[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)
Karen Memory - Elizabeth Bear

Only one book finished this month, and it was one I started in February. Karen Memory should have been the stuff of my id; the central romance was f/f, the central relationships were all among women, a group of mutually supportive sex workers, no less. But, I don't know, the pacing was a little borked, I thought, there never seemed to be a sense of narrative urgency and the various subplots never really came together. There was also the fact that it was steampunk; now, it's not that I don't like steampunk, it's just that I haven't read a whole lot of it. I remember reading a great thing a while ago that in any genres or sub-genres there are the introductory texts (usually some of the first ones written, or those that play the genre straight), then the intermediary texts (those that build on what's come before, and start to play with the established tropes of the genre), etc. And because I haven't read much steampunk I think I've missed a step or twelve between 'what if technology was developed along steam rather than electric lines..?' and 'and then our heroine attacked a nineteenth century submarine with an ambulatory sewing machine.' It was less the book, and more my not being the right kind of genre-savvy. I do think the pacing was dodgy, though.

I dipped in and out of few different Discworld books in memory of Terry Pratchett, but I couldn't settle to read anything straight through.

Actually, I've been feeling a bit twitchy and off all month. Revenge of the Brain Weasels, I guess, which is annoying, because I have been so much better for so long now. Still, I am so much better at managing my anxiety than I used to be - for one thing, anthropomorphising it as playful weasels nibbling at loose wires inside my head has been hugely helpful.

So because it only ever takes me one really good read to yank me out of a book slump, I ask: read any good books lately? Any genres at all, fiction or non-fiction (actually non-fiction might be quite good for my attention span currently), but really anything at all that you've enjoyed or found attention grabbing?
netgirl_y2k: (kahlan white dress)
I was playing an askbox game over on tumblr, about female characters screwed over by their narratives and how I would have fixed it. And as this is a subject I can talk about at, ahem, some length I thought I'd repost my answers here.

Morgana (Merlin) )

Gwen (Merlin) )

Shae (GoT) )

Ros (GoT) )

Sansa Stark (GoT) )

Donna Noble (Doctor Who) )
netgirl_y2k: (gwen beer)
-"I really think having the dog is doing me the world of good, I've got bags more energy," I said, while playing keepie-uppie with a squeaky tennis ball by myself in the living room, and immediately before indulging in a ridiculous fantasy about me and the closing moments of a Champions League final that saw me hoofing the ball across the room and into the television.

I can't even blame the dog for this one, as I'd sent her to the vet to be neutered, and at the time she was lying in her crate, wearing a cone of shame, and staring at me with a look of abject betrayal and resentment.

-Speaking of betrayals of fledgling trust, I was a wee bit dismayed that the series finale of Call the Midwife was taken straight out of the Big Book of Tragic Lesbian Cliches (especially after Last Tango in Halifax; that's two otherwise stellar BBC shows that have pulled this same nonsense in however many months. Do they have a quota to meet?)

After Delia rode off on Patsy's bicycle I didn't even manage to get out the full sentence, "I bet she's about to be hit by a car", before she was hit by a car.

I go to my Mum and Dad's on Sundays for tea, too, and then spend the evening watching telly with them, so I found myself trying to explain the sad lesbian cliche to two people who mentally find and replace the word lesbian with the word goldfish in all conversation.

-Because I don't really go to the pictures anymore, and because I've been such a naysayer on the superhero genre, I'm only now really catching up on the MCU, horrifically out of order, and just as and when they happen to cross my path. I didn't think there would be a wrong way to watch comic book movies, but I think I've found it.

One of the reasons that even the big bombshell moment of Agents of SHIELD S1 did nothing for me was that I didn't know what Hydra was or why being part of it was bad. So I watched The Winter Soldier, and that explained that (although I now retroactively resent AoS for squandering the destruction of SHIELD plot) but I was going, "Hang on, the chap in all the eye makeup asks a good question: who the hell is Bucky?" So just last week I watched the first Captain America movie, but I think I missed the boat, because I'd already seen all of Agent Carter and I was mostly just confused as to why there wasn't more Peggy in Peggy Carter's origin story.

-I have thankfully aged out of strange men coming up to me on the bus and asking what I'm reading. I used to put them off by telling them, in great detail; nobody likes an evangelist. But I looked up from my much thumbed Guards! Guards! paperback at the weekend and found a lad grinning at me over a battered copy of Hogfather.

So we spent a nice commute talking about Pratchett's death, and Pratchett's Death, and our favourite Discworld books, and when I said, "I have to go, this is my stop," it was because it actually was my stop, and not because I was planning to get off and wait for the next bus.

So Terry Pratchett died, and that's terribly sad, but two strangers passed a pleasant half hour of human connection over their shared love of his work, which is not bad.

-The annual Scotland - England Calcutta Cup match was played this weekend gone. During the pre-match coverage the music the BBC chose to play over clips of previous clashes between the sides was The Rains of Castamere.

Fitting really; not just for the Calcutta Cup, but for Scotland's performance this entire Six Nations. Not so much The Lannisters Send Their Regards, as All Of Europe Sends Its Regards, Again.

-Because I am exactly the sort of weirdo that is fascinated by AO3 statistics, and likes to watch columns of numbers slowly climb upwards, I was sort of interesting to see that the Peggy/Angie fic I wrote a month ago is now my most kudosed fic, eclipsing The Care and Feeding of Tiny Humans which has been my most popular story (by several orders of magnitude) since I first joined the A03.

From this I am taking the following: 1) the MCU, even the femslash-y spin-off bit, is a freakish outlier in terms of kudos, 2) correctly predicting a series endgame will buy you a certain amount of attention due to sheer novelty value.

Also, I would not do well in a m/m juggernaut because I don't think I could cope with that amount of people looking at me (another reason, of course, is that I think people can tell when you are writing for kudos and not for joy).

-Speaking of writing for joy, I have become weirdly fascinated with the soulmate mark trope recently. Like, if I were going to write another Peggy/Angie fic right now it would be a soulmate AU (of the I'm your soulmate, and you're not mine, but if you can get over that I'd like to try and make this work variety). Or there's the Sansa/Margaery one where it's not your soulmate's name or first words that appear on your skin, but their house sigil, and both Sansa and Margaery have a lot of brothers.

I am a ridiculous person, I know.
netgirl_y2k: (winter is coming)
Puppy, free to a good home
Puppy, free to a home
Puppy, free

I jest. But, man, my dog is growing up to be an asshole dog.

She has ridden in the car since she was tiny with no problems. This weekend she very quietly and industriously managed to chew her way through two seatbelts, pull the plastic moulding off from over the lights, and chew through the wires - shorting out my rear lights and giving herself an electric shock.

You would think this would have discouraged her from chewing. It did not. Sometimes of an evening, if I'm reading or watching telly, the puppy will lie sleeping under the side table. Except it turns out that she hasn't been sleeping. What she has been doing is very sneakily gnawing her way right through one of the table legs. Which I discovered one night when I'd put the dog in her crate and gone to bed myself, and was woken by a humungous crash which was the table giving out under the weight and crashing to the ground.

That was the closest she came to being given away since she was tiny and she bit right through my earlobe. That's something that they don't tell you about puppies - that you will spend your first few weeks with this adorable little ball of fuzz that you have acquired with the express intention of loving to bits, you will spend those first few weeks being eaten by inches and looking worriedly sideways at your new best friend going, this animal is evil, and clearly harbors ill-will towards me.

I have been and purchased her a tiny muzzle for car rides. It's ridiculous - I have this tiny, waggy tailed puppy with a muzzle and a metal chain lead (after she chewed straight through three fabric ones), the sort you would expect to see on, like, vicious guard dogs.

We were out for a walk the other week, and we met someone with a tiny little spaniel puppy. Tiny little thing it was, all wide eyed and frightened on its first day out - and Freya sat on it. Just plonked herself right down on top of it, wagged her tail, and looked up as if to say, only pay attention to me.

Proper little asshole she is. Ah, well, she's off to be fixed next week - it's that time; I think I've met every boy dog in a six mile radius - so she'll have a richly deserved cone of shame.

It's worth mentioning that, by and large, Freya is growing into a cracking little dog. Affectionate and (mostly) obedient and playful, and all that jazz. And sometimes asshole pets are the best pets, because you think that no one will ever love them and all their asshole ways the way you will.
netgirl_y2k: (fire cannot kill a dragon)
If you could have me write a fic specifically for you, what would it be like? Fandom, characters/pairing, genre, plot elements, kinks (if applicable)... what's your ideal fic from me?
netgirl_y2k: (panic)
Dead Girl Walking - Christopher Brookmyre
The Unquiet Dead - Ausma Zehanat Khan
Faithful Place - Tana French
Broken Harbor - Tana French

All thrillers this month, for a change of pace.

Dead Girl Walking I was really excited about, because the last Jack Parlabane book came out, like, five years ago, and it's one of my favourite series. It's not Brookmyre's best title; nothing will ever beat Attack of the Unsinkable Rubber Ducks in my book.

It wouldn't surprise me if this was the last Jack Parlabane book; the way a lot of characters from previous books made what seemed like a finale farewell appearance, and the way Brookmyre, who's always seemed to be a pretty socially conscious writer, seems to have accepted that in this day and age you can't have your protagonist be a journalist who uses, ahem, extra legal methods and still pretend he's the hero. I do kind of admire writers who know when to retire a series, though.

Anyway, it was good; I enjoyed the central mystery, involving an awesome lesbian rock star, her violinist sort of girfriend, and a sex trafficking ring. But it's probably not the best place to jump into the series, more a fond farewell to some long established characters.

The Unquiet Dead, on the other hand, is the first in a series; actually, I think it's the author's first book. You can sort of tell; the pacing's not great, and the conclusion is spoiler )

It's a Canadian set murder mystery where the victim very quickly turns out to be connected to the Bosnian war; and the narrative is split between the investigation and flashbacks to the genocide. The thing that really elevates this book and makes it worth reading is that the author is apparently an international human rights lawyer who was involved in the war crimes trials and really knows her stuff; the chapter headings are taken from the statements of survivors, which adds poignancy to the whole thing.

I'd almost given up on the Dublin Murder Squad books after The Likeness. My problem with that book was the idea of a murder victim who was so the spitting image of an undercover detective that the detective could move in with her housemates for weeks on end without raising any eyebrows completely shattered my suspension of disbelief.

Thankfully the next two books in the series hew a bit closer to reality. Faithful Place is about a twenty year old cold case and a dysfunctional family, and Broken Harbor is about a family massacre and the early days of the recession in Ireland.

As much as I'm enjoying Tana French's patented blend of ambiguous endings and strangely dislikable yet compelling protagonist, I'm taking a break from the thrillers for a while, and I'm halfway through Elizabeth Bear's Karen Memory, which so far contains a steampunk version of the American goldrush, a group of friendly prostitutes, a central f/f relationship, and an evil mind control machine, and I'm absolutely freakin' loving it!

Only four books this month, but February is a short month, plus I fell into an Agent Carter fanfic shaped whole. I couldn't help it... Peggy/Angie is like the friends-to-lovers sprinkled coffee shop AU x spy AU of my heart.

Anyway, here are some recs for fics I have especially enjoyed.

Griffith House Rules by [archiveofourown.org profile] The-Stephanois Five times Angie heard noises coming from Peggy's apartment and the one time she caused them.

take a look at what i found by [archiveofourown.org profile] likebrightness Peggy knocks before she can think better of it. Hopes Angie wakes up before Miss Fry does.

After the Applause by [archiveofourown.org profile] tartanfics Angie doesn't have anyone waiting for her out in the audience. She didn't get to tell Peggy she finally got a part in a show; Peggy wasn't there to tell. She ran lines with Sarah from 4A. There's been not a word from Peggy, nothing, after Angie went to all the trouble of calling up her family and finding Peggy a way out of the city.

The Scheme of Things by [archiveofourown.org profile] QuickYoke Angie manages to cross the pond to England during the last years of the War. But she soon finds that helping with the war effort isn't all that cracked up to be.

wake up where the clouds are far behind me by [archiveofourown.org profile] ProfessorSpork Angie’s lips are half-cocked in a smirk but the eyebrows give her away, lifted in poorly-masked concern. “Still not sure what kinda errand needs doing on the Brooklyn Bridge alone at this hour. You sure you’re done, Pegs?” That’s the question, isn’t it?

Semi-related. I have a blanket permission to podfic statement tucked away somewhere on AO3, which I quite often forget all about until someone takes me up on it.

And [archiveofourown.org profile] reena_jenkins took me up on it and podifcced Living Arrangements.

Now, I don't often listen to podfic of my own stuff all the way through. Not because I don't love that people record it, because I absolutely do, but because as soon as I'm listening to it all I can hear is my weird word choices and awkward sentence structures. But this I listened to all the way through. Twice. Reena's reading is so good that she managed to make me forget I'd written it.
netgirl_y2k: (Default)
I didn't get to watch the Agent Carter finale until just now. It's not being shown over here (boo, hiss!) and as the UK is turning into Big Brother on the internet censorship front, watching anything suspiciously foreign has become a total pain in the arse.

One upshot of this is that I have been watching a lot more UK telly. This should really be a whole other post, but in short: The Wolf Hall adaptation is wonderful; The The Casual Vacancy one less so; Broadchurch probably didn't need a second series, no, but it beat the hell out of yet another repeat of Midsomer Murders, and Call The Midwife is Sunday evening telly at its very finest.

The other upshot is that it turns out there were a lot of US shows I was only watching out of habit and didn't mind dropping (Once Upon a Time) and the ones I do want to keep up with (Elementary, The Good Wife) do get shown here, albeit weeks or months after their original airings, but they're not shows where I'm in the fandom, so I don't feel like I need to stay current to keep up with the conversation.

But Agent Carter, oh, Agent Carter. It had its flaws, and I'm not blind to them, but to me it was worth every second of swearing at my elderly macbook and wrangling VPNs.

I was actually slightly spoiled for the finale by opening my e-mail this morning to discover, like, six comments on my lone Agent Carter fic going HOW DID YOU KNOW?

Teeny spoiler )

Speaking of that fic, I'm actually kind of sorry that I can't get it together fannishly with the rest of the MCU, because not that I write fic for validation, and if I did, boy, would I be writing the wrong sort of fic, mostly, but damn, that there was some nice validation.

Agent Carter finale )
netgirl_y2k: (Default)
My one, and likely only, sidestep into anything Marvel related has probably ruined me forever for puttering about in more moderately sized fandoms.

Living Arrangements
Agent Carter; Peggy Carter/Angie Martinelli; PG; 3414 words

Angie almost says, I think Peggy and me are basically married, and I don't think she's noticed, just to see the look on Jarvis's face.


Feb. 14th, 2015 09:54 pm
netgirl_y2k: (sansa wolf girl)
1. Spent half an hour this evening painting my nails blue, because I'm off to the Scotland - Wales Six Nations match tomorrow. This means that at half time when we're twenty points down and I start affecting a Welsh accent I can just shove my hands into my pockets.

Ain't optimism grand.

2. I saw the final Hobbit film, which I hadn't been planning to see, but it was a birthday thing. I... liked it, as much as it's possible to like a two hour CGI battle sequence the ending of which renders the previous seven hours of cinematic self-indulgence largely pointless.

In its defense, it was by far my favourite of the three.

3. Today my puppy brought me a dead mouse.

Dear puppy, if I had wanted murder presents I would have gotten a cat. Please stop this at once.

4. I have the urge to write fic for the first time in months. I blame Agent Carter. Okay, I know nothing about New York in 1946, the comics, or the rest of the MCU, and anything I start writing will most likely be jossed to high heaven in the last couple of episodes.

Still, it's nice to feel creative again.
netgirl_y2k: (kahlan white dress)
I continue to be besotted with Agent Carter, a show I enjoy all the more for ignoring half of tumblr screaming at the other half about it. I don't know, I'm uncomfortable with anyone being told to watch something they're not interested in for great justice, or indeed any other reason (you do you, etc.) but I'm also a little uncomfortable with this being where the line in the sand is being drawn vis-a-vis diversity in the MCU.

Agent Carter 1x6 )

Ah, well. If Agent Carter goes on past these eight episodes then that will be awesome; and if it doesn't, well, it'll be small and perfectly formed. And I'll have a better grounds for my half arsed grudge against the MCU than my extremely immature and mean spirited sulk that fandom is sobbing over this thing that I don't care about.
netgirl_y2k: (fire cannot kill a dragon)
Romancing the Duke - Tessa Dare
The World's Wife - Carol Ann Duffy
Carol - Patricia Highsmith
My Real Children - Jo Walton
In The Woods - Tana French
The Likeness - Tana French

Because I wanted to continue dipping my toe into historical romances this year, my first book of 2015 was Romancing the Duke, in which an impoverished young lady and secret author unexpectedly inherits a castle, only to find that the previous owner, a crotchety and recently blinded duke, is still in residence. It was light, and charming, and neatly managed to avoid the tropes (rape as love, dub-con stuff) that I am leery of encountering in historical romance. To be fair, I don't know how prevalent those tropes really are, and how much I'm just being a snob...

There was some good stuff in there about being a fan, too, which I thought was quite impressive to work into an historical romance.

So I'm going to read the next Castles Ever After book, and then I'm going to go back and see what else [personal profile] selenay has read and liked. Because in books, as in fanfic, if you find someone whose tastes overlaps with yours, then it's okay, I think, to stalk their recommendations.

The World's Wife is the first collection of poetry I've read since, gosh, secondary school. That's one reading resolution for the year ticked off! A collection of poems about the wives of historical, fictional, and mythological figures; all excellent. It's probably the only book of poetry I'll read this year, but at least I'm not scared of poetry any more!

Fun fact, I have to read poems aloud, or at least mouth along, or my brain just skips right over them. So, no reading on public transport.

Carol I'd been meaning to read for years and finally got around to it in anticipation of the upcoming film. I found it a bit slow in the beginning, but compelling and beautifully written. But because it was a book about lesbians written in the 50s (late 40s, maybe?) I was reading it braced for tragedy. And the fact that it didn't end in tears was such a huge relief and, like, a crushing weight that I didn't even know was there off my shoulders. This, by the way, is why diversity in fiction is as important now as it was in 1952. Anyway, I ended up really loving it.

Despite the fact that I want to read every word Jo Walton has ever set down in print (and also, kind of, poke around inside her brain to see how it works) I had put off reading My Real Children because the main character is an elderly woman with dementia - real life and my hobby getting a little too close, there - who remembers living two different lives. It was a lot like Kate Atkinson's Life After Life if more overtly science fiction-y. In the end I was glad I read it, I thought it was wonderful and swallowed it whole.

Then I read In The Woods and The Likeness, the first two books in The Dublin Murder Squad series, where a secondary character in the preceding book is the protagonist of the next one. They're good; a bit more literary than your average murder mystery series, which can be a good thing, but sometimes seems to come at the expense of pacing and narrative urgency.

I'll get back to the rest of the series, but there's a reason why my current read is Dead Girl Walking by Chris Brookmyre, which has no illusions at all about being literary, but is certainly exciting.

One of my new years resolutions vis-a-vis reading was to abandon books that weren't working for me. Now I often come back to, and ended up loving, books that I've abandoned, because it was a timing thing more than anything. But with the aim of fewer false starts in future I'm going to start recording books that I did not finish and why.

So in January I DNF Black Blade Blues by J.A. Pitts, which despite it featuring a lesbian main character and dragons, and thus being right up my alley, I abandoned at about the 1/3 mark for the following reasons, 1) the writing, which was a bit blunt and functional; nor necessarily a deal breaker, but not what I was in the mood for just then, 2) the main character having a lot of self loathing and internalized homophobia, including lashing out at the idea of a wider gay community, and I get enough of that in the privacy of my own skull, thank you very much.


Jan. 30th, 2015 05:59 pm
netgirl_y2k: (Default)
Freya is now five months old and no longer the adorable little butterball I brought home in November, and she and I continue to coexist in cheerful chaos.

Puppy pictures )
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.


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