25 December 2014 @ 09:12 am
Whew, started making my way through the giant list of Yuletide stories. (2678? OMG?) Here's some of the stuff I have read and liked. I still have to go back and dig deeper into some of these fandoms, so there may be more (especially around HTGAWM and Captive Prince). Give me all your recs, too!

Five (1477 words) by Anonymous
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: How to Get Away with Murder
Rating: General Audiences
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Characters: Wes Gibbins, Laurel Castillo, Michaela Pratt, Connor Walsh, Asher Millstone
Additional Tags: Yuletide

A reflection on the Keating Five at the start of the semester.

This was my gift story! It's a really lovely bit of character studying. I am always in favor of lots of different POVs looking at the same thing, and I love the little bits of backstory sprinkled throughout this.

Winner Takes All (3804 words) by Anonymous
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: Good Will Hunting (1997) RPF
Rating: Teen And Up Audiences
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Relationships: Ben Affleck/Matt Damon
Characters: Ben Affleck, Matt Damon
Additional Tags: mostly gen with a little kissing thrown in for good measure, Bromance, Gay Chicken, Yuletide Treat, Bad Photoshop Jobs

“Thanks for bringing my dick back into the spotlight, you asshole."

Matt and Ben play a friendly game with the media.

This delighted me greatly. There's obviously been a lot of effort put into the great fake news stories, but the best parts are the easy patter of the dialogue between Matt and Ben. It gives their relationship a lived-in feeling that I love.

The Wildest Dreams of Wild Men (7604 words) by Anonymous
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: Good Will Hunting (1997)
Rating: Mature
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Relationships: Will Hunting/Chuckie Sullivan
Characters: Will Hunting, Chuckie Sullivan, Morgan O'Mally, Billy McBride
Additional Tags: Post-Movie(s), Friendship, First Time

Will goes home.

Everyone knows my Boston feelings by now, I think, so this was bound to end up on here for that reason alone. But it's also a nice look at trying to refamiliarize yourself with a place you've left behind, how to settle into old-new relationships, romantic and not.

Unit Cohesion (4851 words) by Anonymous
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: XCOM: Enemy Unknown (2012)
Rating: Mature
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Relationships: Central Officer Bradford/Dr. Raymond Shen/Dr. Vahlen
Characters: Central Officer Bradford, Dr. Vahlen, Dr. Raymond Shen
Additional Tags: Slow Burn, Threesome

Bradford's job is to manage the temperamental geniuses upon which XCOM depends. They have history, however, and he's finding himself drawn into their present.

I love being surprised by stories. XCOM is one of those games where the main characters are ciphers who exist mostly to explain things to you, so when you stumble across fic that is about them having OT3 shenanigans, you go waaaaaat? And then you read it, and it is great. Really well-developed relationships and building steadily to the ending it earns.

Fraternity (8541 words) by Anonymous
Chapters: 2/2
Fandom: Captive Prince - C. S. Pacat
Rating: General Audiences
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Relationships: Auguste | Damen (Captive Prince), Damen/Laurent (Captive Prince)
Characters: Damen (Captive Prince), Auguste (Captive Prince), Laurent (Captive Prince)
Additional Tags: Alternate Universe - Fraternity

Against expectations, Damen and Auguste become best bros and help each other discover their dreams.

This was a lot of fun! I have a weakness for college/high school AUs when they manage to replicate the character dynamics in interesting ways, and I really liked this one. And I am, as always, happy to learn more about and spend time with Auguste, whose presence looms large in canon.

Italy, the Amalfi Coast (1188 words) by Anonymous
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: Luther (TV)
Rating: Teen And Up Audiences
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Relationships: John Luther/Alice Morgan
Characters: John Luther, Alice Morgan
Additional Tags: Travel, Murder

Alice is wearing a black swimsuit, a one piece, and the clean lines of her are shark-sleek and deadly but her smile’s all for him.

Italy, the Amalfi coast. There's blood in the water.

Beautiful imagery, and the author manages to capture Alice's strangeness very well.

Oh, and if anyone wants to guess my stories (3 in Yuletide, 1 in Madness), feel free to. I'll write you >500 words on anything you want if you guess correctly. I think I've blabbed about two of them to anyone who will listen, and my last two probably aren't anything that anyone would wander across by accident.

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23 December 2014 @ 06:08 am
I rewatched Star Wars this weekend with my friend, all of the original trilogy, because we are giant nerds, and Star Wars is so, so perfect in so many ways. It captures something, I think, a big, wonderful world to play in, the stories of wizards and princesses and heroes translated into a retrofuturistic space opera that still manages to be its own thing.

It's hard to tell whether or not it does manage to execute its emotional beats, because my feelings about them are so clouded by the fact that I get the urge to sob every time I hear John Williams' Force theme playing and squeal with delight every time I hear the Imperial March.

Due to the resurgence in Star Wars feelings, I went looking for fic, naturally. It's interesting, the mix of the old and the new. Back when I was reading Star Wars fic, there was a lot of Obi-Wan/Qui-Gon fic, which kind of squicked me out because of the teacher/student thing. It doesn't bother me as much now, fandom having desensitized me to pretty much everything. Obi-Wan/Anakin seems to have had a surge of new stuff, and so has a lot of gen. It's definitely a fandom predisposed to ripping action yarns, which has been pretty cool to see and a very different change of pace from what I've been reading lately.

And then there's a going back. Finding things that I remembered.

I hope to one day be that good, that memorable of a writer. Maybe it's not a matter of skill. Maybe it's a matter of being in the right place at the right time for a particular person. Capturing the right kind of mood. Capturing the right kind of image. But I'd like to be someone who can do that, who can write something that will lead another person to track it down across the internet years and years later to an ancient Angelfire site with a terrible tiling background image.

That would be cool.

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19 December 2014 @ 06:24 pm
I am kind of an emotional basket case this week. No one thing in particular triggering it, but mostly likely a bad case of PMS + weird sleep problems + work stress + Yuletide writing stress. I have a friend coming to visit this weekend, and I'm not sure if his presence will help or hurt. Probably help. It'll at least keep me from getting stuck inside my own head.

One of the best and worst things about Yuletide is being able to delay the feedback anxiety that comes with posting fic. It's nice to just put things out there, knowing that people can't see it. But the waiting to see whether or not anyone likes what I've written is kind of killer.

The series finale of Korra is good, at least. And so is Saga Vol 4.

It'll all be okay.

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18 December 2014 @ 07:52 pm
for [personal profile] roga

What can I say about Gamergate that other people haven't said far better than me?

The first thing to understand is that Gamergate has always been here. The harassment and the anger and the weird defensive nerd rage are not new things to the gaming community. Anita Sarkeesian didn't wake up one morning in August and start getting death threats. Those have been coming towards her for years and years now.

What is new -- what is so horrifying -- is that those disparate factions of angry nerds found a way to come to together, to put up a banner that allowed them to find each other and make them sound semi-legitimate.

It is, after all, about ethics in gaming journalism.

The effects of it obviously do still reverberate, but it's always in odd ways. You can always find That Guy in the comments of particular articles, trotting out talking points, obsessed with 'objectivity', desperate to recruit for the cause. Feminism and 'SJWs' show up in odd unrelated conversational topics. The harassment and the spread of misinformation continues.

They probably won't ever go away. They were here before, and they're here now.

There's a few bright spots in the muck. I think perhaps this incident woke a few people up, that it opened some people's eyes to how bad it really is out there. There's plenty of mocking of Gamergate to go around, my favorite being the 'It's about ethics in X journalism!' meme showing up in unrelated topics. Feminists have a far larger platform to speak than ever before.

And so the gaming community keeps trucking forward. Anita Sarkeesian reaches more ears with every bit of high profile news coverage she earns. Brianna Wu continues to deal with posting creepy shit about her house and sad life events in her life. The indie games scene continues to grow. The big gaming sites tread on uncertain feet, denouncing the harassment without naming the group that encourages it.

And, well, for the rest of us? We keep on playing games.

P.S. This is probably a good time for me to purchase my very own 'Gaming's Feminist Illuminati' t-shirt.

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for [personal profile] larissabernstein

The funny thing about my Trek feelings is that they're something that comes to me in bursts, depending on what I'm into and what I've just watched. The Trek universe is so large and so sprawling that tiny bits at a time is all I can seem to manage. Star Wars got me at the right time as a kid, and Trek was too odd and too cerebral for my tiny brain in comparison. But I've kept trying. And bit by bit, things have stuck with me.

So here's list of embarrassing things I can admit about the Treks that I've loved:

- That time I picked up Imzadi at the local K-Mart on a whim, and it was basically all the terrible longfic shippy fanfic feelings before I even knew what fanfic was. In retrospect, it's probably terrible, and I probably shouldn't be shipping Riker/Troi, but it was the first real introduction to Star Trek that stuck.

- Catching Voyager reruns and shipping Torres/Paris. This one, I did find fanfic for. There was this super long AU about Paris being an American soldier during WWII and Torres being a French rebel or something? It was based off a goofy holodeck adventure that was canon. I will probably be sad if I go look for it and I don't find it.

- When the rebooted Star Trek movie came out, I was all about Spock Prime feelings and his feelings for his Kirk, and it sparked a desire to go back and read and write TOS Kirk Spock fic. The purple prose in some of the older stuff is amazing. AMAZING. Also, Shatner/Nimoy RPF apparently was a thing I did. idek. My brain is pretty weird and difficult to make sense of, even to me.

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for [personal profile] zulu

I am going to say front up that I (a) looked for my new place with the explicit eye of not wanting to renovate it and (b) am terrible at decorating.

That being said, I do have decorating plans! Sort of. The big things I have done so far have been to get a few new rugs and some new art to hang on my walls. I am so terrible at this, I have only used the existing hooks in the walls to attach my stuff. Oh yeah. I am a master artiste.

I have previously posted a picture of my new rug. My second one is still unrolled, waiting for me to get off my ass and rearrange my furniture to handle it. (I was waiting for the Yuletide deadline for that one.)

One thing I'm interested in is buying art from local artists who are doing cool stuff. The area here has more than enough of them, but it's definitely kind of challenging for me to show up and look at things because I am terrible at decorating, so I don't have a good sense of where things will go. Still, it has been good to go to craft fairs and open studios, at least to get a sense of what people are doing. Hopefully I'll get better at it.

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15 December 2014 @ 05:57 am
for [personal profile] merisunshine36

I am terrible at being a product person, so I am terrible at answering this question. But here are my thoughts on this. Mostly off the cuff and pretty arbitrary. I'm a little too wedded to what I know of existing internet communities, I think. So. I'm sorry that this is probably not too inventive.

The Basics

Posting content. I guess this is first and foremost. Be able to post content without having to worry about hosting (lol, I know). Be able to post different types of content (text, videos, links, audio). Be able to separate out the transient sort of content (what I had for breakfast today) from the more permanent 'archived' content (that super awesome fic I wrote last week).

Discussion. Space to discuss things directly person-to-person. Comments. Nested comments. It's so easy for things to disappear as the streams go by. Let things remain on people's radars if they're still active. Keep active discussion floating back to the top with the option to ignore rather than the other way around.

Subscription to content. Content made by specific creators. Content that has certain tags. Content made by specific creators that have a certain tag. Any granularity that you can think of.

Finding things! It would be nice to be able to do sophisticated searches in an easy, accessible way. I'm thinking AO3-style here, though a lot less curated and a lot more freeform. Just being able to get the intersection of two tags would be super baller.

More complicated/sophisticated things

Community. Central places to find like-minded people who are interested in a certain topic. Removes the problem of finding people interested in your new shiny fandom and also the problem of finding content in your shiny new fandom. Or that one kink that five people in the universe also share. Or food discussion. Mmm. Food. These would be lightweight to create and would be moderated.

Filtering content. Like the Tumblr blacklist, sort of. Maybe even better. Maybe more like the LJ groups where you can separate out certain fannish tags and/or people into their own list so that you can follow people who post a lot and not have them take up half your stream for the day. Make archived content a separate stream from the transient content.

Make things go viral. There's a certain terrible beauty to the reblog button, I think. It makes sense to remove the effort of creating links to other content when you could just get the content to show up with just a few clicks. There's also an addictive quality to watching the notifications come in as well. Reblogs are inherently transient and would be treated as such. Unless you're a rec list. Maybe.

Public/Private. Fine-grained control on who can see what content. Private, locked-to-certain-people, public.

Sophisticated recommendations system. Noninvasive and totally optional. A separate page that shows you new content (archived and non-archived) based on content you've kudosed and content you've reblogged and content you've commented on.

Curated groupings of content. A little like Youtube's playlist functionality. Not just your own content, but other people's too. Would probably be useful for reclists and keeping track of series. Can subscribe to these (to show up in your stream) separate from subscribing to the original creator.

Posting autoplaying videos is verboten. This is non-negotiable. Seriously. What kind of monster are you?

Also, okay, I missed out on the part you actually cared about because I have been spacey for a while. *facepalm*

In terms of who could build it, I think I would say that I would love it if the OTW could be the ones to make the next great fannish platform, but I don't think they would ever be able to. They've done a great job with the AO3, don't get me wrong, but I think in order to keep up with the new evolving social media landscape, they'd need to be able to function like a startup and not like an open source project. They're just extremely different software development models, and without a team of coders willing to your bidding 40 hours a week, you won't get any of it done fast enough to compete with something like Tumblr.

Most fannish migrations happen because one thing is better than the thing we are on right now. Maybe not in every respect, but in aggregate. Tumblr enables visual fannish content and sharing of said content in ways LJ couldn't. LJ was enabled content and personal interactions that were more difficult in the days of mailing lists. Mailing lists were more accessible than zines. The next fannish migration will only come around when something significantly better than Tumblr comes around. The OTW will have to dream big in order to be able to make it. I don't think they'll be able to do it. The AO3 is in and of itself is inherently conservative. It was, at the time, a throwback to the days of giant archives that supported the mailing lists. It was an established pattern that they could figure out how to build off of. Creating a brand new social platform for fandom is a difficult, risky, and nearly impossible task for them in comparison.

I am worried, as I have mentioned before during this December Posting Meme, about the fact that fandom is constantly, constantly willing to host their content solely on platforms that we have zero voice and stake in. We build our infrastructure around an uncaring system, and the system is more than willing to completely revamp itself without talking to us first. It makes me sad. I understand the short term gains of just dumping things in one place vs. having to cross post everything everywhere.

But it still makes me sad.

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for [personal profile] merisunshine36

Okay, so the question was how does having a CS degree help me? And also, can I tell the difference between someone who has a tech degree and someone who doesn't?

How has my degree helped me? I think that there is a huge bootstrapping problem with coding jobs, in that it's hard to get a experience without having experience in the first place. There's ways around this, of course, but a CS degree is a bootstrap for that sort of thing. People like to see it when you first get out of college. Tech companies tend to recruit interns straight out of CS programs.

There's also a lot of underlying theory behind programming, and learning that can be helpful when learning a whole raft of different languages at the same time.

The name of my alma mater has also helped me get my foot in the door for certain job opportunities.

Other than that? It's not that important. I do know a bunch of people who did other things for their undergrad degrees, and they're great. Most of them made lateral moves within the company. There's nothing that will teach you like programming like having a programming job. The experience is completely different from doing university coding in any capacity -- classes or research.

But to talk about my degree in the most cynical terms is to ignore why I even got it in the first place. The reason I got a CS degree wasn't because I wanted a piece of paper at the end of it. The reason I got a CS degree is because I loved programming going into it, and the CS classes themselves blew my mind. There's just so much out there, between graphics and systems and computational theory and programming languages and algorithms and machine learning and and and... I could have studied something else, sure, but the world of CS is so beautiful and so wide and so vast, I don't regret the chance to have played in a lot of different fields. I certainly don't get a chance to do a lot of that now.

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for [personal profile] merisunshine36

I know this is kind of a boring answer, but New York City will always have a place in my heart. I grew up in its orbit, about two hours out by train, and it imprinted itself. My love for it runs deep.

I'm a city person. There's something about the density of cities, not just of people, but of things, things to do and know and learn, that I love. I grew up in a pleasant suburb, and it was fine, but every time we would travel into New York City, it was like magic. You could walk everywhere, and on every block, there would be something new and interesting to look at.

I applied to Columbia for undergrad. Didn't get in. Not hugely disappointed in that overall, but if they had let me in, I might have had a moment of indecision based on the location alone.

I still go back to New York every so often. It makes for a convenient central location, and one of my close friends just moved there. Every time I go back, I remember why I loved it. Boston is my home, but it's far sparser, slower, smaller.

New York isn't afraid to smack you in the face with information overload from the first moment you step outside. It speeds along, dragging you along with its rhythms. I feel different when I'm in New York. The city transforms me. I still love it a little for that, and I think I always will.

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for [personal profile] wrabbit

This is always a hard one, because I consume a lot of media that I don't have any interest in looking for a fandom for.

The thing about fandoms and fanworks is that a lot of the time, my desire for fanworks is driven by flaws in the canons themselves. My friend M always says that the quality of a fandom is inversely proportional to the quality of the canon itself, and I've generally found this to be true.

The biggest one that applies, I think, is the Avatarverse, Avatar: the Last Airbender and The Legend of Korra. Not only are the shows great in and of themselves, the fandom is notoriously wanky. I suspect that it's the wank, more than my satisfaction with canon that makes me less inclined to try it out.

I guess that's the nice thing about Yuletide, more than the fic itself, is the chance to find fic for things you wouldn't even have thought there would be fic for. There's something really cool about being able to see a familiar thing reflected through different eyes.

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