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)
If you want on the earthling filter here on DW, leave a comment!
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
This year, my story was in the fandom I most hoped to be assigned. Why I most hoped to be assigned it - I mean, okay, obviously I thought I could write a story in it, and I wanted to write a story in it, and all of that. But it is also a true and actual fact that I had, before this Yuletide, written two stories featuring characters played by Val Kilmer. (Basically, the one where Val Kilmer tops Robert Downey, Jr. and the one where Val Kilmer tops Tom Cruise, not that that is challenging or anything.) And I had noticed that any characters portrayed by Val Kilmer tended to, um. Feature in the kind of sex scenes that had my betas saying things like, "Wow, he's really toppy!" and "I love how toppy he is!" (And, once, "Did you mean him to be this toppy? Because I'm just saying, he's really, really toppy. Like, a lot.")

There was one more Val Kilmer movie that I'd seen, and I had to know. Does Val Kilmer just always play the top? Always?

Well, this year I was lucky enough to be assigned the marvelous [livejournal.com profile] omorka, who wanted a story that could answer that question. (Uh, for the record, my interest in Kilmer's topability rating was entirely my own, although her prompt fit with it perfectly. I don't want to impugn her good name or anything.) And I got my final data point, though I'm not going to spoil you with the results. Instead, I'm going to say that once again I had a terrific time writing my story (and creepily stalking my recipient's journal for clues about things she might like in a story). It was a Very Fun Yuletide. I'm sad I'm out of Val Kilmer movies to write for Yuletide, to be honest; he's been good to me. And to his various co-stars.

Etch out a Future of Your Own Design (13741 words) by faviconthefourthvine
Fandom: Real Genius (1985), Eureka
Rating: Explicit
Warning: No Archive Warnings Apply
Relationships: Mitch Taylor/Chris Knight, Mitch Taylor/Jordan
Characters: Mitch Taylor, Chris Knight, Jordan
Summary:

Chris keeps in touch.


This story only exists because of an incredible writing support team. (I was writing much faster than usual, and also outside my comfort zone - there were feelings involved - so I needed lots and lots of help.) I would like to thank:

The Supportive Alpha-Readers: Best Beloved, who provided help every time I got stuck, gave me some very key suggestions, and took care of the earthling so his Mama could write smut, and [personal profile] norah, who has no spare time at all these days, but still found the time to alpha-read my story and provide much-needed orientation, advice, and comments. (Her: "It isn't that bad. No, really, it isn't. You just always hate your Yuletide story at this point in the process." Me: "Really? Because this year seems different." Her: "Every. Single. Year. At exactly this point. In exactly this way." Me: "...Oh.")

The Team of Intrepid Betas: [personal profile] cathalin, [personal profile] dine, [personal profile] laurashapiro, [personal profile] mecurtin, and [personal profile] queue. They gave freely of their advice, support, and corrections. They looked for anachronisms. They answered questions like "What kind of underwear did cool dudes wear in 1985?" without blinking (and, I might add, with some highly amusing stories that will, for example, forever change my view of the color lemon yellow). They forced me to fix my feelings arc. They pried semicolons out of my clutching, desperate hands. They made my story so much better. And they were all really, really damned fast. I needed them, and they came through.

And, finally, Special Yuletide Consultant [personal profile] xenacryst. He summarized twenty-five years of internet history in AD&D terminology on 24 hours' notice, and I was so stressed I forgot to thank him (until now).

You are all awesome, and I could not have done it without you.
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
I have questions related to various things that we do with computers. (Not those things. Other things. Cleaner things. Or, okay, at least two of these are about things that are almost entirely clean.) I am hoping you all have answers.

Thank you! You are awesome! Yes, you.

Twitter )

Dreamwidth )

LiveJournal )

Offsite Backup )

OK Cupid )

Yuletide!

Dec. 27th, 2011 07:37 pm
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
Once again, I had a very lucky Yuletide. (In the eight Yuletides I've done, I have had this many lucky Yuletides: eight. I have been blessed by the Yulegods.) I was a pinch hit this year (sorry, Yulemods; I swear, I don't mean to scare my assigned writers away), and some lovely person picked up my request and wrote me Resistance, based on the music video Lonely's Lunch. (The title has nothing to do with the video, and neither does the song, for the record.) Resistance is a gorgeous story that provides background and, you know, development for the female main character of the video and worldbuilding for the Earth with Big Ships in the Sky. Also, if that is not enough to tempt you: there is a bonus f/f relationship. It feeds seamlessly into the video, too. This story is everything I hoped for, and shiny, besides.

AND I also got The God of the Sun Goes Down to Earth, a wonderful, evocative treat that packs an awful lot of worldbuilding into a few hundred words. It is a one-bite taste of the same fandom, and it is marvelous.

I encourage you to read them both. Also comment! My writers deserve allllll the comments, for they are both - obviously - amazing people, with immaculate taste. (And I bet they are also kind to animals. You can just tell these things about people, sometimes.)
thefourthvine: A weird festive creature. Text: "Yuletide squee!" (Yuletide Woot!)
Dear Author,

We matched! This means we are destined to be friends, I tell you what, because while my requests this year are not as weird as last year's, they do sort of come off like I was trying to define "idiosyncratic" using only a Yuletide signup form. (I wasn't. I wouldn't do that to you, I swear. This is just the list that happened!)

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 )

My Fandoms )
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
Today, a themed recommendations set! Yes, apparently I still do these. I don't know what to do with myself. The end of Delicious has changed me. Or changed me back, I guess?

But this is a weird set, one that I did not, until recently, think I'd ever be able to put together. (Thank you, Avengers fandom. You made me think this was possible.) It's first times that are actually someone's first time; in other words, to the best of my knowledge, someone loses some kind of virginity in all of these stories. Woo!

And now: stories.

The One That Proves That the Drunken Avengers Would Be Simultaneously the Best and the Most Horrifying Comic Book in All the World. (Yes, Even if You Take the Haunted Vagina One into Consideration.) Ready, Fire, Aim by [livejournal.com profile] gyzym. Avengers, Steve Rogers/Tony Stark.

Oh my god, you guys, the Avengers fandom is killing me with the first times. It's like everyone looks at Steve Rogers and thinks, "There is a dude who needs to have some adorably sweet first times with a total sex monster." Or, hey, maybe they say that in the actual canon. (Which is - a movie? And a trailer? I don't know. It turns out I can have a small child or I can keep up on popular culture. Not both. Although to be honest I wasn't doing such a hot job with that before we had the earthling, so it may just be the old problem with me and popular culture, here.) It could be canon! Many Marvel products have lengthy scenes in which costumed superheroes explain how they really don't have time for love, Dr. Jones.

...No. And I suppose if I mention that that would make me more likely to purchase their products, Marvel will, in the fine tradition of Western comic book publishers everywhere, make double double sure that never happens. But it doesn't matter, Marvel! There is fan fiction enough for everyone. And in the fan fiction, Steve Rogers gets to have sex with Tony Stark a lot the end.

But that is not all I love about this story (although Steve Rogers/Tony Stark is, as far as I'm concerned, a winning combination right there), because this story has great Tony voice and great Steve personality. I like my Steve, you know, a trifle fucked up by the fact that he's risen from the dead and doesn't even get the pointy teeth and sparkles, and this story delivers on that. (Although oh god a whole Avengers vampire AU just popped into my head unbidden, and I have to hope that someone has already written it. Someone has already written it, yes? Please?) And I like my Tony to be just precisely the sarcastic neurotic hyperactive asshole that somehow we all end up loving, and this story delivers on that, too.

Plus, I mean, adorable first time. There you go.

The One That Reminds Us Not to Run Around in the Hot Sun with a Full Wheel of Brie in Your Stomach. (Frankly, I Get Queasy Just Thinking About It.) Summer 2010, by [livejournal.com profile] cimmerians. Glee, Kurt Hummel/Finn Hudson.

I'm pretty sure I've said this before, but I generally avoid fiction about teenagers. (And, yes, I have since I was a teenager.) My reasoning is: I had to live through it, and that was bad enough. I shouldn't have to read about it.

But I will make quite a few exceptions for [profile] cimmerians, who writes consistently amazing stuff and has a name that means Best Beloved and I occasionally conquer her in Civilization. (She's a barbarian state. I'm as surprised as you are.) And one thing you can say for fan fiction about teenagers: it's where the first times are a lot more believable. (I really struggle with, for example, first time stories about immortals. I'm sorry, but if you haven't tried every sexual act there is to try after the first three hundred years, you are not putting forth your best work effort. Immortality is wasted on the prudish and unimaginative, and Methos would tell you the same if you asked him.)

So obviously this story started with some advantages. (Author and fandom, in case you missed it in the rambling.) But there is so much more than that here. First, there's Finn, who is adorable and galumphing and confused and sincere. It's - well, I already used the word adorable, so let's just say - no, I have to go with fucking adorable. And then there's Kurt, who - do I need to say I've never seen Glee? I've never seen Glee. But I love Kurt in the fan fiction, so much so that it was a struggle to pick just one story from the fandom for this set. He's got the witty dialog going for him, and the intelligence, and this combined confidence and vulnerability that just makes me want to hug him and also want to enable him to skip his teenaged years entirely.

Except not. Not if people are going to write stories like this about him - stories that feature an entirely reasonable modern-day summer of love and discuss the gay subtext we all know is lurking beneath the spandex of all those superhero costumes.

The One in Which We Learn That, Really, an Obnoxious Little Sister Is a Life Advantage. I Would Like My Older Sister to Take Note, Please. Make Kings and Vagabonds, by [livejournal.com profile] noelia_g. Generation Kill, Brad Colbert/Nate Fick. (Which I initially wrote as Brad Fick/Nate Colbert. This means something. Maybe just that I need more sleep, though.)

There are some stories you read because the concept is instinctively right. And there are other stories you read because the concept is so very wrong you suspect it might actually be right, and even if it remains horribly wrong, it will still be really fucking funny. This is one of the latter.

Because, okay: Brad Colbert stars in The Princess Diaries. Tell me you didn't fall over laughing when you read that sentence. And tell me you aren't also staring speculatively at it, your mouse hovering over the link as you wonder if that could possibly work, because probably not - but if it did, oh if it did -

Well, I tell you what: it works. It works precisely because Brad Colbert is one of the last of fandom's favorites you'd pick to be a sudden unexpected princess. (I did have a lot of fun while I was reading this trying to imagine the ones who would be even worse at this than Brad. I mean, John Sheppard. And Aeryn Sun. Brian O'Conner, I guess. But it's a surprisingly short list. Buffy would handle this better than Brad, even though it would make her vampire slaying activities really challenging (paparazzi and vampires, never a good combination). So would Captain Jack Sparrow and every major member of the Marvelverse, including Erik Lehnsherr. Although I tell you what, I would pay actual money for a ringside seat at the first attempt to put a tiara on Erik.) Brad also makes a surprisingly excellent star of YA novel - moody, a trifle sulky, and with a Hidden Secret, but prepared to rise to the occasion awesomely when necessary. And Nate Fick works perfectly as Best Boyfriend Ever material.

The only real problem with this story is that I wanted at least another 30,000 words of it. (Which is the true sign of a great YA novel, in my opinion: not that you can't put it down, but that you can't give it up.) It's just - gay Princess Brad, trending on Twitter! (Okay, fine, he's a prince, whatever. He'll always be Princess Brad to me.) Just thinking those words makes me happy. Reading a story involving them made me happy all day long.

The One That Proves, Again and Again, That the Primary Advantage of Getting Older Is That You Can Be More Creative About Sex. The Winter of Banked Fires, by [livejournal.com profile] yahtzee63. X-Men, Charles Xavier/Erik Lehnsherr, Rogue/Wolverine.

You know how it is. You meet someone, and it's wonderful. The two of you share something you've never shared with anyone before. You can't get over how amazing your beloved is - how amazing the world is with your beloved in it. It's bliss. It's perfection.

Then you have a really bad breakup and your beloved starts trying to destroy the world, and all you can remember even about the perfect time is how the seeds for this hideous nuclear winter were planted way back then.

That's pretty much my relationship with the X-Men, right there. Except. Except. Lately I've been able to go back! Revisit my past love! Remember why I thought it was so awesome, and forget about that whole unfortunate nuclear winter thing that came between us! Thank you, fan fiction. (I guess technically I should also think the fine cast and crew of X-Men: First Class, except I have not actually seen the movie, and also I suspect they may not have been seeing the key X-Men relationships exactly the same way I do.)

And, of course, that's not just my story with the X-Men; it's also one of the main stories in the X-Men, how there were these two awesome boyfriends in love and then ideological differences came between them and then, well, you know how it goes: decades of bloodshed and yearning. I think we've all been there.

This story simultaneously addresses both of these traumatic breakups. It's a blend of the X-Men movieverse (um, what are we calling the old trilogy, now?) and First Class - sort of the good parts version of all of them, from what I can tell - so it deals with the every-so-slightly fraught relationship of Charles and Erik. And resolves it. (And, okay, no spoilers, but they actually come out of it saner, which has to be the first time this has ever happened to anyone in the Marvelverse anywhere.) It's fucking brilliant.

And then there's the relationship between Wolverine and Rogue. And the plot, which has everything I have ever wanted from an X-Men story that I would never get in the canon. And, just. Everything. This story has everything. I will smile more for the rest of my life, just because it exists.

And that is why I'm recommending it, even though everyone in the world seems to have read it already. (If you haven't - please please please do. It's pure joy, people.)
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
We recently watched Operation Petticoat, as you do. (Look, sometimes a person needs to see Cary Grant being suave. I am quite sure this has happened to you.) And I finished it feeling that you people had let me down, because while I am sure this has been thoroughly documented within the White Collar fandom, no one told me.

And what no one told me is that White Collar is an Operation Petticoat AU.

It's so obvious! Tony Curtis is the guy who joined the Navy for the shiny uniform and turned everything to his advantage, and then smooth-talked his way into being the supply officer for the submarine, and then robbed an entire Navy base blind to get the stuff he needed. Cary Grant is the captain, using Tony Curtis's skills because he needs them, but always aware this is a double-edged sword with no handle. Come on; that is obviously Neal and Peter, right there. And if you needed any proof beyond that, there's the name of the Tony Curtis character, which is: Nick Holden. As in, you know, one letter different from Neal Caffrey's favorite alias.

(If you're curious, by the way, Mozzie is clearly Ramon, thief and conman extraordinaire. Elizabeth, we decided after a lot of discussion, is the best parts of Lt. Crandall and Lt. Duran, combined; this is clearly why the OT3 vibe is so strong in White Collar. But there is no Satchmo equivalent. I guess you can't have everything.)

Anyway. If anyone has been yearning for a WWII White Collar AU that's heavy on the humor and features a pink submarine, there's one available for rental. I just thought you should know, in case your friends were keeping you in the dark, too.

And if you already knew, here are some other AUs for you to consider.

The One in Which We Learn That in the Right Hands, the Sketchbook Is Scarier than the Sword. Never Leave a Trace, by [personal profile] sam_storyteller. White Collar, Elizabeth Burke/Peter Burke/Neal Caffrey.

You know what's weird about White Collar? I remember the stories, but most of the time I can't remember if a given story was gen or OT3. (If it was something else, I remember.) I assume this is because White Collar itself is so OT3 that gen is just OT3 without actual sex scenes. (Dear White Collar people: Just have the canon sex scene already. The Burkes have a big enough bed, and it would save us all a lot of confusion and double-checking. We all know the fucking is happening, you realize. It wouldn't come as a surprise. <3, TFV) So take my pairing notes with a grain of salt, is what I'm saying. I double-checked, and I double-checked again, and I am pretty sure I'm right. But with White Collar, you can never be sure.

And now let's talk about this AU. It's not, like, the Neal, Peter, and Elizabeth gladiator AU. (Um. Please tell me there is not actually a White Collar gladiator AU. I think I sprained something just imagining that.) Instead, it's the show, except with magic. And this is not shiny happy magic with clear rules, where every first-level spellcaster gets one magic missile spell per day and his party only keeps him alive because at level 15 he will get lots of magic missiles. (And also because the player will whine if you let this character get killed off like the last one.) This magic is - fuzzy. Murky. Edgy. This is magic I can - okay, not believe in. But this is magic that works for me. (Hey, there's a reason I never played a magic user, okay? And not just because magic missile doesn't do all that much for me. I just have a hard time having fun with magic that's structured like an Amway sales chart.)

I love how this story manages to be so much like the actual show in the basics - I mean, everyone still has the same jobs and no one is wearing a toga - while being completely different in tone and genre. I love how much sense the magic makes, how it totally works to have prison, a place where people suffer and are often powerless, be a nexus of supernatural power. And I love how even though the entire picture is different, Neal and Peter and Elizabeth are still absolutely themselves.

This story is gorgeous and involving and lovely and great. And that's all I can say. Go read it right now.

The One That Starts and Ends in Pretty Much Exactly the Same Place, and Covers the Entire Galaxy in Between. It Is the Infinity Symbol of Fan Fiction Stories, Basically. Only Good for Legends, by [personal profile] leupagus. Star Trek XI, Jim Kirk/Spock.

Star Trek is officially the canon that ate my life. It should come with a warning, actually:

WARNING: Susceptible individuals may find themselves dramatically altered from continued exposure to this material. Changes may include, but are not limited to, a tendency to write "Spock" in hearts on your shoes, laughing at stories rated NCC-1701, and partial or total loss of your leisure time. You will never recover, and there is no way to know if you are susceptible until it is too late. Please check your schedule for the next four decades before opening this DVD.

I mean, that totally happened to me. So it is extremely cheering to me to happen upon a story like this and know, for sure, that I am not the only person who lost her soul and her evenings to Star Trek. (Okay, yes, I already know I'm not alone. [personal profile] frostfire fell down the well with me. But more company is always nice. It's a very big well.)

And then I get to read the story. Which is, well - it is a giant sprawling epic in which Spock is a cop and Jim is, you know, Jim. (I'm pretty sure in Iowa they use "Jim Kirk" as a descriptive phrase. As in, "Did you hear about Roger? Pulled a Jim Kirk with a Klingon; hear he won't be walking for months." Or "The barn's missing and there's giant letters spelling out a graphic insult where the floorboards used to be; gosh, this looks Jim Kirk-y.") And then stuff happens. I mean, a lot of stuff, because did I mention the sprawlingness of this story? Trust me, it's worth mentioning twice. This story goes from earth to Vulcan and back again.

I love lots of things about this, but probably what I love most is the mystery plot line. Mostly that's because SF mystery is something that's hard to do and, in my opinion, totally worth doing (All the time! Everywhere!), but I admit that there's also the fact that the mystery plot line has got a lot of Vulcans in it. I love Vulcans, especially when they aren't being a frankly creepy faceless monolith, and they are the furthest thing from that here.

Plus, T'Pring is wonderful in this. In fact, my notes on this story read, in large part: "Come for the Kirk/Spock, stay for the T'Pring of awesome." (If you're wondering why I don't share my bookmarks on Pinboard too often, this would be why. I rec slowly because no one anywhere should be subjected to my immediate reactions to stories. Also, said reactions are often at least partly expressed in long strings of vowels. I try to edit that out of the final recs, too.)

The One in Which We Learn What Happens When You Hire a Wizard as an Interior Designer. The other things the road to hell is paved with, by [personal profile] luciazephyr. The Dresden Files, Harry Dresden/Susan Rodriguez, Harry Dresden/John Marcone.

The Dresden Files is turning out to be one of those fandoms where I find myself inexplicably sulking at the internet, wondering why there isn't more fan fiction for it out there, even though I have not taken the time to get to grips with the actual canon. But Dresden/Marcone apparently speaks directly to the part of my brain that was shaped by intensive exposure to Smallville fan fiction.

No, seriously, if you've ever wondered to yourself what the world would look like if Clark Kent had magical powers instead of, you know, super powers (primary difference: none noted) and Lex Luthor was a businesslike criminal instead of a criminal businessman, Dresden Files fan fiction is where you should be turning. And if you have no idea at all what the Dresden Files is about, not to worry, because this story will teach you everything you need to know. (And if you don't want to dive in there until you know, here you go: There's magic and crime. Dresden has magic. Marcone has crime. There are some complications. And then they have sex the end. Okay, technically that's what the fan fiction is about, but I think it's already established that in this case the fan fiction is my canon.)

This story is perfect for me, because I am - well, pragmatic might be a good way to put it. In Smallville, I rapidly grew tired of Clark's Lone Hero pose; I always wanted Lex and Clark to team up, because Lex got shit done. And Clark, honestly, needed someone to get his shit together. And then Lex could borrow (and slightly modify) Clark's moral compass, and together they could save the world. Seriously, people have no right having these prolonged declared mortal enemies/rivals things going on when by working together they could be so much more effective. Basically my message to them is always: With great power comes a great need to get your head out of your ass. (It's probably a good thing I'm not on any comic book writing team.)

Well, that is what does happen in this story with Dresden and Marcone, provided you are willing to consider Chicago to be roughly the same thing as the entire world. (It isn't. However, it definitely has the strangest pizza in the world, and that is almost the same thing.) Dresden even manages to get his head out of his ass. I cannot tell you how immensely satisfying I found this.

(I cannot help but notice that I'm a lot more concerned about Dresden's issues than Marcone, and I'm concerned that you might be envisioning me as a sort of chaotic neutral type person now. I'm not. I used to play paladins. Really, I did. I still like them! I find the concept of lawful goodness truly interesting! I give to charities and am kind to puppies and hardly ever break any important laws! Just, in fiction, I tend to prefer people who are effective but immoral to people who are the kind of moral where they screw things up all the time but for the best possible reasons.)

Anyway, this story is long and glorious and features the unstoppable team of Dresden (in charge of magic) and Marcone (in charge of everything else). Which is as it should be. The end.

The One That Left Me Twitching with a Need for the Recipes, Damn It, the RECIPES. Grande Soy Triple Dirty Chai, by [livejournal.com profile] friskaz. Suits, Mike Ross/Harvey Specter.

You can blame [personal profile] frostfire for this one. She's the person who emailed me while she was in a distant country with a summary of this fandom, which meant when I started seeing fan fiction for it I responded with "Oh, right, that's the one with Harvey and Mike! The lawyers!" instead of "So, what, we're big into Brioni/Armani now? How does that go? 'Oh, baby, slide your button into my notched lapel - harder, harder, YES.'"

(If you don't know the canon, although it's hard for me to believe I could be speaking from a place of greater knowledge than anyone when it comes to a currently airing show - it's about, well, Harvey and Mike. Harvey is a lawyer with an awesome boss. Mike doesn't actually have a law degree but is practicing law anyway. Note for people following along at home: In the real world, it is better not to do this.)

So. I think we can all agree that the barista AU is a fine and honorable tradition in fandom. (Although - when did this start, exactly? Is there a Highlander barista AU, in which Methos is the guy who knows everything about the history of coffee but will happily drink the stuff from a vending machine and Duncan is the guy who takes coffee way too seriously and works endlessly to bring good coffee to everyone? Is there a Starsky and Hutch barista AU where they hug a lot and fight corporate coffee? Is there a TOS barista AU in which Kirk is the - you know what, no. I can work a Reboot barista AU fine, but trying to imagine James Tiberius Kirk mark 1 as a barista is hurting my head, even given the worrisome similarity between Starfleet and Starbucks.)

Anyway. My point is: I can generally take or leave a barista AU, except when they are awesome. This one is awesome. I buy Mike as a barista (yes, based on my extensive experience with this canon, which involved reading not one but two intercontinental emails, I feel wholly comfortable making this assertion), I love the way Mike and Harvey interact, I love the (I assume) original characters, and this is just a totally satisfying, sweet, lovable story, from beginning to end.

Much like a really good pie. Which, note, if you read this story, you're going to want some pie. (Or other dessert of your choice, pie-haters; I know you're out there. I'm married to one.) I'm not saying this is a bad thing. Just, some stories should come with a kitchen warning up front ("Warning: Do not read if you don't have ready access to a kitchen or at least the excellent products thereof"), and that's what I'm giving you here.
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
So, Delicious is not exactly tasty, at least not right now. I have a Pinboard. (Although I am, yes, totally the kind of fan who responds to the Fans Are All Right with, "What, are you crazy? KIRK doesn't drill SPOCK. Spock does all the drilling there is to do, my good sir.") And I have hope that Delicious may eventually reach some kind of functionality again.

But in the meantime, I thought I would try to go back to the way we used to do things before Delicious. Recs! Really! We used to make these lists that had links in them, and sometimes we would put notes to explain why we liked them, and it was very - no, really, it worked. Where are you all going?

So I am throwing caution to the winds and recommending stuff. The theme for this set turned out to be Awesome Stories That for Some Reason Made Me Uncomfortable, but It Turned out I Loved Them Anyway. I - will probably not be adding this as an actual tag, on account of the tag system would just laugh in my face. But there's a theme! And a recs set! Today, we are partying like it's 2006, baby.

The One in Which We Ask Ourselves: When Will Villains Finally Learn That Kidnapping Tony Stark Only Leads to Sorrow and Explosions? Kidnap Someone Else, That Is My Advice to the Ambitious Marvel Villain. Tomorrow Belongs to Me, by [livejournal.com profile] valtyr. Thor and Captain America and Iron Man, Steve Rogers/Tony Stark.

(WARNING: Animal harm, and animal death. I dealt with this by a) telling myself that they were really extradimensional evil creatures that simply looked like animals, and b) skipping the bad bits. It worked, and I believe it was worth it. However, I cannot in good conscience recommend this to anyone who shares my squick. If you want to give it a go anyway, though, I will be happy to tell you when to skip.)

I realize I'm perhaps in for a pillorying, but one of the reasons I sometimes want to slash a particular character is that I really cannot believe that any woman, anywhere should have to put up with him. My feeling about this small subset of guys tends to be: This is a dudely problem. Let dudes handle it. And perhaps the foremost example of this kind of character is Tony Stark.

See, I like Tony. But he's an asshole. (This dichotomy is fully explored in the story, let me just note.) He's such an asshole I could never feel entirely good about him ending up with Pepper Pott, who surely did not deserve that level of bullshit in her life. I just knew that sooner or later he'd, like, inadvertently fuck the entire U.S. Supreme Court on public television and then make a fist of triumph and shout, "FUCK YEAH, motion OVERTURNED!" for the cameras, and she'd be left dealing with the aftermath. So after I watched the first movie, the only romantic happy ending I could see in sight was Tony/robot sex machine, and that's not really fan fiction; that's canon. (Which is not to say I wouldn't read it. I would! I have! Happily! But it just isn't the same when it's canon.)

But I am entirely willing to pair Steve Rogers up with Tony Stark, turns out. And not just because it turns out their true love is the key to saving the universe. (No, really, there is actual canon documentation of this.) Steve Rogers is a good guy, sure - basically the archetypal good guy, good in absolutely every single way. And he has had, you know, a hard life - a couple years of WWII followed by being dead for a while, and then waking up and having to deal with Tony Stark. And yet I am happy to see him really dealing with Tony Stark, if you get my drift.

And not just because Steve makes Tony ask himself the hard questions. (Like, "Why is it always my fault? Is there something I'm doing? That I could perhaps not do?" Believe it or not, a lot of people get to middle age without ever once considering this. We call these people politicians, mostly, but I guess maverick billionaire CEOs might also fit the bill.) I also love this story because of Steve, adjusting to the 21st century, and Thor, being - you know, Thor. And General Fury, who is generally the lone adult in charge of the circus. (A circus, I might add, where the acts are, like, Nuclear Knife Juggling and Stampeding Elephant Riding.) There is a lot to love here, is my point. Go love it! Do mind the warnings, though.

The One That I Totally Forgive for Suggesting That Librarians Are Actually Quiet. The Barest Hint of a Thought, by [archiveofourown.org profile] Helens78. X-Men: First Class, Charles Xavier/Erik Lehnsherr.

You know how sometimes there is something you just cannot watch, but you have to or at least you want to, so you watch through your fingers, as though you can somehow, if things go bad, close them fast enough to stop yourself from seeing what made you want to close your fingers?

That's pretty much how I read this story. It's also what this story is about.

I mean, I was actually, seriously horrified through a lot of this story. "See?" I wanted to say to the imaginary band of critics that lives in the back of my head, disagreeing with every word I say. "See? This is what is so evil about telepathy."

The imaginary band of critics pointed out that that was insane, of course. Because there's no such thing as telepathy. So instead of using this story to justify my perfectly logical and rational fear of telepaths, I will say: this is why Charles Xavier was a character Marvel should never have made. He's ridiculously overpowered. Ridiculously. He's a god. Except he could do a lot more than fuck Leda in the shape of a swan. Basically, in any universe in which Charles Xavier exists, the only real conflicts are the ones in his own head.

"But he's good!" you say. "He has morals and he chooses not to use his powers for evil and that's why he can work as a character."

Right. Yes. And, I mean, I love Charles, I love Charles/Erik, I have been reading about Charles and Erik since long before I got into fandom, but. Here's the thing. The excuse they use for having Xavier around - Morals! Goodness! - doesn't actually work. And this story explains why - why having someone so ludicrously powerful destroys the framework of the universe whether he's Charles Xavier or Sauron with the One Ring securely on his bony little hand.

I mean, yes, this story is also a fabulous exploration of consent issues, and kink, and all the stuff I've come to expect from [personal profile] helens78, and, yes, it's like a fairy tale for adults only (moral: if you take the shortcut to your goal, you will likely get your head eaten), but I'm in it for the simple question of whether there is any meaning to anything if Charles Xavier exists. (No.) Definitely read the tags and warnings, but if you can possibly stand it, read this story.

And then join me, won't you, in the fight against telepathy? (And the fight against the imaginary critics. I'd like to wipe them out, too.)

The One That Shows Us That Fish, Too, Can Meet Cute. What It Feels Like, by [personal profile] cimorene. Finding Nemo, Gill/Nemo.

FISH SLASH. Between mentor fish and mentored fish, I might add, just in case fish aren't a problem for you, but age differences are. (And, yes, I can think of several people off the top of my head who will look at this all, "YES FINDING NEMO - oh, wait. Big age difference. No." This is #31 on the list of reasons I love fandom, just below "Not the only catboy story I've read today" and just above "Can't really remember the days when I thought snake MPreg was out there.") A measure of my discomfort with this story is that it took me two years to read it. (And during those two years, the earthling went through a Nemo phase. That didn't help. Parents of babies, read this story now, that's my advice.)

So. You know. Fish slash. That happened. And the thing is, it's fucking adorable. Nemo is the same intent, curious, determined fish he was in the movie. Gill is the same badass in fish form. All the voices in this, in fact, are absolutely perfect. And, I mean, I can absolutely believe this ending. (And in fact would greatly prefer to believe this ending over the one the movie gave us, which horrifies me every time I watch it. Nemo is home and happy! Marlin is home and happy! Dory is home and happy! And the fishtank fish are trapped in plastic and about to die. Seriously, Pixar, it's like you're trying to take the coveted Destroyer of Children's Happiness mantle from Disney's clutching hands.) And why shouldn't two boy fishes who love each other very much be happy ever after in a story that earns its explicit rating?

Just. I find myself eyeing the earthling's DVDs with trepidation, now. When awesome and adorable fish slash is already old news, what comes next? Is Bob the Builder going to show us some of the special short films on his computer, which feature uses for his equipment that totally void their warranties? Are the Penguins of Madagascar going to provide a whole new perspective on four-way teamwork with a strict chain of command? Are Eve and Otto going to get caught in a bad romance, leaving Wall-E to find consolation in the arms of Mo? Anything is possible. Anything.

But this story is worth the mental images that will never leave my head, I tell you what. It's just. Cute. Cuter than fish having sex has any right to be.

The One That Shows Exactly How Irritating Arguing with Someone Who Can Apparate Must Be. Getting the Last Word Must Be an Art Form in the Wizarding World. The Death of Narcissa Black: A Potion, by [livejournal.com profile] massicot. (That's a deleted and purged journal, unfortunately. Does anyone have a more current link for her?) Harry Potter, gen.

Oh my GOD. This is. Okay. You know how there are stories that you settle into happily, because you know the author and you know the fandom and you know the genre and you just know this is going to hit you square in your comfort zone? This is not that story for me. It is outside my comfort zone in absolutely every way - the artwork, while gorgeous and perfect for the story, is really far from what I can usually parse. The main character is a villain from a fandom I don't read that much in anymore. The storyline is dark and grim. And yet. And yet. This story is also an excellent example of why I'm in love with fandom.

See, this takes a minor villain (or at least I think she is; she may have a more major role in the two books that came after I gave up on the series) and makes her into a real person, a person with some remarkably unfortunate ideals and some remarkably positive traits. And then it carefully, clearly, and beautifully details how those ideals combine with circumstance to wipe out the positive traits, not to mention basically every trace of who Narcissa was.

It's so amazing, and so perfect, and so unlike anything else I've read in fandom, that I re-read it on a regular basis even though there are some pages - um, a fair number of pages - that still make me genuinely recoil from the screen. (Really. Please pay attention to the warnings. She is not kidding about any of that.)

So, you know, this is incredible. It's also just about the darkest thing I've ever seen written for a darkfest. (Not that I am inviting further links on that score. Uh, no. Feel free to hand me the white feather on this one; I will wear it with, if not pride, at least total acceptance of my limitations.)

But even if this is normally the kind of thing you would walk a mile in wet shoes to avoid - well. I can't tell you to read it. But I can tell you I read it, despite the warnings, against my better judgment, and I was totally, totally glad. It's the kind of story that makes me want to applaud for fandom. Even as, okay, yes, I am reaching for a safety tab story.
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
I am seeking advice on two clothing problems. One is mine, one is the earthling's.

The Trousers Must Stay On!

The earthling has a very, very narrow waist. (He is not underweight. Just - narrow.) This makes buying trousers for him difficult; he generally grows into the waist around the same time the cuffs hit his mid-calf. With some brands, he doesn't grow into the waist until the cuffs are just below his knee, which would make them good shorts, except he doesn't like shorts. I have seen clothes labeled 9 - 12 months that have waists too big for his 40-month-old body.

And the thing is, the earthling has preferences. He doesn't like clothes with stiff or scratchy fabric or anything he deems poky, and he expresses his objections in no uncertain terms when things do not meet his standards. But for his age group, the only option for the narrow-waisted is adjustable-waist trousers. Which are, in the earthling's judgment, unacceptably poky, and in any case they only come in jeans and cords and stuff - all fabrics that are too stiff. He will not wear them. (And even if he did, on the tightest setting they still slip some.) He wants to wear elastic-waistband trousers made from soft fabric.

This takes us to pajama pants and sweatpants. Both of which, when they fit his length, fall off his narrow, narrow body unless we roll the waistband at least once, often twice. (We own exactly one pair of trousers that fits him in every dimension. One. This pair came to us as part of a pajama set. If I could, I would clone it.) This has worked for most of his life, but now he wants to get dressed all by himself. He does not want help, no thank you, Mama, I do it, I do it. He can get the trousers on, but he can't get them properly rolled, and the result is that he spends a lot of time walking around on his cuffs hauling up his waistband every two steps.

So does anyone have any brilliant ideas? I need either:
  1. Some mechanism by which the waistbands of elastic-waist trousers can be made permanently narrower, without interfering with the earthling's ability to get them on all by himself.
  2. A source for elastic-waist, soft fabric trousers for narrow-bodied toddlers.
Keep in mind that I do not own a sewing machine, and also the only reason I passed the needlecrafts part of Home Ec was that the district office sent over a note saying that, diagnostically, I could not ever be expected to do any better. (And even then, I was extremely wise and kept my projects very low on the ambition scale.) And Best Beloved's mother deliberately did not teach her kids home skills of any kind, on the grounds that she did not ever want them to use them.

So, basically, we are looking for a solution that does not require us to be crafty and handy and - stuff. This has ruled out everything I have come up with so far. Help? The earthling is running out of trousers. And tripping a lot. It is very sad.

The Boobs Must Be Free!

Before I got pregnant, I wore bras that took their design inspiration from the Bastille. My bras were things that you could, in an emergency, use as moderately functional body armor, filled with ribbing and nine million hooks and many wires, with a general aesthetic somewhere between "bondage device" and "cruel and unusual punishment."

Then I got pregnant, and soon I had a stomach in the way of many of those bras. Then I was nursing, and it turns out those sorts of bras block various critical ducts, not to mention that they don't fit the ever-fluctuating boobs of the breastfeeder, so they don't make them in nursing versions. I mean, yes, I have an underwire nursing bra, but it's entirely wimpy. One tiny wire under each boob! That's not a true underwire bra as I know it.

So, the earthling is now officially weaned. And, see, I've spent the last two years assuming that would happen any day now (and look! I was right!), so I've been wary of purchasing new nursing bras. As a result, I now have a total of four of them: one that is so stretched out it is more like a tank top, one that has a giant hole in it (making it ideal for any three-breasted breastfeeder, but less ideal for me), one that is way too loose, and one that actually fits and works.

Obviously, it's time to get out the old bras. They are the same size as my boobs currently are (or, okay, some of them are). But my boobs have lost the knack of wearing them. Used to be I strapped them into their wire cages and they did not protest, but after four years of freedom, they have decided they don't like captivity. They whine all the time - "A wire is poking my sensitive underparts!" (Used to be I could get an open sore on my boob from an exposed underwire with only minimal boob protests.) "This is really tight!" "Why is the cup only big enough for half of me?" (I said only some of them fit, right?) It's pathetic, seriously. Somehow having and nursing a baby turned my boobs into wimps.

Basically, they want to stay in nursing bras. I, on the other hand, would prefer to have cups that don't come randomly unhooked when I move too much, largely because there is nothing more wonderful than fishing around in your shirt for a stray cup, unless it is the charmingly lopsided look your boobs have when one is in a cup and the other one is on top of its cup.

I need recs. For bras. Bras that are not fierce contraptions of steel and strapping, bras that are somehow comfortable. (Underwires are optional, but fine. I mean, I do have underwires in my best-fitting nursing bra. Just - I guess not really aggressive underwires.) And these bras have to come in an H cup. Is there anything like that out there? Do any of you large-breasted persons out there know of a bra like that? Help my boobs! They are yearning to breathe free!
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
Okay, so a few months ago I made a playlist for Best Beloved (based around the theme of heroes and saving the world, additions still gratefully accepted) featuring the song Michael (Jump in), which is actually written (Jumpin) in the version I bought, but I refuse to believe that. Anyway, what I didn't realize when I put the song on the mix is that it is, at least according to BB, a song written by a car to David Hasselhoff.

Best Beloved spent some time explaining this concept to me - apparently, the car was an artificial intelligence, and together he and Michael (played by David Hasselhoff) fought crime. And then I asked her about the line in the song that goes:

"It's not like you/To turn your back and let the dark side win"

Obviously, this gave me a mental image of the show as a kind of Star Wars crossover, where Michael was a Jedi and the car was his - trusty, um, whatever. Racer-thing, maybe. Basically, I was sort of envisioning David Hasselhoff as Anakin Skywalker, which made my brain hurt.

BB explained to me that, no, it wasn't about Michael's dark side. "Because I don't think he really had one," she said.

"But without angst, what do you write about in the third season?" I asked her.

She didn't know. Apparently her television knowledge is not that encyclopedic.

Thinking about it, though, I'm not sure I can imagine this concept. He's a lone wolf white guy out to save the world with just his car (and, I'm guessing, his fists or maybe a gun, although BB did not go into that part)! Surely he must have:
  1. Angst, including a tragic back story.
  2. A dead wife or girlfriend or kid something, or maybe just one who left him with prejudice after she found the photos of him with a puppy on his dick. (Warning for a dude with a puppy on his dick. NSFW, is what I'm saying. Also possibly not all that safe for your brain.)
  3. A constant struggle with the dark side, whether it be his alcoholism or his desire to eat people or his evil twin or his general dickishness or whatever.
You can't have TV without those things, is my understanding. Even in Sports Night, a half-hour comedy show, Danny had a dead brother, a bad relationship with his parents, and some kind of major emotional breakdown including acting out on air. He had plenty of angst! He had a dark side! He was a news anchor on a half-hour comedy show. So I really don't see how a crimefighter with an intelligent car could get out of this. (BB does recall that the car apparently had some angst. And an evil twin.)

Except, as previously documented extensively in this space, my understanding of TV is limited and narrow. So - can you have TV without those things? I mean, are these the actual requirements, or am I just confused? And if those are the requirements, was it always that way? Can you pinpoint an era as the Rise of Main Character Angst? What about Main Character Dark Sides?

Tell me about angst and dark sides on TV, is what I'm saying!
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
(Warning! Spoilers, although mostly of the kind where I tell you who ends up with whom, which you will figure out in the first chapter anyway.)

Here's the thing about Georgette Heyer: she hates you. Or, okay, she doesn't hate you, exactly. It's just that unless you are white, English, and upper class (and hale, and hearty, and straight, and and and), she thinks you are a lesser being.

This is actually kind of reassuring to me. See, I read all her mysteries back in my teens. (The only romance of hers I'd read before this is The Grand Sophy, which is on the required reading list that starts with Pride and Prejudice. It isn't second on that list. Maybe 50th. But still. It's there.) I was going through a classic mysteries phase, and I found Heyer strangely refreshing, because at least her antisemitism was only one prejudice of - well, basically all of them. I mean, Sayers (who I also adored) was racist and antisemitic, but totally pro-queer, and it was confusing to proto-me - like, lady, do you hate me or love me? Are we friends or foe? Make it clearer. Whereas with Heyer, I knew where I stood: somewhere way below the bottom rung of humanity. Along with everyone else in the world except Prince William and four of his friends from Eton, which really took away the sting.

But my point is: if you are not that white British upper-class person of good stock and hearty bluffness and a large country estate, the only question for you is which book will contain a grimly bigoted caricature of you featuring every single stereotyped trait ever associated with your particular group. (You have to decide for yourself if really wonderful female characters and great writing are worth the rest of it.) For me, the big ones were The Grand Sophy, featuring a giant festering glob of antisemitism roughly in the shape of a man, and several of her mysteries, which have amazingly stereotyped gay and lesbian characters. (One of them also includes, somewhere around the eighth time the gay guy bursts into girlish tears, an explanation of how childhood asthma causes homosexuality. I am not kidding. And, hey, I'm asthmatic and queer, so maybe she's right!)

But with this as background, you can perhaps understand why I was so riveted by the concept of the Masqueraders. During the Heyer sale, Best Beloved pointed it out to me, and the conversation went like this:

BB: Listen to this one. "...brother and sister flee to London, Prudence pretending to be a dashing young buck, and Robin a lovely young lady."
Me: So, wait. They're brother and sister and they masquerade as - sister and brother?
BB: Apparently.
Me: Why? What possible reason could there be to do that?
BB: Says here it's because of the Jacobite rebellion.
Me: ...Maybe they skipped the drag aspect of that in my history books.

So obviously I made her buy it. But then, in direct violation of established conventions in our relationship, she refused to read it. I suffered the curiosity of the damned for about two days and then gave in and read it myself.

And it is exactly as advertised. Prudence and Robin spend most of the book cross-dressing, and not just, you know, casually. They are walking the walk. Prudence joins a club, attends stag parties, hears smutty jokes, and gets into fights. Robin flirts outrageously and acquires a number of admirers and a lot of petticoats.

This book shows you just how good Heyer was at this writing gig, because she faced a conundrum, here. I mean. There is no actual good, plot-related reason that Prudence and Robin cross-dress. Sure, Jacobite blah blah blah wrong side blah blah treason blah. But here's the thing: if you are, say, Robin, and good enough at disguise to make a convincing lady, you're also good enough at it to make a convincing different guy. (A fact that is driven home by another character in the book, who does just exactly that.) I was left with the inescapable conclusion that Robin and Prudence cross-dressed because they just really wanted to, and if you're not going to seize the day when you're fleeing from a treason charge, when will you?

Which, fine. I am all for cheerful madcap cross-dressing siblings having adventures in historical England! That is a winning formula, as far as I am concerned. But it did leave Heyer with a problem - when you want to write a book about something because it makes your id do handsprings of glee, but you can't come up with a decent reason for it to happen, what do you do? Millions of fan fiction writers know exactly what to do, of course: you start the story with Ray Kowalski already a zebra, or with Erik and Charles already in a brutal space prison, or with Kirk and Spock already tied together by an eternally unseverable eighteen-inch chain. Problem solved! Commence writing your ever-loving id out! But Heyer had to figure this out without the internet. And she still managed just fine. We begin the story with Prudence and Robin already Peter and Kate, and unless you look at it closely - or, okay, think at all - it holds together just fine.

But Heyer wasn't enough of a writer to solve the main problem (from her perspective, I mean; from mine, this is not a problem but a delight) of a romance in which your main characters spend all their time cross-dressing. She couldn't degay it. I mean, if Tony believes that Prudence is actually a guy named Peter, then Tony's love for Peter looks - and in fact is - very, very gay.

The traditional way of getting around this, of course, is to have Tony see through the disguise and realize immediately that Peter is, in fact, Prudence. Heyer has gone down this road in other books, Best Beloved tells me. (Apparently she was trying to win the hotly contested "Most Cross-Dressing in a Single Author's Collected Works Created After 1616" title.) The problem in the Masqueraders is that Heyer wanted Tony to treat Prudence like a dude. It's clearly a big part of the id appeal for her. Tony gets her into his club, invites her to his guys-only parties, and asks her to his house in the country for a week. (Less than a week after they meet, no less. And he pitches a massive hissy fit when she politely declines. There is no actual stated reason why he does this, but my theory is that "visit," in this case, was a euphemism for "fuck.") No guy of that time period - and do keep in mind that Heyer's historical books are "meticulously researched," or so says the bit at the end of my copy - is going to do that with someone he knows is a lady. I mean. Seriously. Not.

But it's more than that. The Big Reveal scene goes roughly like this:

Tony: Welcome to my home, Peter. I invited you to a party, but in fact it's really a romantic dinner for two!
Prudence, tensing up: Um.
Tony: Now let's chat. I know your secret!
Prudence: Yes, okay, fine. I'm a girl. I admit it. You have dragged it out of me with your vicious romantic dining and your sleepy but knowing eyes!
Tony, attempting to control his facial expressions: You're a girl? Seriously? I mean - yes, exactly! I knew it all along!
Prudence: I'm just curious. How did you know?
Tony: Um. Well, you know, various small clues I can't recall now. Mostly it was the way I felt about you. [No, I am seriously not kidding; his entire evidence is the way he felt about her.]

At no point before she confesses, in other words, does he give any indication that he actually knew. And as soon as she does confess - and absolutely not before - his way of interacting with her changes drastically. He stops treating her as an equal and starts giving her orders and making demands and being very, very Tony-knows-best-don't-bother-your-sweet-head. The only conclusion I can draw from this is that he really didn't know she was a girl. And, in fact, was rather pleased that she was not, if you get where I'm going with this.

(It is possibly also relevant that once Tony realizes that Robin is really a guy, he keeps right on flirting with him, and in fact does so more than when he thought he was Kate. I - I can only hope they work this all out after the book ends.)

So basically Heyer, who did not like persons of even the vaguest queerness, let her id talk her into writing what amounts to a gay romance. I find this deeply satisfying. (Right up until the point when women's clothes turn Prudence strangely biddable and passive, and the women's clothes on Prudence turn Tony into a raging dickosaur.)

Robin's romance, by the way, is sadly less gay, but also wildly less ethical, largely because he makes friends with his beloved as Kate but woos her in a black mask as the Unknown. (If you're asking yourself what kind of woman would fall for a guy she has seen only for a handful of minutes, who always wears a mask, and who gives himself the name the Unknown, read the book, because the answer is: exactly the kind of woman he ends up with. I correctly predicted to Best Beloved what her response would be to Robin's disclosures about all of this, and it is, basically: "Oh my god that is so awesome let's do it all again except this time can I wear the mask?")

The Masqueraders just might be for you, if you were looking for a romping romance in which a guy thinks a girl is a guy and a girl thinks a guy is a girl. (And, yes, now I am yearning for a story in which both halves of the romantic couple meet while cross-dressing - she think he's a girl! He thinks she's a guy! Surely someone somewhere has written this. Please let someone have written this.) At least until everyone changes clothes. (Provided you don't mind that the author hates you.) But if you were hoping that there really would be a good plot-related reason for all the cross-dressing: sorry, nope. Still, I think you'll agree that it's better that way.
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
For reasons that do not need exploring at this juncture, I am a Giant Ball of Anxiety.[1] I am actually considering renaming myself that (GBA for short, I guess, although I do realize that that is not the ideal acronym). I cannot sleep without having the worst anxiety dreams I've had in years, and that's assuming I get to sleep, which mostly I don't; I just stare at the clock and think anxious thoughts. My skin is breaking out! I am covered in hives! I keep walking into things! If this keeps up, by the time I get to Vividcon, I will be fit for nothing but crying in my hotel room for three days. I, um, really don't want to spend three days crying in a hotel room. For the record. I mean, I could cry at home much more cheaply; there's no point in going to Chicago for that. So I have decided it is time to make some posts designed to distract me and, with luck, reduce the possibility that I will have to ask for an extremely late change to my badge name. ("If 'GBA' doesn't work for you, you could always call me Inappropriate Hysterics!")

The first such post went smashingly. I thank you all. I now know much more about classic beauty. I've also learned that if Gina Torres and Audrey Hepburn were, through the miracle of - time traveling lesbian reproduction magicians? Look, I think this is the kind of thing that doesn't need a reason - to have a child, it would be the most classically gorgeous person of all time. I think someone needs to get right on making that happen.

So. We have done photos! Clearly it is time for MUSIC. And also POLLS, as those are the traditional, time-honored distraction techniques of people too distressed to provide actual content.

This is a poll for people who have music playing devices or programs. I am hoping that's most of you. There are some, you know, questions and things, but there is also a Bonus Content Option that I am really really hoping a lot of you take, because nothing is more distracting than new music.

So, to start things off in the Bonus Content arena: the most played song on my iTunes is Roscoe, by Midlake, which I have played 513 times. (Obviously, this is a hate-free zone. If you think it sucks, don't tell me. Instead, post your most played song. I bet it is far, far better than mine. Cooler. More classic. Whatever.)

And the song I am most obsessed with at the moment is The Chaconne, by Dessa.

Now, tell me yours! (People not taking the poll are still entirely invited to post their most played and current obsession songs in the comments, by the way. Encouraged. Begged. Whatever.) And also about your music. (And join with me in lamenting that there's no numerical entry poll option that would do averages and means and so on but not require scales.)

[1] Okay, I know at least some of you are going to want to know, so: it's mostly to do with Leaving My Baby for the First Time Ever. Also imperfect traveling arrangements. And OMG SOCIAL TIME fear. But mostly Leaving My Baby, who is actually three and will be at home with his mommy and perfectly fine, no matter what my dreams persist in suggesting.

Poll #7701 music
Open to: Registered Users, detailed results viewable to: All, participants: 201


How many songs do you have on your music player? (Rounding to the nearest thousand. Overachievers should pick the highest category.)

View Answers
Mean: 6358.59 Median: 5000 Std. Dev 5396.19
03 (1.5%)
100030 (15.2%)
200019 (9.6%)
300020 (10.1%)
400013 (6.6%)
500024 (12.1%)
600019 (9.6%)
700017 (8.6%)
80009 (4.5%)
90004 (2.0%)
100009 (4.5%)
110002 (1.0%)
120004 (2.0%)
130002 (1.0%)
140002 (1.0%)
150001 (0.5%)
160000 (0.0%)
170002 (1.0%)
180002 (1.0%)
190001 (0.5%)
2000015 (7.6%)

How many songs have you never listened to? (Rounding, again.)

View Answers
Mean: 1692.31 Median: 1000 Std. Dev 3379.62
089 (48.9%)
100050 (27.5%)
200010 (5.5%)
30008 (4.4%)
40007 (3.8%)
50003 (1.6%)
60002 (1.1%)
70002 (1.1%)
80000 (0.0%)
90002 (1.1%)
100003 (1.6%)
110001 (0.5%)
120000 (0.0%)
130000 (0.0%)
140000 (0.0%)
150002 (1.1%)
160000 (0.0%)
170000 (0.0%)
180002 (1.1%)
190000 (0.0%)
200001 (0.5%)

How many playlists do you have?

View Answers

None. If I want to listen to music, I listen to all the music.
26 (13.0%)

Oh, somewhere around ten. Some variety, you know.
73 (36.5%)

Looks like maybe 30! Variety is the spice of life.
54 (27.0%)

More like 50. Variety is the habenero pepper of life!
17 (8.5%)

Closer to 75. Variety may in fact be the silent killer.
10 (5.0%)

I am in no way counting, but I'm guessing 100. I have no idea what is even in some of these.
8 (4.0%)

200. I HAVE MANY IDEAS FOR PLAYLISTS, OKAY?
10 (5.0%)

A million. At least. Um.
2 (1.0%)

Of your top 20 most played songs, how many are by women? (I am counting this as "mostly sung by a woman," but you make your own call.)

View Answers
Mean: 8.14 Median: 8 Std. Dev 4.50
117 (9.2%)
26 (3.2%)
311 (5.9%)
413 (7.0%)
511 (5.9%)
610 (5.4%)
718 (9.7%)
815 (8.1%)
96 (3.2%)
1023 (12.4%)
1110 (5.4%)
1213 (7.0%)
137 (3.8%)
148 (4.3%)
156 (3.2%)
166 (3.2%)
172 (1.1%)
181 (0.5%)
191 (0.5%)
201 (0.5%)

How many times has your most played song been played? (Rounding!)

View Answers
Mean: 277.09 Median: 150 Std. Dev 287.46
03 (1.7%)
5040 (22.3%)
10039 (21.8%)
15013 (7.3%)
20013 (7.3%)
25013 (7.3%)
30010 (5.6%)
3504 (2.2%)
4006 (3.4%)
4503 (1.7%)
5005 (2.8%)
5504 (2.2%)
6003 (1.7%)
6500 (0.0%)
7003 (1.7%)
7500 (0.0%)
8003 (1.7%)
8501 (0.6%)
9001 (0.6%)
9500 (0.0%)
100015 (8.4%)

What is that most played song? (For bonus points, put a link to it, streaming or download, in the comments.)

And what song are you obsessed with lately? (Bonus points, link in comments, you know how this works.)

I like all music! Except:

View Answers

Theremin Core
38 (26.2%)

Gregorian Chant-Hop
16 (11.0%)

Rastabilly Skank
49 (33.8%)

Digital Baroque
16 (11.0%)

Unshaved Glam
26 (17.9%)

thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
Last night, I was talking to [livejournal.com profile] frostfire_17, and she described someone as "classically gorgeous."

I pointed out that I had no idea what that meant. I wasn't kidding. I really don't. Best Beloved has given up on me on this score; she has instituted a series of rules to keep me from getting attacked by a mob because I accidentally describe a celebrity as, for example, "oddly stretched" when that person is, in fact, the apex of beautiful perfection. (Sample rule: If I think a man looks like any member of the rodent family, he is in fact exceedingly attractive, and I should not share my opinion with others until I am sure they don't have pitchforks.) But I have always had the belief that if I simply looked at enough pictures, I wouldn't have this problem. (I have no problem, for the record, knowing what I mean by gorgeous. But I want to know what other people mean, too.)

Since I had a willing victim right there, last night I asked Frost to name some classically gorgeous people. It went sort of like this (names redacted for reasons that will become clear):

Frostfire: There's always [name of person].
Me, studying the results of a google search: He looks like a man who really wants to sell you expensive real estate, even though he was up all night doing lines off Aaron Sorkin's ass.
Frost: But when he was younger - okay. Never mind. How about [name of other person]?
Me: Seriously? Look at his Wikipedia photo!
Frost: Oh my GOD. Don't use the Wikipedia photos. Go to Google Image search like a normal person.
Me, managing to whine in text: But then there's too many pictures.
Frost, patiently: But I am going to tell you which pictures to look at. Okay, got it? First one, last one on the first row.
Me: ...How can those possibly be the same person?

At that point, I decided to call the experiment on the grounds of keeping Frost from hating me. But I still want to know what other people mean by gorgeous. I've just learned that what I need is for people with functioning Gorgeousness Determination Circuits to let me borrow their brains.

So, this is where you come in! If you have a functioning GDC and some time on your hands, that is. What I want - what I very very much want oh please oh please - is for you to pick out a specific photo of a famous person, one that you think embodies the term "classically gorgeous." (I am avoiding all other kinds of hotness for the moment, on the grounds that I am very easily confused, especially when looking at pictures.) Then post it here, so I do not get distracted by the plethora of images of that person on the internet. (One thing I learned last night: the more famous you are, the more truly awful photos of you there are in the world.)

And please remember to include the name of the person, because it's not like I will ever have a clue otherwise. (This is why I give up on "Post hot pictures!" threads. For one thing, I am never sure what kind of hot the posters mean. For another thing, I never have any idea who the people are, which makes it - confusing. Am I looking at the same person over and over? Or are these all different people? What is going on? Why do the pixels mock me? And then I have to close the tab or start ranting on street corners.)
thefourthvine: A picture of my kid pointing.  (Earthling points)
(Now unlocked!)

  • You have to breastfeed.
  • You have to breastfeed until the baby is six months.
  • You have to breastfeed until he's seven months.
  • You have to breastfeed until he's one.
  • You have to breastfeed until he's two.
  • You should breastfeed until he's four.
  • You should wean at nine months.
  • You should wean at one year.
  • You have to wean by eighteen months.
  • Every baby should be weaned by two.
  • The baby will wean himself when he's ready.
  • Extended breastfeeding leads to secure attachment.
  • Extended breastfeeding leads to over-attachment.
  • Extended breastfeeding leads to improved behavior.
  • Extended breastfeeding causes behavior problems.
  • Extended breastfeeding makes your baby smarter.
  • Extended breastfeeding causes developmental delay.
  • You shouldn't breastfeed a baby with feeding problems, even if he can.
  • You're causing feeding problems by breastfeeding.
  • A baby with feeding problems needs to be breastfed more than the average baby.
All of these things were said to me at some point in the last four years by at least one healthcare professional. (I'm not even including all the crap I've heard from people who don't have relevant degrees, mostly because it would fill a book. Although I tell you what: it would be a funny book.) I've learned to largely ignore healthcare professionals when it comes to breastfeeding, yes, for obvious reasons, but also because of the one thing I've learned from being a mother and from talking to other parents, which is:

You have to feed the baby you have.

That is the only real rule about feeding that I know. You have to feed your baby. Not the fantasy baby you had in your head before yours was born. Not an ideal baby. Not the one the books talk about. Not your best friend's baby. Your personal, actual baby. Some women want to breastfeed and can't. Some women could, but their babies have no interest in it. Some babies are too sick to breastfeed. Some babies (mine included!) won't take a bottle under any circumstances. Some babies can't tolerate any formula you can afford. Some babies are absolutely done with breastfeeding at eight months, or at a year, and some are still very into it long after they are toddlers. Some babies self-wean. Some babies have to be pried off the boob. There is no hard and fast feeding rule. The only thing that is true for all babies is that they all have to be fed.

And no matter how you feed your baby, you will hear a lot of stupid crap about child-rearing and baby feeding from people who should know better. (If you find a way to circumvent that one - earplugs? duct tape? mayhem? - let me know, please.)

That said, here are a few things I've learned during my three years of breastfeeding that I didn't know going in.

Pumping Sucks )

Most Mothers Have Some Feeding Guilt )

Medical Professionals Still Hate Breastfeeding )

It's Okay to Need Help )

Everyone Lies (About Breastfeeding) )
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
The One Featuring the Same Safeword I Originally Used. I Would Prefer to Have Less in Common with Sherlock, in All Honesty. Indecorous, by [personal profile] basingstoke. Sherlock, Sherlock Holmes/John Watson/Tai Morstan.

I love this story because people talk in it. No, I love it because they communicate. This sticks in my mind because when I first read this story, I was also reading a (published) book in which the characters somehow managed to speak many, many words to each other without ever actually communicating at all. It started out like this:

A: I think I like you.
B: Song, sung, blue, everybody knows one.

But in the fullness of time, after they went through many struggles together and learned about each other, their conversations basically all went like this:

A: Bindlestaff Capricorn!
B: Sheepleweepwit. Skanderhoff wormington. Soaply dundoo.

You get the picture. These people started out talking past each other, and ended up with no actual semantic content to their exchanges at all. It was like watching two people make a game try at ballroom dancing, except one of them is anesthetized and the other one is an octopus.

That may be why the first thing I noticed about Indecorous was that, okay, John and Sherlock and Tai don't necessarily understand each other, let alone live in perfect harmony while chanting a lot and occasionally ascending to another plane of existence (and that is just as well, because the other plane of existence would definitely send Sherlock right back), but they do communicate. They start talking and then keep right on talking! To each other! In actual sentences containing meaning! They have misunderstandings and resolve them with functional interaction! They identify problems and solve them! They negotiate boundaries! They learn about each other! It's amazing. It's like they're actual real people. I spent the entire story not wanting to punch any of them. (Except Sherlock occasionally, but who doesn't want to hit Sherlock from time to time?)

I mean, okay, yes. There are many other things I love about this story - the humor, the characterization of everyone, the incredible way it all works together, the way the relationship makes all three of them more than they would be on their own, Sherlock in a vampire costume, Lestrade having an actual life - but, really. For me, it keeps coming back to the way everyone actually talks like they are real grownups and not malfunctioning plot devices. My new motto, drawn from this story: More people, fewer plot devices.

The One Featuring the World's First Texting Ghost. Okay, He Doesn't Actually Text. He Just Writes Like He Is. Must You, Harry? Really? Cross, by [personal profile] lightgetsin. Dresden Files series, Harry Dresden/John Marcone.

I have not read any Dresden Files books. I keep bouncing off the early chapters of the first one, largely because I am not entirely sure that I want to spend that long in Harry Dresden's head or Jim Butcher's hands. But I have grown to love and adore the fan fiction. And I especially love and adore this story, even though - well, let's just say, in my head, there is already a sequel. It is full of ice cream and mermaids.

So, yes, okay, the ending of this one is not quite as happy as I would like (although it's not horrible, and you can get through the rough spots simply by reminding yourself of the fantasy sequel). Don't care. To me, this story is basically an exercise in examining how many layers of denial you can plaster over yourself before you crack into a million pieces. Answer: John Marcone is nearly there. (Sequel.)

I love that. I love John Marcone, too, in the same way I love Lex Luthor. (To me, they fit into the same general category: Too Competent for Anyone's Good. It's a small but well-loved group of people who get shit done, but it would probably be better if they didn't. You want to give these people hobbies, and then you remember that they'd start out collecting stamps and end up conquering Switzerland to gain control of its post office, and you just kind of give up in despair.) And I particularly love this John Marcone, who is complicated and deeply fucked up and practicing denial like it's his religion. And then you pair him with Harry Dresden, who is, let's be honest, maybe not the healthiest guy parading around Chicago with a giant staff, and you watch things explode. (SEQUEL.)

Of course, before things can start exploding, Marcone has to, um, bring Dresden back from the dead. These things happen occasionally. I just love that this story starts with one half of the pairing dead, and then he comes back, and then the real fucked-up-ness starts. (SEQUEL SEQUEL SEQUEL.)

Read it! It's amazing! And then come back here and tell me alllll about your own personal fantasy sequel to it.

The AU in Which Movies Are Presumably Way More Fun Than in Our Universe. Which in Your Case You Have Not Got, by [personal profile] dira. Generation Kill x A Companion to Wolves. (I really don't think you need to know either fandom for this to work, for the record.)

First, let me say: I have never read A Companion to Wolves. If you have a really intense squick, you generally learn to avoid things that sound like trouble. (Or, I suppose, you turn into a twitching wreck. I prefer caution.) Like, BB and I learned to avoid movies described as "poignant," because it turns out we don't enjoy watching people die horribly. Of, say, cancer. Or being beaten to death. When they say "poignant," what they mean is, "will leave TFV huddled on the couch under a blanket, wheezing, with her eyes swollen shut." In the same way, I look at the summary of something like A Companion to Wolves and know that at some point, a wolf will die, and I will end up crying for three hours, at the end of which BB will say, "Why did you even read this book? You should have known better."

I do, however, know some Generation Kill (I read the book, and also Nate Fick's book, and no I did not see the TV series because are you kidding?), and I have to say, if the real US military had involved being telepathically bonded to a motherfucking wolf under the weight of thousands of years of Norse history, Nate Fick would have had nine million orgasms just thinking about joining the military. And you'd have had to shoot him to get him out. Nate Fick is a guy who would say, in all sincerity, that they just don't do manly warrior bonds like they used to, back in the good old days (B.C.).

So, yes, this story is an awesome commentary on all the military Test of Manhood and Noble History and I Am Warrior shit. But that is not why I love it. I love it, basically, because the entire story is told through the eyes of a dude who does not have a clue. I mean, seriously, Evan the reporter, in this, could not find sand in Iraq. He'd just be staring around going, "I know it's here somewhere. I can, like, smell it. Hmmm. Sand. Where could it be?" And yet it's very clear to the reader what is going on. I love that. I love writers who do that. And I really, really love this story.

The telepathically bonded magical wolves and manly warrior bonds do not hurt, either. For the record.

The One That Shows That You Should Pick out the Minds You Visit Carefully. Take Note, Charles Xavier! Synergy, by [livejournal.com profile] airgiodslv. Inception x Criminal Minds. Arthur No Family Name Given Because Seriously, Christopher Nolan? Seriously?/Spencer Reid. (Sorry. Just, I mean - one of the core team characters in Inception gets two official names. One. It's like Nolan wasn't even trying.)

Another crossover! Involving yet another fandom I don't know! It's almost like this set has a theme. (Actually, I could do a set of those. Several sets, even.) Everything I know about Criminal Minds I know from this story; before reading it, I sort of generally classed it with the Letters Fandoms - NCIS, CSI, probably some other ones I've forgotten about; shows full of people who, to go by the vids, spend a lot of time in offices staring at things, and occasionally someone cries or gets killed or buried. Now, um, I still don't know that much about Criminal Minds, although this story did answer some searching questions I had about certain terms that have started showing up in non-fan-fiction locations. (Unsub, for example, which always makes me say, "...So, do you mean dom?")

But it is a tradition with me to recommend fan fiction for sources I know nothing about. And I love this story. The details! The consequences of inception! The researching and bugging and theories! It's casefic. With extra adventures inside the head of someone who could probably use a few visits with a shrink. Joy!

Plus, I love this for the portrayal of Arthur. Inception is one of those fandoms where I'm willing to entertain almost any story an author wants to tell about a character, as long as the three basic traits remain the same. (In other words, I won't buy stupid Arthur, but if you can make a case for magician Arthur, or demonic librarian Arthur, or robot Arthur, I am prepared to read it.) And I loved this version of Arthur, though of course I will not tell you what it is. (It would be a spoiler, and that would be wrong. I will tell you that he's not a robot, though. Which is fine, of course. But where have all the robots gone?)

I also love Eames in this one; I have a weakness for competent people who can roll with the punches and get shit done. (My ideal hero would, presumably, speak seven languages and not sleep much.) And I even like Spencer Reid, who seems anal, intelligent, and really, really complicated. I am guessing his show has run for a lot of seasons.

The One That Proves That the Side with the Biggest Teeth Wins. Jaws, by [archiveofourown.org profile] JoeLawson. Hawaii Five-0, Steve McGarrett/Daniel Williams.

Okay, so when I was figuring out what fourth story I wanted for this set, I ended up with one of those painful quandaries that fandom occasionally puts me in. (Like, you know, "Wingfic or amnesia?" The hard questions, in other words.) Eventually, though, I realized: no one should ever have to choose between weresharks and casefic. It's just not right to ask. So, since I don't have any stories that combine weresharks and casefic (a sad lack, in my opinion), I'm just going to have to recommend both.

Don't get me wrong: I still think Hawai'i needs werewolves. Or vampires. (Wouldn't it suck to get vamped in Hawai'i? Surrounded by moving water. Sunlight all the damn time. Pineapples. Palm trees. I bet Hawaiian vampires routinely win the Most Emo ribbon in the vampire shows.) But I am pretty damn pleased that the fandom has weresharks.

And not just any weresharks, let me add. It's not just that Danny is perhaps the best wereshark ever recorded - it's that there's a whole werecommunity in this one. (Although that makes it sound like the residents transform: half the time they're loners! And then the sun comes out and, bam, they're hugging and sharing and cuddling and tossing leis. But you know what I mean.) I love the hints in this story of something bigger just behind it, a whole world of people turning into sharks and wallabies and pangolins. And speaking bastardized Greek. It doesn't get better than that.

Note that there is some animal harm in this one. Shark harm, to be specific. I dealt with it by telling myself those were actually weresharks, and thus technically humans. (No, we will not discuss what it says about me that this worked as a coping mechanism. In my world, it is okay for sharks to eat people, but not for people to eat sharks, apparently.)
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
And it's time for episode two, where the comedy couple has Amazing Fake Gay Boyfriend Adventures and the drama couple triggers a whole slew of Advice Columns. Also noted: some plot stuff.

Comments you should definitely read from the last post: [personal profile] via_ostiense on gender pronouns and stuff I'm not getting from the subtitles, [livejournal.com profile] fragilistikal (whole thread!) on manly junk, subtitle problems, and Korean cultural stuff I didn't get, and [personal profile] ranalore on pooping, peeing, and piggy back rides. (Beware mild spoilers.)

A Further Note on Bodily Secretions

[personal profile] ranalore's comment made me remember my first time reading, I think it was, Franny and Zooey, when I was 13, which is, for the record, exactly the right age for first reading all of Salinger in one glorious weeklong orgy. At one point, one of the kids describes their mother as looking satisfied in a way that could only mean she'd been talking to her oldest son or had learned that everyone in her family was going to be regular for 24 hours.

I still remember that because it made me blink - like, how would their mother even know if they were regular or not? Did they, like, talk about pooping or something? By then, though, I was an old pro at recognizing cultural gaps - this is what happens when you spend your childhood reading books written in another country long before you were born - and I just figured, okay, mind the gap. But Franny and Zooey was written in the US in 1961. (By, I might add, someone from roughly the same cultural subset as I am, as far as I can tell.) So apparently the monumental level of delicacy we have achieved with respect to bodily functions in the US is not only not shared by every single country out there, it also wasn't shared by our own country fifty years ago.

In other words, we're probably the weird ones, which is something I will try to keep in mind as I watch future episodes.

Episode 2

1: The Comedy Couple Hatches a Plot )

2: The Drama Couple Makes a Scene )

3: The Recapping Couple Mouths Off )

4: The Canon Writers Are Familiar with All Fan Fiction Tropes and Memes )

5: All the Couples Get Crazy )
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
Some time ago - quite some time ago - I offered to review something in exchange for a charitable donation to [livejournal.com profile] help_japan. I expected, quite honestly, to be subjected to something legendarily terrible, perhaps Spock's Brain or Highlander 2: The Quickening, but instead, bizarrely, a group of people banded together to get me to watch something good. I know. I don't understand it, either. Grateful but confused, that's me!

That thing was a Korean TV drama, and the bidders were, and oh how I hope I have them all listed: [personal profile] anenko, [livejournal.com profile] dormouse_in_tea, [personal profile] jamethiel, [personal profile] paxpinnae, [personal profile] pineapplechild, [personal profile] vass, and [personal profile] zeborah. Thank you, people. I have enjoyed the hell out of Coffee Prince. And really appreciated your patience. You are all made of entirely of shine. What you're actually getting is a weird review-recap hybrid. Hope it's what you wanted!

A Preliminary Note

I don't speak Korean and I've never watched a K-drama before. I don't know the conventions, I don't know the idioms, and I had to resort to google a lot. I am going to make cultural missteps. I apologize in advance. Pointers appreciated!

Also, the fansub I found for this one was a little antic. I'm used to anime fansubs, which are inevitably better than the actual official licensed translation. I did not get that sense with these subtitles, which were informative most of the time with occasional moments where they induced shrieking hilarity. Seriously, even if you have no interest in adorable romance, the fansubs are worth watching for those moments alone.

Coffee Prince in Relatively Few Words (For Me)

So, that said - Coffee Prince is a charming, crazy, fluffy romance. The central conceit is that one half of the main couple, Eun Chan, is a girl pretending to be a boy. Or that's how the summaries read. (They actually mostly said something along the lines of "she's given up so much to take care of her family - even her femininity.") That wasn't how I saw it, though. And I was not alone.

Right after I watched the second episode of Coffee Prince, I had to take the earthling to see his doctor. Afterwards, as is our custom, he picked out a treat from the small store there, and we sat at a table outside where he could watch all the cars and trucks go by.

There was also a middle-aged Korean-American woman sitting out there. (This may seem like a gift from the gods of recap writing, but in fact we were sitting in front of a Korean café and a Korean pharmacy, so not so much.) We started talking while the earthling consumed his treat one molecule at a time (because there were so many trucks to watch). We talked about kids for a bit, and then she asked me what TV shows I was watching. Normally, my answer to that question is an apologetic, "I don't watch TV," but this time I had an actual show to mention!

I said, "I'm watching - uh, in English it's called Coffee Prince?"

She lit up. "I loved that show so much!"

We talked about various aspects of the show for a while, including how we got hold of it (and why I chose to watch it, which was a whole thing to explain, let me tell you; I should have just said that I heard it was good). Eventually, I mentioned how great I thought the acting was. I said the actress who played Eun Chan did a fantastic job showing discomfort with femininity, using masculine body language, all of that.

She agreed, and said, "Watching that, I didn't think - I didn't think she was a girl, exactly. I know she was a girl, but I thought - you have to be one, of course, a boy or a girl, but I thought if you could be not a boy or a girl but a third thing, then that is what I would call her."

In short, even people who don't know the word genderqueer and affirmatively state that you have to be either a boy or a girl look at Eun Chan and decide she's not a girl pretending to be a boy, but rather a person being who she is. (I say she, by the way, because it's what she says. Or at least what the subtitles say she says.)

Or that's the impression I got from the first few episodes. I will be watching the whole thing - yes, I liked it that much - unless it turns out Eun Chan undergoes some kind of transformation into a beautiful swan because of the power of love or something, and then I will put my head down on my desk and cry.

So, yeah, that's the plot. There are these couples. They get together. The main couple has some tiny issues, in that the guy thinks the girl is, you know, a guy. And, okay, there's a lot of stuff about coffee and a coffee shop and some other supporting characters, but this is at heart a romance, and all of that is set dressing for the important task of getting the right lips on each other and having as many Key Emotional Sequences as possible. Fan fiction readers should understand this. (Because this is a good show, the set dressing is interesting. It's just - you know. The focus is on the couples.)

And, as I said, there are two of those couples. Let's talk a little more about them, shall we?

The Comedy Couple, Han Kyul/Eun Chan

HAN KYUL. Oh, man. Look, in my notes for this series I called him Jerkface, and trust me, he earns it. He's a smart rich kid who is totally in love with himself, and he's decided that his life will be easier and more fun if no one expects anything of him. Despite that, he has his noble moments, and just when you've decided what you most long for in the world is to see him get punched in the face, he'll do something that will remind you there's good stuff under the patina of asshole. In other words, I somehow ended up liking him while continuing to call him Jerkface. So, I mean - he's a jerk. I liked him anyway. There you go, the central problem of Coffee Prince.

EUN CHAN. She's a totally awesome mess, basically. She's uncouth! Unmannered! Clumsy! Disorganized! Constantly starving! She reminds me, on many occasions, of my younger nephew; she bounces off the walls, pokes at other people just to see what they do, says stuff without thinking, and breaks things. But she's also principled, moral, caring, and really fucking responsible. She's basically the inverse of Han Kyul; he has everything and refuses to try at all, and she has nothing but tries so hard all the time. At one point in the series, you get a look at her schedule. She has four hours blocked out for sleeping. The rest of the time she works and works and works, trying to take care of her mother and sister. And we've already gone into the gender thing, so I will just say: the actress OWNS this. All actresses everywhere who have to pretend to be a guy for a role: WATCH THIS SHOW.

So. These two people should be like watching a helicopter crash: flames and shrapnel everywhere, bystanders run for their lives. And the thing is, they kind of are. And yet they're wonderful together anyway.

Obviously, their main issue, at least at first, is that Han Kyul thinks Eun Chan is a guy, and, see, he's straight, and also he likes ladies, and what the fuck is with lusting after a guy? Whereas Eun Chan is frantically trying to keep all her plates in the air, and totally not be in love with Han Kyul, because he is not for her. This is, shall we say, not an unfamiliar dynamic for a slash reader. It's a joy to see this all done so well, and sort of weird to see it done with a het couple.

I'm not calling them the comedy couple, by the way, because they're comic relief; they have more Key Emotional Sequences than the other main couple, and definitely more than anyone else. Just. They are fun. That cannot be said of our next set.

The Tragedy Couple, Han Seong/Yoo Ju

HAN SEONG. Oh god his voice. I just want to say that here and now. Another reason this show is worth watching: Han Seong's voice. I want to listen to him talk all day long forever. This is a guy you would never want to work with, because you'd find yourself nodding in helpless agreement as he outlined his plans to set fire to the building. That's how good his voice is. As for the rest of him - he's Han Kyul's older cousin, and he's a successful music producer with a very adorable dog. He's also responsible and kind to Eun Chan. All these things made me want to love him.

YOO JU. She's an artist (a corporate one, judging by her paintings); she's very sweet and calm and seems to think before she speaks, which is a trait you don't usually see on television. She was with Han Seong for a long time, and then she left him for another guy, DK, and went to New York. Right before the start of the story, she broke up with DK and came back to Seoul. As the series begins, she's trying to rekindle her relationship with Han Seong. Han Kyul is also in love with her.

I liked Yoo Ju and Han Seong when they weren't with each other, and I loved Han Seong's voice, but after a while, I cringed every time we switched over to their storyline. These people bring the over-the-top angst in vats. Remember that time that you were in that totally serious, "oh my god we'll be together forever as soon as we're old enough to get driver's licenses" relationship? And then after four fabulous, incredible, soul-searing weeks it ended and you cried and cried and deleted all your poetry and cut your hair and wished it would rain so you could sit in the rain with your sorrow, like, why did you have to break up during the summer oh god your life is such totally fucking SHIT. Remember that? THAT IS WHAT THESE TWO ARE DOING. Except they are adults. Angst, whining, stupidity, and they own their own homes. It's not supposed to work that way. That shit is barely tolerable when you're 15, for fuck's sake.

A Note on Bodily Secretions

Anyone who has been assigned the bodily secretions square in Kink Bingo and wants to make a vid: Coffee Prince is the source for you. The producers of this show didn't really feel like they'd done their jobs until they had documented every single possible secretion on film. People poop and pee on camera (I am going to believe, for purposes of sanity, that they are acting); they barf pretty much on camera, and there is flirtatious nose picking, which I have to assume is one of those concepts that just doesn't cross the cultural barrier, because it is clearly supposed to be cute and instead makes me want to die.

So, fair warning: there are bodily secretions in this show. Far more than I want in my viewing experiences. I liked it anyway. See how I said this was the fundamental problem of Coffee Prince?

Episode 1

In other words: ALL THE COFFEE PRINCE DETAIL YOU COULD EVER NEED. If you need trigger warnings, please read the version of this with cut tags intact. I'm using nested cut tags for the one in this episode.

1: Everyone Says Hello and Then Something Horrible Happens )

2: There Are Inexplicable Gong Ringers, Velcro Ladies, and Excess Bodily Secretions )

3: Plot Complications Develop and Are Totally Overshadowed by the Discovery That Our Hero Is Made of Sparkles )

4: Eun Chan and Han Kyul Finally Get Together, and I Guess I Shouldn't Have Been Surprised about Where )
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
So, recently I've had a few conversations that have indicated to me just how much fandom and the rest of my life are integrated. The first one was at preschool drop-off time a few weeks ago. Ms. Carro, the earthling's main (and much-loved) preschool teacher came up to me and said, "So, this is awkward, but do you keep a blog?"

I said, "Uh, yes," probably with a but I really hope you aren't reading it expression on my face.

She explained to me that at an SCA event that weekend, a friend of a friend had come up and said, "You're Ms. Carro? You must know this kid I read about online! I mean, how many preschool teachers are there named Ms. Carro?" She described the earthling, and Ms. Carro, who could identify all of her students in the dark, with ear plugs in, from fifty feet away, correctly named the earthling.

My reaction to this was an instinctive flinch. But it wasn't because my fannish activities had been exposed to the world; it was because I like people to stay in their boxes. If they start out in the preschool box, I want them to stay there. If they start out in the internet box, I want them to stay there. Box-hopping makes me twitchy.

Then we had dinner out with my sister and her family, at which we learned that:
  1. My sister and her older son, Z, had read my Doctor Who x Lady Gaga's Bad Romance video (the true sign of a Yuletide fandom - there's no easy way to describe it, let alone a convenient acronym) Yuletide story.
  2. To prepare themselves, they watched the Lady Gaga video. (Of course they needed no additional Doctor Who background; in retrospect, I should have asked my sister for a canon beta for that story. She could have provided it for basically any Doctor you care to name. It's ironic, really, that I am the person in the family who has written DW fan fiction.)
  3. My sister's younger son, A, came into the room while they were watching the video, and was stricken immediately with a severe case of Lady Gaga love. He has now watched far more of her videos than I have (although my sister, ever appropriate, nixed Alejandro as perhaps a little too explicit for the pre-teen set, which was amusing to me since I had to really think to remember the bits she thought were too much for A), and is deep in the throes of early fannishness.
My sister blames me for turning her younger son into a Lady Gaga fan. I hold that I am blameless, because it is not like she had to watch that video. (Actual feedback from Z: "I didn't understand the video at all until I read your story." I have a hard time believing he understands the video now, since it makes no sense. But I guess for Z all things make sense through the lens of Doctor Who.) No one was making her! Also, she should know by now that A has a gift for sensing when people are consuming media they would rather not share with him. She should have sent him outside, ideally to a distant city, before pressing play. In short: HER FAULT. Not mine.

But after I had worked out exactly how I was not at all to blame, I started to consider this. I mean, I got feedback from family members on both my stories from last Yuletide. (My mother gave me feedback on the other story, based on Evanescence's Call Me When You're Sober video. This year, at signup time, someone please tell me not to sign up for so many video fandoms, okay? Please?) My son's preschool teacher apparently hangs out with someone who knows someone who reads my LJ or DW and is on the earthling filter, which stretches credibility, but there you go.

My fannish life is inextricable from my real life, is my point. My friends know! My family knows! Apparently now the preschool people do, too! So my question is: how are things in your life? Do you talk about fan fiction at the dinner table? Can you imagine no more horrible fate?

Obviously, there is a poll; the last time I did a poll like this, it was in 2004, so I'm curious to see how things have changed. Also, of course, feel free to tell stories in the comments. (And even if you are totally unfannish, please answer the last question. This has been a topic of debate in my household!)


Poll #7287 Openness
Open to: Registered Users, detailed results viewable to: All, participants: 655


Who knows you're in fandom?

View Answers

My significant other(s).
306 (47.2%)

My parent(s).
314 (48.5%)

My sibling(s).
312 (48.1%)

My child(ren).
60 (9.3%)

More distant relative(s).
77 (11.9%)

Friends.
544 (84.0%)

People I work with or know in a professional capacity.
158 (24.4%)

Acquaintances.
117 (18.1%)

People I know from other hobbies or interests.
160 (24.7%)

People I know from my religious activities.
37 (5.7%)

Everyone. Everyone knows.
40 (6.2%)

No one knows.
38 (5.9%)

I'm not in fandom.
3 (0.5%)

Who do you really NOT want to know you're in fandom?

View Answers

My significant other(s).
14 (2.3%)

My parent(s).
195 (32.5%)

My sibling(s).
64 (10.7%)

My child(ren).
12 (2.0%)

More distant relative(s).
209 (34.8%)

Friends.
30 (5.0%)

People I work with or know in a professional capacity.
374 (62.3%)

Acquaintances.
135 (22.5%)

People I know from other hobbies or interests.
67 (11.2%)

People I know from my religious activities.
69 (11.5%)

Everyone. I don't want ANY non-fannish people to know.
80 (13.3%)

No one. Anyone who wants to know is welcome to.
118 (19.7%)

I'm not in fandom; there's nothing to know.
1 (0.2%)

What percentage of your non-fannish circle knows about your fannish pursuits?

View Answers
Mean: 36.26 Median: 30 Std. Dev 28.85
067 (10.7%)
10148 (23.7%)
2072 (11.5%)
3065 (10.4%)
4041 (6.6%)
5054 (8.6%)
6034 (5.4%)
7059 (9.4%)
8046 (7.4%)
9030 (4.8%)
1009 (1.4%)

You're getting to know someone. The question of hobbies comes up.

View Answers

I tell. "Fandom. I [write fan fiction/create fan art/make vids/consume a lot of works where Harry Potter tops Methos/make erotic stained-glass window depictions of Jim and Blair fucking/etc.], and it's totally awesome."
52 (8.2%)

I say something that another fan would get, but someone clueless would probably not. "Uh, well, I'm really into these TV shows, the Sentinel and due South. Ever heard of them?"
185 (29.0%)

I say something inclusive of the fannish aspects of my life, but blandify it. "I read/write/draw/make videos/put song mixes together/etc."
291 (45.6%)

I only talk about other hobbies. "Gardening! Photography! The life cycle of snails!"
97 (15.2%)

I cannot imagine being in circumstances where this would come up.
13 (2.0%)

If you've told someone from your non-fannish life about your fannish activities, how did it go? (Obviously, if you've told more than one person, check all that apply.)

View Answers

Really well.
202 (32.3%)

Fairly well.
334 (53.4%)

Acceptably.
290 (46.3%)

Not that well.
68 (10.9%)

It was a fucking disaster. I can still feel the place in cold weather.
27 (4.3%)

I haven't told anyone.
63 (10.1%)

A QUESTION OF KEY IMPORTANCE. Which job title would you rather have?

View Answers

International Rectifier.
176 (27.3%)

Vice President of Cake.
469 (72.7%)

thefourthvine: Batgirl looking thoughtful.  (Batgirl in glasses)
My boyfriend for the first part of my college career was a comic book collector, which meant that he had three billion carefully stored comic books, all of which had to be read with the same care you'd use when handling the original copy of the Declaration of Independence, and then replaced in their individual plastic sleeves and their specific spot in their long boxes. (There was a special technique for getting them into the boxes undamaged.) He was extremely anxious for me to share his interest in comic books, and he spent a fair amount of time telling me about them, giving me important ones to read, and, of course, taking me to comic book shops.

Because he was a collector, he was well known to the comic book shop owners (I believe they gave little cries of joy when they saw him coming), and I was introduced as his girlfriend and welcomed into the fold. I spent a lot of time browsing at random while he chatted with the guys behind the counter, and I was young enough that it didn't occur to me that it might be significant that it was always, always guys behind the counter.

At that age, I was an easy sell on basically any story you cared to show me. I was happy to have new things to read. And I grew to love the comic books themselves, and especially the characters in them. My boyfriend didn't have a clue how to sell me on comic books - really, he should have pointed to two guys and used the words "unresolved sexual tension" and that would have done it - but he did pay attention to what I responded to. I loved Rogue. She was exactly the right character for an angsty sixteen-year-old girl. In particular, I obsessively read the issue in which she's trapped in her own brain; in there, it's strongly implied (or possibly outright stated; this was a long time ago, after all) that she's been raped. I loved that - Rogue had been raped, some time in her past, and she'd certainly made mistakes, but she was still tough, still on the team, still saving people. "Fucked up but strong" pretty much describes the Rogue characterization of the time, and that was exactly what I wanted from my female characters. I was fucked up, and I wanted to be strong, and there was Rogue, being my wish fulfillment in spandex.

My boyfriend assumed it was the rape itself that interested me, and offered more books featuring women being raped or abused. Since they weren't the heroes, and it wasn't about them getting over it - they were being rescued, or, you know, not being rescued - it didn't interest me. But I liked that he tried. And I was young enough that it didn't occur to me that it might be significant that he could find so many plotlines about women being raped or abused, and that all of them were told in precisely the way guaranteed to turn me off.

So, you know how it goes: we broke up. I ended up with Best Beloved, the woman I'm still married to. And I didn't realize it right away, but comic books were one of the things I lost in the divorce.

No, not the actual books themselves; I kept the ones that were mine, and in fact I still have them, five moves later. Not even the mutual interest in them - Best Beloved was a comic book reader, too, until she had so many series cut off from underneath her that she gave up and turned to things less likely to destroy her loves, like, you know, Fox. What I lost was my pass into the world of comic books.

The first time I tried to go into a comic book store without my boyfriend, I discovered that I had a superpower in the comic book world. I was invisible. I could not get anyone to acknowledge that I existed. There were guys behind the counter, yes, but they kept up their argument about Green Lantern while I stood in front of them. I had to interrupt, finally, to ask my question, and then I discovered my second superpower: I had a wall of silence surrounding me. They exchanged glances, gestured vaguely to the back of the store, and went right back to their argument. I left without finding the book I'd come for, but that's just as well; I don't think, based on future experiences, I could have gotten them to take my money if I'd found it.

I thought it was just that comic book store. Then I thought it was just that one and the next one, the one where I discovered that I could not force my money into the hands of the guy behind the counter; he walked away from the register when I approached with books in hand, then disappeared into the back of the store for, apparently, eternity. It was crazy; it was like I'd gone back in time a hundred years, and they still had Wolverine everywhere.

In the third store where my new superpowers came into play, I had what was, at that time in my life, an unaccustomed thought. Why am I doing this? I should not have to beg people to take my money.

I realized I didn't want to have to force my way in through doors that had "NO GIRLZ ALOWD" signs on them, doors I apparently needed a male escort to get through. I loved comic books, but I didn't love them enough to put up with that shit. So I didn't. And eventually I didn't love comic books anymore, either.

But that was more than fifteen years ago. Things have changed. I've seen the campaigns online. I've seen the maps of girl-friendly comic book stores. (Although, seriously, just that these exist is an indication of a major problem in the industry; you don't see maps of girl-friendly hardware stores, for example, because all hardware stores are girl-friendly. They employ women! They take our money! They provide us with non-condescending advice! They have gloves in our size! At least all the ones I've been in, and I'm a homeowner, so you can see that I spend a lot of time in hardware stores. The question isn't, "Which hardware store will treat me like a person despite my gender?" It's, "Which hardware store is closest to my house and stocks the items I need?" If you have to ask the former question, there is a big problem.) I've even read articles about how to get girls into your comic book shop, so clearly owners now understand that accepting money from only a fraction of the people interested in giving it to you is not always the world's most successful business strategy.

That's why, yesterday, I decided to stop into a comic book store. Totally on a whim. Just to see what it's like in there these days, how things have changed since the days of dialup. I thought I might want to get something with Oracle in it, to remember her by.

I walked in towing my unwilling three-year-old son, who had already come to the conclusion that this was a destination unlikely to have any trucks or Pigeon books in it, and therefore did not wish to go in. I blinked, letting my eyes adjust, and, man, comic book store interiors really haven't changed that much. I mean, the posters have - I think they've developed new breast enlarging technology, for starters, and it's not like the breasts were small before - but the interiors are still exactly the same.

"Hi!" the guy behind the counter said in cheerful tones, and I thought: But they have changed where it really matters.

Except he wasn't looking at me. He was looking at my son, who was clinging to my leg. "What can I find for you today?" he asked him. "Spiderman? Superman? Toys?"

"We're here for me," I said. "He's too young for comic books."

"You're never too young for comic books!" he said, still exclusively addressing the earthling. "I bet you like superheroes, huh?" (He doesn't.)

The earthling, apparently feeling threatened, asked to be picked up. I eavesdropped on a few more minutes of conversation that didn't involve me, even though I was the only member of my party willing to talk, and then I left. I pretty much had to; the earthling, distressed by this onslaught of talking despite all his Mama's attempts to redirect the conversation, had his face buried in my neck and was saying, "All done, all done, go home now?" very quietly into my ear. But in the time I was in the store, not one single word was addressed to me, let alone enough words to ask me, say, if there was anything I needed help finding. The guy never even looked at me. I was still invisible.

The only thing that's changed in fifteen years, apparently, is that I gave birth to someone who can be my passport into comic book stores. Except he doesn't want to be, and I don't want him to have to be, so that isn't going to work so well. I'm going to have to remember Oracle with icons and scans and fan fiction, instead of something that costs actual money.

But, hey, reboots happen regularly, and I'm sure Oracle will be coming around again. Eventually. So I'll see you in another decade or so, comic book store guys! In the meantime, thanks for keeping my money in my purse, where it belongs.
thefourthvine: A drawing of Poison Ivy. (Ivy)
At a recent earthling speech therapy session, Amber the speech therapist revealed to me that she had, for the first time ever, planted a garden this year. I told her my first time of planting was last year, and we exchanged the Look. I am not sure if gardeners everywhere exchange this look, or if it's just Southern California ones. It conveys a combination of fear, amazement, and just a tentative hint of delight - tentative because you only really want to be happy about something if you're sure no lives will be lost, and gardeners cannot ever, apparently, be entirely sure of that. I have never lived in avalanche country, but I am assuming this is the same expression you see the faces of tourists there when one goes off.

Amber told me her cilantro was going crazy, and I explained to her the sad truth about the cilantro life cycle (when it goes crazy, it's about to bolt), and we compared the heights of our children and our cilantro (cilantro wins!). We talked about how you can never be really sure how big your zucchini plant will get, largely because zucchinis expand to fill all available space. Hers are currently eating her peas; mine is in a fight to the death with the Persian cucumbers. God only knows what the outcome will be. Zuccumbers? The apocalypse? No way to be sure!

And then I told her what I planted this year. You know you're in trouble when a fellow novice gardener stares at you, stunned by your stupidity.

"It's not my fault," I said weakly. "[Earthling] picked out most of those plants."

It's true, he did. It's also true that I planted them. And let them flourish. And, in some cases, allowed him to plant even more. We are still basically in the wettest, coldest spring I can remember in California. (Although keep in mind that this is relative; by "wettest," I mean that the drought warnings have gone down to only high alert level, and by "coldest" I mean "we mostly haven't had to use the air conditioner yet.") And yet. I have already learned some hard, hard facts about gardening, the kind they never seem to share in gardening books. (My current theory is that this is a form of hazing. "We all know this," the gardening book writers say to each other. "But we're not telling. If they really care about gardening, they will learn the hard way, just like we did." Gardening is one of those sports that only the strong survive, apparently.)

I planted a Juliet tomato this year. Because it was described as an excellent balcony or patio tomato - perfect for container gardening! - I assumed it was a small, modest plant that would grow only in moderation.

This is absolute bullshit, it turns out. What "patio" plant means is "if you plant it in the actual ground, it will act like it just got hit by Lex Luthor's Amazing Supergrowth Ray." If I had listened closely while planting it, I probably could have heard its cries of, "Free! Free at last! TOMATO FAME, HERE I COME."

This way to see the Juliet! )

Because of my touchingly naïve belief in the Juliet's decorous, restrained nature, I put it in one of the two wolverine-sized tomato cages that survived last year's tomato Armageddon. (This year, I am buying only the bear size. I may be slow, but I can be taught.) It was over the top of it by the start of May, and is now taller than I am and, as you can see, encroaching on the cages of the other tomatoes. My mother, who views my urge to grow tomatoes as perhaps the sole evidence that I am genetically related to her, recently visited and suggested I buy a second tomato cage to train the rest of the Juliet onto. (I would, except when I think "train" I can only picture myself out there with a packet of biscuits and a clicker, and I don't think the tomato plants would respond. If you could teach a tomato plant to heel, someone would already have won a Nobel Prize for it.)

If I had known about the Juliet's ambitions, it's possible I would have reined in the earthling's, at least a little. But he was so determined to buy tomato plants that I'm not sure I would have. I mean, I do remember last year. There was no excuse for planting more tomato plants than I did last year. And yet. I did. With earthling encouragement, yes, but the fault was mine. (This is why we have winter: so gardeners will forget the thorns and terror of the previous year and get cocky again.)

So, yes, we have ten tomato plants in the ground. (We had eleven, but one of them experienced what might have been some sort of tomato disease, but was probably the Juliet, its next door neighbor, using special attack powers to bring it down. The space where the deceased plant was is full, now; the Juliet and its friend across the row have combined to make sure I can never plant anything there.) We have six Japanese eggplants, currently flowering (gorgeous, and worth planting just for that) and setting fruit. We have two large containers full of bean plants. I put the seeds in one of the containers, following the recommended nice, orderly spacing. The earthling put the seeds in the other one, following a plan of his own devising, called "poke some seeds individually into the ground, and then decide it would be more fun to dump a whole handful in at once."

This way to see the beans! )

We also have Japanese cucumbers. I do not believe these are actually Japanese, except possibly in the sense of "we found these seeds over here near Kyoto, and we're exporting them all before we lose the island." Japan is simply not big enough to grow these things. (The planet may not be big enough.) There would be no more room for people. Also, I refuse to believe that anyone, anywhere, except possibly someone cackling in some remote mountain laboratory - the kind of person who would make a half-pony, half-monkey monster - would deliberately breed these. They are spiny terrors and clearly plotting something. I planted ours in a small side bed that had previously been given over to volunteer palms. (I fucking hate palm trees. The previous owners loved them. My major plan for the next ten years in this house involves killing all the palms.) It's a really small, narrow bed, so my intention was to put strawberries there, and in fact there are some strawberry plants over at one side, but then the earthling bought the Japanese cucumber seedlings and I had to put them somewhere. I thought they'd probably die anyway, so I just stuck them in the narrow bed in the meantime.

This way to see the cucumbers! )

In retrospect, I wish I had not put them along the fence that we share with the friendly neighbors. Pretty soon I am going to have to go over there and apologize because our cucumber plants are menacing their incredibly tidy, orderly yard. (These neighbors repaint their gutters and siding every six months and trim their bushes each day. They would never do anything as reckless or chaotic as planting vegetables.) I mean, two weeks ago I put a trellis up for them. (I bought it last year for the beans, but the beans spurned it. It is marketed as a tomato trellis, but I can only laugh hollowly at the news. The tomato plants last year crushed the one near them just for kicks.) The cucumbers are now at the top of the trellis and sending feelers up the concrete wall. If you get close - not recommended - and shift away the lower growth, you find yellow flowers. A lot of yellow flowers. And baby cucumbers. Enough that you will, if you are me, realize that you don't have a lot of use for cucumbers, and you may be in a lot of trouble very soon.

The trouble is coming. I can sense it, rumbling and green out there in the yard. In the meantime, garden questions!

Poll #7140 2011 Garden Questions
Open to: Registered Users, detailed results viewable to: All, participants: 308


What would be an appropriate "Sorry the cucumbers came beween us" gift for the neighbors?

View Answers

Flowers!
31 (10.2%)

Tomatoes.
107 (35.2%)

Why not just give them some cucumbers?
267 (87.8%)

How about something - anything - NOT plant-related?
29 (9.5%)

What should I do about the Juliet and its tomato cohort?

View Answers

Stand well back.
85 (28.1%)

Hope for the zombie apocalypse; maybe they'll fight each other to a standstill!
95 (31.5%)

Have you considered sowing the ground with salt? Sometimes the old ways are best.
61 (20.2%)

Get in there with some clippers. If you'd wanted a safe life, you never would have planted a garden.
154 (51.0%)

Kill it. I don't care how. But kill it NOW.
11 (3.6%)

Other. (To the comments!)
14 (4.6%)

Are you growing food this year?

View Answers

No. I prefer to get my food from the market, already safely dead.
83 (27.4%)

No. I would if I could, but not this year.
118 (38.9%)

Yes. And I'm scared. Hold me?
19 (6.3%)

Yes, and I'm not scared at all. In fact, I'm going to go buy a Juliet RIGHT NOW.
61 (20.1%)

Let me tell you allllllll about it in the comments.
22 (7.3%)

thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
Recently, I've realized that I'm not sure where people are anymore. Also, there are apparently people not on the earthling filter who wish to be. Obviously, it is time for some housekeeping. (I know, I know, you can hardly contain your joy. I will wait while you breathe deeply and attempt to stop waving your hands in the air and screaming, "YAAAAAY!")

So. If you're posting on DW, I'd rather read you over there, for ease of access and so on; if you're over there, this would be the poll to take. If you're only posting on LJ, I still want to read you, though - please take this poll to let me know you're over here!

Also, whether you read primarily at DW or primarily at LJ, you can be on the LJ earthling filter. (The earthling filter is where I talk about my awesome kid. There are monthly posts with pictures. It's opt-in so people don't have to hear about his amazingness unless they want to.) If you can't see this earthling-related post, and you'd like to, now is your time to ticky!

[Poll #1739686]
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
Recently, I've realized that there are a lot of people on DW that I didn't know were on DW. Also, there are people not on the earthling filter on DW who wish to be. Obviously, it is time for some housekeeping. (I know, I know, you can hardly contain your joy. I will wait while you breathe deeply and attempt to stop waving your hands in the air and screaming, "YAAAAAY!")

So. If you're posting on DW, I'd rather read you here; this is the place I read first, and also LJ tends to break a lot, and sometimes it is challenging to comment there. Please let me know you're here!

Also, whether you read primarily at DW or primarily at LJ, you can be on the DW earthling filter. (The earthling filter is where I talk about my awesome kid. There are monthly posts with pictures. It's opt-in so people don't have to hear about his amazingness unless they want to.) If you can't see this earthling-related post, and you'd like to, now is your time to ticky!

Poll #6927 DW housekeeping poll
Open to: Registered Users, detailed results viewable to: All, participants: 362


Where are you reading me?

View Answers

On DW.
245 (68.1%)

On LJ.
13 (3.6%)

On both.
102 (28.3%)

I'm not.
0 (0.0%)

Elsewhere! (Feeds. Skywriting. Telepathy. Whatever.)
0 (0.0%)

Where should I read you?

View Answers

On DW.
284 (83.5%)

On LJ.
18 (5.3%)

On both.
27 (7.9%)

On neither.
11 (3.2%)

Are you not on the DW earthling filter but would like to be? (If you can see this post, you don't need to click anything for this one.)

View Answers

Yes!
99 (100.0%)

thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
Okay, so you people came through beyond my wildest dreams in the No Heterosexual Explanation Moments post. I have spent the last couple of days basically rolling in slashiness, and it's been awesome. So I thought I'd return the favor, to the best of my limited abilities. Here's a rec set showcasing just a tiny amount of the non-heterosexuality that's out there! YAY.

(Note: spoilers in this post for Star Trek TOS.)

The One That Shows That You Could Never Have a Reasonable Portmanteau for This Pairing. (Husky? Starch?) I Like That about a Fandom. Something to Talk About, by [livejournal.com profile] lauramcewan. Starsky and Hutch, Kenneth Hutch/David Starsky. (Scroll down to the middle of the vids section.)

Starsky and Hutch was by far the winner of the No Heterosexual Explanation roundup. Apparently, this show broke new ground in the field of really not being straight in any way at all. (I was astonished to discover, though, that there was more to these guys than slashy subtext. Like, check out this segment of an episode. They're actually dealing with the topic of homosexuality in a way that is not played for laughs or some imaginary gross-out factor. And, uh, maybe this is just me, but I am totally incapable of not reading that clip as communicating that the blond guy is, himself, closeted. His reaction shots! Him trying to explain that, you know, that attitude is what keeps some people from coming out! His significant looks! It's a whole new kind of NHEM, is what it is, and I thank those who linked to it in the post.)

This vid is a compilation of all the visual Starksy and Hutch NHEMs. At least I assume this is all of them; I don't see how one show could contain more without the stars ending up giving each other blowjobs just from the accumulated pressure of all those non-heterosexual moments. And, bonus, there's helpful photographic emphasis, just in case you somehow missed the slashiness. (This would be a good vid for anyone who does not get the NHEM. They're all right there, clearly highlighted for your convenience. And decidedly unheterosexual.)

And, seriously, it's amazing, this vid. I mean, I had already seen it. I was impressed by its slashiness. But before I made the NHEM post, I had no context for any of these clips - like, I didn't realize that they were offering to have a threesome with that one girl, and when she refuses, they were going out arm in arm. I mean - seriously, I don't even know what to DO with that, except to assume that the brown-haired guy eventually got over his internalized homophobia. To which I can only say, "Go, brown-haired guy," because these two were clearly meant to be.

And, equally clearly, they are not heterosexual at all.

The One That Proves That If You Give a Vidder a Phallic Symbol, She Will Fuck a Character in the Ass with It. I Like That about Vidders. Tonight I'm Fucking You, by [personal profile] talitha78. White Collar, Peter Burke/Neal Caffrey.

[personal profile] thingswithwings described this show as classic slash, and it is. It is totally, totally classic slash, inexplicably transported to the modern day, so that we get to admire the suits instead of the sweaters. (Because, man, one thing I miss about the old '90s fandoms - they had great sweaters. Actually, I think they all had the same sweaters; I'm pretty sure I saw Methos wearing one of Jim Ellison's once.) And then the writers added a heaping helping of OT3 and kink, just to make sure we were happy.

I don't know about you, but I'm really happy.

White Collar is unusual in that the series premise has no real heterosexual explanation, so the entire show makes no sense unless you assume that there is, at minimum, a lot of not entirely heterosexual lustful thinking going on. So, you know, a compilation of visual NHEMs wouldn't really get to the heart of the lack of heterosexuality in White Collar. Fortunately, the queen of pairing vids was on the case. (Seriously, she's incredible. I keep a list of great pairing vids, and she made about a quarter of them.) What Talitha did was make a modern classic slash vid for the modern classic slash show. This is - this is exactly the essence of a slash vid, here. Check out that lollipop, people. And Peter's hip action. And all that eyefucking. (Hell, listen to the SONG. If there's ever been a more perfect song for a slash vid, I am not sure what it might be. I know this sentiment is frowned upon in vidding circles, but I would be up for a vid to this song in every single fandom.) And because this is a pairing that basically gets down on its knees and begs for kink - again, it's written into the series premise - there's also just a hint of kink. To whet your appetite. (God, I love cop fandoms; the handcuffs are always right there. Although White Collar, ever determined to advance the frontiers of the kind of subtext that isn't exactly sub, keeps the slave collar right there, too.)

There are so many things to love about this vid - how it encapsulates the slasher's eye, how it showcases Peter and Neal's body language, how it loves on Neal's looks until even I, the lone holdout in the Matt Bohmer Is Kind of Funny Looking Camp, believe he's beautiful.

But what I love most of all is how I cannot stop laughing at the vid at right around the one minute mark. That, right there: that is vidding perfection, people. Vidding and slash perfection.

The One That Proves That You Can't Keep a Good Starfleet Officer Down. (Unless of Course He Wants to Go down, in Which Case Good Luck Getting Him Up.) I Admire That about Starfleet. Dante's Prayer, by Killa, aka [personal profile] killabeez. Star Trek: the Original Series, James Kirk/Spock. (Scroll down to the Star Trek section. You can leave comments right there at the sticky post!)

Making this set could have been excruciating for me. I should have been in agony, having to choose between Killa's TOS vids and her Highlander vids. Both shows are filled with NHEMs, both have pairings of great fannish heritage. But, well, this vid. It had to be this vid. (I talk more about my history with this vid here; spoilers in the post for TOS, Buffy, SG1, and Star Wars. Spoilers in the comments for everything. Everything, I tell you.)

Dante's Prayer isn't just a tribute to one of the great non-heterosexual pairings of our time; it's also a tribute to a whole No Heterosexual Explanation Plot. I mean, okay, I've seen enough of TOS to know that the Kirk/Spock is real. (There is no other explanation of the back rub scene, people. And you can't convince me that the emotion the empath lady is sensing here isn't love. I just - what else could it be? Attentive and Vulcan-appropriate interest in human sleep patterns?) But the movies, seriously, it's like the writers said to themselves, "It's really hard to take these two any further in terms of total lack of heterosexuality. But I feel like we should. Hmmm. Oh, hey, I know!"

Because, okay, (uh, SPOILER), Spock dies. And Kirk is completely and totally gutted - it takes, like, the entire engineering staff to keep him from going to Spock even though a) it wouldn't help Spock and b) it would kill all the rest of them. And then Kirk cheerfully sacrifices the things he loves best in the world (his ship, his career) to have a chance of getting Spock back.

That right there is one touching, tear-inducing, romantic, and totally heterosexuality-free plotline. And that's what this vid is all about. I mean, I loved this vid before I knew anything about Kirk or Spock. It's gorgeous. It's beautifully done. It takes two things I generally find hard to take in vids (very slow song without much of a beat, use of sound clips from the source) and makes them work so perfectly you can tell Killa is a master.

But these days, when I watch this vid, I can hardly see her skill. (Partly because, yes, okay, I'm a little teary, but we are ignoring that. Let's all just pretend I have dignity, please.) Because I'm just watching the story. For which, for the record, there is absolutely no heterosexual explanation whatsoever.

The One That Proves That Sometimes, the Reason Two Guys Keep Taking Each Other down Is So That They Can Fuck Once They're Winning. I Admire That about a Pairing. Bad Romance, by [livejournal.com profile] sisabet. Smallville and other Superman media. Clark Kent/Lex Luthor.

Oh, Lex. Oh, Lex. I just love you so much. And that means I love this vid even more, because this is - this is the ultimate Clark/Lex romantic showdown. Lex doesn't want to be friends. He either wants to fuck Clark or fuck him up. Or, ideally, both.

Now, I have no idea what Lex and Clark were like in the pre-Smallville era. (I was a Marvel girl, back when I was in comics fandom. If you want me to tell you about what Wolverine was like then, I am here for you. Mostly because you couldn't walk into the Marvel section of a comic book store without basically taking a Wolverine claw to the eye, but that is a whole other story.) I'm not sure if they were always absolutely and totally gay for each other, or if it was the fine writing prowess of the first season Smallville team, plus Michael what's-his-dick and Tom Welling, who changed the way we'd all see Clark and Lex forever. And I don't care. Because [livejournal.com profile] sisabet has created a retrospective that covers all the Clarks and all the Lexes, and she has managed to find the core of absolute and total sexual obsession in each one of them. It's amazing. It's a sweeping, epic, twisted gay love story covering most of a century. Set to Lady Gaga, which as far as I can tell is what Lady Gaga is for.

It's brilliant, basically. I love the mixed media of this - I can't help reading it as though Smallville Clark and Lex are the real ones, and the comic books and movies and animated shows and all the rest of it are made about them. (In my head, they get outed, and people make a lot of terrible movies and write unauthorized biographies about them, like the ones about Prince William and Kate formerly Middleton. Look, I cannot be held responsible for the contents of my head, people; there's all kinds of shit in there.) And this is their story! And it's, you know, kind of crazy, especially in Lex's corner, but let's face it, Clark is not a blameless party, here.

Anyway. Clark. Lex. No heterosexual explanation in the multiverse is enough for these guys. And that's why we love them. Or, okay, it's why I love them, but don't try to tell me you're in it for the nuanced exploration of superheroism as a metaphor, because I will not believe you.
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
Recently, I was talking to [livejournal.com profile] frostfire_17, and the topic of the No Heterosexual Explanation Moment came up. (It will not surprise you to hear that we were talking about the Fast and Furious franchise at the time. There are few other franchises so thoroughly inundated with such moments, I think.) It is the moment when you try, you genuinely, seriously try to take off your slash goggles and figure out what the writers, producers, directors, and actors thought was happening in a scene, and you can only conclude that, no, they must have thought the same-sex pairing was doing it, too. (It can also be the moment that a non-slasher wanders in, studies the screen for a long moment with narrowed eyes, and then says, "They are so fucking each other.")

As far as I can tell, there are two major categories of No Heterosexual Explanation Moments. The first is where the plot only makes sense if the pairing is, in fact, a pairing; I tend to put the first season of Smallville (what I know of it) into this category. Lex's behavior is just, you know, really really hard to explain unless he is very hot for Clark indeed. And the second kind is where it's just not something people with a strictly platonic, UST-free relationship ever do. Like, for example, when one cop signs "I love you" to the other cop as he's being med-evac'd out on a helicopter. I am pretty sure they don't teach that in police academy courses on Effective Partnerships in the Law Enforcement Profession, is all I'm saying.

But Frost and I realized that, tragically, we just do not have the depth and breadth of experience to make a complete catalogue of No Heterosexual Explanation Moments. This is where I am hoping you all come in. What are the key NHEMs of our time? Of past times? Of all time? Educate me! Bonus points for links to clips, if they come from a visual medium.

F/F as welcome as M/M, of course. And, hey, if you've got any NHEMs for threesomes, lay 'em on me. The only key is that even a person struggling not to see the pairing will still say, "...You know, I just really think they're doing it." (Obviously, if it is an actual canon pairing, it cannot feature in an NHEM, because in that case there shouldn't BE a heterosexual explanation.)

ETA: Spoilers in comments, of course! And the more the merrier, in my opinion.
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
People, sometimes you just need to put together a recs set made up entirely of stories everyone has already read. And sometimes it needs to be half AUs and half crossovers. It just feels right, okay?

The One in Which We Learn That You Can Put a Boy in a Monastery, but You Sure Can't Make Him Pure and Innocent. At Least Not Once a Fan Fiction Writer Gets Hold of Him. Patience, a Steady Hand, by [livejournal.com profile] helenish. Inception, Arthur/Eames.

Okay, I will be honest: slavefic is not for me. I am the person who gets 2,000 words into a 100,000 epic slavefic, reaches the part where someone is wearing leather pants, and wanders off to find a different trope to read. I am in no way judging slavefic as a trope! I am sure it is awesome, and my inability to bond with it is entirely a failing of mine. I just prefer to spend my tropeish reading hours with other types of AUs.

Having said that, people, this is awesome. Partly that's because Helen does not skip over either the realities of Viking life (hard, and also cold) or of slavery (hard, and also awful). I mean, okay, yes, the slave does fall for the owner in this one, but at least he has issues with it. Also, Arthur is an extremely nice slave-owner, as Viking berserker slave-owners go (because I am acquainted with so very many, yes indeed, there's one living down the street from us, even; I try not to judge), but he's still kind of a bastard. This works for me.

But most of all, this story works for me because [livejournal.com profile] helenish is magic. As she was writing this, I was gazing at the updates with a sort of wistfulness, because, yes, I knew I would read it - she could write a story in which Arthur is a fairy with sparkling purple wings that shed time-altering fairy dust and Eames is a dark elf with tattoo magic powers and I would read it. (Although actually that's a bad example, because of course now I am considering this, and trying to figure out if it would work, and developing a system of tattoo magic. Don't let this happen to you, people: Hypothetical examples are not your friends.) Anyway, my point is, while I knew I would read it, I couldn't really summon up a lot of excitement for Viking slavefic. It just didn't sound gripping.

I was absolutely wrong. This story is so gripping. And so awesome. And I love it. Even though there is not an ounce of magical fairy dust anywhere. Except for whatever went into the creation of the story, of course. (Probably [livejournal.com profile] helenish snorts magical fairy dust! It would explain her terrifying writing powers.)

The One in Which We Learn that Hawai'i's Criminal Element Is, Frankly, Tragically Bad at Pickup Lines. I Can Only Hope That Law-Abiding Hawai'ians Are Cooler with the Lines. All the Girls out on the Stoop, by [community profile] mirabellafic. Hawaii Five-0, Danny Williams/Steve McGarrett.

I have been reading Hawaii Five-O. (And can anyone tell me, just to ease my pain a little, if it is Five-Zero or Five-Letter-O? That has been making me crazy, and while I think it's five-zero, there is no way to know for sure. Also, if it's a zero, then why is the five spelled out but the zero not? These things keep me awake at night.) I mean, I think everyone has; it is in the part of the fandom cycle where it's kind of like that kudzu you planted in your backyard last year (although it is, for the record, way more fun to read than kudzu). And I tell you what; as I read and figured out who the characters are and tried to determine what relationship this particular universe's police officers have to ours (my conclusion is that I really hope it's no relationship at all), never once did I think that what I really needed was a story in which Danny is part Veela.

I don't know why I didn't think that. I mean, I was looking hopefully for other common AUs. (Surely there is a werewolf AU, so why haven't I found it yet? And some kind of Harlequin-type AU? And while we're at it, where is the high school AU? They aren't my favorite, mostly, but I just can't feel at peace until I have located a few high school AUs. They make a fandom feel like home.) Obviously, I am just not as brilliant as [community profile] mirabellafic.

Because Danny as a Veela is exactly what I wanted to read, as it turns out. And this story has it all. The burdens of being part Veela in this day and age! Modern ways to cope with mating cycles! The in-depth exploration of the appropriate office etiquette when you discover that one of your co-workers is only partly human (come on, you've suspected it, it would explain so much) and has to fuck your boss or die (probably this part you haven't so much suspected, I'm hoping)! Okay, no, not really, but this story is really damn funny, and it has a part-Veela Danny Williams in it. In heat. I can't imagine you'd need any further reasons to read this.

The One in Which We Get to Watch Two Experts at Wiping out Wipe Each Other Out. In an Entirely Different Way, I Mean. It Takes One to Know One, by Bone, aka [personal profile] bone. Point Break x The Fast and the Furious, Brian O'Conner/Johnny Utah, although not in a way that will seriously break up anyone's OTPs.

There are some things you can only really comfortably say in the company of slash fans, and this is one of them: I watched Point Break - not when it came out, but years after it was released, and by my own free will. There. I've said it. I'm not ashamed.

It was an interesting experience on many levels. It was one of those deals where you can't stop watching or reading something even though it is, objectively, really really bad, simply because it is also so slashy you can't help thinking that if you hang in there eventually these guys will stop staring at each other and just fuck right there on the beach. It was also eerily reminiscent of The Fast and the Furious, to the point where I sort of suspected the screenwriter of TFatF loved Point Break, watched it all the damn time, and just wished - dreamed! - he could one day write something that good. But something maybe a little cooler. I know! Race cars instead of surfing!

So while I was watching Point Break, in the few moments when I was not being astonished at how much Johnny Utah wanted to fuck Bodhi, I was being astonished at how much Brian O'Conner and Johnny Utah would have to say to each other. Although I think, at the time, I sketched out the entire story like this:

"Dude. Hot criminals. They fuck your life up. Worth it, though, maybe."
"Yeah, I hear that. So, wanna fuck?"
"Shit, yes."
[They do.]

Bone also came to the conclusion that fucking was inevitable - well, I mean, she's an intelligent person, of course she did - but she found actual plot and feelings and stuff in there, too, which is why she is the writer and I am the recommender. And I am seriously recommending this. There's surfing. There's the FBI. There's sex. And there's no Patrick Swayze. (This is a good thing for me because I've still got residual trauma from his hockey hair in [livejournal.com profile] greensilver's Festivid.)

The One in Which We Learn Never to Impugn the Honor of the Emu. Ask Yourself, Before Reading: Have I Impugned an Emu Lately? Relatives and Relativity, by Yahtzee, aka [livejournal.com profile] yahtzee63. Sense and Sensibility x Doctor Who.

And from a crossover everyone (okay, everyone who lived through both Point Break and The Fast and the Furious, although I am here to tell you one is more than enough) knew had to happen to a crossover I don't think anyone even considered before Yahtzee did. Because, I tell you what, I re-read certain of Austen's works a lot, and never once did I say to myself, "You know what this 19th century work of mannered romantic fiction needs? MORE TIME LORDS. And you know what would buck up this wilting disappointed heroine? MORE TIME LORDS."

I was wrong. I see this now. I just didn't have sufficient vision, and I am extremely thankful that Yahtzee did. Because this is awesome. This answers certain lingering questions about the Doctor - When did he become Nine? Exactly how many people did he depress immediately after? Why did he start adventuring, post-Time Wars? - and gives an entirely appropriate end to a character who did not get all he deserved in the novel. (Yes, I love her, too, but Jane tended to leave her baddies alone and trust that they would grow bitter and regretful and probably spend a lot of time staring into the fire and speaking wistfully of lost opportunities. And maybe staring at the shapelier footmen. Or possibly I am reading too much into it, there. Anyway, my point is: Jane, sometimes you want to see an asshole go down in flames. Or at least ground into the dust beneath the heels of an oppressor for a bit, which is what happens here. Look into it!)

Plus, man, sometimes I wish they were a bit more creative with their companions, if only for what we get at the end of this story - seeing our world and our time through eyes as amazed and appreciative as Rose's when she sees some alien sunrise. (Okay, I admit it, I wish they would get a bit more creative with their Doctors and companions in many ways. Has anyone ever done a genderswapped or chromatic recasting of this show?)
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
You guys, I think this is the most generous thing I've seen in a fan auction; [personal profile] melannen is almost finished folding a thousand paper cranes, after ten years of work, and she's auctioning off her wish. (And the cranes.) To help Japan.

I know there's a lot of awesome stuff going for auction right now, but, seriously, go look. How often do you get a chance like this?
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
This post has been brought to you by all the time I've spent browsing through the various fanart offers on the Help Japan auctions. (And I just need to ask: Can we please be done with natural disasters? Forever? Like maybe can we just go into the universe's Preferences tab and unticky the box marked "Allow Natural Disasters"? BECAUSE THE WORLD IS FALLING APART. IT'S SAD. ALSO SCARY.) I spent all that time entirely because of a conversation I had with [livejournal.com profile] frostfire_17. We were just going along, like you do, and then we realized we had glimpsed Crossover Paradise, a perfect world of mixed-up hotness. Sadly, I cannot share this vision with you, as I myself have the art skills of a snail, and I can't find a person who a) has a style of art that is readable to me, b) is willing to draw a live action crossover, c) is willing to draw the full bodies of three characters, and d) is offering her work for auction. There is no such person. I weep. Is it wrong to want someone to draw Reboot Spock, Kirk, and Uhura as Dom, Brian, and Letty from the Fast and the Furious? No. No, it is not wrong, and if you think it is, I would just point out that as Letty, Uhura gets to wear a grease-stained white tank top. THAT COULD NEVER BE WRONG. But, since I can't find anyone to draw it, I just invite you to think on it for a bit. Just kind of - stare off into space and picture it.

See? Crossover Paradise. Meditate on it long enough and you'll probably achieve union with the godhood. Or some kind of union, anyway.

Fortunately, there are many Crossover Paradises, and some of them have even been drawn, by people with actual real artistic skill. You need to see them, to while away the minutes you aren't dedicating to picturing Spock strangling Kirk up against a heavily modded muscle car. And I have links!

The One That Makes Me Wonder If Everyone Looks Cooler in a Bow Tie, or If It's Just Various Doctors and Guys Named Troy. Pictorial Evidence Either Way Welcome! Vote Troy, by [livejournal.com profile] turntap2. Community x Doctor Who.

Okay, so Fandom March Madness this year was hard-fought, with the possibility of lingering bad feelings on all sides. (Actually, that's every year. Fandom March Madness is a thing that brings so many of us together in embittered resentment.) But I think we can all agree that both of the final characters are awesome. (Although I have to admit here that I have no actual first-hand knowledge of either of them. But! I have seen some Eleventh Doctor vids! And some extremely compelling Troy Barnes gifs. Obviously this makes me an authority on the matter, suitable for providing quotable soundbites should this issue ever come to general media attention.) And I think we can also agree that a mashup of the two final characters is awesomeness SQUARED.

So, yes, this is Troy Barnes as the Eleventh Doctor. Or, possibly, Troy Barnes cosplaying the Eleventh Doctor, if that makes more sense for the character. Either way, this is adorable and sweet, and it got me to Vote Troy. It also got me to ask Best Beloved to watch Community. What can I say? I'm a sucker for a black man who can make it to the end and look fabulous with a sonic screwdriver while he's doing it.

The One That Makes Me Wonder Who They Sent to Arrest the King after His Little Accident. Was It Maybe... the Enterprise? Untitled, by babyknuckles (I think). Katamari Damacy x Star Trek.

I realize that the potential audience for this one is limited to people who love both Katamari Damacy and Kirk/Spock, but since I am so firmly in that group that I might actually be, like, the Vice-Potentate of Royal Rainbows and Tricorders, I don't care. (And, in all honesty, anyone who has ever played Katamari Damacy should look at this. It will make you happy. I am fairly sure of it. And anyone who has not played Katamari Damacy and has the ability to do so should really give it a roll; you will magically become a happier person. And, okay, you'll have some very catchy tunes stuck in your head, but the point is: happiness. Cheap at twice the price!) It's like this was designed to put a smile on my face, by someone who had access to the secret inner workings of my mind. Only without the creepy telepathic datamining that that would imply.

I just - looking at this makes you want to roll up the universe, you know? Or write really bad fan fiction in which the Enterprise encounters the King of All Cosmos. (I, um. Now I am actually picturing this. Picturing TOS Kirk encountering a guy who gets drunk and breaks the stars. And the thing is, I find myself thinking, Maybe they already did that in an episode. It sounds like something TOS would do. Drunken god-kings with strange diction - it's practically a TOS subgenre, am I right?) For the record, though, I think the King of All Cosmos would be a win with any version of Kirk and Spock. Of course, the King would say he's always a win. Annnnnd I just realized that the King and Charlie Sheen would have a lot to say to each other, so I am going to move quickly to the next rec before I actually imagine that.

The One That Irresistibly Suggests a Family-Friendly Comedy Movie Called, Like, Too Many Angels or The Trouble with Angels, Except That It Would Have to End in an Apocalypse, Which Is Not Generally Considered G-Rated Material.
Our Angels Are Different, by [livejournal.com profile] quantum_witch. Good Omens x It's a Wonderful Life x Doctor Who x Supernatural.

I think you can see where this is heading: to Awesome Station, with round-the-clock service to Hilarityville. Because, I mean - there are a lot of fictional angels out there, and they don't agree on anything. (Except for wings. Not that they all have wings, mind you, but all the angels I can think of offhand agree that wings are relatively more important in their lives than in the average human's. Okay, fine, now tell me the exception.) I have to admit, I particularly like the appearance of the Weeping Angels in this, despite my, um, historical difficulties with them. (All of you who said I should watch Blink, including my sister and nephew, who I once trusted: I DID. And I left inch-deep gouge marks in Best Beloved's arms. I did far less damage to her during labor. I am not good with scary, okay?)

And then, of course, there's the Good Omens framework (Aziraphale attempting to explain the facts of life to an angel of a different order alone makes this piece worth your fannish time), and Castiel, who I don't have any personal knowledge of, but in this he looks sort of like a hybrid of an angel and a noir detective, out to right wrongs and work his way through three hundred years of demotion or something.

Maaaaaan. Now I really want an angel noir detective story. Please tell me there's a piece of fan fiction that meets my needs. (Or anime or manga. Surely there's anime or manga?)

The One with the Hottest People with Disappearing Thighs That I Believe I've Ever Seen. Although I Cannot Claim to Have Made a Thorough Study of Transparent Thigh Porn. What Is the Matrix?, by [livejournal.com profile] ileliberte. Star Trek Reboot x The Matrix.

I love and adore and sometimes secretly snuggle art that tells you the whole story, and the fact is, this one is so clear that the story almost writes itself. Except that I, myself, will never actually manage to write it, because when I get the urge, I think, "Well, I could write one in this fandom, or I could just re-read [personal profile] tripoli's SG1 x Matrix stuff," and I think you can see how that choice is going to come out.

But oh my stars and garters, this is such an amazing concept, largely because I think the world needs more Uhura, Spock, and Kirk in black leather dodging bullets and being hot. Actually, they don't even need to dodge the bullets; I am perfectly content just to admire them. I particularly love Spock's little glasses; the man was clearly born to wear sunglasses. Just as Uhura was obviously born to wear black leather.

(I also love that the artist included bonus cookies for those of us who obsessively look for meaning in any random assemblage of letters. Yes, [livejournal.com profile] ileliberte, I am in fact really reading that. Even the Hot Trio in black leather can't distract me. That much.)

The One That Makes Me Want to Pick Yoda up and Just Squeeze Him. I Suppose One Does Not Just Cuddle a Jedi Master, Though. Dr. Seuss Does Star Wars, by Adam Watson. Star Wars x Dr. Seuss.

Okay, first I must include a note that you probably would be happier not reading the text in this one, if you're a spelling and grammar freak or if broken meter makes you twitch. Which I am. I can't help it, and I am more to be pitied than censured.

But the art, people. Oh my god, that is the best Yoda in the world. It looks just like him, and yet totally unlike him! And the Jabba, who I find infinitely more threatening Seussified than I ever did in the original Star Wars version. And Jabba's little creature thing, which I am sure some more dedicated Star Wars fan knows the name of, but I decline to look it up because that way lies the sarlaac of eternal link following. (Is it really a sarlaac? Could I possibly have remembered that right? I'm talking about the eaty thing that Jabba tries to throw Han into, and, yes, I have totally ruined the joke, but I don't care. If it is a sarlaac, I'm officially renaming TV Tropes the Sarlaac of the Internets.)

And then, when you're done admiring the art, you can imagine what Star Wars would be like if Dr. Seuss had written it. Fanart crossovers: expanding viewers' brains. Sometimes in painful directions. (And if you're wondering what would be painful about that, imagine Darth Vader rhyming.)
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
I am up for auction at [livejournal.com profile] help_japan. This is one of those "Who knows if anyone will want this, but, hey, someone might!" type auctions, because what I am offering is: a review.

Yes! If you were looking for a bewildered review by someone who probably knows absolutely nothing about your fandom and may not be able to identify any of the characters by the end, never mind at the beginning, I am here for you. I will review any English-language (English subtitles also acceptable), Netflixable (if it will be Netflixable eventually, and you're willing to wait, that's fine) movie or TV episode you choose. I am not expecting kindness, either. I will totally watch Spock's Brain for charity.

Things to note: Whatever you pick for me can't have child death or animal harm in it. (It is okay if they're endangered, as long as it is clear they're fine in the end. And if it's just a tiny thing in an otherwise safe movie or episode - horses die in battle or whatever - I will deal.) Also, I can totally promise to write a review about whatever you want me to watch, but I can't promise to like it. I might! But I might not. And in any case I will almost certainly be poking fun at whatever it is. (See the TOS review below - I really do love TOS. But that doesn't mean I'm always nice to it.) Just something to keep in mind.

Some of my previous reviews, so you can decide if this is something you might wish to spend your charity donation currency unit of choice on: Anchors Aweigh, Star Trek TOS: Journey to Babel, and, as a total blast from the past, The Fast and the Furious.

If this sounds like your cup of tea, YAY! Bid at my thread.

ETA: K-drama partisans may wish to read the DW comments!
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
Sorted, thanks!

[personal profile] norah and I are both trying to go to Vividcon this year, since it is the only way we will get to SEE each other this year. Since I will be trying to sign up myself, and Norah will be sleeping when the sign ups go live, is there anyone who isn't going who will be available at 9:00 pm Pacific/midnight Eastern (the time it will be where you are) on Saturday, March 12 who would be willing to sign up Norah? You could be our only hope!
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
In this house, we have been sick so often, for so long, that I have actually grown weary of writing the words "I am sick." We are personally responsible for a worldwide tissue shortage and have cornered the market on throat lozenges and self-pity.

But I notice I'm not alone. My friends list appears to be unusually unwell, too. (Not my fault, guys. You can't catch these viruses via the internets.) So. A poll. To entertain us all as we sneeze and reach for the antipyretics.

Poll #6121 Sick, sick, sick
Open to: Registered Users, detailed results viewable to: All, participants: 471


Are you sick right now?

View Answers

*couch* *hack* *wheeze*
156 (33.8%)

Why, no! The immune system gods have smiled upon me.
306 (66.2%)

Have you been sick at any time in 2011 so far?

View Answers

You should be asking me if there are days I haven't been sick in 2011.
52 (11.2%)

Yeah. A lot. I don't want to talk about it.
125 (26.8%)

I've had one minor illness this year.
160 (34.3%)

People in my household have been sick. Germ vectors, every one.
126 (27.0%)

No. And I will share my secrets in the comments.
99 (21.2%)

How do you treat a cold?

View Answers

Decongestants
277 (59.1%)

Neti pot
64 (13.6%)

Hot tea
343 (73.1%)

Lozenges
223 (47.5%)

Acupuncture or acupressure
13 (2.8%)

Menthol or eucalyptus goop
81 (17.3%)

Nasal spray
89 (19.0%)

Salt water gargling or snorting or whatever
101 (21.5%)

Steamy showers
264 (56.3%)

Vaporisers
42 (9.0%)

Vitamins
225 (48.0%)

Lots of fluids
402 (85.7%)

Chicken soup
186 (39.7%)

Ginger ale
112 (23.9%)

Ice cream
73 (15.6%)

Herbal soothers
39 (8.3%)

Alcohol
71 (15.1%)

Weeping
103 (22.0%)

Prolonged bouts of self-pity
302 (64.4%)

Something else I will tell you about in the comments
54 (11.5%)

Greatest enemy of the people?

View Answers

GERMS. Motherfucking GERMS.
194 (42.0%)

SNOW. Motherfucking SNOW.
104 (22.5%)

The sun. Its fierce eye burns us, precious.
89 (19.3%)

Penguins. Sneak attacking, death-dealing penguins of DOOM.
75 (16.2%)

We're going to name our house, like we're fancy British people. Pick a name!

View Answers

Snotsvilla
36 (8.0%)

Duncoughin
197 (44.0%)

Plague House
126 (28.1%)

Abandon Hope, All Ye Who Enter Here
129 (28.8%)

I have a better idea. To the comments!
16 (3.6%)

thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
[community profile] sherlock_flashfic is starting up, and I would really really really love to see more Sherlock stories. (All Holmesian fandoms welcome! There will be clear labels so you know what you're reading, which is frankly very exciting to me, given that 40% of the time I can't tell.) Come join us!
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
There are some older movies that are an absolute joy to watch, that keep you totally riveted. After they're done, you turn to your partner and say, "Why don't they make movies like that anymore?"

This is not that kind of movie.

Anchors Aweigh. Oh, Anchors Aweigh. I first realized we were watching something truly stupendously special during the scene where Clarence is sitting in a rocking chair, staring happily at Joe's underwear-clad ass - said ass having been carefully positioned outside the covers by someone who surely had some good reason for it - as Joe sleeps. Clarence also glances from time to time at the clock, which shows it's after one; Joe had a date at twelve. Clarence is making sure he misses it.

There is a name for that, Clarence. It is cockblocking, and I don't care if you're a naïve choirboy from Brooklyn (no, I am not kidding), dude, you don't get a pass. In all honesty, there's no pass in the world that could put an innocent interpretation on that maneuver.

The rest of the scene - including the crotch-cam shot, as Clarence lies on his back with his legs in the air, while Joe tells him he will have to be Joe's slave forever (really not kidding) - follows logically from that opening, stopping just short of the actual assfucking.

Although you can tell it happens.

But I don't want you to think this review is a recommendation. )
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
I'm reading a book that, well, it's good, but I'm getting that feeling I sometimes get, the sneaking suspicion that I am reading not essays but anthropology. Or xenology. My point is, the person who wrote this book is not like me. I'm pretty sure we're members of entirely different species, in fact.

And she keeps saying she talked to all her friends, and they all agree, and my basic thought there is, hey, maybe you should make some more friends. A social circle is more entertaining when you don't agree on everything.

Then it occurred to me that I should maybe check out her points of universal agreement with my friends (and acquaintances and people randomly browsing friends friends who are yearning to click on some buttons). So. A poll. Help me out, here, people, I am really truly curious.

Poll #6029 You're only as old as you click.
Open to: Registered Users, detailed results viewable to: All, participants: 721


How old do you feel? Write in the number.

How old are you?

View Answers

Under 13
0 (0.0%)

13 - 18
8 (1.1%)

19 - 24
136 (18.9%)

25 - 30
217 (30.1%)

31 - 40
238 (33.1%)

41 - 50
81 (11.2%)

51 - 60
37 (5.1%)

61 - 70
2 (0.3%)

71 - 80
0 (0.0%)

Over 80
1 (0.1%)

Now, how does the first number compare to the second?

View Answers

I feel younger than I am.
471 (65.9%)

I feel exactly the age that I am.
151 (21.1%)

I feel older than I am.
93 (13.0%)

Which is most true for you?

View Answers

I'm pretty happy with where I am in my life right now.
491 (68.8%)

Overall, I'm not so happy with where I am in my life right now.
223 (31.2%)

Which is most true for you?

View Answers

I've accomplished most of what I'd hoped to by now.
154 (21.5%)

I haven't accomplished most of what I hoped to by now.
301 (42.1%)

I never really had those kinds of hopes or plans.
260 (36.4%)

You can take a pill to look twenty years younger. (The way you, yourself, looked 20 years ago, I mean.) This does not affect health or functioning, just looks. Do you?

View Answers

Sure!
131 (18.2%)

No.
589 (81.8%)

Gender?

View Answers

Female
680 (94.3%)

Male
19 (2.6%)

Other
22 (3.1%)

thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
I admit it: I am totally posting this set because I wanted to have the entry number match the date. The idea seized me and would not let go. So: small fandoms!

I'm still avoiding new fan fiction, though. Because of persistent visions of Sherlock and John, sex researchers. Which I am not writing.

...Maybe only the outline.

The One That Suggests That If You Move to California, You Will Turn into a Bronzed Surfer God. Sadly, This Is Not the Case. There's Only a One in Ten Chance, Actually. And These Days Surfers Tend to Use Sunscreen. California Is Not What It Used to Be. Baby-sitter's Club the Next Generation #6: Byron and the God of California, by [personal profile] zelempa. Baby-sitter's Club, Byron Pike/Jeff Schafer.

(Note: If you download from AO3, don't download this one. The image files are integral to the story, and they don't come through, at least not in the mobi version.)

I admit it: I have never read a Baby-sitter's Club book. I spent my childhood reading book series from other generations and countries, meaning I spent a great deal of time trying to figure out what things like conkers and ginger beer were. (If you're curious: Conkers are chestnuts that you put on a string and swing at other people's conkers for purposes of entertainment. You can probably tell this was invented back before they had Mario Kart. And ginger beer, which is always part of the phrase lashings of ginger beer, like it's some kind of BDSM toy, is just like ginger ale, except disgusting.)

So my point is, I missed out on the Baby-sitter's Club. I don't know who the characters are, or why there's an incredibly long series about them, or why there's that weird hyphen and a misplaced apostrophe in the title. It does not matter. I loved this story. I loved the inner workings of the Baby-sitter's Club. I loved the babysitting tales. (I, too, clocked in my hours as a caretaker of small children. I was known as the Babysitter Who Will Not Let the Kids Watch TV.) Most of all, I loved the coming out of one Byron Pike, and his very adorable relationship with Jeff, the God of California. (Not in the sense of having actual dominion, as far as I could tell. Any actual god of California would have power over the freeways.)

The thing is, the whole thing is so gentle. I mean, Bryon does stress and angst about being gay, and about Jeff, but in the way teenagers angst over everything that's seriously important to them - haircuts, unjust parental rulings, fights with friends. And all of his friends (and brothers, and holy god were there really identical triplets in the original books?) handle it pretty well. In other words, this is a sweet, cute teenage relationship story. It just so happens that the relationship is gay, and the guys in it are gay, and - I just love that. It's coming out and dealing with your first romance the way it really should be.

Read this. And do not miss the end notes, which are profoundly hilarious. I would read every one of those. With pleasure. If the Baby-sitter's Club was even half this good, I truly regret wasting my childhood with Enid Blyton.

The One That Teaches Us That When Phantoms from Your Past Life Show up, They Bring Bad Coffee. Sincerely, L. Cohen, by [personal profile] resonant. Famous Blue Raincoat, Narrator/Rival.

Every Yuletide, I consider requesting stories for two Leonard Cohen songs, and this is one of them. (The other is Suzanne, and I admit that I mostly want a story for that because I once happened upon this blog post where the blogger said she spent her twenties trying to be Suzanne. And I just - I thought living in a Leonard Cohen song was pretty much the definition of hell. Why would you want to be Suzanne? But that's not a good reason for requesting a story, so I always suppress the urge.)

The thing about Famous Blue Raincoat that always draws me in is, well, there's obviously a story here, and we only hear part of it, and I want to know more. (What draws other people to Famous Blue Raincoat is something entirely else, apparently. While googling for the lyrics, I found Judith Fitzgerald's analysis of the song, and, look. I am sure she is a wonderful, shiny person. And I am sure that it is something wrong with me, that this song does not make me think of "the narrator wearing (against the elements) the flesh of the Beloved" or, um, "a more or less accurate portrait of the doppelgänger coming to grips with a world where grand-central chaos reigns supreme." (I've read that story! But not in this fandom.) My amusement at this is entirely my issue.)

Anyway. I think about asking for this fandom every year. And every year I decide, no, better not, because - well. It seems dangerous. How could anyone get it right? Probably best just to leave it alone.

But this story is absolutely right. I am glad Resonant didn't leave it alone. It's everything I could possibly want from Famous Blue Raincoat fan fiction - enough of the story to satisfy me, enough of the characters to feel like I know them. (Seriously, I think I fucked the rival. No, I think I fucked three separate versions of him; he's that guy we all used to date, and are very glad we don't anymore.) But not so much that there aren't any mysteries left.

This is note-perfect, in other words; a gorgeous entry in a truly challenging fandom.

And now I will never need to ask for this fandom in Yuletide. Because the ideal story has already been written for it.

The One That Teaches Us That There Should Be a Special DSM Category for a Diagnosis Performed by Clueless Psychiatrist. A Mind Overborne, by [personal profile] astolat. Dracula, Count Dracula/R. M. Renfield. Read the warnings on this one, people.

(Note for my fellow downloaders: I haven't tried downloading this one, but you probably should read it on the Archive. If you miss the images in this one, you miss the better half of the story!)

I tend to avoid Dracula-related stories, and not for any of the reasons you might imagine. (Wimpiness, dislike of things relating to death, aversion to velvet - I mean, I own all those things, but they aren't why I avoid Draculosity.) My main reason is. Well. When I was in middle school, I was in a painful middle-school-type production of Dracula. This means that any writer attempting to convey sincere gothic atmosphere and creeping dread and general darkness has to overcome my memory of the middle school Renfield, who was cast entirely because he was one of the three boys available. He did not believe in memorizing lines, and at one point forgot to take off his baseball cap before going on stage. Also, said writer has to overcome my recollection of my own contribution to the play. And the costume's. Never before or since have I worn an article of clothing so clearly and obviously inspired by vomit. (Our costumes were selected by what fit us. I already had boobs. This dress was the only thing that closed over them. That is trauma central when you're 12, people.)

Astolat actually managed to overcome this major obstacle in this story. I read this and I totally forget about the first Renfield I ever knew, who made 11340 jokes about my boobs, and also punched Dracula in the kidneys during dress rehearsal. (Dracula cried, which is perfectly understandable, but it's another challenging image for any author trying to convey actual menace.) I actually care about Astolat's Renfield, for one thing, and I actually worry about what happens to him. (Nothing good, for the record. This is Dracula, people.)

But what really sells this story for me is the interlinear notes from the psychiatrist on Renfield's case. I just - I love that narrative, how there's a whole second story in there. I love how it's simultaneously meta (with period commentary on the sexual nature of the Dracula myth!) and creepy (with a very real NO OH GOD NO DON'T OPEN THE DOOR feeling about it). This story, in short, is awesome.

So awesome, in fact, that I don't even mind the flashbacks to middle school. How often can you say that about anything?

The One That Will Leave You Wondering Why We Don't Have a Channel Pointy. Presumably It Would Show Buffy Reruns. When I consider how my homes is gones, by [personal profile] jadelennox. The True Meaning of Smekday, gen.

I am going to try very sincerely not to write more words in the recommendation for this than are in the actual, you know, thing itself. But I can make no promises. I am not succinct, like J.Lo.

And those of you who have not read The True Meaning of Smekday are even now crunkling your brows and saying, "...Succinct like J.Lo? Is that sort of like being badass like Colin Meloy?" But if you haven't read The True Meaning of Smekday, I - I just don't know what I can say to you. It is a wonderful book. And it features J.Lo! (You can read a sample, and also 10 reasons to read the actual book, assuming "because TFV said so" isn't enough reason for you although I would like to know why not, here.)

So. Presumably all the people who are tragically Smekday-free are off looking at the website, and now I'm just talking to people who know how Boov talk. So I say to you: this is a poem. Written by a Boov. And it is just like the book: hilarious and moving both. The first time I read this, I was smiling and tearing up at the same time, which is an impressive feat.

Although this poem did leave me yearning to watch Poompitude whilst Frying, which is, tragically, impossible. (Man, no wonder the Boov conquered us: They had all the best TV shows.)

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