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Jaw-dropping realization of this morning: the number of fans participating in Yuletide is bigger than the number of fans who vote for the Hugo awards.

Last year's Yuletide participants: 1995
This year's Hugo voters: 1800 or so - ETA: 1848, by official report.

I'm not even sure why I'm so surprised by this random comparison. Probably it's because I roamed around in SF/F con fandom before media fandom, and this feels like such a strange crossover.

It's also boggling because the Hugos carry a lot of prestige (I think, still?) and yet the group that votes for them is so small, and confined to people who are paying either tons of money to go to Worldcon, or $50 for a 'voting membership' that won't let them go to the con, but gets them copies of the books.

And I don't know how big the overlap with Yuletiders is; I'm betting it's there, but not huge. But I'm fascinated, anyway.

(What do you think the chances are of John Scalzi winning a Best Novel Hugo for Redshirts, if the Yuletide participants were the ones voting?)

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[personal profile] astolat posted about the Pomodoro method, which I've also been using for a while now. Basically: concentrate on work for 25 minutes, take a break for 5 minutes, repeat. It works!

I'm using Focus Booster for Windows, which is just a little free timer that counts down the minutes for you and dings when you're done. I also use Workrave to deal with RSI, so I still take microbreaks in between.

Now here's a related question: what software or apps can I use to plan stuff better?

I don't know what terms to use for googling - 'open source planning software' gets me stuff designed for entire teams and whatnot, but I would like something a little simpler that's just for me.

What I'm looking for:
  • Software that's preferably free, preferably open source, but if it's awesome and paid I will shell out for it.
  • Works on Windows XP (which they will pry from my cold, dead hands, or at least I will wait until Microsoft sees fit to repent from their Windows 8 sins before buying anything else.)
  • Something that lets me keep track of hours worked, weekly and monthly deadlines, maybe a daily popup to remind me of my goals for the day?
  • Something geared toward fiction and wordcounts would be awesome, but probably not necessary.
  • Something that keeps my data local and not in the cloud, if possible.
I'd appreciate any tips you have!
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I really like the idea of everyone leaving fannish recs on Sandy's birthday. Of course, by the time I saw people's posts, it was already a day later (timezones are so handy that way) and now it's a day later still, but I'm sure Sandy woudn't have minded. I visited her recs pages so often, back in the day.

So have two recs for stories by the same author, both in Tolkien movie/book fandom.

First, an adorable Legolas/Gimli story where, as the author says, Gimli is a BAMF. This is an important part of his characterization for me, and I'm always happy to find fic that showcases him that way.

From One Age to Another (12118 words) by determamfidd
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: The Lord of the Rings - J. R. R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings - All Media Types, The Hobbit - All Media Types, The Hobbit (2012)
Rating: General Audiences
Warnings: Author Chose Not To Use Archive Warnings
Relationships: Gimli/Legolas

Summary: Upon their return to Eryn Lasgalen and Erebor respectively, Legolas and Gimli each have a new adornment. Their fathers would like an explanation.

The second rec is for a much longer crossover-ish story where Thorin and crew are all kibitzing from the sidelines as the LOTR storyline progresses. What with being dead and all, there isn't much else left for them to do - or is there?

This one's a WiP, and we haven't gotten to the point yet where Legolas and Gimli are even friends, much less anything closer than that, but I cannot WAIT for that to happen, and to see the reactions from the other dwarves. And then there's the question of whether Bilbo will be allowed into the Halls of the Dead...

Sansûkh (94511 words) by determamfidd
Chapters: 14/?
Fandom: The Hobbit - All Media Types, The Lord of the Rings - All Media Types, The Hobbit - J. R. R. Tolkien, The Hobbit (Jackson movies), The Lord of the Rings (Movies)
Rating: Teen And Up Audiences
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply, Major Character Death
Relationships: Bilbo Baggins/Thorin Oakenshield, Gimli/Legolas Greenleaf

Summary: The battle was over, and Thorin Oakenshield awoke, naked and shivering, in the Halls of his Ancestors.

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This is so cool, and I think it's a first for me: a podfic of one of my stories! With multiple readers, even:

[podfic] The Tough Guide To Fantasy Cities (24 words) by klb, reena_jenkins, Wesle
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: The Tough Guide to Fantasyland - Diana Wynne Jones
Rating: General Audiences
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Additional Tags: Podfic, Collaboration, Humor, Fantasy
Summary:

You will not encounter any rustic taverns, bards, or bowls of stew on these tours! Instead, expect nightclubs, rock singers, and lots of gourmet coffee.
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It's been snowing hard, pretty much for the first time all winter, and there's a ton of traffic jams and train delays and all kinds of badness.

But here in the city, the roads are slurry but otherwise clear, and people are industriously shoveling the sidewalk in front of their houses.

Best of all, the world's tiniest snowplow just drove by. Seriously, the thing was the size of a Smart car with a little plow stuck in front.

Why so small? Because it was PLOWING THE BIKE PATHS. <3
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This year, I wrote one story for Yuletide, in a favorite book fandom - the Fall of Ile-Rien trilogy by Martha Wells. It was a lot of fun revisiting this universe and working on a possible future for Tremaine, Ilias, and Giliead after the end of the third book.

When the Sea Is (7183 words)
Fandom: Fall of Ile-Rien - Martha Wells
Rating: General Audiences
Warning: No Archive Warnings Apply
Relationships: Ilias/Tremaine Valiarde
Characters: Tremaine Valiarde, Ilias (Ile-Rien), Giliead (Ile-Rien)

Summary:  Tremaine had been living in Cineth for more than a month now, and so far, none of her more pessimistic predictions had come to pass. She hadn’t gotten anyone killed, not even Cletia; she hadn’t added Ilias to her previously dismal record of broken relationships; and she hadn’t been homesick for Vienne at all.

Thanks to [personal profile] dorinda and [personal profile] torch for cheerleading!

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I posted earlier about two of my favorite writers' new books, Captain Vorpatril's Alliance by Lois McMaster Bujold and The Siren Depths by Martha Wells.

At that time the ebook for The Siren Depths wasn't available yet, but it is now - yesterday was the official release day, and Baen has it for $6.00 in all formats, Kindle included.

Go Baen! Their ebook service is the best, and they don't use any of the mean tricks Amazon does, like raising the price just because you're downloading the ebook from another country. (Because...bytes are more expensive when they're crossing the ocean?)

See also lots more links to hardcopy books, earlier books, free preview chapters etc at Martha Wells's journal. I love these books, and reading a couple chapters of the first Raksura book will tell you a ton about the world and the characters without spoiling you too much.

I'm having some RSI issues, so won't be posting a ton the coming weeks (ha, like I did before) but I wish you all a happy Sinterklaas! In accordance with tradition, I put my shoe out for the Sint and got a chocolate letter, yay.
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I saw a couple people mention the new Lois McMaster Bujold book -- starring Ivan! -- and thought I'd check, and yes, it's out:

Captain Vorpatril's Alliance (in hardcover at Amazon)
Captain Vorpatril's Alliance (multiple format ebook at Baen)

Bless Baen for doing the ebook thing right -- they bring out the ebook along with the hardcover, DRM-free, in formats suitable for any e-reader (Kindle format, epub, html, you name it, even Rocketbook which I don't think anyone uses anymore but me) and for a very reasonable price. And you get all the formats at once, too, so you can read the book in multiple ways if you desire.

The new Martha Wells book, the third in the Raksura series, is also out, with a gorgeous cover:

The Siren Depths (in paperback at Amazon)

Baen has the two previous books in the series as multiple format ebooks, and I can't recommend either of these books enough:

The Cloud Roads (book 1 of the Raksura series, see my review)

The Serpent Sea (book 2 of the Raksura series)

Amazon also has these as Kindle ebooks, and it looks like their Kindle version of The Cloud Roads might be cheaper than Baen's at the moment, but Amazon prices change every second, so ymmv.
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Dear Yuletide writer:

Hi! Yay, you share at least one of these wonderful fandoms with me, and I’m so glad you chose it. Have an excellent Yuletide! And please do not worry: optional details are optional, and any prompts are only there in case you’d like to have something to kickstart your story.

Things I love, in general

I love happy endings, especially after tense, difficult situations. Some of my favorite story tropes are hurt/comfort, A sacrificing himself for B, and "A thinks B is dead, but he's not really", but I also love light, funny stories, plot, snark, missing scenes, understated longing, ordinary domestic days in the life of the characters, epistolary stories, and stories written from an outsider’s point of view.

Things I love about these particular fandoms:

Invisible Man, Darien Fawkes and Bobby Hobbes )

Elfquest, Cutter and Skywise )

Hercules: the Legendary Journeys, Hercules and Iolaus )

Mask of Apollo - Mary Renault, Nikeratos and Thettalos )

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Dear fellow Person of Interest fans: hi! I'm really enjoying the show! I haven't watched the current season yet - just watched episode 105 this weekend. I'm not fast.

I have been spoilered a tiny bit and I know there is a dog, and that dog understands DUTCH. (And I just got pointed at a twitter that is purportedly by that dog, and in Dutch, but it's all the worst, literal, Google translate garbage, alas.)

So: if you are writing PoI fanfic, and you happen to need Dutch words or phrases?

COME TO ME.

I will supply you! They will make sense, and be spelled right!

Feel free to comment here or email me, and if it's for Yuletide, your secret is safe with me.

Just don't tell me anything too spoilery about the new season or eps later than 105, please? And for the same reason, I can't actually beta for you. But I will translate. :-)
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I don't follow Boing Boing regularly, so I'm happy I saw this: Wendy and Richard Pini are working on the last chapter of Elfquest.

Not one of the millionty spinoffs, which I did not care for, but the original story. (In the new comic so far, there are references to all those spinoffs, but it doesn't look like the Pinis expect you to have read them.)

And they're publishing it page by page on Boing Boing as Elfquest - the Final Quest. One new page every Monday. Yay!

ETA: there is also an RSS feed for just the comic.
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So, I don't know the show Once Upon a Time at all, because I seriously suck at watching things with a plot these days.

But: it's about fairytale people who live in the modern world, in a town called Storybrooke. I know that much because of this fabulous vid that [personal profile] arduinna and [personal profile] therienne made.

And I am fascinated by the picspams [personal profile] arduinna is now putting up: They are not hugely spoilery, I think, because they deal with scenery and background things, not so much the plot.

And it turns out that the OUaT crew have been doing amazing things with scenery.

The kind of things that you don't even notice, until you are vidding the show, and pausing endlessly, and running clips at low speeds, and rewatching clips 100 times. Which...normal viewers probably don't do, and yet the showmakers put this coherent, subtle, beautiful motif of trees and flowers and forests in the background of the modern town, in ways that make particular sense for each character. It's stunning when you see it all together like this.

Another favorite fannish analysis of mine is Tom & Lorenzo's thoughts about the period wardrobe in Mad Men, and how it ties in to the character arcs, starting with season two. I haven't been reading that recently, as, guess what, I'm not caught up to Mad Men's current season at all, but I loved their posts on earlier seasons.

(Side note re not being caught up: I am still debating whether to ask for Burn Notice fic for Yuletide or not. I love the show just as much as I did last year. I just, um, haven't caught up at all, as far as I can remember, since last year, which means I'm somewhere in season...three? That might make things awkward for my writer, I fear.)

I wish more shows were this careful and thoughtful about their entire background, wardrobe and styling choices. It's like they are giving the viewer presents to reward them for investing time in the show.

It's a huge contrast to the more usual elements you pick up as a vidder -- shows reusing footage, for example (Granada Sherlock Holmes, as lovely as your street scenery shots are, I'm looking at you).

Or the stunt guys who are so very obviously not the hero, once you pause them.

Or that really very charming shot I found in ST:TOS, I can't remember the episode, but it was one with explosions in it -- and at one point you can see Kirk come in running, sort of come to a stop and then deliberately throw himself on the ground, with the explosion happening just a tad later.

Or shows that reuse scenery elements in ways that are incredibly distracting once you notice them. (Hercules: the Legendary Journeys, not having a huge budget, did this all the damn time, to the point where I started greeting a certain stretch of beach like an old friend. Probably worst of all was the decision to reuse the Sumerian tomb Iolaus was buried in as set dressing for the catwalk in a Widow Twanky episode. Well, worst or most audacious, I'm not sure.)

H/C bingo

Jun. 12th, 2012 07:45 pm
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I'm really hoping this will get me back into finishing fanfic, rather than poking at stories and giving up.

My hurt/comfort bingo card )

As usual with this kind of challenge, some of the options are weird -- orphans? Wings?

It's not that I can't envision any kind of story with those prompts, but it does boggle me what on earth they have to do with hurt/comfort.

I looove "time travel gone wrong" though, and "telepathic trauma" and "unrequited pining". And "confession in desperate situation."

And then there's "unexpected consequences of planned soulbonding" which seems startlingly specific -- it has to be planned soulbonding? That rules out the plot of approximately 98% of all the Kirk/Spock stories I've ever read, I'm just saying.
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From Shaun Usher at Letters of Note, a fascinating blog about letters:

"This is how Maurice Sendak sometimes sent his letters. Just imagine getting one."

Sendak illustrated envelope with monsters


Maurice Sendak died yesterday, and I'll miss him. I love those few of his books that I own, like a Grimm's fairytales collection he illustrated, and I've given Where the Wild Things Are to any number of friends with babies.

That's pretty much the only book of his that's available in the Netherlands, more's the pity; I still haven't gotten my hands on Outside Over There, which I want for myself, not least because it's a clear source of inspiration for the movie Labyrinth: it's about a girl who goes to rescue her younger sister from the goblins that have stolen her away.

Actually, it's not quite true that I've given Where The Wild Things Are to any number of people.

I've given them, necessarily, the Dutch translation, which is memorable mostly for its title: Max en de Maximonsters.

ARGH.

It's true that the original title is untranslatable, but please.

This cutesy pun seems to me exactly the sort of thing that Sendak would have hated, and Neil Gaiman posted about a terrific two-page comic strip convo between Art Spiegelman and Maurice Sendak that bears me out.

"Childhood is cannibals and psychotics vomiting in your mouth!"

Now there's a quote to go out on.
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Wislawa Szymborska died yesterday. She was 88, she won the Nobel prize for literature, and was one of my favorite poets in any language.

I will now revert to the present tense, because her poems have not died. They are thoughtful, funny, delicate, mordant or gentle, and very precise but not fussy. They are poems about dinosaurs, about terrorists, about the soul, about losing your umbrella in the tram.

This is one of my favorites:

Cat in an empty apartment )
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I had a blast writing two stories for Yuletide this year:

The Tough Guide to Fantasy Cities for [personal profile] jjhunter.
Gen, 2800 words.
Fandom: The Tough Guide to Fantasyland by Diana Wynne Jones. I love that book, and there were some great stories for it this year.

Summary: You will not encounter any rustic taverns, bards, or bowls of stew on these tours! Instead, expect nightclubs, rock singers, and lots of gourmet coffee.

1000 Advocaten op de Zeebodem for [personal profile] jae.
Het, 1900 words.
Fandom: Pleidooi, an outstanding Dutch television series written by Maria Goos. This one was a real challenge, because I wrote it in Dutch. Sure, that's my first language and all, but I've never written fanfic in it! Another Yuletide first, and what fun.

Summary: Ga bij me weg op een stralende dag.

And my Yuletide gift was a lovely creepy-but-not-too-creepy Hercules and Iolaus story, Bearing Gifts, by [personal profile] jessikast, yay!
marycrawford: alien woman (weird tales alien woman)
[personal profile] marthawells's fantasy novel The Cloud Roads is a free Kindle ebook today.

That is excellent news, particularly as this is her first book in a new series, with book 2, The Serpent Sea, coming out in January.

The Cloud Roads is a spectacular fantasy. It's entirely its own thing: I can't easily point to another book or genre and say "that's what it's like", which is praise in itself. The landscape is unique, the characters come in all colors and shapes -- the main character, Moon, is a winged shapechanger who has never found anyone belonging to his own kind, amid all the people with gills and tusks and scales -- and it has all the Martha Wells trademarks of deep worldbuilding, clever, competent and witty characters, and a ton of plot.

Mostly, what I keep thinking as I read this book is: I want Miyazaki to film this. I want that SO BAD. He would get such a kick out of the flying people and airships and floating sky islands and cities built like giant wheels. *flails*

Note: the free Kindle ebook isn't available in Europe (at least, not to me, snf) but it should work just fine in the US.
marycrawford: yuletide icon: the cake is not a lie (yuletide cake)
Hi! Yay, you share at least one of these wonderful fandoms with me, and I’m so glad you chose to write them. Have an excellent Yuletide! And please do not worry about the tl;dr below: optional details are optional, and only there in case you’d like to have something to kickstart your story.

Things I love, in general
I love happy endings, especially after tense, difficult situations. Some of my favorite story tropes are hurt/comfort, A sacrificing himself for B, and "A thinks B is dead, but he's not really". I also love light, funny stories, plot, snark, missing scenes, understated longing, ordinary domestic days in the life of the characters, epistolary stories, and stories written from an outside point of view.

Things I love about these particular fandoms:

Lost Room, Burn Notice, Vorkosigan Saga, Hercules: the Legendary Journeys )
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Gorgeous, gorgeous fairytale art in the [profile] kidpix comm, which I found through [personal profile] astridv: large scans from the book Legends of Ancient Kazachstan.

The post is in Russian, but it's all pictures, and I'm saving them all.
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The current OTW election wank has me sick to my stomach, and I like what [personal profile] morgandawn said:
My prescription: do something for fandom today: send feedback, leave a kudo, write some code, make a Fanlore entry, post a drabble.  Remind yourself - and others - why you love fandom - and fans.
I don't love everything about the AO3, but I love some things about it very much. The download-story-as-ebook feature is a godsend to me, as someone who reads books on three different e-readers as well as the iPhone.

So I thought I'd post this short guide on how to save AO3 stories on your iPhone to read offline. This can come in handy when you want to save your phone's battery, or when you're in transit and don't have an internet connection, and I use it all the time for longer stories.

You also don't need to use iTunes for this particular way of downloading ebooks.

How to Read AO3 Fanfic on Your iPhone Without Being Online )

I really hope this is useful, and please comment if anything's unclear!

Whee

Nov. 1st, 2011 11:11 pm
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O mysterious magical person who gave me a DW paid account: thank you very much! This was kind of a crappy week so far, and you have improved it hugely, <3!

I clearly need to get back into the habit of posting, because while I do still read and comment on DW and LJ, I just don't talk much, I guess. If anyone has anything they would like me to talk about, now's a good time to comment. :-)

For now I will leave you with this video under the cut, which I've been playing on loop for a while now.

Sunshine of Your Love )

I love Ella so much, you guys. This song, if you don't know it, is originally by Cream and IMO is your average droning, vaguely creepy stoner rock song, sung by guys who are much better at guitar playing than singing. And Ella takes that song and kicks it out of the park, over the roof and straight down the highway.
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Vidder: [personal profile] marycrawford
Music
: "Mystery Dance" by Elvis Costello
Fandom: Star Trek: TOS
Length: 1: 47
Description: Birds do it, bees do it -- surely a starship captain can figure this out.
Notes: This vid premiered at Vividcon 2011, as an auction vid for the fabulous [personal profile] thefourthvine.

Download from my website: Big (.mp4, 38 Mb) | Medium (.avi, 23 Mb ) | Small (.avi, 14 Mb) | Lyrics | Subtitles

Streaming version below )

Feedback extremely welcome, the critical sort included!
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So after the Comic Con trailer for Legend of Korra (thanks, [personal profile] elynross!) got me all excited, I saw this:

Comic Con Legend of Korra Panel 2011 Transcript -- SPOILERS GALORE if you go here.

This is the creators discussing character sketches and the premise of the show. There's video links for the panel as well, but I love that there's a transcript, as I personally hate watching people talk when I could read them instead. The transcript also has pics of all the character sketches, which is great, especially seeing them morph from rough ideas into final versions.

It's looking awesome, and I can't wait to see the show. (We'll have to wait a year, just fyi. "Mid-2012" is all I know.)
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Dear Hercules: the Legendary Journeys fans, please help me figure out which episode this Hercules clip occurs in?

It's used in Hair, a terrific Media Cannibals vid from the VCR era that [personal profile] gwyn is remastering, and if I can find the right episode, I can give her the DVD version for her remaster.

All we've got is this very short clip. A floor of dry leaves, some possible buildings in the background, and Hercules doing a forward shoulder roll. Very generic.

But: if you slow the clip down frame by frame, you can just see that Hercules is wearing Iolaus' amulet. Which I thought meant that the clip must be from Descent, the second Dahak arc episode in season 5, but I've been through it twice already and I can't find the damn clip. If you remember, Hercules starts wearing Iolaus' amulet in the beginning of that episode, and then hands it back to Nebula at the end and sails off to Ireland for shenanigans with Morrigan.

So, is there another episode I've forgotten about where Hercules also wears Iolaus' amulet? Or am I off track entirely?
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Quick heads-up: the ever-fabulous [personal profile] dorinda is clearing out a number of fannish items, yours for the mere cost of shipping. The haul includes fanzines, pro novels, records and a MST3K lunchbox. Fandoms include H:LotS, ST:TOS, Pros, QL and SH.

Kirk/Spock fans who appreciate the old as well as the new, go forth and grab that copy of Alien Brothers before some other, possibly less deserving fan gets their mitts onto it!

I love that zine, it's one of the earliest TOS K/S zines around and has beautiful art. If I didn't already have a copy I'd be on it like white on rice. Just look at the gorgeous typography of that cover.
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Still watching my new Farscape dvd's for the first time. There was a brief hiatus finishing a vid for Vividcon (all done, uploaded, woo!) and since then I've watched a bunch of eps from Season 1, including Jeremiah Crichton, A Human Reaction and Through the Looking Glass.

Some reactions with ep-specific spoilers )

Comments very welcome, just please don't spoil me for specific events to come!
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I've been watching Farscape for the first time the last week or so -- I'm still in season 1 and have managed to avoid all spoilers so far, so please DO NOT SPOIL in comments, thank you! But please do join in if you've watched the series.

I never caught this show while it was on the air, and I have been hearing from a lot of people that I missed out. So far, I'm definitely inclined to agree. The show looks amazing, and has a lot of actually alien aliens, which is one of my favorite things in SF. They live on Moya, a ship that is a sentient being, with a pilot who is in a symbiotic relationship with her! J'adooore.

It also doesn't hurt that this isn't a standard Trek-ish story of human explorers with token aliens; the main cast has exactly one human, John Crichton, whom I really like so far. He has Very Nice Arms, and keeps making these completely inappropriate geeky cultural references that nobody else gets, because duh, he's the only human on board. This could be really annoying, but instead it just delights me. In the very first eps he calls a planet Dagobah, and later on he introduces himself and Aeryn to alien bounty hunters as "I'm Butch. This is Sundance. We're the Hole in the Sky Gang."

I also enjoy how everyone else thinks John's kind of a backward species from a primitive planet, and he can't really disagree. "Human. It’s kinda like Sebacean, but we haven’t conquered other worlds yet, so we just kick the crap out of each other." And in the episode I just watched, John tells Aeryn that yes, he does want to go back to Earth even though it's primitive and has wars and disease and no spaceflight -- "but you guys don't have chocolate."

One of the aliens looks human, but she really isn't. That's Aeryn Sun, whom I ADORE. Oh Aeryn. Snarky, gorgeous, stiff-necked and supremely competent. I think she stole my heart first when she got annoyed at John flirting with someone else and expressed her feelings by lifting a massive piece of equipment over her head. She then carried it down the corridor, glaring and yelling something like "Am I the only one around here who gets any work done?". <3

And then there is Zhaan (spelling thanks to [personal profile] flambeau, I sure couldn't tell from the dialogue) -- lovely blue alien priestess who gets orgasms from sunlight and who seems very relaxed and zen at first, right up until she cuts off someone's arm. And D'Argo the Luxan warrior, who has just mournfully said that he and Crichton can never be friends. I bet he is wrong wrong wrongity wrong. At least I hope so, having seen [personal profile] sdwolfpup's adorable Moving Right Along vid. And Rigel, who is a muppet but that is just to fool you -- he is not cute. He is mean, and will sling snot at you if you displease him. Which you will. When you die, he will be first in line to steal your shoes.

I got the complete Farscape dvd set thanks to an Amazon sale that is still ongoing: the Farscape: The Complete Series dvd set for just $50. They last had this sale around Christmas, and I waffled about ordering the set, and then when I finally decided to do it, the price had gone back up again. But it's been $50 now for a while.

Caveat: this dvd set has a lot of commentaries and other extras, but it doesn't have The Peacekeeper Wars, which is a miniseries made after Farscape the series ended. But I figure by the time I've gotten through all the seasons of Farscape, I'll be able to pick it up for cheap; it's less than 10 bucks now.

The British DVD set does have Peacekeeper Wars, but it's also well over 60 pounds, so that doesn't seem like such a great deal in comparison.
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Two things that made me happy today:

First, the official first video from the film set of The Hobbit, where Peter Jackson walks around magical sets, Ian McKellen is inimitably himself and I teared up at the end, omg.

Then I was scanning the confirmed cast list at TheOneRing.net, which is mostly dwarves right now, and

minor casting spoilers below )
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Two vidding things that are splendid:

Francesca Coppa did a terrific video interview with vidders Sandy and Rache, which is now online at the OTW journal. Sandy & Rache are two of my favorite vidders -- their website is a roll call of fantastic vids like Stress, Crush Story, A Fannish Taxonomy of Hotness and the ever-fabulous Detachable Penis.

The only complaint I have about this is that it's too short; I would basically like a five day long interview where they talk about every vid they ever made and everything that ever happened in vidding fandom. Also, where Sandy laughs a lot, because she has the best laugh. But this is an excerpt from a longer interview, so there's more to come, yay!

The other splendid thing is that [personal profile] killabeez has made a shiny high-quality remaster of her gorgeous Xena vid Salome, which is one of the best vids that ever came out of Xena fandom, if you ask me. It's lush and sensual and melancholy, and it tells the story of Ares' doomed romance with Xena (with, as Killa says, a touch of Xena/Gabrielle). The vid has amazing use of color, red, black, and ice-blue; in a way, this is the dark doppelgänger of [personal profile] charmax's beautiful vid Boom Boom Ba.
marycrawford: 13 hour clock icon (Default)
I haven't been very fannishly creative lately, and I hadn't a clue what to post for [personal profile] sdwolfpup's excellent invention, More Joy Day, until I bethought me of two gents who always make me smile:

Morecambe and Wise. A classic British comedy duo whom I sadly missed out on when they were on TV, several decades ago, but they are still pure awesome, and some of their best work is on YouTube.

First, the Breakfast Sketch! I love this so much and have watched it about twenty times, and still it never fails to make me smile. They're just having so much fun. And for vidders, this is an excellent example of how to time things to music...

The Breakfast Sketch )

And then there's this glorious bit, where they act as backing chorus to a very young and hirsute Tom Jones:

Exactly Like You )

Enjoy!
marycrawford: 13 hour clock icon (Default)
These gorgeous cats in Massachusetts, USA are looking for new homes, via [personal profile] therienne:

Shameless pimping of three beautiful cats left homeless by the death of their owner, combined with photos designed specifically to leave you helpless before the Cute, hands grasping in desperate come-hither-kitty movements.
marycrawford: 13 hour clock icon (Default)

Vid title:
Trust In Me
Song artist: Holly Cole
Fandom: V (2009 TV series)
Summary: We are of peace. Always.

This vid premiered at Vividcon 2010, in the Also Premiering (Non-Attending) vidshow.

Download from my website:
Big (.avi, 56 Mb) | Medium (.mp4, 27 Mb) | Small (.avi, 13 Mb)

Download subtitles (.srt)Read lyrics

Feedback very welcome, including criticism.

Streaming )
marycrawford: 13 hour clock icon (Default)
Portal, one of the best computer games ever created, is now available for the Mac, and for the PC, FREE.

Until May 24th. And you have to sign up for Steam to get it, but at least that's free, too.

(Steam is an online service from Valve, the makers of Portal, where you can pay for and download new games, instead of having to go to the store to get a box with a DVD in. I have signed up for it to get some extra downloadable content, but haven't used it much otherwise, because I like going to a store and buying a box with a DVD in and a manual and all that. I'm oldfashioned that way. But I didn't find Steam particularly hinky, and they don't ask for your credit card number upfront or anything like that.)

Anyway, this is an excellent incentive to play Portal for free. And Portal is hard to describe, but I am going to try, because I love it so much, with that fannish love that makes me want to grab people and sit them down in front of a computer and go "Here! Try this! You'll love it!!"

On a puzzle level, Portal has a unique concept: you are a test subject in the Aperture Science laboratories, and make your way through a series of tests by creating portals, or really holes, with the 'portal gun'. You can shoot entrance and exit holes in the walls, in the floors, in any available flat surface. You can jump down one hole on the floor and come out the other, on the ceiling. You can throw things down a hole and watch them fly out the other, because momentum carries over.

That basic principle gets more and more complicated -- just wait until you jump down into a hole and try to shoot another exit hole while you are falling -- but the game leads you through each step, so that it doesn't become overwhelming even though the puzzles get more and more complex. There are timed challenges, moving platforms, laser beams, guardian robots who try to stop you and must be outwitted, and one robot, GLaDOS, whose voice guides you through the maze -- or maybe guiding isn't all she is doing. You may know the song "I'm Still Alive", by Jonathan Coulton; that song was written for the ending of the game, and it is sung by GLaDOS.

On another level, Portal is one of the best-written games I've ever played. It is so beautifully staged and mordantly funny, with a story that unfolds as you make your way through the puzzles. Most of that story has to do with your character's discoveries about the environment she's in, and her developing relationship with GLaDOS, who seems quite pleasant and businesslike at first as she guides you through the initial challenges, where she says encouraging things like

"Unbelievable! You, SUBJECT NAME HERE, must be the pride of SUBJECT HOMETOWN HERE!"

Soon GLaDOS has more ominous messages:

"Please note that we have added a consequence for failure. Any contact with the chamber floor will result in an unsatisfactory mark on your official testing record. Followed by death. Good luck!"

and little asides like:

"Did you know you can donate one or all of your vital organs to the Aperture Science Self Esteem Fund for Girls? It's true!"

And that bring me to another level of the game -- the feminist one. It's pretty exceptional in that aspect, too. Your point-of-view character, Chell, is female, wears a ponytail and a baggy orange jumpsuit, and looks like a real human being instead of Lara Croft. She is the only human in the game; all other characters are robots. GLaDOS is clearly female (and voiced by a soprano); the other robots' voices are high and metallic, ungendered, and they look like little egg-shaped iPods and say "I don't blame you" or "Nap time" when you knock them over.

Oh yeah, and there's an inanimate character called the Weighted Companion Cube. You carry this cube around on some levels, to solve puzzles; initially it was just plain grey, but the developers found that gamers didn't remember to hang on to it, and so they painted pink hearts on its sides. And then once the game turned out to be a hit, Valve made a plush version of the Weighted Companion Cube, pink fuzzy hearts and all, and it sold out in less than 24 hours. To gamer fanboys. I just find that there's something encouraging about that.

Install and signup page for Portal, plus screenshots and video
marycrawford: 13 hour clock icon (Default)
[personal profile] arduinna asked for prompts for Three Weeks for Dreamwidth, and I asked for a 'making of' vid post, and lo! She wrote this fantastic overview of how she and [personal profile] therienne made their Doctor Who vid "Handlebars".

I love this kind of behind-the-scenes look so much, and especially for this vid, because it is more than a character portrait, it is also an argument, and it's just fascinating and incredibly instructive to see everything that went into the building of that argument.

If you by chance have not seen the vid yet, run to download Handlebars -- it is a jawdropping portrait of the Tenth Doctor, and that's all I will say so as not to spoil its impact.
marycrawford: 13 hour clock icon (Default)
So I'm watching American Idol's results show and fastforwarding through pretty much everything that doesn't have Queen Latifah in it --

very minor spoilers for Idol and V below, mostly concerning things that did not actually happen )
marycrawford: 13 hour clock icon (Default)

Have just watched the new Doctor Who episode, and...

Beware spoilers under here )

marycrawford: 13 hour clock icon (Default)
This is pretty neat if you're looking for some new music: Downplayer is a website where you can download 10 songs in mp3 format every weekday, from different well-known and lesser known artists.

Right now they have songs by Beck, Duffy, the Black Keys, the Magnetic Fields and others. As far as I can tell, these are all links to legal downloads that have been posted on music blogs. 

One such blog is Kick Kick Snare, which has Janelle Monae's new song Tightrope + her new video, yay! The new video is fun to watch, with lots of taplike dancing, though not quite as mesmerizing as the science fiction video for Many Moons which I have watched approximately 30 times so far. I'm really curious about the rest of her new album.
marycrawford: 13 hour clock icon (Default)
The Vividcon auction is live, and I am in it! I am excited, also nervous because I've never offered up a vid for auction before, but I think it will be a lot of fun. Right now it feels like waiting for one's Yuletide assignment to drop.

The auction runs from today until next Monday, April 5, and all proceeds go to Vividcon. You don't have to be a member of the con to bid. In fact I'm not a member of the con either, wish I could go (maybe next year).

Vid fandoms and options )



I don't have much to add to the above other than: please do feel free to email me or comment here or PM me if you have questions! Or if you want to talk over your idea before bidding, or want to check whether I can vid a particular movie.

(The latter mostly depends on whether I own the movie or can find good source for it, and can watch it multiple times without hiding behind the couch -- I am sadly not the right person for a Saw vid, is what I'm saying here.)

marycrawford: 13 hour clock icon (Default)
So apparently the Times and the Sunday Times are going to charge money for being read online - a quid a day or two quid for a week's access. Best of luck with that, fellows, and let me know when you can't hack it anymore. I give you about eight months.

Meanwhile, I want to point you to the one bit of content I do read on the Sunday Times website: AA Gill. That's his name. He reviews stuff: restaurants, TV programmes, the occasional book or travel destination. But it is almost immaterial what his actual topic is, and quite often you are halfway down the page before you find out.

I read his restaurant reviews even though he reviews places in London, and I don't live there, and when I do go there I wouldn't go to those places. I've rarely seen any of the television programmes he reviews, and when I have I don't agree with him. In fact I barely ever agree with him on anything. None of that matters. The point is: go there now, before they start charging money for the privilege, if you want to read some of the best and quirkiest journalistic talent around, purely for the sake of the writing.

This is AA Gill in the Maledives:
"Half the guests are Russian, paunchy and determined men with defensive eyes, aggressive hair and holiday clothes that have been bought by assistants who don’t like them. Most of them have lady friends whose second names they haven’t yet grasped. These girls undulate in slicing and engorged bikinis, and survey through predator glasses their new partners and everyone else in the way that undertakers look at old people."
This is AA Gill reviewing a restaurant (no, really):
"(...) reading to children is a constant battle against heckling. So I’ve taken to picking up magazines and making up stories. A copy of Playboy is a good place to start. This is a story about a lot of mummies who have lost all their clothes. This is Debbie. She’s looking for her clothes in the bed. And Shawnee is looking for her clothes on the beach. Yes, maybe she’s got her pyjamas in her boobies. Hello! is also good for children’s stories. This is the ugly toad the fairy turned into a prince. Look at his greasy hair. He’s marrying the Queen of the Vampires, and those are her bridesmaids, Lunch, Dinner and Tea, and the guests are the Troll Cannibal and the Witch of Farts, and there’s the Evil Dwarf, and that one’s Simon Cowell."
And here's another restaurant review, which I hold especially dear because it's the first time I've ever seen anyone use Polari in a restaurant review, or in any kind of newspaper prose:
"I was a plongeur and commis chef here, and learnt the full Orwellian squalor of a pre-Conran West End kitchen. I regularly took salad out of the bin when we ran out. I remember that the whole kitchen gobbed into the vichyssoise of a pair of arch pooves who’d been rude to the waitress. I was a teenager with a bona eke and fit lallies, and regularly had beige door johnnies waiting to ply me with a little drinky-winky. I’d have to slip down the fire escape, which isn’t a euphemism. Happy days."

Zine sale

Mar. 4th, 2010 05:17 pm
marycrawford: 13 hour clock icon (Default)
[personal profile] morgandawn posted in [profile] fandom_swap about a zine sale to raise funds, and I'm passing the message on:

Our friend, Miranda Lee, died on 1/28; her family has so far brought over 3 boxes of fanzines and two un-neutered female cats. We are wanting to sell the zines to make the money to have her cats spayed and vaccinated so they can be rehomed.

They're selling a bunch of zines in classic fandoms, including Star Wars, Airwolf, Stingray, Starsky & Hutch and Highlander, for $5 apiece.

All details here.

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