Sometimes sanguine, sometimes sanguinary.
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8th-May-2015 11:42 am(no subject)
Escher Snakes
So remember how I said that during the interminable quest to evict the rats from the attic, my favorite tech/trapper ended up quitting the company because he was tired of killing raccoons for nothing more than the grievous sin of crossing rich people's lawns? Said tech had been hanging on okay throughout the winter, but then spring happened, and the job suddenly wasn’t just killing adult raccoons for no good reason: it was killing adult raccoons along their litters of kits, too.

Fast forward to this morning: I received a mother’s day card from the pest control company.

It depicts a contented mama raccoon and her happy, adorable kits. Hanging out on a lawn, hugging.

"Happy Mother's Day!" it says. mind, it boggles.

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Escher Snakes
[community profile] rarelywritten went live today!

[ profile] ariadnes_string gifted me a story about Carolyn Knapp-Shappey deciding that there is no point in being a twice-divorced lady of a certain age unless you could have exactly what you want. And she wanted a dog:
The Loophole by [ profile] ariadnes_string for [ profile] sanguinity
Cabin Pressure
Carolyn Knapp-Shappey, Snoopadoop, Douglas Richardson
Approx 2,000 words
Every dog has an origin story.
It’s a delightful story; I read it right through, then immediately turned around and read it out loud to [personal profile] grrlpup.

I wrote two Strange Empire fics. Have I talked about Strange Empire here? A Canadian feminist western, starring three women: a Metis gunslinger, a white autistic doctor, and a black woman who is determined to own the mine, the town, and everything in both. Most of the supporting cast is female, too. It is the western of my dreams, although it runs toward grimdark and one must warn for… well, let’s say that almost everything that anyone could conceivably ever need a warning for, it happens sooner or later. (If you want warnings for a particular thing — rape, child harm, etc. — ask me.) It aired this winter in Canada, and then the CBC failed to renew it, so the one season is all we get.

Apparently it wasn’t cancelled for ratings but for… unexplained reasons. Some have suggested that the show was not flattering enough to the myths of Canadian history? This is not a thing I would know about. All I know is that a Metis woman was deputized as sheriff — first by her daughters, then by the other women of her camp — and in-among her and the other women saving and organizing and doing all the things, she and the mixed-blood US Marshal on the other side of the border get to have lots of passionate arguments about law, justice, policing, moral vs. legal authorizations to act, and their preferred strategies for resisting genocide. This show, it was written for me.

But I am straying from the topic:
Kissing Day by [ profile] sanguinity for [ profile] evewithanapple
Strange Empire
Rebecca Blithely, Kat Loving, Ruby Slotter, the entire Loving brood
Approx 5,000 words.
Post-canon, spoilers for everything, generally upbeat but references some grimdark plot points
It's Kissing Day, and Kelly has decided that it's high time that some things got fixed. Doc Blithely is just the person to do the fixing.

As Safe as Houses by [ profile] sanguinity for [ profile] aphrodite_mine
Strange Empire
Morgan Finn / Miss Logan
Approx 3,000 words.
Post-canon, spoilers for nothing, canon trans character, fluff, stealth crossover
It wasn't the surprise that Morgan had planned.

I haven’t read very far into the collection yet, but while I’m here, let me recommend this Rosa Diaz fic by [ profile] inlovewithnight: </b>Butterfly Knife</b>. It has Rosa Diaz, ballet school, femslash, and knives. What more could one want?

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2nd-May-2015 11:34 am - The Joys of Home Ownership
Escher Snakes
Back in December, I mentioned that we had rodents in the attic, and had hired a company to deal with them?

Five months and a thousand dollars later, they have finally gone two weeks running without catching a rodent in any of the nine — NINE — traps inside our attic, and I am no longer required to spend my Friday mornings escorting men with extension ladders through the house. (There was a very nice soft-spoken country boy who was our regular for a while. He quit the job altogether about a month ago because he was sick of going out to the Lake Oswego McMansions and trapping random raccoons that had crossed someone’s lawn. Lake Oswego is wooded and on a lake, of course there are raccoons, wtf are you doing living there if you can’t handle one strolling across your yard now and then??)

That contract finished up on Wednesday.

On Thursday, I was working from home, and when I finished my lesson-prep with two hours to spare before leaving for class, I went into the bedroom to chill with a book.

…and was disturbed by buzzing. Lots and lots and lots of buzzing. Buzzing and the occasional thwap against the bedroom wall. thwap-thwap! thwap! There seemed an awful lot of insects outside the window and so I went outside, dreading that I’d find a dead rotting possum under the window or something.

“bees”Collapse )

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3rd-Mar-2015 08:26 pm - Rarelywritten: Dear Author
Escher Snakes
Dear Author,

Thank you so much for volunteering to write a story for one of these characters!

If you've already got ideas about what you want to do, please go do that: one of the best things about fic exchanges is getting to see what other people love about a character. But if you're someone who likes having more information about your recipient, below are some details about what I love about these characters, along with the occasional story idea. Use those ideas or not as you best see fit. :-)

My Tastes:

In general, I adore stories where characters have lots of agency, where relationships are allowed to be complex and multi-layered, or where marginalized/sidelined characters are allowed to be the centers of their own story. I've got a big narrative kink for relationship negotiations, and functional ethics might as well be porn for me. Most of my other Dear Author letters are tagged, if that's helpful to you.

And because colonialism and genocide may come up with Strange Empire: what works best for me is to avoid prettifying the history or wallowing in the horror, but to stay somewhere in the ample middle ground between those two. Also helpful: copious agency among those being colonized. If your story touches on any of this and you want help determining whether it's likely to trip my buttons, I trust [personal profile] grrlpup to have a decent idea of how something might read to me: ask for a consult. And please know, this paragraph is here only in case you want your story to engage with any of that. I am in absolutely no way asking you to!

And while we're talking about Strange Empire and potential sticky places: If you choose to write Kat, please do incorporate her Metis identity as appropriate to character and plot, but please stay away from the Tragic Half-Breed place, yes? I know the show went there a bit at the end of 1x04, but I think that was a misstep, and I'd rather that you didn't follow it. (I’m perfectly fine with you showing that having a mixed identity is complicated -- it is! -- but that's wholly different from tragic.)

...and I think that's probably enough about general likes/dislikes. [personal profile] grrlpup knows me well and could expand on any of this for you, if that's a thing that would be useful to you. :-)

Strange Empire: Kat Loving, Robin Loving, Kelly Loving, Isabelle Slotter

Kat Loving is the reason I began watching the show: a Metis woman on the run from the white man's law, deputized first by her daughters then the other women of her community, keeping a law of their own devising. I have wanted this character for so long.

I love the complexity of her relationships with Kelly and Robin, Rebecca, Mrs. Blithely, and Marshal Mecredi, and it is hugely important to me that we've sometimes seen her with her Aunties and other Native women. The conversations between her and Mecredi about the ethics of police work -- in whose name? by whose mandate? to what ends? is it even possible to morally distinguish law and vigilanteism when the mandating authority is illegitimate and unjust? — are HUGELY important to me. (How much do I love that she gave him cattle rustlers as a gift and he gave her a jail cell in return?? They don’t waste their time on flowers, these two!)

Alternatively! Tell me a story about Isabelle Slotter, and her determination to keep control of her own life. She's generally portrayed as ruthless and amoral, but she's got hard stops in her moral code: a character study of the choices she makes and the things that drive her could be wonderful. Alternatively, something about her alliance with Ling? Or show us something I’d hoped for in the S2-we’ll-never-get: her slowly coming to form a steadier bond with one of the other women in the show (Kat? Mrs. Blithely?), rather than always lone-wolfing about everything.

Or, if you want to do something with Kat and Isabelle's marriage... well, I would not be averse to that! :-D Take it anywhere you want, from pure serious business deal to a tropetastic pretend-relationship place, I don't care. That was an amazing moment in the finale, and it begs for all the fic.

And a general note about this fandom: while I would enjoy seeing the women come out triumphant, I don’t require a happy ending, although I ask that you please not break anyone beyond their ability to bear! I don’t mind if the story goes to a dark place, but I’d rather you didn’t introduce any new rapes or rape-threats. (Referencing rapes or rape-threats already existing in someone’s storyline is fine.)

The Middleman: Wendy Watson, Ida, Raveena Rao

For those unfamiliar, Raveena Rao is from the unfilmed thirteenth episode, and was the Middleman to our current Middleman. Many of MM's signature character traits (the Eisehower jacket, the clean-cut image) are conscious tributes to Raveena Rao. My curiosity about her burns. I'd love any story about her, set in this universe or in the mirrorverse (or yet another universe?), your choice.

Alternatively, I'd love to know what Ida and Wendy's future relationship looks like after Wendy becomes "Boss" and has a middle-trainee of her own. Your call as to whether that's months or decades into the future, whether she's newly promoted or has had time to settle in, and whether the occasion of her promotion was celebratory or tragic.

Or if there's another story that you want to tell about any of these characters, please do!

Cabin Pressure: Carolyn Knapp-Shappey

gardnerhill summed up beautifully what I love about Carolyn:
…she has every trait media has told us is unattractive in women; she’s old, outspoken, unapologetically feminist, headstrong, self-centred, unsentimental, unsympathetic, unmotherly, and often idiotic - when given a choice between making the smart business decision and the one she wants to make Carolyn always, always chooses what she wants to do even if it’s worse for her struggling business (such as playing head-games with irritating passengers). And yet, we love Carolyn precisely because she makes mistakes and owns them! This is a woman who chose to take away her abusive ex-husband’s favourite aeroplane and make of it a struggling, money-losing business rather than live very comfortably on a stack of alimony because he’d always cared more for GERTI than for his wife and son, and losing the plane hurt Gordon more than paying her the money would have done...
(And how much do I love that “Zurich” vindicated her in her decision to keep GERTI away from Gordon, whatever the cost??)

No, but seriously: I adore how pig-headed she is, how little she cares for being liked, how she’s ruthlessly unsentimental but not unkind, and how fiercely true she is to herself and the things she wants for her life. Any story you want to tell me about Carolyn would be lovely. Backstory, the future of MJN, missing scenes, anything that pleases you. :-)

Elementary: Mary Watson

We’re just about to (finally!) get a new Mary Watson episode, which means any specific prompt I write might be very quickly outdated.

But in general: we don’t see enough of Mary, neither in the show nor in fic. Joan’s been through some heavy shit since the S2 finale, and it is bizarre to me that even though her family and friends are all local, we hardly ever see them. I’d love to see more of Mary's relationship with Joan — or Mary’s relationship with Sherlock, for that matter, because I’m sure she has some opinions about him! — at any point in Joan and Sherlock’s relationship, past, present or future.

Just: more Mary Watson, please.

To Wrap Up: ...thank you again, dear author, for volunteering to write a story for one of these characters! And please know, I'd much rather you write a story of your heart, than have you contort yourself in the attempt to write the story of mine. Show me what makes you happy or passionate about these characters, and I'm sure I'll enjoy it, too. :-)

Happy writing, and I'm looking forward to meeting you in May!

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20th-Feb-2015 02:04 pm - Of Clackamas and Calculus
geek math sex and reid
Went down to Clackamas yesterday to close out all my accounts at my old credit union. I never get down there anymore now that I don’t work next door, and all our current accounts are at the credit union associated with [personal profile] grrlpup’s work place. I should have closed out these unused accounts years ago, but I’m super-good at putting off things I don’t want to do.

Going down there was fairly emotional: I spent ten years working on that campus, I had keys to all but two rooms in the whole complex, and I left on that uncomfortable mix of good terms and bad terms that I tend to leave behind everywhere. I have enough feelings about it that I timed the errand so that I would miss lunch and shift change; I didn’t want to run into anyone I knew and have to navigate small talk.

I also had some documents I needed notarized while I was there, and the notary spent the entire conversation calling me “honey” and “hon.” There’s a significant culture difference between Clackamas and Portland — Clackamas is much more rural/red-state/working-class — and every time she called me “honey,” I had a moment of "Aw, Clackamas, where people are affectionately forward with strangers!"

I really miss Clackamas, sometimes.

And then she mentioned Kate Brown’s promotion to Governor from Secretary of State — I guess it’s relevant to the notary commission? — and I got treated to a spontaneous rant about Kate’s bisexuality. “I don’t know why everyone has to talk about her sexuality all the time, it shouldn’t even come into it! She’ll be a fine governor anyway! Her sexuality is irrelevant! It shouldn’t even be mentioned!” And I nodded and smiled tightly and thought, "Aw, Clackamas, where even the LGBT-supporters are as homophobic as fuck."

Despite having driven that route for ten years, I managed to get lost on the way back home, because there’s no sensible interface of through-streets between Portland and Milwaukie. The culture divide between Portland and Clackamas is 100% reflected in the odd way that Milwaukie-side thoroughfares are not Portland-side thoroughfares, and the way that the streets of abutting neighborhoods don’t punch through very often. I swear it's nothing but solid development from here to Milwaukie, with a fuck-ton of streets of all sizes and lengths, but there’s almost no sensible way through from here to there. Somehow, no longer being able to navigate the route depressed me even more than all the rest had.

But then I stopped at the library to pick up my holds, and I could smell daphne when I got out of the car, so that was all right.


In other news, when I was going through the documents file looking for paperwork for the notary, I found [personal profile] grrlpup’s page of calculus notes tucked in with our birth certificates and marriage license and passports. I can only assume it’s there in case she ever needs to prove that she still knows calculus. *sentimental sniff*

I felt like calling her up on the spot and reassuring her that I’m never gonna divorce her just because she forgot how to differentiate ex. I’m really, really not.


…and huh, I was trying to find the link, but it seems I never actually said anything here? So there's probably only five of you who know what that previous two paragraphs were about? Please allow me to correct my error:

Back in 2009, [personal profile] grrlpup made me promise that I wouldn’t marry her until she had learned calculus. I promptly forgot about it -- we were always making ridiculous plans about getting married back then, because it was clear there was going to be a long string of ceremonies that would be constantly overturned by the courts, so what did it matter? -- but then last year Oregon made same-sex marriage for-reals legal, and suddenly [personal profile] grrlpup was refreshing all her math prereqs so she could use her employer’s education credit on a calculus class. So we could get married.

I tell you, it was the most mind-breakingly romantic gesture I had ever been the recipient of in my entire life. She wanted to marry me so much that she was learning calculus for it. I’d look across at her in an evening, and there she’d be, drawing unit circles and working through her trig functions in radians, and I’d go misty-eyed with the unbearable romance of it all.

(And all summer long, she had me help her with her calculus homework! We went for long walks and had heartfelt conversations about limits! *is starry-eyed at the memory of that magical summer*)

She even brought her final exam's one-page-of-notes to the ceremony, just in case someone felt the need to give her a pop-quiz during the “if anyone objects” bit. (No one did. But I had given her a pop-quiz in bed the night before — this is what passes for pillow-talk in our household! — so it was all copacetic.)

…so now that you have the proper context:

I was going through our personal documents file, and there with our marriage license and birth certificates and passports and such, was her one-page-of-notes calculus cheat-sheet. Just in case she needs to prove to someone that yes, she really did meet the calculus qualification for marrying me.

And I went starry-eyed all over again that she would file that away as such a very important document.

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14th-Feb-2015 12:52 pm - Festivids Reveals!
Escher Snakes
[personal profile] such_heights made my Saving Face gift, She Keeps Me Warm! I laugh with delight, because as it turns out, I made a Saving Face fake-vidlet in response to a never-filled request she had made for Saving Face! But I get ahead of myself…

I had over eleven minutes of vids and vidlets in Festivids this year. For context, this is equal to the sum total of all my previously published vids and vidlets, across all years, all exchanges, all just-because-I-felt-like-its, ALL OF IT. Given that two short months ago I had thought I might need to default for lack of a video editor, I am pretty pleased with myself. :-)

My contributions to Festivids:

The Middleman: Afterlife for [personal profile] shinyjenni
Wendy Watson & Lacey Thornfield
Art school was simple. Real life is scary.
Ingrid Michaelson, “Afterlife”

The Middleman: Pugnantos Malos, Nehos Pugnetis for [personal profile] kass
The Middleman & Wendy Watson
They always get their man, zombie, gorilla, puppet, tuba, and flying pike.
Ron Sharpe, “The Mounties”

Snippets of Vids That Never Were for [personal profile] ghost_lingering’s “Silent Fandoms
The Associate; The Color Purple, Double Happiness, The Invasion of the Body Snatchers, Maid Marian and Her Merry Men, The Malay Chronicles: Bloodlines; Saving Face; Secretary; The Slow Mo Guys; The Sapphires; War Games; When Night is Falling; Wing Chun

And for a post-Festivids treat, I took one of those vids-that-never-were, and extended it into a vid that is:

The Slow Mo Guys: Wreck Me
for [personal profile] aris_tgd
They like to hurt each other in slow-mo; what’s a vidder to do?
Miley Cyrus, “Wrecking Ball”

Both Middleman vids are at my Middleman Times Two reveal post; the other thirteen (including the one I extended) are at my reveal post for Vids That Never Were.

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Escher Snakes
YOU GUYS, [personal profile] ghost_lingering let me help make fake vids for “Silent Fandoms”…!

For those who haven't seen it yet, “Silent Fandoms” centers on the many, many requested but unvidded fandoms that Festivids has seen over the years. [personal profile] ghost_lingering's concept is brilliant and multi-layered, and I leave you to click through to her discussion post for the details. It also required a staggering amount of work on her part: among other things, she needed a ready supply of fake-excerpts from vids-that-never-were for as many unvidded fandoms as possible. A few weeks before go-live, she mentioned to me that she was feeling the time-crunch of making all those vid snippets, and I offered to help with the labor. Happily, she was enthusiastic about outsourcing some of the work, sent me her spreadsheet and some guidelines, and told me to have at it.

It was so exciting! I got to dip in and out of a lot of fandoms I knew next to nothing about! I got to help with a super-cool project! I got to just make stuff and make stuff and move on to a new thing and make some more stuff! I had permission to not worry about all the things I usually let myself get hung up on! I tried new things! I learned so much! *bounce* It was a very satisfying experience.

And shockingly, I’m pretty pleased with most of them. A few of these are nearly stand-alone vidlets; the rest are excerpts from imaginary vids. (Some of those imaginary vids are more viable than others, but whatever, the goal was to get [personal profile] ghost_lingering fifteen-to-twenty seconds of something she could pass off as a vid excerpt. “Great Art” was her job, not mine. PERMISSION TO FAIL IS FUCKING AWESOME.) My throughput was roughly a vidlet a day, and that included learning about the source, acquiring footage, selecting a song, the whole shebang. That is, for me, a fairly fierce clip.

(I should point out that [personal profile] ghost_lingering was working at a faster clip, and for far, far longer. I am in awe of the scope of what she accomplished.)

So! I wasn’t sure what y’all would best prefer for show-and-tell, so you have your choice: All-in-One or a la carte. If you want to see everything, you only need to watch the All-in-One and the extended version of The Slow Mo Guys. Commentary, such as it is, is tucked in among the a la carte.

All-in One:

Fandoms: The Slow Mo Guys, Wing Chun, Maid Marian and Her Merry Men, The Invasion of the Body Snatchers, WarGames, Secretary, Saving Face, The Malay Chronicles: Bloodlines, Double Happiness, The Associate, The Color Purple, The Sapphires, When Night is Falling.

Warnings: nudity; sex; spanking; people consensually hurting each other for fun and internet fame; child nearly getting hit by a car; violence against a plant with a human face; the Stolen Generations. Some of the referenced storylines involve abuse, racism, or genocide, but those are not directly depicted in the vidlets. (If I missed something you think I should have warned for, please bring it to my attention!)

Download mp4 (138MB)


The Slow Mo Guys: Wreck Me (extended)
Miley Cyrus, "Wrecking Ball"
for [personal profile] aris_tgd
Extended version of what's in the all-in-one: 1:31 here vs. 0:25 there.
Warning for “dude this is gonna be awesome!” levels of consensual, all-in-good-fun-until-someone-loses-an-eye violence between friends. (To be clear, there are no injuries in the vid.)
Download mp4 (69MB)

I'd feel guiltier about creating what verges on real-person slash, except that 1) I limited myself to the lyrics that actually could be about the rules straight men have about touching each other; 2) all those pans, zooms, close-ups, and slow-mo shots are theirs, not mine; 3) they already goof around with how suggestive slow-mo is; and 4) someone might have said "The bitches will love this" one too many times, such that I feel no guilt about pointing out subtext that is as old and as obvious as the violent repression of gay male sexuality.

*cough* Or it's just possible that I'm retroactively justifying something I was going to do in any case. :-D

Anyway, have a vid about The Slow Mo Guys, who like to faff about in slow-mo for the internet, where "faffing about" sometimes means wrecking shit with sledgehammers, but more often means wrecking Dan with anything at hand. The original vidlet was twenty-odd seconds, but after go-live I extended it into the vid I had originally wanted to make but didn’t have time to. [personal profile] aris_tgd, I hope you like it.

...and the rest, fandom by fandomCollapse )

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Escher Snakes
I made both the Middleman vids!

The Middleman: Afterlife for [personal profile] shinyjenni
Ingrid Michaelson, "Afterlife"
Wendy Watson & Lacey Thornfield
Art school was simple. Real life is scary.
3:24, no warnings apply
(fv-poster dw; fv-poster lj; AO3; download 78.7MB mp4)

The Middleman: Pugnantos Malos, Nehos Pugnetis for [personal profile] kass
Ron Sharpe, "The Mounties"
The Middleman & Wendy Watson
They always get their man, zombie, gorilla, puppet, tuba, and flying pike.
2:38, bright flashes at 0:52 and 2:16
(fv-poster dw; fv-poster lj; AO3; download 61MB mp4)

Commentary for both vidsCollapse )

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2nd-Feb-2015 07:51 am - Festivids: She Keeps Her Warm
Escher Snakes
[community profile] festivids go-live was Saturday, and there are many, many gorgeous, funny, sweet, thrilling, and heartbreaking things. I feel like I've been watching vids for two days non-stop, and I don’t think I’ve even seen a quarter of them.

But! A lovely person made me a Saving Face vid, set to Mary Lambert's "She Keeps Me Warm." One of the things I like best about the vid -- well, besides canonical lesbians of color dancing and kissing and smooshing and sexing, I'm a super-easy sell about these things -- is that the vidder repurposed the line, "I can't change, even if I tried," from an external protest toward a homophobic society, to an intimate plea about the things they struggle with in their relationship. Wil isn’t sure she can change, even if she tried, even if she wanted to. But Vivian keeps her warm. Oh, it’s a dilemma!

Fortunately, this is a vid to keep one warm, so it all works out. You should go watch it, if you have a soft spot for vids wherein canonical lesbians dance and kiss and touch and make big smooshy eyes at each other. :-)

(And it was a pinch-hit, too! Which means whoever made that vid went above and beyond. I hope they’re having a very nice Festivids!)

And of course, I made something or somethings for the exchange. If you don’t already have inside knowledge, you could try making a guess. I’ll make a vidlet for you if you guess right. (Assuming, of course, you’d enjoy me making a vidlet for you. If you wouldn’t enjoy such a thing, you can just enjoy Being Right.)

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30th-Jan-2015 12:51 pm(no subject)
Escher Snakes
Festivids opens tomorrow! So today I will post about holmestice, which had its reveals a month ago. I’m nothing if not timely, me. :-P

[personal profile] language_escapes wrote a lovely Beth Lestrade Sherlock Holmes in the 22nd Century story for me: “let my name not be forgotten.”

22nd Century doesn’t get a lot of attention among the other Holmesian fandoms, and possibly deservedly so: as much as I hate the phrase “just a kid’s show,” it’s fairly apt. (22-minute adaptations of canon stories — some fairly tight adaptations, some loose — set in a distant future with ray-guns, brain-wiping, floppy disks, and flying cars. Character development is shallow, but I still enjoy their versions of Lestrade, Watson, and Holmes. The show tends to skim lightly through the plots, but overall, it’s very strongly rooted in canon, moreso than many higher-profile adaptations.) I’m not passionately fannish about the show, but speaking as a fic writer, and especially as a fic writer who tends toward fic-as-meta, it’s a brilliant ‘verse to play in, as good as custom-made for people who want to explicitly engage with the adaptive tradition and its fall-out.

The backstory for 22ndC is that Victorian Holmes and Watson actually lived, and then their stories became a cultural phenomenon to the point that the Holmesian legend has become a motivating force for the characters. A geneticist with criminal ambitions clones Moriarty. In response, Inspector Beth Lestrade — a current member of Scotland Yard, direct descendent of G. Lestrade, and the literary heir of Watson’s journals — steals Holmes’s corpse and re-animates it in order to use him to fight Moriarty. Her robot sidekick then reads Watson’s journals and is so impressed by them that he adopts Watson’s personality for his own. Canon not only exists within this ‘verse, but it exists with a weight that shapes and warps the characters’ world. It’s an excellent ‘verse for wrangling with the cultural mythos of Sherlock Holmes. (Which is exactly why I turned to 22nd Century for my summer Holmestice story, “Persistence of Memory,” when I wanted to talk about the way that Elementary S2 had been sidelining Joan Watson and my frustration with the way that some had been defending it with “because canon.”)

[personal profile] language_escapes' story plays very nicely with mine (technically they’re not in the same continuity, but there’s only a short distance between the two), and she explores what it means to be a Lestrade in a world where everyone knows that Lestrades are always wrong. We also get plenty of what I love about Beth Lestrade: obstinance, optimism, and gratuitous kicking-in-of-doors. It’s really a lovely story, and it made me very happy.

My Holmestice contribution this last go-around was ACD!canon femslash: “So Keen a Sympathy,” Mary Watson/Kate Whitney, interstitial to “The Man with the Twisted Lip.”

…and you know, I thought I was going to have scads to say about it, but most of what I’d have to say is in the fic itself. But violethuntress’s meta about missing and secretive husbands in Twisted Lip was foundational, and the story taps hugely into my own feelings about how patriarchy creates very real differences in the lives of lesbians and gay men. But mostly it’s a story with a happy ending, because I’d rather spork my eyes out than write about unhappy historical lesbians.

Speaking of, I did a ton of background reading for this. (As is my wont. I even did substantial research for Holocene Park, and that was all ridiculous shit about genetically engineered dinosaurs killing people under the streets of New York. The actual world is always richer than my imagination.) I posted some of my favorite quotes on tumblr — diaries, letters, poems, and stories by Gerogian, Victorian, and Edwardian lesbians — but because booklists are always fun, have some “sources:”Collapse )

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23rd-Dec-2014 10:03 am(no subject)
Escher Snakes
We’ve had problems with squirrels in the bedroom attic for years. For years, [personal profile] grrlpup has been climbing a ladder and nailing up hardware cloth on the latest entrance, and that holds us until the next fall, when the squirrels find a way to move back in again. This fall, Grrlpup couldn’t find the entrance, and so we called a company to come deal with it.

(I make this sound so low-key. In fact, it involved a lot of stress: I am an easily-disturbed sleeper and can hear them moving about all night while she sleeps right through it, no matter what’s happening up there. I’m the one who is “handy” and here during the daylight hours, while she’s the one who can cope with dead things and ladders. Normally our differences in skills and temperaments are complementary, but when it comes to squirrels above the bedroom, they make for pushmi-pullyu levels of non-productivity and frustration. I’m not going to assert that calling in a professional company saved our marriage -- it never got that bad -- but it certainly cut down on the household strife.)

cut for rodent killingCollapse )

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Escher Snakes
Two thoughts on Mockingjay Part I:

1.) Why the hell you'd engineer your fire sprinklers to go off that casually and copiously in an evacuation stairwell, I have no idea. Also, the emergency lighting on those stairs was a travesty, far, far worse than no lighting at all. Someone in that organization should be deeply, deeply ashamed of themselves.

2.) Turning the oxygen down to fourteen percent is the kind of excellent decision that you can expect of people who... are operating in a fourteen percent atmosphere. That is, if that's the kind of decision that they make in a 21% atmosphere, I shudder to think what their judgement looks like at fourteen.

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Escher Snakes
There was a long time this year that I was actively avoiding public convos — for so many reasons — which is why I’ve been pretty silent here. (There have been words elsewhere! So many words! But most of it has been email and fic and spur-of-the-moment “you’re wrong”-ing on tumblr. But cold-bloodedly setting out to say something in a public-ish space, on my own initative, to an audience with multiple people in it… that was been difficult.) I’ve started to pull out of that reticence a little bit, which means I now have the urge to tell y’all about stuff, but then I consider the mechanics of writing a post and feel a wave of exhaustion at the need to organize my words and provide background and make sentences and ugh.

Exhaustion is better than anxiety, I guess? :-/

But in the interest of having to start somewhere, with some topic…

The big news of the weekend is that I did not default on Festivids. \o/

Which, because I have not been talking to y’all, prolly seems like a nothing statement, but believe me, this has been hard-fought over the last several months.

Back in September, I fried my computer. (Looooooong time coming, that.) I limped along sharing [personal profile] grrlpup’s Chromebook for a while, then got a vidding-capable machine mid-October. I spent a weekend playing with some old vid projects, assessing what software still worked on the new machine (everything but my DVD ripper, it seemed), and signed up for Festivids, comfortable that when I turned in my Holmestice assignment I’d be able to drop straight into my Festivids assignment, easy.

However, during the interim before properly beginning my Festivids project, I began watching Strange Empire, got hit by a trio of the worst vid-bunnies ever, attempted to start vidding one of them, and discovered a fatal bug: I could work on pre-existing projects with my old software, I could even begin and edit a new project with my old software, but I could not save and reopen a new project with my old software. It would let me put in eight hours of work on a vid, but then I’d only be able to access that work if I never shut down the program ever.

This is, of course, unacceptable behavior in a vidding program.

So there I was, signed up for Festivids, with no vidding software at hand.

In a panic, I emailed [personal profile] ghost_lingering, [personal profile] frayadjacent, and [personal profile] chaila. (The first two are both Mac vidders, whereas Chaila was my first vidding friend and thus is personally responsible for every bad thing that ever happens to me while I’m vidding ever.) Chaila, in her turn, introduced me to [personal profile] kuwdora, who also vids on Mac.

Kuwdora immediately got on chat with me, and spent six hours ascertaining that the bug was real, immovable, and irresolvable. It was like suddenly having a first responder with big fireman muscles and warm blankets and hot electrolyte drinks giving me small and actionably concrete instructions in an assured voice, it was so exactly what I needed. We ended that chat having only confirmed what I had already been moderately sure of — that iMovie 6 was dead to me for any and all new projects — but those hours of her first-respondering at me made the situation feel manageable again.

Meanwhile, Fray and Ghost were sending me long emails with pro-and-con lists about other editing programs, plus offers to hold my hand through the programs they’re familiar with.

I just. I love everyone in this bar.

So the next several weeks were spent identifying an editing program that I could afford (in both time and money), and then learning to use it. All while finishing up my Holmestice assignment, which was having its own set of problems, I don’t even.

I finally ended up settling on Lightworks, mostly because it was free (its pay-vs-free restrictions are all about export formats, which are no restriction at all to a vidder distributing her work over the web), and they had a really good set of video tutorials, narrated by a guy who sounds exactly like Mark Sheppard. (Given that Mark Sheppard is a villain in all my fandoms, I don’t know why I should find that voice so instantly reassuring, but I swear, I can put one of these videos on, the guy says “Welcome to Lightworks,” and my breathing calms instantly. Go figure.) It took me a few weeks, but I’m now about as comfortable in Lightworks as I was in iMovie. So the vidding-software part of my Festivids drama got resolved, hooray!

But then I ran into source-acquisition issues ([personal profile] ghost_lingering to the rescue again!), so it wasn’t until Thursday that I was finally in a position to put clips on a timeline. And the default-deadline was Saturday.

But! By end-of-day Friday I had thirty seconds of timeline that I liked, and by end-of-day Saturday I had nearly a full minute, so… I let the default deadline pass me by.

And that is my major news from the weekend: there may actually be a vid from me in the line-up when Festivids goes live. Isn’t it exciting?

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3rd-Dec-2014 03:56 am - Brooklyn Nine-Nine: The Road Trip
Escher Snakes
I am tickled beyond measure that Raymond Holt and Kevin also celebrate their own Grilled Cheese Sandwich Day. Tickled beyond measure.

Also, I would like all the Raymond Holt at Burning Man fics, please. Y/Y?

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25th-Nov-2014 09:52 am(no subject)
Escher Snakes
Well, of all possible ways to learn that there isn't a battery in the smoke detector (??) (...!?!?!?!?!!), I suppose that's one of the better ones.

("That," in this case, being my messing around with the oven before I had my caffeine. It really was an impressive amount of smoke.)

Note to self: get a battery in there when I come home from work. There is WAY too much smoke in the house to put a battery in that thing now.

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28th-Oct-2014 07:52 pm - Dear Festividder
Escher Snakes
Dear Lovely Person Who Volunteered to Make a Vid:

Physical triggers: I can get video-induced migraines, which appears to be set off by a certain kind of stuttering or shaky-cam. It's rare for that to come up in vids, but this is an example of a vid I can't watch, and I likewise have trouble with most Hunger Games vids. Quick cuts seem to be no problem whatsoever. I'm okay with occasional flashes, but fading to black on every cut pushes my physical limits, so I'd rather you didn't do that, please.

Music: Vids are the primary place that I'm introduced to new-to-me music and artists, and that is one of the things I love about the genre. However, if you want a run-down on the kinds of things I best-like and worst-like, there's this. Just please don't feel you need to limit yourself to something I discussed there: I really do enjoy getting introduced to someone else's musical passions via a vid.

On to the optional details...! (Blockquotes are what I already said in the on-site sign-up.)

BorgenCollapse )

Gotham CentralCollapse )

HLOTSCollapse )

New Russian HolmesCollapse )

Noah"s ArcCollapse )

Saving FaceCollapse )

In short, thank you so much for volunteering to make a vid for one of these fandoms! I think the really important thing here is to make a vid that makes you happy: please don't contort yourself to make a vid that you think I'll like, if it's at the cost of making a vid that you like. Because life is too short for that, and in any case, part of the joy of an exchange is seeing what excites you about these fandoms.

Have a lovely Festivid season, and I'm looking forward to meeting you in January!

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Escher Snakes
I need to give y'all an actual update on my life at some point, but here are some fannish things:

holmestice sign-ups close today at midnight EDT. Holmestice is a bi-annual Holmesian fanworks exchange, ecumenical both in types of fanworks (fic, vids, art, icons, podfics) and in Holmesian fandoms. (As you might expect, BBC Sherlock dominates the requests, offers, and resultant works, but there are usually a half-dozen requests each for ACD, the Ritchie movies, and Elementary, with a smattering of requests for other things, such as Sherlock Hound, the Watson and Holmes comic, or the Irene Adler mysteries.)

I played last summer, and received a lovely story from [personal profile] language_escapes, "Un dì, felice, eterea," which I already posted about. But I never mentioned here what I wrote:
Persistence of Memory by [ profile] sanguinity for [ profile] amindamazed
Elementary, Sherlock Holmes in the 22nd Century
Joan Watson & Sherlock Holmes, Robot Watson, Beth Lestrade
AU - fusion; hurt/comfort; angst; earnest crack
approx 8K words
It is 2198, and everyone Joan Watson knows is dead. Everyone except Sherlock Holmes.
I had a lot of opinions about Joan Watson's role in Elementary S2 -- as well as about the adaptive traditions concerning Watsons in general -- and a lot of them get expressed here. There's no need to be familiar with 22nd Century for this story (and no spoilers beyond the 1x01, "The Fall and Rise of Sherlock Holmes"), but for those who are 22nd Century fans, this is a major break with that show's tone.

I'm working on a continuation for that story, but I took a break to write another bit of Elementary crack:
Holocene Park by [ profile] sanguinity for [ profile] language-escapes
Elementary, Asylum's Sherlock Holmes (aka The One With The Dinosaurs)
Joan Watson & Sherlock Holmes, Tommy Gregson, Marcus Bell
Dinosaurs, case-fic, action, suspense
approx 25K words.
“It’s fifteen feet tall, got claws as long as my hand, and teeth.” Trina’s expression dared Joan to contradict her.

Joan eyed the length of tooth Trina was indicating. “All right,” she said. “Tell me everything you know.”
So, yeah, this is an adaptation of The One With the Dinosaurs. Those familiar with the Asylum film know that it's an astonshingly stupid romp, achieving MST3K levels of terribleness. You will be either relieved or disappointed to know that I failed to live up to that extreme terribleness, but I can promise lots of screaming and running and derring-do, punctuated with egregious abuses of science and some high-octane mustache-twirling. I had a hella lotta fun writing it; I hope you have as much fun reading it.

But in the meanwhile, come sign up for Holmestice! I will be offering/requesting the game theory book! Also zombies! It'll be fun!

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12th-Aug-2014 02:01 pm(no subject)
Escher Snakes
Who knew "just an elopement" would require this much in the way of logistics? (Everyone who is not us, I imagine.)

So very, very glad that we decided to not try for a "proper" wedding. We are so not cut out for that kind of thing. I mean, really.

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Escher Snakes
It took several years to get here, but we've finally finished Xena: Warrior Princess. (More accurately, we have approximately finished it. [personal profile] frayadjacent has assured me that 6x19 "Many Happy Returns" makes a fitting conclusion to the series -- it does -- and additionally, that there's apparently something reprehensible about the official finale. I trust my friends when they say that I would not enjoy whatever-it-is, and so I am content to stop here, knowing essentially nothing about what goes on in the final three episodes. [1])

Oh, but I wish I'd watched this show when it was airing. We didn't much watch TV that decade, but Xena and The L-Word were the two major pieces of media in the lesbian community in the early 2000's. We watched enough L-Word to be functionally literate about it, in a vague, "I know the names and archetypes of the characters" sort of way, but we entirely missed Xena. And now, finally getting around to playing catch-up nearly two decades late, I can see the shape of the feelings I would have had about it, had I watched it then. I feel like I cheated myself of something worth having.

(Which is not to say that I don't have feelings about the show now. But there's a lingering disconnectedness, a less-than-it-should-be-ness.)

Of course, the reason we made the effort to track down and watch some L-Word -- and by "track down" I mean "furtively handing off brown-paper-bagged VHS tapes to each other at work" -- but didn't make the effort for Xena, was because L-Word had explicitly canonical lesbian relationships and Xena didn't. Xena was all subtext, or so we understood. Blatant wink-wink-nudge-nudge we-all-know-what-we're-talking-about-here subtext -- Xena fists a fish, fergawdsakes, and calls it that -- but until the final season, it's all technically deniable. During the middle years, Xena is about as textbook an example of queerbaiting as you could want. (Although it felt more playful than a lot of queerbaiting, because they weren't spending a lot of energy on no-homoing.)

And then in the final season, they suggest that Xena/Gabrielle has been canon for a good long while now, they just hadn't bothered saying. They still don't show it, though: there's lingering room to deny that Xena/Gabrielle is a sexual relationship. They are self-acknowledged life-partners, and are similarly recognized as such by others, but it could yet be a platonic relationship. (Well, a platonic relationship with a lot of fish-eating jokes, however likely that seems. JUST HAVE THEM KISS-KISS ALREADY, argh!)

*goes back and checks airdates* You know, I think it was after that final season aired that I really started hearing the in-community buzz about it. (F'rex, the Other Lesbian Engineer passing me a note during a meeting that read, "What Would Xena Do?" What would she do? BURN IT ALL TO THE GROUND.)

So. At a rough estimate, there's two seasons of Xena & Gabrielle as friends, then three seasons of Xena-likes-to-eat-fish-har-har interspersed with technically-they-kissed-but-not-really, and then a season of "Xena/Gabrielle has been canon for a good long while now, didn't you notice?"

I have mixed feelings about the show ending with retroactive Xena/Gabrielle. On the one hand, yay, they made it canon? But there's also something about it that retroactively makes the intermediate section feel less playful. If we read that intermediate section as "ha-ha, you thought they were straight, joke's on you!" I think we can understand that the joke was supposed to be on homophobes who were overly invested in Xena and Gabrielle's straightness? And yet I feel like I got caught by some ick in the blowback of that joke. That when I said things like, "but it's still not canon, it's only subtext," that I was somehow acting just like the homophobes who also denied the subtext. When really, I wasn't inscribing heteronormativity on them, but pointing out how space had been deliberately left for inscribing heteronormativity on them. Meh.

I suppose my no-surprise-to-anyone conclusion is that I would have much preferred having Xena/Gabrielle be explicitly canon as we went, instead of retroactively canon: there is something deeply unsatisfying about most retcons, however much the text-as-it-currently-stands may be improved by the retcon being put into place. And then, you necessarily start getting into the thing about whether The Powers That Be would have permitted canonical Xena/Gabrielle, blah blah.

...all of which comes back to: damn, but I wish I had watched this live, while the rest of my community was watching it. Because there's always some loss, reading a primary text outside of the context it was written in.

And I feel it particularly with this one.


[1] I broke. I have now read the synopses of the final three eps. I may yet pick them up at some point for completeness's sake, but I am fully content with taking the ending of "Many Happy Returns" -- Xena and Gabrielle flying off into the sunset together -- as the canon ending of the series.

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19th-Jun-2014 10:11 am - Graduation and Wedding Plans
Escher Snakes
Sunday was commencement. I walked, because [personal profile] grrlpup told me I had to. (I laugh: she and I only just barely showed up for our Reed graduation. But here she's been in charge of regalia and tickets and photos and inviting people and getting me there. It's like she's a COMPLETELY DIFFERENT PERSON.) My parents came down for it, too, so now graduation has been done all nice and proper-like, and there are cap-and-gown photos for both her family and mine.

(Her family have really been into it -- I have received many congratulations from them. But then, I spent a decent chunk of my visit at New Year's studying for comps in front of them. And word about that got around: every time extended family would come by to see us, they'd walk in the door saying, "Now, I know [Sang] is studying for her comps, so I'm not going to disturb her, but I did want to say hello real fast!" So I suppose it's not a surprise that now there's a big chorus of YAY SHE GRADUATED AFTER ALL coming from that quarter.) (My side of the family, I'm not sure anyone even knows I graduated, besides my parents.)

I knew pretty much no one at graduation -- so much time elapsed between my coursework and my graduation! -- but most of the master's grads weren't graduating with friends anyhow, so a lot of us were looking for someone to amiably kill the time with. And it turns out that having a moment of theater-induced panic and dropping a handful of safety pins into one's bag before one leaves the house, is a very effective icebreaker! I spent a decent chunk of time before the ceremony saying "You want a safety pin?" to people who were struggling with their robes or hoods, and then getting swamped with effusive gratitude. (One woman said to me, "You're wonderful! You're just like a grandma!" Which made me blink a bit. When I went back to school, I abruptly discovered that I code to twenty-somethings as "mom" nowadays, but this is the first time that I've had someone call me grandma.)

The ceremony was huge, btw, much different from my last one. Even after splitting the graduating class into several ceremonies, they still had to rent the Blazers' arena. So yes, I got to be on the Jumbotron in my cap and gown. For all of two seconds. :-P


And in other news, as [personal profile] grrlpup has already said elsewhere, now that marriage is finally legal in Oregon again, we finally stopped dithering and began making concrete plans.

...I never really said much in public when the federal courts overturned Oregon's Measure 36 a couple of weeks ago. Mostly because I had a huge range of emotions about it, and not all of them happy. (The unhappy ones were mostly blowback from the twenty-one years of crap we went through to get here. Plus, the sense of UNSTOPPABLE DOOM that one comes to associate with positive court rulings when for all one's adult life nearly every positive court ruling is followed by a ruthless backlash at the polls. Honestly, my first reaction nowadays tends to be oh shit when a positive ruling comes down from the courts, and it is really, really hard to shake that sense of impending nightmare.) But the court announced the overturn at noon one Monday a few weeks ago, she proposed again-again at lunch (and she looked at me this time!), and I said yes again-again, and then we agreed to let ourselves have some time to be chill before making concrete plans, because goddamn, maelstrom of emotions that needed time to settle.

But as [personal profile] grrlpup said in her own post: we've decided to elope on the anniversary of our original 1993 commitment ceremony, because that was the real wedding, and we don't want this one eclipsing that. We've also asked the officiant from our 2004 wedding (when Multnomah County made it briefly legal, before the subsequent ballot-box backlash that was only just now overturned) to be the officiant this time, too. Because it's been a long, long journey to get here, and he was there for part of it, and we'd like him to be there again. Plus, when the court voided our marriage license in 2005, his work got voided, too; it seems fitting to have him be part of setting it right again-again.

Also, we really liked him. Which is probably the best reason. :-)

So that's that moving forward.


...and you want to know what's really bizarre? How I can be writing about the ceremonies celebrating what are allegedly TWO BIG LIFE-CHANGING EVENTS, and yet my life feels so static. People ask, "So, what's been going on with you lately? Have any big plans for the summer?" and I wrack my brain for a bit, and then come back all, "Nah, not really." My brain, it is wired very strangely, I tell you.

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