Saturday, February 13th, 2016 09:38 pm
So I have levels of fanfic engagement. And this is mainly on the reading side, writing is a whole other thing.

There's the pairings that I ship heavily, rewatching/rereading the original canon regularly, develop headcanons and pay close attention to the moments of those characters. These are the pairings that I'm most picky about when it comes to fic. Writing that doesn't match up with how I view the characters, or AUs that feel very against how the characters or world would work, that throws me out of a fic immediately.

There's casual pairings I have. Either ones that I might not automatically ship but could see working within the context of a fic, or ones that I can see, but don't care enough for them or the canon to rewatch on a regular basis. I tend to be less picky about fics for them, obviously. I'll get thrown out of fics less, but the big tropes will still get me.

And then there's my popcorn pairings. These tend to be pairings that I'm in pretty much for the fanfic tropes. I'll know the basics of the show/characters, but I won't have seen much of the show itself. These are the ones where I'll read almost anything for, because I'm largely using it as a framework to enjoy the tropes and weird AUs.

I don't tend to leave comments/kudos on fics for popcorn pairings. A large part of it is that I don't feel like I can really have a say? It's not so much a feeling of silencing, but more because I don't really know the characters as canon tells it. And most fic writers, even if they're off-base in terms of characterization to most of fandom, are trying to be in character as they know the characters and it feels kind of insulting to come up and say something like 'wow, you got the woobie/protector trope dynamic wonderfully for this fic', you know? It's getting praise for entirely the wrong thing that they want it for.

I do sometimes comment on casual pairings fics, though it's very situational for me. Sometimes I'll make the effort to say something good about the story if it's a smaller fandom, or a fandom that sucks with commenting, because I know how precious it can be to get those comments. Mind you, I don't lie when commenting, though I will avoid leaving constructive concrit. I've been burned too many times with that, so I never leave it unsolicited.

Fandoms that I'm more into, I try to make a bigger effort to leave comments/kudos on fics that I like and have bookmarked. Like I said in my last post, it's been a while since I've been in a fandom like that. So it's a weird adjustment period for me, because it's a fandom that I'm enjoying both the canon and the fic for.

The last few fandoms that I've gotten into have been ones where I've either actively avoided the fandom or have been ones where just watching the canon has been enough for me and I haven't really felt the need to get into the fic side of things. And of my old fandoms, I'm not as active as I used to be. (Part of that in PR at least was a nice little public mental breakdown that I had, which is a whole other post.) I don't seem to be around the right seasons or fan hubs for it.

Fic writing from me, on the other hand, has been a whole other thing for a while. It's been getting harder and harder to actually write stuff lately. Part of me is wondering if it's something that may require some medication. Or it could just be the massive changes to my work responsibilities versus how different my job use to be. Or just my own changes as a writer. I've gotten so much picker in my own writing that it's been easier to just procrastinate and just lurk online rather than trying to write anything creative.

I do feel that I have a lot of cases of posting into the void too - which is partly my own fault due to my "lovely" breakdown and other mistakes - and I don't blame others for it, but it's harder than it used to be to get the energy to bounce off into new fics. And wow, did this post ever take a turn into the dreary, eep. In happier times, I do still want to keep writing?
Saturday, February 13th, 2016 11:44 pm
Today I tried a sip of my dad's cask-strength whisky. Amelia was there to record the result.
Friday, February 12th, 2016 10:38 pm
So I have a jillion posts that I want to be making, but I think I need to start getting back into the habit of typing again. It's too easy to just lurk like a lump and then never accomplish anything that I want to accomplish. So I'm going to start trying to type things up a head of time and post when I can. We'll see how well this goes.

So, posting for today, I've been getting into Person of Interest. Been mildly interested in it before, more interested when I heard about the canon lesbian stuff and finally sat down and watched the first season. (Because if I'm getting into a show for femslashy reasons, I also want to make sure I like it for other reasons.) And holy crap, you guys. Even the guys are slashy as hell and it's fun and smart and I'm getting highly engrossed in it.

And then to top it off, there's a crap ton of fic and it's so weird to be reading fic for pairings I know better and being able to comment (that's a whole other post right there.). I don't know if I'll get into the fic writing side of it, but it's got my attention in a good way and it's been a while, so I almost feel like I'm trying to relearn fandom.

And then I saw the Deadpool movie with Riv today and holy crap, that was everything I wanted in a Deadpool movie. Funny and emotional and Vanessa was awesome, though there was a bit of 'damsel in distress' to the plot, I found that overall, I highly enjoyed it and I look forward to owning that movie and rewatching the hell out of it. They really did right by Wade and his crew. And if the after movie clip is to be believed, the sequel is going to be very interesting.

What else fandom is going on? Hm. Well, been really getting into D&D, which is a lot of fun. I've been watching an online group called Critical Role - from Geek and Sundry - which really has me hooked, but it's weird, I've got ship preferences and favourite episodes, but I think the aspect of it being fellow D&D players means I don't really feel like I can fanfic it? It's definitely a show I invest in (and don't always like character choices) but it doesn't feel quite the same as other shows I watch in that regard.

My D&D characters are a lot of fun though. I've been playing a four elements monk in my main game, and I think it helps that my DM is a big fan of monks himself, but I get some fun freedom in how I play her. I do like that he's allowed me to branch out past the basic elemental feats that the book offers. As long as I can tailor the spell to something that would work for a four element power, I can use it. And weapon wise, he's been open to my ideas too.

Like, I found this weapon on Wikipedia called a Meteor Hammer, which is two weighted balls attached to the ends of a chain and it functions a bit like a flail and your basic chain weapons. Which technically doesn't count as a monk weapon, but with the story I spin for it - Elemental monks in my character's order make these as part of the training. They start with two balls of stone, and as they grow, one ball becomes a container of water, pitch gets added to the stone one for fire and with the water, you generate some mist. So it eventually becomes a weapon of the four elements.

So the DM liked it enough that we worked out some basic rules/limits for the weapon and I get my own weapon that I made myself. So that's been fun.

And then I play in a different game on another day now and this one is totally different but just as a fun. Different DM, but I play with him during the main game. And it's fun, also because he's a Critical Role fan too, so we've bonded over that. And added to that, since I've had the week off this week, I showed up early to the main game day. My second DM was there and one of the other guys and so we wound up playing Settlers of Catan together, which was neat.

Partly because I'd only seen it played before on Tabletop, but also because I got to relate to them out of character. And it was a neat experience, just hanging out with them.
Tuesday, February 9th, 2016 07:40 pm
"Mikrokosmographia" by Helkiah Crooke (1576-1635) was the first book in English to use the word "clitoris". Oddly, there's not much of the book online [edit: there's a blog!] But here's page 238, where he explains about orgasms, lesbians, and squirting. I've modernised the spelling a bit.

"Although for the most part it hath but a small production hidden under the Nymphes [==labia], and hard to be felt but with curiosity, yet sometimes it groweth to such a length that it hangeth without the cleft like a man's member, especially when it is fretted with the touch of the cloaths, and so strutteth and groweth to a rigidity as doth the yard of a man. And this part it is which those wicked women do abuse called Tribades (often mentioned by many authors, and in some states worthily punished) to their mutual and unnatural lusts.

The use of this part is the same with the bridle of the yard [==the frenulum of the penis]; for because the Testicles of the women [==ovaries] are far distant from the yard [==penis] of the man, the imagination is carried to the spermatical vessels by the motion and attrition of this Clitoris, together with the lower ligatures of the womb, whose original [==the cervix] toucheth, cleaveth and is tied to the leading vessels of the seed. And so the profusion of their seed is stirred up for generation, for which business it was not necessary it should be large. Wherefore although by this passage their seed is not ejaculated, yet by the attrition of it their imagination is wrought to call that out that lieth deeply hidden in the body, and hence it is called "aestrum Veneris" & "dulcedo amoris". For in it with the ligaments inserted into it is, the especial seat of delight in their veneral embracements, as [Renaldus] Columbus imagineth he first discovered.

For Nature [...] hath given to all creatures both the instruments of conception, and hath also infused into them a strange and violent kind of delight, that none of the kinds of the creatures should perish but remain ever (after a sort) immortal. And truly it was very necessary that there should be a kind of pleasant force or violence in the Nature of mankind to transport him out of himself, or beside himself as it were, in the act of generation; to which otherwise (being master of himself) he would hardly have been drawn; which ecstasy (for it is called a little epilepsy, or falling sickness) is caused by the touch of the seed upon the nervous and quick-sensed parts as it passeth by them."
Saturday, February 6th, 2016 04:24 pm
conversation between me and Tim, many years ago:

Marn: I've never pledged allegiance to the Queen... well, unless you count the Cub Scout promise. Come to think of it, though, I've sworn allegiance to her husband.
Tim: ?!
Marn: When you start at Cambridge, you have to promise allegiance to the chancellor, and the chancellor is Prince Philip. So presumably I'm still under an oath of allegiance to him.
Tim: ... that's wonderful. I wonder whether that means I've sworn allegiance to Peter Ustinov.

- Prince Philip was chancellor of Cambridge at the time of this conversation; he isn't now.
- Peter Ustinov was chancellor of Durham at the time; he's now dead.
- the Cambridge matriculation oath is currently: "I promise to observe the Statutes and Ordinances of the University as far as they concern me, and to pay due respect and obedience to the Chancellor and other officers of the University."
- the Cub Scout promise is currently: "I promise that I will do my best to do my duty to God, and to the Queen, to help other people, and to keep the Cub Scout law."
Thursday, February 4th, 2016 08:54 pm
Successfully wrote a script to archive all my tags and also went back and basically privated almost everything.* I just want to have more of a fresh start. In that vein, I also put up a new theme from [community profile] coliseu that I'm still tweaking somewhat to make more responsive and whatnot, but I like it. Still need to go through my icons and figure out what I actually want to use of what I have, and maybe get some fresh ones.

Figuring out the xmlrpc interface while also trying to figure out Python was an interesting endeavor, haha. I have been working a lot with REST APIs through node at work, lately, but I couldn't figure out the exact syntax for setting up an xmlrpc request until I finally found some examples, thanks to old posts from [staff profile] mark and [personal profile] foxfirefey. After that it was relatively simple aside from not knowing how to use Python effectively. But hey, it works.

As a heads up, I'm probably also going to do a circle cleanup of what seem to be dead journals in the nearish future. I know there are some people who read and occasionally comment, but don't update, so if you're in that category let me know?

Going forward, I'm probably going to keep public posts largely art-related and announcement-type entries like this, with maybe some fandom stuff/essays/code if I feel like they're actually coherent enough to be 'public-worthy'. Everything else is currently just going to be access locked-- I might set up filters later if I find I'm posting a lot on one niche topic or something, but at the moment I'm not posting enough that I think it matters.

*This is a really specific-to-me case, but if anybody else would find a script to read their tags, write them to the entry, and delete the tags useful, I now have one. Though I didn't bother to handle the paging because ugh paging, so it's manual paging right now, which is slightly tedious but less so than hand-editing every entry.
Thursday, February 4th, 2016 11:16 am
I keep meaning to write an update to this post describing my listening habits from three years ago. A lot has changed since then, especially recently.

For one thing, I have a new car with native, hassle-free support for playing music on various electronic devices, so I've pretty much stopped listening to CDs in the car, except for the ones I borrow from the library. I haven't been listening to the radio as much lately, either.

For another, I subscribed to Apple Music four or five months ago. It's like Netflix streaming for CDs. If I see something I want to listen to at a later date, I can add it to my library and it will be there when I'm in the mood to try it. There are only two downsides I've found so far. One is that it only works with the newer versions of iTunes and iOS, so I only have access to it on my laptop right now. The other is that downloaded Apple Music tracks won't sync to iPods.

There are other features of Apple Music that I don't use as much. They have some decent curated playlists, but they tend to only be 10 or so songs each, and as far as I can tell you can't actually view the songs they contain except by playing through them. There are "stations" like Pandora's, but artist-based stations aren't as customizable, and their genre-based ones are too generic. Apple Music also recommends albums it thinks I will like, but I'm already familiar with most of them. Still, the ability to listen to pretty much any CD that's available on iTunes without paying for it is worth the $10/month to me, because I like to listen to a wide variety of different things.

I also signed up for Amazon Prime last month when they were discounting it - their new policy of 20% off newly released video games was what made up my mind that it would be worth the cost. But the variety of music available for Amazon Prime streaming is disappointingly paltry compared to Apple Music's deep catalog. Still, to be fair, Amazon has more of my purchased music in the cloud than iTunes does, their music app works on older iOS devices, and in the long term $99/year for all sorts of things is a better value than $10/month for just music.

I guess my point is that I'm using streaming services now more than I ever thought I would, considering my preference for listening to entire albums when investigating new music. In my case, Apple Music hits a sweet spot that the alternatives don't. And I still buy my favorite new releases, so that I can listen to them on the road - but these days I'm more likely to buy the digital tracks than the shiny disc.
Wednesday, February 3rd, 2016 11:42 pm
I don't understand all the physics, but I read Justin Smith's as much for his writing style as the technical stuff. Here's a sample:
"If you`re using the Sky free channels (as opposed to Freesat) in order to receive all the available free channels sometimes need a Sky card . At the moment this is quite cheap but it is only available from Sky and anyone who has had dealings with them can testify that it can be a frustrating business..... In fact when Which? researched call centres in Jan 11 they found Sky was the worst, and they`ve got some decent opposition in that department, particularly Royal Mail, and (ironically) BT, plus all the broadband providers, obviously. That`s the modern trend, companies don`t actually want to talk to their customers, not unless it`s a voice activated computer. I never talk to them. Well actually I do, I swear at them till they put me through to a human being. You should try it, it`s very satisfying.

Some of the of the programmes on Freeview are not available on Freesat. As far as I am aware Dave or the UK History channel are not available on Freesat although the situation could change so you are advised to check. Apparently UKTV History changed its name in March 09 to “Yesterday”, and it also changed its Freeview MUX allocation. Yet another example of name changing bollox. Isn`t all this digital TV complicated enough......

On the other hand there are a few more channels on Freesat than on Freeview. So you might get 120 odd channels of crap *, instead of the 80 odd channels of crap on Freeview. Big deal. So you can waste even more time going through the TV guide confirming there`s nothing actually worth watching anyway. Life`s wonderful.

* Remember they aren`t all TV channels, some are radio channels. Who listens to the radio through a bleedin` satellite anyway ? That`s what I want to know. Whatever next ? Gas companies selling electricity ? And I bet they`d charge too much for it. The world`s gone mad."
Tuesday, February 2nd, 2016 12:48 pm
The new cold set me back a bit healthwise, but I'm back now to where I was two weeks ago, which is coughing more than I want to but not enough to really slow me down. Symphony chorus rehearsals started back last night and I was fine, if a bit relieved we only went 90 minutes instead of the full two hours.

Finally found a second car on Friday. It's a 2008 Subaru Outback that Robby found on Craigslist, and we only had to drive about an hour instead of all the way to Tennessee. Our first grown-up car was an Impreza and he really missed driving a Subaru. He is thrilled with the Outback. I am thrilled to have Benny the RAV4 back.

Finally saw The Force Awakens in IMAX on Friday night. Funny story: there was an accident on the interstate and we showed up at 7:10 for the 7pm screening, the last of the day. They had just closed the registers for the evening and couldn't sell us tickets - so the staff manager waved us in, no charge. So now I've seen it on the biggest screen available... but it still didn't feel as big as seeing the original Star Wars in a drive-in theater when I was six. I guess everything is relative.

Finally ordered the new Mac Mini I've been wanting for months. I decided to go with the 1TB Fusion drive, instead of all-or-nothing on the SSD vs HD option. Since it was a custom order, I won't get it until next week sometime.

I haven't set up the Windows PC for the kids yet, but I am making progress on the necessary house cleaning that needs to happen first. I decided to hold off upgrading my iPad to iOS 9, but I did update the kids' iPad and my mom's iPhone. I haven't helped my mom with her new laptop yet, but there will be plenty of time for that after this week, because her last day of work is Thursday. (I guess I'm burying the lede on that one, but yeah, my mom is finally retiring.)

So things are decent for the moment. Robby got the Christmas tree down. Our garage door broke last week, which was aggravating, but it got fixed Monday morning. The kids had their dentist appointments last week and their doctor visits are scheduled for President's Day. Cam Newton and Peyton Manning are going to face off in the Super Bowl, which should be pretty great.

February is always a busy month for me anyway because of the boys' birthdays. No firm plans yet, but that just means I need to be prepared to be spontaneous.