raven: (middleman - sleepy wendy)
Here are my [community profile] festivids recs, from a very scattershot trail through the list. I suspect - and in some cases, know - who made many of these vids, but I refrain from comment on that front.

Gonna Get Through This World (An Adventure in Space and Time)
A vid in praise of Verity Lambert and Waris Hussein. Crisp and heartfelt and with such a sense of glorious promise (I love the brief appearance of Matt Smith).

Galaxyrise (Apollo 13 and others)
A lovely vid, that is not quite fannish in sensibility - it's a vid about the idea of exploration, of what's to come. I wish I'd made it.

Firework (The Gymnast)
For a source I haven't seen and now desperately want to: it's a love story that builds and builds. I love it.

Sailboats (Master and Commander)
Jack Aubrey and Stephen Maturin love each other a lot, though not quite as much as they love the beautiful world around them, and the sea. This one is so meditative, so beautiful.

Rescue (Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries)
THIS IS IT THIS IS THE SHOW. Phryne, and Dot, and then also Jane and Aunt Prudence, and how they don't need rescuing! Hearts in my eyes.

Say Her Name (Black Lives Matter)
A vid in praise - and in witness - of black protest, and black lives. Like the vid up above (and like more than one of the Hamilton ones, which I haven't got through yet), it's not a vid with a fannish sensibility: it's a vid that positions itself as a transformative work of art at the nexus of many complexities, many of which are so painful that perhaps art is the only thing. I don't really have the vocabulary for this one, but the vid itself does.

This Sullen Welsh Heart (Pride)
This one just - just - edges out in front to be my favourite of what I've seen. It makes really good use of all the beautiful imagery of the film, and the song choice is perfect, and put all together it's a vid about hopeless causes, and why they matter.
raven: subway sign in black and white, text: "Times Square / 42 Street station" (stock - times square)
As we all know, friends, my misanthropy is great and awesome on Christmas Day. I am in the Frozen North; it is raining; I have slept very little, and written about two paragraphs about my spies, and all is as ever. But I've had a very quick look at the Yuletide archive and here we are. (I made out like a bandit!)

Firstly, my gifts! Both for The Watchmaker of Filigree Street, both just lovely:

A Different Sort of Complicated (1592 words) by Anonymous
Fandom: The Watchmaker of Filigree Street - Natasha Pulley
"I know you enjoy your work," said Mori. "But Parliament's about to make things more complicated."

I LOVE THIS SO MUCH. A and I woke up early this morning and I was reading this at 8am with the light rising over the woods and saying, over and over, "Someone wrote me a fic about the Labouchere Amendment. Someone wrote me a fic about the Labouchere Amendment!"

You guys, someone wrote me a fic about the Labouchere Amendment. Someone who knows me at that! It's this lovely little fic about Thaniel and Mori, settling into a quiet life together, but with the various stings and shadows of what might have been, or might be. And the Labouchere Amendment, as part of the Criminal Justice Amendment Bill 1885, has just been passed - the one that will be used to prosecute Oscar Wilde and Alan Turing (and plays a major role in my spies' story, as well). I'm so happy about this.

I also got:

Revisions (3927 words) by Anonymous
Fandom: The Watchmaker of Filigree Street - Natasha Pulley
Love and friendship, like learning another language and everything else in life, require practice to perfect.

I read this too quickly to start - 8am on Christmas Day, in bed without my glasses - and I'm glad I did reread it because it is so bloody clever. When did we meet, Thaniel asks - not for the first time, the real time, but the first maybe: and Mori tells him a long and complicated story about Thaniel as a figure with grey eyes, who appeared and disappeared in all that might be remembered. So subtle, so interesting. I love this so much.

And the fandom as a whole killed it, because I also loved:

The Watchmaker's Apprentice (3007 words)
Fandom: The Watchmaker of Filigree Street - Natasha Pulley
Thaniel and Keita form a family.

This is so sweet. So sweet, and believable, and sad in places, and aaaaah my feels.

And other things I have read and liked, in other fandoms:

The Amber Stone (2060 words) by Anonymous
Fandom: Cadfael Chronicles - Ellis Peters
In olden days, gems as well as herbs were thought to have healing powers. Cadfael knows better — but beyond the realm of knowledge, faith still remains.

This is just so good. It instantly conjures up Cadfael's quiet and beautiful world, and features Hugh Beringar and Aline, which makes me happy. It has one line in it in particular that I adored but the whole thing is just wonderful.

A Piece in the Game (2457 words) by Anonymous
Fandom: Kim - Rudyard Kipling
Many years after the events in Kim, 1919, he is once again in play. Kim must decide whether he's Sahib or not.

This is fascinating to me. Kim, a little older, choosing between selves.

Ephialtes (5270 words)
Fandom: Doctrine of Labyrinths - Sarah Monette
Ephialtes: Lit. Jumping on you. A term for nightmares coined by Greek physician Galen, 2 CE. An anxiety disorder defined by Dr. John Bond, 1753 CE, about the sense of being crushed or sexually assaulted by an incubus which accompanied a nightmare: "As soon as they shake off that vast oppression, they are affected with a strong palpitation, great anxiety, languor, and uneasiness – which symptoms gradually abate, and are succeeded by the pleasing reflection of having escaped such imminent danger".

'ware warnings on this, friends, please. I haven't actually finished reading the Doctrine of Labyrinths books yet, mostly because they are ridiculously ridiculously long and also very traumatic, so I have to read them in short bursts and constantly text [personal profile] soupytwist my constant feels. (And also feeling grateful I didn't read them as a teenager. I mean, I would have loved them. Loved, loved, loved them and read them all at once and cried and cried and destroyed myself.) But nevertheless: this is the story of how Felix left Malkar. And it's terrifying and breaking and sad, but Felix is brave, and still able to be kind, despite everything. I liked this a lot.

A lovely Christmas to those who celebrate it, and a peaceful Friday to those who don't, and love to my fellow misanthropes. We're mulling wine. My father has accidentally bought three crates of oranges. (He said he was standing in the aisle and surrounded by people doing their Christmas shopping and couldn't move in any direction and hey look oranges.)
raven: black and white street sign: "Hobbs Lane" (quatermass - hobbs end)
I had a very quiet Christmas with friends, and with Shim, and now Boxing Day is as grey and windswept as it ought to be, narratively, and I am quite contented. This is just an initial batch of Yuletide recs, probably there will be more coming, and in no particular order:

The Banishing of Winter (1156 words) by Anonymous
Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell - Susanna Clarke
My gift! A lovely fairy tale of how the Raven King banished winter for four years from the north of England. Charmingly, it's set in Sefton - which is not the place I grew up; I grew up in the Metropolitan Borough of Sefton so named because it's not a real place! But it's named for a village that may have existed on the Sefton coast, once, a long time ago, and here it is.

Soft Offering (1034 words) by Anonymous
Imperial Radch Series - Ann Leckie
Breq is given a gift by Mercy of Kalr, and it's the sort of gift only a ship can give. Just lovely.

What's Caught is Gone (4382 words) by Anonymous
Imperial Radch Series - Ann Leckie
A few small scenes of breathing space between the end of Ancillary Sword and whatever comes next. I love this! It's just what it says on the tin, slice-of-life aboard ship, complete with all my favourite running gags from the novel - Kalr Five, and the rose dishes! Bo's rousing choruses of "Oh, tree! Where's my ass?" - and brilliantly, it's from Mercy of Kalr's point of view and evokes how aptly named the ship is: the story is all quiet warmth and kindness, and just, I loved this a lot. Possibly my favourite of all of them so far.

Bzzt (4148 words) by Anonymous
Playthings (Gun Safety PSA)
The canon for this one is a 30-second gun safety PSA. In the true spirit of Yuletide, I am now deeply invested in the internal lives of these people.

The Mystery of the Egyptian Curse (3722 words) by Anonymous
Lynes and Mathey Series - Amy Griswold & Melissa Scott
I am a tiny little bit dubious about the premise of this one - I think given the historical setting, the characters wouldn't take the risk they take, in this story - but given that it is unutterably and ridiculously delightful. Miss Frost is the best detective, the best ally and basically the best everything, just as she ought to be. (Also! "For every David and Jonathan, there was a Naomi and Ruth" - eeeee.)

The Sand In The Bottom Half Of The Hourglass. (2015 words) by Anonymous
Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell - Susanna Clarke
Arabella Strange and Emma Pole are visited by the Raven King. This one made me tear up and I'm not entirely sure why.

The Cartographer Tries to Map a Course (2018 words) by Anonymous
Rivers of London - Ben Aaronovitch
In which Abigail Kamara is grown up, and goes to visit the genius loci of Ettersberg, who has returned - and doesn't take Nightingale, who is too afraid - and too young - to go back. This gives me chills, all the way down into the ground and all the bits of me that love places in fiction. If the one above isn't my favourite of the whole collection, then this one is.

I've read lots more! So probably there's more to come. I also really, really, really liked Cabin Pressure - Shim and I listened to "Zurich" very happily on Christmas Eve while allegedly cleaning up the kitchen, and had to stop cleaning up the kitchen in order to bask in the utter perfection of it. Oh, my show! It was so warm and funny and careful of its characters, and the cast were clearly having a ball, and just - after all these years, it was such a beautiful ending and I love it so much and still.

I've also been enjoying the Radio 4 Good Omens, but don't actually have much to say about it; the characters have lived in my head for so many years that it seems nice, but unremarkable, that they're on the radio.
raven: subway sign in black and white, text: "Times Square / 42 Street station" (stock - times square)
For [livejournal.com profile] yiskah, who finds herself in sudden need of stories about Cecil and Carlos and their beautiful, bewildering, eldritch love!

there's probably a word for it in unmodified sumerian (1007 words) by patho
It’s weirdly flattering, in a way, that Cecil can wax rhapsodic about his very cells. Carlos can empathize: every single one of his tests has shown that Cecil is just as human as he is, and yet he’s also absolutely not. A lovely little vignette.

Some madness in love. (2181 words) by dee
That’s the thing about time in Night Vale: perfect moments last forever. Literally. Somewhere. This is a lovely, sweet little story about one of the many peculiarly Night Vale dates Cecil and Carlos go on…

Mostly void, partially stars (4981 words) by dee
There are a lot of things Cecil knows, and absolutely none of them make sense. …and this is the story, by the same author, where Carlos is the scientist and Cecil is the experiment - and it's also much more sweet than not? I dunno. This fandom, you guys.

Strange or Malevolent (1982 words) by pocky_slash
(Carlos may have had a thing for guys like that in grad school, but he's definitely over it entirely and is in no way attracted to Cecil, not at all, not even a little, that guy is weird and a stalker and kind of dangerous, no matter how cute he is. Or isn't. Because he's not.) Oh, Cecil. Oh, Carlos.

held aloft by your voice (2306 words) by radialarch
“There’s always something going on,” Cecil says. “Have you checked the Community Calendar? I think there’s a town-wide exorcism on Thursday.” Creepy as all-get-out and I love it. (And, also, it's kind of sweet and lovely!)

Names of collision in the dark (22178 words) by queerly_it_is
“Wow,” Cecil says, and Carlos grins wider, because he’d maybe been expecting another ‘Neat!’ even though Cecil’s imposed a moratorium on that word possibly for the rest of time. In which as Cecil is neither tall nor short, neither fat nor thin, he must be a switch… and it is terribly, heartbreakingly romantic. There are first dates and second dates and fifth dates and non-numbered dates that may or may not have fallen on cancelled Wednesdays, and lots of thoughtful langorous sex (glad I didn't read this one at work!) and in the end, it's a love story. With zombies.

radio is a living art (try to get the words right) (2081 words) by byzantienne
“Whisper a dangerous secret to someone you care about. Now they have the power to destroy you, but they won’t. This is what love is.” Yes. Exactly.

How I Survived My Summer Vacation, by Tamika Flynn, Age 12 3/4 (5516 words) by thingswithwings
The first book on Tamika Flynn's Summer Reading Program Sticker Chart is Lord of the Flies. Tamika is wonderful! So is this story. (nb. Is directly related to episode 28, Summer Reading Program).

run, run, fast as you-- (16525 words) by branwyn
First, Carlos tried to imagine Cecil holding a gun. It was actually very easy. That is to say, it was easy to imagine Cecil looking down at his slender, dusky hand, finding a gun in it, then dropping it like it was coated in hydrochloric acid while screeching like a frightened child. I never ever ever rec WIPs! But branywn is great, and this is awesome and very nearly finished in any case. Has a long thoughtful backstory for Carlos and a wonderfully textured Night Vale.

edited to add: nearly forgot this one! a love song for schrödinger (2220 words) by patho
“Sorry to bother you,” the angel says. Its voice is deep and musical, and makes the hair on Carlos’ arms stand on end. “Are you Cecil’s scientist?” I love this, wholly, utterly. It is frightening.

And, finally, some I've recced before:

The Observer Effect (6110 words) by thingswithwings
Cecil holds his hand all through dinner, his fingers stroking slow and soft along Carlos's palm, his knuckles, below the base of his thumb. This is the story about Night Vale municipal sex permits. It's… I just. Um. Yes.

inspired by your laugh to wait for things (4066 words) and and every map is blank (7128 words) by gyzym
It's the literal end of the world; Carlos is staring at something so cataclysmic that he can no longer fit the entire image in his brain, is, when he tries to summarize for himself what he's seeing, drawing horrified blanks punctuated with the muted sensation of exclamation marks. But what he's thinking -- crazily -- is that Cecil's voice is too intimate for radio. (Perfect, perfect, perfect!)

I love this show so much, you guys. I think it's the unholy combination of a fandom that has an incredible sense of place (and of land use and planning!) mixed with Cecil and Carlos and their adorable queer romance mixed up with everything I wrote before about how you can do Night Vale fandom entirely through the medium of brown people if you want to. But in the end it's just, I just... I cannot. I love it with a kind of bone-deep ridiculousness. Goodnight, Night Vale, goodnight.
raven: image of India on a globe (politics - india)
I never do have enough hours in the day. I'm very, very lazy - when I work it's in very intense bursts, so as to get it over - but I've reached that point of the year where the intense bursts are lasting days rather than hours. I am still ill, but haven't stopped moving yet - today I got up, went back to bed, got up again, gritted my teeth, went to work at lunchtime and hit my targets, but through kind of a haze (the other trainee, who has known me for two weeks, said, "You are really ridiculous", in a loving manner that reminded me deeply of [personal profile] gavagai and [livejournal.com profile] hathy_col and makes me think she may be getting to know me rather well) - and I was going to drive to Leeds tomorrow, but was thinking better of it, what with a) general haze in head and b) so much work to do this weekend on various things. I am making the first steps towards my post-training-contract life, as well as taking evening classes at Hills Road. (I went to the first one on Tuesday and it was a delight: the teacher is wonderful, the class engaged and enthusiastic, and I think I might make friends who aren't lawyers! And also, isn't it amazing to be in a classroom? To put your hand up? To make notes? To not have to be responsible for anything other than your notes? I think I would recommend adult education to everyone, it's such a joy.)

So, yes, there are good and worthy reasons for me to have lots of homework this weekend, but the fact remains I do. But, genius idea: take the train! So I am taking the nice smooth East Coast main line up to Leeds tomorrow, and I won't have to drive, and I'll get some work done, and I get to see [livejournal.com profile] tau_sigma and [livejournal.com profile] hathy_col.

What else, what else? I am still writing trope ficlets, in around sleeping, working and working - it's a treat.

And courtesy of [personal profile] elb, I am listening to a lot of songs by Niraj Chag, of which my favourite by far is "Ur Jaa". It's a lovely, haunting, wistful love song, and I've listened to it a couple of dozen times today thinking all the time, this reminds me of something. Not even that - not even a reminding of something so much as, somewhere in my mind there is something aligning like a tectonic plate.

I just figured it out. A while ago I recced a beautiful Vorkosigan fic called "L'oiseau qui vole", which is a delicate love story with a central theme evoked by a single line from a (fictional, I believe) old French ballad: "l'oiseau qui vole n'a pas de maître", and it wasn't until I remembered that, that I understood it. Ur jaa, tu jaa paharon ke pichhe - yes. Yes, yes. Such a deeply lovely piece.

As for why the resonance - partly just the dovetailing of themes. But I was thinking about this the other day, about languages and what they feel like, to write in. I don't write in any language other than English, but I have enough grasp of the others to know, dimly, what it might be like to write in them, what it might feel like. When I was writing the trope ficlets, the first one I wrote was called "something in the autumn that is native to your blood" - it was a little thing that I wrote while terribly, terribly sleep-deprived, for [personal profile] philomytha who wanted something about Aral Vorkosigan, Simon Illyan and telepathy. I wrote it and then spent ages trying to find a title for it - the title it does have comes from a Canadian poem that [personal profile] thingswithwings introduced me to originally, and it's a perfectly good title - but, initially, I wanted to call it "tu jaa". I couldn't think of a reason to title it in Hindi, in the end: neither thematic, nor, well, Barrayar Has No Brown People, as we all know.

But... I wanted to call it "tu jaa". Not "tum jao", nor "aap jaiye". It means, "you go", an imperative. But so do all those three. Only "tu jaa" is something you can say to someone you love, to someone you despise, to someone you'd protect and adore and own utterly. You can say that, and I just wrote 17,000 words trying to explain that sort of relationship in a language that stands back from that sort of feeling. One day, maybe, when I'm old, I'll be able to write in languages other than English, and it will feel different. And perhaps - if I feel that resonance, deep below- Hindi and French have a texture like each other. I hope so.

So much nonsense. Right. Productivity. Why do I always pick such convenient times to be ill.
raven: white text on green and yellow background: "ten points from Gryffindor for destroying my soul" (sbp - destroying my soul)
I am running a severe sleep deficit. Some brief notes before I flump into bed:

1. My parents had been making pointed remarks about the last time I was home; I indignantly said it wasn't THAT long ago and then realised it was for [personal profile] hathycol's hen party. She has now been married for six months. Er. Yeah. Work was a little difficult today - we're doing a large freehold transfer somewhere in Northumberland.

("Where in Northumberland?" I asked.

"Er... we're not sure? Perhaps you could SIM..."

"SIM" stands for search of index map. It's a very clever trick wherein you mark up your plan in red ink, scan it in, email it attached to a form and you get a reply two days later telling you what registered land is within the marked-up area. (It helps to have a steady hand. I once accidentally marked up a sewage works.) Any day where someone tries to make you SIM the entirety of a ceremonial county is a bad day. I also was asked to look into an issue of mineral rights vesting extra-freehold - found nothing, but got roadblocked in in precise echo of the person who looked into it before me, which was bleakly reassuring.)

And after the bad day was over I had to drive 210 miles mostly in the dark, and I ended up listening to a lot of podfic, but I did make it. I have too short an attention span to listen to podfic usually, but while driving it's perfect, and I don't suppose I've had anyone read me a story for many, many years. It was a bright spot in my otherwise quite-difficult day.

2. I left a very silly prompt (one of many) on the Bujold ficathon on the AO3; [personal profile] hedda62 has been writing a response which, she says, was growing in length and theme out of all proportion from the original prompt. And that is absolutely true, but nonetheless:

L'oiseau qui vole, by [archiveofourown.org profile] hedda62.
Aral, in a fit of wickedness, assigns someone to follow Simon everywhere and keep notes, to see how he likes it.

The summary was my prompt - but this is actually not silly at all. It's a love story, kinky and dark and multiply complex, that leaves me done in with the rightness of it. 'ware warnings. But lovely, lovely.

3. Speaking of silly, [personal profile] forthwritten, [personal profile] happydork and I are writing epic repressed homophobic romance in middle America. I just wanted to tell you all that. It's the best. Like [personal profile] happydork, if I were still living in America I couldn't have written it. (While we both still were, we used to ring each other up to hear each other's accents. And complain about - well, everything. It was also the best.)

4. I am running a sleep deficit because, well, this was my first week at a new job; I also have been running out in the evenings to do various things, such as going to the farewells of the cohort in the year above mine (today, September 7th, means I am now less than a year from qualification, ARGH); and also because I have spent the last week and a half using time I don't really have to write Vorkosigan fic with MELODRAMATIC ESPIONAGE. It is long and very MELODRAMATIC. It's my version of the Simon-and-Aral story, really, and I'm rather discouraged about it at the moment. That might be the sleep-deprivation, but, blaaaah. Cannot write. Cannot think about writing. Head stuffed full of plans and leases.

Okay. Tomorrow. SPY STORY YAY. Those fic commentaries I have owed for, like, ever. And maybe whole hours at a time not thinking about land transactions.

edited to add: yuletide brainstorming! Already! My only thought for this year so far is Code Name Verity. What do y'all want? I have no idea right now.

request

Sep. 20th, 2011 10:44 pm
raven: (sapphire & steel - newspaper)
Hello, all. I am here to make a request. I am suffering somewhat at the moment from an attack of Life, and I'm numbing my mind by watching vids. I'm here to ask y'all for recs of whatever vids you're watching at the moment, with one caveat: I have no brainpower left. Not a single bit left. So if it's a vid with a deeply thoughtful constructed reality, or one that explores complex social and political issues - maybe not, mmm? I can handle vids that express "yaaay, I heart [character/show/that thing those characters do in that show]", and I can handle vids that are "yay, ladies!" or 'yay, geeks!" But more than that - anything that involves propositional content - and I have to hide. So sorry, I don't mean to.

To be helpful, here are some I do like and am watching a lot lately, with my current interpretations in square brackets:

-Ground Beneath Her Feet, Sapphire & Steel. [My favourite vid of all time. Atmosphere! Pretty people! Show lovely seventies weird-as-fuck show!]

-Rolling In the Deep, X-Men First Class. [Charles/Erik! <33333!]

-The Test, Star Trek. [Kirk and Spock's love is TWU FOREVER TWU kthxbai.]

-Past In Present, Chak De! India. [Brown girls! India! THERE IS SOMETHING IN MY EYE.]

-Space Girl, multifandom. [oh my heart, my heart]

...etc. Thank you all for your patience during these Troubled Times.
raven: (stock - rock 'n' roll)
Hello, all. So, I am aware I have been a bad friend and quiet fannish citizen for around two or three weeks now, and I want to apologise for that.

Here's the bad news. I am likely to continue being both of those things until March, and I apologise for that.

Here's what's going on in my life:

work )

For the most part, though, I'm happy living in Cambridge, and living with Shim is working out well. I miss the States, but I always will and it's nice here. It's just work that's making me miserable at the moment. I'm told it gets better; I hope it will.

2. Possibly unwisely, I have tickets for The Civil Wars in a couple of weeks. I haven't seen live music for years, I'm very excited.

3. So, a few weeks back [personal profile] gavagai made me watch X-Men, and I really enjoyed it; then I watched some of the other films, finishing with X-Men: First Class. I think y'all knew this. I think some of you also knew I had got fed up with trying to fix the movie to suit me, and decided to write Charles/Erik in a cake shop AU instead.

Well, 17,500 words later I have finally got that story out to beta. ([personal profile] happydork is to blame - it was going to be a story about, y'know, cake. And maybe some kissing. Then she said, "Shouldn't it be a kosher bakery?" - and the rest is a great deal of history.)

The problem, y'see, that work has taken away all of my critical faculties. (And everything else, too: I went out for dinner with some of my colleagues on Thursday night, and we'd gone to a Nando's which, I believe, has the sort of menu where you pick things from column A, B, C, etc. The problem is that schedules of deeds are also in columns marked A, B and C. I couldn't order. Someone had to do it for me.) So while I had all sorts of issues with XMFC - and still do - I ship Charles/Erik. I really do. I ship them like I'm twelve and it's Sirius/Remus.

(I mean. Sirius/Remus. I only stopped shipping them when I had done all the shipping - when you didn't need to ship them, they had been shipped.)

So here are some recs of what I've been reading, in lieu of anything approaching original content:

Call Me By His Name, by [archiveofourown.org profile] sinuous_curve
Charles wakes from the absence of noise. Charles and Erik, afterwards. It's beautiful, this, and thoughtful, and just, very very good.

The Emperor's New Clothes, by [archiveofourown.org profile] ignipes
Ignipes used to write fantastic HP fic, I remember; this one has a lot of what I loved about that, it's subtle and clever and also really hilarious. Emma and Mystique try to stop Magneto wearing rubbish outfits! It's awesome. [via [personal profile] gavagai]

all the fears you left behind by [livejournal.com profile] londondrowning
He angles the gun [...] and suddenly there is nothing funny here, nothing at all. This is totally fascinating in that it really gets inside Erik's head - what it's like to be him. I thought it was very well-done.

Not So Much the Teacup by [archiveofourown.org profile] thehoyden
IT'S A WEDDING PLANNER AU. WHAT MORE DO YOU NEED. She also wrote What Not To Expect When You're Not Expecting It, hilarious and adorable well-written mpreg. (I know, I know. See above re: twelve. Via [livejournal.com profile] wildestranger.)

The Winter of Banked Fires, by [livejournal.com profile] yahtzee63.
My favourite, here. I'm fond of all Yahtzee's writing - her way of seeing characters and relationships is a lot like mine - and this one's no exception. It's basically a gigantic fix-it that's sort of set after the first trilogy of films, and it's lovely, novel-length and just what I wanted to read. Logan and Rogue get together, gently, realistically, in a way that I totally didn't expect to find interesting and then did; and Charles and Erik fight, make up, put to rest fifty years of demons and make fun of disco. It is just lovely.

[I just figured something out! This is JUST LIKE SIRIUS/REMUS. THEIR LOVE IS PURE AND TRUE AND DOOMED.

okay, you carry on with your day.]
raven: (sapphire & steel - newspaper)
If you wanted to be charitable, you could say I spent this week doing grown-up, house-hunting assessing-relationship things - or you could just say I spent this week lying on Shim's bed watching Sapphire & Steel. (And occasionally taking a deep breath and closing the laptop and not watching it, especially just before bed.)

I am at a loss to explain why I have suddenly fallen in love with a faintly clunky British sci-fi show from the seventies. Because, okay, I have watched lots of classic Doctor Who and lots of Star Trek TOS. And I love them both - I do love them. I love them because you watch TOS and think, huh, this is pretty derivative. And then you think: no, actually, everything else is derived from this. I mean. I love "Amok Time" and "Mirror, Mirror" and "The City at the Edge of Forever". And I love old Who - I love, love, love that here is this show that people, not just sci-fi fans sort of people, watch, and it's full of warmth and sweetness and oh yeah it's been going since 1963. In both of them, I love the scale of imagination - the way they set out to draw on these huge canvasses, these layered and multi-layered plots (Caves of Androzani, anyone? Does everyone else understand it, or am I not the only one?) and quite often they don't have the budget or technical ability to match, but they have the vision.

But... I'm a child of the nineties. Very sad and unfortunately true. Somehow my suspension of disbelief never quite works out when faced with matte-painting alien worlds and monsters made of bubble-wrap. And I think it's perfectly okay, actually, to love shows not just because they are of great cultural import but also because they are camp and fabulously endearing and sometimes the sets fall over. Red Dwarf would have been no fun at all if they'd not, you know, filmed on Crosby beach in the winter time and invited you to believe it was a tropical paradise.

But Sapphire & Steel is different. It didn't have the money or the technology for alien worlds or monsters, so it didn't have them. Instead it has.... well. It has whole serials against the background of one set, with three or four-member casts, with nearly no specical effects. It's entirely PG-rated. And somehow, through the writing and the acting, it's compelling and it's also seriously fucking scary. I mean. Okay, so in one episode there's some sort of evil presence moving things around. A coat drops off a peg, cushions fall off sofas. One of the characters gives voice what the audience is thinking and says, big deal, what harm can that even do?

Behind him, almost unnoticed, a pillow falls into the baby's crib.

That's it, that's what it does. It has a kind of deathless creepiness that I really, really like. And, okay, one of my issues with really getting into old Who is the veeeeeeery slow pacing. I know it was a serial, it's how it was done, but I just... I flag. And this is the same format, and someone on tvtropes describes Sapphire & Steel as having the pacing of "Star Trek The Motion Picture on thorazine", which is probably true - but it works. It really does work. It builds up the tension and foreboding that way until by the last episode you're properly jumpy.

And couple that with the fact it makes a religion of never telling you what the fuck is going on - who are Sapphire and Steel? Well, they wander the universe fixing stuff that's gone wrong. They are not futuristic detectives, as Amazon apparently thinks they are. They are not Time Lords. They are "medium atomic weights" - but no one ever seems to point out that neither sapphire nor steel is an element. They're telepathic between themselves, but not generally. They don't sleep and they don't age. They're very aware of and tied to time. And, while I'm at it, they're played by David McCallum and Joanna Lumley and it's 1979 and I am so grateful for my own bisexuality sometimes I can't even tell you. I mean. Come on. Just. How is this quantity of preternatural beauty even possible.

And they're not human. I really love how well that's done, too: through a mixture of good writing and acting, you're really made to believe that while they look human, they're not. They're alien and amoral and kind of sinister and the relationship between them definitely consists in something but not something you can understand. It's loving and alien and sexually charged and kinky as all-get-out in a lot of ways - okay, obscure, but even so I was amazed to discover that no has ever written it for [community profile] kink_bingo.

And, there is a fair bit of fic on the AO3 but no actual Sapphire/Steel, which baffles me. The funny thing is, I wanted to find a fic that gets at this whole kinky-sexually-charged-but-inhuman dynamic - and I didn't find it, but I did find a vid, of all things: Ground Beneath Your Feet (on youtube - couldn't find it anywhere else) and I totally love it and have watched a redacted number of times in the last couple of days. (And me, you know me, I'm vid-illiterate, there's a tiny handful of vids that have had enough of an effect on me for me to watch them more than once.) But it's amazing - gets at all that, the relationship between them, the way-creepy-cool vibe the show has, and gives it some actual pace and as a bonus it's very pretty to look at.

And yes. It's Britain in 1979. Sometimes the haircuts remind you of this fact. Sometimes the interior decor does. But, it impresses me by having a non-white character - Lead, who neatly subverts the stereotypes - and by doing interesting things with gender power dynamics. On first gloss, Steel is the dominant half of the pair... but it's not actually quite that simple. I like it.

On the whole this isn't an unreserved rec - if you're not me, for example, and thus maybe don't have a thing for deserted underground stations and urban ghost stories and understated creepiness and all of those things together, it might not be to your taste, and I should mention again that it can be really very disturbing - but. But, I like it better than old Who. Shush. Don't tell anyone.

The DVDs can be had for not that much, so I was going to get them, but on second thoughts, I think I will wait till the house-move is over and then get them delivered to a new address. It is a little ridiculous how exciitng I find this. Hi I am grown up honest.
raven: (politics - this shit)
As predicted, despite the last-minute dashing about, no polling card came for me. I am still kicking myself hard for having been stupid enough to disenfranchise myself; so, you know, could we hold off a little on if-you-didn't-vote-you-should-be-ashamed and you-lost-every-right-to-complain-for-the-next-ever, because it's not that I don't agree with you, but I'm there in that place already, okay? I tried.

In other news, I have one exam down. As usual, I couldn't sleep till four am the night before and went for it with the barrelling force of will that sleeplessness entails, and you know, it wasn't the worst thing. It was a surprisingly humane exam - in form, rather than substance, with a hour's reading time, no writing permitted, to begin with, which is a genius idea because it forces you to think about what you're doing. Eight questions, most of them okayish, I missed the point of one of them entirely and there was another one I think didn't have a point.

(Seriously. It was the first question on the paper and I was finding it baffling, so I left it till the end and came back to it with about eleven minutes to spare. For the first eight of those I wrote a paragraph about nothing in particular, and with three minutes to spare I had a genius idea and wrote "Overbreadth!" Just like that! With the exclamation mark! And didn't deign to explain how or why or in relation to what the statute was overbroad, but you can't have everything in life. Baby E later confessed to having done almost the exact same thing, which was cheering.

Also, the one where I missed the point was interesting to none but other people who care about constitutional law and the Establishment Clause, so I'm cutting it )

I could write here about how everything is making me cranky - I didn't get to vote! iTunes is refusing to let me listen to music I paid for, why didn't I just torrent it! USPS want to charge me $175 to ship my books home! migraine migraine MIGRAINE! - but maybe I just won't. The music I am trying and failing to listen to is "Sigh No More", the Mumford & Sons album, and I really, really like it. It's fabulous, affirming stuff - seriously, you can sing along and feel very definitive about everything - that sounds sort of like a cross between Dar Williams and the Gaslight Anthem. Like the Gaslight Anthem got on stage, anyway, with a trumpet and some string instruments, and tried to pretend they were an English folk band.

To alleviate the cranky, I have been reading aaaaaaall the Vorkosigan fic, as you've all probably guessed, so I will leave you with some recs so this isn't just a post about how I have a headache and my life is so unfair.

Aral Vorkosigan's Dog by [archiveofourown.org profile] philomytha
I mentioned this the other day, when I was still reading it, so this is the rec. I really, really enjoyed this. It's novel-length, about Illyan and Aral during the Escobaran war, and like I said the other day, it's sort of like a love story, only with a different kind of love at the centre of it: it's about how Illyan the neutral, human-computer observer finally takes a side, and why. It's about loyalty, and fidelity, and a kind of ownership. There's this scene in it, which I completely adore, where Illyan, exhausted, falls asleep on a chair and during the course of the night slips off it - and on waking, berates himself for literally sleeping on the floor by Aral Vorkosigan's feet. It's both hilarious and very poignant.

A Deeper Season / What Passing Bells by [archiveofourown.org profile] lightgetsin and [archiveofourown.org profile] sahiya.
Is there anyone left who hasn't read these by now? Regardless, they're great: both novel length, with many side-pieces and sequels. Miles/Gregor, going AU from Memory, and while they do wipe Laisa from existence they don't, to my delight, wipe out Ekaterin - she's there and her usual amazing self. My favourite of all the bits and bobs is A Place To Stand, a lovely, fascinating short story. (The funny thing is, these are all so good that I love them to pieces despite the fact I don't buy the major premise: Miles and Gregor are adorable, and no they're not that related, but I have trouble getting behind the pairing when the two of them are foster-brothers; effectively, they have the same parents. I mention this only in case someone else has the same hang-up and isn't reading for that reason.)

Warrant For A Day's Leave by [archiveofourown.org profile] jetta_e_rus.
Aral/Simon set shortly after the latter gets out of prison. Ridiculously sweet and heartwarming and in no way ignores Cordelia. I really liked it.

The Earring by [archiveofourown.org profile] philomytha
I read this and immediately recced it to [personal profile] gavagai, because omgyes. The author's summary is "Aral and Cordelia on a state visit to Beta Colony", which is true as far as it goes, but. Yes. Much love.

Oh, and while I'm here, I got three stories from Remix! Home (the don't look back remix), a remix of my story Pomegranate, which is about Uhura, and Amanda, and tells me things I didn't know about them.It's short and lovely.

And from Remix Madness: The Gardener (the Singing TARDIS Overdub), a remix of Sweetpeas, and I love this SO MUCH, it's about Rory and it's about the TARDIS, oh, so much love; and Be My Love (the first and last time remix), a remix of will you stay with me, will you be my love, and it's Doctor/River and again with the LOVE. I suspect these two are written by the same person. Time will tell.

Right. I need to go back to work sometime ever.
raven: stock shot of a wall with "I love you" graffiti (stock - i love you)
This is a little early, but what the hell, I'm buzzed and mellow and I want to talk. Today is January 9th, 2011 - another day, nothing special, perhaps. Ten years ago, I was thirteen, nearly fourteen, bright and lost and looking for something; ten years ago, less six weeks, I discovered a fanfiction archive, a television show and a friend.

Ten years ago I met [personal profile] hathycol; today I am twenty-three, nearly twenty-four, and next year I'll be bridesmaid at her wedding. Here's to you, fandom: here's to everything I found, everyone I met, everyone I've loved; everything I've watched and read and seen; every alien city I've slept in among friends. Here's to you, and thanks for everything.

A quiet day, today. Colleen and I went to Manchester with [livejournal.com profile] tau_sigma; we went to Afflecks, and sighed for our rapidly-receding days as teenage goths; we went to Forbidden Planet, and bought doughnuts and drank coffee and talked about everything and nothing. I bought a coat. Tali and I made fun of Colleen's passion for Cardassians; we made hen party plans and cackled with laughter. Colleen and I got through a bottle of mellow wine over dinner, and I am happy, so very happy. Perhaps I don't say this as much as I should, but here it is, anyway: fandom is no longer as important to me as it once was. It's no longer my only passion, the only thing I really care about. But that's because when it was, when it shaped my ideas about community and storytelling and what gives people value, it drew out my talents, and it gave me the strength of that community. I care about other things now - like social justice, law, my career and relationships - because I am what fandom made me, because it made me grow up feeling like I could contribute to what I care about. That I can shine as bright as I see everyone else shine.

And I still care about stories. I always will.

[livejournal.com profile] fandom_stocking went live today. I had lots of very sweet greetings, but some people have been especially kind: [livejournal.com profile] thistlerose wrote me a sweet ficlet, Unpathed Waters, Undreamed Shores, about McCoy and Spock, whom I adore, and if that weren't enough, she also made some very pretty icons. And [personal profile] icepixie made me a vidlet, Sea-Changed, which is Slings & Arrows, Geoffrey and performance and evolution and applause, and it made me cry while simultaneously being very happy. Oh, it's lovely.

It has been a beautiful ten years; the next ten will be different in their own way, but I am so happy to have grown up here.
raven: crest of Balliol College, Oxford, from a scarf (balliol)
I am well. A little frazzled, a little lonely, but generally doing okay. In a minute I need to go and do some actual work for a class, omg, etc. I have lots of thoughts about how weird the US legal system is from my perspective, but they can wait, possibly forever.

Two things, quickly. Firstly, a rec:

Five Things Rosie Weasley Misses During Her First Year At Hogwarts, by [livejournal.com profile] deathbyshinies.
A Melbourne girl goes to Hogwarts. This is so, so, so lovely. It's a nuanced, thoughtful rendering of one particular postcolonial experience, and it's done with such a light, clever touch. I love the splashes of colour in it - snowball fights, international Floo - and I love its warmth. Everyone needs to read it, like, now; it's something we need more of in fandom.

(Also, it was a going-away present for me. <3, honey.)

Secondly, I need some advice, or some help, or something. I have met quite a few people on my course now, and they seem nice. They are nice: nice, staid, copyright-law-abiding types. Which is so far so hoopy and I'm sure I will make friends, yes, etc.

But, well, I have made some preliminary enquiries, and it seems Cornell doesn't have the tradition Oxford does of societies for, well, everything. I was variously a member of Docsoc, Taruithorn and the late great [livejournal.com profile] ou3fs, and in the end I made very few friends who weren't in some way peripherally connected to them. Societies here are Serious - you know, the Cornell Student Lawyers and Cornell Democrats and the Indian Students' Association, that sort of thing, and not what I'm after. There must be geeks and fannish people at Cornell - but how do I find them?

(Before anyone mentions it: yes, there is an LGBT society here, and I may check out their events, I may not. I'm just kind of reluctant about that, seeing as I am the stereotype of the queer-woman-in-relationship-with-man, and you don't know in advance how welcoming people are going to be to that.)

Any advice much appreciated, yes.

catching up

Jul. 9th, 2010 11:24 pm
raven: young Amy sitting across the table from the Doctor (doctor who - small amy)
Oh, hey, scrubbing the bathroom for three hours is not guaranteed to leave you in a sunny mood, who knew. At least I have done it, and may get maybe a teeny weeny bit of my deposit back. Tomorrow, my bedroom, and the day after, the kitchen. Hello, domesticity. But my exams are over! Thank you, kind people who commented, it was good of you. I am feeling... well, not good, exactly, but a lot less stressed. When Cornell and my letting agent(s) and tutors send me emails about Things That Need Done, I do them rather than sitting in the corner to cry. It's refreshing.

(It scares me a little, though, that I will be in the US by the time my results come out. C'est la vie.)

One of the things Cornell want me to do is to write a 250-word biographical description of myself for a little booklet they're going to distribute to the faculty, containing inter alia, "my educational background, work experience, academic areas of interest, family, hobbies, career goals, etc." The memo promises that "sample biographies are enclosed", but they're... not. Anyone ever done one of these? How do you begin? Do you just put, "My name is Iona [last name], and I read PPE at Oxford, and I like science fiction and travel"? (Gosh, how tedious.) Do you even do it in the first person? I'm not even sure.

Also, I know I have academic areas of interest, but am I the only person who feels oddly illegitimate about this sort of thing? I mean, who am I to have academic areas of interest? I have one joint-honours degree and two very-rapid diplomas, it's only five years since I left school. I feel like I'm going to be in a cohort with Real People, whereas I am... not. I'm just me, for heaven's sake. I just write stories. Don't take me too seriously, I want to put, because I certainly don't.

Anyway! Speaking of stories, I am still writing ficlets - I believe we're on four down, eight to go, because two of you helpfully requested the same story - but I'm taking a break this weekend, if no one minds, for a story of my own. [livejournal.com profile] tau_sigma was visiting today and yesterday, and we had a lovely time. We went wandering around the Botanical Garden - which I have somehow failed to visit in five years of living in Oxford - and spent the evening drinking pink wine and watching Doctor Who, and making happy noises.

about Doctor Who, series 5 [spoilers] )

Have two fic recs:

Vita Longa, by sam_storyteller.
Rufus Atius Ferox remembers two childhoods. This is great: long, sensitive and fabulous, and rich in the way it fills in Rory's life alongside the life of the Roman legatus.

Wondrous Strange by [livejournal.com profile] lixia84
Eleven/Rory, NC-17. I very rarely just delve for fic these days; I tend to stick to authors I know and reclists. But for some reason I clicked, and this was just a gem. The Doctor and Rory are out getting into trouble, and somehow they're being chased by aliens at the premiere of Puccini's Tosca, and then for some other reason there's a bathhouse, and then. Well, and then. I was impressed with the dialogue - the Doctor in particular really sounds like the Doctor - and the way the author has these two together but doesn't erase Amy at all.

What else, what else? For my leaving Oxford/the UK party, [livejournal.com profile] jacinthsong and I are dressing up as Kira and Dax. I have at least spent an entertaining half-hour looking at purple dresses on eBay, which has improved my mood greatly.

(Although, I've been writing this wondering why my hands feel strange - and then remembering why I remember the weird feeling. I have clear memories of Chemistry A-level and spilling NaOH on my hands, trying womanfully not to swear, while my marvellous chemistry teachers explained, meticulously, the lipid reaction going on under my skin and how it was turning my hands into soap.

Guess I know what the active ingredient in the bathroom cleaner was. Ewww.)

Back to writing, I think.
raven: Sabrina Hurley as Natalie with dubious expression and overlay text: "she could no longer pretend he wasn't an idiot" (sports night - natalie)
From Sports Night 2x10, "The Giants Win The Pennant, The Giants Win The Pennant":

DAN: Did you see your daughter born?

ISAAC: Yeah.

DAN: Did you see her graduate college?

ISAAC: Yeah.

DAN: Are you watching Sports Night tonight?

ISAAC: Yeah.

DAN: Then shut up.



From 2x14, "And The Crowd Goes Wild":

NATALIE: I'm not upset about this, Isaac. I'm upset because there's a principle, a bedrock principle that doesn't change, and now I'm supposed to hand over these things. I'm supposed to hand over these things that are ours.


Keeps making me cry. Stupid show.

Hi, flist, I am spending my Bank Holiday Monday in bed. Watching Sports Night. I'm, like, the coolest person ever to live. I had a very nice party the other night, and now I'm supposed to be working, but seriously. Bed, really great.

Rec me lying-in-bed-all-day comfort fic you like? I'll go first:

Ordinary People, by [livejournal.com profile] daegaer, Good Omens AU.
Crowley and Aziraphale as... well, ordinary people.

Registration, by [livejournal.com profile] copperbadge, Harry Potter, Sirius & Remus.
Sirius and Remus queue up to register Harry at Hogwarts - only, he's not called Harry yet.

Left of West, by [livejournal.com profile] hannahrorlove, House, sort of House/Wilson, definitely AU.
Hard to explain. Just read it.

And, you all have got used to me going on about How Much I Love Connie Willis, and here's my chance to show you how great she is. This novella used to only be online as a sample, but sometime recently they must have put the whole thing up, having possibly realised you can only read it in paperback form if you're willing to pay $90 for a secondhand copy.

All Seated On The Ground, by Connie Willis, approx. 23000 words. It's a Christmas story. With aliens. And wacky evangelicals, a guy who squirts pizza and an honest-to-God Hallelujah chorus. It's just fantastic, do read it.

(Back to Sports Night. Oh, hey, you could rec me SN fic. I mean. If you wanna.)
raven: Karen Gillan as Amy Pond, wearing green and red and looking up (Default)
I spent Easter weekend meeting a great deal of [livejournal.com profile] shimgray's relatives, and it was rather tiring, but on the whole, not bad; if anyone forgot my name their minds wandered charmingly through the Western Isles. For reference: I have no objection to being called Islay or Skye, but draw the line at Rum, Muck and Eigg.

I am back in Liverpool for the time being, and today my to-do list says "sort life out". (Srsly. One day I shall consider myself a grown-up - it'll be the day I stop making to-do lists that say that.)

Here are the songs of the moment:

Laura Marling - Alpha Shallows
and the grey in the city is too much to bear

Laura Marling - Goodbye England (Covered In Snow)
winter will leave us / goodbye, old England, until next time there's snow

Laura Marling - Hope In The Air
there's hope in the air / there's hope in the water

The Corries - the Mingulay Boat Song
(Look, I spent a lot of time this month being seasick between remote islands.)

Death Cab For Cutie - Meet Me On The Equinox
(I tried SO HARD not to love this song, and I still do. In my defence I succeeded in not downloading the New Moon soundtrack. People who are Death Cab fans, tell me which of their other songs I should be listening to.)

And here are some Amy-Pond-is-awesome fic recs:

and swallow fireflies, by [livejournal.com profile] paperclipbitch.
Amy, Rory, and the Doctor, in seventeen parts. This is very, very nice, and full of good lines and nice characterisation, and a lovely ending. I am actually ridiculously impressed by it, to be honest. [hat-tip to [livejournal.com profile] forthwritten for this one]

every story has a start by such_heights.
Amy, the Doctor, and Sarah Jane. Lovely.

(My own effort was last night: let it always be known that I was who I am, which is short and maybe gen and maybe not.)

(Actually, can I go off on a tangent for a moment? More and more, I'm starting to dislike how fic is always classified as gen, het, slash, or het&slash if you're lucky. I am a fairly versatile writer - not as much as some - in that I've written love stories and dramatic angstfests and slice-of-life snippets and silly comedies and overdone farces and wistful ponderings and plot-heavy adventure flicks. I like writing, I like trying new things, it's inevitable.

But I can count on the fingers of one hand the times I've sat down and thought, yes, I am writing a story about a relationship. This is one. This is another. I have no problem as classifying the first one as a het & slash story, and the second as slash. But, I don't know, what about all the times I wrote a fic about Sirius being afraid of growing up, and one about Martha trying to understand the Doctor, and Geoffrey finding his peace, and because it makes sense for all those characters' relationships to be part of their lives, they're dealt with as part of the fabric of it all in the stories - but that's not what the story was about, and characterising them as het or slash just distorts them, rather than having any meaning.

It makes me wonder, also, how many great stories I scroll by because I read "het" or "slash" and think, eh, don't feel like a relationship story, and miss the point without clicking.

Okay, I'm done.)

Now I'm doing some work and not looking at pictures of Karen Gillan on the internet.
raven: subway sign in black and white, text: "Times Square / 42 Street station" (stock - times square)
The Chancellor announced the Budget, yesterday; coincidentally, [livejournal.com profile] hathy_col and I found ourselves in a pub in the early evening and reached the not-unreasonable conclusion that really, we ought to take the opportunity to drink cider at the day's prices.

Which wouldn't have been so bad, had we not also got through most of two bottles of wine. Today mostly I have been having, inexplicably, the worst hangover of my life - I don't mean that it's inexplicable that I drank a lot of wine and cider and now I have a hangover, I mean I have behaved much worse in the past and not suffered with quite such inside-of-head toxicity - and am emerging into the cold blue daylight feeling rather delicate. It was worth it, though. We meant to watch Deep Space Nine and instead just sat up talking about life and work and dating Scottish boys and how much we love Kate Mulgrew. And watched this, courtesy of [livejournal.com profile] tau_sigma and giggled a lot.

Amidst my delicacy, I am trying to sign up for Remix. and it's very difficult! Why do I write so much rubbish? )

Today has also been notable for a lot of interesting articles drifting by on the flist.

-Republican senators refuse to work late, citing obscure Senate procedural rule. I kind of love this. It's so transparently throwing their toys out of the pram (via [livejournal.com profile] speccygeekgrrl and [livejournal.com profile] gwynnega).

-A lack of class in the GOP. This is a really good article.

-The Tory party have done something that would be hilarious if it weren't so unhilarious.

-In better news, Constance McMillen has had the last laugh even if she doesn't get a prom.

And a quick handful of recs:

Thursday's Child by [livejournal.com profile] thistlerose
Star Trek, gen. Spock, McCoy and a baaaaaaaby. So adorable.

Force of Habit by [livejournal.com profile] taraljc.
Star Trek, gen. McCoy and his ex-wife, Jocelyn, and Joanna. Really nice, this, with good voices.

Relatives and Relativity, by [livejournal.com profile] yahtzee63.
Doctor Who/Sense and Sensibility. Such fun. I haven't got anywhere near to finishing it yet, but such a great idea for a crossover, and so far really wonderfully executed.

That's it. Bedtime, then tomorrow the Grand Adventure Up North begins.
raven: image of white Macbook computer with raven perching on it (misc - raven writes)
I had a surprisingly eventful day, considering I didn't talk to anyone and didn't get up until two. (Hi, brain, not useful, thanks.) Here are my [livejournal.com profile] purimgifts recs:

First of all, these three stories were for me:

Caifornia Girls, Code, Midnight Radio, gen, Star Trek (2009).
These are about Gaila and Uhura, apart and together, and I really, really like them; they're very simple snippets, but the writing is so elegant, and the execution so neat. Also, Gaila and Uhura = win.

And from the others:

A Certain Slant of Snow, gen, Sports Night/The West Wing.
Amy Gardner meets Dana in an airport bar. This is so great; so smart, so much like them, and I really enjoyed it. It's the first of three, and while I did like the other two, I haven't seen enough Sports Night for them to make entire sense to me, so the rec's limited to the first. But it's great: sharp and fun.

I'm Blushing on the Inside, gen, The West Wing.
Ainsley likes hamantaschen. Also pwning people. Lovely.

End of the Rainbow, Gaila/Kirk, Star Trek (2009)
Gaila has some questions to ask Kirk. I really, really like this for the depth it gives to Gaila, and to Kirk as well for that matter, but to Gaila: it thinks through her motivations with such clear-eyed writing. I like it a lot.

Moving To The Country, gen, Star Trek (2009).
Sulu shows Chekov around San Francisco. Really understated, really nice.

The Final Message, gen, Hitch-Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy.
When the people of the Milky Way Galaxy first heard that God's Final Message to His Creation was being displayed, the Jews of the Galaxy were among the first to seek it out. This is... highly strange, and strangely nice.

Untitled (day 1, day 2, day 3), gen, Vorkosigan.
Helen Natalia, the daughter of Count Vorkosigan, has worked something out: she is the best-placed person to take on the countship. Cordelia and Gregor help, in their own ways. It's a lovely story, this, just right in style and tone.

(Also, I was reading this and thinking, huh, it's a complete three-part story, I wonder why the author didn't give it a title?

...then I thought, this is a story about a woman trying to take on a countship, which she doesn't have at the moment. Aha.)

1 Kings 12:3-15, Exodus 7:8-13, Esther 6:1-5, gen, Good Omens, Hebrew Bible
The Hebrew Bible, with the amendment of a certain angel and a certain demon, and a certain amount of judicious snarking. The style of these is ludicrously, effortlessly seamless; the biblical language is resonating along, ringing from the rafters the way it always does, and then suddenly the dark scribe didst grin widely, saying unto him, Trust me, this shalt be one for the books. If they weren't a gift for [livejournal.com profile] daegaer I would have thought that she wrote them; as it is, they are a delightful mystery.

That is all. My heart hurts, I hate advocacy, why do people need defending in court anyway.
raven: (firefly - kaylee)
Okay, so. I'm too late for More Joy Day, but today I am much more joyful. Have some of the things that are making me joyful:

-Via a lot of people, most recently [livejournal.com profile] sebastienne, but, srsly. The estimable Oxford contingent of Thames Valley police have been caught toboganning down Boars Hill on their riot shields. Is it just me or does this go some way to restoring one's faith in humanity?

-Also via a lot of people, [livejournal.com profile] festivids is open for business. Now, I am not a vid sort of a person, usually; I mean, I like them, but I lack the vid-watching nous, I think. I tend to watch and then go "oooh, pretty". Yay, profound. But! I have recs anyway.

tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow, Slings & Arrows. Okay. Some amazing person made a Slings & Arrows vid to "Unity Mitford" by the Indelicates. And it wasn't even for me. Like. Someone made a vid of my very favourite obscure Canadian show to an obscure song by one of my favourite obscure British bands. Yay! And, it's a good vid! It really gets Geoffrey, Ellen and Oliver. I like it a lot.

Every Star You Chase, Red Dwarf. Basically, this is, hey, you guys, someone made a vid for Red Dwarf! A funny, silly little vid which is made all the more funny and silly for being made to a mash-up of Snow Patrol's "Chasing Cars" with "Every Breath You Take" by the Police. I mean. Really.

All For Swinging You Around, Little Mosque on the Prairie. Hey, you guys, someone made a vid for Little Mosque on the Prairie! It's awesome!

(Also, if you have never seen Little Mosque, you should. It's about a small fictional town in Ontario and its Muslim community, and its wider community, and it sounds like it's going to be Serious Social Commentary and then it turns out to be a delightful light comedy with the not-oft-repeated-enough message that hey, brown people are Political and Important but also kind of silly, kind of adorable, kind of pathetic, kind of human too.)

Aaaaand, finally. Past and Present, Chak De! India. You guys. You guys, I keep waaaailing at this vid. In the good way! But I keep watching it, and the perfect rhythmic cuts, and the movement, and the motion, and the women who look like me, and more movement and more motion, and women who look like me being strong and beautiful, and seriously, tears are not the appropriate response to a happy-making vid to a Feist song. And yet. Please watch this, if you don't watch any of the others and you have no idea what Chak De! India even is. It fills with me this stupid, pure, joy.

About Chak De! India. I saw it on a plane one time. I think I need to watch it again. But, in brief, it is a film about the Indian women's hockey team. (What is India's national sport? Clue: it's not cricket, and it starts with F and ends with "-ield hockey".) And that's all wrong as a summary, because it doesn't really get what I love about it, and the vid: it's about women, not changing the world, but changing their bit of it. It also has Shah Rukh Khan in it, but nothing in life is perfect.

-On a similar topic, I was asking a couple of days ago whether there is a Hindu-type equivalent to [livejournal.com profile] purimgifts. [livejournal.com profile] kismeteve pointed me at [livejournal.com profile] purnima_fic. "Purnima" means "full moon", and is in fact the first proper grown-up word I learned to say. (I remember being very proud. Puuuur-neeee-maaa.)

So, anyway, yes, it's a good idea - a general fic community with focus on South Asian characters, and currently running a Holi challenge. I like this idea a lot - Parvati and Padma playing Holi at Hogwarts, anyone? - but I'm sort of thinking an actual gift exchange, like [livejournal.com profile] purimgifts or [livejournal.com profile] yuletide might be more fun. I don't know; I might wait for Diwali and run it myself. Maybe. Possibly. And it would be Hindu-themed, rather than South Asian-themed, if I did that, but that's not the worst idea ever.

(Re: Holi. Traditionally celebrated in spring, with music, dancing and throwing paint at each other. Never being in India at the appropriate time, I have played it once in my life, during a cold grey Oxford spring. I ended up looking like this.)

Also, speaking of [livejournal.com profile] purimgifts, I have more or less decided to sign up. Thank you all for your thoughts on the matter, the other day, especially the people who offered to check for fail, I appreciate it.

Possibly it would be in the spirit of more joy to go and do some work, in the anticipation of joy when there is no work left to be done. This is what I tell myself.
raven: (tww - noel)
Haven't seen Doctor Who; have seen Sherlock Holmes. Please do not spoil me for the former; I thought the latter was silly and anachronistic and made of pure win.

And here are my [livejournal.com profile] yuletide recs. by fandom, mostly: Discworld, Slings & Arrows, Babysitters' Club, Anastasia Krupnik, Vorkosigan, Temeraire, Four Weddings and a Funeral, Ballet Shoes, Lord John Grey, Connie Willis' time-travellers, The Culture, the Cambridge Latin Course, and Dar Williams )

That's all. I return to my exciting day of doing nothing at all.
raven: image of white Macbook computer with raven perching on it (misc - raven writes)
Today, the internet have been talking about their hobbies. At least, my bit of the internet have - they've been talking about stuff they knit, crochet and sew, the hand-made cards they're hoping to do for Christmas, the astonishing cakes they can bake. I was thinking omg, I wish I had a hobby. (I'm even wearing a necklace my partner's mother made for me. O hai, artistic inadequacy.)

Then I remembered I write approximately a novel's worth of fanfiction a year, and felt better.

(It's a shame, though, that I can't make people things, but I suppose I could - I put drabbles into the birthday/festival cards of everyone who would appreciate it. In fact, I may do this, if I send any end-of-year cards this year.)

Three fic-related things, while I'm thinking about them:

1. [livejournal.com profile] yuletide sign-up is finally done, polished, dusted, and I hope that's it and I won't have any more last-minute realisations that I've forgotten something or I've misspelled something else (and omg, my recipient will think I'm a moron o hai paranoid interior monologue) or I've suddenly discovered a passion for, I don't know, RPF. (I think this is unlikely, but I redid my signup with six minutes to spare last year, so. You know.)

2. I have a fic in progress. It is a fic I have had in progress for a long time. It is a Harry Potter fic, about Hermione, and I've been writing it all this time because I really wanted to write a personal development story about a female character, and have it be good, because it was dawning on me that within the fandoms I write in, I don't do this enough.

But it would make sense, if I'm going to finish it before, er, January, to write it and post it before the [livejournal.com profile] yuletide assignments go out. I don't know if I can manage this, but now I've written it down that I want to, maybe I will. Yes.

(Oh! Quick-hit: The Supervisor's Tale, by [livejournal.com profile] a_t_rain. I meant to rec this at the time and completely forgot, although I did mention it to a lot of people - in brief, it's an adorable, touching story of Hermione writing her thesis with McGonagall as her supervisor, written for [livejournal.com profile] femgenficathon. It's just lovely.)

3. And lastly, a meme, nabbed from [livejournal.com profile] thistlerose, partly because I iz sheep and partly because I love fic commentaries, reading and writing, and I never have the time to do full-length ones any more.

Pick a paragraph (or any passage less than 500 words) from any fanfic I've written, and comment to this post with that selection. I will then give you a DVD commentary on that snippet: what I was thinking when I wrote it, why I wrote it in the first place, what's going on in the character's heads, why I chose certain words, what this moment means in the context of the rest of the fic, lots of awful puns, and anything else that you'd expect to find on a DVD commentary track.

Fic is under the fic tag or, barring the very last few stories, in memories and slightly better organised.

That's it. Must run, Taruithorn awaits.

August 2017

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