Remix keeps giving,

There are a lot of different motivations for writing fanfic, and one of them is certainly, "Let me put my eccentric headcanon out there in case somebody ever wants to pick it up. RELATEDLY, I once wrote an FMA ficlet about how Roy Mustang was a teenage gigolo (in a very small town kind of way), and then I forgot about it and then years went by and then Remix Madness 2015 happened. . .

And some delightful person wrote Look At You, Out to Make a Deal, which features four women Roy let buy his dinner and one (guess who?) that he spent his own money on. I love all the world-building detail, and how it's funny and a little sad and Roy why are you a human disaster? and poor patient Riza, et cetera. Love it.

If this is an author I know from around fandom, I don't immediately recognize the work, but Roy and I raise a glass to you, mystery author

Now since it's been ages since I just sat down and read a book, I'm going to try an Ancillary Justice reread on the way to reading the sequel, since I realized I'd forgotten most of the story details.

This entry was originally posted at Comment here or there, I'm easy.

Remix is live!

Happy to have Remix Redux back in all its glory. The archive is open here, with entries in a variety of fandoms I've just started to sample.

Some delightful anon (though I have my suspects. . .) wrote Imbalance (The Tramps Like Us Remix) for me. It's based on an X-Men Movieverse a story I wrote that was supposed to be a cute fic about Scott and Jean and Remy playing with a dreidel on Hanukkah and turned out to be about Scott feeling trapped and hopeless and Jean's powers going out of control, and Remy is just kind of . . .there because I wanted Scott to make mean jokes about his accent? Well, the remixer has taken that and switched it Remy's point of view, brought in some canon from X-Men: Origins: Wolverine, and that really opens up the story in some fascinating ways. Now I want the Remy that this author is writing to meet up with the Scott that I was writing.

Also, I wrote that story at least eight years ago, and Scott has been standing out on the back patio brooding all that time, so I'm really glad Jean finally brought him a coat. It was cathartic for all of us.

Poking around just a little bit in other fandoms so far:

Always Another One (The Robin Recruitment Remix) visits the characters of Gotham Central -- this is always the DCU of my heart -- and builds out from the "Dead Robin" arc of that series to examine the incarnations of Robin over the years.

And Magic Boxes (The What Remains Remix) is really a couple of different stories, one about Howard Stark's fears about fatherhood, and one about Peggy Carter's relation to Howard and how that moves through her interactions with Tony throughout the years. I appreciate fics that work to reconcile the different versions of Howard we see in different films, and I love what's being done here.

I wrote a thing in the main collection that I don't expect anyone to guess. I also failed to write anything for Remix Madness, but I'm excited to see that go live later tonight.

This entry was originally posted at Comment here or there, I'm easy.


Remix Madness & Reading Wednesday, 6/24/15

I signed up for Remix_madness, which you can participate in even if you didn't do Remix proper. Do check that out if you have the inclination (and feel free to poke me to let me know you signed up, if we share fandoms! I don't know if I'll ever get to anything but I always like to try!

• What are you currently reading?

The Bone Clocks and. . .I found out what a bone clock is! Bone clocks are people! From the point of view of sociopathic immortals who think people are worthless because they're made out of bones and they run out of time! Or something!

I think I'm enjoying this more the less I think about it, really. I'm in the final section, which is in the environmental post-apocalypse vein, which I think is well done, but also I got shaken out of it when I stopped reading and was walking around going, "Hey it's sunny and beautiful outside! I have Internet and comics and cheese! I appreciate them way more than I did an hour ago! Which is probably not what the author was going for, but . . . look it's really good cheese.

• What did you recently finish reading?

A Spool of Blue Thread by Anne Tyler, which I was really liking this time last week but the final third or so kind of lost me. Well-written, just not the story I wanted to be reading, by the end. It reminded me of what I like about Tyler, though, and I should pick up some more of her backlist on audiobook, since they go well that way.

• What do you think you’ll read next?

Despite being a little baffled by The Bone Clocks I'll give The Cloud Atlas a try as my next big audiobook, I think. I also downloaded Storm Front today, the first Harry Dresden novel -- I know people have strongly mixed feelings about this series, but it seemed like something I should at least try.

And once I get through my comics backlog, I need to start my Hugo reading in earnest. Ancillary Sword first, I think, though I might go back and forth with The Goblin Emperor since I have the first in print and the second on kindle.

This entry was originally posted at Comment here or there, I'm easy.

Jun. 23rd, 2015

My June journaling resolution has gone from 'every day' to 'more often than usual,' so. . .

This past weekend was lovely -- visited my parents on Saturday, since I hadn't seen them for a while. It was freaking hot and we went to the swimming pool until it thundered (though it never rained), then met my youngest brother & his wife for dinner, at which Amanda got to hear my mom's story about the time she hitchhiked from Maine to South Carolina with a friend and their two cats (first time I heard this story there were no cats; then one cat; this was the first time I heard about the second cat. Every time she tells this story it grows a cat!) I think this happened when she was 19 or 20, the year before she met my super-sensible dad, which tells you a lot.

On Sunday, we had a leisurely Father's Day breakfast, and I gave Dad the 4 album/2 CD Gram Parsons Anthology that I found in a used CD rack for $8, which he was excited about, and which my mom went from identifying as 'a box set of all the Elvis movies' (Gram is kind of dressed/posed like Elvis in some of the photos but it was the size of 2 CD cases also I didn't know Dad wanted all the Elvis movies???) and asked if Gram Parsons was the guy from Crosby, Stills & Nash (this is funny not because of country rock hipsterism but because the guy she's thinking of is named Graham NASH, and also because we've had this conversation before). It then transpired that they no longer have a working CD player or a computer with a CD drive, so we got to play 'find a working flash drive so I can upload the songs I already ripped to MY PC, will see if they ever get to Dad's ipod.) Technology, destroyer and preserver.

After that, they went to church and I drove up to Silver Spring to meet some Maryland folks for dinner, and [personal profile] alpheratz and I went to a concert to see 1. Annie Girl and the Flight (great band, name I cannot retain under any circumstances so I keep googling 'Annie band' to try and refresh myself; they were new to me and I checked out their EP, Bodies, which I recommend if you like ladies-whut-rock -- though their in concert sound was more straight hard rock while the EP sounds more 'surfy girl band', and I'm not sure if that was a function of the touring ensemble, the production, venue, or what -- but I liked both versions a lot

2. Frank Iero & the Sellabrations (sp?), which is Frank from My Chemical Romance's band; my only background with MCR is the Danger Days album and this is very different, but it was a fun show -- [personal profile] alpheratz says Frank has gotten much more comfortable being a front man, and I thought he put on a good show (though I was distracted/concerned on his behalf that he was wearing a cardigan the whole time despite sweating profusely; also the cardigan had 'tragician' written on it, which I don't think is a word, but you do you, Frank Iero. Not sure I'd fire this music up on my own, but it was very fun live, as was watching [personal profile] alpheratz's display of heart-eyes.

3. Against Me! which was the reason I bought the tickets in the first place, before I realized that there would be two openers and I would not be able to take the day after off of work (scheduled meetings, bah). So we ran out of there out of there after about 3 songs, both agreeing we'd like to see a full set some time when it wasn't a school night. (I saw them open for Gaslight Anthem at the 9:30 club last year but haven't seen a full show.)

They're a fun band to watch, anyway, because they've been embraced by the queer/trans* community since the lead singer came out last year, but they seem to have held on to a lot of (what I affectionately call) their anarchy-bro fanbase. So they opened with "I Was a Teenage Anarchist" (see below) and then went straight into what I guess were older songs (they sounded like a different style) and the anarchy-bros all streamed to front and center, and it was going to get pretty mosh-pit-y if we had stayed around much longer.

So that was all very fun, but then I had to drive back to Virginia, which took even longer than I expected it to, because of overnight construction on 95 -- even when I rerouted for about 20 miles, it was still going on when I got back to the freeway. But it was cool, I was resigned to getting back too late and I listened to a lot of The Bone Clocks (I found out what a bone clock is! I'll tell you tomorrow!)

This entry was originally posted at Comment here or there, I'm easy.


Reading Wednesday, 6/17/15

I scheduled an annual physical for today at 3 PM, forgetting that I should probably fast beforehand for the sake of bloodwork etc, so of course I spent all day obsessing about not being hungry -- then worked through lunch break and left a little early. Appointment was fine, I liked the new-to-me doctor, then I had beer w/ dinner on top of fasting for >12 hours and then getting blood drawn so of course I crashed when I came home -- then woke up again at 10:30 pm and have evening napper' curse, tomorrow at work should be fun -- at least I can have snacks and coffee?

Now, books!

• What are you currently reading?

The Bone Clock continues? I'm past the halfway point? It's a really long book but it's still holding my interest and I'm appreciating how I keep thinking I know where the individual sections are headed -- both in term of plotting and character arc -- and then they swerve, often very subtly. I'm finding this a really good book to experience on audio because the sheer heft of it would probably intimidate me in print, but the forward momentum of the audio format works nicely.

Speaking of books that go to unexpected places, I'm also reading A Spool of Blue Thread by Anne Tyler. Tyler is famously underrated as a 'prestige' literary writer, for lots of reasons, some of which I'm afraid are obvious (a woman writing mostly about 'domestic' subjects, a consistent/reliable quality that keeps her from having 'breakout' success) -- and at least some of it is that her stories feel so quiet and familiar that the skill in execution isn't obvious until you start thinking about it. The range of things that might happen in an Anne Tyler novel is clearly smaller than in a David Mitchell novel -- her books aren't suddenly going to morph into fantasy, though NGL I'd read a (sub)urba/portal fantasy with one of Tyler's deceptively complex middle aged women as the protagonist.

But A Spool of Blue Thread is constructed in such a way that it never gets up and announces what the book is about, it just pulls you into the story of this particular family, and heads off in every direction that this takes you -- a bit like sitting down at the kitchen table with your (at least, my) granny and getting the story of so-and-so and what happened to them and how they found out about . . .etc. And it could feel random but it's handled with such skill that somehow it doesn't. This impression could be strengthened by the way I avoided reading any blurbs or reviews, so I don't know the 'elevator pitch' for this novel. (Much like The Bone Clocks, I don't even know what the title means yet.) I just thought I should try the new Anne Tyler because I haven't read Anne Tyler in a while, and it's been a good decision.

• What did you recently finish reading?

I realized I've had Captain Vorpatril's Alliance by Lois McMaster Bujold on my Kindle for a while and had forgotten I had it/hadn't read it. I was excited about this when it came out -- the protagonist is a side character in Bujold's Vorkosigan novels -- but then I was reluctant to read it because 'side character as protagonist' can go pretty wrong, even/especially when it's someone like Ivan Vorpatril, who I find endearing but who canonically seems like he might not have enough going on to carry a novel. Think Doctor Who Jack versus Torchwood Jack -- a lot of what was fun about that character got lost in the course of making him into a protagonist. So is it possible to preserve the essence of Ivan Vorpatril (essence: taking the path of least resistance, trying not to get drawn into his cousins' schemes, getting drawn into his various cousins' schemes, resisting schemes via sarcasm, getting kidnapped, getting rescued, trying not to die or get yelled at by his mother & incidentally hopefully impressing girls) -- and still have him work as a protagonist.

And, like. . .surprisingly, yes? The book is on the slight side (in terms of stakes, not in terms of plot, of which there's almost too much -- basically it's a romance novel and then it's a heist novel but also still kind of a romance novel) -- but at the same time it's pretty delightful, and I was reading it in a perpetual state of *chin hands* *heart eyes* 'So what thing that Ivan would definitely chosen not to get involved in if it was up to him did he have to do next? There's also a split POV with the female protagonist, who is a sweetheart and possibly deserves to be involved in these hijinks even less than Ivan does.

The thing I, quite unexpectedly, loved most about this book, though, is that it turns out 35-year-old Ivan is really good at being a mid-level bureaucrat, and the world (and/or, Space Empire as the case may be) needs people like that. Through the course of the novel, Ivan keeps staying out all night being involved in other people's schemes and then having to make sure he's showered and dressed for work on time, which is the sort of thing people even in realistic/contemporary film never seem to have to worry about. I had some very, "Yes, Ivan, I feel you, I have to get to work on time tomorrow too, what is up with that? A+ adulting, Ivan."

tl;dr, I liked this book. Also I would read a version of this from Simon Illyan's POV because wow. And the Simon + Ivan scenes in this are really priceless. (Also the small bits w/ Miles + Gregor but that goes without saying).

• What do you think you’ll read next?

I have a huge stack of comics -- issues + collections that I've accumulated recently -- that I really need to make a dent in, so between that and diving into the Hugo novels (The Goblin Emperor first, I think), I should be set.

This entry was originally posted at Comment here or there, I'm easy.

Music season

News on the music front from three of my favorite acts today.

1. Well, pre-news from Sleater-Kinney, that they're announcing East Coast dates for the next leg of their tour, which hopefully won't be as nightmarishly hard to get my hands on as when they announced their reunion last fall. Seeing S-K is kind of a life goal (or well, you know, since I started listening to them a lot, which wasn't until after the band broke up the first time, and I *have* seen the individual members play (Carrie & Janet with Wild Flag, Corin with her own severely underrated eponymous band). But I'd like to get to this. I don't need to be dropping big money on concerts but I'd LIKE TO GET TO THIS.

2. Frank Turner's new album will be out (almost) in time for my birthday, and there's a new video, where I think I should be concentrating on the shirtless + heavily tattooed MMA match b/t Frank and CM Punk (who I gather is a famous fighter of some type???) but it turns out I am totally fixated on Frank in rolled up sleeves + the 80s movie style skinny tie.

3. Lucero has a new album coming in September, and they have put out a single called 'Went Looking For Warren Zevon's Los Angeles'

Also they're name-droppping the Replacements a lot. I have a feeling this is going to polarize their fans a bit and that Ben will do that bemused laugh that he does when he can't figure out how to keep his fans from getting in stupid fights at shows and keep doing what he was doing. I'm personally intrigued and I like it better than the bro-y vibe or whatever they were going for on Women & Work.

BONUS: No actual news today, but Jason Isbell has a new record out next month. I saw him at an outdoor gig last month and he's seriously never sounded better and definitely never looked happier. (As an enthusiastic fan next to me yelled to his friend: "He's so much better sober than he was drunk! I mean he was damn good drunk but he's GREAT sober!" I also witnessed the same guy say to his 6 or 7 year old daughter, "Don't worry, honey, I am *sure* he'll play 'Codeine' soon." )

Anyway, no new music, just a nomination of "Songs that She Sang in the Shower" as a Matt Murdock song.

This entry was originally posted at Comment here or there, I'm easy.
Yesterday I discovered a new-to-me method of beating procrastination in my writing, which involves video games. Now, here me out -- the trick is to play a moderately complicated video game and be so bad at it that you get stuck in the same place for hours and finally turn off the game and start writing because the idea of putting words on paper actually seems less frustrating in comparison.

Specifically, I'd been playing The Last of Us for a while, which is a zombie survival game but . . .oddly soothing, at least, if you find walking through the wreckage of bombed-out landscapes interrupted by a few (at least on easy) fairly simple fights to be soothing. Then just all of a sudden this slow paced game gets to a point where you have to beat 5 zombies in a row, by yourself, and I could not figure out how to do it. Then I switched over to Mass Effect, where I kept getting my tank blown up, and then my people blown up and then if I did survive the gun battle, I kept driving into lava. So then I was like REMIX YAY I WILL DESTROY THIS STORY EASIEST THING ON EARTH, I CAN MAKE IT UP AS I GO ALONG AND THERE IS ZERO CHANCE OF ANYONE GETTING EATEN BY ZOMBIES UNLESS I WANT THEM TO. So I didn't finish the story (deadline isn't until next Sunday) but I made some major headway with it and am happy about the state of it at this point in the process.

(For what it's worth, I did figure out how to win the Last of Us fight which involved spoiler cut for people who like figuring out the frustrating bits of video games themselves, I guessCollapse ). The great part is that after your character wins the fight, Tess (the NPC companion character) comes up and says, "Impressive, Joel," which sent me into gales of laughter because TESS, YOU HAVE NO IDEA.

And while I'm thinking of writing, I thought this fic-writing meme from [personal profile] moetushie was fascinating and I'll give it a try.

Make a list of:

Ten things that you think are common in your fic:

Ten ThingsCollapse )

Ten things you think are uncommon in your fic although commonly found in fic in general:
Caveat: I don't know what's found in 'fic in general'? Fic is a *big, big world*. So I'll just stick with things that I don't do that it seems safe to assume other writers do?
Ten More ThingsCollapse )

Ten things you wish were more true of your fic (expanding this to fiction writing in general, not just fanfic, although in practice I've basically only written fanfic for the last decade or so):
Last ten thingsCollapse )

I may have lost energy at the end of the meme there. That was a lot.

Thoughts? Answers of your own? I'm very interested!

This entry was originally posted at Comment here or there, I'm easy.
So I have done a *not great* job of daily updates but last night [personal profile] spuffyduds & I went out for ramen to celebrate the last Wednesday we'll be living together (sniffle, but it's a good thing b/c it means she and her husband have found a more long-term local living situation and I'll still be able to visit with them and yay!) and then we came home and finished watching Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, which really deserves its own post.

Tonight, I'm just going to do a reading update, though, but not until I share the news that irony is dead; Cassandra Clare has killed it.

Now, books...

• What are you currently reading?

Pressing forward with The Bone Clocks. . .I still don't know what the title means, but I've read through 3 of (I think?) 6 sections, which each have a different narrative voice and somewhat different writing style (the audiobook has different narrators for each section, too, which is a nice touch). I'd had the impression that these were going to be six different novellas that were loosely tied together, but there's actually a lot more connection -- and plot linearity -- than I had expected. I'm liking it, though I'm a little apprehensive about what's going to happen when all the supernatural story threads come together -- though I don't want to say I wish it had just been a realistic novel because I'm not sure any of the sections really offer enough on their own, without the connective tissue? Anyway, David Mitchell definitely knows what he's doing (the only really tedious parts I've found are in the section set in 2004, when the narrator, who is a wore correspondent, has to explain the Iraq War to a bunch of dummies he meets at a family wedding; I see what the book is going for, but it's soooo didactic, especially when it's not exactly saying anything that's news 11 years after the fact).

I've also cracked Kim Gordon's Girl in a Band, though it's one of those books with really short chapters so I haven't made a lot of headway (I know a lot of people seem to like really short chapters? But I have a problem with feeling like I'm never making any progress. IDK, it's illogical. The intro chapter is really interesting though, as it gets into her breakup with Thurston Moore, which I guess I'd expected her to be more circumspect about, but she comes across as really (and, you know, justly) pissed off. That scene takes place shortly after the breakup/ the end of Sonic Youth (and God, they had to keep playing tour dates even when they weren't speaking to each other, it's the rock and roll nightmare). I am assuming, from the structure, that the book will end up with her working out her feelings about the marriage and divorce and ending up in a better place -- though I'll be okay if she doesn't because fuck Thurston Moore. (I liked his post-breakup solo album, though, sigh, why are musicians?).

• What did you recently finish reading?

God Help the Child and The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison -- because I found out that Morrison narrates all of her own audiobooks, and Toni Morrison talking in your ears is pretty damn cool, though of course also upsetting because there is some seriously rough content in both of these books. [cw: discussion of sexual abuse in the next two paragraphs] God Help the ChildCollapse )

The Bluest EyeCollapse )

Though I had a similar experience with this book as when I read Maya Angelou's I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, which is that the only things I had heard about the book going in were about the abuse and misery, and not the parts that are clever and funny and insightful (particularly the sections about the two sisters who are the main point of view characters). It's interesting to think about, especially with The Bluest Eye being in the news again for being challenged in public schools. I don't know, I understand why the traumatic parts are the big takeaways, but it's frustrating how often conversation about books by women of color seem to begin and end with the content warnings. Which is a lesson to me to seek out better conversations.

• What do you think you’ll read next?

I have both Cynthia Bond's Ruby and Anne Tyler's A Spool of Blue Thread out on audiobook, a big stack of comics and graphic novels to get to, and all of the Hugo nominated novels staring up at me. (The Three Body Problem, Ancillary Sword, The Goblin Emperor -- where should I start?)

This entry was originally posted at Comment here or there, I'm easy.
I realized the other day that I could cheat on 'posting every day' (I already missed Saturday, hush) by mining my WIP drawer and posting scraps of sort-of-fic. That's not a very deep drawer so I'll have to come up with something else, but this is from the time that [personal profile] stultiloquentia asked me for post-canon FMA fic where everybody's poly (ok, maybe that was just my interpretation and not that different from how I write FMA most of the time because my muse, like Roy Mustang, is a multishipper.

This is unfinished and mostly about formalwear, though, anyway, and accidentally-but-not-really about Hughes feels.

Ed and Winry get married in Rush Valley...Collapse )

This entry was originally posted at Comment here or there, I'm easy.

bitches get a little stuff done, kind of

Work week was exhausting and I got to the weekend with a typical 'I will do all the things this weekend' resolve, when 'all the things ends up translating to 'sleep, but not necessarily at night, when I should.'

But whatever, I got a few long-festering tasks done (fix the last shelf in the kitchen cupboard that needed fixing) + vacuuming + laundry + shopping for cat supplies and changing the litterbox. I also caught up on Community and Grace & Frankie and Orphan Black (oh my God, Orphan Black) and watched Jupiter Ascending (WHAT DID I JUST PUT IN MY EYEBALLS AND WHY?) I also got in some social time with friends + talking to my sister on her birthday (she called me to complain about other members of our family but it still counts!) + some canon research/plotting for my remix fic.

Then last night I stayed up late playing video games -- I have a hand me down playstation from my brother and I'm still sort of struggling for games that have the right mix of story/complexity and game play. . .the first thing I played through was the original Bioshock which was kind of the perfect level of all those things for me (I also played mot of BioShock Infinite which has a little more story but has a few plot/worldbuilding elements I was iffy on, and also the final battle was too hard and I never actually finished it?)

I've now played the first few missions on both Dragon Age: Origins and Mass Effect and have concluded that *wandering around with no idea where you are supposed to be going is the real enemy*. Then last night I gave in and rented The Last of Us for a week -- I have two copies of The Last of Us on disc that were given to me by two different people because they think it's a game I would like to play and my console doesn't want to talk to either of them (the games, not the people)? So I figured what the hell and rented it but that means I should try to play through it in a week.

Yeah, I've gotten from "bitches get stuff done" to "video games time" so that's about it for now. Weekend is almost overy.

This entry was originally posted at Comment here or there, I'm easy.


prufrock, before he got famous

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