Why I Love Patrick Kane. The Kaner Shuffle video.

Okay, so. When I first watched this, the person who linked me to it made me liveblog it. And she was right: watching it unspoiled and reacting to it in realtime is the way to go. So watch it now, and then we will talk about why this is the essence of awesome, and also the essence of Patrick Kane, which leads us to the dubious but mathematically indisputable conclusion that Patrick Kane is awesome.

Done? Okay.

Here are the things I just cannot get over about this video:
  1. Tazer saying, "Nice shirt. Looks good on him." And I have had this video analyzed by a Johnathan Toews Sarcasm Specialist who is really pretty sure he's being HONEST when he says that. OH REALLY, TAZER? Everyone else noticed that that was a terrible shirt that basically made him look like a sack of cheap souvenirs they sell tourists in Honolulu. You think it looks good on him? Tazer also says, in all sincerity, "That's an NHL superstar, right there." I mean. He's trying to make fun of Kaner, but he calls him a superstar. Hmmm. From this, we can learn that a) Tazer has absolutely no taste and b) Tazer has absolutely no ability to conceal how completely and totally he adores Patrick Kane. Like, he doesn't just love him. He adores him. Wow.

  2. Patrick Kane saying, "Haters can keep hating, but I'm just going to dance." That, right there, is all you need to know about Patrick Kane. How can you not love this guy?

  3. So many of the Blackhawks are impressed with slow mo. It's like they keep them in a box and only let them see technology if they're advertising it. I'm a little worried about them, to be honest.

  4. But here's the great part, the amazing part, the best part of all: Patrick Kane is the best dancer. On the entire team. They all laugh at him, but they're worse than he is. Which, see - with the Christmas singing video, I was like, fine, whatever, these guys can't sing. But they're athletes. How can they not DANCE? How is it that not one of them can hear a beat or move his upper body in coordination with his lower body? Seriously, the lack of (non-hockey) talent on the Blackhawks roster is amazing. I'm starting to suspect that if these guys weren't playing hockey, they'd be on exhibit in a zoo somewhere.
In other words, as I said in the comments a while back, this is the video that perfectly explains Kaner. He's the worst! But he's HONESTLY the worst, and he's FINE with being the worst, and also sometimes you think he's the worst and he's actually the best.

Why I Love Sidney Crosby. Sidney Crosby Does Not Understand Humans, by [livejournal.com profile] impertinence. (Make sure you read the linked inspiration at the top of each one, both because Mark Doesn't Understand Animals is pretty funny, and because it will help you grasp the pure joy of this post.)

Okay, so this is only part of why I love Sidney Crosby, but god, I love it (and him) so much, because this ALL MAKES SO MUCH SENSE. Sidney Crosby just - he missed out on the "understanding humans" part of his education! (He's sure got the being a brat thing covered, but I think his parents wrote him a note to get him out of all his Human Studies classes.)

Now, let's talk favorite bits of this. First, there's the one I think of as Sidney Crosby Is Actually Fine with Humans, Provided They Are Under the Age of Four. Because, I mean, until someone actually makes the NHL Players with Babies Tumblr I yearn for, or until I break down and do it, this is as good as it gets: Sidney Crosby being really good with very small children, and then sort of recoiling in confusion from older children. You can almost hear him thinking, in the middle panel of the kids one, "But this one looks like a person, not a baby! What do I doooooo?"

And then there's the one with Jordan Staal. (You will recognize him. He's the one with the blondest, most unfortunate hair you have ever seen, unless you spend a lot of time looking at hockey players, in which case you have seen a lot of unfortunate hair, so much that this doesn't even register. Spend too much time in hockey and you start to think all haircuts are great unless they are, like, mullets with random tufts of hair missing AND a terrible perm, all on the same head.) Read it and I promise you will never be able to behold a Staal without thinking, "Oh no! This one is all poofy and stuff." Seriously, it improves Penguins, Rangers, and Hurricanes games by at least 15%.

But, basically, if you've ever wanted to see Sidney Crosby staring cluelessly at the entire human race, but for some reason you don't want to just google random pictures of him, this is the post for you. Go. Revel.

Why I Love Alexander Ovechkin. Alexander Ovechkin talking about jerking off, ably translated by [personal profile] marina.

Someday, [personal profile] marina is going to write the best Ovechkin primer in the world. I am hoping that day is soon. Like, in a week or two would be ideal, because by then my teams will probably be out of the playoffs, god damn them all to hell, and I'll have lots of time to read the post. And it will keep me from crying.

But until that glorious day, this is a really damn good substitute. Marina has spent her time trawling the internets for Ovechkin stuff, which I think we can agree is the best possible use of said time, and basically she's found all the most fabulous things in the world. Including this video, which is in Russian, but which she has helpfully translated so that we can all appreciate the beauty of Alex Ovechkin laughing, on stage, in front of an audience, about how he jerks off every day. That is the kind of thing that would deserve a Great Service to Fandom award, if we gave awards for that. (Actually, I guess we do? But it's mostly in the form of commentfic. Which - wait, where is the Ovechkin masturbation commentfic? NOW I FEEL DEPRIVED, FANDOM.)

And even if you do speak Russian, for real, read her translation, because her comments on the amazing acting talent of Alexander Ovechkin are worth it, my friends. Ovechkin: Maybe not the guy you'd pick first to cast in Hamlet, basically. Even if you were doing an all-NHL-player version of Hamlet. (Worst. Idea. Ever. Although I'm eager to discuss who would get to be Ophelia. I am thinking maybe Roberto Luongo.)

Why I Love Goalies. Colorado Avalanche: The Oldies, by [livejournal.com profile] vamm_goda.

Okay, so a bit ago [livejournal.com profile] vamm_goda posted the most amazing primer I have ever read, for the Colorado Avalanche, a team I had barely heard of. (Like, my sole point of reference before then was from when I shared an office with the world's most dedicated sports fan, who once spent an entire work afternoon arguing violently and fiercely with internet strangers on the subject of Colorado Avalanche: Stupidest Team Name Ever? Seriously, he took regular breaks to stride around the office and rant about the most irritating comments to us, gesticulating wildly and demanding we agree with how crazy this was, which, you know, we did, but only because he was himself clearly worryingly unbalanced. I mean, to give you some idea, I remember his flailing arms with great clarity, but I've forgotten what side he was on.) Anyway. I read this primer over the course of a couple of days, and I went from knowing nothing at all about the Avalanche to being genuinely interested and caring, which is - let's just say that even if I'm the only one who had that reaction, this primer still made an appreciable difference in the current total worldwide level of caring about the Avalanche. An impressive feat!

But if you don't want to read the whole primer - and you should! - you should at least read this post, because like all teams, the Avalanche has had some amazing and fascinating people on its roster. And if you don't read the whole thing - though you should! - just scan down until you find Patrick Edward Armand Roy, because - okay. Recently, someone on my friends list was asking why goalies are always said to be crazy. This post will answer that question. (Spoiler: IT'S BECAUSE THEY ARE CRAZY.) Patrick Roy was a fantastic goalie with an unnatural interest in his teammates' underwear, a desire to beat the shit out of any player who touched his net, and an apparent total lack of skill at pillow fights. (YES. Pillow fights. It's like that one commercial come to life! With a lunatic French-Canadian in it.) Basically, either he was crazy to start with (which I think is true) or being a goalie drove him crazy (which I also think is true), but either way: Dude was batshit.

But fun batshit. It's people like Patrick Roy who remind me why I love hockey. It isn't because my teams win (they don't, those motherfuckers). It's because the people involved are fascinating, and by fascinating I mean really weird and vaguely gay.

Okay. I think I can survive another week of the playoffs now. Tune in next week, when I will probably be doing a post entitled Screw It, Here's All the Reasons Hockey Is a Heartbreaker.
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
There has been some salad-related discussion in our household of late. (Actually, this discussion has been going on for at least ten years. Salad is an important topic in our family.) I cannot tell you what, exactly, we've been saying, or at least I can't without biasing the poll (and god knows I would never want to bias the ironclad validity and reliability of an internet poll!), but your thoughts are VERY IMPORTANT.

Also, because this is still a fannish journal, and also because I did not want to do two polls, I'm asking about the fandom that is most exciting for you right now. So even if you have no thoughts on salad - although I'm really not sure that is even POSSIBLE - please scroll down for the last question.

In this poll, for the record, I am talking about a green salad. Potato salad and fruit salad and caprese salad and - pasta-y things, whatever, those are fine, but not what we're discussing here. Those are SALADS FOR A LATER POLL. (And there will probably be one. The salad debate is reaching critical mass around here.)

Poll #10114 Salad and Fandoms
Open to: Registered Users, detailed results viewable to: All, participants: 665


What is the best part of a green salad? (Assume all items are high quality.)

View Answers

Lettuce!
126 (19.3%)

Tomatoes!
135 (20.6%)

Other assorted vegetables!
131 (20.0%)

Meat!
21 (3.2%)

Fruit!
43 (6.6%)

Other, um, salad components!
25 (3.8%)

Croutons!
51 (7.8%)

Other toppings, like nuts or weird crunchy things!
63 (9.6%)

Dressing!
59 (9.0%)

What parts of a salad do you like and look forward to? (As opposed to tolerating or exiling them.)

View Answers

Lettuce!
388 (58.8%)

Tomatoes!
381 (57.7%)

Other assorted vegetables!
478 (72.4%)

Meat!
218 (33.0%)

Fruit!
273 (41.4%)

Other, um, salad components!
278 (42.1%)

Croutons!
298 (45.2%)

Other toppings, like nuts or weird crunchy things!
401 (60.8%)

Dressing!
406 (61.5%)

In your ideal green-type salad, what is the dressing level like?

View Answers

No dressing.
60 (9.1%)

A tiny hint of dressing.
158 (24.0%)

Visible dressing.
353 (53.7%)

Every piece of the salad is coated in dressing.
80 (12.2%)

The salad is basically afloat in a sea of dressing.
4 (0.6%)

Actually, I just drink the dressing straight and leave the salad.
2 (0.3%)

Someone tells you, "Tonight, we are having SALAD!" Your reaction?

View Answers

YAY!
288 (43.8%)

Um, good, because - vegetables. Are good. And stuff.
196 (29.8%)

...And?
147 (22.4%)

So I will be making myself something else.
20 (3.0%)

Smile, nod, and then, as soon as possible, flee, never looking back.
6 (0.9%)

In addition to your thoughts on salad, I would like to hear your thoughts on fandom! What fandom are you really super-excited about right now? TELL TELL, please!

thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
Fandom takes you to strange places. You find yourself, for instance, in Lawrence, Kansas. Or you find yourself bidding a lot of money on a small piece of molded plastic on eBay. Or you find yourself waiting in line at four in the afternoon for a movie that isn't showing until midnight.

On March 25th, fandom took me to a hockey game. [livejournal.com profile] dramaturgca courageously volunteered to accompany me, and since she is an actual fan of the Ducks and I am not a fan of the Ducks or anyone they had left to play at that point, we picked a game based on convenience to us. Which left us watching the Ducks vs. the Bruins.

Keep in mind that I am a huge introvert who has problems with crowds and loud noises and bright lights and people too close to me, and thus am perhaps the person who should least go to a hockey game. I mean ever. If you had to choose between taking an elephant to a hockey game and taking me, most wise people would choose the elephant.

But I went. And I had a really good time. And since I solicited advice from you all for this, I'm going to offer you my observations. As a very pathetic sort of thank you, basically. (Yes, I know you'd rather have a card. Next year, I swear.)

Here's what I learned.
  1. Hockey is better and easier to follow live. It just is. By an almost incalculable amount. I was worried about being able to see the puck, being able to follow the game without the TV replays, being able to figure out what the hell was going on without being able to back the game up. That turned out not to be an issue at all. There actually are replays of key moments, because of the Jumbotron, which is a torture device we will discuss in a moment, but it's obvious what's going on on the ice, because you can see what everyone is doing. Not just whoever has the puck. It's also hugely obvious, watching a game, what problems a team is having; you don't need to be told that a team has a turnover problem, because you can see that they're constantly giving the puck to the other team. Basically, you can see stuff instead of hearing people tell you what you'd be seeing if you were there! It's awesome.

  2. Hockey games are loud. Oh god, I cannot adequately convey to you how fucking loud it is, and I was attending a Ducks game late in a season in which they are no longer in playoff contention. Also, it was absolutely sheeting rain outside, and this is Southern California, so a lot of the season ticket holders stayed home out of fear they would melt. (It was supposed to be sold out, standing room only, but there were lots of empty chunks.) And yet. So, so loud. Screaming fans! Super-loud music! Piercing whistles! Random sound effects! And then each period, as the game got closer to the end and the crowd got drunker, it got louder. Somewhere in the middle of the second period, my ears started to surrender, and my conversations with [livejournal.com profile] dramaturgca all began to sound like this:

    D: [A thing.]
    Me: Sorry, what?
    D: [A LOUDER THING.]
    Me: Um, still couldn't hear you.
    D, louder still: OH GOD WHY DON'T WE EVER HAVE ANYONE IN POSITION FOR A REBOUND?
    Me, wondering if it is safe to pat a disappointed hockey fan in a sympathetic manner and deciding probably not: There, there.

    My point is, it's tough to angst when no one can hear you, and in a hockey game, there is a lot of angst, but no one can ever hear you.

  3. The Jumbotron is a work of pure evil. I had never seen one before, because of my scrupulous lifelong avoidance of any situation in which a Jumbotron could conceivably be appropriate, and it is a GIANT MULTI-SIDED TV IN THE SKY. (If you've only ever seen hockey in streaming or whatever, you've probably wondered why players on the bench and in the box spend so much time staring up. They're staring at the Jumbotron, hypnotized.) Which provides useful information, yes, but also does horrible things like provide giant closeups on random members of the audience, some of whom are eating. (Or texting. Or waving frantically to get the attention of the Jumbotron God, for reasons that are still totally unclear to me.) It's awful.

  4. Hockey games are - pretty cheesy. Like, they sort of hide this from you in TV coverage? But in actual reality, once the TV coverage goes to commercial, they play terrible covers of songs from two decades ago, and they have these weird halftime competitions where, like, they pull random kids from the audience and have them hit pucks into circles, and the Ducks have a little dirigible that flies around inside the stadium and drops coupons for things no one wants coupons for on random audience members. (Half of them react like a coupon is the last item they need on their scavenger hunt, and half of them keep texting.) They have unfortunately dressed audience members (including a complete loon who sat near us and who we tried to ignore because we were afraid if we made eye contact we'd catch something). They have these competitions where fans sing or dance, which lead to contact embarrassment so severe I had to stare at my feet for them. So, basically, we're talking about fifteen or twenty thousand people who get together one evening to be total dorks. It's frankly adorable.

  5. Live hockey games have energy. Even if you didn't care at all about either team at the start of it, by the middle of the second period, you totally would, because it turns out that kind of caring is contagious. I found myself genuinely incensed that the refs, who it goes without saying sucked donkey balls, took a goal away from the Ducks for goalie interference when there was obviously no goalie interference. (Seriously, go watch that - I mean it! - and then know that at the time, I cared about that specific event more deeply than I cared about 90% of the votes I cast in the last election. The noise you're hearing in the background there? I was one of the people making it.) And I am not a joiner, mind you. I assume if you were the kind of person who actually chanted because everyone else was chanting, you would spend most of every hockey game totally high on the energy of people around you. (I assume this is why they design the parking lots to have looooooong waits to get out, so that you can come down from that high before you get out on the freeway and start, you know, driving to the net.) As it was, I smiled a LOT.

  6. Fangirls watch hockey differently than other fans. I mean, no, not in terms of what we actually see, but - okay. I was between [livejournal.com profile] dramaturgca and a random dude, both of whom were vocal Ducks fans. They both reacted the same way to the situation on the ice, but they sounded different. The random dude talked to the team like they were drivers on the freeway who were cutting him off and had maybe also fucked his mother. [livejournal.com profile] dramaturgca talked to the team like they were puppies who just did not understand that they were not supposed to pee on the carpet, but could probably learn to potty outside with lots of help. (Yes, I would like to get a comparison sample from when the team is winning.) It sounded like this:

    [The Ducks have the puck and are heading towards the Bruins' goal!]
    Random Dude, in a tone of intense aggravation: Come on, you fuckers, just - just GO, just GET IT - OH FUCK YOU.
    D, in a peppy, high-pitched tone: Come on, sweeties, come on, you can do it, babies, you just - AUGH.

    Because of this, I spent some of the evening working hard not to laugh. I think hockey on TV would be greatly improved if you had Sugar Announcer ("They're really trying hard! Harder than they did last time! Awwww, isn't that CUTE?") and Bastard Announcer ("If these assholes don't stop blocking their own shooting lanes, I'm going to go down there myself and start punching them in the junk.") instead of the burbling idiots they generally have talk over everything interesting happening in the game. (Opinions, I have them. Best Beloved is laughing at me right now.)

  7. If you go to a hockey game - and I think you should! - try to go with someone who has been there before. Because [livejournal.com profile] dramaturgca has been going to games at Honda Center for years, she was able to pick out good seats (great seats, even!) and then navigate us to them with a minimum of difficulty. She also drove there and dealt with the parking mess. Basically, she went to a game and sort of carried me along with her. It was great.
It was, overall, a wonderful night, and I am already planning to go back next year. I am apparently determined to become the country's least-likely hockey fan. (Sadly, I can't compete on the international level, because I have friends in countries that basically don't even have skating rinks who are finding themselves inexplicably drawn to hockey. That's hardcore.)

Or, to sum up: Hockey. YAY.
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
Sidney Crosby is returning to play on 3/15, and to celebrate, I thought it was time I returned to a thing I love that I used to do a looooooong time ago: Fandoms I Have Loved. For hockey RPF. I am quite serious.

But let's be clear about this. Yes, I have hockey blogs on my reader now. Yes, I now have actual opinions about rule modifications. Yes, I watch hockey clips on YouTube and argue with the referees, even though a) they cannot hear me and b) obviously if they could they wouldn't care, since they are clearly watching a whole different game, what the fuck was that call even about, were you FACING THE FUCKING ICE AT THE TIME?

And, of course, I care about the players. Basically all of them. Way more than I should. Put it this way: When Sidney Crosby was cleared for contact, my inbox erupted with joy. It was seriously a great day for me. (He looked genuinely happy. That's - weird for him.) I know two people who cried.

Still, I don't actually know very much about hockey. (Although I know way, way more than I knew on January 1, 2012. I sometimes think we - at least those of us who are allergic to real resolutions - should go back and make retroactive resolutions. Like, so you happened to buy a lot of shoes in 2011? Your 2011 retroactive resolution was clearly "mix up my shoe wardrobe more." My point is, if 2012 keeps on the way it has been, my resolution will turn out to have been "learn more about sports, ideally ones that involve a lot of hugging.") So when I say fandom I have loved, I really am talking about the fandom. My approach to RPF appears to amount to "ignore reality if that makes it more fun," so this is not the place to go for actual hockey facts.

If, on the other hand, you are looking for fandom facts, I am here for you. And let's start with reasons to read the rest of this FIHL.

(Note: I am indebted to basically everyone who already knew things about hockey. Everything I'm saying here, someone taught me in the past, like, three months. Thank you, hockey persons!)

Hockey: Five Reasons to Love It (Even If You Don't Like Sports)
  1. Numbers. If you generally have a hard time telling people apart, even if one of them has, like, a giant facial scar, and also the other one has three noses, fear not! In hockey, they wear helmets (and mouthguards and sometimes visors and also so much padding you could make fourteen quilts out of one of them, and yet they still get hurt all the time, which tells you something about the basic insanity of skating up to mach 2 and then slamming into a guy wearing knives strapped to his feet and carrying a big stick), so no one can tell anyone apart. Which is why during games they have their names on their backs and numbers everywhere. You just need to memorize the numbers you are specifically interested in and you're golden. Since I can't ever tell anyone from anyone else, I love this so much I sometimes wish everyone would adopt it, and then I realize that that is a key plot element of like 87 dystopian YA novels, and I get over myself.

  2. You Can Play. This is an anti-homophobia campaign run by hockey people and featuring big-name hockey players. (Including Duncan Keith, who you'll be hearing about later! And Henrik Lundqvist, known in my household for provoking the latest round of, "No, trust me, everyone but you thinks he's attractive." Best Beloved has no patience with me sometimes. I'm sorry! He has very nice hair, okay? It's - glossy?) Yes, "You can play sports even if you're gay!" is not something that should have to be said, but it definitely needs saying anyway, and these guys are saying it. It's worth watching a game or two just to support them.

  3. Hockey Hugs. (I've linked to one of my favorites - the mid-game proposal! - because I can't find a way to link to all the Hockey Hugs entries. The Puck Daddies need to work on their fucking tags system, or else maybe I need to work on my brain system. Whichever.) Even the professional journalists slash the fuck out of hockey dudes, is my point, and also they are pretty amusing while doing it. Plus. I mean. Any sport that features a lot of enthusiastic hugging is better than any sport that doesn't, and that is just fact. ETA: Since Puck Daddy would apparently prefer for us to use third-party systems, here is a link to all the Hockey Hugs I could find, tagged on my Pinboard.

  4. The Horror. By which I mean the terrible, terrible things players do to their hair, their faces, and their clothes in the name of either charity or - you know, I actually don't know why they look how they look most of the time. This is a sport where people wear suits to talk to the media directly after games, sometimes even nice suits, and yet for reasons that still aren't clear to me no one has ever held Patrick Kane down and forced him to get a decent haircut. And this is also a sport where the guys grow deeply horrible mustaches for Movember, and there is a tradition that the team whose players do the best Grizzly Adams cosplay in the postseason get to hug a big silver cup. (Seriously. This is a thing. Playoff beards. Look it up, but don't look at images if you're of a sensitive disposition. Or eating.) I love that it's possible to spend like half the season recoiling from the appearance of your team, even if you are lucky enough to have a relatively attractive bunch of guys on there.

  5. Goalie Masks. These things are twisted, and you know how I respect that. Goalies get to customize their masks, which I suspect is one of those bones they threw them because otherwise no one would be willing to take that fuck-awful job (if you're the goalie, you can make 30 saves and still get booed for the one you miss, and also you wear so much protective equipment that if you want to hug a teammate you risk suffocating him; goalie fights are like two men attempting to dance with beach balls glued all over their bodies). But the thing is, well. If you weren't a very odd person before you became an NHL goalie, you would be after a few seasons of it, and it shows. Some of those goalie masks look like creations serial killers would make out of their victims (looking at you, Carey Price). Some look like the ultimate nerdgasm (Kari Lehtonen! Peter Budaj!). I love that every goalie's psyche is right out there on display. (And, in the case of the one that looks like brains: way to take that literally.) Gives you something to analyze during breaks in the action.
In addition, there is also an actual game involved here, which - okay, I love it. It is fast and fun and only sort of lethal, and also it features in most hockey RPF stories (except, you know, the ones about gladiators or whatever). And you can figure out at least half of it in just a week of dedicated confusion. Let's talk about that next! Sort of!

Check inside for some guys who are really interested in stick-handling, slashing, and scoring, and who also play this game sometimes. )
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
To introduce this set, I am afraid I must tell one of those stories that you had to be there for. Also, I must warn you, this makes references to ladybits and so forth.

Okay. So. Trader Joe's, in its infinite marketing wisdom, offers a lot of time-limited products, thus teaching its customers that you must buy now or wonder forever. In a recent shopping expedition, I chose to buy now. The purchase in question was a bag of cherry-flavored heart-shaped gummy candies.

One afternoon shortly thereafter, I opened the bag and explored them with the earthling, and we discovered that the hearts had a red, liquid center. I learned, through subsequent experimentation, that you could sort of pry the hearts partway open and the red center would well up and ooze out. Bleeding heart! I thought. Trader Joe's sold us literal bleeding hearts. I of course made a note to tell Best Beloved.

That night, she came in, and I picked one out, dug in my fingernails, and began to pry. This created a sort of vertical chasm in the heart.

"It looks like a vagina," she said, watching me. The liquidy center welled up and started oozing. "...And now it's a vagina that's leaking," she said, in tones that communicated that she was extremely unimpressed.

I lost it. I started laughing, and - see, unfortunately my computer chair is not the most stable, and of course I flatly refuse to replace it while it can be sat in at all, so I fell out of the chair, collapsed at her feet, and made a spirited attempt to die laughing. For me, this is entirely possible; I have been sick since December, and anything at all triggers a coughing fit at this point.

So I laughed until I coughed and coughed until my ribs ached and I could not breathe at all, with my face buried in her thigh because of course I could not hold myself upright, either. And as soon as I almost had my breath back, Best Beloved said, "You know, as long you're down there anyway..." and I lost it again. The laughing-coughing-choking-gasping-weeping cycle was much worse the second time around, because, come on, she made a tasteless request for oral sex while I was dying over the bleeding vulva candy. To me, it does not get funnier than that.

When I got back to the desperate gasping for air phase, Best Beloved patted my head and said, "Happy anniversary, sweetie." Because, uh, this happened on our anniversary, which we of course forgot because we have forgotten every single one since forever. We used to forget how long we'd been together, too, which led to a lot of embarrassing back-dating; we'd be having a date, except really we'd just be going, "Well, you graduated from high school in..." and sometimes searching our purses for paper to do calculations on. But we have, in the past few years, made a spirited attempt to memorize the year we got together, and it has worked, which is why Best Beloved was able to add, as I whooped back into the laughing phase because I got my wife a bleeding vulva candy for our anniversary, "Nineteen years."

And then she lost it. Because - well, I assume because we've been together for nineteen years despite the fact that we are exactly the kind of people who would do the things we had just done.

But, yes, Best Beloved and I have been together for nineteen years. And we're going to have to stay together, too. No one else would ever put up with either of us now. (This is the real meaning of "ruining you for all other partners," let me just say.)

I love you, sweetie. Happy belated anniversary. This set is for you.

The One That Makes Basically Any Other Character's Daddy Issues Look Totally Healthy. Set Me As A Seal Upon Your Heart, by [livejournal.com profile] dorkorific. Football (Soccer) RPF, Cristiano Ronaldo/Ricardo Leite.

For those of you who are on a busy schedule, let me summarize this recommendation using an extract from a chat I had with [profile] frostfire_17 when I was reading it:

TFV: I AM READING SOCCER RPF.
FF: HAHAHAHA
TFV: IT'S REALLY GOOD.
FF: ...LINK.

There you go. It's soccer/football (maaaaan, there is a hatesex pairing if I've ever seen one) RPS. It's really good. People will mock you for reading it, and then read it themselves and marvel. You can skip the rest of this now if you're already sold. Link's up there. Use it.

And, hey! I think it's official: I can read sports RPF! Or, okay, two sports, but if anyone wants to throw some baseball or figure skating RPS at me, I am prepared to see if it sticks.

Because if it's anything like this? I want to embrace it. This is - look, I have no idea who these people are. None. I have learned, thanks to google, that they play for Real Madrid, and presumably do - stuff. Kicking? I'm not sure. I actually did play a year of soccer in elementary school, and my entire acquired knowledge of it can be summed up as: Hope the ball does not come to you. Wait for the game to be over. Probably you will get oranges.

But this is not just sport stuff, even though I am sure soccer (football!) is an amazingly wonderful game when you aren't playing it, or I guess even if you are if you happen to have some athletic ability. Yes, this story has some nifty kicking and the occasional deeply hysterical game between an adult and fourth-graders (and, for the record, I love how professional athletes are incapable of losing even to children, and yes, I am looking at you, Jonathan Toews, as well as Cristiano Ronaldo - and, whoa, there's another terrible pairing to contemplate). But really this is a gorgeous story about the love between a half-demon incubus type person and a priest.

...No, really, it's fabulous. I love the world-building, with the various parents of the half-demon characters, and the abilities they have. I love the way Ricky (the priest) deals with it, the way he talks about his faith, the way he manages to (verbally) beat some sense into Cris again and again, which is frankly something Cris needs to happen to him every minute for the rest of his life. I love this world, oh my god so much. And, as always, Rave can fucking write. I love her. And you will love this. (And if you really have to know who these people are before you read, and you don't, maybe - maybe google them? I don't know what to tell you, there.)

The One in Which We Learn That Some Alphabets Are Angrier Than Other Alphabets. Heroes and Devils, by [personal profile] marinarusalka. Avengers x Echo Bazaar, Steve Rogers/Tony Stark.

I have never played Echo Bazaar. (No, really, I like it this way. The primary difference between the me of this moment and teenage me is that these days I sometimes don't start things I know I shouldn't start.) I know only the basics about it, and generally classify it in my head as If Neil Gaiman Decided to Make a Twitter-Linked Browser RPG and leave it at that. And that entirely does not matter for this story, because you can learn everything you need to know about Echo Bazaar from reading it.

And you will read so much amazing stuff in the process. I mean, I never really asked myself what would happen if the Avengers got sucked into a permanently dark, magical world - I see now how wrong that was - but even if I had, I doubt I would have come up with anything as awesome as Tony Stark: Basement Troll. I also don't think I would have pictured Spider-Man as causing disaster through impulsively pocket-picking demons (really, any superhero of normal intelligence should be able to predict that disaster would be the result of that, but I think Spider-Man has spidey sense because he's not really able to make those connections most of the time; clearly that spider was like, fuck, if I just give him the web spinning and stuff he'll be dead inside of three months), but that is exactly what happens here, and it is fabulous.

What I love most about this story - aside from, okay, the general wonderfulness of the Avengers cast in it - is that it's modern superheroes cast into a fantasy world. It gives me all these beautiful thoughts. Batman in one of those highly mannered Regency-inspired fantasy worlds where everyone duels with rapier wit and actual rapiers and also magic! The X-Men attempting to navigate Middle Earth! ("I could just bamf it to Morder!" "One does not just - what is 'bamf'?") Oracle running her entire operation from a clockwork, steam-powered computer, with the able assistance of Ada Lovelace! (Um. That has to exist, right? I mean - steampunk, Oracle, it's kind of an obvious combination, right?)

Anyway. This is great and funny and dark and gloomy. And the Avengers get to save the world! And Steve and Tony forever the end.

The One in Which We Learn That Nicknames Are a Lot More Fraught with Irony When You're a Werewolf. By Daybreak We'll Be Gone, by [personal profile] storm_petrel. The Losers, Cougar Alvarez/Jake Jensen.

Someone should do an AU tracking project, to figure out how AU types wax and wane. Like, I remember when I got into fandom, you couldn't even call it a fandom until it had a vampire AU. These days, seems like the supernatural AU of choice is werewolves. And for reasons that are totally unclear to me, but much appreciated all the same, Losers fan fiction is packed with werewolves. (See what I did there? I am so funny I should probably spell it with extra letters, like: fuuuunnnnnny.)

And, see, I have actually seen the movie for this canon (although not read the comic books, and really even the movie was emphatically Not for Me, on account of all the child death and so on), and when I watched it, nothing about it said "let's get some fur and teeth in here, stat." I mean, nothing said that to me. Clearly I just wasn't paying attention, because the Losers, as a bunch, make so much more sense if they're werewolves that it's hard for me to believe they're not. Like, seriously, someone missed a trick in the canon. Thank god we have fan fiction to make up for it. (And, also, thank god this is a textual medium, because one thing I have learned over the years is that vampires look great in visual media - basically Sherlock plus pointy teeth - but werewolves are always and ever laughable. There's just no way to make that transformation scene not funny.)

Anyway. I think I was talking about the story and not my lingering issues with Oz on Buffy. (For the record: Loved him. Wish they had done all the werewolf stuff off-screen, although comic relief is always welcome.) This story is a fantastic werewolf AU. And it completely changed the canon for me, because now I understand that they all had tails when we couldn't see them. Perfect!

The One in Which We Learn That Patrick Kane in Any Other Field Would Smell the Same but Have Less of an Oral Fixation. (Only Because It's Impossible for Anyone Anywhere to Have as Much of an Oral Fixation as Real-World Patrick Kane.) Human Empanada, by [livejournal.com profile] impertinence. Hockey RPF, Patrick Kane/Jonathan Toews. (Useful pairing primer, in case you want to know what they look like or are just curious to see what happens when sports journalists write slash. (Answer: hockey reporting. All of it. But you can start here.))

Perhaps you have been thinking to yourself, "This hockey RPF sounds fun, but... I have an allergy to hockey. If only there were a way to read hockey RPF with no need to google the name of the Edmonton team and why icing is bad!" (Although I tell you what: those things are not critical in basically any hockey story, and, tragically, if you really want to know them, you can always just ask me.) This story is for you. In it, Kaner and Tazer are princes. Of an alternate North America. It's awesome. And you don't need to know anything about hockey, or who they are, or anything. This is a perfect starter story, basically.

I mean, it is so awesome I'm recommending it without hesitation even though I cringe every time I see the title. (My life lately is bizarrely and tragically full of Human Centipede references, and the result is I am basically flinching in response to "human [whatever]" these days, unless it's, like, "human dignity." And, uh, for the record - I don't think anyone out there has not heard of this thing, but if you haven't, don't google it. Seriously. This is an area where any innocence you have should be lovingly nurtured, and preserved, if necessary, with firearms.)

Anyway. Back to the story. Going into it, I was dubious. I admit it. I don't know, in retrospect, why I was dubious - I mean, arranged marriage, royalty, hockey players: obviously this is destined to be a good time. But for some reason I couldn't think about Prince Patrick Kane without laughing a little bit (it was probably the mullet), and here's the awesome part: neither can he. But he manages to surprise everyone. It's wonderful.

So wonderful that I came as close I can these days to reading this story in one sitting. Although I had to take frequent breaks in certain spots because of the extreme tension. Which, when you are biting your nails out of concern for the characters in an AU where hockey players are royalty, you know you are reading a fucking great story.
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
Last Day of Love! I mean, I will still love you all tomorrow, but I won't be posting a recommendation. Which I am sure we can all be grateful for.

So once I thought about it, it was fairly obvious how I had to finish this series. I had to recommend a vid that can only be recommended on its own, because it is in a class by itself. (And that class would be, like, the 2011 graduating class of Arkham Asylum.)

I Swear, by [livejournal.com profile] dualbunny, [personal profile] trelkez, [personal profile] pipsqueaky, and [livejournal.com profile] sweetestdrain, all of whom should definitely win something for this, although I suspect that something is maaaaaaaaybe a free psychological evaluation. Smallville, Clark Kent/Lex Luthor, and also vidders/crack.

This vid is insane. I just want to make that clear up front. I saw it at VVC last year, and I will never forget the crowd's reaction. Because, okay, this was shown anonymously (although the vidders did come out later), and I think I was probably not the only person in the room who was a trifle worried about this song and this fandom and this setup. And then the vid builds. And builds. And just when you think it cannot get any better - look, I'm not going to tell you what happens, and also you should avoid reading the notes on the download page (basically, don't scroll down past the lyrics), just so that you can go into this as untouched and virginal as Clark when Lex tenderly presses him to the white satin sheets on their wedding night and says - no. No. See, this is exactly the problem with this vid. You watch it too many times and it restructures your brain.

But your new brain is a place where Kryptonite unicorns and gay weddings co-exist, so I'm not saying this is a bad thing. I'm just saying - after you watch this one, you'll read every crackfic ever written for the rest of time and say, "This isn't that unrealistic." And that won't be true. It's just that your standards will have been recalibrated.

Basically, this vid started out giving me flashbacks to Smallville fandom, which was an impressive feat because I pretty much missed its heyday. And it finished by causing me to laugh so hard I risked rupturing key organs. So I'm not saying it isn't dangerous. I'm saying you need to watch it anyway. This kind of fannish masterwork doesn't come along every day.

And if you've already watched it - many people have! And survived! - you should definitely take this time to watch it again. Every time you view it, you see something new. (Uh, usually something that tests your grip on reality. But that is perfectly okay, because it substitutes a better reality.)
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
Genderbent Sherlock, by [livejournal.com profile] naive_wanderer and Genderbent Sherlock Cosplay, by [livejournal.com profile] shizayats (and friend!). Sherlock BBC.

I have had the original art on my to-recommend list since [livejournal.com profile] naive_wanderer posted it. And then I saw the cosplay version of it and my head exploded. (I assume you've already seen this, because I think everyone in fandom has at this point, but if you haven't: be prepared for head explosions.)

Because, okay, I love this version of Sherlock and John. I love picturing this Sherlock sulking on the couch and wandering around wrapped in only a sheet. I love picturing this John shooting someone on Sherlock's behalf. And I would totally watch a show these two. (I mean, to the extent that I watch any show about anyone, of course.) But I never expected I'd actually get to see anything more than the art, because - uh, let's just say that while the world seems to be in love with Holmes remixes right now, I don't think "girl Holmes" is going to be something any studio executives anywhere get behind. (Because - I guess humans don't like girls?)

And then I got to see more. The cosplay is so amazingly good it actually made me gasp out loud the first time I saw it. That's Sherlock! And John! They're real! And living over in Russia, apparently! (The Russian text, as far as I know, is just explaining that those two women saw the fanart and went, "...Hey, that's us!" And then proved it. But if anyone out there can read the Russian and let me know if that's right, I would appreciate it.) I go back to look at this all the time, because it allows me to fall into kind of a dream where these are, you know, early sneak-peak photos for a series that is coming this fall. And also because it is fantastic.

So I recommend this one if you like Sherlock. (I do!) And I recommend this if you've never even seen Sherlock. (It's pretty awesome.) Basically, I just cannot imagine how looking at this could fail to make you deeply happy. In fact, I am going to stop writing this and go back and look at it some more, because every time I do, the overall happiness quotient of the planet increases. It makes me just that happy.
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
Annnnnnd it's another pair of recs. I can't help myself. But, okay, here's the thing. For reasons that don't need exploring at this juncture, I have a strong interest in soulbonding right now. I admit that for a few weeks of the specific soulbonding project of doom, I spent a lot of time reading soulbond stories and saying, "That's not how it works." Because, you know, this is fandom, where I will fight for my right to be incredibly dogmatic and dictatorial about a completely imaginary concept.

But then I started actively seeking out all the different depictions of soulbonding in fan fiction, trying to figure out what the key elements of a soulbond are. (Yes, I have a list. It is a short list. Soulbonds are mysterious and mutable, is what they are.) And I found some fantastic stories in the process.

#BOOM!, by [livejournal.com profile] 26miledrive. Hockey RPF, Ryan Kesler/Andrew Ladd. (Helpful pairing primer featuring everything you need know to read this story. Although to be honest you don't even need to know who the guys are.)

Okay, so, first, I just need to say that this hockey thing has gotten out of hand. I know this because of two interactions with Best Beloved.

Scene 1: I am watching old hockey videos on YouTube, which I suspect is just about the worst way there is to watch hockey, but, whatever, it's what I can do. I am absolutely not yelling at the screen, no matter what BB says. BB is taking a bath.

BB, from bathtub: *laughter*
Me, assuming her book is amusing: What's funny?
BB: You. What happened?
Me: THAT WAS A COMPLETELY ILLEGAL HIT. THE BRUINS ARE FUCKING THUGS.
BB: *further laughter*
Me: It was! They are!
BB: I just can't believe you have opinions about this.
Me, sulkily: That isn't an opinion. It's a fact, and everyone knows it.1
BB: *laughs hard enough to displace a significant amount of water*

1 Yes, I said this even though I did not know it until very recently, and had to be taught by J. (Name redacted to protect the relatively innocent.) Thanks, J!

Scene 2: Dinner. I am breathlessly relating some hockey facts I have learned.

BB: Is the hockey season on right now?
Me: Yes! Of course!
BB: When does it end?
Me: Regular season ends in April. Why?
BB: Find out if there's tickets. Or whatever.
Me: But why?
BB: I can sense it coming. You're going to want to go to one. You might as well be prepared.
Me: Don't be ridiculous. I'm not going to a hockey game.

[Some days pass.]

BB: You want to go to a hockey game, don't you?
Me: ...Yeah, I kind of do.
BB: *does not say anything, but radiates smugness from every pore*

My point is, there has to be an end to this, and quickly, before I end up at a hockey game with no idea what is going on. (Keep in mind that I do not do well in crowds, do not like loud noises, do not process visual information all that splendidly, and have no idea what attending a hockey game might be like. I am basically the last person who should ever go to a hockey game. With luck I'll be able to hold out until April. If not - has anyone out there ever been to one? Any tips?)

But it isn't my fault I'm like this! Hockey fandom is just so great, is all, and this story - yes, we're back to the story now - is proof. Because, okay, I suspect that hockey doesn't actually, in real actual fact, have evil fairy godmothers nicknamed Biz Nasty. (Seriously. The man tweets as BizNasty2point0. On the one hand - if you were nicknamed Biz Nasty, wouldn't you try to pretend you didn't know? On the other hand, man, I wish every evil fairy ever invited to a christening was named Biz Nasty. That right there would improve most fairy tales by at least 50%.) And I also suspect that Mr. Nasty can't actually forcibly soulbond people to make them work out their differences. (Through hatesex. I mean. How else are you going to work out your differences? It's hockey.)

But, oh, it's so much fun to imagine a world where hockey does, and he can. And this story is where that happens. It's the comedy of the soulbonding world, filled with bad behavior in Vegas and poorly-chosen helicopter tours and some really, really questionable decisions made by your friend and mine, Bad Fairy Biz Nasty.

Read it for the giggles, my friends. Read it for the giggles.

Apres moi le deluge, by [archiveofourown.org profile] beyond_belief. Generation Kill, Brad Colbert/Nate Fick.

And then, when you're done laughing, read this one for the quiet beauty and totally fascinating soulbond. (Sorry. I am basically the world's foremost soulbond scientist at this point. I cannot help categorizing these things; it is just my way. Look for my upcoming monograph, The Unbroken Thread: A Taxonomy of Soulbonds and Related Fantastical Connections, available wherever really boring books are sold.)

I love this one because - okay, if you're going to give two people a soulbond, hockey players who play for different teams and hate each other are actually a better choice than Nate and Brad. Usually, in fan fiction, we're writing about soulbonds between two people who spend, like, 18 hours a day together. (Oh, god, I just thought of a key and important question: Did anyone ever write a soulbond story in Sentinel fandom? I mean, they must have, right? Except it would actually be sort of pointless since it's basically canon. Still. If it's out there, I need to read it. I can't believe I never have.) Nate is off in Harvard, engaging in serious study and working to Make Our Nation Better! Brad is off in England, trying to drown Royal Marines! They have lives, is my point.

(And, yes, I did actually have a really long digression here about the worst fannish characters to have in a soulbond. I deleted it for the good of the recommendation, and I want you to know it was very hard to do. But if you have any opinions, feel free to weigh in. I mean, Methos? Buffy? Mycroft? So many possibilities!)

But in this story, in addition to lives, they also have a soulbond, and it's fabulous. I love how they fight it, how they learn to adapt to it, how they learn to deal with each other. And mostly I just love this story. I keep re-reading it, because it's one of those ones I just never feel finished with, you know? I'll be wandering around picking up toys and trying to persuade the child that there is a limit on the number of muffins we can make in one day, and suddenly I'll realize I need to go read that story. Again. And then I will spend the rest of the day thinking about the story while I pick up toys and make muffins.

Really, my only complaint here is that I want at least 50,000 more words of this. At least.
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
Okay, so, technically this is two recs. But it isn't four! Sorry, these vids just match up in my mind, and I'm not going to be able to talk about one without talking about the other, so let's just pretend that this is a single rec.

Also: SPOILERS. Up to 3 x 10. In the vids, and also in my recommendation, although my text may be less informative than you think, given that I haven't actually seen any of White Collar beyond season one.

What New York Used to Be, by [personal profile] giandujakiss. White Collar.

And

Rolling in the Deep, by [livejournal.com profile] wistful_fever. White Collar.

So here we have the rise and the fall, or at least that's how I see it. What New York Used to Be is this sharp (seriously, watch this just for the editing, even if you've never seen the show, because you will be amazed at all the gorgeous cuts and perfect matches in this one, to the degree that you may have to go back again because you'll clap so hard you'll miss stuff), slick narrative. Neal is changing! Law enforcement is changing him! In the beginning, it's his enemy. In the end, it's his - you know, whatever - life partner, as represented by Peter. I love this vid for the energy of it, how it builds and builds and builds to show Neal changing, becoming someone new. By the end of the vid, I'm always sort of breathlessly in love with the show, Neal, Peter, and New York, all at once. And I suspect it's mutual. I have, after all, seen some episodes of the show, and I definitely think the writers at least used to have Neal/Peter/New York scribbled on their binders, right next to Elizabeth/Peter/Neal. I suspect hearts were drawn and initials written.

And then those same writers were apparently crossed in love. Because in Rolling in the Deep, it all goes to shit. I have no idea what happened in canon between these two vids, but whatever it was, I want it never to happen to me, or to any of my relationships. The thing is, even in Rolling in the Deep, I get the feeling that the love is still there; it's like Neal loves Peter, sure, but in the end he couldn't make the change What New York Used to Be suggested he had. He's trying to have his law enforcement and his crime, too, and he's fucking Peter over in the process. While still loving him. Oh, Neal, NO. That's my basic entire reaction to Rolling in the Deep: Oh, Neal, NO. Just - don't. But he does, he does.

So I tend to think of these vids in sequence, and, um, spend a lot of time making sad noises through the second one. I can't help it. I just like people to be happy, okay? And I also like them not to be making decisions that actively undermine their happiness. I don't understand why fictional characters DO that. (Dramatic tension blah blah blah. Whatever. In my secret heart, everyone is happy all the time forever the end.)

Someone please tell me there's a third vid coming that makes it all better. It could be called, like, "I Still Have the Capacity to Make the Occasional Choice That Doesn't Completely Fuck over Everyone Who Loves Me." That would be a good song choice. Is there a song like that?

But, you know, until that one comes out, and I am entirely sure it is coming, I will just keep re-watching these two. And so should you.
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
Look here, look back, look ahead, by [profile] marinarusalk. Avengers, Steve Rogers/Tony Stark.

This one is going in a Days of Love rec (rather than, you know, a normal set) for a single reason: I can't classify it. I mean, okay, it's a wonderful adventure story featuring Nazis and secret castles and lashings of hurt/comfort, but I don't know if it's an AU or not. Or I guess it would be more accurate to say that I don't know if it's a canon AU or a fan fiction AU or both. If you aren't confused, it must not be comics fandom, that's my motto.

But I don't care. This is fantastic. It's got Steve and Tony having adventures in Transylvania involving a creepy and legendary evil, and there are no pointy teeth anywhere. (Although, man, is Transylvania just unusually stocked with grim legends or what? I don't recall, like, Devon or Iowa having quite this kind of reputation. Maybe I'm just reading the wrong stories. Maybe there are a lot of stories about the unique eeeeeeevil lurking in Dubuque. "Beware of the place of three Us, traveler, or you will not see the corn ripen again." I guess Albuquerque would be in some trouble on that score, too.) Plus, it is a deeply awesome legend. I like vampires as much as the next girl, provided the next girl is not, say, Bella - never have I ever been impregnated by a vampire, and while I'm on the topic, why did I never play Literary Never Have I Ever while I was still playing drinking games? - but I am totally ready for fantasy novels to switch over to this legend for a while. (Oooo, urban fantasy featuring a graduate of this school. I'd pay money for that.)

And I really love how this story handles the Steve/Tony. I'm not going to go into it in too much detail here, because I don't want to spoil it, but I will say that midway through there is one of those scenes that leaves me wanting to applaud the author like she just did a backflip through a circle of fire, because it's an argument in which I am on both sides simultaneously. They're both right! And they completely disagree with each other! That is a sign of characters that are real people, right there. (In real life, when this happens it's just depressing. But in fiction, it's awesome.)

Anyway. This is wonderful. And I love it. And I love you. And you know how you always want to introduce the people you love to each other, providing they are not members of your family of origin? That's how I feel about this story. Go be happy together, fandom and fanwork! You're going to get along. (And in fact most of you have probably made out with this story and taken it home at least time. IGNORING THAT.)
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
Victory Dalek Poster, by Francesco Francavilla. Doctor Who. Gen.

For my second day of fannish love, I bring you - um. Robots who hate you? Sorry. That is just how I say "I love you," and Best Beloved will back me up on this if you ask her.

This art is so fabulous. I want this on a poster. I think it would look fetching on my wall. (Or imagine it hung up at your place of work! Think how much it would improve your days, if not necessarily your personnel evaluations.) But, really, the place for this art is on a postcard that you can attach to your dashboard.

See, I used to have a really long commute, and keep in mind that I live in Los Angeles, where people who have commutes that take under an hour are considered lucky to the point where they are sometimes shunned at parties. And so, like I imagine most people do on the freeway, I would fantasize about having a disintegration beam mounted on my car that I could use to target other drivers. (Don't fret. I had a totally fair system worked out to make sure I didn't disintegrate people just because I was in a bad mood. If I ever run for Keeper of the Universe, one of my slogans will be: "You can trust me with all the disintegration beams." Or maybe: "Only disintegrating the unworthy, since 1999." VOTE FOR ME.)

My point is, if I had had this on a postcard to stare at during times of total traffic stoppage that turned out to be caused by, say, some idiot not understanding how to do a zipper merge, I would have - um. Actually, probably fantasized about the disintegration beams even more.

But I would also have fantasized about being a Dalek. And I think, in the end, that's what fanart can bring to us: New horizons, new visions, new hopes. (It just so happen that this specific piece of fanart brings us visions and hopes of exterminating large swathes of humans and then doing the Dalek Beep of Victory. THAT IS MY HOPE FOR TODAY, OKAY? DON'T JUDGE.)

(And while I'm recommending things, let me recommend [community profile] fanart_recs, a community for, as you might possibly have guessed, fanart recs. I don't know if I got this one from there, but I do find a lot of great fanart there. So awesome!)
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
Hi, fandom! I love you a lot, and I thought I would celebrate that with some days of love. By which I mean single recs. Let's see if I can manage seven!

The RBK Commercial for the End of the World, by, one assumes, Reebok, and also a heap of advertising personnel desperately in need of controlled substances.

My first rec is - not for a fanwork. Sorry! But this thing should inspire all the fanworks, is my feeling. This is a commercial featuring Sidney Crosby. And it is amazing. I found it in this Sidney Crosby mostly videospam, which I found via [livejournal.com profile] sociofemme's awesome Primer of Hockey Primers. And it is simultaneously the best and the worst thing ever.

I cannot watch most non-game video footage of Sidney Crosby, particularly anything staged, because I have an embarrassment squick and, well, let's just say Sidney Crosby attempting to be anything other than who he is (hockey-playing robot without a personality module) hits my squick hard enough to make me duck and cover. (If you want to see why, check out those other videos in the videospam, oh my god.)

But this particular commercial appears to be the product of a brainstorming session that went like this:

Advertising Person 1: Okay, people, we have to do a commercial featuring Sidney Crosby.
Advertising Person 2: The hockey-playing robot? Oh, fuck.
Advertising Person 3: He has no charisma.
AP1: I know.
AP2: And any time he tries to act like he has a personality, he lands squarely in the uncanny valley.
AP1: I know.
AP3: Focus groups routinely end up recoiling or sleeping when they watch him.
AP1: I know. But we're making the commercial anyway, so we've got to figure something out. Give me your best ideas, people.

[Long, pained pause in which no one at the table makes eye contact with anyone else.]

Advertising Person 4: ...I guess, if we've got to make a commercial featuring a boring guy who does absolutely nothing except play hockey, we could hang a lampshade on that.
AP1: Good enough. Let's do it.

And they did. The result is a commercial so depressing that it actually crosses back over into unintentionally hilarious.

Commercial summary and transcript for people who can't watch it. If you can watch it, oh my god, DO. Right now. )

When Best Beloved and I watched this commercial, we died. And then we spent the rest of the evening randomly walking up to each other and saying things like, "All my Christmas presents!" and "Grandpa's funeral!" and "My first kiss!" and "My puppy!" The underlying message of this commercial appears to be: If you can still be happy or have fun, you aren't dedicated enough. (It is also the world's best argument for slavefic. Which - normally slavefic is not my particular narrative kink, but Sidney Crosby as a hockey slave makes so much sense that I am currently writing a Just the Good Parts version of it. Watch this commercial and tell me you don't see it. You can't. You can't.)

Seriously. Watch this. It is thirty seconds extremely well spent, even if you know absolutely fuck-all about hockey and care even less.
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
I am doing this set so soon after the other one (I know, I know, totally unprecedented and weird and wrong) because I have several stories that I really, really want people to read. I mean, that's why I rec - I will not rest until all of you have read everything I think is wonderful, and that is the simple truth - but these are stories I want everyone to read, yes, and also a specific person. These are targeted recs! Except I am not saying who the targets are. So you should read all these because one of them might be for you.

And even if one isn't, still. Read. I promise you every one of these stories is amazing.

The One That Teaches Us the Nuances of Decorating with Bovine Paraphernalia. It's Complicated, by [livejournal.com profile] just_katarin. Hockey RPF, Carey Price/PK Subban. (If those names mean nothing to you - hi, me too! - the author has a useful primer.)

One of the things I am learning about hockey via RPF (again, may not actually apply to real hockey) is that the players suck at feelings. I mean, yes, there's all that hugging, and of course the fighting, but basically you're looking at a whole bunch of dudes who were in shooting practice when everyone else was learning to deal with emotion. It's like an entire league filled with John Sheppards, Aeryn Suns, and Batmen. Yeah, I'll give you a minute to sit with the horror. (Or, you know, actually the mental image is kind of - NO WAIT NO it would totally be a horror what am I even saying? The fact that it's hot doesn't mean it wouldn't be a total disaster, this is a thing I have learned in my life.)

Okay, so, while this situation is obviously not ideal for the players, or, you know, anyone around them, it does give rise to a lot of awesome stories. Like this one! And this story displays so many different kinds of failure to get feelings; it's basically the Problems with Feelings opus. There was a point in this story where I said to myself, "These dudes are going to be married and have three kids before they ever figure out they're in love, let alone have a talk about it." (Seriously. That happens in hockey.)

And the thing is, in less skilled hands, this could get annoying. Or it could lead to a lot of yelling at the characters. But in this story, it really doesn't; it's just, one of these dudes seriously doesn't get it, and the other dude doesn't get that, and also both of them would apparently let Alexander Ovechkin dance on them with his skates on before they'd sit down and actually talk. Sometimes life gets complicated when you're like that. But my point is: even though it totally seemed like a possibility, I didn't ever want to strangle the characters in this story. (I did want to lend them my copy of Humans Have Feelings and You're Going to Have to Learn to Deal, the textbook from Remedial Emotion 100. But, well. That is a fairly standard impulse when reading hockey RPF.)

So, you know, this is basically a cavalcade of feelings from guys whose natural emotional status is "none." That alone makes it awesome. But I also loved how this dealt with the pressures and pitfalls of a rookie year, and also with some of the specific bullshit PK Subban gets for being black. (Uh, warning: be prepared to finish this story with some hostile feelings toward Darren Pang. That is fine and as it should be.)

The One That Teaches Us That Black Books, in Very Specific and Unusual Circumstances, Is Romantic. And I'm trying my hardest not to fall, by [personal profile] surexit. Original fiction.

I did say I wouldn't be telling exactly who these recs were aimed at, but I have to say with this one. See, Best Beloved - she is a very intelligent person, really, but also very determined and sometimes her determinedness gets in the way of her intelligence. Such is the case with her consumption of original m/m ebooks. Because, yes, there are some good ones, but let's be honest: most of what you find on Amazon you would back button away from immediately if the characters were named, say, Charles and Erik instead of Cooper and Ethan (note: if these are actual names of characters in some original m/m book somewhere, I'm not referring to it; BB is the one with the exhaustive and honestly worrying knowledge of the genre, not me).

But BB remains convinced that somewhere out there is the motherlode of all excellent published slash, and she's by god going to find it. There is no telling her she's already found it and read it all. So she persistently and bravely buys ebook after ebook, and inevitably we have this conversation:

Me: How's the new original slash?
BB: Not terrible. I mean, it wasn't terrible. And then their penises started talking in couplets, and now -
Me: It's terrible?
BB, sadly: Yes.

Only actually it's generally much worse than talking penises.

So this rec is specifically for BB, to prove to her that there really is great original m/m fiction left for her to read. (It's also for the rest of you, because it's good! And original! And you should read it.) Just, I think perhaps she needs to let the ebooks lie fallow for a while.

Instead, she can read this. Because this is an awesome story about two guys who are the absolute awkwardest meeting and falling in love. And if that doesn't grab you - although in that case I genuinely cannot imagine why you are reading my journal - there's also a lot of great stuff about class in here. Class commentary and gay romance! The best of all possible worlds. (I mean, of course, the best of all possible worlds not featuring robots.)

The One That Teaches Us That Illegal Drugs Lead, Rather Unexpectedly, to Tons of Plot. Twenty-Year Man, by [personal profile] ellen_fremedon. Vorkosigan series, Ivan Vorpatril/Byerly Vorrutyer.

I would love this story anyway, because it is everything I dream of, but in addition to being practically perfect in every way, it triggered a revelation for me, a revelation about the Vorkosigan series. So in addition to expanding the Vorkosigan universe, and shifting the focus of it, and giving me more of it, it also taught me something about it, and about myself. That is everything fan fiction is supposed to do. See why I said it was perfect?

(And, okay, this isn't exactly related to the recommendation, but it feels wrong to mention my revelation and not tell you what it is. As I read this, I wondered why I was so comfortable with Ivan in casefic, when Miles in casefic, or case books, has never been my happy place. And once I asked myself that, I had the answer. I am, it turns out, only interested in Miles when he's becoming something. When he's becoming Admiral Naismith, or becoming a Barrayaran officer, or becoming a [spoiler for Memory], I'm fascinated, I love it. When he's not, I still love him, but I don't want the details. Probably because if he's not overcoming insurmountable odds, he's, um. You know. Miles. So I'm a little sad about that, because as far as I can tell, he's done as a character, which I suspect means I'm done with the series. Bummer.)

So. Back to this story, which I am not at all done with. I love characters who underplay their intelligence, characters who maintain a bland façade while thinking actual thoughts underneath, and Ivan is, arguably, such a character. At least, okay, I'm not sure that's how Bujold meant him, but it is definitely how fan fiction portrays him, and in this case my vote is alllll on the side of fanon. I really love Ivan here, giving up on his whole "anything for a quiet life" strategy in a big way.

And, I mean - there's research! Shenanigans! Politics! Basically everything I love about the canon, but with gay sex! So, yeah, I'll just go back to what I said up there. Perfect. You'll want to read this. (Unless you haven't read the Vorkosigan series, in which case I'm not sure how well this will work for you. But, hey, no problem, just read a couple of books of that first, then this. There. Your weekend is all set.)

The One That Makes Me Yearn, Yearn, for a Cupcake Avalanche App. Semaphore, by [personal profile] devildoll. Avengers, Steve Rogers/Tony Stark.

True fact: I fell asleep thinking about the stories I wanted to rec that fit into this set, wondering which one to end with (I have a lot of things I want people to read, okay?), and dreamed that [personal profile] devildoll was pregnant. With a dragon. If that's not a message from my subconscious saying, "Go with the Steve/Tony one everyone has already read!" I don't know what would be.

So, yeah, odds are good you've already read this, and I am not surprised, because, okay, [personal profile] devildoll is a bad person who made a 300-song playlist for this story and then declined to share the whole thing, but she is also an amazing writer. (Particularly when she's got old people kicking ass in her story. For reasons unknown - and, no, I am not even asking my subconscious; I'll probably dream that she's a German Shepherd or something - senior citizens = good times with [personal profile] devildoll. She's the author I'd most like to listen to learn swing dancing with, basically.)

This story, in addition to the usual terrifying old people and awesome romance, also does something that is kind of weird in fan fiction, which is: the realistic breakup. (No, no, seriously, come back here, it's not like that!) Generally writers either ignore existing relationships, as in that Mitt Romney/sexbot story I totally have not read, or they do fake breakups ("I only left you because you broke up with me!" "I only broke up with you because you were leaving!" [sexytimes]), or they do real breakups that are more like meetings with a matchmaker ("I think we're kind of over, but it's cool, we can still hang out. Um, have you considered Eames at all?"). And, I mean, I read all those stories. I love all those stories. Just, that isn't what's happening here. This breakup is serious, and real, and it kills me a little every time I read it, both for Pepper and for Tony, although, let's face it, Pepper is always going to handle shit better than Tony does. (Others who handle shit better than Tony: Basically the entire population of the planet aside from Bruce Banner and the Joker.)

And then they both move on, and the moving on is glorious and awesome and funny, and also, from time to time, awkward as fuck, because Tony is not good at - you know, given Tony's advantages, it's surprising to me to note this, but it would actually be easier to make a list of things he is good at: technology, fighting in a big metal suit, and snappy comebacks. Everything else he has to pay someone to do. He's just lucky that he has enough money that he can still present himself as sane and functional to anyone who hasn't gotten a close look at his payroll.

Anyway. For some reason my Avengers recs always end up with me rattling on for paragraphs about Tony, which - I guess both Steve and Tony would want it that way, but next time I swear I will spend some time on Captain America. And maybe even on the story, crazy as that is. In the meantime, I'll just say: I know you've already read this (unless you are the target of this rec, of course). Now is the perfect time to read it again.
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
I am allergic to celebrities. I just - they bother me. I feel like the basic social contract, as far as celebrities are concerned, is that we pay them a lot of money and in return they spend all their time far away and we (or, okay, I) can pretend they don't really exist. (True fact: when people on my friends list post excitedly about meeting their favorite celebrities, I am happy for them, but I, uh, have to hit the back button very speedily. Because ew, celebrities.)

You might think that this would be a problem, given that I live in a place that has a mildly elevated celebrity density, but this is where my inability to recognize faces pays off; I could watch three back-to-back movies starring someone and then get trapped in an elevator with him for four hours, and when I came out I would say, "You know, he sounded familiar. I think my sister might know him." (The real problem comes about when I am walking around with people and they say - quietly and without pointing, of course, because they are Angelenos, but why even bring it up? - "Oh, hey! It's -" whoever. I do not want to know. If you're ever walking around with me and you see Jeremy Piven or Arnold Schwarzenegger or Jennifer Anniston or Mary Louise Parker, just do not tell me. I will be happy, and you will be happy, and presumably whoever it is will be happy, too. Unless it's Arnold Schwarzenegger, who even I could tell looked incredibly grouchy every time I was with someone who pointed him out.)

So my celebrity allergy was absolutely fine for the longest time. I had the disease and the cure! And then I got into fan fiction, and - and it was no longer fine. Because the celebrity allergy gave me an RPF squick, and that meant there were a lot of stories I yearned to read and could not.

But it wasn't like, say, my animal harm squick, which when triggered leaves me so upset that I once cried on the phone to a telemarketer because of a story I'd been reading. (She hung up.) It just makes me geechy, in the same way that actual celebrities make me geechy. I can deal with being geechy in a good cause. So each time a new RPF fandom came out, I would read a story in it, one that was highly recommended, and each time I would have hope in my heart. Because maybe - maybe the fact that I've never seen American Idol will mean I can read this! (Nope.) Maybe the fact that I can only name about three total bandom guys will mean I can read this! (Nope.) It was always immensely disappointing; there's no feeling quite like reading a story you know is good, that you want to love, except you can't because your skin is filing for divorce from your body.

Still. I persevered. I discovered some fandoms in which I could dabble! (Mythbusters, for example. They're real people, but my brain doesn't consider them celebrities, so I can deal. Also anything featuring people from, like, WWII or before; my brain doesn't consider them real.) And then recently, magically, I followed some links that [personal profile] dine posted, and I found that I can read hockey RPF. I have no idea if it's because I don't consider the players celebrities or because I don't consider them real people, but I don't care. RPF! That I can read! I have hope that I can, at long long last, break this thing. Maybe this time next year I will be able to read bandom and popslash and LotRiPS and J2 and AI and all the other fan fiction I have missed over the years! There will be celebrating then, let me tell you.

In the meantime, as kind of a precursor celebration, a recs set that has been seven years in the making: an all RPF set.

The One That Proves That There's No Soap Opera Like a Hockey Soap Opera. My Siberia: A Russian Knitting Circle Story, by [personal profile] impertinence. Hockey RPF, Sidney Crosby/Geno Malkin.
Here is a list of the things I've learned while reading hockey RPF (note: may possibly not apply to actual hockey):
  1. The Blackhawks are by far the gayest team in the NHL.
  2. Sidney Crosby is a hockey-playing robot.
  3. No one pines like a Russian hockey player. Entire strands of virgin forest (sorry; in my defense, uncut sounded even worse) only wish they could pine that hard.
And then I picked the story that exemplified 66% of these things. (I do have many Blackhawks recs, but the Gay Little Team That Could (Totally Blow Each Other) is going to have to wait its turn. It's fine; the players have lots to get up to in the meantime. )

So, yes, I went with the Pining for the Robot story. This is a good trope for me. No, this is a great trope for me. I have a lot of love for a certain type of character - the person who is incredibly good at something, or even a lot of somethings, who manages to be a decent person while somehow sucking at being, you know, human. (Yes, fine, my ideal character is Spock. This cannot be a surprise to anyone.) In other words: a robot. (Or, okay, to be clear, a person-type character a lot of other characters are going to call a robot. Or an alien.) And in this trope, I can see some other character appreciating the robot as much as I do. Awesome.

And this is where hockey RPF is good to me, because it turns out Sidney Crosby is an ideal robot. He's a brilliant hockey player with roughly the same skill at being human as an actual alien. (Sadly, there is no story in which Crosby actually is an alien, and the concussion is really a symptom of him going into heat. You can't have everything, I guess.)

Geno Malkin, meanwhile, is a pining hockey-playing Russian, or perhaps the pining hockey-playing Russian. Judging by the fan fiction I've read, he raises the league's pining average at least four full percentage points, and should probably get bonuses in his contract.

So, basically, this story is the perfect introduction to hockey RPF fandom. Geno pines! Sidney is bad at life! Geno pines! Sidney comes up with a terrible plan! Sex and pining! Dating and pining! And then joyful resolution and pining no more. Plus it's really funny. And you don't need to know anything about the characters, or indeed about hockey. Go read this already.

The One That Makes Raymond Carver Sexy. For Reals. A Passage That Sings, by [livejournal.com profile] dorkorific. Star Trek Reboot RPF, Chris Pine/Zachary Quinto.

Okay, this one is [profile] frostfire_17's fault. We were chatting about Martha Gellhorn, as you do, and we basically had this conversation:

Frost: Can I quote something at you? It will totally squick you, but you need to read it anyway.
Me, forgetting that like 90% of things that are weird in my life start exactly this way: Sure.
Frost: [pastes in a chunk of this very story, featuring MARTHA GELLHORN]
Me: Oh, god. That's - that's - look, just give me the link.

Because, I mean, yes, this one does trigger my celebrity squick like you would not even believe, and I don't care. For dialogue like this, I will read - um. I will read Chris Pine/Zachary Quinto, apparently, squick be damned. And, seriously, it is a fantastic story. Nothing is ever going to make me forgive Ernest Hemingway - even Martha Gellhorn herself couldn't do it - but this came close. (Dear middle school teachers: Don't assign the Ernest to your preteen students. No, don't. Look, I have heard every one of your excuses, and I declare them all null and void. The only valid reason to assign Hemingway to middle school students is to produce a new generation of Hemingway haters.)

So, yes, I love this story, even if it did give me horrible visions of Chris Pine in 20 years, doing beat poetry type readings a la William Shatner, but with additional lecturing on actual beat poets. I - I am not going to recover from that mental image in a hurry.

And, okay, I realize I've made this story sound kind of like its title should be Your College English Classes, Except with Hot Guys Banging. But that's not all it is! There's - pining! (You wouldn't even believe how hard I'm resisting the urge to make a Chris Pining joke here. And failing. I have no willpower.) And Zachary Quinto being kind of a hot mess! And humor! And - and, actually, you would totally read a story called Your College English Classes, Except with Hot Guys Banging, so don't even look at me that way. Just read this.

The One That Proves That Sexual Flexibility Really Is the Key to a Better Life. The Pinocchio Fallacy, by [personal profile] toft. Mythbusters RPF, Jamie Hyneman/Adam Savage, Kari Byron/Grant Imahara.

I cleverly separated this one from the first one because, um. I thought I could probably pack enough words in between these two stories for you to miss that I recommended a Pining for the Robot story followed by an actual robot story. I - like robots, okay? I feel a certain bond.

And this is an awesome robot story. I just - this is, like, gently steeped in the Asimov robot tradition, but then with a thousand tons of amazingness added in. I just. I love everything about this so much. And I want you to read it, which I realize is - well, look. I know that those of you who have not already read this story are thinking one of two things:
  1. ADAM from MYTHBUSTERS as a SEXBOT? Okay, that's it, the internet is over. Let's all go learn croquet now.
  2. Who from what now?
And you've probably already stopped reading this as a result. But if you're still here, no! This story is for you! (Unless you are bothered by robots, in which case you are allowed to pass on by, but for the record robots are the best.) (Also I think I should note here that - okay, for a couple of you, this story summary is going to feel like a slap in the face. I hear you, I was there, too, and it worked out fine for me. If you feel like you've been punched but you still want to read it, email me. I'll go into how it worked for me.)

Anyway. All that said, what this story is really about is what it means to be human, and what it means to be not human. It has a message, even! And also it has robot messageboards, and Kari Byron fighting for robot freedom, and Tory the Tool of the Man, which I frankly always kind of thought he was, and just general wonderfulness. Plus, you know, the best sexbot characterization I have ever read, and see, that right there is why fandom is awesome, because I never dreamed I'd have a chance to write that sentence. The fact that I did is clear proof that you should go read the story that inspired it. NO REALLY I MEAN IT.

The One That Proves That There's No Morning After Like the Morning After Elfland. Force Majeure, by [personal profile] astolat. American History RPF, Alexander Hamilton/George Washington.

Okay, so, this is the rare story in our household that caused a squick that wasn't mine. It turns out Best Beloved, who does not really have any textual squicks to speak of, found one as soon as she looked at this story's information a day or two after Yuletide.

"Washington," she said. "I - don't know. I'm not sure I can do that. Just. Washington."

I am here to tell you that if the idea of George Washington slash is squicking you out (BEST BELOVED), you should absolutely make every effort to get over it, because this story has magic and elfland, and also a narrative voice that will absolutely make you long for the complete history of this universe. Like, I would even read about the Civil War and the Reconstruction in this universe, and given that the worst history teacher in the world worked extra hard to make sure I would stab myself in the foot rather than hear the word "carpetbagger" one more time, even decades after the class, that is saying something. Mostly that this universe is great. (Also that apparently sufficiently good fiction can make up for an entire year's worth of educational trauma.)

And, okay, for reasons that are possibly obvious, early American history is not my strong point (same teacher, although fortunately we spent a lot less time on it, albeit still enough to guarantee that I fulfilled all my history requirements in college with classes featuring the initials BC), but I love the references in here to both our actual universe and - historical mythology? Whatever. Basically, I'm saying I love the cherry tree and everything it stands for.

And if this story has given me an appetite for founders slash, I'm sure that will pass in time. (Just - think! All nations! All founders! Ideally with magic or dragons or giant talking birds! Okay, maybe that's just me. At least I didn't suggest national founders and robots. Although that's mostly because I've already been to the Hall of Presidents.)
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
I am so tired there is a real chance I will just fall over right here instead of doing the many things I need to do before I can sleep tonight. And I have an inexplicable wrist injury. Poll time!

But first some explanatory text.

I rarely make New Year's resolutions. I am exceedingly demand resistant, so wanting to do a thing + intending to do a thing + basically ordering myself to do a thing = that thing will never be done by me. My deep, instinctive reaction to any order - even, like, "Duck!" - is, "I won't, and also fuck you," and that is absolutely true even if I am doing the ordering. (Or even if it's a lie. One year an acquaintance, who is very nice but sort of obsessed with growthfulness, and yes she does use exactly that word, asked me what my resolution was. Rather than tell the truth, which I knew would lead to a sincere, intense discussion of stagnation vs. blossoming, I told her my goal was to review every book I read for the year on GoodReads. And even though that was total bullshit, that year I stopped using GoodReads. I really am just that difficult.)

Occasionally, however, there will be a thing that fits into the tiny, tiny margin in my brain where resolutions are okay. I am not sure what qualifies a thing to go in there; it's just something I know. The last resolution I made was in 2005, and it was "Check the mail every day." (See, I would think, "Well, but I don't have time to sort the mail, so I should wait." The next day I would think, "Well, but I don't have time to sort a lot of mail, so I should wait." You can see how this goes.) I hoped that checking the mail daily would stop our mail carrier from hating us quite so intensely, and although that didn't work - I think the key there would have been having no dogs, or possibly getting no mail - I did get the mail every day for a year.

Or rather, that was the last resolution I made until this year. My current resolution is considerably more embarrassing, but I will tell you, because I am too tired to know any better. See. Okay. When you have a small child, there are certain - um - look. My resolution this year is "Remember to close the door all the way when you're going to the bathroom." Because when the earthling was able to get around, but not able to turn door handles, leaving the door cracked prevented him from spending the three minutes I was in the bathroom pressed against the door, miserable and alone and separated from Mama oh NO. But the earthling has been able to turn door handles with confidence for more than a year. And this holiday season I noticed that I had to make a great effort to remember to close the bathroom door when there were people in the house (besides BB and the earthling, I mean); it was like in the early months of the earthling's life, when I was breastfeeding so much that it took conscious, sustained effort for me to wear a shirt in the house.

I don't want to be that person. So: bathroom door closed this year, thank you.

But I feel kind of - envious, comparing this resolution to all the sincere efforts at self-improvement I see going on around me. I know that charts and goals and SMART objectives and comparables just cannot work like that for me, but it does look fun. I mean, I would totally join you except I am actually secretly a thirteen-year-old girl, and I do not mean silly or whatever people usually mean by that; I mean I am still, in some ways, the girl I was at 13: sullen and obstinate and willing to cut off her own legs if anyone, even for a moment, suggested it would be better not to. (True fact: every single time someone refers to a grown person as a thirteen-year-old girl in a work of fan fiction, I do not picture some ridiculous melodramatic love-obsessed naïf. I picture teeth and claws. It's confusing.)

So I cannot post about goals and so on. It would be futile. But all your goal posts (Hee! Oh, man, when I am tired I am so funny. To myself, I mean.) made me wonder: what would really make things better for you in the next year? If you had, like, a New Year's Wish instead of a New Year's Resolution, what would it be? (Yes, this is mostly so I can work on my When I Am Ruler of the Universe plans. What do you do when you're exhausted?) I am referring strictly to changes in you, by the way; change in other people is Beyond the Scope of the Poll.


Poll #9051 Goals and the Cumberhorse
Open to: Registered Users, detailed results viewable to: All, participants: 369


Which one of these things would improve your life the most in the next year?

View Answers

More money
57 (16.4%)

Better money management
8 (2.3%)

More time
8 (2.3%)

Better time management
41 (11.8%)

More free time
6 (1.7%)

More family time
0 (0.0%)

More sleep
8 (2.3%)

Better sleep (more consistent, more restful, whatever)
17 (4.9%)

More work
13 (3.7%)

Better work (more meaningful, more engaging, more sane, whatever)
37 (10.6%)

More meaning in your life
6 (1.7%)

More people (or relationships) in your life
22 (6.3%)

More socializing
2 (0.6%)

More time alone
2 (0.6%)

Better health
46 (13.2%)

More exercise
17 (4.9%)

More fun
3 (0.9%)

More creativity/creating stuff
20 (5.7%)

More help
0 (0.0%)

More freedom
3 (0.9%)

More love
8 (2.3%)

More safety
0 (0.0%)

More security or stability
13 (3.7%)

Nothing on this list can make my life better, but something else could, and I am off to tell you about it in the comments!
9 (2.6%)

Nothing on this list can make my life better, and I can't think of anything else, either. I guess I am just really happy with the status quo.
2 (0.6%)

What's one thing you really, really want in 2012? (If answering this is compatible with your brain, I mean.)

Unrelatedly, but to settle a point of contention between BB and me - can Benedict Cumberbatch be reasonably described as horsey or horse-faced?

View Answers

Yes. Obviously. Long face = horsey. Textbook!
58 (16.2%)

...I guess? I mean, it's not the first word that comes to mind, but okay, sure.
145 (40.5%)

No. Have you looked at a horse recently? Have you looked at Benedict Cumberbatch recently?
84 (23.5%)

I have no idea who Benedict Cumberbatch is. (Probably I live on Alpha Centauri.)
27 (7.5%)

I know who he is, but describing faces is really not a thing I can do.
44 (12.3%)

thefourthvine: A picture of my kid in black and white. (Earthling black and white)
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