bironic: Neil Perry gazing out a window at night (Default)
May 2019 will mark the 10th anniversary of posting my first vid online, and I thought it would be fun to do some write-ups about the journey, the process, some of the vids I've made and some that didn't make it or haven't yet.

Masterlist on the AO3

Let's start with something that feels contained: audio editing.

A rough count reveals that of 55 vids I've posted to date, 38 of them, or 69%, contain edited audio. Why?

Five reasons: )

Hope this is interesting to people! More to come. Still taking suggestions for topics.


Jan. 8th, 2019 07:47 pm
bironic: Neil Perry gazing out a window at night (Default)
This is not a sad story, I promise.

My 97-year-old grandfather was hospitalized at the end of December for a UTI. This happened a lot with my then-98-year-old grandmother before she died in 2016, so it felt all too familiar.

But he recovered enough to return to the "independent living" facility where he hangs out, and being otherwise healthy and cognitively intact and a naturally outgoing person, his main problem is feeling lonely as he convalesces, so my dad and stepmom and I have (separately) been calling him more or less daily.

Then he spent an afternoon in the ER because he had some bleeding. Somehow this was related to the UTI. Er, what?

The more we talked, the more the plot thickened. The UTI didn't occur spontaneously but was a complication of a catheter, since removed. Why had he had a catheter? He'd had surgery. What surgery? The same surgery that caused the bleeding as healing progressed. Finally, my dad asked if it was okay to talk to his doctor.

And it turns out

that the surgery my 97-year-old widower grandfather had

was to implant

a penile prosthesis

which the Mayo Clinic website confirms is 100% used to treat erectile dysfunction

from which the only conclusion our family can draw is that he has acquired a secret girlfriend.

I've heard about the shenanigans that go on in nursing homes, the soap opera entanglements and the STD rates and everything. I just assumed it applied to other people's grandparents.


(Now to wait and see if and when he ever mentions this lady friend to me, as I will never ever bring up the fact that I know what procedure he underwent.)

Fic musings

Jan. 7th, 2019 03:06 pm
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You never know which story will call to you, or when. One of the documents I've been returning to lately is an old Stargate-movie Mary Sue story about one of Ra's body servants. It's different from other universes I've played in in that, while we the readers view Ra as an alien possessing a human body, to the protagonist, he is divine; so the narrative intermingles deity/worshipper and ruler/subject and lover/beloved, and because much of it is told from the young servant's point of view, she does not question--in fact, wholeheartedly devotes herself to--what we could label an exploitative relationship. After tweaking little bits here and there of a draft that has remained stagnant for perhaps a decade, this weekend I added 1,000 words of a new scene. I am happily bewildered.

Strange things happen regarding time. There's this whole batch of stories I started in my, I guess you'd call it golden years, from late high school through shortly after college, which still serve as the foundation for most of the Mary Sue writing I do that's technically fanfic but isn't likely to ever be posted. I still think of them as fairly new, except, on reflection, even the newest of them started more than 15 years ago. What the hell.

("What the hell have I been doing with my creative life in those 15 years" is a follow-on question it's best not to wallow in.)
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Mini-reviews of the billionty books I read last fall. Most are adapted from the communal spreadsheet we kept for the autumn reading challenge.

From Spinning Silver to Murderbot & Wayfarers to rereads of My Teacher Is an Alien & The Vampire Diaries )
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Which we shall now call "lightning round" in quotation marks, since one blurb took another few months to come back and finish. Book version to follow ASAP.

Atomic Blonde )

Nights in Rodanthe )

Mamma Mia! )

Starman )

Dawnland )
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Continued from here.

I've got an unfinished set of book and movie reviews titled "Lightning Round" because it was going to be super quick. It's dated September 23. Ha ha ha. Here is the list anyway. If and when I finish that post, I'll add the links here. ETA: Link added!

24 novels, 3 novellas, 7 graphic novel volumes, 5 short story collections, 3 nonfictions, 3 poetry collections, 1 play )

Total for the year:
  • 35 novels
  • 8 novellas + 1 partial
  • 12 graphic novel volumes
  • 6 short story collections + 1 partial
  • 9 memoirs & nonfiction
  • 3 poetry collections
  • 1 play

a.k.a. 74 complete + 2 partial, a.k.a. about 25 more books than usual.

Quick-and-dirty demographics:
  • Women & nonbinary: 39 authors/poets + 4 coauthors/illustrators, 31 books
  • Native: 28 authors/poets, 8 books
  • Other non-white: 5 authors + 2 coauthors/illustrators, 7 books
  • Translations: 2 books + some poems

As always, happy to talk about any of these.
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Continued from here.

54 movies )

16 TV seasons or specials )

That's still low for me on movies, a lingering result of all the skimming for "The Greatest" plus my slide over to watching TV shows with Zahn McClarnon in them.

As always, happy to talk about any of these.
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I just returned from a week in rural Tennessee, where my mom's boyfriend bought a house for them to retire to in a few years. It's perched on the side of a mountain abutting Cherokee National Forest. It felt like vacation as soon as I heard running water and smelled wood smoke. Beautiful land,* spacious home, largely off the grid, although the steep slope made me nervous. We saw turkeys and Carolina chickadees along with many neighbors' pets and livestock. Went for easy hikes, ate venison steaks, played games, sang along with my mom's guitar on Christmas Eve—she has adopted the bf's Italian-American Catholic traditions—and discussed the ups and downs of their relationship. I fired a gun for the first time; took out some bottles with buckshot. When in Rome...

*stolen, sigh


Hauling my desktop (vidding) computer 800 miles proved worthwhile, as I squeezed in two productive editing sessions. The draft is nearly complete. I'd like to send that out for beta soon and try for a treat. It would be sad to break the streak of making at least two Festivids per round.

Vidding anniversary

May will mark the tenth anniversary of posting my first vid. I'm planning some short write-ups for the occasion that can be spaced throughout 2019, like "favorite opening credits" and "vids that never made it." Is there anything you'd like to know?

In memoriam

I was saddened to hear about the recent passing of [personal profile] stardreamer. I had only just begun to get to know her here on Dreamwidth, where she was an engaged, insightful, compassionate commenter. It took longer than it should have for me to subscribe to her journal, which is when I learned that she had been struggling with pancreatic cancer for a while. It finally got the better of her in November. A real loss. Among other things, I'm sad I didn't finish the Midnight, Texas fic in time for her to read it; it's a tiny fandom and she'd said she was looking forward to it.

May her memory be a blessing.
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Previous Roundups
2017 | 2016 | 2015 | 2014 | 2013 | 2012 | 2011 | 2010 | 2009 | 2008 | 2007 | 2006

I will remember four things about this year:

1. Finished the most ambitious vid I've ever attempted, The Greatest, and, by taking the risk to invite further donations, raised an extra $1,000 beyond the initial bid for U.S. & international charities. It couldn't have been done without friends and the wider fannish community.

2. Dove into the Zahn McClarnon project and fell hard for Longmire.

3. Put forth my most sustained effort to date in consuming Native-centric and Native-produced books, movies, poems, podcasts and documentaries/nonfiction. Simultaneously enjoyed the art (or critiqued it, depending) and tried to evolve my understanding of what it means to live as colonizer and colonized in what we call the U.S. and Canada. To be continued in 2019.

4. Participated in the local friend group's BookIt!-style autumn reading challenge, modded by [personal profile] disgruntled_owl. Read a ton of books, shared reactions with the other readers, blacked out the Bingo card, went to an excellent wrap party.

Well, and 5. Attended the final Vividcon.


I posted three vids this year: two Festivids, followed by the gigantic project that was "The Greatest." The break it was necessary to take after that vid lasted longer than expected, but I'm getting back into the groove now, and besides, some of that creative energy went to fic writing, which I'm not going to complain about.

Vid links )


The year Zahn McClarnon characters revitalized my fic writing! I also wrote a story for the Trick or Treat Exchange for the first time.

Fic links & WIP notes )

2018 fanwork goals

How did we do? )

2019 fanwork goals

  • Write some posts about vidding for the 10th anniversary of making my first one
  • There are several vids I'd like to make, most notably The One with All My Longmire Feelings, deelaundry's belated #FandomTrumpsHate vid, and, if I still feel like it, a small multivid based on Zahn characters. Plus the above-mentioned one expressing my Mary Sue vampire feelings, but no rush on that. And something for FanWorksCon? Maybe the sports multivid I tabled a couple of years back? Eh, we'll see.
  • Caption remaining uncaptioned vids
  • ✔ Upgrade to a paid Spotify account so I can be exposed to more new music and generate vid ideas
  • Actually use AfterEffects before I forget the training from last year

  • Finish the Zahn stories, or at least the Red Road one
  • Finish that stubborn Jinni/Dustfinger crossover before the new Helene Wecker book comes out!
  • Continue to experiment with adjusting day-to-day habits to facilitate writing

  • Go to the new FanWorksCon in August
  • Go to Longmire Days in Wyoming if Zahn will be in attendance??
  • Choose a cloud backup service

ETA: Whoops, and people too, of course! This year we acquired a [personal profile] toft & a J., which has been great. Synn and I got to spend a whole afternoon with [personal profile] xenakis & [ profile] lunarflares when we visited Montreal in the spring. I met one of my vidding role models, [personal profile] sol_se, at Vividcon. On Twitter, I've especially enjoyed the added company of [ profile] mk_york_books and [ profile] glassesojustice, who, among other things, share the Longmire love. Locally, a couple of core fan-friend groups continued to strengthen; I enjoyed spending a little more time than usual with [personal profile] unfinishedidea; and in the new year, I'd like to see more of [personal profile] linaerys now that she's closer to town, as well as some people whom I only seem to run into at cons in other states, such as [personal profile] inkjunket. It's also long past time to visit friends in D.C. for its own sake, not attached to a business trip or whatnot. In the words of Karloff's creature: Friiiiiieeeeeeennnnnds goooooooooddddd.
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The good news: I laid out some clips for that Festivids idea last night and it made me have an emotion.

The bad news: On rechecking the recipient's request letter, she dislikes both that genre of music and that style of editing.

So: Plan B, methinks, even though it doesn't quite line up with the characters she asked for; I don't know what else to do.

I still want to make that other one, though. Probably it's best as a response to someone else's earlier request anyway.

How're everyone else's holiday season fanworks going?
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Somewhere in the past week, despite a lot of hand washing, I picked up a cold, woe. I hate being sick. I'm not one of those magical people who can say, "Oh, I have a bit of a cold," and go about their normal days while occasionally dabbing their noses with a handkerchief. I work my way through boxes of tissues and ache all over and sleep at odd times and am generally pathetic.

Anyway, so I've been home for a couple of days listening to standup comedy specials and Festivids song candidates (yesterday) and watching the latest season of the Great British Baking Show (today) and being appreciative of Past Me, who put together a pantry box for times such as this—Jello, canned soup, Gatorade, crackers—and froze two quarts of homemade chicken soup. A+ prep, would recommend.


I… may have a workable idea for my assignment? There's a significant downside to it, but I will try a thing to compensate. We'll see how it goes. I think I would enjoy working on it, at least. Time is flying by, and most of December is committed to travel; I can't be too picky. Still hunting for alternatives in the meantime.


Woman Walks Ahead (2018) makes a good antidote to Hostiles, as far as movies that take a white POV about encountering unexpected complexity when meeting a Native war chief and his family on the Great Plains in the late 1800s. It's a mystery to me why it only received a 53% critics' rating on Rotten Tomatoes while Hostiles got 71%. I mean, it's got issues, but comparatively... Maybe because it's about a woman (and by a woman) instead of a man and his angst?

I'm too full of cold viruses to review its strengths and weaknesses*, but all I wanted to say is that I enjoyed watching Michael Greyeyes in a lead role after adoring his smile in the Fear the Walking Dead clip I chose of him for the closing sequence of "The Greatest" (gif) and reading a bit of his scholarly work on theater and choreography. Then the internet revealed that in addition to other things I'd known about, he'd played sexy Dr. Stone in the PBS Navajo Mysteries with Adam Beach! So I had vidded him before without realizing it. I always forget that 'ship wasn't canonical. :)

*Maybe we can talk another time about conflicting feelings when the film revels in the female gaze yet the gaze is white and the "object" of it Native, or how I believe they flubbed what was very nearly a beautiful ending, or the relationship of the screenplay to the history it was inspired by, which I've only just started to explore with articles like this one in the Daily Mirror. At least it suggests the romance wasn't pasted on.
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Well, autumn was as much of a sh@#%*show as predicted, but the two big work projects have been turned in, and with luck, December will bring some relaxation.

Things wot have been up:


The local friend group's inaugural fall reading challenge comes to a close today. I blacked out my bingo card, which was all I wanted in the world. Not sure what will fill the void now that it's over.

The challenge definitely motivated me to choose reading over other activities, to plan ahead so there was always a book or five waiting next and to finish books that I might otherwise have set aside or let drag on. Whereas the last few years I averaged a book a week, during the challenge I averaged a book almost every two days; instead of 50-55 books total, 2018 is on track to top 75. Snow days, long flights and library due dates also helped.

Favorite reads:
  • Strange Practice: A Dr. Greta Helsing novel by Vivian Shaw (thanks, [personal profile] rachelmanija)
  • Two Mates for the Dragon by Zoe Chant et al, esp. the one by Juno Blake (thanks, [personal profile] rachelmanija & [personal profile] sholio)
  • The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
  • The Marrow Thieves by Cherie Dimaline
  • Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? by Edward Albee
  • My Teacher Is an Alien series by Bruce Coville (reread)
  • The Vampire Diaries series by L.J. Smith (reread)
The bingo card also pushed me to finally crack open 6 of the unread books I've owned for many years, which was nice.


I went to several book readings in September/October. Fully intended to write them up, then did not. For the record:

Dessa @ Brattle Theater
DeRay Mckesson with Ayanna Pressley @ Old South Church
Heid Erdrich, Tacey Atsitty & Eric Gansworth @ Harvard Peabody Museum (related post)
George Saunders @ Boston University

All excellent, with the possible exception of Mckesson/Pressley—the acoustics were so awful where we sat that we couldn't make out half of what they said; we gave up when they started the Q&A. Reading DeRay's book afterwards helped clarify what we'd semi-heard.


No matter how many vids you make, there will always be new technical challenges. I can't even talk about this one because it's for a treat I want to make for Festivids. Suffice it to say that solution #1 involved math; the math that should have worked did not work because reasons; so I devised solution #2 over the weekend. Now for the "easy" part of, you know, making the vid and seeing if it turns out well enough to submit.

Meanwhile, I have no idea what to do for my actual assignment. That will sound funny later when you find out what the source is. So far, I've come up with a concept that would take too long to make, a song that wasn't about what I thought it was about, and a spoof where a spoof wouldn't be appreciated. Now that life is quieting, I'll sit down and figure it out. Because otherwise I'm looking at defaulting and making only the treat, which would be weird in addition to breaking my streak of making at least two Festivids each year.

(Well, there's this other treat idea...)


Having given up on postponing travel for work reasons because work never lets up these days, I went to Tucson to visit childhood friend A. More strip malls than expected in the city itself, but gorgeous desert and mountains close by, and the low humidity means you don't turn into a sweaty mess while hiking. For Thanksgiving I spent ~36 hours in NY seeing family and then ~48 hours at home alternating social time with domesticity, a hybrid experiment that turned out pretty well.

In a couple of weeks I will visit [personal profile] synn, yay, and over winter break I will meet the new house my mom and her boyfriend acquired in rural Tennessee to retire to. Re: the above, I'll have to decide whether it's ridiculous to drag down my desktop computer for vidding or simply bring a book—Moby Dick's time may have arrived at last—and some writing materials. Still have those three unfinished Zahn-related fics.


Since there were no Thanksgiving leftovers on account of we didn't host, yesterday I made turkey meatballs, green beans and stuffing for this week's lunches, topped with slices of that classic cranberry sauce that comes out of the can with a slurp in a single jiggly cylinder. While I was at it, I rescued a few pounds of apples we picked 6 weeks ago by turning them into applesauce with cinnamon and a pinch of brown sugar. Mm. That will accompany the week's dinners of sautéed kale, gigante beans and sausage. It felt good to put in the time in the kitchen; I hadn't cooked properly in a while.


Only in the literal sense: Our boiler broke. It's being fixed. Meanwhile, space heaters.

...Which may or may not explain why there's a tickle in my throat today. Sigh.
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I wrote a thing! As I hinted on Twitter, it is both unlike anything I've written before, mainly in its affected style, and exactly like most of the fics I've written before, with its theme of partners working together to satisfy someone's kink.

Title: The Lion Tamer and the Strongman
Prompt/Character: Submissive Circus Strongman (Original Work)
Rating: Adult
Word Count: 3,220
Content notes: d/s, size difference, bisexual character, asexual character, bondage (sort of), cuddling. Reference to animals in captivity.
For: [ profile] sweetcarolanne/[personal profile] schlitzie_ramone as part of the 2018 Trick or Treat Exchange ([community profile] trickortreatex)
Thanks: to [personal profile] stultiloquentia for brainstorming & helping with a vocab question and to [personal profile] v_greyson for her German expertise

For the prompt:
I love the idea of consensually "bringing the giant down" - everybody believes this big muscular guy is an alpha male type who's stronger than everybody else, but he secretly longs for someone to put him in his place, using whatever means necessary. And someone discovers this secret! Who are they, and what happens? Bonus points if they're someone less physically powerful than the strongman! I tend to prefer M/m for this scenario…

Read on the AO3 or behind the cut.

'I think I know what you want, friend,' I said to Otto, softly. 'I would like to give it to you, if you'll have me.' )

Research notes: I learned about positive reinforcement-based lion-training techniques from articles at HowStuffWorks and The Guardian. Henri is named after Henri Martin, a pioneer of accustoming circus tigers to humans. Meanwhile, Otto's ribcage trick is based on a feat performed by Pierre Gasnier, "the French Hercules," according to Vintage News.

I… do not know a lot about mid- to late 19th-century European circuses. Would a traveling troupe like this have resided in tents or in train cars? Might their beds have had wooden frames with legs? Who knows? Not me, and not any of the sources I frantically dug up in the two and a half days in which I wrote this story. If you happen to know, I'm open to modifying the text for greater historical realism.
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Info about this year's exchange.

Dear Festividder and anyone who might like to make a treat -- complete with sales pitches and pictures:

Longmire )

Queen Margot )

The Golem and the Jinni )

Blood for Dracula & Flesh for Frankenstein )

The Lesser Blessed )

Wildlike )

Here are some notes on music preferences, if you're at a loss. I'm also open to spoken-word and other nontraditional forms of audio, but if you mix dialogue with music, please make the dialogue very clear/easily audible.

Thank you for making something for one of these newly or long-loved sources.

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Last Wednesday: 85 and humid. This Wednesday: frost warning and wind advisory overnight.

The sudden cold makes for uncomfortable dreams.

This morning I dreamt that I was Luke Skywalker caught by baddies on a choppy sea. They locked me in a big black storage cube; I held on to the ceiling while they flushed out the contents into vacuum. Back on my feet afterwards, I beamed the Jedi mind-trick message "You don't see me, you don't see me," when they came to make sure they'd gotten rid of me, holding my breath and edging around the two inspectors, one of whom may have been Darth Vader. But then they sprayed some kind of chemical intended to reveal anyone hiding. The spray caught me in a few places as I tried to dodge it without making a sound of pain, going visible, or bumping into the inspectors. It took everything I had not to give myself away while the agonizing paralysis spread.

(Warning: gore.) Separate from a dream earlier in the night where I went back to the site of a gruesome incident that had killed me so I could collect the remaining chunks of flesh and bone for criminal evidence.


That's twice now that The Good Place has resonated with my own struggles with atheistic mortality. Who would have expected it from a candy-colored mainstream sitcom?

A recent article said one of the show's philosophy consultants is Todd May, author of Death: The Art of Living, and that showrunner Mike Schur sought him out after reading that book many years back. This very volume has been sitting on my bookshelf for a while, alongside similars such as Ernest Becker's The Denial of Death. I've been both desperate and afraid to read it, in case it does or does not offer avenues for relief from this lifelong baseline anxiety about the end of consciousness and how not to exit this only life regretful. Maybe the pop culture connection will nudge it up the to-read list.


On a lighter note: It wasn't until this year that I started using the browser bookmark function on my phone. Each time I open it to check the forecast, I laugh that the only two bookmarks in there so far are the National Weather Service page for my zip code and somebody's list of Longmire episodes in which Mathias appears.

Still need to write some Longmire posts before [community profile] festivids signups start. Too much to do in not enough time.
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I could swear I wrote one line of a super-rarepair fic many years ago. Last night I looked for it and couldn't find it; only the prompt turned up, in a document of many prompts. :/ It's possible I deleted the file, "knowing" I'd never flesh it out and/or letting fear of censure win because the source was, shall we say, problematic. If so, past!me has made present!me sad. Hoping I can find a My Documents backup of the right age to contain this file, if I'm not imagining its existence. The line probably isn't even that spectacular, but not being able to read it bothers me.

(It was John Dunbar/Wind In His Hair from Dances with Wolves. The line was written as part of an entry in Dunbar's diary. I know, I know.)


People who've written a lot of fic, or who've been writing for a long time, or who, heh, maybe don't invest as much of their self-worth in their fic, talk about going back through their AO3 catalog or whatnot and discovering stories they'd forgotten. This was an alien concept to me as someone who obsessively rereads most of what I write and who has posted a small enough fic collection to be able to list a good portion of it from memory.

I say "was" because while combing through my fic subfolder called "abandoned" last night, which goes back about 12 years, I discovered unfinished Slashfest/Kink Bingo/Porn Battle/SGA kink meme prompt fills and other snippets that I had either forgotten about until reintroduced or had no recollection of writing. I hardly ever browse that folder, so frequency of contact must be a factor. Maybe length or idea development, too, but there are old, sketchy drafts of just a few lines in the regular "fic" folder that I haven't forgotten because I see the file names all the time. Fascinating!


Having started learning to cook only in my twenties, having grown up in a recipe-following household, and not keeping the most well-stocked of pantries, I am happy whenever I throw together something spur-of-the-moment and it turns out tasty. Today it was a package of sausage and a bag of Brussels sprouts from the freezer, three overripe apples and a can of white beans. Autumn in a pot.


Hey, so that New Poets of Native Nations book I mentioned the other week? Heid Erdrich, the editor, is in town and giving a talk about it tomorrow! She's bringing two of the featured poets as well, Tacey Atsitty and Eric Gansworth. They weren't my favorites, but whatever, maybe their readings will change that. Excited to hear the presentations and to get the book signed.


I donated three boxes of books to the library today. Small repayment for all the materials they have lent this resident over the past 5 years. Also, closet space reclaimed. One of those boxes has been hanging around since high school. (!)
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From worst to best.

Hostiles (2017) )

Mohawk (2017) )

Wind River (2017) )

Thank you to Métis in Space for teaching me to more effectively identify and think through several tropes discussed above. Still so much more to learn.
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More than advisable, this past week. I didn't expect to feel so competitive about our friend group's fall reading challenge—not even against other participants so much as there's a motivating factor in having a Bingo card I can fill out. Must! Get! Squares! Tweak and lengthen library queue for strategic sheep purposes! After I found myself rushing the end of a book on Wednesday, I dialed back.


I did not sign up for [community profile] trickortreatex in the end, but I did start a treat yesterday. Hoping to finish it. It's not long, I just don't have faith yet in my staying power since the return of the fic-writing urge is still so new.

Also have been puttering around with the Red Road and Longmire fics. The Longmire one (Mathias/OFC) now has something like four potential beginnings and no endings. I hit a bump in the Red Road draft (two noncon pairings) when I discovered that I don't think Jason Momoa's character would do what I want him to do. Gotta either get over it or change the plan.

…When there's time and mental space for writing. Sigh.


A handful of movies. Season two of The Red Road to get the character voices back in my head. Too bad that's all they managed before cancellation. If they'd moved faster, they might have done more interesting things with the Lenape plotlines about (1) the time it takes to sue a company that dumped toxic waste on the reservation when people need money ASAP to treat the life-threatening illnesses it caused and (2) internal dissent, plus competing external pressures, over whether to build a casino after the tribe won federal recognition.

I'd intended to see Starman (1984) in 70 mm at the Somerville Theatre a few days ago, our family having watched it often enough growing up that we continue to quote it at each other, but when I arrived, the ticket counter staffer said FedEx had neglected to ship some of the film reels and therefore they needed to reschedule to this Thursday. So that was a wasted pre-movie dinner out. Hoping to make the rain date, although I've got stuff planned after work on Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday and a social engagement on Saturday, which is already about three more evenings out than usual for this poor introvert.


Not actively at the moment. [community profile] festivids approaches, and my nominations list is in good shape. Doing beta work on a vid by [personal profile] deelaundry that should make House/Wilson fans happy.


I put this last but I'm thinking about it the most. I'd been looking forward to a quiet autumn-into-winter in which I could read, write and vid more consistently by taking some of the vacation days that I'd been discouraged by my supervisor from taking in the spring, couldn't take in June/July and didn't plan well enough to take in August. Now our team is short-handed due to poor management and I'm being asked to handle two significant projects due before the end of the year. Combined with one Oct. houseguest and one Nov. trip, suddenly everything feels squished and stressful. :/

Time again to confront the limitations of spare time—and to experiment with new actions based on changing priorities, i.e. see what happens if I put my hobbies before my job for once and request those days off anyway. Ditto the possibility of staying home for Thanksgiving to do what I want instead of flying to NY. Selfish, or self care? Rhetorical question.
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An Unkindness of Ghosts by Rivers Solomon (2017) )

Trail of Lightning by Rebecca Roanhorse (2018) )

Guardian angels & other monsters by Daniel H. Wilson (2018) )

Jonny Appleseed by Joshua Whitehead (2018) )

New Poets of Native Nations, ed. Heid Erdrich (2018) )

A Closed and Common Orbit by Becky Chambers (2016) )

On the theme of enjoying sequels more than the originals, I'm almost finished with Spinning Silver by Naomi Novik, which catered more to my tastes than Uprooted (which I did like), and the third Murderbot book, Rogue Protocol, came in at the library.

To review in a separate post: Art and Fear by David Bayles & Ted Orland
bironic: Neil Perry gazing out a window at night (Default)

How many of you are of an age and region to remember the BookIt! program, where kids get stickers for reading books and then trade them in for a Pizza Hut pizza? [personal profile] disgruntled_owl has organized a fall reading challenge for our local fan group that serves as BookIt! for grownups, and I am inordinately enthused about it. Need to do a books catch-up post.


Change of season—theoretically; summer hasn't let go yet—means replenishing fall work wardrobe and sprucing up the apartment. Clothes shopping is hard, but five hours' work yesterday yielded a pair of plaid pants, a tunic sweater with side grommets and a corduroy dress that I really like, and everything was on sale.

I also picked up a trio of fairy tale-inspired prints at a local art fair and hung them in the bedroom. pic )

It's funny because it turns out the artist is the same one who made a paper-doll Edgar Allan Poe pattern and various cute horror figure prints that caught my eye when I lived in D.C. The styles differ so much, I didn't make the connection.


I got a haircut and I think I don't like it. :/


Trying to decide whether to participate in [community profile] trickortreatex or [community profile] yuletide_admin for the first time or to sit out official signups, look at people's requests to see if anything sparks an idea, and concentrate on my own WsIP otherwise. I'm thinking no on Trick or Treat and maybe on Yuletide. Just in case on the latter, I nominated the fandoms I'd want to request stories for and/or that I feel most capable of writing. Three is not much when you don't expect to know most of the sources other people nominate.

Either way, the "Original Works" prompts for [community profile] trickortreatex are a lot of fun to peruse. They're listed under "Other Media" here. (I copy-pasted into a Word doc and added line breaks to make them readable.) Some faves:

- Actor Cast As A Vampire Who Is Actually A Vampire
- Businessman Who's Obviously A Poorly-Disguised Tentacle Monster
- Demon Who Has Accidentally Locked Himself Out Of Hell And Just Wants To Go Home
- Ghost of a Dried Up River
- Ghost of Highly Intelligent Octopus that Escaped From Its Tank
- Giant Robot Who Just Wants to Know Love
- Haunted Yarn From An Evil Sheep
- A Reader's Digest Condensed Book that Slowly Devours the Reader's Soul
- Reanimated Egyptian Mummy With A BA In Film Studies From USC


Wait, I thought of a fifth thing. I booked a flight to see my longtime friend A. in Tucson, AZ in November. She moved there five years ago and it took this long to visit, whoops. Recommendations welcome if you know the area. So far: Sonoran Desert Museum, Saguaro National Park, drive up Mt. Lemmon, a Mexican restaurant her family likes.

Which reminds me: This week marks five years since I moved back to Boston! It seems simultaneously like less and more. 2013 was the summer [personal profile] jetpack_monkey made the Starships! remix. Kink Bingo was still running. This is the longest I have stayed at a single job or school. While there are annoyances and stressful periods, I don't at the moment have plans to look around. I miss my D.C. friends (and my NY friends before that) but am glad for my Boston ones.


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