thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
Recently, I experienced what was apparently a fever-related critical intelligence failure and imported all my bookmarks to del.icio.us.

There were 4000 of them.

Three thousand of those were fannish.

I expect that sorting, tagging, and fixing those 3000 will take me approximately the rest of my life.

But this process, though apparently interminable, is also interesting, because I've realized that these bookmarks are my fannish history. Looking at them, I can see precisely where and how I started reading fan fiction (you don't want to know, and I don't want to tell you), how long it took me to find good fan fiction (so painfully long that I'm still not sure why I didn't give up), when fan fiction became an all-consuming hobby, displacing all my others (October, 2003). And what interests me most of all is that, in retrospect, I can see which bookmarks are epochal.

And, hey. If I'm going to wade through my fannish history, why not share? So here it is: A History of TFV as a Young Fan: A Tale Told in Links. (Part one. I'm only up to August 2004 in my bookmarks.)

The One That Gave Me Hope: Silence, by [livejournal.com profile] cinzia.

In the summer of 2003, I was, as had become my custom, browsing around archives of LotR fan fiction, and what I was finding was, well, basically really horrible. I would get a list of all the stories in a given site, and I would go through them methodically, and inevitably I would end up reading something involving Legolas braiding Boromir's hair and making daisy chains that involved actual flowers. (Or, god forbid, orcs. Or, typically, both.)

I was tough, then, a brave young fan, not crabbed and aged as I am today. But even so, it was, well, disheartening. I loved the concept too much to give up, and I loved my brain, my eyes, and the English language too much to keep reading. Those were hard times, is what I'm saying. Then, on a magical day in July 2003, I bitched about this to Best Beloved.

Me: My god, every story on this site is from hell. These people obviously don't know English and yet they insist on writing entire conversations in Elvish. Also, someone needs to explain to these people that quotes from Nickleback and original Elvish poetry do not belong in the same damn story. Or even in separate ones, actually.
Best Beloved: Huh. Maybe you should, um, stop?
Me, helplessly: I can't.

[There is a pause while we both consider how pathetic this is.]

BB: So what are you reading right now?
Me, staring dispiritedly at the screen: Something about Aragorn crying because Legolas - oh, wait, sorry, Leggy - doesn't love him enough. With apostrophe-laden plurals. And - oh, god - Elvish love juice.
BB, clearly impressed: Wow. This I have to see.

[BB sits down at the computer. Two minutes pass.]

BB: I don't know what you're complaining about. This isn't so bad.
Me, bitterly: Well, maybe you and Leggy can consummate your love in a wooded glade with a series of random dots pretending to be ellipses, then.
BB: No, really. Read this. It's pretty good.

"This," as it turned out, was Silence, and it was the best story I'd read in LotR fandom. (Best Beloved, I feel the need to note here, had found it with a single random click. I had been diligently clicking on LotR FF for months, and I hadn't found anything even approaching readable, but - I'm totally over it. Delighted that BB could help me find the way, even if the way was apparently random clicking by someone other than me. Absolutely. Fucking. Delighted.)

I'd learned an important truth: the good stuff was out there. Of course, I still didn't have a clue how to find it. But that was, in comparison to the good stuff not actually existing, a really minor problem.

The One That Made Me Understand That Fandom Is a Conversation: The Elements of Slash: Inside the Wacky, Weird World of "Lord of the Rings" Slash Fiction, by Morgan Richter.

I started in fandom as an entirely passive consumer of fan fiction. I thought things about it - a lot of things, including that Legolas should never, ever be called "Leggy" - but I didn't articulate those things (excepted in hand-wavy dinner conversations), and I sure never considered that other people might be thinking about them, too.

Then, in September of 2003, I found this essay while randomly googling. (And, oh, until I saw some of the other links I'd bookmarked around that time, I'd almost forgotten how sad the random google phase of a fan's life is. Thank god for discoveries like this.) It was a revelation. There was another person out there! And she was interested in slash, and yet she could spell and punctuate and totally understood that in a reasonable universe, no one would ever have to read the phrase "his milky alabaster skin."

I was amazed. And pleased. And once I knew that this fans-discussing-fandom-and-fan-fiction stuff existed, I started looking for it. In short order, I found The Fanfic Symposium, and from there I branched out all over. I found the Mary Sue Litmus Tests and spent a happy evening reading about the ecology of the strange creature known as Mary Sue. (As I was going through the del.icio.us links, I realized the original Mary Sue Litmus Test, which I joyfully bookmarked three years ago, had been written by someone I read every day here on LJ. So, hey, [livejournal.com profile] mtgat! I've apparently been loving your work way longer than I thought.)

The picture of fandom in my head started to change. I no longer imagined random individuals writing and other random individuals reading, all in strange solitude. I realized that fandom was a community, a community of people thinking about stuff, paying attention to it, talking about it, writing about it. My picture of the average fan changed, too, from a 14-year-old girl posting, "OMG I just saw part of Felowship and Orli is so HAWTTTT I had to write this! It's my first time! Review lots or NO MORE updates!!!!" to someone - well, interesting. Someone I might want to know.

Someone I might want to be.

The Fellowship of the Rings made me read fan fiction. But meta made me a fan.

The One That Gave Me Half of My Forty-or-So Fandoms: Out of Whack, by Bone, aka [livejournal.com profile] thisisbone, and Aristide, aka [livejournal.com profile] cimmerians*.

I spent the fall of 2003 exploring fandom and reading obsessively. (Or, okay, I've done that since the fall of 2003, but I'm specifically talking about then.) I learned that maybe random archives weren't my friend. More importantly, I learned that another not-my-friend thing was kind of integral to fandom. Namely, television.

I know a lot of people have a great relationship with television and I'm very happy for you (and by "happy" I mean "seething with sickening envy"), but mine has always been kind of a - well, let me put it this way. I just turned to Best Beloved and said, "I need an analogy for my relationship with television. I was thinking in terms of Kate and Petruchio, but that doesn't quite do it, somehow."

Best Beloved said: "Guido and those people who miss their payments to the mob. Or Henry the VIII and most of his wives." See. I just. It has never worked out between TV and me. I've tried, and so have several tireless, courageous souls, and I've gotten a lot better - I've probably managed to get all the way from Anne Boleyn to Anne of Cleves (TV, of course, is playing Henry VIII). But still. TV/TFV is never going to be a pairing of legend, unless the legend involves a lot of headaches, stupid questions, avoidance, and humiliating misunderstandings.

But I was learning that most major fandoms were TV shows. I felt - well, hampered. But in November 2003, I clicked on Out of Whack. Some careful reading later, I learned a great truth: fan fiction can be canon-optional. Later, I learned that I am actually much more likely to enjoy reading the fan fiction if I don't know the canon when I start, and TV fandoms became my happy home.

Due South, Sports Night, SG1, SGA, Smallville - I have all those fandoms, and many more, because of this story, because of the lesson it taught me. And that lesson is: stories about a guy listening to his "roommate" jerking off are the Rosetta Stones of fandom. The sex provides, um, helpful keys, and I can kind of build the rest of the canon's grammar and lexicon from there. (Actually, I would soon acquire an unholy passion for reconstructing canon from fan fiction. But that's a story for Part Two.)

Suddenly, my fannish reading wasn't limited by anything other than my interest, my time, my preferences, and my squicks. In any reasonable movie, this is the place where "Ode to Joy" would start playing.

The One That Gave Me This LJ: Confidence Men, by Dorinda.

In January 2004 I heard about [livejournal.com profile] yuletide, and I was pathetically excited. I had developed a great love of small fandoms, and this was clearly the small-fandom-lover's holy grail.

I went to the archive and did my usual hopeful clicking. (Note: Yuletide is pretty much the only archive on the planet where this strategy regularly works for me. Yet more proof that it is a Christmas Miracle.)

My first click took me to Confidence Men. I was stunned. It was beyond good, beyond great; it was perfect. And I felt, welling up inside, something very familiar to me and every religious weirdo on this earth: the urge to proselytize.

See, when I read something wonderful, I want to tell everyone about it, get everyone to read it. I just can't bear to think of those sad, lonely, damned souls, unaware of the joy and peace they can find in the holy embrace of really good reading material. But at that point in my life, I had no outlet for my proselytizing urge. (Free advice: when you meet a proselytizer with no pulpit, run. In. Fear. The urge is so strong that, if not given a regular outlet, it can build to the point where the proselytizer is grabbing random strangers on the street and shouting, "OMG Ted Chiang read him now or you will BURN BURN BURN!") I'd been reviewing books, and that was a perfect way for me to meet my proselytizing needs without becoming (more of) a menace to society, but then my family found my book reviews, and I couldn't write them anymore. (For reasons unknown, I can share things with the entire internet or with people related to me by blood. Not both.)

So. It's January 2004. I have just read Confidence Men and told Best Beloved about it. And I need to tell other people, but - who is left to tell? (Yes, I did tell Dorinda, but, um. At that point, I wasn't exactly ready for prime time in the area of actual fannish communication. I mean, some would say I'm still not there yet, but I definitely wasn't there then. Dorinda was incredibly kind and good-natured about the whole thing, although I've always wondered if she passed my email around to her friends with, like, "Warning: Total Whackjob" in the subject line. I would've deserved it.) The urge to share the fabulousness - convert people to it, even - built and built and built, and by March 2004, when I set up this LJ at the encouragement of some folks from the late lamented Fametracker Forums - well. I pretended I wasn't going to post. But I wasn't even fooling myself, not really.

The One That Gave Me a Look at How the Other Half Lives: Untitled, by, well, me.

Obviously, I wouldn't recommend my own story - and if I did, for the record, it would not be this one - but this isn't a recs set. It's a history of my fannish evolution. And this was a big change for me; it gave me a sort of fannish superbranchial organ, and suddenly I could breathe on land for short periods. (The story also ushered in the Era of Having a Secret LJ, about which I will only say that it proved that I am much too lazy to have secrets. I came out as a fan fiction writer because I just could not take all the work, the intense and demanding labor, of logging out and logging back in every time I wanted to reply to a comment.)

Until the summer of 2004, I didn't think I was a fan fiction writer. Sure, I'd written my share of humiliating-to-recall pre-fandom fan fiction; like, in second grade, when we were assigned to write a paragraph about a book we'd read, I wrote about 35 pages of Laura Ingalls Wilder's diary. And turned it in the next day. Let's just say I probably deserved the weird evaluations that that teacher gave me for the rest of the year. (All right. In all honesty, I got them before, too; I was the bad kind of special. But after I handed in that masterpiece, I have to assume she thought I was the really bad kind of special.)

But before Sports Night, I had no desire or ability to write fan fiction.

And then I actually watched some canon, and I realized I could hear the characters in my head. (Still can. Danny and Casey: always in my heart and always in my mind.) Yeah, yeah - bad kind of special, all right, I know. But I wrote it down and posted the sucker.

Here's the thing. This didn't just make me realize I could do something I was sure I couldn't. It also changed the way I interacted with fandom and canons. Writing fan fiction, taking an active, interactive approach to the canon, made me - well. I can't really quantify the change, except to say that I no longer saw canons as static, or unchangeable, or even privileged. (I've always seen books that way, sure, but TV - well, I'd just kind of figured it knew best.)

In other words, after I wrote this, I started interacting with canons the same way I always had with fan fiction: evaluating, analyzing, criticizing, changing. (I've written more fan fiction for fan fiction than for all my canons put together, and I started writing that long before I started this story. I've continued stories, I've remixed them, I've written sequels and missing scenes and fixes. I don't share this stuff, obviously - well, except for when I'm playing with [livejournal.com profile] z_rayne's work, since she loves to see what other people do with her toys even when what they do is pretty dorky and eternally unfinished.)

And there endeth part one. In part two, assuming I survive the links, we'll see Godzilla on the rampage in downtown Tokyo. Well, no - what we'll see, mostly, is TFV dancing on the slippery, slippery slope. But I will try to throw in some roaring and stomping, because, as we all know, added giant mutant lizards = added giant mutant fun!

-Footnote-

* Thanks, [livejournal.com profile] sockkpuppett!
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
The sad part is, I'm still not done. But this is part three of the Insane Vid Recs Project (no, I did not pick January for this just because of all the Insane January Vidding Projects going around; it's just a happy, crazy coincidence). Feel free to truck on back to parts two and one. You will particularly want to read the explanation of why you should not be taking my vid advice, which is back in the first one. (Short answer: I have no idea what I'm talking about. But I'm enthusiastic. Which unfortunately doesn't really make up for my total lack of any kind of, you know, actual vidding knowledge.)

Before we begin, though, another community rec. You (and, yes, I do mean you specifically) should check out [livejournal.com profile] vidder_weekly, a new all-fandoms vidding newsletter that seems to be working like a combination of the standard fandom newsletter - all the vids your bandwidth can handle! - and [livejournal.com profile] metafandom, but with just vidding meta. (Yes, there is vidding meta, and the skilled LJer with pretty much infinite time and a mouse finger made of steel and coiled springs can find it on her own. For the rest of us, though, it's nice to have the summary.)

Lord of the Rings


The Vid I Love Even Though the First Time I Watched It I Managed to Screw up So Badly That the Audio and Video Tracks Weren't Synched. I Could Still Tell It Was Good - Seriously, That's How Good It Is. But I Really Loved It After I Fixed My Little Configuration Issue, Let Me Tell You. Desperation Song, by Wolfling, aka [livejournal.com profile] wolfling, and Magpie, aka [livejournal.com profile] mogigraphia.

Availability: All the time; scroll down until you see it. Also, that thing about emailing Wolfling for the better-quality version of the vid? Do that. The bigger one is gorgeous and wonderful and just so, so much better. Definitely worth the time to drop Wolfling a line. (There's no qualifying test or anything, either; she just emails you the link. I feared some kind of, I don't know, trivia question, or maybe a close examination on the condition of my soul. But, no, turns out not. Which, given my soul, is just as well.)

Sometimes I watch vids and think, "Oh, that song would work in any fandom." Sometimes I think, "Um, vidder? Why did you pick this song for this fandom?" (This is actually a fairly frequent occurrence in LotR vids; I tend to think of this as the Fandom of Inappropriate Song Choices.) But sometimes my thoughts are more along the lines of, "Oh my god so perfect." This is one of those cases; this vid inextricably welded Desperation Song to Lord of the Rings in my mind. (To the point where I have to make a serious mental adjustment when someone uses it in another fandom. I always spend the first thirty seconds going, "But, but, but! Where's Gandalf?") It's just - well, not to belabor a word or anything, but - perfect. If you're not familiar with the song, just consider the title alone. Desperation is pretty much the key note of the entire trilogy - well, that and friendship. (I know. I know. But we're just ignoring the slash for the moment. I realize this is a revolutionary concept coming from me, so feel free to take a moment to wrap your mind around it.) The strength of the trilogy really is the relationships between the characters, and that's what this is about. Plus, you know, havoc, destruction, swords, and rings. Which is also a big part of the trilogy. Look, this is pathetic; I'm on the verge of saying "general-interest vid," which is the lamest term ever, because I can't think of another way to say "like the movies, only shorter." Just - go. Watch. And I'll stay here and contemplate my inadequate vocabulary.

The Vid That Gives Me Extremely Unfortunate AU Ideas. I Mean, Ideas Even Worse Than the One Where Sheppard Is Aragorn and McKay Is Gandalf and Ford Is Frodo and There Is No Sex of Any Kind. I Alone, by Jenn Miller, aka [livejournal.com profile] zeromuchjenn.

Availability: All the time.

I have a confession. I love the One Ring. I mean, yes, I know it has, like, a seriously evil, soul-sucking, menacing menace of Menaceville thing going on, but that is why I love it. So small! So pretty! So round and helpless! Except for the way it is totally, totally not. It rises above its handicaps to achieve serious fucking scariness. You have to admire that. Or I do. (My unfortunate AU idea involves re-writing LotR as a tragedy: the plucky little ring overcoming long odds as it desperately works its way back to its one true love, only to have defeat snatched from the jaws of victory by various people who are either much too dirty or much too pretty to be at all trustworthy.) So I have a special folder of vids that pay tribute to the almighty One Ring (we will not at this time discuss the other folder, the one with Ring pairing vids, because really my Ring fixation is already shameful enough), and this is, I think, my favorite. I mean, seriously: who could hear the words "I alone love you, I alone tempt you, fear is not the end of this" and not think One Ring? Okay, possibly the songwriter had something else in mind. But I can't see what. It is the Ring! To the life! And its unhealthy relationships with a wide variety of people! Go watch. And admire the One Ring That Could.

The Vid That Starts with Elvish Titles. It Is the Coolest Thing Ever, and, Um. Did I Just Make My Total Pathetic Geekhood Irrevocably Obvious There? Disappearing Man, by Melina, aka [livejournal.com profile] melina123, and Jo, aka [livejournal.com profile] feochadn. (Sorry, Jo!)

Availability: All the time - scroll down to the LotR section. And if you're going to download all the vids in this post, which I obviously recommend, then keep this page open.

Melina makes gorgeous Lord of the Rings vids. I don't want to devolve into third-rate movie reviewer language here, but, seriously, lyrical is one of the few words I can think of that really describes them. She has a wonderful way of matching movement to music, and of making seamless clips and edits - I can't describe it (well, obviously), and I sure don't know what she's doing, but her vids give me a palpable sensation of being moved through a story the same way I am when read: I don't notice my eyes moving, I don't notice the physical progression, but the movement is there, and the story just flows along with it. For someone as non-visual as I am, that is a rare and wonderful thing. And although I adore every one of her vids and fully intend to rec them all (if you're going to be downloading them now, let me warn you that I cannot even stand to watch "When I Go" right now, because it is somehow even sadder than the Boromir portions of the actual movies), I think this one may be my favorite of hers. I love the way it focuses on just one piece of the trilogy; it's the story of Aragorn, Arwen, Eowyn, and Faramir, and somehow it's a much more moving, coherent tale when it's presented on its own like this. The vid acts as, like, a magnifying glass, turning these three romance arcs into one complete, full story. And in that, Melina does one better than either Tolkien or Peter Jackson, and I love her for it.

(Side note: does anyone have a copy of this song? It's Disappearing Man, by Dave Carter and Tracey Grammer. Please?) Got it, thanks!

Highlander


The Vid That Probably Makes Best Beloved Somewhat Nervous These Days. Don't Mind Me, by Killa, aka [livejournal.com profile] killabeez.

Availability: All the time. Scroll down to the Highlander section. And don't close the page yet. We're not finished.

Killa has a gift, and she uses it for evil. Specifically, she uses it for bending people to her every whim. I just - seriously. Watch her vids and you will develop an interest in her fandoms totally against your will. All her Highlander vids are excellent, but this one is a special favorite of mine, because it is the archetypal slash vid. This - this is how vidders force us to switch our stance on a given pairing from "really, really not interested" to "OTP of great and lasting permanentness, and death to she who violates it in any way." Although, in all honesty, I should warn you that I am perhaps not 100% normal on these things, because, okay, see. I was discussing with Best Beloved which HL vid I'd be recommending, and we had the following conversation:

Me: Oh, Don't Mind Me! That's such a fabulous vid! And it has the best clipping and song lyric choice ever for my favorite Methos/Duncan slashy moment. [Note: Going, um. Solely on vids, of course. There may be better slash moments in the actual canon.]
BB: Oh, the thing where Methos looks like he's going to come from having Duncan's [hee!] sword at his throat?
Me: That's a great moment, but no.
BB: The nose-painting thing? Is that in there?
Me: Partly, and no. Although, again, fine and excellent bit.
BB, making a face of thoughtfulness: One of the [nine million] times Methos obviously checks Duncan out? [Best Beloved is not kidding, here. There are many, many shots in which Methos might just as well be saying, "Oh, to hell with this whole swordfighting thing. Let's spend the rest of eternity fucking. Starting right now, you big lug, you." Often there is a pause in the middle while he inspects something roughly at the level of Duncan's waist. His sword, probably.]
Me, in a tone of voice that may have been, in retrospect, perhaps just the teeniest bit too sincere: No! It's the scene where Methos shoots Duncan.
BB: *surprised face*
Me: It's just very...see, and then he shoots him, and it's just...okay. I think it's a sign of true love.
BB: *look of transfixed horror combined with a kind of "How did I get myself hooked up with this person?" expression*
Me, muttering defiantly: I don't care. It is a wonderful and slashy scene. It is.
BB: *departs, presumably to search the house for guns*

So, you know, obviously I'm not right in the head. But I love the way Killa uses that bit in this one. I also love her other editorial choices, here. Truly, this should be required viewing for all aspiring slash vidders. And Highlander deniers. And also everyone else. (And don't miss the shooting scene, people! It's very romantic! Really!)

(Side note: I also would be delighted if anyone had a copy of this one. Don't Mind Me, by Lucy Kaplansky.) Thanks!

Star Trek


The Vid That Is So Wrong It's Right. Seriously. If You Came up with This Vid, You'd Sedate Yourself, and You Would Be Right to Do So. But Somehow It Works As Few Things Have Ever Worked. It Is One of the Great Mysteries of Vidkind. Closer, by Killa, aka [livejournal.com profile] killabeez, and T. Jonesy. Does anyone know if she has a LiveJournal or something?

Availability: All the time. As you might expect, you can find this one in the Star Trek section. And that's it for that page, so you can close it now. Although there are many other excellent vids there. For the record.

I'm hoping every single person out there has already seen this. If you have not, do not read further. Go download and watch this right now. Go. The link is up there, and you will not regret it, and do not give me any crap about how you don't like Star Trek, or you don't know Star Trek, or you can't tell a Klingon from a...whatever the other thing is. (No, really. Don't even try. I had to look up how to spell Klingon and I love this vid.) Spock's the taller, slightly slumpy one who wears too much eyeshadow, and Kirk is the shorter, yellower one, and that's all you need to know. Go on. You will enjoy this even more if you are unspoiled; I was, and I can still taste the shock and joy.

Okay. So now everyone has seen this, yes? So I am spoiling nothing when I say that this is an example of two of my favorite vid genres. First, we have the "There's no rational way that could work in this fandom, and yet somehow..." genre, which applies to everything in this vid, from song choice to concept to the sepia tone. Sepia! In science fiction! No. Except, oh my god yes. And then we have the "changing the meaning and tone of the canon completely" thing, which, again, yes. I just - I really like that, okay? I love that someone can take source that is (Am I allowed to say this? Will it instigate a riot?) a wee bit cheesy (And, look. If you are going for the pitchforks and torches right now, keep in mind that I've just seen the one episode, and it was from early in the first season, so maybe later on they got a production budget. Also, I'm entirely willing to grant that that woman's hair probably looked cooler in the 1960s. And, you know, the writing - which was basically fan fiction, minus the actual sex-orgy-angst - made it well worth the overexposure to aluminum foil.) and turn it into - well, this. I mean, Jesus Christ. Spock does things to Kirk that I am quite certain he never did in the canon, and yet I could almost swear they show it in the vid. (I know they didn't. But I still think of this vid as the one with the non-con buttsex, which shows how suggestive really effective cutting and song choice can be.)

Ocean's 11


The Vid That Makes It Very Clear That Rusty Needs Only One Thing, by Which I Mean Only One Person, and No, That Is Not Just My Personal Bias Speaking. Or It Might Be, but If It Is, Don't Tell Me. Let Me Stay in My Happy Place, Okay? Tumbling Dice, by Gwyneth, aka [livejournal.com profile] gwyn_r.

Availability: All the time. You will need to email Gwyn for a password. It's worth it, I promise. And she has many excellent vids, including one I hope to be recommending very soon, so, really, you might as well get the password now.

The thing about Ocean's 11 that is very hard to address in fan fiction is the, um, feel of the movie. I don't really know how else to describe it. (Actually, this is something that's true in lots of fandoms; the vids convey the feel of the canon better than the FF can. It's one of the many reasons why I strongly advocate vid watching for those of us who may never see the canon even though we read a lot of the FF.) And for me, Ocean's 11 feels - retro. Not, like, old-fashioned, but deliberately, intensely retro. (It could just be Rusty's shirts, which are an education in the shinier periods in the history of men's fashion, but I don't think so. It's the lighting. And, um, stuff.) And I really like it when vids acknowledge that or play with it, which is exactly what this one does, from the font of the credits through the nifty sliding-screen thingy (um, I don't know the term for it, but when the screen slides to change clips, that's what I'm talking about) to the music. (And oh my god. I just watched this vid for the nth time to find out what the music was, and it's the Rolling Stones. Thank god I checked that before I used the phrase "vaguely country, vaguely funky music," as I am pretty sure that's not an appropriate way to describe, you know, these guys. Who I have nearly forgiven for being my mother's favorite band. I'm working on it, anyway.) And this vid focuses on my own personal favorite aspect of Ocean's 11, which, um - did I need to tell anyone that that was the pairing? No. Okay. I love the way Gwyn captures just about every eyefuck and do-me-do-me-now look between Danny and Rusty and then backs them up with the music in such a way that, to me, Rusty seems to be asking Danny to roll him. And I could give you other reasons for watching this vid, but after that, do you need them? I mean, loads of retro + scads of sexual tension = Ocean's 11 to the life + very compelling reason to watch this vid. An equation of sheer sexy joy!

The Vid That Will Remind You of That One Time (Surely It Was Just the One Time, Right?) When You Took Some Moderately Illicit Chemicals. Do Not Adjust Your Monitor. It's the Vidder Who Is on Speed, Not You. Would You?, by Shalott, aka [livejournal.com profile] astolat.

Availability: All the time. Scroll on down.

Okay, let's get the disclaimer portion of this out of the first, shall we? See, I have, um, beliefs about Ocean's 11. The movie, I mean. Like, to me the whole caper seems basically like Danny's sorry-gift to Rusty. Sort of like flowers, except instead it's the vault of three casinos. And because of the way this vid starts out and the song it uses, I tend to see it as supporting my point of view. Extensively. But I am not, you know, totally biased; I can also see the vid Shalott actually did make in here. It's a general interest vid! (Yes, my vocabulary is still inadequate. Someone want to give me a Vidding Word a Day desk calendar?) And shiny! And it uses a song that is just perfectly suited to the source, what with the retro and sort of, um, brassy sound. (Seriously. I need that calendar.) And also there's the whacked-out thing with speed (not the drug, the, um, passage of time thing) that Shalott did. I mean, who makes a vid where most of the shots are speeded way, way up? Well, Shalott, apparently. And it works; this is another one that feels just like the movie. The pacing matches, somehow. That's pretty much what Ocean's 11 was - a lot of shiny stuff going by really really fast so that no one would, um, think about it too closely, and then everything slowing way, way down when two people looked at each other. (Like, for example, Danny and Rusty. Not that it was only them! No! I understand that it was everyone, that the glory of a movie like this isn't the plot but the people and how they work and play together. All the people. Not just, you know, two guys who happened to have enough sexual chemistry that they required their own OSHA regulations.) So this is one of those vidding concepts that would never work on paper but that works wonderfully in practice. You want this vid. Almost as much as Danny and Rusty want each other.
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
So. Yesterday evening as I was making dinner, Best Beloved said to me, in very firm tones: "No more whining about having a real life. Just post, you fucker."

Best Beloved does not normally talk like that. (In our house, I'm the one who uses profanity like salt.) So I got the message. (Which was, for the record: Post. You fucker.)

And, okay, fine. I have been informed that, in interests of accuracy, I should also share with you the conversation we were having immediately prior to that. See, I was being surprised because I found someone on my friends list complimenting me. In the past tense. (As in, "Yeah, TFV used to post great recs.") Compliments are always nice, of course, but I was whining that I was not dead and gone, and BB was making the point that for all most of you know, I could be.

I'm sure this insight into Life with TFV and Best Beloved has been fascinating and inspirational to you all. Never say I do not provide gripping content. Or, I mean, you can if you want, because, um. It's pretty much true.

And to illustrate that, let's move on to topic B of tonight. See, [livejournal.com profile] lcsbanana has this interesting post in which she invites authors to volunteer to be subjected to audience commentary. I found this an incredibly nifty concept, and I was even more enthralled after I realized how many authors I read and love are on that list. So I thought I would, you know, pony up with some commentary.

Unfortunately, I recently learned, in the course of attempting to do a DVD track type thing with [livejournal.com profile] makesmewannadie on our jointly-written tentacle porn, that I have no idea how to do commentary. Apparently I should've been taking notes or something when other people did theirs, because, wow. I always have something to say, true, but I suspect that for this kind of thing what I'm saying needs to be, you know. Coherent. Relevant. Basically, things that I am not. And if I have no idea how to do author commentary, I am doubly in the dark on the audience commentary thing.

So I thought I'd retreat to what I know, which is recommendations. But this is a set with a difference, in that it is unthemed and assembled entirely from stories (that I already had decided to rec) written by people from [livejournal.com profile] lcsbanana's list. Also, I will be taking a wild stab at actual thoughtful commentary here. This will not, of course, be a line-by-line thing, with quotes from the story and all. I could no more do that than I could soar with the eagles, people.

And if you haven't ticked [livejournal.com profile] lcsbanana's box (um...yeah, that didn't sound good, but I'm sure she'll take it well) and you'd enjoy seeing audience commentary on your work, really, don't let me discourage you. It's a wonderful concept, and I have to think that everyone else who participates in it (...and everyone else on the planet) will be better at it than me.

In fact, it might be best to tick now, before you get a look at what I did.

Yes. That would be for the best.

Also, I promise that I won't be doing story summaries this long again. It got all out of control on me.

(Secret message to all who sent me birthday gifts and wishes: LJ and I had some issues there for a while, mostly involving me not getting informed of comments. But now both LJ and I have our acts more or less together at nearly the same time, which is indeed rare, and you should be getting individual thanks from me shortly. In the meantime, know that you all - including all three of you lurkers - have made me a very happy woman. Thank you.)

Best FF That Will Make You Picture Tim Drake in a Padawan Braid. After Which You Will Never Be the Same, I'm Warning You Here and Now. Flamebird, by [livejournal.com profile] monkeycrackmary. Star Wars x DCU, gen. When I was 16, my then-boyfriend introduced me to comics. He was a Marvel guy, but he still had some affection for Batman, and he gave me a quick summary of the DCU. (I know. Quick summary = useless summary in any comics canon. I said he was a Marvel guy, right? He gave me so much detail about the X-Men that I'm still in therapy.) He explained about the Robins - or, as he called them, Real Robin and Not Robin. His description of Jason Todd, aka Not Robin, was, in toto: "A placeholder, and kind of a brat." That's pretty much the image I carried of Jason until I found FF, which changed me. (Yes, I know. It changes us all. But this was a change that was entirely g-rated, and that has to have some kind of rarity value.) Why do I tell you this? Because this story makes Jason so very real. It makes me hurt for Jason. Here, that's exactly what he (okay, Jay) is: a placeholder. This is a story, yes, and a great one, but for me it's also as a weird meta thing on how Jason was treated in the Batman series; as far as I can tell, to the extent I can look back past all the crises and reloads and everything, that was pretty much like Jay is treated here.

The other Robins are also here, being very much themselves; I doubt I need to express my joy at the perfection of Tim in this story, but I should mention (because I have no dignity left to lose) that I squeaked when I first read the words "Master Greyson." (I'm sorry. It's the DCU. It does that to me.) And there's someone else who isn't here, but is still everywhere in this story: Anakin Skywalker. (Secret message to George Lucas: This is how Anakin's story should have gone, and I don't forgive you just because you had to make the end of 3 match up to the start of 4 (which, also - you didn't). We manage to work around your screwy canon, so I have no sympathy for you at all if you can't.) I love the way I can see an actual character for Anakin around the edges of this, way more than I did in episodes one and two (I just wimped out on three; I couldn't face it at all). So. Anakin's here in spirit, with his story going right for a change. Jason's here in fact, no matter what his name is, with his story going on for a change. Plus there's Tim, which is just - I mean, Tim. And it's like Star Wars Episodes 1-3 never happened. Is this not the very model of a fan's paradise? It is, and you should read it.

Best FF That Could Quite Possibly Make You Enjoy Eating from a Mini-Bar. It Might Even Make You Enjoy Paying $5 for a Package of Peanuts. It Has That Kind of Power. Cherchez la Femme, by Victoria P., aka [livejournal.com profile] musesfool. Ocean's 11, Danny Ocean/Rusty Ryan. A really good writer can make me agree with almost anything, and Victoria is just such a writer. This is a fascinating take on the Danny-Rusty dynamic; it is not my take, but this story totally makes me go there anyway. Hell, it makes me want to set up house there. And that's one of the reasons I love this. I also love the assorted original female characters in here - I mean, when I read this story, I always get distracted by Bachelorette #3 because I want to hear more about her. I want to know how she did what she did, and why, and also if she could maybe saunter into the lives of other favorite slash pairings of mine, because that would be so very excellent I might die. And then, by the end of her section, I'm totally invested in the Danny/Rusty story again, and I forget all about her. (Look. It is not my fault. I have, you know, focus issues. Also, she's way cool, but they are sleek and shiny and totally in love with each other. So it's no contest, really.)

The other thing I love about this story, the thing that made me pick it for the blather fest this post is turning out to be, is. Okay. I'm going to try my hand at actual analysis here, albeit at a very low level, and you all have to be very supportive and try not to laugh, because this is not my metier. See, when I look at the women Danny dates in this story, what I notice is how they all are complete characters, and yet they each represent just one facet of Rusty's personality, from the freewheeling indie to the con artist extraordinaire. Danny's dating women who remind him in some way of the guy he's already with. So Victoria, in other words, seems to me to be saying, "Check out Danny. He is such an idiot that he does not get that he's actually looking for Rusty." Except, of course, he's not an idiot. He figures it out in the end. Some people just need to be smacked in the face a few times before they can process this sort of thing, and I for one don't hold it against them.

Best FF That Always Makes Me Wonder How the Hell You'd Carve a Turnip. But Then, I've Never Carved a Pumpkin, Either, So Maybe I'm Just Not Picturing This Right. Wheel, by Brighid, aka [livejournal.com profile] brighidestone. Stargate: SG-1, Jack O'Neill/Sam Carter/Daniel Jackson. Warning: I can't warn you, but I can say it's all on the upswing after the first part. If you make it through that, you're good. But thost first few sections hurt, people. My basic summary of this story is: wow. I've been wanting to rec this for a long time, partly because it makes me happy, but mostly because it's brave. It is just such a fucking courageous story; in it, Brighid does two specific things (no, I am not going to tell you what they are, because you'll know if you read it, and also they're spoilers of a large and looming nature) that are unusual (especially when paired like this) in SG1 stories of this genre. (The genre is The World Ended or Maybe We Just Lost It. In this case, for the record, they just lost it; earth is doing fine, but it and SG1 are maintaining separate residences.) And she does them (Brighid does the things, I mean; I refuse to apologize for my dependence on parentheses. They are pretty and fun. So there.) so well, and neither one is a particularly popular choice.

Okay. Look, we can't go on this way. If I'm going to talk about this story, I have to talk about those two things. So, please, just go read it, and I'll stay here and spoil in privacy. This way for the not interesting and not entertaining babble. Or you could just, you know, move on to the next rec. I'm not giving any orders, mind you, but I know what I'd choose. )

Best FF That Makes IQ Tests Not Just Fun but Sexy. Take That, Wechsler! The Pegasus Society, by Sabine, aka [livejournal.com profile] iamsab. Stargate: Atlantis, John Sheppard/Rodney McKay/Atlantis. And. Okay. I was saving this for last, because I actually had something substantive to say about the other stories. (I am, yes, well aware that I didn't actually manage to communicate that something. This is an imperfect medium, people, and there's bound to be some content loss between writer and reader, and also I zing from topic to topic like I'm in Brownian motion.) About this I have nothing to say but oh my god. (For the full effect, you'll need to read that part in italics out loud. Make it high and breathless, like a 14-year-old girl who has just touched a boy band...um, boy, I guess. What do you call the individual members of a boy band?) See, this story - it just hits all my shameful SGA kinks. There's super smart John pretending to be dumb, and Atlantis all over the place (seriously - Atlantis point of view, and it's a benevolent Atlantis, which is just - see, in my head, Atlantis is benevolent, but when I try to write it she ends up eeeeevil, so this is like a super-extra bonus for me), and Rodney bringing new meaning to the concept of multi-tasking. There's even intelligence tests in here. It starts with the whole sum of the squares thing, which for most of us is like encountering an old friend; I can only think of a handful of opening lines that have brought me into a story faster than this one, because I was right with Rodney when he yelled out the answer. I mean, I felt a bond! With Rodney! It's just...and also...and then...

And now you see what I mean about this story. I've got no content for this rec at all, just a lot of pathetic squeeing. You know how some people get about their canon? Like, how most people get about their canon? I really only get that way about fan fiction, and this story - this story made me react the way Smallville fans would if they found their way into an alternate universe where the series was written by someone who had a crush on Lex instead of Lana. And was an actual good writer. (No offense intended, Smallville people! You know I have love for you! It's just, the recent spate of SV-SGA comparisons has left me gape-mouthed with shock and horror. That, that is some very interesting canon you've been swimming against for five years. No wonder you're all so durable and steadfast.) So. This story brings me joy. Tragically, it also connects my i/o ports directly to my squee center, bypassing my brain completely, so this "commentary" (All together now: "There hasn't actually BEEN any commentary, TFV!") pretty much consists of the basic concept expressed by the word yay. Only, um. Spread over two paragraphs.

Next time: a return to your regular story summaries, which are just as contentless, but much, much shorter. It's something for us all to look forward to, yes?
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
I...wow. I really haven't been updating much at all, have I? I just - sometimes life sucks, and then I go below the radar here. But I still love you all. And this time, at least, I've been paying some attention to what's been going on. By which I mean, of course, that I have been reading (and mercilessly organizing) FF. I have thirty sets neatly boxed up and ready to go and dozens more that are only missing one story - and that's just cataloged fic. You do not want to know what my uncatalogued list looks like. But this, as I remind myself, is a good thing.

What I'm saying is - sometimes you (not you specifically) have to, you know, go away for a while. I think we've all experienced that, right? Hurts but it's necessary. And the thing is, it makes getting back together so very wonderful. Would I have all these nifty packaged sets if I'd not gone on an interminable hiatus? No. Would you love me less if I was setless? Possibly. Do we not, instead, love each other truly and deeply? Well, I love you, and if you don't love me, I will sulk and make the Doe Eyes of Sorrow and maybe cry some, so my advice is: lie.

Um. Can I just start that paragraph over? And make it - I know, shock - slightly less about me? Or at least, less about my raving lunatic side?

Take two: to celebrate my reunion with the active side of fandom, I bring you stories about breaking up.

No, no, wait. These are breakup stories that don't hurt. (Like ouchless Band-Aids, except these are actually ouchless.) The breakup happens, but the story keeps going - or sometimes starts - and it leads not to sorrow but to a joyous (re)union, complete with foot-stomping finale and the whole cast (yes, both of them) on stage, and then everyone takes a bow and goes off for wild sex. Or, um. I meant cast party - wild cast party. Although, you know, thinking about it, there's not really as much difference there as you'd hope.

Best FF That Really, Really Makes Me Want to See the Remedial Version. With the Puppets. And That's Amazing, Given How Infrequently I Find the Occasion to Say, "Gee, I Wish My Life Had More Puppets." My Big Breakup, by Sabine, aka [livejournal.com profile] iamsab. Scrubs, John "J.D." Dorian/Perry Cox. Okay, first things first: the author says, in her note, that if you have not seen Scrubs, this story won't work for you. She is wrong. In fact, every Scrubs story I've read - and, seriously, I've been searching frantically for the stuff* - has worked perfectly for me, despite the fact that I know so little about this fandom that I had to look up the full names of the slashed characters to write this summary, and I spent the first portion of this story trying to figure out precisely what J.D.'s job was. (He's a doctor. Although, seriously, he could be the guy who wears the Goofy suit at Disneyland for all I know of him.) Doesn't matter. When Scrubs writers hit the voice and the tone right, it's gorgeously surreal and delightfully funny and surprisingly involving. Also? J.D. apparently narrates every Scrubs story ever written, and there is a reason, my friends: he has the best voice ever. He's, like, a conduit of pure crack comedy. I - seriously, I love this guy, and we've never even met. So, what happens in this story? Well, okay, check out the theme of this set and the title of the story and take a wild guess. Yep. J.D. breaks up with someone. Someone he didn't even realize he was, you know, that way with. Which, when that happens in real life? Embarrassing, folks. But in Scrubs-land, okay, it is also a little bit embarrassing**, but then it leads to the glorious reunion scene. And, even better, it's a reunion scene in which both parties are finally more or less on the same page. For these two, that must actually be kind of a disturbing experience, but: yay! Which is what this story will make you say. (To translate into Buffyese: it brings the yay.)

Best FF in Which John Is a Bit of an Ass and Gets - No. That Was Going to a Bad Place, So Let Me Just Say: Best FF That Will Forever Change the Way You Look at Scarves. And People Who Give Them to You. #435, the Atlantis Local Stitch 'n' Bitch Chapter, by [livejournal.com profile] rageprufrock. Stargate: Atlantis. SGA is the fandom of torture for me, lately; it has so many fabulous stories for nearly every category on my list (and yet it's entirely absent from a few of them, which is weird) that choosing just one is nearly impossible. Also, and I think I've mentioned this before, pure agony, so you should pity me. But in this case, it was easy, even though there's a solid boodle of great breakup stories in SGA, because this story has the funniest breakup ever. I don't want to spoil it for you or anything, so I can't go into detail, but I had to put my head down on my keyboard for a while after reading it. It's that good. And the best part is that I can totally see John doing that. Totally. Like, it plays out like a movie in my head, and that? Is totally a movie I would buy on DVD twice, in case I played the first one so much it wore out. Because that's what I do with that scene when I'm down; I read it over and over and over, and it makes everything better. This, people, is the breakup that heals. And I'm afraid if I type anything else here, I'll start describing it, probably with extravagant hand gestures that a) you all won't be able to see and b) that will take my fingers off the keyboard for large portions of my sentences, and then this whole post really will be gibberish, so, you know. Just read it. Be sure not to have any liquids nearby.

Best FF That Proves That You Can Get Lex Luthor to Do Anything If You Just Make It Difficult Enough. The Pragmatist, by [livejournal.com profile] nifra_idril. Smallville, Clark Kent/Lex Luthor. Well, I could hardly let a breaking-up-to-get-together set go by without including something about Lex and Clark, could I? Look, don't argue with me. I couldn't. Or, okay, I could have, but I would never have felt clean again. Because, see, I like my Clark and Lex best in the future, and then there's that whole - well, let's just say unpleasantness - to deal with. I don't do well with stories that end with said unpleasantness; I have a tendency to snap at them, "Look, if I wanted this, I'd be watching the canon." And then I have to go find some independent small retailers to crush or mad scientists to hire, because, seriously, the unpleasantness makes me want to go all Lionel on the world. I know OTPing is out of fashion these days, but Lex and Clark go together. They do. So one excellent solution for me - and, of course, for the many good and noble regimes I would doubtless overturn if I went to the Lionel side - can be found in stories that, cleverly, start after the unpleasantness, and go right for the careful, hesitant, but clearly predestined reunion. And even in that delightful cadre, this story stands out. It's gorgeous and evocative and true to character - and that's tough, drawing an accurate picture of characters so far into the future, after so many changes, after they've grown up - and, really, it makes me want to whip out the adjectives only New York Times reviewers are allowed to use. So I'll just note that this has the best ever reason for Lex reuniting with Clark, explained in a bit that makes me want to send [livejournal.com profile] nifra_idril email filled with nothing but exclamation points. Go read this, and find it. And then you can send her the exclamation points, and I can get on with my - um, not-Lioneling.

Best FF That Has Sex, and Squid, but Not Squid Sex. Which, Given the Fandom, Thank God.*** Every Day I Love You Less, by V, aka [livejournal.com profile] deepsix. Ocean's 11 (And can I get some input on that? I mean, are we calling it Oceanverse now, or is it still just Ocean's 11?), Rusty Ryan/Danny Ocean. I once told [livejournal.com profile] musesfool that the most slashy thing about Ocean's 11 is that Danny always comes back to Rusty. Always. What I love about this story is that in it, Danny does just that - and, seriously, that's one of my big criteria for good O11 FF, that the rubber band connecting them be invisible but highgly operational - and then we realize that Rusty's done it, too. In short: this is a story about how the rubber band goes both ways. And I very much support equal opportunity rubber banding. Plus, this story features three breakups - all of which happen off-screen and prior to the start of the story - which makes it a total curve-breaker in the extensive, important class of Unsad FF That Could Be Called 'Breaking up Is Hard to Do.' And let me just note that there are many fandoms in which any story that started with the premise that two main characters had ended their canonical marriages would totally suck, but in this canon, the girls are pretty much...no. No, I am not even finishing that sentence. It was going to feature a terrible, hideous, horrible metaphor involving scabs. I'm not going there. Ew. I've got some class left. So let me just revert to classic story summary form and then get the hell out of here before I break any more brains: This is a good story. It has breakups. And a getting-together. And squid. You should totally read it. Good night.

-Footnotes-

* Where is all the Scrubs FF, people? How can there not be a giant archive devoted to this fandom? Is there one and I just can't find it? Help me out, before I end up requesting a fandom I've never even seen for Yuletide.

** For reasons unknown, most of the stories in this fandom don't trigger my embarrassment squick, mostly because they all seem to be taking place pretty much entirely in J.D.'s overheated brain. But this tendency of J.D. to do embarrassing things is why you won't see me watching the canon. It might very well hurt me. Irreparably.

*** Yes, it is a sign of hideous moral degeneration that there are so very many fandoms that I think would be improved by an infusion of squid sex. Probably you should defriend me now, before I start recommending - um. You know, I can't actually think of anything more shameful than some of the stuff I've already loved and recommended. I'm open to suggestions, though.
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
It's been - well, not a horrible day. One of those days that isn't bad enough for justifiable whining (not that this is going to stop me) and not good enough that you'd relive it, even if the only other alternative was reliving the day of the Halloween play in which you were an owl. ("Whooooooo" was how all your lines went. And you had a lot of them, because - in retrospect - you're pretty sure the schoolteacher who wrote the play put in a "Whooooooo" every time she couldn't think of another plot development. And given that the sole "development" of the entire two-act play was a Raggedy Ann doll - whose mother, by the way, should not have made her costume - coming alive and dancing, that was really damn often. Or did that not happen to you? Am I wrong in thinking that this is the kind of childhood experience we all have to go through? God, I hope not; I've dreamed of having a child pretty much solely for the day when I could see him stumbling around a stage in an owl suit he couldn't see out of because the head was made for someone bigger.)

But, anyway. Secret message to Mother Nature: God, I'm sorry, OK? Whatever I did, I'm so so so sorry, and I swear I'll start work to fix it just as soon as you a) tell me what I did and b) stop with the fucking pollen, because, seriously, I can't even match my socks when my allergies are this bad. I mean, I have bruises from walking into walls because my eyes were swollen shut. This is cruel and inhuman punishment, Mother N., but it's persuaded me. I will begin to do right by you just as soon as you quit it already.

And if you don't stop, little miss Nature Queen, I'm buying toxic chemicals in job lots. If you're going to kill me with allergies, I'm at least going to take out our ficus before I go. Ha.

Anyway. What with the allergies, I've been diverting all my available resources to coughing and Kleenex use and little pathetic moany noises, and so I haven't had a lot of time for, well, much of anything. Like cooking. And today is the day our produce comes. I have already eaten almost all the fruit on the grounds that it is - or rather was - the easiest food to prepare. (Sole survivor of the Fruit Gorge: a mysterious green and orange oval thing. I know it's a fruit, but beyond that, I've got nothing. Anyone have any suggestions? And let me just add here that anyone who thought Mother Nature was strictly on the side of the good - she made fruit that clashes with itself. No one tasteful would give counter space to a fruit like this.)

Of course, my fruit eating got me thinking about fan fiction, because everything does. (No, really, everything. After slash the slashers got posted, I had a dream about four of you who shall remain unnamed. You were exploring Atlantis. I need help, people.) Obviously, there aren't a lot of stories where the characters sneeze a lot and eat too much fruit - although, if you added enough whining about citrus, seems to me you could do something with Rodney McKay, there - but there are stories where characters eat. But, because they are characters, they do it with infinitely more style and a lot less whining. So, today: food. Without whine.

(For the record, I mean the stories will be whine-free. This entry? Whinalicious! Whineriffic! Whining with added extra why!)

Best FF That Proves That When You Enter Into the Right Long-Term Relationship, You Become Even More Yourself. Which, If You're a Sarcastic Con Man, Can't Be Anything but Very, Very Good. One More Cup of Coffee, by [livejournal.com profile] shrift. Ocean's 11, Danny Ocean/Rusty Ryan. And I begin the way I mean to go on, with a happy story that features no angst of any kind. I can't handle angst and allergies, see. I have a delicate constitution. So here we have Danny and Rusty, the original feel-good couple (OK, they really aren't; maybe I meant "the original feel-up couple"? Or "the original felt couple"? Hmmm. Not sure.), doing research and making idle threats involving cosmetics. And eating. Eating lots of stuff. Which is good, given my basic belief is that any O11 story should be, at minimum, 25% eating, because that's about how much eating there was in the movie. (Not slashy, you say? Ha. I'll see your eye-fucking and no personal space and raise you an oral fixation that won't quit.) This story fulfills my need for Rusty to eat a lot of really inappropriate foodstuffs - and when I say inappropriate, I do not mean it pornily. (Oh, stop with the complaints, you babies. You don't need porn every minute, do you? Don't answer that.) I just mean he's eating stuff that the rest of us know for a fact is not food. (Seriously. I'm waiting patiently for the story in which Rusty eats Circus Peanuts, which are possibly the ultimate non-food "food" item. Nothing that is actually food is sproingy like that.) This story is short, fun-filled, and light. Perfect for the convalescent and the unwarrantably self-pitying. Any wonder I'm recommending it today?

Best FF That Proves That Reminds Us That, No Matter How Intrusive or Outright Crazy Our Parent or Parents Might Be, It Can Always Be Worse. Our Parent Could Be Lionel Luthor. That Fact Is Guaranteed to Make You Feel Not at All Better During Your Next Parental Visit!* The Milk and Cookies War, by Punk, aka [livejournal.com profile] runpunkrun. Smallville, Lex Luthor/Clark Kent. (Let's get this out of the way right now: I waaaaaaaant cooooooookies. Waaaaaaant them. OK, no, really, I'm done with the whining now. Well. For a while.) So. Clark torments Lex. Did I need to say anything else to sell you on the story? I thought not. Because we all know that there's nothing more fun than Lex-torment, right? And I don't mean the kind that Lionel dishes out, no; I'm talking about the kind where Lex never once gets trapped or imprisoned or has anything worse happen to him than losing his train of thought. See? You're smiling already! Plus, it's fun to see Clark working his strengths so well. What farm boy from Kansas doesn't know the secret powers of food? (Some of you may wish to substitute "washboard abs" into that sentence.) Not Clark Kent, my friends; he knows his superpowers all too well. So well that when you're done with this story, you'll be singing an ancient song with a title I don't quite recall by an artist I can't quite recollect, and it will go like this: "Stop using food as a weapon/stop using food." (In the original, it was "sex as a weapon." And, hey, what do you know? That works here, too.) Plus, bonus: you will get to see Lex Luthor's true arch-nemesis. And you can just forget all that Rift crap, because it's prosciutto. Take that, Smallville writers!

Best FF That Proves That You Need Patience to Be a Therapist. Or to Eat with Dan Rydell. Or to Date Him. Anyone Who Tried All Three Would Likely Explode, So Isn't It Good That Casey's Not a Therapist? Four Conversations About Sandwiches, by [livejournal.com profile] starfishchick. Sports Night, Dan Rydell/Casey McCall. I have an unhealthy but very pure love for the last segment of this story, which in my opinion proves that Abby is quite possibly the best therapist in all of visual fiction. I'm even willing to excuse her little ethical lapse at the beginning of her treatment of Dan, because - she's good! She gets Dan! And is nearly always mostly ethical! Plus, she can make him stop with the sandwich-related panic, which, face it, is quite a skill when you're dealing with second-season Danny. Bonus: this story is based on the very true fact that all office life revolves around food that can be delivered. I've worked in one, so I know this to be true. If you aren't searching through an enormous file-folder of menus for the one restaurant that a) everyone can agree on and b) will still be delivering when the negotiations are done, you're doing careful calculations to determine how much money you need to give the receptionist. Or you're listening to the lunatic from next door explain her new and brilliant system for ensuring that no one, no one will violate the sanctity of her leftovers. (Hint to office workers: give up. Say your goodbyes before your leftovers go in the communal fridge. No force on earth will keep people's hands off them until one o'clock tomorrow.) Hmmm. You think maybe this is why I don't work in an office anymore?

Best FF That Truly Defines the Phrase "Seller's Market," to the Point That It's a Whole Education in Basic Economics Packed into One Short, Fun Story. I Bet Those of You Who Actually Read Your Econ Textbooks Are Crying Right Now. Lifeblood, by [livejournal.com profile] misspamela. Stargate: Atlantis, John Sheppard/Rodney McKay. Tell me this, people who have watched the entire first season of SGA: was there an episode built around the inevitable coffee shortage? Because if not, there so should've been. I've spent enough time around the McKays and Zelenkas and Kavanaghs of this world to know that when the coffee stops flowing, they stop working. It's not even like they want to. Coffee just happens to be one of the fundamental elements of the hard sciences; without it, whiteboards don't work, computers don't compile, and every theorem proves only one point: we need more coffee. Coffeeless theoretical physicists can't do anything but whine (hands up everyone who isn't surprised that I'm descended from one!), coffeeless applied physicists can't do anything but create convoluted machines to steal the coffee from engineering, and coffeeless chemists spend all their time trying to refine caffeine and then distill it into a tasty hot beverage with four times the kick of espresso. (Note to the suddenly inspired: don't try. Two-word reason for you: Jolt Cola.) So I totally love this story, which proves that a) Sheppard was smart enough to see the coffee shortage coming, b) he's able to endure privation for the good of his team, and c) he's not noble enough to do that without getting...something in return. If I'm bitter that Miss Pamela has not written sequels to this explaining how much coffee Sheppard has and exactly what he gets for it, well, this story is so fun that I can only manage to be mildly bitter. Which, given my current level of Whine Alert (Puce: duck and cover), is extremely impressive.

Best FF That Proves That, Even Though Canadians Are Fine People in Many Respects, You Should Never Eat Anything They Invented.** Too Sweet, by Resonant, aka [livejournal.com profile] resonant8. Due South, Benton Fraser/Ray Kowalski. Did I...did I somehow not recommend this before? Because I don't have it marked in my database or in my set list, but...I feel like I've recommended it. And I definitely planned to recommend it. So today you get five stories, because if this one isn't a repeat, it should be. (Note: when I get done with all my tagging - on that distant and glorious day - we will never have this conversation again! Maybe! Although if the limit actually is 100 entries, we will, at least when it comes to due South!) I love this story. I love everything about it. Re-reading it today made me forget about both my orange and my troubles for a full half-hour, and, seriously, I can't imagine higher praise than that. If you've read this before, well, you'll be clicking on the link anyway, and if you haven't - read it. Or print it out and keep it by you against the time when you really, really need it, for that dark night full of coughing and unwelcome relatives and two inches of floodwater when only a solidly happy story can save you. Because there's Ray being absolutely Ray, right down to his reasons for marrying Stella, and Fraser baking, and horrible mutant Canadian not-cookies, and just...god, it's the perfect recipe. For...for happiness. No, really, I mean that. Hmmm. May have overdosed on decongestants, though. Better check that.

-Footnotes-

* This title is, yes, directed at a specific person. I'm assuming I don't need to name names. Remember, specific person: if your current mantra fails, switch to, "At least she's not Lionel Luthor. At least she's not Lionel Luthor." Again, it won't help, but at least you'll have an amusing Lionel MPreg mental image to help while away the hours.

** It is possible that Canadians in the reading audience may take offense at this or feel it is unjustified. I have one word for you people: poutine.***

*** But, seriously, I do love the more northerly residents of this fine continent. I do. I don't even hold the poutine thing against you, despite the scientifically-provable fact that my single experience with it (at the tender age of 11) was responsible for 30% of the therapy I needed in my teen years. Just...don't get creative in the kitchen, please. Stick to foods invented in Italy. I'm begging you.
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
In this post, [livejournal.com profile] greenet did an interaction meme (following the format "Comment and I'll tell you [insert item here] about you, thus saying something about both of us").* Normally, I can't do these when other people post them, although that doesn't stop me from trying; see, most of them require reciprocation ("post this in your journal"). I understand why; that's the meme-propagation step, and those of us who were paying attention in high school biology (which, OK, I wasn't, because all we ever did was watch documentaries, but I did read the textbook) will recall that the ability to reproduce is an essential component of life.

But meme reciprocation would violate many of this LJ's founding precepts. (Pretentious? Why, yes. Thank you for noticing. But, confession: I didn't articulate most of them until I'd been doing this a while, so really they're more like "summaries of what I've found works for me." It's just that using the other phrase makes me feel like my parents got value for my college education, so I'm staying with that.) So I was happy to see that [livejournal.com profile] greenet added "If you so wish" to the reciprocation step of this particular meme, which introduced a brand-new (well, novel, at any rate) concept in meme lifecycle: birth control. And I'm all for birth control.

It's generally a lot of fun for me to do memes of this kind; because I almost never can, they never get old. (Yet another argument in favor of meme birth control, let me note: fewer but better and more lovingly-reared memes.) Naturally, presented with one I could actually do, I wanted to do it well.

Unfortunately, I couldn't. Not really. One of the steps of the meme required the poster to tell me something she'd always wondered about me, and let's face it, if you've been reading this LJ for a while, you just don't have any burning questions left about me. I mean, you're all very, even painfully, aware that I love reading, babble incessantly, and grow reactionary and irrational when discussing English usage. What else is there to know?

Well, possibly, what I'm going to recommend next. Which is what [livejournal.com profile] greenet went with. Specifically, she said:

Your five newest favorite stories/fandoms/characters?**

I wanted to answer that. But, unfortunately, I just don't work like that, not exactly. The best I can do is offer her the five stories I most recently added to the Big Scary Master List (Unsorted). Some of them are actually fairly old. (And some of them I'd read long before I added them to the List; browser crashes and memory lapses play hell with my consistency on that one.) So today I'm posting a non-themed set. Or if there is a theme, it's that some of us still like memes, actually.

It's going behind a cut for two reasons.

First, this isn't going to be the greatest set ever. One of the reasons I take such a long time to recommend stories is that I need time to deal with them, to articulate what I think about them and why. (Seriously. Lots of time. Two nights ago, I finally figured out what was wrong with a science fiction short story I read years ago, before I'd read even one piece of FF. I've been thinking about that since I read it, considered the problem thousands of times before I solved it. "Slow but steady" is my motto. Sort of by default.)

Second, she did say five. That means this set is going to be longer than usual, and, let's face it, my entries are already way longer than the average post. Sheer mercy for your friends lists, then, argues for a cut tag.

And here is that very cut tag! Speak of the devil. )
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
This is actually more like an Obscure Fandom You Should Love (tm [livejournal.com profile] q_skud_; see her Heyer post). Or maybe a Fandom I Wish I Could Love. Because, actually, there's not much of a there there in this fandom. But there should be. Oh, there should be.

Sister, can you spare some slash? )
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
There are pairings we can all agree make sense: Magneto/Xavier, Aubrey/Maturin, Fraser/Kowalski, Jack Sparrow/Anyone At All. And there are pairings that aren't quite as intuitive. I find a lot more of the former, but I have a special love for the latter; a well done strange pairing story often lacks the "same sex, different day" feeling I sometimes get from FF, and it usually says more about the characters.

Best FF That Will Make You Stop Smearing Vitamin E on Your Surgery Scars: Scars, by Sonya, [livejournal.com profile] virtualinsomnia. X-Men movies, Nightcrawler/Wolverine pre-slash. I have a well-documented problem with visualizing blue people having sex (See also: Beast, Mystique, etc., and why are there so many blue people in the Marvel universe? Did they get a special deal on the ink?), but I really believe I'm making progress. This story, though, didn't trip my issues at all; it's completely non-explicit. It also sounds so wrong and yet makes such sense after you've read it. We value our scars because they're physical memories. Wolverine has lost so much of his memory; isn't it something of an unkind cut that he loses this kind, too? And Nightcrawler doesn't just have scars - he has intentional scars, scars that tell a story, at least to him. I can get the envy, and I can get the attraction. But I couldn't until Sonya pointed the way.

Best FF That Pairs a Brad Pitt Character with a Matt Damon Character and Yet Doesn't Make Me Vomit: Drive, by Jess. Ocean's 11, Rusty Ryan/Linus Caldwell. We interrupt this nominations set for some intensive whining: why is this fandom not larger? Why why whyeeeeee? In my world, there'd be, um, oceans of Ocean's 11 slash, and it would all be this good. This movie has it all: subtext! Homoeroticism! A lot of men! A totally unconvincing token female character! It's crying out for slash, people! Whine ends. See, I looked at this pairing, and I thought, no. Just - no. Rusty belongs with Danny; apart from anything else, George Clooney and Brad Pitt have so much sexual tension in this movie they might as well have taken out a Massachusetts marriage license. But then I read this story, and I realized that, once again, I had been narrow-minded, and a great FF story had cured me of it. (If this trend continues, I may become the first person to die of excessive open-mindedness. Or the first person ever to cause a matter/antimatter type explosion upon coming into contact with Jesse Helms.)

Best FF Featuring a Fraser Who Is Actually Quick on the Uptake and Yet Still Totally Canadian (No Offense Intended to Our Beloved Northern Friends): Volpe, by Te, [livejournal.com profile] thete1. Due South, Ray Kowalski/Andreas Volpe. (Note for those who haven't seen the series: Volpe is a real character; I think Te's intertwining this fic's plot with the plot of the episode "Asylum," though don't quote me on that.) Kowalski, yes, belongs with Benton Fraser. But isn't he entitled to more of a sexual history than just the Stella? I mean, come on; we've already got the classic one-woman history in Fraser, and I refuse to believe that Due South exists in a universe where men, on average, have 1.2 sexual partners in their lives. Vecchio's probably been married to more woman than Kowalski's had sex with. (And, tragically, Vecchio's probably been married more often than Fraser's had sex. Period.) That isn't fair at all, and I applaud Te for giving Kowalski a history, and for making it so believable. I also applaud her for not making Fraser clueless; given Victoria, you'd think he'd pick up on sexual, um, mistakes a lot faster than he mostly does in FF.

Best FF That Makes You Want Harry Potter Book Six to Feature a Campaign for Tighter Regulations on Teacher Malfeasance and Immorality, Most Likely Run by Hermione in Her Copious Spare Time: Perquisite and the companion piece Unnatural Acts, by Halrloprillalar, [livejournal.com profile] prillalar. Harry Potter, Percy/Snape. So. Um. If you like your Snape loving and sweet, or with a hidden heart of gold, or tormented by a secret love, you won't like this story. But, hey, give it a try anyway, 'cause this is excellent. I admit I'm biased - teacher/student pairings, especially the ones that end in true love, usually don't work for me; I can't suspend my disbelief far enough. So I like the way this goes. And I love the way Hal makes a human being of Percy, who is, like so many HP characters, totally two-dimensional in the canon. So read this. But don't expect romance. (This nomination sponsored by Slashers Against Romance and True Love and for Nice Pornographic Sex. I'm not a member, people, so don't complain to me.)
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
There's more to love-times-three than threesomes, even if a certain college boyfriend of mine would be astonished to hear it. So, in addition to the traditional three-bodies-in-a-bed story ('cause, hey, I'm all for tradition - well, this kind of tradition, that is), this set features lots of other ways three people can get tangled up together. Ah, human sexuality. It is lovely. And complicated.

Best FF in Which We Learn That Even Wizards Can't Resist Choosing the Bad Boy Instead of the Good Boy: Waterworld, by [livejournal.com profile] rhoddlet. Harry Potter, Harry/Ron and Harry/Draco. It's sort of sad to see Harry Potter doing something so regularly discussed in Cosmopolitan, but at the same time it proves that magic is no protection against human frailty. Or stupidity. The greatest thing about this story, though, is the way it's told. In FF, a relationship is usually seen through the eyes of one or both of the participants; Rhoddlet does a fantastic job of showing us everything we need to know (or want to know, in my case) through an uninvolved, though far from disinterested, party.

Best FF in Which We Learn That All Women Know Exactly How to Run a Threesome: Shameless, by [livejournal.com profile] penknife. Teen Titans, Dick/Donna/Kory. They're just ordinary teen-agers. With superpowers. Having a threesome. And issues. Which, provided you're willing to count world-beating moodiness as a superpower, really pretty much sums up adolescence, now that I think about it. The surprising thing about this story is that it's the guy who's hesitant about having a threesome with two girls. Although, really, given that the guy in question is Dick, maybe I'm not so surprised after all.

Best FF Featuring a Prison Setting That Does Not Involve Hot Male/Male Prisoner Sex: In Dreams, by Elizabeth*. X-Men movies, Rogue, Xavier/Magneto. This is almost gen, which is the only way I could handle this unusual threesome; I mean, I don't want to read explicit Xavier/Magneto!Rogue. Ew. But I do love stories that look at what it must be like for the movie Rogue to be Xavier's student and have Magneto's memories. 'Cause, lordy, that's the perfect way to work up a real head full of crazy, having a supervillain's memories of happy times with your headmaster and parental figure. And it's not like Rogue needs more craziness in that stripy head of hers.

Best FF That Could Inspire a Whole New Edition of "Everything I Needed to Know I Learned In Kindergarten": Six to Eight Months, by [livejournal.com profile] cherryice. Ocean's 11, Tess/Rusty, Tess/Danny, Danny/Rusty. Look, I didn't care for Tess much either. And I needed a lot of persuading, not to mention fortitude, to buy Tess/Rusty. But you know what? Cherry Ice sold me on it; it totally works. Oh, and the things you learned in kindergarten that are crucial in this story? Well, let's start with "sharing is good." Also important: "some things come in pairs, and it just doesn't work have one without the other" and "love me, love my friends." No, wait, sorry. That last one isn't something you learn in kindergarten; it's something you learn in Richard Curtis movies. Still, this is FF that incorporates a lot of moral lessons. But somehow I don't think it's going to make Robert Fulgham proud.

-Footnotes-

* Thanks for the link, [livejournal.com profile] kaelie!
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
FF That Proves the Fic Author Should Have Written the Canon, Too, Except I Don't Think She Could've Talked George Clooney and Brad Pitt into Doing Some of This Stuff: Confidence Men, by Dorinda. Ocean's 11, Danny Ocean/Rusty Ryan. As soon as I got to the five-pieces-of-mail scene, my jaw hit the floor and stayed there for the duration of the fic. This is one of the few pieces of slash I've read that fit so perfectly into the canon (at least in my mind) that I've melded the two – this fic is another set of deleted scenes to me, and always will be.

Best FF That Should Destroy Treasured Childhood Memories but Somehow Doesn't: Summer's Men, by Kest. Dark Is Rising series, Will/Bran. (Yes, I've mentioned this one before, but I don't care. Some fics just deserve our unwholesome worship, and there's nothing we can do but give it.) I started this fully intending to feel righteous indignation and ended up only feeling that Kest got it just right. From now on, this is grown up Will and Bran for me.

FF with the Best Slash Names Ever: Telemachos, or The Genealogy of Buggery, by Resonant. Horatio Hornblower book slash, Hornblower/Longley. Did Forester plan these names - hell, these books - to be this slashy? Probably not. Those were sad, repressed times, people.

Best FF That's Really a YA Novel, Only Better and Dirtier Than Most, Not That I Think YAs Would Mind: Void, by Wax Jism*. The Faculty, Zeke/Casey/Delilah. This fic is brutal and sexy and strange. Just like adolescence.

* Note: link fixed as of 4/21/2004. If it breaks again, please leave a comment.

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