hey, look, a yuletide letter?

Oct. 23rd, 2017 05:59 pm
melannen: Commander Valentine of Alpha Squad Seven, a red-haired female Nick Fury in space, smoking contemplatively (Default)
[personal profile] melannen
Dear Yuletide Writer,

I have had this letter at the top of my to-do list for weeks, but when I finally sat down to write it, I couldn't really think of any reason to do it. You have years and years of this tag and so many previous letters if you're the sort of person who wants to dig really deep, and if you're not, you can stop reading now and go back to just my sign-up.

I could go into great detail about where to find the fandoms I requested and so on, but let's be honest, that would be almost entirely for people who might want to write me treats, not for you.

(Although super-quick: all the links you need for Mr. Trash Wheel are in this entry downtag; Njal's Saga is a medieval Icelandic saga which you could probably get a doctorate in but didn't so all I can suggest is gutenberg or a good modern annotated edition of which there are several in many languages, or if you're really ambitious, you can listen to all 12 Njal's Saga episodes of the SagaThing podcast, which is what motivated me to request it. But also I think of stories as old as Njal's saga as living stories rather than a fixed canon so if you want to just find a good summary and work from that, that would be a-ok with me; Murderbot Diaries is so far just one novella, All Systems Red by Martha Wells that came out this year and is probably available at your local library; Girl With The Silver Eyes is a kids' novel from the '80s that is probably not still at your local library but is definitely on Amazon for cheap, at least in the US; and the Barbara Hambly are both many-volume historical mystery series that are still being published, although I would be ok with side-character fic based on characters that only appear in the first volume of either.)

I could also go into great detail about why I like these canons, but you don't actually need thousands of words of rambling about the fundamental essence of Baltimore and urban solarpunk; or about the parallel roles of Hannibal and Simon in re: the construction of Whiteness and classical monsters as racial metaphors; or the performance of gender and honor in medieval Scandinavia; or about the portrayal of neurodivergence mediated through otherness in SF/F stories; and anyway if I did all that it would be totally misleading because really my reaction to these stories is more GIANT GOOGLY EYES and CHEESE CSI and TALKING CATS and SANCTUARY MOON and I read all the Hambly in a month straight while ill last year so really mostly I just LOVE IT ALL on a very shallow and inarticulate level.

I could go into more about my DNWs but honestly my DNWs are usually more about the spirit of the story than the details so it would be just as likely to make you worry about things you don't need to worry about.

(but real quick: please no environmentalism doomy doom for Trash Wheel- post-apocalyptic would be fine but make it hopeful and optimistic no matter how unrealistic that seems sometimes these days; please no doomy doom for Njal either, like, we all know how it ends, it's in the damn title, but he lived to old age which is pretty much a happy ending given the odds for a saga hero and a lot of other stuff happened before that; for Murderbot I think I covered it pretty well in the letter; Silver Eyes and Hambly I'm pretty much good with whatever as long as it's in the spirit of canon more or less and you're careful with the more sensitive bits of the history in Hambly.)

I could give you more prompts but you read my sign-up; do you actually need more prompts? I mean, let me know, I have plenty, but I kind of suspect you are begging me for fewer prompts at this point.

(Crossovers always good, setting-swap AUs also good, the weirder the better, outsider POVs and background characters always good, worldbuilding and setting always good, basically anything in these canons is fine?)

Anyway here is a link to my previous post of my sign-up just for convenience, it is slightly cleaned up with a few more prompts at this point: Yuletide signup

Most importantly, have fun! I promise nothing you write can ruin yuletide for me.*


*That's not a dare. But you would have to try pretty hard to manage it. Truly.

Lambiel vs. Polunin: who did it best?

Oct. 23rd, 2017 09:00 pm
naraht: (Default)
[personal profile] naraht
Bearing in mind that a fair contest requires you to imagine Lambiel 1) with top-notch high definition camera work and 2) wearing only a pair of ballet tights... I think it's close...

(Though you could argue that Polunin musters up more authentic agony, whereas Lambiel just looks like he's having a lot of fun.)

Another review

Oct. 23rd, 2017 07:39 pm
charlie_cochrane: (Default)
[personal profile] charlie_cochrane
Love Bytes reviews gave 4 stars to Count the Shells. ". ". It was an experience that I enjoyed, and a book I would totally recommend..."

Movie review: Residue

Oct. 23rd, 2017 10:45 am
kestrell: (Default)
[personal profile] kestrell
Residue (Written and directed by Rusty Nixon, 2017)
This film combines two of my narrative fetishes, horror noir and a supernatural book, which is what persuaded me to watch it in the first place, but it turned out to be a surprisingly likeable movie.
It's not an instant classic, but it might well turn out to be a cult classic.

Set in a seedy futuristic city, James Clayton plays Luke, a really, really, down on his luck private eye working for crime boss Mr. Fairweather played by the maniacal Matt Frewer). Luke is hoping for a big job that will allow him to provide a better life for his estranged daughter, so when Fairweather offers him a lot of money to deliver a mysterious briefcase, Luke takes the job, and instantly hitmen show up trying to kill him. When Luke opens the briefcase and finds a creepy book, things become even more desperate as he attempts to solve the mystery of the book before the hitmen succeed in killing him.

This low budget indie film does a lot with a little. The storyline is solid, and becomes increasingly complex as Luke progresses through the book and spins off an increasing number of timelines. When Luke's estranged daughter shows up, Luke's desperation increases as he tries to keep her safe from both the hitmen and Luke's own personal demons.

I found the multiple timeline aspect of this film really interesting, and the relationship between Luke and his nearly grownup daughter was endearingly awkward. (I realize this is a slight spoiler, but I need to mention that this film has one of the best daughter coming out to dad scenes *ever*.)

The pacing of the film is good, with tension being relieved by occasional darkly humorous moments. One of the things I look for in a film is a director who trusts his audience to pick up the story without having everything explained, and Residue offers a satisfying amount of ambiguity to provide for lively conversation after the movie ends.

Note: We watched this movie on Netflix, but Netflix also has a 3-part pilot titled Residue (Dir. Alex Garcia Lopez, 2015).

Headlong | Batman Forever

Oct. 23rd, 2017 09:21 am
aurumcalendula: the lower half of Kate Kane's face and her Batwoman logo (Batwoman)
[personal profile] aurumcalendula posting in [community profile] vidding
Title: Headlong
Fandom: Batman Forever
Pairing: Chase Meridian/Bruce Wayne/Dick Grayson
Music: Headlong by Queen
Summary: 'there's nothing you can do about it'
Notes: Quick cuts and flashes throughout (there's a bunch of flashing lights at 3:49 - 4:12 in particular).

AO3 | DW | tumblr | youtube
reviews_and_ramblings: (Default)
[personal profile] reviews_and_ramblings
So yes, for once I want to write something out of my live and let live policy... but in the end is not so far. And be aware, this is a looong post. Before coming to this year GRL 2017, my 7th (they told me I'm among the more or less 20 people that joined all the GRLs so far), I was of the idea that this one was to be the last one. I did not enjoy much Kansas City, maybe it was me and not the convention, maybe it was the fact it happened few days after I was grilled and served to the social media, with my life questioned and the Rainbow Awards demoted, but yes, that did not pass unnoticed to me, and left scars. So I was not in the better disposition for this year convention. And as soon as I arrived, I read posts about how people were complaining due to the inclusion of erotica, BDSM and other hard core elements in the convention... Now, I'm the first to say BDSM is not my cup of tea, that I do not read erotica cause, I already skip the sex scenes from my romance books, if I read an erotica, it would be basically skipping half if not more of the book, but hey guys and girls, do you know the concept of "inclusion"? is a very nice concept, and if you grilled me since I was not including the Asexual in an LGBT award (that now is actually LGBTA), more or less the same people should not complain if erotica or BDSM or pornography is included as well. Inclusion is not written with an "except" notice at the end. Inclusion is all or nothing. And now I want to tell you my personal experience and the reason why I consider this GRL a nice experience that I will remember fondly. I usually skip the thursday night event, that is usually a naughty party. The first year in New Orleans I spent all the night talking outside in the balcony with someone while inside they told me were happening the most naughy things. This year, from the description of the event, I wasn't expecting anything different, but I happened to be curious since one of the panelists, R.j. Sebastian​, had a connection with a friend of mine, Jesse Archer​, and also since he was in a long-term relationship with his husband, Jake Jaxson​, and having written a book about long-term LGBT couples, of course it was something that picked my interest. Tell you the truth, I did know what Cocky Boys are about (A Thing of Beauty won 2nd place in the Visual Artist category of the Rainbow Awards 3 years ago) but I had never seen one of the movies. Read above, I skip the sex scenes in the books, can you imagine that maybe I'm not really interested in porn, BUT I do like the aesthetic of nudity if it's well done. So I went, but I told my mom, who was at the GRL with me, better if you stay in the room. And my idea was to just have a feeling of the situation and if I did not like it, to just go back to my room. First surprise: the panel room was nicely set up, with totally innocent pins on the tables (so innocent that my mom used them the day after, and my mom is 75 years old...) and some red and blue decorations, red and blues ballons and just one big poster with the name Cocky Boys and nothing else. Susan Lee​ acted as moderator (very good job) and she first interviewed R.J. and Jake, and it was all about how they met, how they started to do pornography, the quality they wanted to achieve in what they do. The first thing you noticed was how humble they were, not cocky at all, and even a little shy. Then three of their actors joined the panel, and yes, they were all good looking boys, toned and sculpted, maybe yes, they were more cockys, but they talked about their families, their motivations in doing this job, and also how you can meet your love interest while doing it. After the panel the night was to continue with dance and music, but first R.J. Sebastian offered to take pictures with the three boys... poor guys I'm not sure they realized what was expecting them: a huge line of people so long that it took all the time they had, up until 1 am to finish. And I remained until the end since I wanted to see if they really were to take all those pictures (mind you, for free) and yes, they did. It was clear they were tired but no one was rejected and each single photo was staged and time was spent to make the one asking for a photo feeling welcomed. So yes, after a specific treatment I received from part of the "inclusive" LGBT community, it restored a little bit of my faith in the above mentioned community to see that indeed, there are (still) really good people. And maybe, after all, I will check out what these Cocky Boys are about... if I was not a fan/subscriber before, I maybe be today, and I'm sure many other in the panel will do the same.

I have become a podcast addict

Oct. 22nd, 2017 04:02 pm
mme_hardy: White rose (Default)
[personal profile] mme_hardy
Apart from everybody's favorite (right?) comedy/D&D podcast "The Adventure Zone", I mostly prefer history. 

There are a lot of bad -- and beloved, in some cases -- history podcasts in which the author postures, makes bad jokes, and assumes you don't know much and only want to know a little more.    Two exceptions to this are "The History of the Mongols", which is excellent and clear and takes a fair amount of concentration, and "Revolutions",* which takes an in-depth look to various European revolutions starting with the English Civil War.   I've just gotten to Charles I leaving London for the last time (although he doesn't know it).

If there were ever a more shining counterexample to the Divine Right of Kings than Charles I, it has to be one of the monarchs who was actually insane or intellectually disabled.

* Revolutions' podcaster, Mike Duncan, is known for an earlier history of Rome, which I haven't listened to but hear is excellent.

If you like true crime that is dispassionate rather than overblown, I highly, highly recommend "True Crime Japan".   The podcasters are gaijin living in Japan, and they do an excellent job of explaining Japanese customs and cultural aspects that are relevant to how crimes took place.   These are not crimes that have been rehearsed over and over in English-speaking media -- no Ripper, Bundy, Lizzie Borden -- which makes them all the more engrossing.

All of the above are, of course, available on iTunes and other aggregators; I'm linking to the authors' sites.

Rainbow snippet - Lessons in Love

Oct. 22nd, 2017 08:23 pm
charlie_cochrane: (Default)
[personal profile] charlie_cochrane
Very excited that the first Cambridge Fellows book is available once more, in kindle format from Endeavour Press. And with a snazzy new cover (see below.) Seems right to share an excerpt from it today:

Jonty had been right. The food at the Bishop’s Cope turned out to be hot, tasty and in splendid quantities. The two men could only manage the barest soupçcon of apple pie for pudding before admitting defeat. They stretched their legs and enjoyed the warmth of the fire.
“Did you have a favourite pub in Oxford, Coppersmith? I always loved this one, and the Mackerel, when we weren’t in disgrace with the landlord.”
“I rarely went to any pubs, Stewart. Always too much studying to be done.”
Jonty slammed his pint onto the table. “And you a rugby player? Surely you allowed yourself a bit of refreshment after a match?”
Orlando sipped his beer, deep in thought. “Sometimes—but not habitually.” He sighed and looked around him at the glowing pots and friendly faces. “Perhaps I made the wrong decision.”
Jonty clapped him on the arm. “Never too late to learn to appreciate life’s pleasures. Let Dr. Stewart lead you astray.” He laughed and finished his beer.
Orlando watched his friend relishing his pint. There had been some scant hint in the last remarks that he couldn’t work out. It reminded him of what had happened the previous evening, before the porter knocked at the door—that fluttering sensation in the pit of his stomach. And he couldn’t fathom that out, either, despite applying all his powers of logic.

There are plenty of other snippets at the Rainbow snippets group.

Lessons in Love

Session #67: Peaceful Serenity

Oct. 22nd, 2017 02:54 pm
schneefink: Parker grinning, from First David Job (Parker smiling before jumping off a buil)
[personal profile] schneefink
I love playing D&D.

After our unexpected fight and victory against our enemy's head spy, we were looking for the gem with the soul of my undead minion.

The next sessions were so much fun that I wrote fic about it :D
Surviving Caterpillars
Featuring, among other things, my undead cat familiar fighting a dragon. I don't know how much sense it'll make for anyone not familiar with our campaign, but I enjoyed writing it a lot.

After that came the attack on the city occupied by enemy forces. Details )

Orthodoxy in Oxford

Oct. 22nd, 2017 08:55 am
naraht: Orthodox church in Romania (art-RomaniaPantocrator)
[personal profile] naraht
One of the things that I loved most about Russia was being able to pass any random church – usually a beautiful Baroque church – and know that it was an Orthodox church. And the fact that there was usually a service going on, which meant that I could go in, light a few candles and stand for a few minutes to enjoy the architecture and the singing before going on with my sightseeing. (There's no expectation that you'll arrive on time, or indeed stay till the end, as long as you know the points of the service during which you're not meant to leave.)

Back in Oxford, I'm really missing it. I would go to church much more if it could be this simple - if I could just pop in between the farmer's market and the cafe as part of my weekend routine. In the week and a half I was in Russia, I went to more church services than I've been to in years. (Not to mention wore a headscarf more than I ever have... it was a good chance to use all the scarves I have lying around.)

Really I shouldn't complain. I know there are places, like in the American South, where you have to drive for hours to get to an Orthodox church. I grew up in a town with one, and I've just discovered that we have four here in Oxford, not two as I'd originally thought.

• the Greek Orthodox/Russian Orthodox one, the oldest Orthodox church in Oxford and the home of Kallistos Ware, which is unfortunately a long walk from my house
• the other Russian Orthodox church (Patriarchate of Moscow), which is also a bit of a hike
• a Romanian Orthodox church
• an Indian Orthodox church (Malenkara Orthodox Syrian)

Whether or not I manage to get off my couch within the next half an hour to go to church this morning, I must definitely plan to visit the latter two sometime - particularly the last, as I've never been to an Oriental Orthodox church before. We shall see...

ETA: I ended up going to the other Russian church, which I hadn't visited before in its new home, and turns out to be only 20 minutes walk. Not too bad.
typographer: Me on a car in the middle of nowhere, eastern Colorado, age four (Default)
[personal profile] typographer
A few weeks back I started this series (part 1, part 2, part 3) referencing a running gag from the movie Throw Mama From the Train, where one writer is hung up on his opening line, trying hundreds of variants of “The night was…” instead of just concentrating on the story itself, then fixing the opening later. The opening is important, of course. When your story is published, you won’t be there to whisper in the reader’s ear “It gets really good once it gets moving. Keep reading and scroll down. It’ll be worth it.” Your opening line (and paragraph, and scene) must do that for you.

The three classic openings are...

(the rest of this post about opening lines in fiction is at FontFolly.Net.)
aurumcalendula: gold, blue, orange, and purple shapes on a black background (Default)
[personal profile] aurumcalendula posting in [community profile] vidrecs
Vid Title: Cornflake Girl
Vidder: [personal profile] sol_se
Fandom: The Watcher in the Woods
Summary: The woods, a ghost, a solar eclipse, and Bette Davis. This movie has two different endings. Both exist simultaneously in different dimensions.
Reccer's Comments: This is awesome! (and it works really well for me even though I've never seen the source)
trixie: purple duck outline with rainbow colored lei around it's neck. (purple duck w/lei)
[personal profile] trixie posting in [community profile] con_txt
CON.TXT 2018 will be held again at the Residence Inn Arlington Pentagon City in the exciting Pentagon City neighborhood of Arlington, Va., just across the river from Washington, D.C. Events will begin the morning of Friday, July 27th and go through the afternoon of Sunday, July 29th.

RATE: $139 (plus tax) for a king studio; $159 (plus tax) for a queen/queen studio or a two-bedroom suite. (All rooms have a sofabed in addition to the specified beds.) This is a special CON.TXT rate, and it is guaranteed only until the beginning of July. Reserve early to ensure you get the type of room you want!

RESERVATIONS: There are two handy ways to book your hotel room.
  • Call 800-331-3131 and reference the CON.TXT Women in Media Event at the Residence Inn Pentagon City to make a reservations at the group rate.
  • To book online, click on this direct link: CON.TXT Women in Media Event.
Note: If you book online and attempt to make your reservation to check in prior to 7/26/18 or stay beyond 7/30/18, the system will respond that there are no rooms available. Also, if you are booking a room for two or more people, you will need to call the hotel after booking the room to add the additional names to the registration. (If you are planning to check in together, you are not required to add the names ahead of time; this is mostly useful for people who will be checking in separately.)

  • Wireless high-speed internet access is available for free in all rooms and common areas
  • Full kitchens (including a refrigerator, stove, and cooking implements) in every room
  • Grocery services and fast food delivery are available
  • Free hot breakfast buffet available daily
  • Sofa which unfolds into a sofa bed in every room
  • All rooms are smoke-free
  • Pets are allowed with an additional charge (note that pets will not be allowed in con functions)
  • Free hotel shuttle within 3 miles of hotel
  • Located in a busy, active neighborhood, with easy access to nearby restaurants, fast food, grocery shopping, etc.
  • Easy access (2 blocks) to Pentagon City Metro station (Blue and Yellow lines)
  • Indoor pool and fitness center
  • Hotel business center with computer, printer, fax, etc.
  • All con functions will be held on a single floor
If you have any questions or encounter any issues, please don't hesitate to email us at info@con-txt.net.
aurumcalendula: gold, blue, orange, and purple shapes on a black background (Default)
[personal profile] aurumcalendula posting in [community profile] vidrecs
Vid Title: Silver Moon, Black Dog
Vidder: [personal profile] thingswithwings
Fandom: Hogfather
Summary: Susan Sto Helit, governess. She saves the world. A lot.
Reccer's Comments: I love how this captures the story (and how awesome Susan is in it)!

In Elin's comfy chair

Oct. 21st, 2017 12:28 pm
charlie_cochrane: (Default)
[personal profile] charlie_cochrane
That's where I am today, and lovely it is. She asks a good question, does our Elin. Like what commemorative event has most encapsulated the tragedy of WWI for me. Pop across to find out the answer to that.



Oct. 20th, 2017 10:04 pm
mme_hardy: White rose (Default)
[personal profile] mme_hardy
All my life I've been niggled by the worry that the Egyptians were right about the afterlife, and that everybody we've excavated is now wandering around naked and hungry.  Anybody else? 

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