May. 31st, 2015 12:58 pm
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Oh look, I made it. A post every day in May. How about that?

It was fun, and I'm so glad [ profile] teddyradiator suggested it! But, sadly, it's been too time-consuming for me to continue it indefinitely. I am going to try to post more often in the future, though... Maybe shoot for once or twice a week? I guess if daily posts didn't already cause every single person to defriend me because I was talking too much (which was, admittedly, a fear I had), then less-than-daily posts should be okay too!

Crossposted from Dreamwidth. Feel free to comment wherever you're comfortable.
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Though I've been a Gilbert & Sullivan fan since childhood, somehow it escaped my attention until recently that a lot of progress has been made in reconstructing a song from HMS Pinafore that was cut before the play's premiere in 1878. The last I'd heard of it, in the mid-90s, all that was left of the song was a violin part. But since then, quite a bit more of the orchestration has been found, enough to make an educated guess at the missing parts and perform the piece.

It's kind of like watching the deleted scenes on a DVD, isn't it? The song is interesting as a glimpse into the creation of a tremendously and enduringly successful play, but as a song, it's pretty slight, and I don't find myself baffled that they decided to cut it.

Good writing is largely good editing, and sometimes the hardest things to cut are parts you've written that aren't really bad, but maybe just don't fit or don't add enough. When you experience the finished work of talented people, a lot of that work's success has to be in what you don't see or hear — because they knew better than to leave it in.

Crossposted from Dreamwidth. Feel free to comment wherever you're comfortable.
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For some reason I never had rhubarb before I moved to Vermont. It doesn't seem as popular on the west coast. Maybe it doesn't grow there? Some people where I live now have it growing in their yard like a weed. Anyway, this was dessert last night, pieced together from a few different recipes:

recipe )

Crossposted from Dreamwidth. Feel free to comment wherever you're comfortable.
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As some of you know, I'm a long-time World of Warcraft player. And one of the things I do in WoW is collect mounts — horses, dragons, dinosaurs, elephants, motorcycles, and all the dozens of other things you can ride in the game. I would call myself a semi-serious collector. Players who don't collect consider me obsessive and eccentric, yet hardcore collectors don't see me as one of them. I have 223 mounts, plus a few that don't "count" because of the idiosyncratic way the game tallies them, but folks in the big leagues have cleared the 300 mark.

[Frostwolf Howler - My first rare mount (rare at the time, not so much anymore), obtained in 2005 through player-vs-player combat.]

This is admittedly a very arbitrary hobby-within-a-hobby... )

Crossposted from Dreamwidth. Feel free to comment wherever you're comfortable.
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Oh boy oh boy, the stuff I ordered to build [personal profile] hannelore's computer came today! Now to put it together in a way that doesn't make everything explode.

Crossposted from Dreamwidth. Feel free to comment wherever you're comfortable.


May. 25th, 2015 10:31 am
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I still haven't watched that Vivaldi documentary yet, but I did watch an intriguing related video. It seeks to show how the tenor and "bass" (really baritone, by today's naming conventions) parts of vocal music could have been performed by women at the Ospedale della Pietà, a shelter for homeless girls where Vivaldi taught music.

From the uploader:

"This is the contralto/tenor/bass trio "Gloria Patri" from Dixit Dominus (RV 595), composed for the Figlie di Coro of the Ospedale della Pietà. Here the voice of Anna dal Basso (1670-1742), a documented bass singer at the Pietà, is sung by Margaret (centre), Cecilia dal Contralto (1679-1726) by Victoria, and Paulina dal Tenor (1675-1748) by Penny. Vivaldi's Women challenge the cultural stereotype which assumes that female voices are naturally high and that it is wrong for them to sing low."

I'm not knowledgeable enough about the history to comment on whether this performance is period accurate or not (it seems to be a point of contention), but it is at the very least a fascinating demonstration of the arbitrariness of vocal categorizations. The difference between a "contralto" voice and a "tenor" voice is not always one of natural range, but more one of training and the style one sings in. It's pointed out in the comments that the woman singing the contralto part in this video doesn't sing in the classical contralto style but in a belty "chest voice", which I took to be intentional and part of the commentary on how women's voices are categorized and expected to be used in classical song. Though at first the sound of their blended voices is surprising, I ultimately found it a beautiful performance.

I hope my US friends are having a peaceful Memorial Day. ♥

Crossposted from Dreamwidth. Feel free to comment wherever you're comfortable.
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This morning I dreamed that I was lost in an airport, late for a flight, and couldn't find my gate. I got separated from my family and had no idea what to do, so I went looking for Patrick Stewart. When I found him he was sitting on the floor playing the Starcraft tutorial on an iPad and giggling to himself. He was wearing a really cool leather jacket. Before I could tell him what the problem was, someone else came in and told me where I needed to go, and Patrick Stewart gave me a big hug before sending me on my way.

Crossposted from Dreamwidth. Feel free to comment wherever you're comfortable.
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"What do they mean, NSFW?" I asked my computer screen. "If he's only in his underwear, how NSFW could it be?"

Harry Potter's Matthew Lewis is Attitude's new cover guy


"...I'm sorry I doubted you."

Crossposted from Dreamwidth. Feel free to comment wherever you're comfortable.
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Given the time and number of words that went into replying to the many thoughtful comments on yesterday's post about open and closed canons, I'm giving myself permission for this to count as today's post. This is nothing like a complaint, by the way! I'm always thrilled to hear what people have to say and it's never TL;DR to me. I could talk about fandom all day.

The topic generated some great replies on both platforms, which is always nice to see: A lot of folks had things to say about their experiences with Harry Potter canon on LJ, and there's been a fascinating discussion of perpetually-open comic book canons on DW. Really interesting stuff and worth checking out no matter which service you prefer.

Crossposted from Dreamwidth. Feel free to comment wherever you're comfortable.
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Since the new X-Files miniseries was announced, I've been thinking about what it's like being in fandoms with open vs. closed canons.

I've always struggled with writing in open fandoms, particularly TV fandoms, because I felt like there was never enough time, even during the summer hiatus, to finish exploring the existing canon before there'd suddenly be more and more and more. It wasn't only a matter of getting jossed, but also of feeling overwhelmed by how many things were happening to the characters, and spending so much time mentally processing the stories I was being told (and discussing them with other people in fandom) that it was hard to focus on writing my own. This is a large part of the reason that I didn't start posting XF fic until a few months after the show had ended; for the first time, I could write it without feeling rushed or fearing that the rug would be pulled out from under any story I came up with before I finished it.

Cut for length )

What do you guys think? Do you tend to be hungry for new canon or do you like a long hiatus to focus on fanworks more? Do you stick with fandoms after the canon is closed or do you tend to move on to something where there's new material to look forward to?

Crossposted from Dreamwidth. Feel free to comment wherever you're comfortable.


May. 18th, 2015 08:57 am
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Stealing this topic from [personal profile] hannelore: Do you ever find yourself bookmarking something and then going back to your bookmarks and saying, "why did I bookmark this?"

I used to be pretty good about not letting my bookmarks get out of control, but then... I wasn't. I've been wanting to clear them out for a while, so, two birds with one stone, yes?

bookmarks )

Crossposted from Dreamwidth. Feel free to comment wherever you're comfortable.
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Lazy Sunday... Time for a music post!

When I want something new to listen to, I like to search YouTube for acoustic covers of songs I like. I've discovered some incredibly talented people that way, such as guitarist Ernesto Schnack, here covering Lateralus by Tool. From the audio, you might think it was done by two people, a guitarist and a percussionist, but nope — it's all him, performing the complex drum part on the body of the guitar while he's playing. He makes it look easy (and sound awesome).

Crossposted from Dreamwidth. Feel free to comment wherever you're comfortable.
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Today's topic was suggested by [personal profile] implicated2, who wrote: Would you be interested in doing some fic rec posts? I often enjoy posts that do something like "here is a theme I really enjoy in fic and here are some fics that do it well/interestingly."

Since it's on my mind already given yesterday's post, how about some stories where characters are shown navigating their kinks?

Doll (HP, Draco/Hermione, NC-17) by [ profile] captainraychill
kink: attraction to dolls/sex with living dolls
I recced this before when it was new, and it's well worth reccing again. It's a powerful, insightful exploration of how early experiences shape our desires, of how crucial a part of our identity our kinks can be, of the intimacy of negotiation, and of the fear that Hermione puts so clearly: "I want to find everything I need in one person, but I don’t know if I can." The use of magic in this fic is particularly wonderful and adds to the depth and feeling of immersiveness.

Reproach (HP, Snape/Black, worksafe comic) by [ profile] akatnamedeaster
kinks: nonsexual ageplay, crossdressing
For anyone unfamiliar with Kat's work, this takes place in an AU where Sirius and Severus survived the war and are in an established relationship. There's a disarming simplicity and openness to the images of Sirius soothing himself with his secret kink — it really feels like we are peeking in on a private moment, rather than something intentionally displayed, which speaks to the subtlety of Kat's drawings. It rings true that even in an established kinky partnership, there can be things that feel especially personal and scary to share.

perfect in a sickening sort of way (Star Trek Reboot RPF, Chris Pine/Zachary Quinto, NC-17) by [ profile] perdiccas
kink: rape fantasy
It doesn't matter if you don't know who these actors are; everything you need to know is in the fic. This is an intense story that is very perceptive about the realities of fulfilling a taboo fantasy. There is a constant awareness of how high the emotional stakes are, the risks that are present no matter how well you negotiate, and the depth of trust it takes to step into it anyway. It's rare to see these themes handled so deftly, and I found it incredibly hot.

And wow, May's half over already. I'm doing a lot better at this post-every-day thing than I thought I would!

Crossposted from Dreamwidth. Feel free to comment wherever you're comfortable.
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Keyboard update: Cleaning the key mechanism fixed it. Hurray!

And now that normal typing is possible once again, today's topic comes from [ profile] writcraft, who wrote: I would love to hear your thoughts on a kink you feel is rarely portrayed/lacking representation in fandom that you would enjoy seeing more of in fic.

There are a few different levels on which I can answer this question. I could name my pet kinks (ooh, pet!kink...) that aren't so common in fandom, like ageplay, which I love so much that I once wrote a whole post about it for [community profile] kink_bingo and got so overwhelmed trying to express all the things I love about it that I ended up focusing on just the intersection of ageplay and bondage, and even then it got long.

I could also answer by saying that sometimes my favorite kinky fanworks aren't my favorites because of the kink itself, but because of the way it's written. I can never get enough of stories about characters doing kink. I love seeing exploration of how the characters' kinks develop, how they navigate them, how they struggle with them, how they deepen their relationships, and how they affect the way they feel about themselves. I love love love stories that show the moment when a character tells someone else about a secret kink for the first time. And if the other person responds by telling them they don't think it's weird and things are gonna be okay between them? That's swoon-level romantic for me.

And, very much related to this, I could also answer the question by saying that I want all the kinks. Every single one of them. I want everybody to feel free to write or draw what they love and not feel weird about it, from the rarest of touchy taboos to the tropes so common that fans hardly see them as kinks at all. I want everybody's likes to be represented, even if they are not my personal likes. Someone else will like them, and I'll be happy for them. Or sometimes, wonderfully, I will read a fic or see a piece of art that flips a switch in my head and turns a dislike or a don't-care into a WOW I WANT MORE.

What I love the most is when someone else shows me what they love. That's the heart of fandom, and in some ways it's the heart of kink, too.

Crossposted from Dreamwidth. Feel free to comment wherever you're comfortable.
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So, I was trying to write a post for today, and then suddenly... my backspace key stopped working. The symbolism is killing me.

The keyboard I use is old (2008, I think) and this isn't the first time I've had trouble with it, but this time the usual fiddling and restarting isn't fixing it. I'll probably try to open it up and see if there's something stuck in the mechanism (I'm one of those bad people who eats at the computer), but if I have to replace it, I'm going to be sad. I like this keyboard! And I like backspacing!

Maybe if it can't be fixed I'll simply resolve to never make another mistaek.


Crossposted from Dreamwidth. Feel free to comment wherever you're comfortable.
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* I seem to have strained a finger, either by typing too much or by playing WoW too hard (the harder you mash the keys, the more damage you do, it's true *nod*) or possibly both.

* I get to have my blood drawn today. Whee.

* It's so windy out that the clouds are just zipping by. It's going from completely overcast to completely clear and back in five minute intervals. I can't tell if it's making me moody, or if I already was moody and the author of my life story is merely employing some overly-obvious symbolism.

* The house money came through, and although I've already planned out what needs to be done with it, I have to suppress the urge to immediately give it all away because other people need it more than I do. I know that sounds self-congratulatory, but it's how I actually feel — and it's what I actually did when my mom's life insurance money came through, which is how I ended up flat broke two years later. It's different now because I have a family to provide for, but if it were just me...

* One of the things I am looking forward to spending money on (almost certainly because it's not for me) is building a new computer for [personal profile] hannelore. She needs one badly. I've always wanted to build one myself — it's supposedly cheaper than getting one put together for you — but I haven't trusted myself not to screw it up. But realistically, there are only a few parts of the inside of a computer that I haven't installed/replaced, so if I put all those skills together at once, that's a whole computer, right? Here's hoping.

Crossposted from Dreamwidth. Feel free to comment wherever you're comfortable.
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[ profile] tamlane suggested I should make a post describing a room of my house. Hmmmm. I suppose the room my computer is in would be easiest. :D

[personal profile] hannelore and I have separate bedrooms; this one is mine. We prefer having individual spaces — I always hated sharing a bedroom with my ex, but felt it was expected. Mine's on the second floor, at the front of the building, with large, teal-bordered windows (the landlord's choice of color) facing out onto the street. The traffic noise is constant, but I'm used to it. When I have the windows open in the summer, the dust from outside piles up on the windowsills faster than I can clean it off. It's especially dusty here in the spring, when six months of snow melts overnight and leaves six months of grime behind, now dry and blowing in the wind.

It's not a big room, with not much in it. Just what I need. My computer desk is ancient and sits on wobbly, spindly legs; it's faced so that I can see the the sky out the window past the power lines. Beside it is a futon on the floor, where I sleep. There used to be a futon frame, but when it finally broke (yes, we broke my bed, and yes, it happened how you think it did, no need to remove your mind from the gutter) I decided I didn't want another one. A futon on the floor is comfortable enough, and the floor never breaks. I straighten the covers every day.

I only have a tiny wooden bookshelf, because we keep most of the books on the big shelves in the living room. This one is just for my clock, my pills, the books I'm reading to fall asleep at night, and the books I wouldn't want my kid randomly picking up and reading without guidance. (Push by Sapphire is a representative example.)

There are a lot of pictures on my walls, mostly drawn by my stepson and by [personal profile] hannelore. On the wall right next to my computer is a printout of the IPA keyboard layout I use so I can quickly look up any symbols I've forgotten how to type. Across from that there's a road map of California, which was never meant to be a display piece and has faded terribly from the light.

Hanging in one of the windows is a heart-shaped prism that [personal profile] hannelore gave me, and every day somewhere around 5 o'clock, unless it's cloudy, the sun hits it just right and for half an hour or so the walls of my room and the closet door are spotted with dozens of tiny rainbows, flitting back and forth as the prism sways on its string in the breeze.

Crossposted from Dreamwidth. Feel free to comment wherever you're comfortable.
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That AMA day was great. I loved reading everyone's questions and answers, and I keep going back to people's entries to find more. :D

I have one question left over that I didn't get to, from [ profile] nearlyconscious: What's the fic you wrote that you like the most, and why?

This was hard to answer, mostly because it feels like bragging, and because I am actually pretty self-critical and have a difficult time liking my own writing. (It would have been easier to come up with the fics that I was the most disappointed in, but I'm not nearly enough of a masochist to make that post.) I don't think I can narrow it down to just one — I have posted almost 150 fics over 13 years, after all — but I'll name a few that come to mind, in no particular order

Five fics of mine that I like )

If any of you would like to take on the same question, I'd be fascinated to read the answers. What are your favorite fanworks that you've created, and what makes them stand out above the rest?

Crossposted from Dreamwidth. Feel free to comment wherever you're comfortable.

May. 10th, 2015 09:18 am
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Happy Mother's Day to [personal profile] hannelore and all the other wonderful, inspiring moms in fandom.

Also, respect and comforting thoughts to those for whom this day is difficult, for whatever reason it may be.

Crossposted from Dreamwidth. Feel free to comment wherever you're comfortable.


May. 8th, 2015 09:43 am
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Oh good, we're having another meme day! Daily posts of compelling content are hard to keep up with.

Ask me anything. Um, please. (My fear when interview memes roll around is always that I am far too boring for anyone to want to ask me questions.)

Crossposted from Dreamwidth. Feel free to comment wherever you're comfortable.


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