WisCon

Mar. 26th, 2017 07:46 pm
resonant: Brian from The Breakfast Club: Demented and sad, but social (Default)
Just registered the whole family for WisCon -- it seemed too much of a waste to be this close, and still have the kidlet at home, and yet miss the chance.

Anybody else going?
resonant: Brian from The Breakfast Club: Demented and sad, but social (Default)
Anybody out there in Georgia's 6th Congressional District? There's a special election coming up for the House of Representatives -- the seat's open because Tom Price resigned to be part of the Trump Administration. Putting a non-Republican in that seat would be a serious public service.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Georgia%27s_6th_congressional_district_special_election,_2017

Not registered? You can register online until Monday, March 20.

https://swingleft.org/register-to-vote

Please take two minutes to register, and put April 18 on your calendar. This is how change happens: one tiny action at a time.
resonant: Brian from The Breakfast Club: Demented and sad, but social (Default)
Saw a preview for "Gifted." I hope I can rely on fandom to give me the romance between Chris Evans' character and Octavia Spencer's character which Hollywood will certainly deny me.
resonant: Brian from The Breakfast Club: Demented and sad, but social (Default)
Kidlet is watching some YouTube personalities whose names I can't remember.

Kidlet: "So in college she and her dorm-mates would flash their boobs at each other. They gave each other nicknames based on their nipples."

Me: "In the great continuum from Very Heterosexual to Not Really All That Heterosexual, nipple nicknames are ..."

Kidlet: "In the Uncanny Valley of straight-white-girl sexuality."
resonant: Brian from The Breakfast Club: Demented and sad, but social (Default)
As another of my postcards from the Older Than Dirt segment of fandom, I was going to post my highly entertaining colonoscopy experience, and then I remembered that teenygozer already did it on Fenopause.

The only way my experience differed from Teenygozer's was that every time I have any kind of professional service, the universe always seems to issue me some Shakespearean character; this time it was an anesthesiologist who (1) "diagnosed" me with sleep apnea because of the length of my chin (mind you, I'm pretty sure he's right, but come on), (2) treated me to a libertarian healthcare rant, and (3) wanted to chat about legal weed a little more than I was comfortable with in a person with his hand on the sedation pump.

And next time I am definitely going to use [personal profile] bone's Smart Water method.
resonant: Brian from The Breakfast Club: Demented and sad, but social (Default)
So remember when I said I'd love to see the worlds of Rivers of London and Good Omens meet?

Here's something even better!

Rivers of Ankh-Morpork (6357 words) by melannen
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: Rivers of London - Ben Aaronovitch, Discworld - Terry Pratchett
Rating: General Audiences
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Characters: Peter Grant, Angua von Uberwald, Samuel Vimes, Foul Ole Ron, Gaspode (Discworld), Sybil Ramkin, Thomas Nightingale
Additional Tags: Crossover, community policing, hydrological engineering, Ankh-Morpork City Watch, the River Ankh
Summary:

The Faceless Man miscalculates, and Peter Grant falls into a river.

...well, more onto a river, really. He may have bounced.



Terrific voices, completely plausible Discworld fanboy Peter Grant, and a bit of headcanon that made me catch my breath.
resonant: Brian from The Breakfast Club: Demented and sad, but social (Default)
No! It's not over! [personal profile] wanted_a_pony asks: Are there fandom(s) for which you *only* enjoy fanworks, but you don't intend to (or actively dislike) the canon whatever-it-is? What is/are they?

This is a great question, and the answer is: Most of them.

Fandoms for which I genuinely like the source material, and would enjoy it and seek it out whether there were fanworks or not: Due South. The Discworld books and Good Omens. Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Jeeves and Wooster (stories). The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings (novels). Horatio Hornblower (stories and novels). Georgette Heyer novels. Pixar movies. John Hughes movies. MASH.

Fandoms where the source material is entertaining, but fanworks add something significant to my engagement with it: Sherlock Holmes (storles and novels) and most of the Holmes movies/series1. Most any Disney cartoon (except Lilo & Stitch, which is perfect unto itself, perfect, I tell you2).

Fandoms where I really can't take the source material very seriously except as a kit that fans will take apart and reassemble into something actually worth our time: Marvel Cinematic Universe. James Bond movies. Harry Potter (both novels and movies). Angel (TV series). Star Trek (all series and all movies, including reboot). Stargate SG1 and Stargate Atlantis. Star Wars (original trilogy, The Force Awakens, and Rogue One). The Losers, the Magnificent Seven remake, and other such festivals of beefcake. Supernatural. Teen Wolf. X-Men. Inception. The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings (movies).

Fandoms where the source material is barely tolerable and redeemed only by the fanworks: Leverage. Star Wars (prequels). Merlin. And please forgive me, but: The Sentinel.


1Exception: The Ritchie movies. Beautiful as they are, I cannot enjoy these movies, and I cannot enjoy any fanworks based on them, because the relationship between Holmes and Watson is so full of resentment and hard feelings, and that relationship is really the main thing for me.

2Not that I wouldn't enjoy any Jumba/Pleakley fanworks you wanted to point me at.


How would your list be different from mine? This was a fascinating exercise.

And I'll be out of wifi range till Tuesday, but y'all know you can ask me a question anytime.
resonant: Brian from The Breakfast Club: Demented and sad, but social (Default)
[personal profile] muccamukk asks: Moments in canon that still emotionally resonate with you, many years later.

A nice one to end the meme with!

- Fraser in "Asylum" saying, "You didn't shoot that man," and when Ray tries to talk him out of his certainty he says, "I know you."

- I'm not even especially fannish about these characters, but the moment in "The Breakfast Club" when Andrew the jock is talking to Allison the basket case about parents, and he says, "What do they do to you?" and she says, "They ignore me."

- I was sold on Harry Potter when the snake at the zoo said, "Brazil, here I come." It wasn't just the worldbuilding but the wit.

- Zelenka's description of Atlantis coming up from under the water -- he was speaking poetry, and if you didn't look up a translation, you'd never know.

- Any Sherlock Holmes adaptation is going to live or die in my esteem by how it treats John Watson. BBC Sherlock sold me in the exchange where Sherlock asks what John would be thinking if he were dying. "Please let me live," John says. Sherlock scoffs, "Use your imagination," and John says, "I don't have to."

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resonant: Brian from The Breakfast Club: Demented and sad, but social (Default)
Yeah, I skipped a day; I spent the evening at both a City Council meeting and an overlong school concert. (I feel sorry for the orchestra kids; by the time it's their turn, everybody's looking at their watches.)

[personal profile] kass asks: what fannish character is bringing you the most joy right now?

I'm ... not feeling the fannish joy right now.

Bits of it are there. There's a stage in every book I read, every movie I see, where I'm thinking, "Oh, hey, this person could be matched with that person ... this universe could cross over with that other universe." But somehow it doesn't catch.

I think there are two things going on:

1. The source media themselves are more fanfic-savvy now, and so nothing totally loses control of its subtext the way it used to in the old days.

I can't imagine anybody making entertainment in 2016 without being aware that viewers/readers will consider the possibility that characters are attracted to one another even if you didn't write them to be attracted to one another -- even if they are [gasp] the same gender. You'd have to be living under a rock on another planet to have missed that development.

And of course to the extent that this gets us actual non-heterosexual characters that's a great thing, though that part is not moving along quite as briskly as I would like.

But -- like, we're now getting classic Trek out of the library and watching it. And nothing equals the accidental subtext-fest that was classic Trek. I can see where the people who were slashing classic Trek could feel like they were totally stealing the archetypes and totally expressing the true nature of the show at the same time. There's nothing like that now.

2. I'm not interacting enough with fans (a situation that's unlikely to change until my nest goes empty next fall), and it's just no fun to be fannish alone.


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resonant: Brian from The Breakfast Club: Demented and sad, but social (Default)
[personal profile] kass asks: What do you enjoy most about parenting a kidlet of this age?

Oh, man, this age is the best. This age is ... when I think about it, it almost seems unethical. I have basically genetically engineered and hand-trained my own ideal roommate.

The parenting role starts out every-waking-hour-and-then-some at birth, and gradually, pretty steadily, shrinks. Getting accustomed to the shrinkage may be the challenge of parenthood -- remembering that six-year-olds don't need you to be responsible for most of their clothing choices and ten-year-olds don't need you to be responsible for their bladders and fourteen-year-olds don't need you to be responsible for their friendships.

By now, I don't really have to exercise my "authority." I have just enough superiority in life experience that I'm occasionally called upon to give advice, which is good for my ego, and just enough difference in personality type that I'm the Family List-Keeper, and that's about it.

(I didn't mind exercising authority when the kidlet was smaller and life required it, but it does take energy. It's very restful to be able to say, "Well, if you make that choice, what do you predict the consequences will be? OK, does that sound good to you? Cool, you've made a decision. Good talk.")

So the only thing I don't like about it is looking at the pileup of college mailings and knowing how soon it's going to end!


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resonant: Brian from The Breakfast Club: Demented and sad, but social (Default)
In the absence of a question for today, I'm just going to toss this out there:

I'm semi-voluntarily* devouring Ben Aaronovitch's "Rivers of London" novels and so far quite enjoying them. These are books that feature a cop who's an apprentice wizard, and also such supernatural characters as something kind of vampirish, something kind of dwarfish, something kind of goblinish, and the human incarnations of the spirits of all the rivers.

So the Rivers series is especially lovely in its sense of place, and in Moon Over Soho, I came upon this description:

Cheam is another typical outer London village that acquired, in short order, a railway station, some posh detached villas in the late-Victorian style, and finally a smothering blanket of mock-Tudor semis built in the 1930s. Cheam is what the green belt was established to prevent happening to the rest of southeast England. Pictures of Cheam adorn the walls of planning offices of every Home County to serve as an awful warning.


Which made me think, as one does, how much I'd like to see Aziraphale and Crowley in this universe.

It would be a challenge, since the Good Omens mythos is Christian (for values of Christian that are very interested in the Genesis and Revelation and not too much interested in anything in between) and the Rivers mythos is so cheerfully pagan. But that might be part of the fun -- poor Aziraphale would have a crisis if he had to admit that he liked a genius loci.



* By semi-voluntarily I mean that I'm enjoying them very much, but a long vacation and a Jeeves and Wooster anthology taught me not to binge-read the works of a single author in a single universe; too much risk of the author's quirks becoming annoying via repetition. HOWEVER, the library owned Book 1 and Book 5, so not unreasonably I put in a Request To Purchase form suggesting that they maybe consider buying Books 2, 3, and 4 ... and when they bought them, they immediately checked them out to me. So I'm trying to finish them before they're due back.



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resonant: Brian from The Breakfast Club: Demented and sad, but social (Default)
[personal profile] zulu asks: best vacation/break you ever had?

That would have to be our honeymoon!

This was in 1989, so pre-internet. The spouse, who is comically inept at organization most of the time, somehow managed to put together this lovely tour of multiple bed-and-breakfast type places in multiple towns up and down through New England. It was mid-October, and the leaves were falling. We went to 18th-century graveyards in Boston, rented bicycles on Nantucket, visited the official shop of the official witch of Salem. Once it rained all day, and we stayed in the library of the inn we were staying at and read books, and the inn's two standard poodles (I still remember that one of them was named Lili Marlene) kept us very dignified company while wearing matching sweaters.

The one thing that we hadn't planned on was needing to spend one night on the road between New England and central Illinois. I was doing all the driving because we were in my car and the spouse couldn't drive stick yet, and when I hit the point of total driver's exhaustion, we stopped at a place called the Stardust Motor Inn near Schenectady, New York, which was the worst kind of no-name motel imaginable. The woman who checked us in was wearing green face makeup, and we had been out of touch for so long that it was only when we were in the room that we figured out that this was because it was Halloween.

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resonant: Brian from The Breakfast Club: Demented and sad, but social (Default)
[personal profile] james asks: Who is the most obscure composer, band, or individual musician that you adore?

I don't quite know if you can call them a band -- more of an event -- but I love the Revels. I first met them via Christmas music, of course, but they also have collections for other seasons, and one on a seagoing theme, and others as well. There's not just one Revels, either; I have music from the Portland Revels and the California Revels.

This is music that you want to get on CD so you can read the booklet. I've learned all kinds of things about the history of music, or history through music, from the Revels.

It's a dream of mine to actually see a Revels show, but since I seem to keep moving further and further away from big cities, I don't know how likely it is.

I also have some much-loved songs from Solstice Assembly. The CD notes said something like, "This collection was born when I thought to myself, 'What if the Revels came to my town and they didn't invite me?!'" They seem a bit more irreverent than the Revels.



Christmas Revels:
Aro Que Nostre Seign'Es Nat
Malpas Wassail
Traveller's Prayer (for your pagan needs)

Non-Christmas Revels:
The Merry Horn
Anchor Song
Le Semeur



Solstice Assembly
The Ripe and Bearded Barley
Roulez!
No Ozone


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resonant: Brian from The Breakfast Club: Demented and sad, but social (Default)
[personal profile] james asks: Which (if any) Harry Potter book is the best totally on its own, with no meta or context or fanfic to bolster it up?

First I eliminated Half-Blood Prince and Deathly Hallows. They're too tied up in the 7-book arc to be accessible to someone who hasn't read the rest of the books, and frankly they needed some editing that they didn't get. If you weren't already in love with the universe and the characters, I'm not sure you'd read them and say, "These are good books."

Then I eliminated Philosopher's/Sorcerer's Stone, because if you take it on its own instead of with its series, it's a children's book. It's the door into everything we all loved, but taken on its own, there's not enough to it.

At that point, left with Books 2 through 5, I was at a loss. So I punted the question to the kidlet, who just re-read the whole series last month.

After some thought (but not really very much thought), the kidlet said, "Prisoner of Azkaban. Because Voldemort doesn't dominate the whole plot. He's part of the worldbuilding."

Also: the Marauders in person, and their relationship with Snape; Dementors and Patronuses or possibly Patroni; Buckbeak; Time-Turners ...

I can't disagree.


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resonant: Brian from The Breakfast Club: Demented and sad, but social (Default)
[personal profile] mific asks: If you had to give up one of your 5 senses (you know, to save Atlantis or Benton Fraser's life, or suchlike), which would it be and why?

Oh, wow. This is a really tough one. I don't wanna!

Lose vision and I lose the ability to drive a car or read a book. I know there are lots of people who get along without their vision, but given the choice, I'm going to take an easier option.

I'm somewhat hard of hearing as it is, and it's incredibly frustrating. Give up hearing altogether and I lose music. There has to be an easier option.

I once knew a woman who had lost her sense of smell -- something about a severe disease when she was a toddler? She told me that when you lose smell, you also lose taste; she could enjoy spicy food and variations in temperature, but generally she found eating to be a chore. And think of the access to memory that you'd lose if you lost smell! This is not a loss that would interfere with work or hobbies, no, but it would take so much of the fun out of life.

Losing the sense of touch sounds dangerous. It would deprive me of everything from itching to pressure to heat and cold sensitivity to my sense of balance.

So I think we're down to taste. I'd hate to see it go -- I'd probably lose the pleasure of cooking as well as the pleasure of eating -- but it seems like the lesser of five evils.



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resonant: Brian from The Breakfast Club: Demented and sad, but social (Default)
[personal profile] james asks: Is there a tv show or movie that you would pay a billion dollars to get either a re-working of an episode or a sequel to? (It might not cost that much. Millions.) Because sometimes fanfic isn't enough, you just need to see it on-screen.

Wow. Where even to begin?

All respect to Maggie Smith and Alan Rickman, but I'd like to see the Harry Potter series done with the teachers cast at the correct ages. I believe we have canon that Snape, Lupin, and Black should all have been in their early thirties at the start of the series. The HP wikia gives McGonagall a birth date of 1935 and puts her leaving Hogwarts in 1957, making Maggie Smith about the right age, but I don't know where those numbers come from; she's described with dark hair, and I pictured her in her early fifties.

But if I only have enough for one thing, I'm not sure I'd squander it on that.

No, you know what I'd spend it on? A reboot of "The Breakfast Club," that's what! Update the stereotypes (in the 21st century you'd have to have at least one character gay, for one thing, and an all-white cast would not fly) ... the parenting issues and the school problems probably wouldn't need any changes ... if I have my preferences, the nerd character won't be stuck doing everybody's homework while everyone else pairs off ...

I would so watch that!





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resonant: Brian from The Breakfast Club: Demented and sad, but social (Default)
[personal profile] reginagiraffe asks: what was the best birthday present you ever got? (You can supply your own definition of "best".)

I never wanted to be a hard person to buy for, but apparently I am. One year the kidlet drew me a bookmark with a picture of our cat Alice (who died before the kidlet was born) being typically bossy and persnickety, and I've lost it the way readers always lose bookmarks, but I remember it very fondly.

However, the birthday that gained me the best haul of gifts was 2006, when fandom really outdid itself.





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resonant: Brian from The Breakfast Club: Demented and sad, but social (Default)
Before beginning, a story. The kidlet says to me, "I need help finding a fanfiction. I've been looking all day long. It was Harry/Draco, and it involved a snake that was a gift from Draco's father."

I said, "Well, I'll be surprised if my first guess turns out to be correct, but ... Lustre? Julad and Calico?"

Yep! That was the one!


[personal profile] julad asks: What was publishing Exog like for you? The good, the not so good, the unexpected.

I think the best thing was that Amanda Jean, my editor, turned out to be of the fannish persuasion! The editing process was great, partly because she found some small ways to make the story flow better, and partly because it was a validation of the whole beta process; it turned out that the manuscript was quite clean.

The fact that the story was written so long ago troubled me; I would love to have a lively writing life happening right now, but I so very much don't, and here's this publication sitting there ... it feels a little like getting invited to a masquerade and dressing up as something you could be and have been (and, lord willing, will be again) but currently are not.

I have to admit, I was hoping it would earn more than a week's groceries cost. But considering that it required almost no new labor, what little money I got from it feels like money for nearly nothing.



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resonant: Brian from The Breakfast Club: Demented and sad, but social (Default)
9. [personal profile] china_shop asks: Thoughts about writing original fic vs writing fanfic, whether it's different processes, different feelings (or the same process, and the same feelings), or whatever.

My writerly self-image is of a person who is bad at plot and conflict, good at smoothly flowing sentences, and better than decent at characterization.

But characterization in fanfiction is completely different from characterization in original fiction.

Once I've got a character who's fully real in my head, I can do the same thing I do when writing fanfiction: say, "This person refuses to say those words, and insists on saying these other words instead." But it's difficult to get there. Many of my characters come out flat; others refuse to coalesce, but remain a collection of traits that don't come together to form a real person.




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