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Out by the oak leaf with never a bough

The thing about childhood nostalgia is realizing that sometimes the things you have fond memories of are actually crap. I mostly find this to be true with films and cartoons, but the books I remember loving actually hold up pretty well. I wonder why that is?

What I just finished

The Perilous Gard by Elizabeth Marie Pope - Upon re-reading, it's pretty obvious why I loved this as a kid. Our hero, Kate Sutton, fails at performing conventional femininity. She's smart, stubborn, and 100% done with everyone's nonsense.. In short, she's precisely the sort of woman a young me would aspire to be, even before she saves the day and wins the guy. Christopher Heron is a bit too much of a Byronic asshole for my tastes, but the two of them have some great banter where she calls him on his shit and he's just like why are you like this and why is it so hot? It's a book that definitely holds up and was well worth the 25 cents I spent buying it.

I was struck by the difference in language and writing style between this book, first published in the 1970s, and more modern YA novels. The descriptions feel so much more dense and evocative. I think the last YA book that felt like that was by Rosemary Suttcliff, and she's not exactly current. When did stripping out vibrant descriptions and dumbing down the language in YA literature become a thing? Who started that trend and can we reverse it somehow? 

What I'm reading next

::Shrug:: I have a pretty serious backlog of books I've picked up at library book sales over the years. I think Love in the Time of Butterflies was on the shelf next to this on, so that maybe?

I love your for psychological reasons

The fandoms as relationships meme is going around and, since I've never played, I thought I might jump on that bandwagon.

The one who seduced you, screwed you over, broke your heart in a million pieces, and laughed about it.

If you'd asked me two years ago, I would have said Supernatural, but now I'm going to have to go with Star Wars. I fell hard and fast for Star wars after TFA. I went out and bought literally every film and cartoon within weeks of seeing it in the theaters, yes, even the 2003 Clone Wars. I bought a bunch of tie-in books and comics and read and wrote so much fic. Then three things happened in quick succession: 1) Rian Johnson and TLJ took a massive dump on the sequel trilogy and several legacy characters; 2) Dave Filoni and Rebels killed Kanan Jarrus; and 3) my dad died. My interest in the fandom fell off a cliff and remaining engaged was huge struggle I somehow felt compelled make. To this day, I still couldn't tell you how much of my broken heart is down to shitty authorial choices and how much is just tangled up in grief for my dad. Either way, I can't even muster up an ounce of anticipation for the last of the sequel films.

The old flame you don't see very often any more but whom you still really enjoy getting together with for a few drinks and maybe a pleasant nostalgic romp:

Avatar and I very much have this relationship. I occasionally drop in to say hi to Harry Potter as well, but it's not quite the same.

The mysterious dark one whom you used to sit up with talking until 3 AM at weird coffee houses and with whom you were quite smitten until you realized they really were fucking crazy:

Supernatural. I tried to watch some of the later seasons on Netflix and it's just a big old WTF!!!!!!!

The one you spent a whole weekend in bed with and who drank up all your liquor and whom you'd still really like to get with again, although you're relieved they don't actually live in town:

I don't really know. I don't think I have a fandom like that.

The steady:

Weirdly, I think it might be Batman comics, or at least fic about Batman comics. I've basically stopped actually reading anything by DC (again), but I do enjoy their fic versions and have been steadily writing my own since 2013.

I'd also say Agent Carter, more on the writing than the reading front. I've been writing at least one fic a year for that fandom since the show came out which feels pretty steady to me.

The alluring stranger whom you've flirted with at parties but have never gotten really serious with:

Pretty much every fandom lately. Seriously, ever since my break up with Star Wars I've been checking out the AO3 offerings for every show I at least half-way enjoyed. I think I tried Roswell, New Mexico the longest, but lost interest after a month and never wrote for any of it.

The one you hang out with and have vague fantasies about maybe having a thing with, but ultimately you're just good buddies:

The MCU. I've (mostly) enjoyed the films and fic, but I've never been bit by the writing bug for this fandom.

The one your friends keep introducing you to and who seems like a hell of a cool person except it's never really gone anywhere:

Good Omens. Everyone and their mother is gushing about it right now on tumblr and, while I certainly enjoyed the book and series, it didn't really click for me on an emotional level.

The one who's slept with all your friends, and you keep looking at them and thinking, "How the hell did they land all these cool people?"

RPF. I remember back in my Supernatural days that there were certain segments of fandom that were hard core into this and I just did not see the appeal of treating actual humans as characters.

The one who gave you the best damned summer of your life and against whom you measure all other potential partners:

Buffy the Vampire Slayer. HP was the first fandom I read for, but Buffy was the first I wrote for. I loved the open on sunday drabbles challenges. I loved Twisting the Hellmouth. I loved Liz Marcs and Newhepcat and a bunch of people I recall fondly from my LJ days. I haven't watched the show in ages and I'm sure both it and fandom and the fandom experience is no where near as good as I remember, but damn, did Buffy give me some good memories.

The one you recently met at a party and would like to get to know better:

She-Ra & the Princesses of Power maybe? I enjoyed the first two seasons, but season 3 was freaking amazing. I'm feeling really into meta-ing about it, but am strangely uninterested in fic.

Or maybe Umbrella Academy. I've been reading and writing more of this lately, but I really need more from it. Is season 2 out yet? Why can't we go back to the days when we had a steady stream of content to keep our interests alive?

The old flame that you wouldn't totally object to hooking up with again for a one night romp if only they'd clean up a bit:

Misfits. I liked it back when it aired and keep find myself reading it again and again and wondering what the fuck I'm thinking. Re-watching is even worse considering everything past episode 2.1 fills me with a weird sort of disappointment shading into anger.

Your hot new flame:

I don't have one at the present and it's been getting me down. Oh, cupid, when will you send me a new hyper-fixation to mend my broken heart?

The one who stole your significant other:

Probably Good Omens again. Everyone I followed for one thing over on tumblr has been posting nothing but this for months now.  Where's my regularly scheduled content, bitches? I care not for these angels and demons.

Fic: Feed Your Head

Title: Feed Your Head
Fandom: Umbrella Academy
Characters: Klaus Hargreaves, Reginald Hargreeves, Grace Hargreeves
Rating: PG-13
Length: 1,712
Warnings: Underage drug use, implied/referenced child abuse, grown men perving on teenage girls
Summary: Three shitty things young Klaus did for drugs and one thing they did for him.

Read onn AO3 or hereCollapse )

Flashback Friday: Tricks & Treats

Tittle: Tricks & Treats
Fandom: Dark Angel
Characters: Joshua, Rita, Alec
Rating: PG
Length: 851 words
Summary: Joshua and Alec attend a party. Joshua eats little hot dogs and is diverting

I wrote this way back in 2008 for the Dark Angel Halloween Ficathon. The prompt was for a heist at a masquerade ball. There are a bunch of other neat stories there, so I urge you to check them out. Dark Angel is one of those shows I have feelings about. First season was way better in terms of plotting, world building, and making me like Max. While second season was generally less well written, it did give us Alec and Joshua, in addition to the dumbest cock-block plot in the history of television. You see why I am torn. Anyway, enjoy. 

Some men are born dragons

When I was a kid, we got all our book bags at Tough Traveler, a locally-owned, American-made company. Their bags were insanely durable and they offered free in-store repairs if something went wrong. Last night, I was thrilled to discover that not only are they still in business, they have an on-line store! My mom still has and uses my old one and I am ridiculously excited about the prospect of buying the exact same bag only in a different color. I'm thinking maybe green this time. If you like really hardy bags you will never need to replace, i can not recommend them enough.

On to the Wednesday reading.

What I just finished

The Last Tsar's Dragons by Jane Yolen and Adam Stemple. I've been a fan of Jane Yolen since The Devil's Arithmetic and I'm always a slut for dragons, so naturally I had to try it out when I saw it at the new book shelf at the library. It basically re-imagines the Russian Revolution where both sides had dragons, but I found the dragon action strangely lacking. spoilers and mentions of antisemitismCollapse ) The end result was a book with an interesting, if under-used, premise peopled with characters who left me cold. On the plus side, I learned that Leon Trotsky's real name was actually Lev Bronstein, so I guess that's something.

What's Next

The Perilous Guard by Elizabeth Marie Pope. I owned this book back in the day, so when I saw it at the library book sale, I decided to see if it was as good as I remember. If it's not, I'm only out a quarter.

Meta: The Parentification of Adora

When it comes to understanding Adora's damage, parentification is the name of the game. For those of you who didn't cut their fandom eyeteeth reading Dean Winchester meta, parentification is when a child is forced to take on age inappropriate responsibility for the physical and emotional needs of their parents and/or siblings. Once we understand the nature of Adora's parentification, the source of her perfectionism, anxiety, responsibility, and dedication become clear. And so does the troubled relationship with Catra.
thoughts belowCollapse )

Flashback Friday: The Hedgehog's Dilemma

Title: The Hedgehog's Dilemma
Fandom: Downton Abbey
Characters: Thomas Barrow, Duke of Crowborough, Sara O'Brien, Sybil Crawley, Edward Courtney, Jimmy Kent
Length: 3,418 words
Summary: In a daemons AU Thomas Barrow has literal spikes, or at least his daemon does. Five warnings, four relationships, and one revelation.

I love a good daemons AU and it was fun to try my hand at one. This story also gave me a chance to play with smut and, yeah, really not my strong suit. Writing fellatio as a sex-repulsed female asexual is hard. How do people do that? I originally wrote this back in 2014 and my porn writing skills have not improved.

Where is my mind?

I think I read enough fic to get in on this Thursday rec thing dreamwidth has going, so here goes!

[personal profile] attackfish, queen of the Avatar AUs, has written a story just for me, but before I can recommend it, I must recommend the rest of the series.

Until the Walls Break Like Waves by [Unknown LJ tag] 

It was just before the winter solstice when Earth Kingdom soldiers captured the prince of the Fire Nation and his uncle, the Dragon of the West. It was the dead of winter when they were brought to Ba Sing Se.

You want Zuko wump? This has it in spades with a side order of touching family relations and mind bending.

Until the Walls Universe Drabbles by [Unknown LJ tag] 

Real drabbles are exactly 100 words. This is a hill I will die on, but I'm willing to let it slide for this collection of short stories set in this universe. Strictly speaking, you don't need to have read these for the next story to make sense, but it certainly makes more sense if you read these first.

The Sharpest Rocks Like Just Below the Surface by [Unknown LJ tag] 

No one comes out of Lake Laogai the same person they were when they went in.

This is the story she wrote for me and I couldn't be happier. Iroh gets his mind back and the Gang gets an honorary uncle.

In other news, there's a Netflix Originals Exchange on AO3 that I'm seriously contemplating signing up for. Sign-ups close August 31st so, if you, like me, are indecisive, you have some time to make up your mind.

We Are the Champions

Unsurprisingly, I didn't get much reading done while entertaining my mother. I did, however, read volume 2 of Marvel's Champions between when she left on Monday and today. This volume had a bunch of short stories instead of a real arc, but story number one gave me such Young Justice: Outsider feels in the way that they both involved the manipulation of social media.

spoilersCollapse )

I recently read that Marvel decided to cancel Champions which is a real shame. Not only did it have a diverse cast, a good message, and decent writing, it was fun in the most Gen Z way possible. Maybe if they'd done more to push it to it's intended audience instead of the Hydra!Cap nonsense...Oh, well. There's always Yuletide, I guess.

So long Frank Llyod Wright

My mom is gone off to spend a week with my sister and I'm back on the internet. It was really good to see her again. We had a lot of fun visiting some local museums, eating at local restaurants, and just tooling around. I think I managed to ruin museums for her forever, but, if I have to suffer, then so does she. I've been working at a museum for just over 10 years now, and I've developed THOUGHTS and OPINIONS about object labels, fonts, and layout that sometimes make it hard to appreciate the actual content of exhibits because I'm so focused on the craftsmanship. I'm supposed to be reading about Glen Curtiss and his airplane designs, but instead I'm like "this font needs to be bigger for and should have serifs to make it easier to read."

We also watched a lot of TV. Like, a lot. Not only did we watch Stranger Things 3, Umbrella Academy, Russian Doll, and 2 seasons of Queer Eye, we also watched a couple of movies including Into the Spiderverse, Otherhood, and Always Be My Maybe. I really enjoyed that last one and I usually don't enjoy romantic comedies. It helped that this one was actually, you know, funny with witty dialog and douchebag Keanu Reeves. My mom really enjoyed Into the Spiderverse and was charmed by Queer Eye. It basically became our go-to comfort show every time we turned on the news and learned about a new mass shooting. Yay America!

Each time my mom visits, she ends up helping me furnish a room. At the end of the month, my new couch and loveseat should arrive. In the meantime, we found the perfect area rug on Saturday, and it looks so good there. Pretty soon I'll have a house that looks like a real adult person lives there.


year of the cat

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