[sticky entry] Sticky: Fic Masterlist

Jan. 21st, 2011 01:58 pm
netgirl_y2k: (Default)
Blanket permission: Please feel free to remix, podfic, or really do anything you like with anything I've written. I'd love it if you'd drop me a link when you're done, though.

Whoniverse )

Merlin )

Game of Thrones/A Song of Ice and Fire )

Misc. fandoms: Legend of the Seeker, Discworld, Being Human, The West Wing, Warehouse 13, The Queen's Thief, Once Upon a Time )

Crossovers & Fusions )
netgirl_y2k: (kahlan white dress)
My Guilty Pleasures

I feel like the answer to this should be something like the huge wedge of toffee apple wensleydale I've polished off throughout the course of today, and although I wasn't really enjoying it towards the end there, and although I certainly could stand to take more care with what I eat -- I feel like feeling guilty about food is the start of a huge, awful rollercoaster that you can never get off and benefits no-one but the people who stand to profit from making women feel like shit.

So, I ate a huge wedge of cheese today, it was delicious, and it's not like I'm going to eat another one tomorrow. So, whatever.

I could also feel bad about drinking if I so chose. I could certainly feel bad about Saturday night, where I drank enough to spend all of Sunday laid up with the sort a hangover that just got worse throughout the day - I think it was my body's way of reminding me that I'm not twenty-five anymore.

When asked if I had gone out on the piss for Hogmanay, I replied: of course not, I'm old now, I can't go places or do things the way I once could.

So I drank more than I meant to, I spent more than I meant to - I'll say this for liking a dram of single malt, it does rather price you out of problem drinking; also, whoever suggested that I might enjoy caol ila, I did, very much - and I had a bitch of a hangover the next day. But even the hangover served its purpose as I woke up just long enough to watch all the aired episodes of Agent Carter. I have never really been charmed by any part of the MCU; in fact, I take a childish pride in how singularly uncharmed I am, but I am utterly besotted by Agent Carter.

My regrets over drinking tend to be more financial than otherwise, and although I'd be lying if I said I didn't like a drink, I don't make a habit of going overboard - so, again, no guilt.

People talk about guilty pleasures in relation to music a lot, but one of the things I like most about being in my thirties now is that I have aged out of music snobbery, and hey it turns out that enjoying a bit of Taylor Swift isn't going to get my rock chick credentials revoked.

If we're talking about guilty pleasures as in things I actually feel guilty about, then, fictional lesbians and the things I will do for them.

Guys, the terrible, terrible shows I have watched on the promise of canon femslash.

Recently, this has worked out well for me with the Carmilla webseries and the Legend of Korra, which I thought were both excellent. On the other hand, I have watched all of Faking It even though I have to watch it with one eye closed and squinting through the other because it stomps on every embarrassment squick I possess. I have never watched an entire episode of Glee (a good decision, I feel) however I do watch those cuts with just the Brittany/Santana scenes, including this latest one - I am not proud of myself for this.

Best writing advice - your own or somebody else's

My own advice would be useless, not least because I haven't written a word since, jeepers, September. Which, not coincidentally was when I got the puppy. She chews everything, everything. I'd have no sooner opened the laptop than she'd be gnawing on the wires. And because she's such a fuzzy little weapon of mass destruction she already has to be in a crate overnight and when I'm out, so I'm loathe to put her in when I'm home unless it's absolutely necessary.

Happily she is now, not well behaved, no, but bright enough not to chew forbidden things when I'm actually in the room with her. So hopefully writing can resume soon.

When I am writing I'm a very linear writer. I can't skip around from scene to scene. Which means if I get stuck, I'm stuck, and if I don't get unstuck quickly I get frustrated, then bored, and the story gets abandoned. Gosh, I'm practically a puppy myself...

So some advice I have found very useful is this: when you get stuck, write a string of swear words in block capital letters (so that you remember to come back and fix it later) and carry on from the next bit where you know what happens. And at least in my head it creates the illusion of an unbroken narrative.

Like so: blah, blah, blah, oh, god this is the bit where I don't know what happens.


Next scene I know, blah, blah, blah.

I wish I could remember whose advice it is, because I have found it very useful.
netgirl_y2k: (kahlan white dress)
I meant to answer this before Christmas, but up until this week this winter had actually been very mild, but it's snowed this last couple of days so this seems a good time to get to [personal profile] frayadjacent's question: Winter in Scotland. Love it/hate it? Any favorite "it's always dark outside" activities?

Today, I love it. It's cold and still and clear, there's a blanket of snow on the ground. It's the first time my puppy's seen snow, too, (Freya's first snow day!) and I've been cruelly amusing myself by throwing snowballs for her to chase. I also didn't have anywhere to be; so I could just come in when I was getting chilly, and I didn't have to try to get through an entire working day with cold, wet feet.

I find snow romantic, but only in very narrow circumstances, and only because it doesn't snow here every winter, and usually only for a few days.

Normally, I hate winter. Not because of the cold-- I will always take being too cold over being too hot. And I kind of like that sort of still, frosty cold, but this being Scotland we don't get that kind of cold we just cycle through the seventeen different kind of rain, and in winter the prevailing kind of rain is freezing, sideways rain.

Basically, winter in Scotland is dreich.

Dreich, by the way, is my favourite Scots word, it means a combination of dull, overcast, drizzly, cold, misty and miserable weather. At least 4 of the above adjectives must apply before the weather is truly dreich.

I copied and pasted that definition; I'm bad at explaining what words mean. When I was a student one of my best friends was Polish, and her English was better than mine, but occasionally we stumbled across a word she'd just never heard before. Like, once, I said that I thought a lad she'd been going out with was a bit gormless. What does gormless mean? she asked. Um... um, I said, it means to lack gorm...

I hate winter for difference reasons every year.

One year I was working in a windowless shop in the middle of a sprawling mall. Depending on how your shifts shook out you could go for days or weeks without seeing daylight. By mid-January you could call in and go "I can't come in to work today, I've got rickets."

This year I'm on split shifts, which is good in a lot of ways, it meant I could have a puppy, for one, but it does mean that I get to walk to and from work, in the rain, twice.

Some things I (like to) do in winter

-Puppy walking. There are mornings, when the rain is bouncing, when I think I'm not a dog person after all, I'm a cat person who's made a huge mistake.

Puppy training. Freya's been walked off her lead since she had her vaccinations, on the dubious logic that if I kept her on until she was six months or a year I'd finally let her off only for her to disappear into the middle distance never to be seen again. At first her recall was brilliant and I thought, Aha, I have a genius dog! It transpires that when puppies are tiny they just glom onto your ankles, on the dubious assumption that you're the one who knows what's going on. Freya is now big enough that she's realised that there are more interesting things in the world than me. Her recall is still really good, proving there aren't any other dogs in the area, people to pet her, anything to eat, loud noises, or birds to chase...

And how you train a puppy to come when called, at least, how I'm doing it, is that you call them then take off at a dead run in the opposite direction so they'll chase you, you jump up and down and wave your arms, and run away and hide behind trees. The idea is to make yourself interesting to something with a puppy sized attention span.

It's actually kind of fortunate that I'm doing all this halfway down muddy hiking trails in the dead of winter when there's no one around to see, because it looks like I'm having some manner of episode.

-Wearing huge, ridiculous, fuzzy jumpers, often with pictures of owls on them.

I'm a fan of the ugly Christmas jumper, anyway. But many years ago I made a terrible mistake, I was watching one of those BBC wildlife documentaries with my family, and there was a section on owls and I said, offhand, "Oh, I like owls."

Later I compounded this mistake, when my mum bought me a metal bookmark with a dangling owl on it and I said, "Oh, you remembered I liked owls." (Should have said, Oh, you remembered I like to read.) So, now whenever family giftgiving time comes around I am thought of as Owl Lady. I have owl earrings, owl stuffed animals, owl bags, owl t-shirts, and about twelve owl Christmas jumpers in varying degrees of ugliness; I rotate them throughout the winter.

-Making soup. From my dad I learned how to change a tire, wire a plug, bleed a radiator, hem some trousers, and make an omelette. I didn't grow up in a particularly gender essentialist household, I don't think, dad did everything and mum supervised; that's a bit gender essentialist, I suppose.

My mum's contribution to my life skills was vegetable soup. If you can make vegetable soup, she said, you'll never be cold or hungry. One potato, one onion, half a jug of stock (dad taught me how to make chicken stock) and your vegetable of choice. So now all through winter I just make one huge pot of soup after another and live off them for a week at a time.

This week is pea and mint; next week is broccoli and stilton.

-Drinking hot whiskey. Honey rather than sugar. Lemon but no cloves. Jameson or The Famous Grouse, please, I don't care how cold you are, that is not what 12 yr old Balvenie is for - (based on real events.)

Doctor Who

Jan. 7th, 2015 11:55 pm
netgirl_y2k: (gwen beer)
One of my December meme questions was about Doctor Who, and what I'm making of Peter Capaldi's turn as the Doctor, and I was going to wait until after the Christmas special to answer it, then time got away from me, rather.

I have returned to the Doctor Who fandom fold with the Twelfth Doctor - I love him, and his relationship with Clara, in a totally uncomplicated way, and with my whole heart. I loved the Christmas special more than I have liked any Who special since, er, ever. I don't know if the rumours that Jenna Coleman was going to leave at Christmas were started by the production team, or just deliberately not shot down to make the fake out with old Clara more convincing, but I am so, so pleased we're getting more of them together. I don't love them more than Ten and Donna, probably, not yet, but it's damn close.

I've been thinking about why the Twelfth Doctor works so very much for me - and I apologise in advance, but I can't seem to talk about this without getting into why Eleven never did it for me. And it's an entirely personal lizard brain thing. But, yeah, sorry.

I was always vaguely dissatisfied with Eleven's tenure, but I don't think I realised how much I hadn't liked it until I could look back on it as a whole and go: wow, I enjoyed hardly any of that. I always thought my problem was with Moffat, and yeah, there are things (the inexcusably awful and convoluted season six) where the problems are structural, and it's a producing, writing problem. But a lot of it, more than I credited at the time, is that I just didn't buy Matt Smith as the Doctor.

There's a line the Twelfth Doctor has about his clothes, and it's something like 'I was going for minimalist, I think I hit magician.' With Eleven, for me, it was like they'd been going for old man in a young man's body and hit annoying hipster instead.

Twelve, for me, is the Doctor, he's a crotchety, unpleasant, alien Doctor. But he is the Doctor.

And if you'd told me a year ago that I'd be really into a Team TARDIS where the Doctor spent the entire series calling his female companion fat and insulting her appearance I would have scoffed and not believed you. And I completely understand why people hated it, but I was surprised by how much it didn't bother me. It's completely context dependent, though. I would have hated it with any other companion. I would have ragequit if they'd tried it with Donna and Rose, with Martha it might have been even worse because there would have been the race dimension - but with Clara... Jenna Coleman is so obviously a real life Disney princess, and the things the Doctor says are so obviously and objectively wrong that it didn't actually irk me.

And, again, sorry, but the straw that broke the camel's back with Eleven was that he had a line about Clara, something like, 'she's a mystery, wrapped in an enigma, wrapped in a skirt that's just a little bit too tight.' I think I've talked before about how Eleven was the first Doctor that felt specifically male to me, and felt male in a very alienating way? But I think both Eleven's slight leering and Twelve's insulting Clara's appearance are two sides of the same coin; they both come from the place that Moffat can't talk about a woman with getting into her appearance. But where with Twelve it makes me think that Moffat's a twit and the Doctor's an alien, with Eleven it made me think that Moffat was a twit and the Doctor was a creep.

One of the reasons I'm really into the Twelve and Clara relationship, as well, is that it feels to me like it's the first Doctor-Companion relationship in a long time, certainly since Nine and Rose, where the Doctor has liked and needed his companion more than she's liked or needed him. And I feel like the Doctor has absolutely no idea what to do with that.

I think I was maybe a little harsh on the latter half of S7 when I said that Clara didn't have a personality; now I feel like the basic blocks of her character were there, but sort of squished down underneath her Impossible Girl plot baggage. And I am so, so glad that that whole thing seems to have been swept under the rug never to be spoken of again. The more I think about it, maybe it was the fairytale aspect of the Eleventy era that never appealed to me? It's why I really like that Clara's a teacher now, it signaled a sort of return to almost-reality to me.

Season eight almost gave me Michelle Gomez's delightful turn as Missy. Which I loved because, yes, de-fucking-lightful, but also because, Time Lords can change gender! I TOLD YOU! It was also handled exactly how I'd want a female Doctor to be handled; it's never explained, only passingly mentioned, and there's nothing in her interactions with the Doctor that's substantively different, I don't think, than if she'd regenerated into a male body.

I mean, the kiss, yeah. But, hey, canon, Doctor/Master.

Apparently S9 will bring me more Twelve and Clara snarky, prickly friendship, and more Missy. Bring it on!

2014 Books

Dec. 30th, 2014 11:05 pm
netgirl_y2k: (Default)
Books Read List! )

-Sixty-seven books. That's four less than last year. But only one reread. So as far as new-to-me books go, I'm actually up by nine.

-Thirteen male authors. Thirty-one female. More or less. I don't know if I unconsciously skew toward female authors - I know I very consciously veer away from books with no major female characters - or if it's just a result of where I get my book recs. You lot, mainly, and a couple of sites that try to read and rec diversely.

-I am aware that my genre classifications are a bit weird. Other people probably don't divide their libraries by which books have lesbians and which have dragons. I swear, if somebody ever writes a book with lesbians and dragons I'll be their servant for life.

-I hit a lot of reading slumps this year. Usually because I hit a book that I found a slog, which put me off picking up the next book. I especially remember struggling with/hating The Rapture of the Nerds, London Falling, Annihilation, God's War, and Parasite. Next year I would like to get better at abandoning books that aren't working for me, no matter how much other people liked them.

-My best discoveries of the year were Max Gladstone's Craft Sequence, Alexis Hall's Kate Kane books, and Courtney Milan's Brothers Sinister series.

-My five favourite books of the year were
1. The Goblin Emperor by Katherine Addison
2. The Golem and the Jinni by Helene Wecker
3. The Girl with All the Gifts by MR Carey
4. The Miseducation of Cameron Post by Emily M Danforth
5. Hild by Nicola Griffith

-Next year I would like to read more non-fiction. I would like to read more widely in different genres, because look how well my dive into historical romance worked out. But who am I kidding, it'll probably be more dragons and lesbians. Huzzah!
netgirl_y2k: (Default)
I vanished for a bit there, rather. I wish I could say that it was because I was busy, but the closest thing I've gotten to an accomplishment today is teaching my puppy how to fistbump, so...

Christmas went off rather well, in the end. My family are all out of the country at the moment, so we did family Christmas a week early. I get the feeling that some families have a tense time during the holidays because they don't really get on - that isn't the case in my family, we get on tremendously well for fifty weeks of the year, it's just that by those last two weeks we're all going: for the love of Christ, won't you just fuck off already? That's why we like to celebrate the holidays in four separate countries. By the time we all see each other again in the new year we'll be great friends again.

Although, on Christmas morning I was saying to someone that because we'd already done the present opening as a family all that was left was for me to go home and open the puppy's present. Which resulted in a blank look, and a sort of, "You got your dog a Christmas present?"

Well, of course I got the dog a Christmas present. To paraphrase that gifset that's being doing the rounds on tumblr, what's the point of having a dog if you're the sort of heartless monster who won't get it a Christmas present.

That, by the way, is the difference between being a person who just happens to have a dog and a being a Dog Person. It's like the difference between being a person who likes a show and being in the fandom.

(the puppy's present, by the way, was a £1 squeaky toy and a bag of puppy training treats; I'm not totally crazy.)

I was kindly invited out for Christmas dinner which led to something of a tizzy that afternoon when I realised that I don't own any nice been-invited-out-for-dinner clothes. At least when I worked in an office I could cobble together a semi-smart work outfit. Now, of course, I wear scrubs to work, and they don't really give the right impression at dinner. I don't even have any date clothes as most of my dates start something like: Um, I like football, and, ahem, you like football, so maybe we could, er, watch football together, sometime, maybe?

The closest I could come was a pair of reasonably unscuffed converse in a block colour (most of mine have cartoons on them, or are coming apart at the seams), wool trousers (the only non jean, non puppy chewed trousers I own), and a man's tuxedo shirt I had to buy when I rented some formalwear for a wedding. You know, I doubt I buttered many parsnips, but I felt pretty awesome; which was nice because I'm usually pretty down on my appearance. My sister, who's much prettier (what I say) just more confident, honest (what she says) says it's all about working out what your style is.

Aside from that I have largely been puppy wrangling. Freya (the puppy) is now four and a half months old and a goofy looking wee thing. Different bits of her are growing at different speeds. Today she has one ear longer than the other.

You know, I love the bones of the wee monster, and wouldn't give her up for veto power over who the next Doctor Who is, but I can understand why those puppies that fetch up on those pre-loved pets sites start from about 4/5 months old, because, jeepers, it is like having a second job. And I did amuse myself the other day by mentally writing her advert for pre-loved pets.

Four month old chocolate labrador bitch.
Bright and playful.
Oodles of personality.
Full set of teeth.
Free or best offer.

(I jest, mostly.)

I have also watched three seasons of Legend of Korra in a week. Not because I'd heard that Korra/Asami was the endgame pairing... no, I can't even type that with a straight face.

I'd watched The Last Airbender years ago, which I'd thought was brilliant in a sort of: well, that was lovely; I feel no need to rewatch or consume fanworks. But with Korra, I have fallen into a korrasami (I am making an exception to my ban on smushnames) shaped hole and I cannot get up.

Fic recs? Please? Anybody? Bueller?
netgirl_y2k: (cersei fuck)
Quite a short December talking meme today because while logically I know it's December 17th I can't quite bring myself to accept it because 1) it was only January five minutes ago, and 2) I don't feel at all seasonal. I was never going to have a tree this year, because I can't possibly open up another front with the puppy in the ongoing war over what is or is not a chew toy; I meant to get some tinsel and fairy lights and put some decorations up out of reach, but somehow never got around to it. My parents leave on the 21st, and nobody seems to have decided whether we're having Christmas at the weekend or in January when they get back. And you try getting organised for Christmas when you don't know when Christmas is.

[personal profile] finisterre gave me lady detectives of your choosing.

The ultimate lady detective, and I will brook no argument on this front, is Miss Marple, catching murderers with the power of being a little old lady. I trace my fondness for characters who just get on with being quietly competent and brilliant while everyone around them underestimates them back to Miss Marple.

I read a lot of The No.1 Ladies' Detective Agency books at one time, and although they're twee and kind of patronising at times, every time Precious Ramotswe described herself as woman of traditional build my inner fat girl did a cartwheel - my outer fat girl can't do cartwheels without hurting herself.

I never watched the final series of Fringe, and I'd been drifting away for a while before that, but I remember the exact moment I fell in love with Olivia Dunham. It was in the pilot where she was chasing a suspect across rooftops and up and down fire escapes, and we saw her wearing sensible flat sturdy looking shoes, exactly the sort of shoes that you would wear if your job involved chasing people across icy rooftops.

I like the supernatural detectives brand of urban fantasy, but I wish there were more lady protagonists. I wish that Lesley were the main character of Rivers of London; the most interested I've been in The Dresden Files in years was when Harry was temporarily dead and Molly had to try to fill in the Harry shaped hole; as much as I love Felix Castor I feel like there is a slightly more interesting series of books about Juliet in there. To this end I was delighted by the Kate Kane books earlier this year; all the usual tropes of the supernatural detective with 400% more lesbians. Okay, I have the odd issue with them; I wish that Kate's signature item of clothing could have been anything other than a fedora, and I think Kate should end up with the witch queen of London rather than her current vampire lady love - but that's when you know you're really into something, when you start having shipping opinions about it.
netgirl_y2k: (fire cannot kill a dragon)
[tumblr.com profile] sageofthesky asked me to talk about Dorne.

First, a fact that might get me run out of ASOIAF fandom on a rail, the first time I read the books I didn't care for Oberyn Martell as a character. I wasn't actually interested in Dorne at all, really. But I think a lot of that was that by AFFC... you know how at this time of year if you're going to a lot of parties, and drinks, and Christmas whatevers, there comes a point where you're going: No, George, I can't possibly meet any more new people... Well, it was like that.

But then I wasn't interested in Sansa either during my first read of the books. Clearly I didn't know my own mind.

Oberyn I didn't really connect with until season four of the show, and the casting of Pedro Pascal, which was basically the only thing the show did right this year, and they're lucky that they got it so, so right. It's actually bought them more good will from me than they frankly deserve at this point. This is why I'm not too perturbed by the spoilers that Jaime's heading for Dorne in S5; Oberyn made you want to see more Martells, to visit Dorne. Was there anything about the show's take on the Tullys and Riverrun that made anyone want a season of Jaime wandering around the Riverlands?

This actually brings us neatly to the elephant in the room when it comes to S5, which is the show's writing out of Arianne. I'm... miffed, but perhaps not as miffed as you might expect me to be. I think because I'm not at all surprised; I remember thinking, ages ago, before we even knew that Dorne was going to appear in S5, certainly before any casting announcements happened, I thought, I bet the show will leave out Arianne and make Trystane the heir to Dorne.

Actually, the thing that annoyed me more than the omission of Arianne - and on some level I've accepted that Arianne was the sacrifice I had to make in exchange for never having to see a Greyjoy nuncle on my screen - was a tiny little thing. There's a scene in Tyrion's cell when Oberyn says that his father took him and Elia to visit Casterly Rock. It was his mother! His mother who was the ruling princess of Dorne! And why change that? It's such a tiny little thing; it'll mean nothing to non-book readers, and a lot to me some people. I mean, if you're writing out Arianne anyway the fact that Dorne has equal primogeniture isn't really going to be a plot point, but why not just let it exist quietly in the background?

Actually, when I want to annoy myself, I indulge my suspicion that one of the reasons Arianne was written out (another, I think, and a not totally invalid one, was to make the Trystane/Myrcella romance more prominent) was that with the Sand Snakes there too, they didn't want that storyline to be too female heavy.

I will concede that Arianne is not immediately the easiest character to like or sympathise with, but then look at the wonders the show has worked with Cersei Lannister and thwarted avenues of female power.

I'll also say that I adore that huge swathes of tumblr have mentally fancast Ayisha Hart as Arianne and just carried on like the show isn't ass-backwards stupid. I also adore that literally the only time I see Atlantis on my dash is when people have chopped up footage of Ariadne scenes to recreate the Arianne ones. I was especially impressed with this one.

Back to the books, obviously I love that Dorne practices equal preference primogeniture. For all the canonical parallels between the North and Dorne I wish this was another one. I want Sansa Stark, reluctant and kind of rubbish heiress to Winterfell. I mean, I like the Queen in the North stuff as never gonna happen wish fulfillment, though I can see her as regent/castellan for one of her younger siblings; but I think Sansa has to go south to realise how much she wants the North.

I love how many great female characters Dorne gives us. The Dornish/Rhoynar stuff was worth the price of AWOIAF to me; I was a little surprised that Nymeria of the Rhoynar wasn't the warrior queen a lot of fandom had cast her as, but ultimately I really liked what we saw of her; I could completely see how she'd be Arianne's hero. As an aside, I love that Arya names her direwolf Nymeria; I love that Arya knows about Princess Nymeria, and Visenya Targaryen, and Wenda the White Faun. I think the fact that Arya, and Brienne and Asha too, essentially like and respect other women is one of those awesome little details that sometimes gets lost in translation.

I love Meria Martell, a fat old woman, whose response to people trying to conquer her country with dragonfire was basically, no, you fuck off. I love that, ultimately, she won. I like to think of her as the logical predecessor to Genna Lannister and Olenna Tyrell.

I want all the fics about Elia Martell that make her the protagonist of her own life. The ones where she survives on a wave of righteous, impotent fury; the ones where Lyanna survives too, and well, this is awkward. As an aside, I sometimes get into fannish arguments about Sansa or Dany and whether it was normal for girls in Westeros to be married in their early teens; and my argument is that a) as far as my layman's knowledge will take me, that wasn't even true in medieval Europe, and b) doesn't even seem to be true in Westeros; girls (and boys) are betrothed at an early age, but unless there's some sort of immediate land grab happening the actual marriage takes place much later. Catelyn and Cersei were both wed in their late teens; Elia in her early twenties. Although, I have a headcanon that the reason Elia's marriage was so comparatively late was that up until Arianne was born she was Doran's heir and couldn't be married outside of Dorne. Actually, not that I harbor any ill-will towards Doran, but what I wouldn't give for ruling princess of Dorne!Elia and her biggest supporter Oberyn fic.

Actually, I've always wondered how marriages work with equal opportunity primogeniture. Not so much inside Dorne, where you arrange the marriage of your heiress to somebody else's second born son and vice versa, but when an heiress marries outside Dorne-- Like, we know Arianne harbored hopes of marrying both Edmure Tully and Willas Tyrell. How would that have worked. I mean, time share? Would Arianne have given up Sunspear (seems unlikely), did she think either Edmure or Willas would have given up their claims and ruled as her consort?

To be fair, all that really tells us is that teenaged Arianne was a hormonal idiot who thought she could have her cake and eat it, which only makes me like her more, really.
netgirl_y2k: (gwen beer)
Yesterday's scheduled post about alcohol was postponed due to my Christmas party related hangover. There's a moral in there, probably.

So [personal profile] kmo said: Beer/alcohol preferences and recommendations. I have the feeling you could drink me under the table, so I will take them quite seriously. :)

I-- I can't possibly imagine what gave you that impression! Why, I--

The affronted innocence act isn't going to fly, is it? So, let's start with beer.

If I'm just just going to the pub for a quick drink with a mate I'll have a pint of Tennant's, which is just the standard beer here, what you'll get if walk up to a bar and ask for a pint of lager without getting more specific. It's fine, it's sort of idiot proof, I don't think I've ever had a bad pint of it. At the same time, it's nothing special, and there's the nostalgia factor that it's what I've been drinking since we used to stuff our school ties into our bags, take off our blazers, and hope the bar staff in the local wouldn't notice we were schoolkids. They noticed, of course, they just didn't care so long as we didn't make a nuisance of ourselves and that one kid who had started school at a wonky time and was eighteen months before the rest of us did the ordering for everyone.

The best Scottish beer, by the by, is Innis & Gunn.

I do tend to drink lager/pilsner type beers more than stouts or real ales. The exception to this was when I went to a friend's birthday drinks, and there was a guy there who I hadn't met before; he was a member of his uni's real ale society, and quickly told me that he didn't like to see women drinking ale, and certainly not by the pint. Well, after that I'd be damned if I wasn't going to spend the evening quaffing Hobgoblin out of a tankard.

I went to Oktoberfest earlier this year, and though I had a whale of a time, the beer was more notable for its quantity than being especially brilliant. The best beer I've ever had, actually, was in Prague. My favourite, favourite beer is Pilsner Urquell, but I don't think you can really go wrong with anything Czech; I really like Staropramen, Gambrinus, and Budvar too.

I like the odd occasional Leffe blonde, although as that is 7% and comes in 700 ml bottles, it's a feel-no-pain type of a beer.

There are all sorts of mad beers, though. I once tried a seaweed beer out of a sort of masochistic I have to know type thing (0/10, would not recommend). There's such a thing as banana bread beer, which is something I know to my lasting sorrow.

I like the occasional Gin & Tonic (Gordon's, please, or Hendrick's; I will not be fobbed off with any of this Bombay Sapphire nonsense), but as I already feel like I'm slowly turning into my mother at the best of times I don't partake often. Actually, funny story, I was going on holiday last year, and I don't fly well, and my mum filled my coat pocket with little miniatures of gin in case I got scared on the plane.

Wine I only really drink with food, so unless it's absolute vinegar I'll happily drink whatever I'm given. Vodka, even the really swish stuff, has only ever tasted of vague burning sensation to me.

I do like a wee dram of scotch from time to time. At a wedding I once got talking to a bloke who was a whisky taster/reviewer, which is the very definition of nice work if you can get it. Although there's a whisky pub in Edinburgh where they have a menu with all their different whiskies on it, and under each one it has a little description of what it tastes like. Now for one of them it said "has flavours of seaweed and iodine" and 1) yuck, and 2) how would you even know? Now I love a pub that has a good selection of scotch, but that set of my pretentious wankery alarm.

I could probably run a Glenfiddich only bar out of my kitchen; people give me bottles of it for birthdays/Christmases and the like because they know I like it, and it's certainly a present you can't go wrong with. My best friend - the fellow I have to blame for turning me into a whisky drinker - treated me to a dram of the thirty year old Glenfiddich when I turned thirty. He's joking that he's already started saving up to buy me a glass of the forty year old for that birthday. Although he's the one that started me on scotch, I like smokier whiskies than he does. He's a highland malt boy. Me, I like something with a bit of peat to it - not Laphroaig, which I find smoky to the point of being undrinkable, but Talisker and Bowmore are both excellent.

And now I should end this post before I really sound like a complete lush.
netgirl_y2k: (sansa wolf girl)
Today, at the request of an anon mouse, I shall be rambling about my favourite asoiaf minor characters.

Obviously there's Genna Lannister and Olenna Tyrell, who both leave huge impressions despite having comparatively little page time. Now Westeros is not a world that's being secretly run by little old ladies, and we know this because they'd be doing a damn sight better job of it. Someday fandom is going to decide that it loves me after all, and provide me with a fic where Genna and Olenna hang out, and snark, and bitch about how they're surrounded by idiots.

The thing about asoiaf is that there are so many characters that my favourites really depend on what fics I've read lately, what chapters I've been rereading for fic writing purposes, and, like, the phases of the moon. Recently I have been thinking a lot about the Mormont women.

I mean, there's the obvious reason that they're like a little matriarchy there on Bear Island, except I don't really think that's true, because it's easy to forget that two generations does not a dynasty make, and that Lady Maege only came to power through the unlikely confluence of events that led to Jeor being at the Wall, and Jorah fleeing into exile without issue. Mostly, actually, I forget that Jorah and the Mormont women are members of the same family; really, because I do think of them as this little matriarchy, but also because Jorah is so very much a member of Team Dany that it's hard to remember that he has any other loyalties (even though, hello, traitor). Actually, if Dany takes the Iron Throne, Bear Island is probably being handed straight back to Jorah, that's a thought.

And who inherits Bear Island now anyway? Alysane, of course, now Dacey's dead, but does it revert back to male preference primogeniture after her, even though her son's younger than her daughter? And are Alysane's children even her heirs given that she claims not to have a husband, that her children were fathered by a bear? Relatedly, as Maege is Jeor's sister, how come her daughters are Mormonts at all? Did she marry a cousin with the same last name as her, if she married at all? If you unexpectedly become lord/lady of somewhere do you get to adopt the name of the ruling family (for example, if Harry Hardyng becomes lord of the Eyrie does he become Lord Arryn...)? Is there an exception made for old families that have reached a dead end in the male line; or, more likely I think, are there exceptions for old families who rule some small forgotten part of Westeros, provided you carry on as normal and don't tell anyone?

These are the the things I think about.

Also I think there's sometimes a tendency in fandom to use the Bear Island ladies as an example of how things are different for women in the North, and I don't think that's true either. There are lots of very strong women in the North, to be sure, but apart from the Mormonts, not really in the martial sense.

Well, there's Arya Stark, and maybe Lyanna Stark, depending on where you fall on the Knight of the Laughing Tree thing. My position on that, by the way, is that I want Lyanna to have been the knight of the laughing tree, but while I buy that Lyanna would have been a warrior if she could, and while I buy that she might have known how to swordfight, having browbeat Brandon and Benjen into teaching her in the godswood in secret, Ned being in the Vale and not part of Operation Stark Boys Teach Lyanna How to Duel; but I'm not sure how you could learn to joust well enough to beat even middling knights without it becoming common knowledge, no matter how good a horsewoman you were.

My other opinion on that is that Robert's Rebellion is built out of so many conflicting stories that it doesn't really matter whether Lyanna Stark was the Knight of the Laughing Tree or not.

Fic about the Mormonts that I would like:

-Fic about Dacey Mormont that isn't Robb/Dacey; not that I don't think that there aren't interesting things you could do with this, especially using the king and his knight trope, especially considering that Robb is a boy-king who's chosen to surround himself in battle with warriors more skilled than himself, one of whom is Dacey-- there's a whole puppy love thing. It's more that a lot of the fic that I've tried for this pairing seems to come at it from the angle of giving Robb a more suitably "kickass" love interest than Jeyne Westerling, in ways that I find distasteful.

-Alysane Mormont/Asha Greyjoy, femslash or friendship or anything; I was rereading the Asha chapters of ADWD recently, and how quickly Asha goes from thinking of Alysane as the she-bear who is her jailer, to Aly who is her companion in adversity is delightful to me.

-The one where Arya Stark is fostered on Bear Island.

-The one where the North is an actual historical matriarchy, dating since before the days of Aegon's conquest. Okay, it's not really about the Mormonts, but I want it anyway.
netgirl_y2k: (nina she wolf)
[personal profile] glinda asked about Music you love (or hate, whichever you can get most impassioned about). I haven't the faintest clue what your music taste is like and I'd like to hear about it.

Which, actually, I don't think I've ever talked about music here, and I'm not really sure why, so let's start. My favourite band is Biffy Clyro ('mon the biff!) who I have followed for years since the days when they played King Tut's Wah Wah Hut. For any of you unfamiliar with the joys of hairy, shirtless Scottish men, guitars, and largely inexplicable lyrics, I shall include an embed.

Who's Got a Match )

When Scotland play home rugby matches in Edinburgh, whenever we score, they blast a little bit of The Fratellis to celebrate, which probably explains my lasting fondness for this song...

Chelsea Dagger )

When I was a student I had a social psychology tutor who taught that music was a really important way of bonding, especially among young people. That at our age (like, 18/19) shared taste in music could seem more important than anything else we might or might not have in common. I mention it because at the time I was shying pretty hard away from the gay society at uni and all the gay pubs/clubs in Glasgow because I felt like they catered pretty exclusively to a specific sort of camp gay male sexuality. Not that there's anything wrong with that, but when that's all there is-- it felt more alienating and unwelcoming to me than being the only lesbian in my crowd of straight friends. I ended up part of a crowd who all liked the same sort of rock/metal music as I did at the time. Because making friends based on a shared sexuality would have been silly, making them based on a shared belief that Slipknot wasn't just noise was of course the height of sense.

Not that I didn't have great times with my uni mates; we all used to hang around this pub called the Solid Rock Cafe where they did £1 bottles of Carlsberg and played mused loud enough to perforate your eardrums. I remember wearing a lot of black, midriff tops, and one of those metal studded dog collars. The default chat up line I used to get at the time, almost invariably from much older women, was that they could just put a leash on me and take me home.

There was an episode of Criminal Minds, back when I still watched that show, where the killer staged a romantic meal, then killed his victims to the strains of their favourite romantic song, which he discovered by seeing which was the most played track on their ipod was. Back then I would have been murdered to the soothing strains of Rage Against the Machine.

Killing in the Name )

Now iTunes tells me that I would be murdered to The Kinks.

Sunny Afternoon )

Ho hum. Could be worse. I have in recent years regressed back to my childhood and the stuff my parents played in the house. The Kinks. The Doors. The Beatles. One of the things I do like about being in my thirties now is that I have aged out of all music snobbery, and I'll listen to everything, and probably sing along too. As a teenager I wouldn't have been caught dead listening to pop music, but last year I went to the Commonwealth Games closing ceremony and was up singing and dancing to Kylie Minogue right beside everyone else.

Can't Get You Out of My Head )
netgirl_y2k: (winter is coming)
[livejournal.com profile] lareinenoire asked Following the massive influx of new canon from The World of Ice and Fire, which story do you want to write the most?

Huh. There were things about awoiaf that delighted me (that there are about three generations of Tullys named after muppets; there's a Ser Kermit who is succeeded by his son Ser Elmo. This, I assume, was a prime example of the thing where you get stuck, write something obviously silly - I favour a string of swear words - to remind yourself to come back later and fix it, only they forgot.) Things that interested me (I have adopted the headcanon that the Dornish bought peace and continuing independence by promising to put Rhaenys Targaryen, who they'd been holding in some dungeon somewhere for years, out of her misery), but nothing that really made me sit up and go I must have fic about this at once.

I don't know, very little of my fic features the historical characters, I tend to focus on the characters who're kids now and their lives post civil wars/apocalypse a la dragons and ice zombies. And if I do write more historical fic it'll probably be something about the league of dead mothers (something where Elia survives on a wave of righteous, impotent fury; something where Joanna lives and it changes nothing in the bigger picture because Tywin isn't a jerk because his wife's dead, and he doesn't hate Tyrion because his birth killed Joanna, he's a jerk because he's a jerk, and he hates Tyrion because his pride can't cope with having fathered a dwarf)

By the way, if you are at all interested in historical asoiaf fic check out [archiveofourown.org profile] lareinenoire's AO3 page at once. Start with the Within the Hollow Crown series.

I am interested in historical Targaryen women. I want a fic about Visenya and Rhaenys Targaryen and what their relationship was like independent of Aegon. I want to know more about Rhaenys Targaryen, the queen who never was. The tales of the Dragonknight and his love for his sister are great romantic stories in canon, and I sort of want to deconstruct that to give Queen Naerys, trapped between a brother who was actively trying to kill her with childbirth, and another who was too devoted to his own vows to actively help her, a voice.

As an aside, I wrote my all female Night's Watch AU before The Princess and the Queen came out, and the set up was that years ago Rhaenyra Targaryen had been lady commander after the Dance of the Dragons; I'd had Rhaenyra in mind as a sort of Visenya Targaryen type character. It still works with what we know of her in canon if you assume that having fought a war and sat in on her father's councils since girlhood she could be a pretty decent general without being herself a warrior, and more so if you handwave that she was allowed to take her dragon with her when she was exiled to the Wall. Still, you have to squint, and to this day it irks me.

One of the things that really pleased me about awoiaf was the amount of homosexuality there was in the world. I like how the assertions that Rhaenyra's sons were bastards were as much that her husband's preferences were well known as it was character assassination. And I liked the canon confirmation that in Dorne nobody cares. And I loved the description of Sabitha Vypren as "enjoying killing men and kissing women." Fic about this lady pls.

The asoiaf I really want to write, and this has nothing to do with awoiaf, is the one where Sansa Stark is a lesbian, and her attraction to knights is aesthetic, but not romantic (at least, not after she meets a few of them up close) or physical, and how you would possibly navigate that in a world that has no language for it.
netgirl_y2k: (cersei fuck)
[personal profile] ambyr asked What's your process, when it comes to fanfiction? Do you start with a character arc, or a what-if question, or an image, or a snippit of dialogue? Do you outline, and if so, do you always reach the end you expect?

I apologise in advance for how self-indulgent I'm going to be in my answer.

Mostly I write from prompts, sometimes more successfully than others. I do a lot of exchanges and begging-for-prompts type memes; I sometimes scour kink memes and the like for ideas, but I find it much harder to get motivated without someone specific to write for, even though I feel like that's stupid, especially because increasingly I just use the prompt as a jumping off point to go off on a tangent of my own.

At their best exchanges can force you to write some really innovative fic. I think the best fic I wrote this year was probably Kiss The Boys And Make Them Cry (Dany/Jon, Dany/Aegon) which is a fic I never would have written if I hadn't received the prompt in an exchange. I'm endlessly fascinated by Dany; I might be one of the few people in the fandom who're actually really into the fact that she's a rubbish queen at the moment and that her massive messiah complex has hugely backfired on her, without using it as an excuse to character bash. But while I think her story and Jon's are running on parallel tracks, and doubtlessly destined converge, the idea of them as a ship leaves me less than cold. And as for Aegon - I tend not even to include him in my future fics, assuming that he died offscreen like the giant and obvious red herring that he is; on the other hand, if it's a plot twist, and he's not "the mummer's dragon" then I will be genuinely and lastingly cross at the narrative choices that have led to that. So not a fic that I would have written on my own, but one I'm ultimately rather proud of.

The fic I had the most fun writing this year was Keep the Bouquets, Throw Away the Grooms (Sansa/Margery). Okay, the surprisingly delightful arranged marriage of Sansa Stark and Margaery Tyrell is the stuff of my id, and something I might have told myself to amuse me on a long walk or lull myself off to the land of nod. But I never would have written and posted it if I didn't have a prompt giving me implicit permission, or I don't know, validation, to write it. Stupid, I know.

Of the things I've written that didn't come directly from some kind of prompt: there's The Sisters Black (the Night's Watch) and while I would love to take credit for the idea of an all female Night's Watch AU, it's actually the result of my becoming obsessed with this graphic and not being able to believe that nobody had written it yet.

There's also This Is What You Will Wear To The End Of The World (Gwen, Morgana). To give you some context, the tagline for Merlin in my head is, Merlin: the show and fandom so toxic and sexist it makes Game of Thrones look like the feminist utopia. And that was something I wrote mostly to work through my residual feelings on that fandom and give myself some closure; silly as an may seem to need closure on an excessively stupid teatime beeb show.

The main difference between those two and the stuff I write for exchanges is how long they took. They were both, not in progress, because I wasn't actually writing them, but I was thinking about writing then, and working them through in my head, for more than a year apiece. In the absence of a deadline it takes me a long, long time to write anything, and mostly I'll write nothing. There's a sequel to The Sisters Black that I've been thinking about writing since March, so you know, expect it next July, maybe.

I outline a lot in my head, which is fantastic, right up until the point where you come to write anything down, where you might as well not have bothered.

Many years ago I had a crack at being a standup comedian, and I never wrote my routines down in their entirety; I had a list of beats I wanted to hit, where the laughter should be if I was doing it right. I don't know why, because I was a terrible comic, but I use the same approach for writing. I approach a story as a series of vignettes. If it works it should go like... section one reveals this about the characters and packs this emotional punch, the next section reveals this other thing and packs this different emotional punch. When it doesn't work, and it often doesn't, it looks like you've got the skeleton of a story rather than an actual story.

By the way, the last time I think I did this well was The Quiet Ones (Sansa/Myrcella).

The other thing, I think, that can make my writing look a bit barebones is that when I work out scenes in my head I do it dialogue only; I think, I hope, I'm getting better at remembering to colour inside the lines when it comes to actually writing.

This is why a lot of my fics have numbered sections, and even the ones that don't were probably written that way and just had the numbers edited out later. When I first started writing fanfiction the five things format was a huge thing, and I think I found it formative. Also, it's good for motivation, I think, to break things down; tonight I will write section ii, which consists of scenes a,b, and c, makes point y, and includes line z, which I've been proud of since I thought it up and should write down before I forget.

Endings suck, especially my endings. I tend to have the first two thirds of a fic reasonably well worked out before I start writing it. Not coincidentally, the two thirds mark is often where it all falls apart. That's not always the case, sometimes I come up with the ending first. Everything in The Game of Courtship (Sansa/Margaery) from Sansa's crush at first sight on Margaery, to their sweet romance at Highgarden, to Margaery's declaration of love, was written to spiral towards the last scene where Margaery gives Sansa the purple amethysts. My whole thing with Margaery is that she might genuinely care for Sansa but she'll never shy away from using her.

Sometimes an obvious ending presents itself. Abu el Banat (Oberyn Martell) was written for a prompt about Oberyn and his daughters, Oberyn has eight daughters, but in the writing it morphed into a fic as much about Oberyn's relationship with his sister Elia as anything else. I'm really fascinated by sibling dynamics, is the thing. So it seemed obvious to end it after Elia's death with Oberyn naming his fifth daughter after her.

More often I don't end fics so much as just... stop.

Speaking of just stopping.
netgirl_y2k: (fire cannot kill a dragon)
[tumblr.com profile] drizzlesofcastamere asked my favourite childhood cartoon/cartoon heroine? Which is a question I can't actually answer first hand.

Fun thing about me, before I started secondary school, about twelve, I don't actually remember very much at all of my childhood. Not because it was awful or anything; I was a much loved and well looked after kid, I was also for a long time a pretty sick kid. A lot of my early years have just disappeared into a blur of surgeries, and physiotherapy, and wheelchairs (which I didn't mind so much), and leg braces (which I really, really did).

And the reason I know I was a loved and well looked after kid was that I am now a much loved and well looked after thirty-something. Actually my mum told me to stop by on my way home the other day so that I could pick up some soup she'd made for me, which gave me the opportunity to say: Hey, mum, do you remember what cartoons I liked when I was little?

Apparently, I was obsessed with, and I quote, a cartoon version of The Three Musketeers, except that they were all dogs. The internet informs me that this was doubtless Dogtanian and the Three Muskehounds. I've just found the theme tune on youtube.

One for all, and all for one! )

Proof positive, if any were needed, that my childhood could not have been all that bad.

I also apparently liked the Ewoks cartoon, which doesn't seem to have had nearly so catchy a tune, He-Man and She-Ra.

So, yeah, my mum makes me soup specially and remembers my favourite cartoons twenty years later; whatever it is that I don't remember, it's probably not that I was being beaten with lengths of rubber hose.

Actually, I do remember-- it's not properly a cartoon, but I remember being confined to my bed after dislocating my hip for, well, not the first time, and watching our VHS tape of The Phantom Tollbooth just over and over again endlessly. It's possible that I internalised this song for use in later life.

Don't say there's nothing to do in the doldrums )
netgirl_y2k: (Default)
[livejournal.com profile] lycoris asked tell me about your favourite film?

This is a difficult question, not because I don't have a favourite film, I do and it's Monty Python and the Holy Grail.

I just don't go to see films that often. I fell out of the habit when I was a carer and the very notion of being able to get out for an entire afternoon/evening, somewhere where I'd have to have my phone off no less, was unthinkable. Then after some semblance of normality was restored the first film I remember going to see was Star Trek: Into Darkness, and the friend who I went with bought both our tickets and I was to reimburse him when we met at the cinema. I remember just staring agog at the price on the ticket going... how much!? Okay, my friend had bought tickets to a 3D showing where you sit in those seats that vibrate; both of which are tricks, I think, to fool gullible people out of some more money.

Well, now I've succeeding in making myself sound like an old biddy. I'm a very youthful thirty-one, honest.

I've seen a grand total of two films this year. The first was the last Hobbit film, The Desolation of Smaug, I think? I saw it on a Friday night, and I remember that specifically because my best friend was getting married on the following Tuesday, and I was in the wedding party, and I remember sitting there what couldn't have been more than two hours but felt like thirty-seven years into the film thinking: Tom's wedding is on Tuesday, God, I hope this film is over by then.

My genuine and lasting rage about The Hobbit films is a source of great amusement to my friends; the very worst thing about it though, the very worst, is that I know I'm going to go and see the third film. I won't feel good about myself, though.

I did like Tauriel, I remember that. I agree with that thing Evangeline Lily said about how it would be irresponsible in this day and age to send little girls into a cinema for nine hours of entertainment without a single significant female presence on-screen. That however does not change the fact that in no sane universe should The frickin' Hobbit have been made into three films.

The other film I saw this year was Maleficent, which I really loved a lot; half because as anyone who's known me in fandom for more than three minutes could tell you, vaguely feminist retellings of existing stories are pretty much my jam, and half because it was a sensible length and not part one of anything.

I would have gone to see the first half of Mockingjay, except I still haven't managed to watch Catching Fire. I have seen shots of Natalie Dormer in costume, though, and it looks like every lesbian in the world joined hands and wished really hard.

Before that the last film I remember really enjoying was Skyfall, and before that-- what was that Maggie Gyllenhaal film about the invention of the vibrator? Hysteria, that was it. Fun story, I saw that with my sister and the only other person in the cinema was a lad (that's a descriptor - think 'bro' - not me just being extra Scottish) in his late teens or early twenties there by himself. Now he may have been a big Maggie Gyllenhaal fan, or it may just have been what was starting when he wanted to get out of the rain, but at the time all we could think was that he'd probably expected it to be a very different kind of film.

Sort of related, remember when Brokeback Mountain first came out and everyone and their dog was referring to it as the gay cowboy movie. Well, me and friend from work had the dubious joy of sitting behind a couple who'd taken their teenaged son to see it (it was rated 15 in the UK) all of whom got up and stormed out at the first sex scene; well, the parents stormed, the boy was sort of... hoiked. It gets better, about half an hour later my friend goes to the lobby to get refills on our drinks, and they're still there, remonstrating with the manager about how they could have been allowed to see such a film unwarned...

I have a weird relationship with films, especially as related to TV. I haven't watched any of this season of Once Upon a Time because of the Frozen storyline. Now I'd always intended to see Frozen, and not having seen it probably wouldn't interfere with my enjoyment of the show, but I resent OUaT assuming I've seen Frozen. Similarly I'd only been half following the first series of Agents of SHIELD, but I gave up at the HYDRA stuff just when everyone said it was getting good because I resented the show for, in the first instance, treading water for two thirds of season waiting for The Winter Soldier to come out, and in the second instance, assuming I'd see The Winter Soldier and see it opening weekend. Note: this may not actually be what happened, but it's what it looked like from my non MCU person perspective.

To answer the original question, my favourite film is Monty Python and the Holy Grail, which I think is the best of the Python films. The Meaning of Life has that one scene in the restaurant which grosses me out, and The Life of Brian is great and all, but having been brought up in the total absence of religion satire of it goes a little over my head.

In addition to being hilarious it may also be responsible for making me a small-r-republican.

Ah! Now we see the violence inherent in the system! )
netgirl_y2k: (winter is coming)
For today [personal profile] selenay said Okay, I just have to: Any day, life-related pizza preferences :-D

Okay, see, I know what I did there I missed a comma (in my defense, whoever I copied and pasted this from missed the comma, I just didn't catch it) and you mean life-related pizza preferences as opposed to, like, virtual pizza preferences.

Um, if you ever come to Scotland you will be presented with the option of having haggis as a pizza topping. I beg of you, I beg of you, do not avail yourself of this option. There are times and places where eating haggis is appropriate; at a Burns Supper, for instance, or at two o'clock in the morning when it's been deep-fried and served alongside chips (additionally I suggest having spent several hours in a nearby tavern before embarking on your haggis eating adventure), but on top of a pizza is not one of them. All of this also applies to black pudding.

There is also a thing called a pizza crunch. Which is one quarter of an onion pizza, deep fried, and served with chips and a can of Irn Bru.

As an aside, when I was a student I had a drinking buddy who used to drink vodka and diet Irn Bru, because she thought that the sugar in Irn Bru was really bad for you; the vodka aside, forget the sugar, it's whatever makes it glow-in-the-dark orange that's going to kill you. Oh, for those of you not familiar with Irn Bru, here enjoy!

You used to be able to get pizza-crunch for lunch when I was at school. We were all shocked, shocked, I say, to grow up and discover there was a public health crisis in Scotland. I ordered one a few months ago in a fit of nostalgia; nostalgia for the days when I could eat deep fried pizza without spending the rest of the evening lying on the floor feeling nauseated, perhaps. Which just goes to show you that nostalgia is a lying liar who lies.

My favourite pizza topping is Florentine; the one with the spinach and poached eggs. By the way, if you make people a Florentine pizza they'll be really impressed; you run out of time, present the same thing on top of bread and call it Florentine Toast they'll look at you strangely. Maybe if I'd gotten some nicer bread?

Any non-pizza questions can go here :-)
netgirl_y2k: (Default)
[tumblr.com profile] drizzlesofcastamere asked What do you think of Elementary?

I don't know that I think much about Elementary; it's one of those shows that I watch without examining my feelings too much, but those feelings are generally positive.

Like many people I loved season one. The developing relationship between Sherlock and Joan was a thing of beauty to behold. Sherlock's fundamental decency and default position of compassion for the powerless was refreshing. The Moriarty reveal was inspired; I didn't quite go into it unprepared, I'd seen people speculating that Irene might be Moriarty, but then I remember seeing some Sherlock folks speculating that Molly might be that show's version of Moriarty, so I didn't actually expect it to happen. There were parts of S1 - not the mystery plots, obviously - but Sherlock's I am better with you, Watson speech, those last few episodes with Moriarty, that were some of the best television of that year.

S2 wobbled, and wobbled quite severely. There were a couple of reasons for this; not least of which was that Elementary being a CBS procedural I think a lot of us expected Holmes and Watson to become partners, then spend eleven seasons solving crimes of the week in an unchanging time-proof brownstone. Instead their relationship hit the rocks, they wanted different things out of their partnership, and the season culminated with Joan moving out of the brownstone and Sherlock leaving for London.

Of course a bigger problem with S2 was that there were huge parts of it that weren't very good. First of all there was the egregious miscasting of Rhys Ifans as Mycroft, a character they had no idea what to do with, and his 'romance' with Joan, a relationship utterly devoid of chemistry or indeed narrative continuity.

The S2 episode with Moriarty was also a complete bust. And I say this with all the affection for Natalie Dormer that my little lesbian heart can muster, but that was a terrible episode. I'm always leery of bringing villains like Moriarty back, because they can quickly become a sort of joke character who exist only to be more evil than thou and have their dastardly plans foiled. Morgana of Merlin infamy is a prime example of this, the Master in Doctor who is saved only by the years that pass between appearances and being reinvigorated by being portrayed by different actors.

Moriarty had been the crowning glory of S1, and in one episode S2 kind of ruined her. For one thing it overpowered her; she was no longer a woman who was as clever as Sherlock, but without his compassion, she was practically the empress of evil. Plus it gave her a secret kid.

This is only tangentially related to Elementary-- but I recently caught an episode of Gilmore Girls, the one where Lane discovers she's pregnant, and it always struck me as a pretty glaring omission that an abortion was never even discussed as an option. Like, in the case of Lane Kim I can imagine her discussing it, and deciding that like sex before marriage it's one of those things from her religious upbringing that she's internalised without unpacking but nonetheless believes, so no thanks. With Jaime Moriarty I kind of have to assume that she spent most of her pregnancy tied to a chair in a shack somewhere.

So season 2 wasn't great. There was a great thing I read recently that said a sophomore slump is one thing, but if you still don't like season 3 then it's time to quit, because there's a good chance this is the way the wind is blowing now, and it's never going to go back to being the show you first liked. Good advice, that... *cough*Merlin*cough*

Luckily I'm enjoying S3 of Elementary so far. I like that Sherlock and Joan's relationship continues to evolve, I love that he's maturing in some ways (respecting Joan's need to have her own space, respecting her relationship with Andrew - who is lovely, although I'm half expecting him to turn out to be a criminal mastermind any episode now, though maybe he'll be Joan's damsel in distress?) and utterly immature in others (Joan! I have returned to New York to repair our relationship! And I've adopted this baby detective that we can raise together alongside Clyde!) Kitty grows on me with each episode, and although I'm only passingly familiar with ACD canon I was somehow reassured to discover that she is in fact a character from one of the original stories.

Mostly I like that the show is always changing and challenging the relationships between the characters, even if it sometimes leads to season 2 shaped missteps, rather than let them stagnate. Because the strength of the show is in those relationships, not in the mysteries.

As a quick afterthought, I remember talking with some of you before Elementary started and saying that I wished they'd genderswapped both Holmes and Watson, I've rather changed my tune on that, besotted as I am with JLM's take on the character, but if they had done that I'd have liked it to look somewhat like this gifset.

Oh! And if I had one wish for the future of Elementary it would be not to genderswap Mary Morstan and have canon bisexual Joan, but that might be a little too much to ask...
netgirl_y2k: (brand new day)
My first post for the December meme comes from [personal profile] escritoireazul, favourite things about dogs and why you love them.

Let me begin my answer with a picture of my puppy.

Look at her little face! Although, it is important to remember that behind that innocent expression is a mind that's going: MISCHIEF MANAGED!

No, we've always had dogs in my family. My parents thought that it was a good way for kids to learn responsibility. This had the effect of making me a very responsible dog owner (all my dogs are trained, and neutered, and vaccinated, etc.) but otherwise had little to no measurable impact on the rest of my life. I take the well, nobody's yelling... approach to adulthood.

For example, earlier this week I succeeded in accidentally de-worming myself. It was time for the puppy's worming medication, which is a sort of spot-on that you put on the back of her neck, so I did that, went to do something else and forgot all about it; half an hour later I came back and picked the puppy up for a wee bit of a cuddle. Now the first thing Freya does when you interact with her is to launch herself full force at your face like the face huggers from the Alien films - I am, to her mind, a giant chew toy - and she managed to smear her spot-on stuff all over my face. So I'm sitting there going: my lips and tongue are tingling and going numb, that's weird... which is when I remember about the puppy worming stuff; now this is stuff that even the dog isn't meant to take internally. Anyway, long story short, I am not dead and probably free of parasites.

I love the ridiculous things that we do for our dogs. Like, my old dog Cooper was very fond of rolling in fox shit, which has a repugnant smell, and the only thing, the only thing which gets it out is tomato ketchup. So you find yourself standing on your back steps in the rain applying condiments to a medium sized omnivore and being annoyed that no-one is around to hear your frankly brilliant hot dog joke.

My last dog Eustace-- you know how if you have dogs all your life there's one that will always hold a special place in your heart? Well, mine was Eustace. He was the dog against which all future dogs will be measured. He also once ate a bar of soap and puked bubbles for three days.

I temped for a while, then I gave up work for a few years to be a full time carer, after that I was a nervous wreck for a while, and even now I work strange and irregular shifts. I also have a terrible tendency to hermit. On the days that I'm not working I can quite easily not leave my house or speak to a single non-internet person, and worse I don't even notice that I'm doing it. Dogs enforce routine, is what I'm getting it. Much as I might like to not get out of bed one morning, I can't because the dog needs to be walked. My sleep cycle, which is otherwise wracked by insomnia and panic attacks, is kept semi-regular by the first and last times the dog needs out. They get me out every day - rain, wind, or brain weasels be damned. I've always been a person of a nervous disposition, as they say in the films, but earlier in the year it got a bit out of hand and I was referred for some counselling. Had I ever thought about harming myself? they asked. No, I replied, I wouldn't. What makes you so sure? they asked - I'm assuming that was a compulsory question. Now of course there's family and friends and work, but when put on the spot, the two reasons on the tip of my tongue for why life was worth living were 1) there's a new Doctor Who in the autumn, and 2) but who'd look after the dog? I like to think of this as my taking joy in the small things and not just being really sad.

Some people get an endorphin rush from exercise, I just get sweaty and cross. My point is that you think without a dog I'm going to spent my Sundays traipsing up and down the East Ayrshire coast for four hours? No, I'm going to spend it sitting still eating and drinking things, probably in a pub.

I love dog people. Dog people are a bit mad anyway. These are people who when offered the opportunity to own a creature who will destroy your possessions, cost you a small fortune, at times massively inconvenience you, whose crap you will have to pick up for ten years, after which it will die and break your heart - these are people who go: where do I sign up?

I have always thought that dog-walkers and fandom are very similar little subcultures. Just as you wouldn't dream of discussing fanfiction or shipping with your non-fandom friends, dog walkers can have a cheerful and lengthy discussion about all the weird things that their dogs have eaten which later had to pulled out of the other end of them, as though this is a perfectly normal thing to be discussing. There's also the thing where we don't always know each other's real names; there are people I've known for years, who I see virtually every day, who I have spent many an hour chatting with, and who I know only as, like, Bailey's owner.

My mum likes it when I have a dog. She feels like I'm safer. Yeah, me and my vicious attack puppy. Mothers, eh?

Dogs are always pleased to see you. Whatever is happening in your life, however bad your day has been, there is one creature in all the world who is simply happy you've come home.

I love how many different types of dog there are, and how it's sometimes hard to believe that they're members of the same species. Like, the people next door have a teacup Yorkie who is already dwarved by my three month old Lab puppy. The people across the street have a Staffie who before they rescued her had been used as a bait dog for dog fighting, and she's the nicest dog in the world and what was done to her could make you weep. Border Collies are ubiquitous around here; brilliant dogs, but I've never met one who wasn't as mad as an eel. My mum has a Spaniel who's a failed sniffer dog, and boy am I glad that she didn't have him when I was a teenager, failed or not.

Me, I've always favoured Labs, Retrievers, Setters - big, good-natured, stupid dogs. You know that scene in 101 Dalmations where Pongo is trying to find a girlfriend for Roger and all the women are exactly like their dogs? It's like that.
netgirl_y2k: (kahlan white dress)
A World of Ice and Fire - George R.R. Martin, and, er, some others.
Station Eleven - Emily St John Mandel
Grave Mercy - Robin LaFevers
The Woman Who Would Be King - Kara Cooney

I had extremely mixed feelings upon picking up awoiaf. On the one hand it is a fic writer's wet dream, on the other hand I felt like I was subsidising both some of the more, ahem, toxic elements of the fandom, and GRRM's procrastination. Putting out a book of history and worldbuilding that you've worked out but that you can't quite fit into your main series. Awesome. But surely it's the sort of thing you publish after you've finished your series and not in a fit of panic when you realise that you haven't put out a new book in five years and you have a TV adaptation steamrollering up behind you...

Don't get me wrong, a lot of the artwork is fucking gorgeous, and there are lots of fascinating little titbits. Next round of got_exchange you see if I don't request fic about Lady Sabitha Vypren.

But a lot of the historical stuff, Aegon's conquest and the Tragedy at Summerhall, were things that were already in the books or were easily guessed. And then there was a weird change of tone, because the chapters dealing with ancient history or the world beyond Westeros read like a very long and expensive wiki entry, then when it got to the bits on Robert's Rebellion it was obviously meant to have been unreliably narrated by an obvious Robert partisan, probably so we can all clutch out pearls and pretend to be surprised when it turns out that R+L=J.

Station Eleven I highly recommend. If you only read one apocalypse/dystopia novel (a genre I thought I was burnt out on) make it this one. It's about a superflu that wipes out 99% of the population, and is set on the years leading up to, during, and twenty years after the collapse of civilisation. It's bleak in places, but not nearly as grim as a lot of these stories are, and features a post apocalyptic traveling symphony/performing Shakespeare company.

There's a terrible, pretentious term for genre fiction written with a literary bent which I've always found vaguely insulting, but this really is cleverly and beautifully written. There's also a lovely geeky nod in that the symphony's motto is a line from Star Trek: Voyager, Because survival is insufficient.

Highly, highly recommended.

Grave Mercy features assassin nuns. Nun assassins. Nuns who are assassins. My main problem with this book is that there weren't enough assassin nuns. Our heroine joins up with the convent of assassin nuns (never going to get tired of typing that) and then there's a time skip to three years later when she's completed her training and is off on her first assignment. There's court intrigue, historical details, little feminist grace notes, and a sweet romance. But it wasn't the book I wanted to read; the book I wanted to read, by the way, was a heartwarming tale of female friendship set against the backdrop of assassin nun training school. Ho hum.

I liked it, though, and will read the rest of the series on account of the, you know, assassin nuns. It reminded me a lot of the Graceling books, and a little of Gemma Doyle, so if that's your thing...

The Woman Who Would Be King is a biography of Hatshepsut, who got herself crowned king of Egypt about three and a half thousand years ago. I have occasional bouts of self-improvement where I seek to teach myself about all things I didn't learn at university, firstly because I didn't go to that sort of university, and secondly because I was busy drinking things and falling down.

There was a lot of interesting things, mostly in the introduction and the conclusion, about the narrative surrounding powerful women. How we all remember Cleopatra because she was a pretty terrible ruler, and Hatshepsut is erased because she was pretty good at it and doesn't fit the prevailing patriarchal narrative that women can't do maths/play football/rule a country, rather than that this one woman, in this particular set of circumstances, couldn't do it.

As an aside, I was telling my sister this and she said: Yeah, that's why the only thing you know about Catherine the Great is the thing with the horse. So now I have to read a biography of Catherine the Great.

There was also some really interesting stuff about gender presentation, and how Hatshepsut's monuments became more masculine as her reign progressed, but her insistence on using feminine pronouns made it harder for future kings to easily erase her from the historical narrative.

But mostly it felt like an academic historian failing to write a pop-history book. I know very little is definitively know about Hatshepsut, but I mostly felt like I was reading a book about ancient Egyptian religious cults and architecture rather than one about antiquity's foremost female king; and that may well have been a very fine book, it just wasn't the book I'd signed up for.

I definitely need to read more nonfiction though, because I got to the bit on dynastic incest and found myself thinking: Golly, that's positively Targaryen...

Next, I think, I'll read A Vision of Fire because Gillian Anderson's name is on the cover. This may well prove to be a mistake. I will report back.


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