thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
Just like everyone else on the internet, I read Hyperbole and a Half's post on adulthood recently. As a result I have said, "Clean all the things?" to Best Beloved at least 76 times today. I expect I will be saying it regularly forever.

The post made me think about adulthood. And how I mostly do not get it.

When I was 10 and our washing machine exploded, turning our house into something more waterpark than domicile, my parents knew exactly what to do; they totally efficiently turned off the water, called the water company, and called the insurance people. All I could think of was to hold up my pants, which didn't want to stay on anymore once they'd taken on 40 pounds of water weight. I thought, I cannot wait until I am grown up and I know what to do.

When I was 17, I got my first flat tire, and of course I panicked and drove home on the rim. My father laughed and put on my spare tire and took my car out for a new tire, and then he explained why we don't drive on a flat. And I listened and looked forward to the day when I knew this stuff, when I just knew what to do.

When I was 25, Best Beloved and I bought our first house. I sat in the escrow office reading a stack of documents that I needed a ladder to get to the top of and thinking, Surely they will not let me actually buy part of this house. Surely they will notice I don't know what to do.

When I was 35, I sat in a wheelchair (despite my extremely reasonable protests) and carried a tiny baby home in my lap, and I couldn't believe it: they were letting me leave the hospital with the most important person in the world, and I still didn't know what to do.

Responsible adulthood did not happen to me. I never found a copy of the manual called What to Do. Instead, I have cobbled together a set of coping skills that let me fake being a responsible adult most of the time, while I stare in wonderment at the people around me who actually seem not only to have the manual but also to have read it and learned it to the point where they don't even need it anymore. And yet they never want to sell their old copy.

So, you know, now I'm wondering: how many of you know What to Do?

Poll #3627 Adulthood
Open to: Registered Users, detailed results viewable to: All, participants: 786

Are you a responsible adult?

View Answers

Yes. Absolutely. I know What to Do.
19 (2.5%)

Basically. What other choice is there?
100 (12.9%)

No, but I'm faking it pretty well most days. I'm like the cubic zirconium of responsible adulthood.
205 (26.5%)

There are times when I can almost pretend I am. I'm the rhinestone of responsible adulthood.
317 (40.9%)

I've got the adult part covered! Responsibility is not really my thing.
69 (8.9%)

I've got the responsible part covered! Adulthood will come eventually.
40 (5.2%)

Neither an adult nor responsible, and, frankly, I'm enjoying it while I can.
25 (3.2%)

What responsible adult things do you do regularly?

View Answers

Personal hygiene! I am usually clean and wearing pants when I need to be wearing pants.
707 (90.2%)

Interpersonal hygiene! I can say I'm sorry when I am (and be sorry when I should be) and accept responsibility for my mistakes and not fly off the handle when I'm mad and stuff.
565 (72.1%)

Keep calm and carry on in emergencies!
516 (65.8%)

Sleep when I am supposed to and wake up when I need to!
313 (39.9%)

Clean ALL the things!
90 (11.5%)

Keep up with my finances in a way unlikely to lead to predictable disaster!
433 (55.2%)

545 (69.5%)

Kill insects bravely or co-exist with them happily!
560 (71.4%)

Keep a child alive and appropriately happy!
126 (16.1%)

Keep a pet alive (through its intended span) and appropriately happy!
440 (56.1%)

Keep myself and maybe others fed with real actual foods!
554 (70.7%)

Buy stuff I need!
606 (77.3%)

Get rid of stuff I don't need!
309 (39.4%)

Not buy stuff I can't afford or really shouldn't have!
368 (46.9%)

Go to the doctor and dentist without prompting and without anything falling off first!
279 (35.6%)

Paperwork! Bureaucracy loves me.
212 (27.0%)

Vote! Democracy loves me.
650 (82.9%)

Communicate! People love me.
287 (36.6%)

Own (or at least share with a bank) a residence or what have you!
212 (27.0%)

Advanced adulthood tasks!
113 (14.4%)

Something else that isn't on this poll, probably because the person who made it is not a real responsible adult!
79 (10.1%)

Let's go into more detail about cooking.

View Answers

Every single day, I cook three delicious meals from whole foods.
28 (3.6%)

Most days, I cook meals. They are tasty, or at least the people who eat them don't complain.
293 (37.3%)

I can cook meals. It just doesn't happen what you might call regularly.
333 (42.4%)

I can't cook meals, but I can cook things.
89 (11.3%)

I know how to call for delivery food.
20 (2.5%)

I know how to eat straight from the jar hovering over the sink.
11 (1.4%)

If someone else didn't feed me, I guess I wouldn't eat.
12 (1.5%)

Let's go into more detail about finances.

View Answers

I am like the god of fiscal responsibility. All my purchases are well-thought-out and carefully budgeted. I am not in debt and save extensively. Bankers everywhere want to perform oral sex on me.
53 (6.8%)

I am mostly fiscally responsible. I don't have that many impulse purchases! I don't run out of money! Bankers are willing to shake my hand.
358 (45.7%)

I have areas of difficulty, but I am surviving. Bankers may not look me in the eye, but they still give me most of my money.
277 (35.4%)

My finances are the monetary equivalent of that trash compactor from Star Wars. I avoid bankers, but I assume they want to punch me.
64 (8.2%)

31 (4.0%)

Let's go into more detail about cleaning ALL the things!

View Answers

Everything is always clean. If it isn't, I don't sleep until it is. The last time my residence was dirty, a natural disaster was in progress.
7 (0.9%)

My place is mostly clean, most of the time. I do all the major cleaning tasks on a regular basis, even.
113 (14.4%)

My home is mostly clean enough to prevent disease.
175 (22.3%)

Sometimes my place is clean. Sometimes it is not. It's all down to phases of the moon. (I may be a werewolf.)
112 (14.3%)

My place will be clean provided you give me 24 hours notice.
151 (19.2%)

It's more like 24 days notice, to be honest.
112 (14.3%)

There is no clean.
36 (4.6%)

I pay someone else to clean my place.
39 (5.0%)

Someone else cleans. I do not have to pay. I should probably thank that person right this minute.
32 (4.1%)

Something else.
8 (1.0%)

Let's talk about organization!

View Answers

I am so motherfucking organized that I can find YOUR shit.
78 (9.9%)

I can mostly find stuff.
298 (38.0%)

I know where at least one important document is, and I usually don't have to spend more than 15 minutes looking for things I use regularly.
253 (32.3%)

...It's around here somewhere. Um.
119 (15.2%)

I'm moving or have moved recently and thus am excused from having to be organized.
30 (3.8%)

Something else.
6 (0.8%)

When you fail at adulthood, what do you do?

View Answers

I don't. Not ever. For $700, you can take my seminar and you too will ALWAYS BE A WINNER at adulthood!
11 (1.4%)

301 (38.4%)

352 (45.0%)

Pretend. Failure? What failure?
405 (51.7%)

Call a friend or family member for help.
460 (58.7%)

Beat myself up, to the point where I am still regularly calling myself a dink for failures from past millennia.
388 (49.6%)

Ignore and repress until disaster strikes.
375 (47.9%)

Punish myself in a not-obvious way: run until I can't any more, say.
124 (15.8%)

Punish myself in a more obvious way: run until I barf, for example.
43 (5.5%)

When in danger or in doubt, run in circles, scream and shout.
107 (13.7%)

Find someone else to blame.
52 (6.6%)

604 (77.1%)

Institute a brutal, iron-fist-style regimen to ensure it never happens again.
87 (11.1%)

Buy something.
233 (29.8%)

I have an even better coping technique! See the comments.
28 (3.6%)

thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
I can't grow things. This is one of the basic facts of my life. If someone gives me a living plant, my only goal is to find someone else to give it to before my black thumb miasma begins to affect it and it loses its will to live. (Sometimes you can see our gift plants actively wilting the second they realize who their new owner is.) Our sole houseplant is one my mother gave to us when we bought our first house. It is an extremely accommodating plant, because it does not need much water, light, soil, or attention, and can survive for months apparently off of air alone. (We haven't been able to test it in vacuum, but I am pretty sure it would do fine without the air, too.) If I knew what it was, I would buy more, but I don't, so I just try to remember to water it every few weeks or so.

But last year, our neighbor across the street from our old house was offering small tomato plants for fifty cents each, and for some reason I bought some. I put them in containers we had left from previous growing experiments (the herb garden that the dog ate when she was puppy, the strawberry plants that never took), and watered them regularly, and after some time, we got tomatoes. Not a lot, but they were extremely tasty. The earthling loved them.

Then, in the middle of the summer, we moved. Our tomato plants did not survive.

In our new house, we don't have a gardening neighbor, but we do have an empty place where the pond used to be. (The previous owners had a fishpond. We have a toddler. One of our first moves was to remove the fishpond before the earthling fell into it.) We also have a sort of raised bed and a bunch of pots that used to have flowers before the old owners left them unattended for two months, meaning that we had to remove a lot of flower carcasses when we moved in.

So this year, I have planted many things, largely in a spirit of experimentation, and because the earthling likes buying seed kits. Our success has been - well. The raised bed now contains zucchini and tomatoes, and two things are obvious about it:
  1. I didn't space the plants right.

  2. I missed the notation on the zucchini label that said "evil, carnivorous, mutant variety, bred by mad scientists to meet your world domination needs."
The raised bed is a solid mass of greenery. Most of the individual zucchini leaves are large enough that we could sew outfits for the earthling out of them, if they weren't covered in prickles. I swear the zucchini plants move; I see them shifting out of the corner of my eye, and each day they have visibly grown. One of them appears to be trying to launch itself out of the bed entirely. The tomato plants are now pressed against the wall and growing for their lives; they are acting like vines and growing up the wall of our house, and they have grown with such vigor they've actually uprooted the trellises they were supposed to use as supports. (The trellises are just kind of floating on a sea of green, now. I would pull them out, but I think the tomato plants would fight me for them. And they'd win.) The bed, what I can see of it by cautiously poking the zucchini and tomato leaves aside, is entirely free of weeds. The zucchini plants are probably eating them.

We have given up all hope of getting actual produce from this bed (there are zucchini and small green tomatoes in there, but I have no idea how I could pick them once ripe without risk to my limbs), and are providing the plants with all the water and food they want solely because we're afraid that if we don't we'll wake up one morning to find they've broken in through the windows and taken over the living room. We also try to keep the earthling away, because I am pretty sure I've seen green tendrils reach out for him when he walks by.

Elsewhere, we have green beans, which would definitely take the Most Terrifying Vegetable award if the zucchini-tomato mass hadn't redefined our concept of fear of green matter. Even the seeds were scary - giant and bulbous - and when they sprouted, they visibly distorted their peat pots. We had to transplant them within the week, with no hardening, because they were trying to climb up the blinds, and now they defy all attempts to train them to climb up their trellis; they're basically a giant bush of bean plants. The flowers are very pretty, though, and they haven't actually tried to eat anyone, so they are definitely taking second in the scary garden sweepstakes.

Third place is held by the pumpkin plant, which seems to double in size every two days or so and at this rate will be taking over most of the U.S. by the end of the summer. I realize that this sounds like a major threat, but don't worry; there's only about twenty feet between the pumpkin plant and the zucchini-tomato mass, so before it takes over, it's going to get eaten by the mutants. Again, I am not expecting actual pumpkins to come out of this. It seems to be wholly invested in producing leaves rather than fruits.

I tell you what: gardening is a whole lot easier in Harvest Moon videogames.

Anyway. We have some other things growing - herbs and so on. We've actually managed to get some strawberries from our strawberry plants, such that the earthling, if you say, "Do you want a strawberry?" will run to the back door with his mouth open, and every day he goes hopefully to the strawberry bed and signs, "Please, more, please, more, food to eat?" But mostly we are going to count ourselves well off if we all live through this gardening experiment.

And I keep searching for gardening communities on LJ and DW, but when I find them, they're all full of posts about fully utilizing your zone 3 gardening space, or permaculture, or forcing, which sounds bad but apparently is okay if you do it to plants. There are never any desperate posts that say, "Oh god the plants - the plants - they're COMING FOR ME. What do I do? Would a baseball bat work? I don't have a flamethrower!" Everyone else seems to be sedately growing food and flowers, instead of cowering before a mutant green strike force.

But I figure I can't be alone in this. Someone else out there has to be experimenting with gardening and mostly failing, right? Right? So, a poll. (Southern hemisphere types, I realize that this is out of synch for you. Do your best.)

Poll #3272 Garden Horror
Open to: Registered Users, detailed results viewable to: All, participants: 233

Are you growing or have you grown any of your own food this year?

View Answers

150 (64.7%)

82 (35.3%)

In terms of total volume cultivated, how would you describe your garden?

View Answers

Some herb pots by the window.
44 (23.7%)

44 (23.7%)

Small garden plot.
81 (43.5%)

Big garden plot.
17 (9.1%)

Acres. I could feed a community off my garden.
0 (0.0%)

In terms of actual gardening skill, how would you assess yourself?

View Answers

We sow the seed, nature grows the seed, we eat the seed. I really don't see how this can be difficult.
13 (6.1%)

I plant things. They mostly grow. I'm not an expert or anything, but...
82 (38.5%)

I'm proud to say no lives have been lost in my gardening experiments.
52 (24.4%)

15 (7.0%)

What's to fear? Everthing's dead.
51 (23.9%)

What should I do about my garden?

View Answers

Remain calm.
123 (53.5%)

Buy a machete.
105 (45.7%)

Buy a flamethrower.
41 (17.8%)

Salt the earth.
16 (7.0%)

Put the house on the market before the zucchini take over.
22 (9.6%)

I don't know what to say about this year, but next year, don't grow anything.
9 (3.9%)

It's totally normal to fear your garden. All the best gardeners do. Martha Stewart sleeps with an herbicide sprayer under her pillow.
82 (35.7%)

Take photos so we can know how the end of the world started.
187 (81.3%)

thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
Internets! I am still compiling the Woobie Poll of Dooooooooom, but in the meantime, here is a PRESSING QUESTION that came up today while I was (yay!) visiting with [personal profile] norah. Plus some other pressing questions, because why have one forced choice when you can have five?

So. For the rest of your life, you can only have one of each of the following pairs. Which will it be? Which is the ONLY ONE YOU CAN HAVE FOREVER? (If you already live without one or more of these, then obviously your choice is easier. Like, I will have no trouble at all with question three, but question one might kill me.)

I am also taking suggestions for future horrible forced choices. I would like to find the hardest forced choice in all the land. (That isn't, you know, of great weight or import. No Sophie's Choices.)

Poll #2389 Choose Wisely
Open to: Registered Users, detailed results viewable to: All, participants: 634

You can only have one of these for the rest of your life. Which? Choose wisely:

View Answers

234 (37.1%)

397 (62.9%)

Choose wisely:

View Answers

405 (64.3%)

225 (35.7%)

Choose wisely:

View Answers

159 (25.2%)

473 (74.8%)

Choose wisely:

View Answers

426 (68.3%)

198 (31.7%)

Choose wisely:

View Answers

Sex (including with partner(s) and with yourself, etc.)
427 (68.4%)

Sweets (including all desserts, candy, etc.)
197 (31.6%)

thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
So. My three-season DVD set of TOS arrived today. (I'm sorry, [personal profile] amireal; I COULD NOT WAIT. It was like a horrible sickness compelled me to spend a small fortune on ancient, overpriced, but remarkably awesome television. I don't know what came over me.) Obviously, the question is: what should I watch next? I could just do a poll with all the episodes in order, except a) 80 episodes, OMG and b) I'm really afraid you'd all pick Spock's Brain just to see me suffer. I know you, okay? You have a sick sense of humor.

So I went through the original suggestion post and I think I pulled out all the ones that got recommended there (if I missed anything that should be here for reasons of awesome, let me know), and I'm letting you guys guide me. (Although I cannot promise that the one with the most votes will be the first one posted or anything. The ways of Trek love are peculiar, unpredictable, and kind of unnatural, I'm finding.)

This, obviously, is for the dozen of you who have actually seen these episodes and who care which ones get recapped at ridiculous length next.

Take the poll here.
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
So. My three-season DVD set of TOS arrived today. (I'm sorry, [ profile] amireal; I COULD NOT WAIT. It was like a horrible sickness compelled me to spend a small fortune on ancient, overpriced, but remarkably awesome television. I don't know what came over me.) Obviously, the question is: what should I watch next? I could just do a poll with all the episodes in order, except a) 80 episodes, OMG and b) I'm really afraid you'd all pick Spock's Brain just to see me suffer. I know you, okay? You have a sick sense of humor.

So I went through the original suggestion post and I think I pulled out all the ones that got recommended there (if I missed anything that should be here for reasons of awesome, let me know), and I'm letting you guys guide me. (Although I cannot promise that the one with the most votes will be the first one posted or anything. The ways of Trek love are peculiar, unpredictable, and kind of unnatural, I'm finding.)

This, obviously, is for the dozen of you who have actually seen these episodes and who care which ones get recapped at ridiculous length next.

To boldly click where no one has clicked before. I bet that cut text has been used a LOT. )
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
New poll on the future (flying cars and otherwise) on LJ! Please come tell me what you think about the future! And robots!
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
I have been watching All Things Kirk and Spock lately, including some of the original-cast movies. Which means that recently I saw The Wrath of Khan. Spoilers for the second Star Trek movie )

But that is not my point. (I just can't talk about anything without talking about Spock these days.) My point is that I realized, watching that movie, that it seemed totally reasonable to the makers of it that by 1996 we would have:
  • Genetic engineering of complex traits in humans
  • Long-term cryogenics from which you could reliably be, you know, unfrozen
  • Prolonged deep space trips featuring (frozen) humans
Those of you who remember 1996 (and if you do, think on this: there are now teenagers whose excuse for not remembering 1996 is that they weren't born yet) will probably also recall that we did not have any of those things then. And, in fact, we don't have them now. And it's not like we're expecting them next year, either.

This, taken in conjunction with a recent post on my friends list, made me think about the future. Are we in it?

(For extra credit, please list your favorite Signs of the Future (either realized or not) in the comments.)

[Poll #1508335]
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
Thus far, we've been watching TOS mostly off of a Best of Star Trek DVD that appears to be marketed solely to me. ("You met Kirk and Spock as young men on the big screen, now join them on their later journeys." Yes, I know. The comma problem bothers me, too.)

So, now Best Beloved and I are arguing over whether or not to buy Star Trek: TOS. (BB: You like them. You never like TV. We should get them! Me: Have you seen what they cost? That's ridiculous! For that price, Leonard Nimoy should deliver them to me in person!)

Help us out, please. The three-season set works out to be cheaper per season, though it's still nothing like a bargain, but I've heard the third seasons sucks. Also, FYI, I can't obtain these through less legal means if I want to watch very many of them; I need subtitles.

[Poll #1506089]
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
Okay, first, I want to thank everyone for the snowflake cookies. It was awesomely fun, particularly as that's the only snowfall we'll be seeing this year. (I know, I know, everyone who is currently buried in snow is saying, "Oh, my heart bleeds for you." Let me keep my snow fantasies, people!) Also, um, it turns out there's a setting you can have turned on that notifies you when someone you have friended gets a virtual gift. I totally did not know that. And a lot of you got snowflakes. A lot. That comment notification lockup? That was probably partly my fault. I'm still getting backed-up notices about snowflakes.

...I'll fix that setting now.

But that is unrelated to the subject of this poll. Allow me to make a sharp left turn, here.

I'm curious about the fannish baby boom. As in, is it real? Unfortunately, I can't go back in time and run this poll on fans ten years ago, but I can at least be nosy today, and that's good enough for me. Tell me about your next generation!

[Poll #1497731]
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
True confessions time: I love hard SF. My ideal, in this arena, is the kind of story where each page contains either an equation or a paragraph of dense scientific explanation (usually in stilted dialog, spoken by the story's Resident Explanatory Genius).

So I was pleased to get a copy of Stephen Baxter's Manifold: Time for free. It contains almost as much sciency verbiage as I want from my SF, and it's fun and entertaining. There are even female characters who get a lot of screen time - it may even be 50:50 male:female, although the book hasn't passed the Bechdel test anywhere yet. (I'm not quite finished.)

Over the years, I've become very used to the problems of hard SF. (Like, I am totally willing to celebrate Manifold: Time's amazing quantity of girl characters: two! Of course, neither of them understands the science at all, but I know better than to ask for miracles.) One of the big ones is that a lot of the people who write it - well, they understand the science. They understand the math. Actual people are harder.

Like, there's a scene in the book where the Resident Explanatory Genius goes on television to tell the world about the Carter catastrophe (in a highly condensed version, this is a statistical argument that predicts the probability of the end of the human race in the relatively near future), which the book uses in a modified form that says we, as a species, probably only have about 200 years left. The REG does not go for the simplified, sound-bite version I just gave you; he goes on for a while, explaining Why the Human Race Is (Probably) Doomed, in his usual sciency verbiage style. And the world goes into a panic and depression.

I read that and realized Baxter has no clue what people are actually like, or he'd know that the normal human response to a speech like that, on television, is not panic and depression; it's changing the channel. Very few people would listen long enough, or pay enough attention, to understand what the REG is saying. And even those who did wouldn't buy it. Statistics? That are predicated on the idea that there is nothing special about us? No one is going to believe it or even give a shit, frankly, except people who already know what the Carter catastrophe is.

But, fine, hard SF writers are allowed to write about slightly AU versions of our reality. I'm comfortable with that.

I was a little more impressed (horrified, whatever) with a very special piece of characterization. The main character is named Malenfant (yes, really), and late in the book (spoilers!), it is revealed that - wait. Let's do this as a poll.

Say that you discover that you have a treatable but not curable disease - you'll live a normal life, but you'll have to take medication regularly. This means you can't be an astronaut and will have to fall back on your plan B, which is being a maverick billionaire industrialist. (It's always good to have a safety career!)

Also, you are married. Your wife, Emma, doesn't want children, but nonetheless, this disease means you won't be able to have any.

You decide that the obvious way to handle this is not to tell her, and then have an affair, so that you can divorce Emma, so that you don't ruin her life, because you love her SO MUCH and this treatable illness makes you unworthy. Of course, she is intimately involved in your corporation, and indeed keeps it running, so you will still see her every day and she will still be closely involved in your life; you have explicitly told her that, sure, you're getting divorced, but you don't want her to quit. Decades go past with her wondering what the fuck happened and you maintaining your noble silence.

[Poll #1489604]
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
I am having a crappy day, people. I come to you for entertainment and distraction.

So, the other day - or maybe it was the other week; I'm not exactly Speedy Jenny, here - [ profile] frostfire_17 said something that interested me. She said that she thinks Reboot Kirk would be kinkier than TOS Kirk.

My immediate reaction, of course, was to want to evaluate the Perceived Kinkiness (PK) of many characters on a set scale. This is a pressing and important issue in fandom, after all, and I think it's tragic that I can find no previous work on the subject in the literature. (Why is there no journal of Fandometrics? I know lots of people study fans, and, look, I love you guys and I find you interesting and all, but what I really want to read is studies on the characteristics of various OTP groups within a given fandom as compared to OTP groups within another fandom, and an ordering of perceived character intelligence plotted against six key traits one of which is total percentage of dialog, and data on the distribution of key adjectives associated with certain characters, and maybe how that relates to fannish migration over time. Plus, of course, PK.) Fortunately, we have this thing called polls, so I can at least cover the PK issue until such a time as Fandometrics starts publishing.

Obviously, answer this poll using your own personal definition of kinkiness. For bonus points (and a more distracted, and thus more happy, TFV), discuss what specific kinks you think a character is mostly likely to have in the comments.

On this scale, 0 is totally not at all kinky, and 5 is most kinky in all the land. Go! Rate! We will have our Fandometrics yet! (And now we do, thanks to [ profile] dramaturgca: [ profile] fandometrics!)

Cut for a big long list of characters with buttons to push. )
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
So, the other day I took the earthling to the mall for walking-around purposes, and every single store except the Cinnabon was having a sale. It was a little scary. And we're looking for a desk right now, and half the local furniture stores are having a sale. The other half are out of business. Friends of mine have been laid off. California's budget looks like it's been hit by asteroids.

I am alarmed. And so I'm wondering about y'all: how are you doing? Poll time!

And, by the way, if you're thinking now might be a good time to get your finances in order, I highly recommend the services of [ profile] jarrow, who does custom budget spreadsheets for fellow fans (and, I assume, others). The spreadsheets are a) really, really pretty (they look like Monopoly!) b) easy to use and c) cheap. It does not get better than that, people. (Except it does: he also provides instruction and tech support. And emotional support, too, if you need it, like if you find budgeting just way too scary ever to face, or if you hyperventilate every time you think about your bills.) We had been trying to use Quicken for two years, and basically only achieving an ever-growing hatred of Quicken. John's spreadsheet, on the other hand, is totally working for us.

And now, let's talk about you.

[Poll #1425209]
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
A few weeks ago, Best Beloved was at her library talking to a patron. The patron explained that she was in a big hurry to go out and buy a new TV, because her main TV had broken, and she had another TV that was just as good, but she felt weird not having a backup. (Keep in mind that this patron lives alone.)

Best Beloved was surprised by this. When she relayed it to me, I was also surprised. But then, we are not exactly normal in our relationship to television. (For Best Beloved, it's like an old friend who she's always happy to see, but rarely actually does see. For me, it's like an acquaintance who leads a fascinating life in a distant land and occasionally takes a break from it to come to my house and punch me in the mouth.)

Fortunately, I know a large group of people who have, if not a normal relationship with television, at least a more normal one. So I thought I'd ask you about this backup TV thing. Plus some other nosy questions about technology, because I care enough to be inappropriately curious about your life!

[Poll #1419179]
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
I'm going to Vividcon! And, in celebration, I have vid recs. But first, a VVC-related comment and poll:

VVC! )

The One That Will Have You Looking Suspiciously at Cherry Stems Forever. Handlebars, by [ profile] flummery. Doctor Who.

This is - well. This is the Doctor. End of story. This is the Doctor in every respect and every detail. The first time I watched this, I was basically clapping in glee from the very first line, and then it got better. And better. And better. And eventually it achieved such amazing levels of betterness that I still haven't entirely recovered. This vid rendered me incoherent. Permanently.

I don't want to tell you how it gets better - if you've somehow missed this vid and this song, just go watch it. You will not be the sorrier. In fact, even if you have no idea who this Doctor person is (He travels through time. With friends. It's complicated.), still go watch it, because after you see this, you will most definitely know.

I once thought I preferred vids about companions (Or enemies, or Daleks. Why are there no Dalek vids? There are lots of good vids songs for them! One is the loneliest number! Make a Circuit with Me! The Macarena!) to vids about the Doctor. And that's still true. But what I think is - my brain knew that this vid was coming, and decided it might just as well wait for perfection.

The One That Demonstrates Why You Might Not Want to Make Pegasus Galaxy Your Vacation Destination. Well, Yes, Life-Sucking Monsters. But It Gets Much Worse Than That, Actually. Open Secrets of the Pegasus Galaxy, by [ profile] yevgenie. Stargate: Atlantis.

Okay, first: this is her first vid, you guys. How is this her FIRST VID?

Second: this is the vid that says everything we all know about SGA and don't talk about. Basically, I'd sum that up as: no one gets out of Pegasus clean. (In fact, you mostly don't get out at all. This vid makes that point, too.) The Wraith are the enemy, but how are they different than Atlantis, given some of the decisions the home team makes? The Ancients are (supposed to be, and oh my god, so not, so skeevy) the good guys, but look how badly they fucked Pegasus over. The open secret of Pegasus seems to me to be that everyone fails, falls, dies, fucks up, and fucks over. No heroes.

And now I'd like to talk about the song. Because, see, I love Leonard Cohen. I occasionally fantasize about marrying one of his songs. But I have always considered him basically unviddable. Turns out, nope! I just didn't have the right vision, because oh my god how this song works - works for the vid, works for the theme, works works works. Even if this vid didn't say something I've always wanted someone to say about SGA, I would still love it to pieces, because it's a vid to Leonard Fucking Cohen. That sound you just heard was my heart growing three sizes.


The One That Is Evidence for the Prosecution. Climbing up the Walls, by [ profile] obsessive24. Supernatural, Firefly, and Heroes.

Sooooo. I'm trying to think how to put this. Okay, let's start with this: INCEST. This vid is about incest. And it pulls no punches. Actually, it - you know those video games where, if you hit like nine million buttons in exactly the right order while standing on one foot and whistling Dixie, your character will rear back, grow a robo-claw, and rip another character's head off and eat it? This is the kind of punch this vid has.

And it's just. Fucking. Brilliant. You will be glad your head has been ripped off and eaten by this vid.

What we have here is an incest narrative with all the fanon taken out. Yeah, sure, there are three sibling pairings, here, but it almost doesn't matter; the central story is the same for all of them: fucked-up families, needy and vulnerable younger sibling, obsessively protective older sibling, and then the robo-claw comes out. But the point is: this vid is awesome, and so incredibly rich (there's so much here I could write several lengthy essays about this, for reals), and brutally real. And the brutality should in no way scare you off. (You weren't using that head anyway. And, hey, who doesn't want to see a robo-claw?)

The One That Would Give Charles Darwin Nightmares. (No, Really. He Was a Very Sensitive Man.) Unnatural Selection, by [ profile] charmax. Battlestar Galactica and Terminator.

My love for robots is well-documented. At this point, I don't think I need to tell you that sometimes I'm rooting for the robots. But, um. The robots in this vid don't need any humans in their cheering squad; they're doing just fine by themselves. (And, yes, my love for robots can totally survive this vid. I imprinted on robots early and well.)

I don't know either of the sources for this vid. It totally does not matter. (I didn't know any of the sources for [ profile] obsessive24's vid, either. Cluelessness is my comfort zone!) The basic message is very clear to anyone who grew up on hard science fiction: we're going to build the next stage. And then it's going to destroy us. (Mine was, yes, a cheerful childhood, always anticipating the moment the machines/metahumans/genetically engineered blobs would rise up and take over. In my day, we didn't need violent video games to prepare us for the apocalypse.)

I love this vid so much, which is a strange thing to say about something that's equal parts dead humans, robotic overlords, and various apocalypses. (Like a Jonathan Coulton album! Except not funny. Really not.) But it's gorgeous and so brilliantly edited and it does in three minutes what it took science fiction a childhood to do for me. Watch. Learn. And fear the future.
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
Hey, it's Yuletide Eve! And I know most of you are probably doing - I don't know, family things, or festive things, or possibly trying to put together something with nine million plastic parts - but I am here. Waiting. Very impatiently. And if you're here, too, you could take my poll. Clicking entertainment for you! Distraction for me! Everyone wins!

[Poll #1320548]
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
So, there was this secret questions meme going around. And of course I was curious - I am, after all, made mostly of curiosity (actual formula: 70% curiosity, 22% sarcasm, 8% cheese) - but you had to agree to post the meme to get the questions. And I don't do memes here.

And then a certain person rended the veil of secrecy. I won't name her. (Okay, I will. It was [ profile] toft_froggy. All hail her!) And. Well. I was kind of disappointed. I expected AWESOME questions. I expected questions WORTH keeping a secret. ("Who is fixing the current presidential election?" for example.) Instead, they were - well. I didn't think they were optimized for fannish use, let's put it that way.

So obviously I had no choice; I wrote my own version of the meme (with extensive help from [ profile] best_beloved, as I was actually nursing the earthling while I did this). But I still don't post memes here. Instead, I am posting a poll! Please answer with names selected from your friends list. And please do answer. Unlike the original meme, these are things I seriously want to know.

The entirely not-secret questions not-meme. )
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
Recently, I was moderately flabbergasted to come upon a Highlander x Yami no Matsuei crossover. I had one of those moments of staring blankly at the computer screen, trying to figure out if I had experienced a sudden linguistic disconnect, and maybe in this language "Highlander x Yami no Matsuei crossover" actually meant "now we all get cake" or something, because surely such a thing, defined as I understood it, was totally impossible.

And then I read it, and realized that, no, it isn't impossible, and I was forced once again to reflect on the fact that Highlander seems to be a fandom that is just very open to crossovers. I know that's partly because, hey, you've got 5,000 years of mostly unfilled Methos backstory, and who is to say he didn't pick up a young Christopher Keller in a gay bar? He could have! He could also have spent fifteen years traveling around with Doctor Who. I mean, it's not like he'd necessarily bring either of those things up in conversation. But also, just, the Highlander universe seems to be unusually smooshy - it is totally willing to cozy up to, maybe even move in with, other canons, as I'm reminded every time the HL newsletter comes out and most of the new stories are crossovers.

Naturally, I got to wondering: what other fandoms are particularly crossover-friendly? And that led, inevitably, to thoughts of those fandoms that are much, much harder to work into crossovers. Which led to thoughts of AUs, which in turn took me to a terrifying meta place, and Best Beloved had to come talk me down. "How about a poll?" she said. "Polls are fun! And, also, you can probably finish one before you fall asleep." (Whereas with actual meta - at the rate I'm currently finishing stuff, I'd have it ready for posting in, um, 2012 or thereabouts, assuming no delays for rain.)

So perhaps you would like to write my meta for me? I offer ticky boxes as incentive!

[Poll #1177790]
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
I've seen lots of people doing year-end wrap-ups, but, well, I don't really have a lot to wrap up. You all know how my year went. Instead, I thought I'd ask you: how was your year? Are you happy, baby? (I'm also curious because a lot of people seem to have had absolutely terrible 2007s; I'm wondering if it was just the Cursed Year or what.)

And the question at the end is a very important one. Best Beloved and I were talking about that story, and we totally disagreed about what happened. I'd like to be proved right by majority rule, please. Voting is key.

[Poll #1114196]
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
So. Last year, during the [ profile] yuletide run up, I ran a prompt poll. (Not, you know, a very timely poll - a poll about prompts.) And, in addition to the things I already knew about prompts (I suck at them! They are harder than they sound! There's a science to writing prompts, and it can be mastered. Or, okay, that last one is just what I choose to believe.), I learned some stuff. And since Yuletide is approaching this year (yay!), I thought I'd kind of write up the results, post them, see if I couldn't figure this whole prompt mystery out.

But, first, let's talk about what the poll confirmed: I suck at prompts, and last Yuletide was no exception. I wrote the kind of prompt that no one hopes to get, that more than half of writers fear, and that almost no one gives. In other words, I wrote really detailed prompts. Um. Oops? (Look. I knew I was doing wrong, but I couldn't stop myself. This is obviously a sickness, and I am more to be pitied than censured.)

On the other hand, I got an awesome story last year anyway. (Thank you, [ profile] astolat!) No matter how much my prompts have sucked over the years (and I think they especially sucked the Yuletide I went with "Would prefer slash" as my only prompt for all four requests - yes, my shame is real), I've gotten good stories. Clearly, the Yuletide gods look after the pathetic. Or maybe Yuletide writers just try harder than any reasonable human could ever expect. (I mean, yes, I try hard to write to my recipient's prompts, but then I've been lucky - three years of entirely sane recipients. Well. Sane as far as prompt-writing goes. I can't speak for the rest of it. They may dress potatoes in lacy undergarments in their spare time, but their prompts were entirely sane and potato-free.)

My point is: bad prompts don't mean bad stories.

However, bad prompts may lead to crazed writers (and mods, if the bad prompt drives some poor writer over the edge). So I am determined to beat this thing. (It will be a Triumph of the Human Spirit! Perhaps, when I am formally declared to be Awesomest Prompt Writer Ever, I can sell my uplifting tale to Reader's Digest.) Thanks to the poll, I now have strategies. I have Lessons Learned! And, of course, I'm going to share them, because what would fandom be without a lot of random blither? Not the fandom I know and love, that's for sure. (Also, quiet.)
  • Learn from the best. I had a resource available to me this whole time, and I didn't even know it. [ profile] makesmewannadie writes fabulous prompts, and I have vowed in the future to follow her example. I will also get her to beta my prompts, for the good of the community and as a service to all writerkind. Behold the wonder of the MMWD-style prompt!

  • Everyone enjoys a deluxe assortment. Specifically, your assigned writer is most likely to be happy if you provide a few story ideas. ("A gen piece about A's time in the Solar Defense Militia. Or anything A/C, post-canon. Or maybe you could bring D back from the dead.") This allows your writer to go with whichever idea makes her happiest. It also staves off the impression that you're married to one specific story idea, and that your Yuletide will be ruined if you do not get that A/C crossover AU in which A is a rabbit and C is a zombie. This is important, because -

  • Almost everyone takes prompts really seriously. Try to remember this when you're writing prompts. Whether you take four seconds to dash off a few suggestions - "Possibly some light, frothy, funny BDSM incest with a dash of serial killing!" - or four days to detail a complete list of everything you like and hope to see - "...And I want a pony, and also peace on earth, and, Santa, if you could get the story recorded as a podfic read by Alan Rickman, then that's what I hope for most, and also did I mention the pony?" - your writer will certainly spend the next six weeks or so pondering every single word of it. She will likely also IM her betas and friends. ("And I'm wondering, when she said pony, did she mean a Mustang? Did she mean pony play? Does she want a shot glass? OMG I hope she didn't mean a Mustang, because I do not have time to research cars.") My point is: your words are going to be considered very, very carefully, so weigh them with equal care.

  • Your prompt may be the only thing your writer knows about you. You can do things to change this - write a good Santa letter (more about this later!), leave LJ entries unlocked, provide an exhaustive catalog of your loves and hates, zip the complete contents of your hard drive and upload it, etc. But what you can't do, at least in Yuletide, is assume your writer is coming into it knowing anything at all about you.

    Last Yuletide, I wrote two stories. One was for someone I knew. The other was for someone I didn't know at all. I worked just as hard on both stories, and judging from the comments, the stories were equally good (or bad) and equally enjoyed by their recipients. But I worried more about the one for the person I didn't know. Or, let me put it this way:

    When I got the prompt from the stranger, I read her Santa letter. I went to her LJ. I read her fan fiction. And I still didn't really know if she would like my idea or the story I wrote for her. I didn't know if we had similar senses of humor, if my take on the canon matched hers, if we used the same definitions of the words in her prompt - and these are things it's tough to learn about a stranger. So I, for example, deleted several jokes from my rough draft, on the grounds that she might find them offensive. I mean, she might have been a Scientologist. There was no way I could know! I played it safe where I could, because, well, I was already taking a somewhat risky approach to her fandom and pairing, and I didn't want to add to the risk.

    When I got the prompt from the friend (as a pinch hit), I read her Santa letter. But the thing was, since I know her, I knew immediately that she'd probably like my first idea for the fandom. (Like, I only realized after I'd posted her story that I never for a moment considered that she might want gen.) And, since I know her, I was able to recruit betas who knew her, too. It's amazingly reassuring to have your betas send you feedback that starts, "OMG, she'll LOVE this!"

    But there were 900 participants in Yuletide last year. (With luck, we'll break that this year. Wouldn't that be cool?) I didn't know most of them. Most of them didn't know me. The likelier scenario, in other words, for both you and your assigned writer, is that you'll be strangers until the reveal. Which means it's best to plan and act as though that's what's going to happen.

  • You and your writer may not be from the same parts of fandom. Especially in Yuletide, people come from all over fandom, and are assigned to each other based on knowledge of and love for a rare fandom. You may both be very interested in a sitcom that aired on British television for two years in the early 1970s, but that doesn't mean you're both into slash, gen, or het. It doesn't mean you're both media fans or anime fans or whatever. It doesn't mean you share a gender, a political affiliation, a religion, or a cultural background. In other words, what looks like an easy prompt to you may be impossible for your writer to imagine. This is why a prompt assortment works well. It's also something you should keep in mind as you read your story.

  • Make sure the words mean what you think they mean. The kind of prompt that showed up most frequently in the text answers to "hardest" and "strangest" was a slash pairing request accompanied by the words "no slash." If you ask for "gen McShep," your writer is going to be confused. Also distressed. So don't use fannish terms unless you know what they mean - and if you're new to this, it might be a good idea to have someone else read your prompts, just to be sure. Also, if you use terms that seem mutually contradictory ("Angsty death schmoop!"), it might be helpful to go into a bit more detail in your Santa letter.

  • This is not a menu. Do not order a #2 with an extra enchilada and no sauce. Your assigned writer is not your slave for six weeks. She's not here to fulfill your every whim, although she is going to try damn hard to fulfill one of your wishes. So, in general, avoid prompts that look like you're giving orders for a tailored suit. Detailed story outlines ("After A leaves B at the end of the canon, he goes on a journey to Tibet to find himself, and meets C along the way. Red-hot A/C lovin' follows, and then they meet the Old Man of the Mountain. It all ends well, although B is dead!") will probably leave your writer wondering why, if you know exactly what you want, you don't just write it yourself.
But here are the two most important things, hands down:
  1. Say what you don't want. If you are squicked by all mention of snails, share that. If you really, really do not want deathfic, say so. If any mention of any bodily fluid leaves you needing to lie down with a cold cloth on your eyes, mention this. If your "no" list is fairly short ("No animal harm of any kind, please") or contains fairly common things ("No slash, please.") put it in your request itself. Otherwise, put it in your Santa letter. But say it somewhere.

    In either case, try to remember - again! - that you don't necessarily have anything in common with your writer. She may love snails. She may have dedicated her life to the study and protection of snails. You can't know. So try to phrase your "no" list politely. "ABSOLUTELY NO SNAILFIC. I *mean* it. Snails = gross!" may, in fact, come off as an insult to your writer. The wise requester will avoid this whenever possible. Remember: the thoughtful, considerate writer, which 99.9% of writers are, will hear you the first time. And the rest of the writers won't hear you no matter how many times you repeat it. So why waste the space?

  2. Write some kind of prompt. Yes, a few writers would rather not have one, but in Yuletide, they can ignore your request. (And those who don't want a prompt probably won't sign up for exchanges where they can't.) And almost everyone dreaded getting no guidance. It's hard to figure out where to start. It's hard to figure out where not to start. And, if you end up being a pinch hit, it will be very hard for someone to take your request and hit the ground running (which is what pinch hitters have to do) if there are no details to use as a springboard. (Um. Mixed metaphor, but you take my point, yes?)
And then there's the Santa letter. It's a good idea to write one. And if you want to write a good one, well, here's what I will be remembering, or trying to remember, when I write my Santa letter in just a few weeks (eee!):
  • Do not use your Santa letter to fix problems with your request. (In other words, don't be me.) If there's a problem with your request, fix it there. Resubmit the sucker. It's worth your time. Otherwise, you run the risk of, for example, getting a pinch hitter who picked up your request based on the prompt you overrode in your Santa letter. She'll probably write the story she had in mind anyway, because she may not have time to do anything else.

  • Do tell your writer about yourself. If you have an "all about me" post, link to that. Or just tell a little about yourself - likes, dislikes, whatever. Trust me, your Santa will appreciate it.

  • Do tell your writer about the canons and characters you requested. This is vastly helpful to your writer - someone who loves the canon because "it's funny, and totally like what real life would be if you were dead" is going to love a different story than someone who loves the same canon because "it's got a concealed edge in its humor - like, you're laughing, but you're gutted at the same time." Someone who loves character A because "he's such a dork OMG" is going to love a different story than someone who loves him because "he has these moments of incredible insight, and he does important things even though they're hard for him."

    You can also use the space to link to resources your writer might find helpful. I mean, if you're obsessed with the canon, you probably know a few things about it, and, hey, why not be helpful? Perhaps your author is indeed searching for the full-text version of your canon, or for a place that really knows boats, or a complete dictionary of obsolete medical terms. The time she doesn't have to spend on research is just that much more time for writing.
And now is the portion of the post where we summarize what we've learned. Here's what I've learned: I just wrote more than 2,000 words on prompts. I got two pages of comments on prompts. And people had long, long memories for the prompts that hurt or helped them most. In other words, prompt-writing is hard, and writing to prompts is also hard. So, if you can, be charitable and generous when you're writing them and when you're writing to them. And if you are, for example, me, and thus you write really sucky prompts, well, there's always next year. Someday, you will be Prompt Queen. Keep trying.

And, no matter what kind of prompt you write, no matter what kind of story you get, remember to thank the writer who makes Yuletide happen for you.


[ profile] liviapenn has also posted thinky thoughts on prompts. And her thoughts come with the details of the mythical but fascinating canon Ghost Soup! You don't want to miss this.
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
Okay, I've put this off long enough. (Hi, my name is TFV, and I'm totally change-phobic. I hold the regional title for hiding-head-in-sand, and am a certified expert in change denial. Need mentoring in the fine art of fearing change? I am here for you.)

Seems to me that, what with the ever-changing and quite confusing ToS on LJ, it's only reasonable for me to do something besides post all my content to LJ and just kind of hope I don't lose it. (Yes, I have backups, but not, at this time, a real offsite backup.) But, of course, I'm waffling on what I'm going to do. When in doubt, poll!

Also, every day I'm seeing deletions and departure notices, and I kind of want to figure out where everyone is going before you're all, you know, gone. I realize I'm too late to catch the first wave of LJ departures, so if any of you cross-post or do newsletter things or also journal on another service, I'd really appreciate a link. (This isn't just for people on my friends list, by the way. There are journals I read that I don't have friended, after all.) So, again, a poll seems like a good way to collect information.

I know people who don't have LJ accounts anymore - as in, deleted or suspended - can't actually take the poll. In that case, feel free to answer whichever questions you choose (including, ideally, the location of your journal-type content and your fanworks) in the comments. Anonymous commenting is on. If you can't do that, either, then feel free to email me. I want to know where you are!

It's probably getting really boring seeing polls like this all over your friends list. I'm sorry. But I don't want to lose my content or my community, so - well, I'd really appreciate it if you'd take mine. (If it makes you grouchy, there's an option in the poll to tell me to just quit LJing. Feel free to use it!)

Quo Vadimus? )
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
I just went to make an addition to our Netflix queue, and I was - okay. Does this happen to anyone else? You look at the movies/books/whatever that a given service (Netflix and Amazon are my two big offenders, here, as we don't have TiVo or even, you know, anything for a TiVo to record) suggests for you, and you think, "Have I injured this service in some way? Is this a deliberate insult? Or does Netflix [or whoever] really think I am this person?"

For me, that is usually followed, a microsecond later, by, "...Oh, god. Am I this person?"

The first blink of the day was caused by Netflix's showcased recommendation: The Founding Fathers: The Men Who Shaped Our Nation. There are several dozen reasons why I am extremely unlikely to watch this DVD, ever. But, fine, whatever, perhaps Netflix is just feeling unusually patriotic or something. Except, well, Netflix claims that we will enjoy this movie because we enjoyed The Reduced Shakespeare Company. Not the same thing, Netflix! Unless The Founding Fathers has a comedy bent that is very, very well hidden in the description.

So, fine. Apparently Netflix feels that I need to be a little more serious in my cultural consumption. Less humor, more history. All right. This is something I can hear and remain calm. I can handle constructive criticism. (I can. Really!)

It was in this mood - noble martyrdom, basically, with a side order of pretending not to be miffed - that I clicked on the Movies You'll tab. I have instinctively avoided this since they introduced it, on the grounds that that kind of imperative statement gets my back up. "Oh," I think. "I will this, will I? HAH. I FLATLY REFUSE TO ANYTHING. That will show them." This is not healthy behavior, and generally I try to suppress it. But since I was already fairly ruffled, plus violently hormonal, plus seriously short on sleep, I decided to click.

(You may, at this juncture, be questioning my decision. Feel free. It's just - sometimes you know you'll regret it, and you click anyway, and before you tell me you never do that, I want you to think about the time you clicked on goatse.)

So. The top movies I will (by order of Netflix) are:
  1. Brokeback Mountain
  2. Angels in America
  3. House, MD
  4. C.R.A.Z.Y.
  5. Street Fight
  6. The World According to Sesame Street
So, in order, we have:
  1. A gay-themed cowboy movie that I already specifically told Netflix I did not want to see. (You may indeed call me a bad fan AND a bad person of alternative sexual orientation AND a cultural boor, if you like. I don't care. I've read the short story, and that, frankly, was enough. See also: hormonal weepiness. When just the thought of the shirt scene makes me sniffly, I know to avoid the movie.)

  2. An AIDS-themed miniseries that I very much suspect is subject to the same hormonal weepiness ban.

  3. A show about two doctors in love. With lots of cancer in the background. Can I just - can I just have a quick word with Netflix, here? DEAR NETFLIX: I CRIED FIVE TIMES OVER AVATAR: THE LAST AIRBENDER. I CANNOT BE WATCHING THINGS WHERE PEOPLE DIE OF CANCER OR AIDS OR HATE CRIME. THANK YOU FOR YOUR PROMPT ATTENTION TO THIS MATTER.

  4. A movie that, going by the summary, is about growing up gay in Canada in the arms of David Bowie and Mick Jagger. I'll admit that Netflix has piqued my interest here, except after the first three, I suspect that this is about growing up gay in Montreal and, like, volunteering to work with terminally ill angels in Stetsons. See what happens when you aren't thoughtful with your suggestions, Netflix? My trust just isn't there anymore.

  5. A documentary about a mayoral election. In Newark, NJ. I mean, I'm sure it was a fascinating election, but there is a certain discontinuity, here.

  6. A documentary about a children's show I have never seen and know nothing about except that it has something to do with muppets and a large yellow bird.
But I will give Netflix credit for identifying at least one of my interests. I would call that interest "the gay." It's just that the accompanying message appears to be, "Enough with the gay, already. How about politics? Or, hell, how about the politics of children's programming? ANYTHING. SERIOUSLY. GET A LIFE. A MUCH STRAIGHTER ONE."

So. Fascinated, I pushed on to the individual genres section.

See, the way this works is, you tell them what genres you prefer to watch (in our family, this is documentaries for me, TV and anime for Best Beloved, and classics and SF/fantasy for both of us), and they give more weight to items in those genres. Which, fine. I wasn't particularly delighted with their selections in those areas, except for an animated series called The Amazing Screw-On Head, which I added to our queue on the grounds that a) that is a truly awesome title and b) Best Beloved will be watching it, not me, so awesomeness of title is more than enough reason to get it.

And then I got to their suggested genres. These are, apparently, the ones they think we might like that we haven't rated yet. What genre does Netflix think we should watch? What specific genre does it feel is lacking from our current rental line-up? Faith and Spirituality. ("Rate more Faith and Spirituality movies, so we can give you more recommendations," it advised. We can't. We haven't seen any of them. This is unlikely to change, Netflix.)

So now the message is: you love the gay, but we think you need to develop more wholesome interests, like politics, large yellow birds, and religion. In other words: NETFLIX IS JUDGING ME.

I seethed via email to Best Beloved for a bit.

So, once you've worked up a certain amount of righteous indignation, it's obviously time to continue in that vein, yes? Which meant heading over to see what Amazon wants me to buy.

What does Amazon want me to buy? I'm glad you asked.
  1. Every single yaoi manga ever published in the United States. Here's just a partial sampling: Love Mode, Yellow, Gravitation, Fake, Our Everlasting, La Esperanca, Shinobo Kokoro (seriously awesome slogan: "protecting the clan with some man-on-man" - that totally goes on my There Oughtta Be a Challenge manga tag lines list, which gets longer with every passing day), Gerard & Jacques (down, bandslashers!), The Art of Loving (not, as it sounds, one of those unfortunate '50s-era marital advice books), Wild Rock (the blurb says, in part: "can these star-crossed lovers get behind each other to stop the long-standing family feud?" - um, yes, we already GOT that it was yaoi, no need to include the gratuitous buttsex joke), Sweet Revolution (in which the seme possesses a "magical dagger" - that's yaoi for "healing cock," right?), Man's Best Friend (which does indeed involve gay sex with a magical transforming dog; this is why yaoi fandoms don't need crackfic, people), Lovely Sick - seriously, you would not believe the list of yaoi in my recommendations. Pages and pages. Some I'd never even heard of until today.

    And why am I supposed to consume this Time-Life Complete Yaoi Collection (attractively priced at only a bazillion dollars)? Because I bought a volume of Antique Bakery. Seriously. That's their whole reasoning behind this. This seems - I don't know. Disproportionate. I mean, okay, I love the gay as much as the next girl, but, but, but - one volume of Antique Bakery does not an entire library of yaoi manga make.

    And, really, if you're going to rec me yaoi manga, please don't just wholesale recommend the entire genre. Pick some especially solid ones and start there. Because, like - take Lovely Sick. Could be great, but it was apparently designed to hit every power imbalance squick I've ever had. Amazon, if you're going to rec me porn, at least pay attention to my particular porny needs!

  2. NINE separate cleaning books. Eight of them are on organic cleaning around the home, including one called Clean House, Clean Planet. I know these are probably great books. The yaoi's probably good, too, at least some of it. But I still feel judged. Are you calling my house dirty, Amazon?

    Why, yes. I think you are. Feelings = hurt.

    They also want me to purchase a book called Baking Soda: Over 500 Fabulous, Fun, and Frugal Uses You've Probably Never Thought Of. See, now, I'm willing to believe there are many uses for baking soda that have never crossed my mind. Actually, I'm kind of proud of how little time I've invested, over the course of my life, in the development of novel baking soda applications. However, the title of this book, in such close company with all the gay manga, is taking me to some strange mental places, and now I must never think about baking soda again ever. Seriously. It's - I - just - no. (And the sad part is, if I'm thinking of it, some mangaka has probably already written it. Hide me!)

  3. Science fiction and fantasy. This is entirely appropriate, and yet, taken in conjunction with everything else, is making me feel, um. A little pigeon-holed, typed, categorized, you know?

  4. The complete works of Henry Jenkins and the whole fandom studies crowd. Aaaand the pigeon-holing is complete. Look, I am sure Henry Jenkins is a marvelous and fascinating writer. I've certainly liked what I've read by him. And I'm equally sure he's a wonderful person; I'll bet he donates money to homeless war orphan puppies with tragic ailments and so on. However, every single book he has ever written - plus all other books with "media" or "fan" in the title - seems excessive. It's like you're saying I have no life, Amazon!

  5. Five books along the lines of Unforgettable Journeys to Take Before You Die.


    Taken in conjunction with the previous items, I cannot help but interpret this as Amazon's gentle way of saying, "GET OUT OF THE HOUSE, YOU PORN-LOVING GEEKY FANNISH SLOBBO. For the love of little apples, at least do something besides sit at that computer. You're wasting your life! What's left of it! Because you're probably going to die pretty soon, since your house is a total pigsty. Heavens to Betsy, what will the neighbors think?"
In short, Amazon has decided that the role it should play in my life is "demented, over-involved, hypercritical mother with an unhealthy and profoundly traumatizing interest in me reading porn."

Thank you, Amazon. I appreciate the thought, I really do. But NO. No, we do not have that relationship.

So, Netflix thinks I'm a gay moral degenerate (true!) who needs to take up an interest in politics and religion and the Amazing Screw-On Head. Amazon thinks I'm a fannish moral degenerate (also true!) who needs to for Christ's sake clean something and go somewhere already. I'm fine with them thinking I'm a porn-obsessed lesbian whore of Babylon - complimented by it, in fact. But the judgment, that is going too far.

It could just be the hormones. It really could. But my feelings are very, very hurt.

Which got me to thinking - yes, yes, there's a point to this entry! - am I the only one who reacts this way?

Poll time!

[Poll #985580]
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
Recently, I was discussing the writing of porn with a party who shall remain nameless (unless she chooses to be named). The key part of the conversation went kind of like this:

Her: I'm writing porn that is very difficult.
Me: *sympathy*
Me: *rambling about ME ME ME*
Me, continuing to ramble: Like, when I was writing my Yuletide 2005 story, my recipient requested "hot het porn." And what I wrote was unbelievably not hot, the antithesis of hot. You were there for the shrieking hysterical breakdown, so I don't need to recapitulate.
[Note: For those many lucky folks not there for the breakdown: there was shrieking. And hysterics. And a post that is, mercifully, locked privately away forever, but can be summarized as, "I will fail my recipient and ruin Yuletide. I LOSE." In conclusion: porn does not come easily to some of us, and if you're just snickering at that, well, okay. I am, too. Join me in my club for the incurably low-minded!]
Me, still rambling: And when I reread that story, it is still the antithesis of hot, at least to me.
Me, rambling ever on: In fact, I don't think I've ever found anything I've written even remotely hot. Huh. Perhaps this is why I am so very bad at writing porn.
Her: ...I find the porn I write hot.
Me: Ooo. I feel a poll coming on.

And then I realized that today I would be in need of distraction. So - here is that poll. And it's only for people who have ever written any kind of porn, of any stripe, except the last question, which can be taken by anyone.

For the purposes of this poll, "porn" doesn't have to be NC-17 or even R; it just has to be erotic in intent. And you don't have to have written a lot of it. Once is enough! And it doesn't have to have been fan fiction, either. And any manner of porn - boy parts, girl parts, a delightful mixture of parts, merman/centaur (no, do not ask where the merman keeps his parts, for that way lies madness), tentacles galore, whatever - is equally valid.

Pimping of this poll would be not only welcome but, given the topic, entirely appropriate. If you know porn writers, why not ask them to come on over? I'd appreciate it. Distract me, people! I'm begging. Nicely.

[Poll #948511]
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
[ profile] makesmewannadie is visiting me, and we got to talking, as we often do. (Okay. Full disclosure: the actual challenge would be making us shut the fuck up.) And one thing we talked about reminded me of a poll I'd considered posting lo these many moons ago, to test a hypothesis that I can't very well tell you beforehand. (Bias is death to informal and statistically skewed LJ polls, my friends.)

So, first, let me just say: hey, it'd be cool if you'd take this poll. I would love you and stuff.

Second - when I say "your friends list," I mean the portion of your friends list that you read regularly - your default reading filter, if you have one, or the whole list if that's how you read. (If you don't read your friends list at all, this poll is not going to be a good fit for you.) My point is, I want you to consider the people you know the best. (Which is not to say you necessarily know them well, of course.) And when I say "the average," I mean your own personally assessed average of this trait over your friends list.

And, seriously, there are no bad answers here. I'm only wondering where you fit into your own mental picture of your friends list for these particular variables. I know you may not have great data for all these questions; just give me your first reaction, and I will of course love you forever.

ETA: Please don't go back to change your answers after you've finished the poll and seen the results! (Unless you think of something you want to add to the text box, or you've decided shoes are more important than almost-cock. Those questions are weighty and take long consideration; I understand that.)

Let us speak of standard deviation. We'll get back to the sexual deviation soon, I promise. )
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
[ profile] isiscolo has an interesting post about the effect recommendations have on readership. (This is as judged by website statistics - part of her ongoing series on readership, feedback, and website stats, which I secretly suspect is a plot to make us all want websites. Or, for those of us who have websites, to make us want to put some actual content on them.)

This has been something of a theme with me recently. See, I do this whole recommendations thing so strangely that it is a constant delight to me that anyone reads or uses my LJ. So it never occurred to me that my recommendations might have effects on, say, readership or feedback. But first I had a vidder telling me my rec of her vid had a noticeable effect on downloading, and I swooned from joy. And then [ profile] fairestcat and [ profile] isiscolo pointed out to me that sometimes you can see actual feedback on stories that probably is the result of your rec! (Like, sometimes people say, "Here from [ profile] thefourthvine," which is just the coolest thing ever OMG.) More joyous swooning followed. (If this keeps up, I'll need a fainting couch, and doesn't everyone want a good reason to buy a fainting couch?) And now [ profile] isiscolo is saying - well, basically, that LJ recs have an effect, but only current recs; back recs on LJ aren't used as much. (Note: I am excessively over-simplifying her post. Please read it and ignore my summary.)

Me being me, my basic reaction to this was, yes, joyful swooning, and much burbling along the lines of: YAY! People sometimes read the things I recommend, and how neat is that? (Way neat, if you were wondering. Way, way neat.) But my secondary reaction to her conclusions was: hmmm. Perhaps I should update my memories or stop using tags or in some way make my LJ more, you know, useful to people.

And you are the people I want it to be useful to. Plus, I have a sick spouse at home and a bunch of work to do. You know what this means: it's time for yet another poll! (You can totally put "post fewer polls" in question five, by the way.)

[Poll #878107]
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
I think it's time to engage in the tradition of a pre-holiday poll. (And when I say "tradition," I mean "I did it last year. Once.") This poll was going to be all thoughtful and intelligent - okay, no, I'm not fooling anymore. But it really was going to be all about you.

And then, see. Okay. [ profile] helenish posted this (CAUTION: spoilers for the most recent SGA and House), describing John Sheppard as a lover. And I giggled. A lot. But I realized - I disagree with her.

Which made me start thinking about [ profile] china_shop's dS Cliff, Shag, Marry poll, in which she posed a mean, mean question (Kowalski, Vecchio, Fraser: Cliff, Shag, Marry?). People's responses to that were just fascinating.

So I started to wonder: how are our characters in bed? Now, note: this is not in bed with another character. This is if you were having sex with them. (Yes, assume they're attracted to you. Yes, assume you're attracted to them, or if you can't imagine that without feeling all geechy inside, skip that question.) So I put in a scale for each of them:

1 = OMG WORST EVER. Get away from me.
5 = This is perhaps the most average sexual experience of my life. Ooo, tiled ceiling!
10 = I have just bodily ascended into heaven on the joyous wings of PURE SEXUAL ECSTASY.

But can numbers alone communicate how good a fuck someone is? I mean, suppose, for example, someone is really good at oral sex, then suspiciously bad at everything else? Or a one-minute wonder, but the cuddling is great? So I also included optional text boxes for you to unpack your adjectives and really tell me what sex with this character would be like.

Yes, this is totally a poll without any redeeming value or interest or content. I refuse to feel bad. It is the day before a holiday, and that makes it okay.

(Oh, and if you're curious about why these fandoms - I used the ones that had 200+ current fans in this poll. See, it's all very scientific (and poll-fixated) in here. I have methodology to my madness!)

Note: do not forget to hit submit after each fandom. LJ will only allow 15 questions per poll!

Stargate: Atlantis )
due South )
Harry Potter )
House, M.D. )
Stargate: SG-1 )
Supernatural )
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
I am very excited about [ profile] yuletide, and I've been bouncing around like a crazed thing since I signed up. (This is the Anticipation phase of Yuletide. Yes, there are phases of Yuletide. Yes, I have actually written them down. I know, I know, so pathetic, but it's an important thing to me, okay? I was never that excited about the holidays as a kid, but as an adult, Yuletide makes me absolutely delirious with joy.)

Anyway. I deal with the Anticipation phase (This is actually Anticipation Part One, because sign-ups are still open. When they close, I will start hard-core Anticipation. It is dangerous to come within seven feet of me during that time.) in many ways, but in part by refreshing the requested fandoms list, so that I can admire the shiny numbers climbing ever higher. (Plus, this year, there is a festival of gold and green to admire there. You can even see how many people asked for and volunteered for a given fandom. It is the coolest thing ever!)

But the site went down briefly today. Suddenly, I had no outlet for my Yuletide glee. Hence, this poll.

And if any of you have friends listers who are also doing Yuletide, I'd love it if you'd point 'em over here, 'cause I don't know how many of my own friends listers are. (You all should, though. You get a story! In a tiny fandom of your choosing! And you can write a story that will make someone else's heart sing! And this year there is no qualifying requirement! Go, sign up, and then come back and take the poll!)

Yeah, yeah. 'Tis the season to abuse exclamation marks and the Create Poll function on LJ. Happy holidays!
Take a poll of Yuletide cheer. )
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
So. I miss talking to and hearing from y'all. But I'm suffering from a tiny problem, namely absence of any ability to finish anything. Someday I hope to be able to write actual useful sentences that connect to other sentences again, but today is not that day, so I'm going to do a themed poll series instead of meta or a themed recs post. (There are only three parts to this themed poll set, but I realize that, from me, three posts is totally massive spamming. My apologies in advance.)

The poll's theme is: consensus.

In part one, below, I'm going to try to establish my relative fannish sanity by consensus. To do so, I need to take you on a brief tour of my brain, focusing on two particular fannish things it does that I'm starting to suspect are - well, weird. (And keep in mine I'm judging myself compared to other fans; we'd already be considered insane by many of Them Folks Out There.)

We will now depart on our trip through TFV's brain. )
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
Three things, almost entirely content free. (But one of them is a poll! There will be clicking, and that's always fun, right?)

I swear I will have actual content in this LJ again. Eventually. In the meantime -
  1. Remember the poll? Um, this one? Thanks to everyone who took it, by the way, and I am slowly working my way through the comments, because they are meaty and thought-filled and fun. And I'm knee-deep in meta about it, but it's taken a strange turn. So I'm hoping that some of you will do my a favor, and run a poll like this one:

    [Poll #831564]

    Basically, I want you to ask your friends what archetype they think you are. (I've alphabetized the archetypes to make finding them easier.) And while you're here, please do pick mine; I'm truly curious to see if there's a difference between how I see myself and how others see me. (In this sense only. I'm not crazy.)

    Sadly, I don't have bribes to offer. But if you do run a poll like this, and you also drop me a link in the comments here, I will be forever grateful. And you will be furthering the cause of meta. (I know, I know, it's not precisely ever fan's dream, but - stay with me, here, okay?)

  2. This is driving me insane, so - okay. I collect what I call genderswapped songs. Although, really, I should call them ungenderswapped songs - the song is covered by a singer of a different sex than the original one, but no gendered element of the song is changed. I have one song by Cam Clarke, from Inside Out, which is a whole CD of songs just like this. (The one I have is Son of a Preacher Man.) And I cannot find the whole CD anywhere. Does anyone have a copy of this? Or know where I can get a copy of this? I am experiencing the anguish of the thwarted collector, and it is not pretty.

  3. This is more of a bonus item; I found it interesting. If any of you watch AMVs - and if you don't, why not? - you might want to take a look at this AMV-related survey.
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
I'm kind of - not too bright sometimes. For example, when I grabbed an oven rack to move it around without, um, checking to see if it was hot? That was a "not so bright" moment in my life, right there.

Also, ow.

So I want distraction, with a minimum of typing involved. It's time for a poll! With, ideally, lots of comments! Come on, people - please. Distract me.

(I do actually have a place I'm going with this, by the way - except for the last question, which is there solely because LJ is crazed tonight. I'm trying to find out what fans do and how they do it. Assuming the ice does its job, I'll have a meta post on this sometime in the distant, murky future. Probably.)

[Poll #830222]
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
Wait! Wait, please don't scroll past.

Yes, I know you've probably seen at least one other poll like this today. I have, too. In fact, I've seen four polls about popular current fandoms in the last 48 hours or so, mostly as people gear up for year-end stuff. And the results have been oddly variant, depending on who was hosting the poll and the terms of the poll. It made me curious.

So here's what I'd like you to do. Answer the questions below about the fandoms you are currently active in. By active, I mean doing whatever it is you do in fandom. That's more than just loving the source - writing about it, reading obsessively about it, writing or reading fan fiction for it, making or watching vids, making or hunting for art, organizing stuff, dragging other people into it, etc. Just - you need to be doing these things currently. No matter how much you love the fandom, if you haven't had anything much to do with it in the past, say, three to four months, it doesn't count.

Yeah, I know. It hurts. Be strong! And may the force of the ticky box be with you.

(Oh, and if you're wondering how the fandoms ended up on the list below - they came from my sidebar. I subtracted all the small or one-off fandoms, added in the two RPF fandoms I know are big, and this was the result. So, if you think it should be here and it isn't, perhaps you should pimp me into it. Juuuuust a suggestion.)

ETA: In the how-many-boxes question, line six should read "21-45," not "31-45." Sorry about that. Got carried away with Polling Enthusiasm.

Further ETA: If you've done a poll like this recently, [ profile] morgandawn would like to know about it for BASCON purposes; please drop her a line on the first comment.

[Poll #809556]
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
Long ago, when the world was young (okay, about two years ago, but in fandom time that's like 37 generations), I developed the Urge to Rec Vids. (This was associated with, but not a direct result of, my attempts to learn how to watch vids. But that, my friends, is a meta of a different color, and that color would likely be beige enough to cause ennui-related brain damage.) But I was aware, from my hesitant proddings at the fringes of the vid world, that linking to or recommending vids was a different deal than recommending fan fiction.

(Note: This might have been true then. It's definitely not true now. Sorry; I just had to throw that in there. It's very hard to stay in a chronological first-person narrative without a lot of lapsing into "Ah, but had I known!" and "This is where I made my first mistake" and "In retrospect, that's when I should've started taking the malaria pills." God only knows how fictional narrators manage.)

So I looked around and found some discussion of this - as I recall, one post, with comments, about somebody linking to the poster's vid without permission, one essay, and one "Where Did My Vids Go and Why Aren't They Coming Back?" type statement on a website. The conclusions I drew from these sources:
  1. Vidders did not necessarily relish having their vids linked to or recommended, and really did not relish this happening outside the vidding community. (Actually, I kind of concluded that vidders did not much like non-vidders, period. But I'm now very aware that this was wrong, and also it was kind of stupid of me to believe it in the first place, so we will pretend that I never did, okay?)

  2. If anyone, but especially a non-vidder, wanted to link to a vid, it was absolutely mandatory to obtain permission first.
This was a problem for me. See, for me, there's fannish interaction - leaving comments, sending feedback, writing email, asking permission - and then there's fannish activity - writing, recommending, etc. I am fully functional when it comes to fannish activity. Interaction, though, not so much.

(Side note: You might think recommending would count as fannish interaction. But you would be wrong. As I've said to several people already, sending feedback is striking up a conversation with the smartest, wittiest, most attractive stranger in the room. Recommending is standing on the street corner shouting to myself about weasels. And I, as it happens, am much more comfortable in crazy-bag-lady mode. I mean, you all are invited, even encouraged, to stop, listen, and comment ("No, no. Everyone knows that ferrets are superior to weasels! And also, they are far sleeker!" Or, as it is known to those who, in a freaky timeline inversion thing, even now carry the scars: WeaselWank 2011.), and I'm delighted when you do (although I understand that 2011's going to be a tough year for comments), but I'm not expecting you to and I don't feel bad if you don't. Also, when I'm recommending, I don't feel like I have to be smart or impress anyone - random weasel-related blithering is perfectly fine. Whereas with feedback, I feel this horrible weight, this need to be as articulate and clever and all-around nifty as the person I am sending feedback to, which is obviously never going to happen. It makes me tense.)

So. Time progressed. I conquered a number of vid-related fears (accessophobia - fear of asking for vid site passwords, clickophobia - fear of sending feedback, oculomoronophobia - fear of looking like an idiot, divxphobia - fear of new codecs, etc.). I recommended some vids every now and again. And all was well.

Then, somewhere along the line, I discovered anime music videos, and oh my god the joy. Not only were they pretty and shiny and wondrous to behold, because live-action vids are that, too, but they were pretty much designed for people who didn't want to talk to other people. I didn't need to ask permission to rec. (And I actually couldn't send feedback to the creators, what with my intelligence not being up to the task of giving AMV opinions, which are in themselves quite the fine and demanding art.)

It was heaven. I recommended many anime vids and the occasional live-action vid, and there was happiness in the house of TFV.

And then one day quite recently I was talking with [ profile] cupidsbow about the Issue of Recommending Vids. And she said (and I'm paraphrasing so severely that I might very well fuck up her point, so if you don't like it, that's probably my fault) that she'd never asked for permission when she recommended vids, and she didn't want to start, as she highly values the free flow of ideas and discussion and thinks permission requirements might inhibit that.

And I thought: Huh. (Yes, precisely like that. You see why I fear situations that require feats of linguistic virtuosity?) Because the thing is, I'd seen vidders link to other people's vids in a casual way. I'd seen recs swarm across my friends list even when I knew the vidder was unavailable to grant permission to rec. And I started wondering - is it different because I'm not a vidder? Is it different because I am a recommender? Or, hey, is it different? Do I actually need permission at all?

On LJ, my motto is: when in doubt, poll.

So I ran a poll asking vidders about vid permission and a poll asking vid watchers about vids in general. And what I learned was - well. Let's discuss.

First, as of this writing, 108 vidders have taken the vidder poll. Only 7% of them said it was necessary to ask permission before linking to a vid announcement. Even more significant, though, is that 51% of them - half! - had never even heard of this weird alien ritual of asking permission to link to a vid announcement. And 93 of the vidders - or just over 86% of them - gave blanket permission to rec or link to their vid announcements (provided people respected basic fannish manners - no hotlinking, no stealing, proper credit given, etc.).

So, no matter what was true two years ago (or what I thought was true two years ago, and such is the tragic nature of time and observers and all that physics whatnot that we will never know for sure which), what's true today is: a vid is a fanwork like any other fanwork, and you follow the same rules when recommending it as you would for recommending a story or a piece of art or whatever. With one major exception, that is: with stories, generally we link directly to the file. With vids, we link to the announcement page.

And that is really all there is to it. You, my friends, have the freedom to rec vids. In particular, you have the freedom to rec the vids of the 93 vidders who gave blanket permission. In general, you have the freedom to link any public vid announcement that doesn't say that you can't; in other words, permission to link is implied by the act of publicly announcing a vid, unless or until permission is specifically withdrawn, as long as you are linking within the general fannish community.

But some of you are probably wondering about the vidders who do think permission is necessary and didn't give blanket permission. You're in luck! I'm going to talk about them now. You folks who only wanted to know the general gist of the results should feel free to leave (and go rec something), but if you're curious about the Deeper Issues, stick around. There's poll analysis and thinkiness and potentially incorrect theories. Fun for the whole family except the sane members, is my point there.

Further vid meta that is so long and so boring that it is under a cut tag for your protection. Click only if you have permission from your doctor to read 20-year-old computer manuals and earnest screeds on economics from the 1920s. )
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
This is the counterpart to the poll I posted earlier. (It, uh, had to undergo some revisions after the results of that poll.) And this one is for anyone who has ever seen a vid.

Again, feel totally free to pimp. I'd love to get a range of responses on this one.

After this, there'll be a round of vid meta coming out, but then I swear we'll go back to fan fiction. I'm really starting to miss recommending the written word.

[Poll #800594]
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
Recently, I have been doing some codeine-enhanced pondering of vids - specifically, linking to them or recommending them, and how we do that, and how we get permission to do that. (This was inspired by a discussion with someone, but I won't be mentioning her name unless she indicates that she wants me to.) Because in media fandom, my understanding is that fannish etiquette requires you to ask permission before you link to or recommend a vid. But I could be wrong. I have yet to get my hands on [ profile] miss_manners161's Guide to Fannish Etiquette. That thing is so damned hard to find.

So, in the absence of a definitive ruling, I thought I'd ask vidders.

There aren't, however, a lot of vidders reading this LJ, I don't think. And I'd like to get responses from as wide a cross-section of the vid-making community as possible. So, if you are a vidder (or, as AMV people put it, editor) - or if you aren't, but a lot of vidders read your LJ, or if you have the password to the Secret Clubhouse where all the cool vidkids hang out - could you please link to or pimp this? Great would be my joy and appreciation.

Obviously, only those with LJ accounts can take this poll, but anyone can comment anonymously. (Or, heck, email me if you like - thefourthvine at livejournal dot com will find me.)

And, just to repeat: this poll is for those who have vidded only. There will be a poll for non-vidders, though, coming soon.

[Poll #796561]
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
I'm just curious, really. I have a lot of half-finished FIHL posts sitting on my hard drive - all the ones listed below are somewhere between 1% and 80% complete - and I guess, now that I've finished with Smallville, I'm feeling a little...unfocused.

Pointers, anyone?

ETA: I have already done (in reverse order) Smallville, Stargate: Atlantis, The Fast and the Furious, Oz, Ocean's 11, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Master & Commander, due South, Pirates of the Caribbean, The Sentinel, and Lord of the Rings. Those can all be found at my Fandoms I Have Loved tag.

ETA2: Allow me to smack my forehead in a painful fashion, because I completely forgot to put on the poll two others that I have in progress: Harry Potter and the DCU. Memo to me: no more posting polls late at night.

[Poll #720893]
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
(Note: I'd like to get responses on this from as many different fan writers as possible. Anyone who pimps it will have my eternal gratitude. And if you leave a comment letting me know where you pimped it, you will get my eternal gratitude and an imaginary cookie.)

This poll is for anyone who has ever written fan fiction and in some way shared it - internet, zine, carrier pigeon, coded broadcast to Alpha Centauri, whatever.

So. If someone connected with the canon found and read your fan fiction, how would you react? For the purposes of this poll, I would like you all to imagine that we live in a world where there are no possible legal consequences. In other words, your weird new readers can hate you, but they can't take you to court or send a C&D.

[Poll #698126]
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
I recently became the proud possessor of a lot of assorted postcards - some gorgeous, some weird, some frankly hideous. (Look. We all have our weaknesses, and mine basically mean that you shouldn't ever, ever leave me alone with anything to do with paper. A stationery sale is like crack to me.) And, see, there's no real point in having postcards if you don't, you know, put them in the post.

So, do you want a postcard from me?

If your answer is, "Yes, TFV! It has long been one of my dreams to receive mail from you!" fill out the handy poll below (no one can see your responses but me), and make sure you tell me whether or not I can mention LJ or fandom on the card. (It will still be signed TFV, though. Keep that in mind.) And, okay. I don't want to friends lock this, but on the other hand, I only have so many postcards. It's unlikely that there will be more responses to this poll than there are cards for me to mail - I have lots - but just in case, know that I can't guarantee you will get a postcard. I think the odds are very good, though.

So. Give me a reason to interact with postal employees, people. Give me a reason to get to the post office and send all these packages I have waiting to go out. In short, give me your name (or a name) and address. (And especially do that if you were one of the lovely people who sent me a holiday card; I'd like to send some mailish love in the other direction for once.)

ETA: What, you guys thought I was kidding about the lots and lots of postcards? Because there are comments suggesting that I probably don't actually have, say, 90 or 100 to send out, simply because sane people don't buy that many postcards. So let me acquaint you with three quick facts:
  1. I am not sane when it comes to stationery. Seriously. This is not some minor, heroin-level habit I have here.
  2. This poll has not, as of this edit, hit the number of postcards I originally ordered.
  3. I, um. I ordered more. It was totally an accident; I was just looking, and then I fainted from postcard deprivation, and somehow I managed to enter my credit card number and click send with my nose while I was unconscious. And...and...and, look, let's not talk about my shame anymore.
My point is: I've still got postcards. Judging by my shopping habits, I pretty much always will.

[Poll #687434]
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
Except, see, I really don't want this to get wanky. I'm just not sure there's any way to discuss this without wank, although I'm going to try. Try really, really hard.

And please keep in mind, as you read this and select various boxes of clickiness, that I am not asking why no one loves me. Because, actually, I feel very loved. (Um, yeah, the title of the post and the poll would seem to argue otherwise, but my feeling is: if I'm going to post on a topic of potential wankiness, I might as well make fun of myself. That way, at least it will be amusing. To me, I mean.) LJ has been good to me.

It's just that anniversaries are much on my mind lately. (Best Beloved and I will be celebrating our, um, somethingth year together tomorrow. We still haven't figured out just what number year it is, though.) And my LJ anniversary is coming up, so I've been reflecting on it, in my usual mature, considered manner. ("Hmmm. Two years? Really?" [pause for thought] "Oooo! Porn!") And I've noticed that, over time, my experience of LJ has changed. For example, I'm much less likely to make friends (actual friends, not friends-list friends) now, and when I do, it's as a result of me seeking other people out.

Also, I've been getting strange responses to the comments I leave in other people's LJs lately. Used to be, people just responded. Or not. Whichever. Now - well, I sometimes get responses that indicate major astonishment that I commented on a friend's post at all.

This is weird. Isn't it? It's new to me, anyway, and therefore weird to me.

Admittedly, I'm not the biggest commenter; I don't comment on 99.5% of the posts I read, because I'm just not very social. (People who know me in real life are invited to take 10-15 minutes to laugh helplessly on the floor at that understatement.) But that's always been true, the not commenting and the not socializing. So I'm kind of wondering if the subtext of these new, weird responses is, "Wow. You actually came down from your high horse long enough to leave a comment in my LJ! A very long and pointless comment, let me add, which I'm kind of astonished you thought I'd be interested in." (Because when I do comment, I do it to excess. You should all be very glad I don't comment any more often, actually.) In other words, I'm wondering if my bad LJ habits (lack of comments, spotty replying, a dearth of posts) have made me something of, um, a Notorious B.I.T.C.H. (I'm spelling it! For purposes of delicacy! See? No wankiness here!)

Which, hey, if that's the case, I'm fine with it, actually. (Yet more evidence for bitch-hood, I realize.) But, okay. You know how we are all destined for hell because of all the fun we're having? I suspect I will not be frolicking on level 2 with the rest of you lusty folks, but rather wherever it is they store the excessively curious. (I'll be asking "Why?" in hell, in other words. This is a very suitable fate for me.) I'm okay with my LJ experience changing; I'm still having just as much fun here - more fun than is legal in most states, in fact. But I want to know why it's changed.

So I'm asking you.

But, seriously, this is not a request for you to tell me you love me. (Love doesn't need a season! Or a reason! Or a wankfest!) Instead, I invite you to speculate on why other people don't love me. Or, at any rate, why they seem unwilling to talk to me, and why they sometimes act shocked when I talk to them.

Plus, it's an occasion to post a poll. And is there ever a really bad reason to do that?

[Poll #671603]
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
It's the end of the year. We all have millions of new stories to read, and will shortly have even more. Many of us are hanging out with our families, which kind of inhibits porn consumption. So, obviously, it is not a time for recommending. Which means that it is time for invasive, involved questions.

Today's edition: your fandoms and mine. Tell me what you read and I will tell you what to read. And we will all get to Scotland at roughly the same time. (Sorry, but it sounded like it needed a chorus.)

This is your opportunity to influence the future, folks! I mean, only the future of this LJ. And probably - let's be honest here - not all that much influence, given that I hardly have influence on the content of this journal. But it will be interesting. For me, anyway. And for you, there's shiny happy ticky boxes. Everyone wins!

[Poll #639824]
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
I haven't been posting recently, mostly because of real life issues, none of which is amusing. But I'm trying to get back into the swing of things - if I don't post to LJ, eventually all of my writing starts to sound like I'm attempting to give orders to an eight-year-old without leaving any wiggle room the kid can later use to claim that it was not his fault because I never said not to set the house on fire.

But, unfortunately, my recs writing has been stalled by a cohort of evil bacteria. Turns out that if I'm entertaining myself for a full hour, between naps, with internet-based illness metaphors ("switching back to dial-up," for example, and you don't want to know what I did with "information super-highway," although I will note how proud I am that I managed, even in my weakened state, to make an obscene joke out of every word of that phrase), I'm not well enough to produce any recs sets, let alone ones I'd be willing to share with, well, anyone.

Still. I wanted to post something before I forgot my own journal password. What, I asked myself, is like posting, only less requiring of actual higher brain functions? Polls!

And this is a very good time for me to post a poll. For some time I've had a bunch of questions I wanted to ask you all - for example, who are you, and what are you reading, and also, how did you come to be here? So I seriously considered just re-running my first-ever poll.

Except, of course, that that would not count as any kind of writing at all. So I pondered for a bit (i.e., three naps), until I remembered a recent humiliation I suffered while attempting to explain a fandom kerfluffle to Best Beloved, who does not so much grok the fandom lifestyle. (Me:"See, okay, this one person said, okay, I'm not really sure because it's f-locked, but I do know that this other person said, um, something. About fans. Or fandom. Or maybe...huh. You know, I'm not really sure how it started, but what eventually happened was..." Best Beloved: "This is like high school, only in slow motion." Me: "Yes! Exactly!") My narration ground to a halt entirely - to, I suspect, the relief of all - when Best Beloved asked for a definition, with examples, of the term "Big Name Fan." At which point I was obliged to admit that I don't really know that.

Yeah. See, I know what the term means. Or, okay - I know what the initials stand for. But there's no handy index of name biggishness for individual fans. (Or maybe there is, and I just haven't found it yet; that would be fairly typical of my fannish experience to date.) Do I know any BNFs? Do I know of any? Have I been corresponding for years with one? There's no way to tell! So I exist in a very Zen zone when it comes to BNFs: I generally assume that either everyone is or no one is. Unfortunately, this did not satisfy Best Beloved's need for detailed, precise, and, ideally, thoughtfully indexed information.

Turns out there's a lot of shame in admitting to a loved one, whose good opinion you value and would like to keep, that you have been using a term for years without really understanding it.

No, I'm not going to ask you all to define BNF for me. I'm not insane, people. (Although if anyone wants to send me a handy link to the Index of Name Biggishness by Fan, really, my love for you will be intense.) I'm not actually going to ask you to define anything, since I'm not, you know, up to learning anything right now. Instead, I'm going to ask you your opinions of various concepts I have encountered within the fannish world. Together, we will make authoritative declarations about these things! And then, some other time, when I've regained the use of my brain, I will ask you to explain them to me.

[Poll #593002]
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
So, I've finished tagging all my entries. Notice my index posts that allow all of you, including anonymous users, access to all my tags.

Notice that they look fucking awful. And the print is tiny, so I'm not even sure anyone will use them. Plus, I seriously do not want these to be the top entries in my journal for however long it takes LJ to put a "Tags" link on the info page; looking at them depresses me, and I'm probably the only person who actually looks at my journal regularly outside of a friends list.

But, on the other hand, I did tag all those posts. I have no idea what the point was if I can't find a way to let everyone use them to search by fandom and theme. So this poll is asking, basically, for you to identify the lesser of the evils, because they all look fairly evil to me at this point.

And while you're here, could you weigh in on other appearance aspects of this journal? I mean, if I'm going to pitch a major wobbler over the hideousness of my index posts, surely I could also spare some time to worry about the fact that my journal is, well, pretty darned hideous? And that it may also make other people's friends lists hideous?

I mean, OK, I'm going to spare that time anyway, so I guess what I really want is for you to spare enough time to form an opinion. I would greatly appreciate it.

But mostly, please god someone tell me what to do about this whole tags issue, because - the horror. The horror. My dogs are averting their eyes from the screen, here. Dust mites are scoffing at my primitive grasp of website design. It's all very very bad and wrong. Help meeeeeee.

[Poll #518389]
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
It's time to discuss a very sensitive topic that I know you will all handle with maturity and respect for your classmates. Yes, it's time to discuss...orgasm.

I heard that, [ profile] makesmewannadie. One more remark out of you and you will be staying after class, young lady. Also, [ profile] fanofall? Don't think I don't see you rolling your eyes.

Yes, orgasm can be a beautiful thing. When a person (or assistive device) gives pleasure to another person, that's a lovely, selfless act, and one we - last warning, people - as mature adults can appreciate. Or mature teenagers. Whatever. 'People old enough for porn' is the concept I'm trying to get across here.

Of course, orgasm can also be, well, a little less than beautiful. Particularly in certain kinds of fictional endeavors. Because, see, sometimes a person can be reading along, and then there's a sudden incursion of screaming and fainting and smelling salts and Mr. Darcy with a riding crop, and that person might think, "Did I just take a detour from Smut Boulevard onto Victorian Novel Lane? I didn't know you could do that in spats." Or that person might think, "Jesus, what the hell is wrong with me? I've never done that."

And yet I know some of you out there in readerland have done that, and now is the time to tell me about it.

I'm trying to assuage my own fears of serious abnormality, here. (Yes, really. Well, mostly. Well, partly, anyway. But I also tend to assume anyone I can hear laughing is laughing at me. I never said I wasn't paranoid, if you think back.) I'm also trying to figure out how often these things honestly happen, and under what circumstances. (Because I am nosy. No, there is no better reason. What reason could be better than that?) So let's remember the honor system, OK?

And, truly, no shame attached, no matter what you answer. For one thing, I included in the list items I could answer 'yes' to, and I'm not going to tell you what they were. (Well, OK. Possibly with begging. The right kind of begging. But then, the right kind of begging can get pretty much anything from me.) This should encourage those of you who can answer 'yes' to any of these to believe I'm right there with you, just in case you forgot to bring your sex-positive confidence with you today. And since I can't answer 'yes' to all or even most of them, people who can't check anything should also believe they're in good company. (You can decide for yourself if I count as good company or not.) Furthermore, no one can see your answers, and you should feel free to comment anonymously. Internet + sex + anonymity is pretty much the recipe for sharing, isn't it? So share.

(Which also means, for the record, that if you folks want to pimp this I'd be grateful. I definitely want to hear from all of you, but it'd also be very cool to get answers from people other than the Egregiously Tasteful and Talented Cohort.)

Get busy, people. )
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
This post is friends-locked, not to exclude anyone, but because I can see how it could bite me on the butt. Once bitten, twice shy, and that goes double if it's my buttocks that are in jeopardy. (Which isn't to say no one can bite me on the butt, because, you know, some people are welcome to, know what? Let's not go there. There's knowledge man was not meant to know, and there's knowledge no reasonable person wants to know.) If all goes well, I'll unlock it in a few days, because I would really like to hear from everyone on this. (Note: now no longer friends-locked!)

Now, on to the pre-poll. (Please move in an orderly fashion. No flash cameras or video allowed. Not suitable for children under three.)

How do you recommend something that's flawed? My policy has always been that if I have to put in a caveat of any kind, I won't be recommending it. (There's a practical reason for this. Actually, two. First, if I start mentioning weaknesses and strengths, it's the first step on the slippery slope to balanced perspectives, and impartiality, and thought-provoking essays, and...look, I didn't start this LJ to reprise my college English classes. I live two blocks from a college. If I wanted to write papers, I could go do it for post-graduate credit; here, I want to be idiosyncratic and personal and wildly biased. Second reason - fandom is wonderful. But it's also a bit bitey, if you see what I mean. A lot of authors view their stories as babies (boy, did I learn that one the hard way, when I was young and relatively pure), and they respond instinctively and violently to any criticism, no matter how constructive or carefully-phrased or accurate or surrounded by truthfully positive remarks. I don't need more flames, thanks.)

The no-recommending-if-it's-got-a-flaw-worth-mentioning policy has worked for more than a year. But over that year, my list of stories that I consider unrecommendable but still want to keep and re-read has grown and grown. It contains two major categories of problem stories:
  • Older stories. These mostly come from older fandoms and they're written to outdated conventions. You know the kind I mean. Purple prose, and romance-novel language, and soul-searing kisses in the Rain of Nebulous Angst, and, look. I can handle all that stuff. In the presence of sufficient brilliance, I can even ignore it. But in the oldest fandoms, it was the default writing style; everything seems to have been written with Barbara Cartland firmly in mind. (Yes, there are exceptions. Many exceptions. I'm generalizing here, so stay with me.)

    There are other problems with the older stuff, too - for example, things that we now consider the worst kind of cliche (yes, there are good cliches; I love many of them), presented with painful sincerity. Yes, I know they weren't cliches then. It doesn't help as much as you'd hope. Or - no, never mind with the list-making, because this isn't a rant. Let me just say instead that fandom has changed a lot since Kirk and Spock were staring into each other's blazing eyes, hardly daring to hope that this one poignant gesture of agonizing, consuming, soul-burning passion could be forgiven, and I'm happy with most of those changes. But there are some good stories from those days. Some great ones, too.

  • Cracked diamonds. These are unrecommendable because of a serious problem. Many of them are are visibly, noticeably, and highly regrettably unbeta'd. Others have a fucked up plot, or tin-ear dialog, or a character doing an absolutely out-of-character thing, or a writing experiment that didn't quite work. The list goes on and on. And yet, some of these stories also have elements that are sheer genius. It's not surprising. After all, these are the authors who aren't afraid to try experiments, right? Some work. Some really don't. And sometimes the working and the non-working are in the same story, unfortunately.

    I recently read a story that had a scene that was perfect. That scene was - OK, I think I can give some specifics without revealing too much. It was a Smallville story, and it was the Clark-finally-tells-Lex scene. (Not about the gay gay love. Lex already knows about that, or he's not as smart as he thinks he is. About the Alien Among Us thing.) And it was the best I've ever seen it done, just amazing, so perfectly written and in character and right that I wanted to weep. And then I realized that the story could never be recommended unless a good beta got ahold of it and did some very thorough work, and then I really wanted to weep. I have a lot of these stories, especially in fandoms beginning with 'S' (And has anyone ever noticed just how many fandoms do begin with 'S'? If I was making a new TV show, I'd call it Staruniverse. Maybe Super Sexy Staruniverse.) - SG1, SGA, SV, SW, and The Sentinel, which might or might not be an S-fandom.
I want to recommend these stories. Badly, in certain cases. But I have no means to do so, because my own rules prohibit recommending any story if I need to add a warning. (I do occasionally warn. But only about potentially disturbing content, or very rarely about first-level beta stuff - lots of usage mistakes, basically. Not about more serious or pervasive problems.)

So. On to the poll.

Riddle me this. )
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
In America at this time of year, we get extremely used to answering invasive questions from total strangers. So I thought I'd conduct a poll that could yield potentially interesting results.

Basically, I'm curious about how you handle the interaction between your real life and your fan life; as someone who just recently invited a real-life, pre-fandom friend to view this rather fannish LJ, I find this a topic of relevance right now. And it's sure less depressing than all the political polls I've been reading.

Tell me all your secrets. Well, OK, just a couple. )
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
I'd like to know more about y'all, and I'd like to play with my new paid user status. I blended these two yens, and voila! An excessively long, dull poll. I'll be delighted if you complete it, but don't feel, you know, obligated or anything. Next entry, I'll return to my usual fan fiction fangirlishness.

[Poll #322234]


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