Log in

insufferable know-it-all
25 November 2015 @ 11:56 am

Conversation at fannish brunch on Saturday turned to holiday fic and vid exchanges, as tends to happen this time of year. People persuaded me to skim the Yuletide requests spreadsheet, in which I discovered not one but two prompts that are right up my alley. The first was so intriguing, in fact, that I couldn't stop spinning out in my head how the story might go and started writing it the next day. It's now about 1,500 words and growing. Yay.

Want to write the other treat as well. It will take some thinking, but the discovery that a second person out in the world wants this story to exist may ensure that it happens.

This will be the first time I've participated in Yuletide. Feels strange.


This will be the… fifth? sixth year I've done [community profile] festivids, and my assignment vid is drafted, which may be the earliest that's ever happened.

Somewhere between one and four treats for various recipients are on the docket now. Guess it depends in part on how long the Yuletide stuff takes.


Mixed feelings about traveling for Thanksgiving this year. With luck, there will be downtime for writing. At least I will get to see [personal profile] par_avion and then a room full of [personal profile] no_detective, [personal profile] ahab, [personal profile] linaerys, [profile] barely_bean, [profile] krisdia, [personal profile] stlkrchck etc. Rumor has it there will be Magic Mike XXL and pie.


Season 6 of the Vampire Diaries on Netflix. Still flawed, but overall less boring than it has been in the past, and scarier, with the introduction of victim-stalking human killer Kai. Having fun superimposing Wanda and Pietro from MCU onto Liv and Luke.

Looking forward to checking out Jessica Jones (Krysten Ritter's faaaace on my TVVVV) and The Man in the High Castle but probably not for a little while.

Have also been watching/rewatching stuff for Festivids in the interstices. At some point will get back to Gilmore Girls, but S6 has been kind of tiresome.


RL updates can wait for their own posts.

Thinking of you all and hope you are well. ♥ ♥

Originally posted at http://bironic.dreamwidth.org/325373.html, where there are comment count unavailable comments.
insufferable know-it-all
04 November 2015 @ 09:09 pm
Vidding love meme over at [personal profile] thuviaptarth's, here. Put your name down if you've made vids; leave a comment if you have a compliment for someone. ♥

Originally posted at http://bironic.dreamwidth.org/324957.html, where there are comment count unavailable comments.
Tags: ,
insufferable know-it-all
29 October 2015 @ 07:30 pm
Went: To [personal profile] cinco and R.'s wedding, and it was so, so lovely, the ceremony, the celebration, the morning-after brunch, seeing them so happy. As well as the concentration of most of my DC-area friends in one place. [personal profile] deelaundry was able to meet for a last-minute lunch and then was kind enough to drive me from the airport to [personal profile] alpheratz's where I was staying. So I got to catch up with them and [personal profile] corbae and then see [personal profile] ellen_fremedon and [personal profile] jrho and [personal profile] holli and [personal profile] sansets and [personal profile] siegeofangels and [personal profile] inlovewithnight and [personal profile] v_greyson and S. whose online handle I can't remember, and ♥.

Watching: Finished Great British Bake-Off, alas. alpheratz & corbae were (re)watching S1 of Hannibal over the weekend so I saw some episodes of that. At first I found it too dramatic to take seriously, but the one with the girl who thought she was dead ended up suitably creepy and suspenseful. Now I guess it's back to S5 of Gilmore Girls.

Listening: Took advantage of the plane rides to finally listen to the Hamilton soundtrack so I can follow what everyone on Twitter (it feels like) is talking about. It's a brilliant artistic achievement that, arguably even more so than 1776, brings a set of American historical figures to life for today's audiences, like translating Shakespeare into modern vernacular. Other people have talked about the importance and the joy of the casting, and the multiple levels on which the use of rap and hip hop works.

Especially as someone who strives to do similar things in a different field for my job, I love what it's doing for students of history, or students who don't know they're into history. What better way to teach kids -- or anyone -- the formalities of dueling than through "Ten Duel Commandments"? What more engaging way to portray what it might really have been like in early government meetings than "Cabinet Battle #1" ("I'll show you where my shoe fits"/"whatever the hell it is you do at Monticello")? How many more people now have heard of Hercules Mulligan?

It's funny, it's dramatic, it's informative, it's catchy, it's smart. It's clearly inspiring people to talk about these characters and look up historical documents, and it's calling out themes related to modern society as well as the universal human condition. That said, I find that my appreciation for the soundtrack is intellectual; I don't share fan friends' emotional attachments to various characters and relationships, which are themselves another indicator of Miranda's success. Maybe it's a function of only having listened once straight through without reading lyrics, not having been able to tell all the characters apart, not having seen any bodies interacting on stage? Maybe it's that I'm not generally a big fan of musicals? Maybe it's just the way I'm going to connect or not connect with this particular text.

I'm glad to have the mp3 files, anyway, and to be able to experience the show in some way when getting tickets is not feasible right now. Some of the tracks I've found particularly fabulous so far are the two above, "Right Hand Man" (boom! and that neigh!), "Wait For It," "Guns and Ships" (Lafayette!), maybe also "Stay Alive" and "Hurricane." Also kind of hilarious the way King George's numbers sound like songs by Mika.

Doing: Fall/winter arts calendar is picking up. We are going to see a live-scored version of Nosferatu tomorrow night at the symphony. Then National Theatre Live's syndicated Hamlet in December, as well as Joanna Newsom with Alela Diane as opener, whee. Hat tip to [personal profile] ldthomps for letting me know about the concert while we were hanging out Tuesday with a visiting [personal profile] ignaz.

Vidding: On hold for just a few more days until Festivids assignments go out. Only two of the things I offered have been requested so far, which is weird, since all but one were for things other people nominated. I guess more people than I would have expected nominate fandoms that they want to offer rather than receive? In many ways this process felt pleasanter before I was on Twitter and knew about the back-end signups tracking page.

Coping: I was feeling pretty down last week and over the weekend because of this health news. [personal profile] synn, [personal profile] deelaundry and [personal profile] alpheratz are good friends who lent sympathetic ears. Still, the emotional fragility persisted, and on Monday (I took a day off to recover from the weekend trip) I started writing a Mary Sue story set in an AU I constructed last year, almost certainly never to see the light of the internet, to work through stuff. And... it seems to be working? I mean, in combination with taking recommended RL actions, but I think it really has helped. Having Mary Sue voice my insecurities and sadnesses while vampire prince charming offers reassurances. Because while I'm hard on myself, apparently I can write someone being nice to Mary Sue!me. Talk about the power of creative writing. ♥

Originally posted at http://bironic.dreamwidth.org/324774.html, where there are comment count unavailable comments.
insufferable know-it-all
20 October 2015 @ 08:36 pm
Fretting: I got some disheartening but not unexpected test results today re: health. Dealing with it properly will involve behavior changes and possibly-temporary pills. I am trying to approach it with a "you can do it" attitude, but it's hard. Dietary advice, for example, is all over the map. I guess we'll see what the nutritionist says at my next appointment.

I also have to figure out what to do about my knee, which has gotten unsteady, probably because I overtaxed it with high-impact activities; and now the issue has traveled up to tighten my hip, which has given me problems before. Perhaps I can find a physical therapist/massage therapist to dig in her elbow. Just, grr. I keep thinking I'm too young to be dealing with these kinds of issues left and right, but here we are, so I guess not. Maybe I'll focus on how the hip helps me empathize with Breq.

Also have been ruminating on how I'm not performing as well in my professional field as I am in fandom, and whether that's a problem, and why ego has to get mixed up in everything. That's a topic for another post.

Going: To DC this weekend for a friend's wedding, and I think it will be just wonderful. Seeing a slew of fan friends and celebrating happiness.

Watching: Whatever season of the Great British Bake-Off/Baking Show they've put up on Netflix. As people have said, it's charming and much more supportive than your typical reality competition. More attention to the craft as well. It's something nice and light to look forward to each evening. And a welcome break from Gilmore Girls. GG is enjoyable but after four seasons in a month it's time to mix things up more.

Vidding: Have four or five back-up ideas for Festivids sources. Do I start to make one before getting an assignment? It seems like something fun to do, but it doesn't seem right to work on an assignment or a treat without first knowing what the recipient is hoping for.

Reading: Finished Step Aside, Pops!, which was fine. I liked "I had fun once and it was awful". Am about 4/5 of the way through Master and Commander; it's funnier but also choppier than expected. Dunno what's next. I sort of petered out on Prydain.

Originally posted at http://bironic.dreamwidth.org/324505.html, where there are comment count unavailable comments.
insufferable know-it-all
18 October 2015 @ 08:50 am
Dear Festividder and anyone who might like to make a treat:

Imperial Radch trilogy (Ancillary Justice etc.)Collapse )

The Lathe of Heaven (1980)Collapse )

A Dangerous Man: Lawrence After ArabiaCollapse )

Stranger by the Lake/L"Inconnu du LacCollapse )

Queen Margot/Reine MargotCollapse )

What Maisie KnewCollapse )

Immortel: Ad VitamCollapse )

Overall notes: I like celebrating shows and movies that make me happy, but just as much I like queering texts, whether it's pairing characters who aren't paired in canon or inverting themes or highlighting kink or drawing attention to minor characters or changing the tone or telling a different story using the same footage. I like joyful and I like dark and I like sexy.

Really hope you aren't looking for specific song recommendations, heh. Whatever you choose will be the right music. If you're at sea, though, last year's note has some stuff about preferences.

But! As I've said for everything above, of course, and as per Festivids tradition, feel free to make whatever vid appeals to you, regardless of whether I've asked for it. We've been matched because we both like something, so whatever you choose to do with that should be wonderful. Hopefully you have an idea you'd like to pursue.

Originally posted at http://bironic.dreamwidth.org/324212.html, where there are comment count unavailable comments.
insufferable know-it-all
07 October 2015 @ 06:44 pm
Because at least [personal profile] stultiloquentia is interested. :) And before I get so far into Ancillary Mercy that the questions are all answered. (I am ~130 pages along.)

Spoilers for Ancillary Justice, Ancillary Sword, and one small thing toward the beginning of Ancillary MercyCollapse )

Originally posted at http://bironic.dreamwidth.org/324070.html, where there are comment count unavailable comments.
insufferable know-it-all
05 October 2015 @ 09:06 pm

I have so many things I want to say after rereading Ancillary Justice & Sword

(what would a happy ending look like for the main character? what is her name, really? who could be fancast in a vid trailer for the books? is anyone besides me interested in an exploration of what attracts me to the protagonist as a reflection of how I wish I could be? look at all these levels of class conflict, from family status to imperialists-vs-indentured-workers to Radch ship attitudes to the realization that all those things are ultimately meaningless if the Presger decide humanity needs to go, similar to how Westeros needs to wake up and stop the infighting because the White Walkers are the real problem)

and I am so excited for the last book to come out tomorrow that I actually had an anxiety dream about it last night. But every time I sit down to post about it, nothing happens.


After some pleasant conversations with my new neighbors upstairs over the last six weeks or so, I left a note on Friday asking that when they get around to acquiring rugs (the house has wood floors and our leases mandate a certain amount of coverage), could they be sure to pad the area in the bedroom where they walk while getting ready in the mornings, because I've been waking up with them. They not only left a nice note back today, they tied the note around a bag of homemade coconut kettle popcorn. I think we are going to be okay.


Work is busy this month and entails some weekend obligations. Need to make sure I stay on top of things before they stress me out (more). Unfortunately, sports are not an option for a little while because my knee is bothering me. Maybe reading and playing with a feel-good vid in the evenings will suffice.


This post is boring, isn't it? I'm sorry.


It's fall! It finally happened! It happened so suddenly that the transition is quite noticeable. There were sundresses and sandals and air conditioning and now a few days later people have broken out their pea coats and knit hats and gloves and tights and boots. Boots everywhere. I wore my ankle boots today, one of my few stylish pairs of shoes, with a fun orange top and gray cardigan and corduroy pants. Because it's 55 degrees instead of 80. We can sleep with blankets on the bed. I declare it acceptable to talk about apples and pumpkins and harvest recipes and foliage. I turned on the oven this weekend and roasted things. Ahhhhh, fall.

*eats kettle corn*

Originally posted at http://bironic.dreamwidth.org/323610.html, where there are comment count unavailable comments.
insufferable know-it-all
03 October 2015 @ 05:12 pm
Quiet, chilly Saturday afternoon. A nice break from the last while and the next while.

I have been watching or rewatching a few movies in conjunction with the posting of the nominations list for [community profile] festivids. Last night I tried Automata with Antonio Banderas and a bunch of robots; turned out to be (unintentionally) hilariously grimdark. Today featured something unmentionable because it's likely going to become a treat, followed by the 1980 film version of Ursula LeGuin's dream-shaping novel, The Lathe of Heaven, which remains clever and creepy and absurd, and now the wholesome pleasure of A Simple Twist of Fate, which I thought I'd nominated but in fact did not, probably due to mobile interface glitches (read: user error) while in Florida, alas.

Once upon a time, I planned to write an SGA AU of A Simple Twist of Fate. John Sheppard was going to be Steve Martin's Silas Marner character, a loner, a bit of a miser, grieving for the family he'd almost had, spending long autumnal hours in the wood shop making furniture, coming slowly back to life when a child (probably Ford's) appeared at his home one winter's night. Rodney would have been the Catherine O'Hara neighbor with the kid.

What stopped that story from being written was that I didn't think I could create the right atmosphere. Plus it would have been a longer story than I'd attempted in years. Two factors that added up to insurmountable intimidation. I still don't think I could do it justice.

Do sometimes think about it, though, even now. Including how the casting would change now that people celebrate pairings besides McKay/Sheppard. Would Ronon be the neighbor instead? Or the main character? Who embodies the right combination of dislikability, political ambition and sympathy to play the custody rival? Woolsey? Teyla, to make sure everyone on the main team has a major role and to hammer home the point that the character isn't a villain?

/idle musings

ETA: Ah, got it: John and Teyla are the Newlands (Gabriel Byrne and Laura Linney), Ronon is the adoptive father, Rodney is the neighbor, and they solve the custody problem with polyamory!

Originally posted at http://bironic.dreamwidth.org/323398.html, where there are comment count unavailable comments.
insufferable know-it-all
29 September 2015 @ 07:25 pm
(It is raining.)

Doing: Just returned from a five-day trip to my grandparents' in Florida, with my dad. Some ups, some downs, as happens when one's family is dealing with age-related health issues and dwindling ability to remain independent. Or codependent, as the case may be. In any event, it was good to see them, they appreciated the visit, and my dad and I did make it to the beach one beautiful morning. Two hours of swimming and of resting in the shade of an umbrella: divine.

Watching: A collection of Turner Classic Movies with the grandparents: Bringing Up Baby, With Six You Get Eggroll, Anna and the King of Siam (with Rex Harrison, not Yul Brynner), and 15 minutes of The Man Who Would Be King before I quit in distaste. Oh, and we caught the last 20 minutes or so of Transcendence, because apparently Paul Bettany movies now follow me wherever I go.

On my own, beginning of season three of Gilmore Girls, with the occasional ep thrown in of season three of Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries. Haven't yet started the new series of Doctor Who.

Have also been getting together once every couple of weeks with [personal profile] thedeadparrot to alternately heckle and admire Project Runway, which is great fun.

Reading: Re-read of Ancillary Justice complete; Ancillary Sword half complete. Still wonderful. The series works for me on every level: concept behind the main character, basic plot, worldbuilding, personally and societally relevant themes (schisms in identity, class conflict, racism, suppression/absorption of minorities, social justice, police brutality, white male privilege, love and grief and revenge), favorite sci fi tropes (artificial intelligences, alien contact, awakening after centuries in cryo freeze), subtle and indirect emotions that sneak up on you, use of "she" as gender-neutral pronoun so that the universe feels filled with women. Not least, I relate to and envy the main character in numerous ways. Today's delight: remembering how Translator Dlique sounded a touch like Luna Lovegood as well as Delirium of the Endless. Can't wait for Ancillary Mercy next week.

Ummmm also I mentioned this on Twitter but I discovered last week that Ann Leckie recced Starships! in August and I retweeted her and then she replied to me and I may have died a little.

Before that, read Saga vol 5--excellent--then finished The Book of Three and barely started The Black Cauldron by Lloyd Alexander, in the Chronicles of Prydain series, for book club. Eh. So far it is template fantasy; I found myself playing Spot the Comparison to things like Lord of the Rings, The Once & Future King, Earthsea and the Fionavar Tapestry. Young Eilonwy is a hoot and the prince whose name I've forgotten is written to be nice and sexy in a kids' book sort of way--in fact, young male protagonist Taran reads as though he's in love with him without really realizing it--but the books have not grabbed me so far. Gwydion. Will try a little more and see how it goes. Favorite line so far: "She is the only oracular pig in Prydain."

Vidding: Submitted my most favorite source ideas to [community profile] festivids (who will make me a book trailer for Ancillary Justice???) and am trying to think of whether there are any more. Glanced really quickly through the list of nominations and spotted something that soon after generated an idea, woo.

Also we will see if a vid gets generated for Halloween, my most successful vidding holiday to date. Have a bunch of source already ripped for one potential project. Unfortunately, have a bunch of RL stuff in October, too.

Writing: Not a lot outside of work. Adding some words here and there to that Marius/Mary Sue story. Speaking of posts that met with crickets.

Meeting: Got to hang for a couple of hours with [personal profile] such_heights and [personal profile] happydork last weekend when they stopped by Boston Fannish Brunch on their way across the country for their honeymoon; that was a treat.

Eating: Culinary highlights of September included a lobster roll from James Hook & Co., which lived up to its reputation of understanding that mayo and bun should take a backseat to the lobster meat, and a scoop of Noodle Kugel ice cream from JP Licks, which was cinnamon-spiked vanilla ice cream studded with cooked-then-frozen egg noodles. Because how can you pass up a specialty Rosh Hashanah ice cream flavor?

ETA: Wait, I forgot the other two excellent foods. First, following some nutrition advice, I tried broiled mackerel from the local Japanese restaurant and it was fantastic. Savory and salty and firm with a crisp skin. Will attempt to make something like it at home one of these days and see if the resulting oily-fish smell is worth the meals it produces. Second, I discovered the cayenne-mango flavored almonds from Q's Nuts in Somerville and cannot get over the perfect blend of spicy and sweet. Nom nom afternoon snacks.

Dreaming: of autumn. It's still 80+ degrees out, and nearly October. Come on.

Also I had a dream the first night in Florida that Chief O'Brien showed up to try to save me at the end of a godawful tennis match and I was disappointed (but also relieved) that Bashir wasn't there. And then that I had to explain to Tony Stark how I was feeling after a traumatic event, so I phrased it in relation to his life: "imagine if the Iron Man suits were all destroyed, and Pepper was hurt, and Rhodey'd been killed..."

Whew. Okay, let's return after this to normal-sized, focused posts.

Originally posted at http://bironic.dreamwidth.org/322861.html, where there are comment count unavailable comments.
insufferable know-it-all
15 September 2015 @ 08:04 pm
I have been meaning to post, and then I do not post. Such is the way of things.

Here is an entry about vampires.

Reading: I am leisurely rereading Anne Rice's Blood & Gold, a.k.a. the Marius novel. I hadn't revisited it since my sister first bought it for me in 2001 because it was so disappointing and dull. Thus it's been a pleasant surprise to find that it's not as terrible as recalled. I mean, it's not good, but there have been a few engaging passages and enjoyable character/relationship moments, and many things I hadn't remembered about Marius' history. Down to silly stuff like how he takes a nice hot sexy bath in the beginning with Thorne the Viking vampire.

Maybe it was Pandora that I really hated. Though I still rolled my eyes at the Botticelli worship and skipped Zenobia's Eudoxia's history, etc., and Marius' excuse for not going after Armand following the Santino disaster still rung hollow. If we start listing flaws, we will be here for a while. I continue to believe that stories involving Marius, and Armand, and probably others, are best told in third rather than first person.

Writing: Concurrent with the above, have been playing around in an old Mary Sue storyline where the girl who had been together with but then dumped by Marius gets turned into a vampire after a complicated (and, on reflection ~15 years later, not entirely logical) bring-her-close-to-death-so-Marius-has-to-decide-right-now plot set up by Armand.

That all was written already; this week I've been jotting down the scene where she takes her revenge on the humans Armand hired to hurt her. So she moves from being a victim to making them her first victims. It's been enjoyable to explore what the changes in her personality might be post-transformation.

Just as it's been enjoyable to contemplate how the story has evolved each time I've come back to it over the years. This feels like a more grown-up segment than the breakup fight I wrote when I was 20 (friends-locked, sorry), which felt like a more grown-up segment than the puppy love I wrote at 15. These Word documents are like an archaeological dig of my psyche, or like a diary in the form of melodrama.

The writing is coming out flat, though, as so much of my fiction has for the last couple of years. Something to do with not connecting to or conveying emotions, I suspect. I'm trying not to dwell on it, but rather to let the words come while they want to. Rewriting to change the POV from Marius to Mary Sue might do the trick, so we hear more of what's going on in her head instead of watching her.

Rereading this book has also made me realize I may have been better at capturing Marius' personality back in high school and college than I gave myself credit for. Which is nice.

Thinking: About how much the Vampire Chronicles may have influenced my feelings about polyamory and bisexuality, in addition to its more obvious role in my introduction to male homosexuality. So much of the VC narrative concerns men loving men, of course. But also men loving both men and women. Sometimes at the same time.

Because I read the books starting in my early teens, I'm not sure whether they shaped my preferences and showed me what was possible or whether I fell for them so hard because they articulated and affirmed how I felt or would have felt anyway. (I suspect it's the latter, in part because the books' obsession with Christian theology and sin and souls and damnation didn't rub off on me at all.) About how there can be such easy, deep, emotional and physical affection regardless of gender, and how vampires--a.k.a. individuals traditionally not considered in the mainstream--a.k.a. regular people--can love more than one person simultaneously. Without causing drama. Nor conflating bisexuality with promiscuity. A few exchanges in Blood & Gold brought the thought to light today, when Marius was telling Bianca about Pandora:

ExcerptCollapse )

It's all obvious and ordinary and wonderful to me now, especially after so many years in fandom where queer identities are the norm rather than the exception, but the awareness and the embrace of what I didn't see around me in real life growing up must have started somewhere, probably not entirely from within my head, definitely before college, and I wonder if this series wasn't a significant contributor.

Originally posted at http://bironic.dreamwidth.org/322572.html, where there are comment count unavailable comments.