bironic: Fred reading a book,looking adorable (fred reading)
It is a TMI sort of hormones week, which has manifested in slightly greater irritation/assertiveness and I suspect is at least partly to blame for the crush I've developed on the Jinni in The Golem and the Jinni. Also I blushed twice at work. :/

The assertiveness thing has been beneficial in that it got me a swift orthopedics appointment and two months of comped membership at the gym. My impatience was raised enough and my filters lowered enough that during an exasperating panel tonight I sent a text (containing a message that I wouldn't dare put in a work email) to my coworker who is at home recovering from a concussion and she said it cracked her up.

However, it may have made me do something stupid at work re: voicing displeasure to an HR staffer about an issue that displeased a lot of people but that no one seemed to want to confront the issue-creators (HR) about. We'll see how this shakes out. Ugh, politics. Why can't discussing things directly always be the way to go?


MEANWHILE, I am about halfway through The Golem and the Jinni and remain in love with it. The prose is a pleasure to read, not in the distracting way that makes you stop to admire how sentences are crafted -- or stop to tell the style to get out of the way -- but in the way where they just flow and describe a vibrant world of place and people and create an atmosphere that you want to wrap around yourself forever. The cover is beautiful with its deep blue and gold. The pages themselves even have a pleasing texture, and the font has this perfect serif that gives the words a Hebraic/Arabic flavor to suit its protagonists and their communities. (The paperback edition does have an issue with format, though, where the outer margins are nice and wide but the inner ones get swallowed by the binding.)

So: The Golem is a wonderful character. It's nice to read again about Eastern European Jewish immigrants in New York City at the turn of the 20th century. The Jinni has well constructed flaws, yet Helene Wecker is so good at writing seduction that I feel as won over as the girls he attracts while I read those scenes. (When I'm done, I've got to see if there are any AO3 stories.) This morning on the bus I enjoyed an argument the Golem and the Jinni had about the pleasures of submission/subservience, followed by the Jinni blowing a Bedouin girl's mind 1,000 years ago re: pansexuality and nonmonogamy.

Magical realism is generally a tough sell for me, but there's none of the Modern Literary Fiction obnoxiousness in the writing here that has put me off other examples. I think there's also something special about this period of city history as depicted in other works I've loved, such as Pete Hamill's book Forever and Gangs of New York and even the beginning of Winter's Tale (book version) before it got unbearable.

tl;dr I think the Jinni is sexy, and everyone who praised this book was right.


Figuring out what to read next is not going to be easy. Any advice? I've got a short stack of nonfiction ready to go -- A.O. Scott's new book on criticism; Pawpaw; a medical memoir I've been meaning to read since [personal profile] laurashapiro recced it last year; Best American Magazine Writing 2015 -- but another SF/F novel or two would be great for the travel that's coming up next week and the week after. Goblin Emperor? Women authors and/or characters a definite plus.

(I did put in a library request for Captive Prince, given the raptures undergone by seemingly everyone as the trilogy has progressed, but am not sure when that'll be ready.)
bironic: Neil Perry gazing out a window at night (RSL neil window)
So I have this "mechanical/technological" square on my Kink Bingo card, and it's actually kind of exciting because it means I can talk to you about one of the first kinks I ever knew I had, way back when I was about four years old, before I even knew what to do with the idea of a kink—before I even fully understood sexual arousal.

I can trace the genesis, or the epiphany—because I'm not sure you can say whether the media created a taste in me or awakened a nascent preference; I suspect the latter—to three cartoon scenes: two from the Care Bears and one from My Little Pony. Googling revealed that they all aired in 1986. I would have been three to four years old, then, or maybe five if I saw them in reruns. A fourth scene that I remembered once I started thinking about this post, from Chip 'n' Dale: Rescue Rangers, aired in 1989.

What the scenes have in common are conveyor belts and mechanical hands. Various of them also include bondage, washing/cleaning, sort-of-ageplay, medical play and noncon. For the sake of this square, we will focus on the conveyor belts and the hands. (I definitely did when I was a kid.) Warnings for anything listed above that might be triggery.

These are a few of my childhood kinks... (with video clips) )

In conclusion

So yes, I had a huge thing for conveyor belts and mechanical hands by the time I was school-aged. When I had my first fictional crush, on Dr. McCoy, the coolest thing I could imagine was being put through a Sickbay machine on a conveyor belt. I definitely had at least one conveyor belt-like dream with a series of log flumes, where flowing water replaced the belt itself. Weird? Maybe. But here we are in fandom, during Kink Bingo season, and it's okay to talk about this stuff. <3
bironic: Neil Perry gazing out a window at night (RSL neil window)
In February I felt great and did a lot of RL things. In the form of a meme, it might look like this:

Did: Probably many if not most of you will sympathize when I say that I do best when I have something to focus on (a.k.a. obsess over), and in the past six weeks or so it has taken the form of homemaking. After years of hedging on properly setting up my apartment for comfortable long-term living, and after deciding to stick to the studio rather than stretch my budget with a one-bedroom, something gave and there was a bit of a whirlwind of organizing/furnishing/decorating. Details and sample pix: ) Diving into the archives of Apartment Therapy was excellent for idea generation and for accepting that fixing little day-to-day annoyances can lead to a big improvement in your enjoyment of your living space.

Oh, and on a roll for making changes, I picked out new glasses frames at the store where my dad's fiancée, E., works, and got a haircut. And there went the rest of my last freelance paycheck.

 photo 20130224_153808_zpseb47bdbc.jpg

Traveled: Weekend trips to Pennsylvania and New York. Made a batch of soft and tasty hamantaschen with my dad and E. for Purim. Got to see my mom for half a day. There was still snow on the ground on Long Island from the 30-inch storm three weeks earlier.

Watched: The usual TV shows, including The Vampire Diaries—which made me feel something several episodes back, gasp—plus more White Collar on Netflix and I think a movie.

Read: Cloud Atlas. Short stories on CD: sci fi radio plays from the 50s and 60s. Fic: an Inception Pretty Woman AU (WIP), an Inception lit mag publishing AU (WIP), something else I'm forgetting. Started a book called Alien Sex (!) found in a used store in [ profile] synn's town. It honest to goodness includes a series of epistolary poems called "Sextraterrestrials" by Joe Haldeman and a friend.

Wrote/Vidded: Nothing, but have ideas. On the cool side, two recent vids will be showing at Muskrat Jamboree!

The reason I felt so good in February turns out to be health-related, as I was given a slightly different birth control formulation for 30 days while waiting for a refill of my regular one. The month (and more) before the substitution was crappy, as has been the week and a half since it ended (as Buffy would say, progesterone and I are unmixy things), so I am in the process of switching to the one that actually made me feel happy and energetic and let me sleep well and didn't make my head and back hurt. Nothing quite like realizing just how glum/lethargic/anxious/poorly rested/unable to concentrate you have been by virtue of it all being alleviated within like two days. Anyway, fingers crossed that it wasn't a fluke and can be recaptured.

How are you? I've been reading the flist & circle every day, just not participating…
bironic: Neil Perry gazing out a window at night (Default)
Okay, now that this fic is finished, I can rec it to you with a thousand exclamation marks: Arthur/Eames pediatrician kink meme fill, for the prompt: Arthur is seventeen, and still sees a pediatrician. A handsome, British, pediatrician. Who maybe gets a little too handsy sometimes…

I don't even know how to express how much this is like the perfect medical kink story to me. It's the closest I've ever seen a kink fantasy of this type come to reality in what happens and how the characters behave. There's the stethoscope and the exam table paper and the hands palpating and the clinical-but-maybe-sexual frisson to it all, and just. I won't give away what happens, but the story is unutterably hot, and I'm so glad it doesn't cop out at the end into a dream or a "surprise, we were roleplaying" scenario. I wouldn't necessarily recommend it if you have a strong embarrassment squick or if you can't tolerate doctor/patient or student/teacher or those kinds of semi-abuse of power dynamics even when the young person is initiating and/or very much into things, and there are medical and office inaccuracies for the sake of the kink, but otherwise, ten thumbs up. If you're concerned about not knowing Inception, this is an AU and there's an age change, so basically it reads like original characters.

ETA: Ha, it's by [ profile] recrudescence! Had been wondering if it was by someone I knew, but the style didn't seem to suit. Anyway, edited all-in-one story here.

Now, if only the gymnast WIP—a masterful example of how to build sexual tension—would be updated…


Speaking of Inception—which I am not—Netflix recommended a movie called The Reckoning, which I was ambivalent about until someone posted a gif of Tom Hardy dressed as a startlingly attractive woman that came from it. That tipped the scales, and I rented it. It turned out to be an excellent movie all around... )


About a vid, a premiere, dance and badminton. )

Alexander Skarsgard (Eric on True Blood) showed up out of nowhere in a dream the other night. I was on some bleachers in a gym. He came up and sat in front of me and I put my arms around his neck, platonic and happy, and showed him off as a celebrity friend-acquaintance to my mom. He had the same build as in reality: tall as hell, all sleek and Nordic and solid through the shoulders.

There was this other, vivid dream where I was having sex/foreplay with my friend's significant other, where we were working off a written list of activities that said friend had approved.

Subject for another post: It seems I have a biological clock, and it is ticking a libido rhythm.
bironic: Neil Perry gazing out a window at night (Default)
Back in town, and, having just watched House, back online. Took maybe an hour to catch up on the reading list and open some tabs for later. (Okay, 20 tabs. But 20 isn't bad for six days.) I wish I had the discipline to stay off LiveJournal for most of the week every week; it's so much more efficient. But I know exactly how long that would last, and it's measured in minutes.

Anyway, I had a good trip and got to see an Iggy for part of it as well as a friend of mine from college who's finishing up his doctorate before moving to a cushy job in Bermuda, the bastard. I read a book on the plane (Atul Gawande's The Checklist Manifesto, cleanly written and well-argued but not his best by far). I may or may not have stared at a conference presenter who I already knew was good-looking from the front but had no idea was astounding in profile. OMG, I was sitting there (not-)staring at him and thinking about how he would give Joe Flanigan a run for his money were he ever to appear in a piece of media before fandom. And finally, there was enough work piled up when I got back to the office that I spent the whole day engaged in said work instead of drifting off into a vaguely dissatisfied fugue.

On Saturday I had the most delicious green tea mochi I've ever encountered. I'm usually not into mochi one way or the other, but these were seriously good, fresh and texture-perfect. I wish I'd bought more than one little package because I've had a hard time tracking down a way to order from that manufacturer. Today I picked up a few boxes of green tea mochi ice cream from Trader Joe's, figuring they would substitute, except not only do they not taste as good, they actually taste gross. So now there is an excess of grossness.

Speaking of RSL, which we weren't at all, here is yet another reason I wish I were living in NY instead of where I am. Well, at least [ profile] no_detective, [ profile] pun et al will, as they say, represent.

In happier news: I have booked my Very First Massage for this weekend. Everyone I know who's had them has sworn by them, which is promising. Plus, I love back rubs, and the thought of someone putting their hands on me with the intention of making me feel nice is indeed nice. It's the closest thing to sex in my foreseeable future. I mean, happy ending jokes aside, massage seems like the best available approximation to safe, accredited, legal prostitution. [/obvious] [/TMI]

Okay, it's taken way too long to write this. Good to hear all your LJ-post-voices again. Now off to do something useful.
bironic: Neil Perry gazing out a window at night (Default)
Of the suck:

- I hadn't read the U Penn CFP list the whole time I was in school. I finally checked it yesterday (they changed their format! at last!) and found one soliciting book chapters under a theme that would have been perfect for some work I did in undergrad and at a couple of conferences and that I've been wanting to try to publish... only the deadline for proposals was in May. It would have been right when I was finishing my thesis. Sad face.

- You know how sometimes you have an emotion and your body produces the chemicals to physically experience it, but then sometimes your body produces the chemicals when you have no reason to feel a particular way? I've felt jittery and anxious and haven't been able to sleep well for two nights now despite being dead tired, and I can't figure out why. I feel fine. There's nothing to worry about.

- Also, my face is peeling, so on top of the sunburn that looks like a bad tanning salon job, I now look like I've got dried toothpaste all over me. I know you all wanted to know this.

Not of the suck:

- The people who put out the above-mentioned CFP replied to the "disappointed I missed the opportunity, but good luck" email I sent them with recommendations on other venues to try. That was nice of them.

- I don't have to drop out of Remix. Last night I finally managed to write something, after ditching Ideas 1 and 2 and fighting with Idea 3. I'm back to Idea 2, and for whatever reason, it's working now. Now if I can just finish it and convince some poor beta to give me immediate feedback...


- My mom is visiting this weekend, I'm going semi-camping with some of my classmates and faculty next weekend, and the weekend after that, my dad and his girlfriend are coming down for my birthday. I wasn't ready for visitors last month, but now I'm looking forward to them.

Two ellipses in one post. Hm.
bironic: Neil Perry gazing out a window at night (Default)
* Thank you to everyone who responded to my last post about fannish grad programs. Advice is still most welcome.

* Don "Mr. Wizard" Herbert has died. Man. :( I grew up on that show, settling in with my dad to watch him make glue out of milk curds, talk about the colors different chemicals make as they burn in fireworks, fill a jar to the tippy-top with ice water to show his young volunteer that water loses volume when it melts, demonstrate peristalsis by having kids swallow pieces of apple while they stood on their heads, take a piece of string to a globe to show how flight paths shorten by curving up near the North pole, lift a heavy can on a pendulum up to his chin and let it go and not flinch as it swung back because he knew it wouldn't reach the same height, shake a bunch of people's hands after he dusted his own with fluorescent powder and then wait a few minutes while they all fidgeted during a meeting and then turn on a black light to show how easily germs spread... And then afterwards, we'd often duplicate his experiments. Yeah, many happy memories. I loved his computer's black keyboard with white letters, too; I thought of it when I got my first IBM laptop years later.

* Rifling through the folder of one of my clients, whose plastic surgery practice is based in Montana, I found an email from her to one of our graphic designers describing what kind of stock photos she wanted on her website. That in itself isn't unusual—but one of her requests was "no gay cowboys."

* [ profile] fallen_arazil, thank you again for that LJ gift certificate back in December! It's become the gift that keeps on giving; half a year later, I've used it to extend my LJ paid time by two months. ♥

* Sporadic kidney pain, yay! Well, the best guess so far is kidney; am supposed to get yet more test results tomorrow. Since it started last Sunday I've been treated to a CT scan and an abdominal ultrasound and lots of pokey tests and got to miss a couple of days of work and everything. Aside from the, ah, sporadic kidney pain, it's actually been fun. Getting to experience a CT was enjoyable (and fitting that it happened on a Tuesday; no MRI-of-DOOM complications*, happily), and, at the risk of TMI, I quite enjoyed the ultrasound this morning. I'm very sensitive to touch—I detest being touched by people I don't like or have just met, and relish even the most incidental touches from people I do like—[ profile] synn and [ profile] thewlisian_afer know what I'm talking about—and have been starved for it for a long time. The technician pressing her hand and the handpiece over warm gel just under my ribs and on my side in slow sweeps for 20 minutes was oddly comforting.

On another note entirely, how sad is it that while I waited for confirmation that I could leave, I checked out the brand of lubricant on the counter (Surgilube) and made a mental note to have House steal that from the clinic in a fic?

* ETA: Correction: Now with MRI in the future, too!

* Fruit! (No, not you.) I went to a local year-round farm stand/garden center/petting zoo (former = original purpose, latter = income) Sunday morning and picked up lots of fresh produce, and my sister and I made a fruit salad that we're still eating our way through. Strawberries and peaches and nectarines and plums and grapes and canteloupe—and, not in the mix, string beans and tomatoes and peas and giant red leaf lettuce and sweet onions and corn. These are some of the joys of summer for we-who-do-not-like-the-heat (-and-don't-get-summers-off).

* RSL presenting at the Tony Awards this past Sunday night = yay. All unkempt hair and awkward smile and almost, almost brilliant speech. There were pictures of him and Gaby and him alone backstage at the pre-show over at [ profile] house_daily for those of you who care but don't watch that community.

* Last of the Mohicans was on AMC Saturday night. I didn't see that movie until a couple of years ago, when I rented it because Sebastian Roché (my favorite actor no-one's ever heard of) was supposed to be in it, only it turned out he'd been cut. I was expecting to hate it, as I expect to hate all epic romances with heartthrob lead actors such as Daniel Day-Lewis or Brad Pitt, but I absolutely loved—and still love, as Saturday's viewing proved—the climactic Appalachian clifftop scene with Magua and Alice. His face, his surprised respect. Her serenity. The music. The scenery. Chingachgook's and Hawkeye's and Cora's reactions. Everything. Mm.

* Oh yeah, this is what it's like in the real world. I have no words for stuff like this.

* I was lucky enough to be able to see a montage of the Spacey Awards in which spoilers for the Spaceys? and a casting spoiler for SGA S4 ) and as I said over at [ profile] sheafrotherdon's LJ where she has some low-res screen shots of the brilliance, really, what's better than watching a cast you love be goofy with each other?

Okay, 'nuff procrastinating. Time to convince House and Wilson to get down and dirty. They've prevaricated for a few thousand words now; enough's enough!
bironic: Neil Perry gazing out a window at night (Default)
[ profile] daasgrrl doesn't usually tag people, so when she does she must be heeded.

Thus, six random facts about me that aren't fandom-related or easily intuited by reading this LJ. Some of you won't know any of these and almost none of you know all of them.

1. I'm allergic to cats. This makes me sad because they're soft and warm and furry and because [ profile] synn has two and often I want to curl up on her couch but hesitate to do so for fear of respiratory arrest.

2. My hair is really curly. Like, ringlets-at-the-bottom curly. Can't cut it too short or things get horrific.

3. I've taken Irish step dance lessons for a couple of years and love it and am actually turning out to be quite good at it, which is weird not only because I haven't a drop of Irish blood in me but also because I hate dancing otherwise—you will only see me at a club or on a dance floor under duress. I envy people who know how instinctively to move to music.

4. I've been afraid of death since about the age of twelve, and as an atheist (raised Jewish) I'm utterly unable to temper it with the solace of an afterlife or greater meaning. The "you'll live on in people's memories" thing doesn't do it for me either. That's one of the reasons I'm so attracted to the idea of vampires. With notable exceptions like House, you can pretty much peg my fandoms as those that can support a character saying some variation of, "When I died..."

5. Despite growing up in the '80s, I have never seen such generation-defining movies as The Breakfast Club, The Goonies, Footloose, Nightmare on Elm Street and Top Gun. I didn't even see The Lost Boys and Fast Times at Ridgemont High till a couple of years ago. Don't even get started on popular music and TV shows then.

6. When I was a kid I had a mortal fear of E.T., especially of that scene where he's lying all white and sick at the bottom of the ravine. It got so bad that, in addition to bad dreams, some nights as I was falling asleep I'd open my eyes and "see" him peering over the edge of the bed at me, inches away. To protect against the screaming fright, I started positioning my comforter around my head on the side of the bed that faced the room, like the wall of a fort. My parents were afraid I'd suffocate myself. Eventually I grew out of it (we made our peace with each other, fittingly, in a dream). It wasn't until high school that I learned the term "hypnagogic hallucination" and found out what had been going on.

Not going to tag anyone, and I know some of you have done this already, but if you do want to volunteer, be sure to drop a comment with the link!
bironic: Neil Perry gazing out a window at night (Default)
Happy birthday to ME! And to those of you who have been or will be celebrating this week: [ profile] synn, [ profile] firestorm717, [ profile] elynross and anyone else I've missed. (I wish the My LJ page would display the previous few flist birthdays in addition to the ones coming up.) To those to whom this applies, thank you for the well-wishing, the smut linkage, the promise of food, and the incidental gifts of commenting and fic previews and beta-ing -- and to think, it's not even noon.

Birthdays are strange things. They want to be singled out as special and somehow important, but it usually feels forced. Last year I bought myself a plane ticket and flew the hell out of here. That was a nice present. This year, though, the annual vacation has come and gone and I'll be spending the day half-asleep at work. It promises to be thoroughly ordinary. Not bad, just ordinary.

Then I realized that there is something that would bring more joy into this momentous Wednesday, and it's a something you can help me with. (It's not a ficlet request; I wouldn't ask that of you, at least not on such short notice.) See, this is my first birthday on LiveJournal, and that's an occasion worth celebrating. I love you all to pieces -- I can't say it enough. And a great gift would be sharin' the love and growing a little closer to all of you. How? By telling me, and one another, about your LJ usernames.

What does your username mean? How did you come up with it? Have you had it so long you hardly think about it? If you've become unhappy with your choice, what would you change it to? Have you changed it before?

Say as much or as little as you want to. You shouldn't feel guilted into participating, but it would be really nice to hear from everyone on this one, even if I've heard some or all of your rationale before (because others probably haven't) and even if you're usually a lurker (because I still see your names on my Profile page and wonder). Even if you're at Lumos and won't read this for another week, dammit.

Leading by example: Everything you (n)ever wanted to know about 'bironic.' )

Your turn.


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