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.
marycrawford: 13 hour clock icon (Default)

Title:
Read My Mind
Artist: The Killers
Fandom: Sherlock Holmes (Granada TV series)
Summary:  "Come, Watson, come!" he cried. "The game is afoot. Not a word! Into your clothes and come!"

This vid premiered at Escapade 2010. Many thanks to [personal profile] arduinna and [personal profile] dorinda for beta and encouragement!

Feedback very welcome, including criticism.

Download: Big (.avi, 56 Mb, 700x528) | Biggish (.mp4, 48 Mb, 700x528) | Small (.avi, 16 Mb, 350x264)

ETA And here's some Mediafire download links, in case my webhost is down:
Big (.avi, 56 Mb, 700x528) | Biggish (.mp4, 48 Mb, 700x528) | Small (.avi, 16 Mb, 350x264)

Download subtitles (.srt)Read lyrics

Streaming )
marycrawford: 13 hour clock icon (13hourclock)
According to TVshows on DVD, Universal is re-releasing the Hercules: the Legendary Journeys dvds, but possibly without the five TV movies that started the series or any of the commentaries and other extras of the original release; season 1 is going to be three single-sided discs, which really sounds like...not a lot.

The original Anchor Bay dvd releases are now out of print, but easy to find on Ebay, and it seems like those would still be a better deal, if you don't mind that the sets are bulkier than the new slim-line ones.

ETA: Universal is also re-releasing the Xena: Warrior Princes dvds. Not a lot of detail yet, but this set also has less discs than the previous Anchor Bay release. I still regret not picking up all the Xena season sets when they were on a 2-for1 sale at DeepDiscountDVD...
marycrawford: 13 hour clock icon (holmes watson <3)

Part 1: The Blue Carbuncle
Part 2: The Copper Beeches
Part 3: The Adventure of the Bruce-Partington Plans
Part 4: The Adventure of the Devil's Foot

I’m just going to cheat and combine The Final Problem with The Adventure of the Empty House, because how can I talk about just the one without at least mentioning the other? I can’t end my list of favourite stories with Holmes being mostly dead! *g*

Made of smoke and mirrors )



I'd love to hear what your favourite moments are, or what you would want to see in a Post-Reichenbach story, or how much you believe of Holmes's little jaunts into Lhasa and Khartoum -- even if we are agreed that his supposed visit was to the head Lama, and not the head llama, and that Watson was undoubtedly chagrined at the printer's error.

marycrawford: 13 hour clock icon (yuletide the cake is not a lie)
For Yuletide '09, I wrote:

All Our Scattered Leaves, for [profile] jadesfire2808
Rating: G, no warnings
Fandom: Lord Peter Wimsey books by Dorothy Sayers
Summary: A selection of letters and diaries on the eve of the Armistice.

This was a ton of fun to write, if slightly intimidating, too -- this year was the first time in all my years of Yuletide that I'd felt brave enough to sign up for Sayers, and I should have realized that meant I would infallibly get the assignment! *g* But I got a lovely prompt from my recipient, asking for a spotlight on some of the minor characters of the series, and it was a joy to immerse myself in these beloved books again to try and pick up their voices.

(There was also a small foray into the Women at Work documents section of the Imperial War Museum, which is fantastic; even if you can't actually search the source documents unless your library has a subscription, you can click on the links in the essay and find a ton of amazing documents, like the report on the work of Queen Mary's Needlework Guild during the Great War; the name makes it sound charming and small, but in fact this was a massive organisation of women, all volunteers, who made and shipped all kinds of supplies for the Front; after the first German gas attack, these women provided millions of improvised gas masks, made out of khaki wool and bits of cinema film for the eyes.)

For my Yuletide gifts, [profile] galerian_ash generously wrote me not one but two Trapeze stories, yay! It was wonderful to get these, especially as Trapeze is so tiny a fandom that I think these were the first two stories written for it. These stories were exactly what I wanted: the warmth and sweetness of a proper happy ending for the movie, with Mike and Tino together again. And they cover two different moments; the first story, To Catch a Catcher, has the reunion of Mike and Tino after the movie, which feels just right; the second story, A Reason for Waking, was my Yuletide Madness treat, and shows them later on in their relationship. I didn't even twig that these were written by the same person, which shows you what a Yuletide sleuth I am, but they are both adorable.

To Catch a Catcher, by [profile] galerian_ash
Rating: G, no warnings
Fandom: Trapeze
Summary: Mike might be stubborn, but so is Tino.

A Reason for Waking, by [profile] galerian_ash
Rating: Mature, no warnings
Fandom: Trapeze
Summary: A morning in New York, one year after leaving Paris.
marycrawford: 13 hour clock icon (yuletide the cake is not a lie)
Sorry if you're seeing this ten times in a row, but time is short and Yuletide is awesome, so I'm passing on the word:

If you're up for writing a Yuletide pinch hit this year, please join the new pinch hitters list! The old one is sadly out of commission.

You can join the new list by sending a blank email to yuletidepinchhitters-subscribe@yahoogroups.com. To activate your subscription, just reply to the confirmation message you receive from the group.

Or join via the Yahoo groups site if you have a Yahoo account.
marycrawford: 13 hour clock icon (Default)
I cannot stop looking at CountyComm; their website is hideous, but oh the stuff they sell.

I think fannish people are more likely to understand than others why this stuff makes me go "OMG WANT" -- it's pretty much military surplus geekporn. Keyring screwdrivers! Bailout bags with webbing all over! Neon-colored parachute cord! Firestrikers like they use on Discovery channel survival shows! Grappling hooks!

...yeah. You can measure the level of drool from the fact that they don't even SHIP OUTSIDE THE US and yet I still have a shopping cart tab open. Just in case I succumb and employ unfortunate friends in the US to act as a maildrop for me.

I'm kind of ashamed of myself, because I'm pretty sure most people buying this type of gear are not working for law enforcement or the military, just geeks like me, and then pictures of a bag captioned "Full Size Glock Fits In The Hidden Pocket Just Fine" start looking reaaaallly creepy -- but I still want the bag, and my current canvas bag is wearing out, and. *flails*
marycrawford: 13 hour clock icon (Default)
I posted this in a comment to [community profile] cox_and_co and wanted to give the heads-up to my friends as well: Amazon UK is running a very nice sale on DVDs until December 4th, and one of the best bargains is the complete series of Granada TV Sherlock Holmes episodes and movies on DVD for just 29.99 UK pounds. This is the series with Jeremy Brett as Holmes and first David Burke, then Edward Hardwicke as Watson, and I can't recommend it highly enough.

I bought a similar set the last time Amazon UK had a promotion: this one, which was 40 UKP then and is now back to 117 UKP, and am very happy with it. It doesn't have any extras, but it has very good picture quality and sound; I had an earlier DVD set of just The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, where the sound was noticeably off in places and the picture was very dark.

Also, in the newer DVDs the subtitles are actually accurate as opposed to hilarious. (Where Holmes said something like: "We must catch this gang" in that inimitable Brett drawl, the subtitle was "We must catch this guy". Yeah, very Victorian.)

These dvds are region 2, so people not in the UK will need a region free dvd player -- if yours isn't, do google the exact brand and model number along with "region free", because many dvd players can be made region free just by pressing a code with your remote.
marycrawford: 13 hour clock icon (holmes watson <3)
Part 1: The Blue Carbuncle
Part 2: The Copper Beeches
Part 3: The Adventure of the Bruce-Partington Plans

Devil's Foot is one of those stories that I could talk about forever, and I could also talk about the BBC radio and Granada TV versions forever, since both are amazing, but then I'd never actually finish this post, so I have to have some self-control here. Please do comment if you want to talk about all the things that I'm leaving out!

Who's the most Gothic of them all? )

Siiigh. This story is really one of my all-time favorites. How about you?

*ded*

Nov. 11th, 2009 10:25 am
marycrawford: uhura in stars icon (uhura stars)
I think this may be my new favorite picture of Nichelle Nichols, in costume as Uhura but not in character:

Biking around the studio )

But this one is a close runner-up:

So you thought these clowns were the ones driving the ship? Think again. )
marycrawford: 13 hour clock icon (holmes watson <3)
Part 1: The Blue Carbuncle
Part 2: The Copper Beeches

It was a toss-up between Charles Augustus Milverton and Bruce-Partington for my next pick, but [personal profile] janeturenne has named so many of the things that I love about CHAS that I will just point you there. The link between these two stories is that they both feature Holmes and Watson as burglars -- on the side of justice, to be sure, but committing a crime nonetheless, and working closely together in an atmosphere of dark and danger, stealth and competence -- yeah, I'm sure I don't know why that should appeal to me. Phwoar.

In both stories, Watson has objections to Holmes's plans )

Please comment if you feel like talking about this particular story and its radio/TV versions, or other Holmesian favourites!
marycrawford: 13 hour clock icon (holmes watson <3)
Last week [livejournal.com profile] janeturenne posted a wonderfully evocative overview of her personal top 10 favorite and top 10 least favorite canon Sherlock Holmes stories -- part 1, part 2.

She reminds me how much I love seeing people talk about their beloved fandoms in detail, and I've been immersed in the Holmes stories, Granada TV series, and BBC audioplays for years but I haven't actually posted about them much myself. So here's a start! *g*

I'm going to take [livejournal.com profile] janeturenne's approach but simplify it a bit, so that I manage to actually post these instead of just think about it: I've picked out five of my favorite Holmes short stories and their adaptations, and will post about each of them in turn over the next few days. Story links go to the University of Adelaide Library, which has all the Holmes stories as well as many other Arthur Conan Doyle works available.

My first favorite is The Adventure of the Blue Carbuncle.


I love the atmosphere of this story )

Please do comment and tell me what your Holmesian favorites are, or how you feel about this particular story and its radio/TV versions!

marycrawford: 13 hour clock icon (Default)
So, [personal profile] dorinda told me about this 1956 Hollywood movie I should see called "Trapeze", and I did, and loved it -- I am adding it to my Yuletide list, in fact, because this is a movie that simply cries out for fanfic. It almost, almost gets to the point where a slash fanfic ending would not even have been necessary, and then stops. Seriously, it's like the last reel has just gone missing somewhere.

"Trapeze" stars a young, gorgeous Tony Curtis as the up-and-coming talented acrobat who wants to learn the triple salto and a somewhat older, still gorgeous Burt Lancaster as the crippled, experienced ex-acrobat who winces every time he sees so much as a dangling rope, and the equally gorgeous Gina Lollobrigida as the Italian intrigante who aims to become the star of the circus and tries to break up their partnership.

The boys wear tights. And arm wraps. And...not really much else? I think some pants and shirts are involved when they're not in the circus, but they look very good in those, too. Gina wears breathtaking gold spangled outfits. Did I mention this movie is in Technicolor, and filmed in an actual circus?

The boys gaze at each other with (on Tony Curtis' part) industrial amounts of joyful flirtiness and wide-open longing and (on Burt Lancaster's part) dizzying amounts of inner pain and nobility and secret yearning, and then they hold discussions about the catcher/flyer relationships, and about their hearts beating in time, and they train and try for the triple salto mortale together, and then there is the actual flying, and the intense emotional entanglements that should revolve around Gina and yet always, always come back to just the two of them.

Screencaps and discussion and movie download links over at [personal profile] dorinda's place! Bring potluck!
marycrawford: 13 hour clock icon (Default)
So, is this the official death knell of a) the vampire trend and b) the "Jane Austen with Zombies" trend in publishing? I hope so.
"Sarah Gray's WUTHERING BITES, a retelling of Wuthering Heights in which Heathcliff is a vampire, to John Scognamiglio at Kensington, in a very nice deal, for publication in September 2010, by Evan Marshall at Evan Marshall Agency (World)." (from Publisher's Lunch)

Oh, and 'a very nice deal' means $50,000 to $99,000, in other words about ten times the average. Yeah.
marycrawford: 13 hour clock icon (kirk spock)

I found out about the vid Forever by Zi thanks to [livejournal.com profile] mrs_underhill, who posted about it on [livejournal.com profile] kirkspock, and I just adore it.

It's a Russian Kirk/Spock vid, with the mythic, larger than life feeling that I also get from [livejournal.com profile] killabeez' gorgeous TOS vids As and Dante's Prayer -- THEIRLOVEISSOFUCKINGEPIC pretty much sums it up, and it makes me so happy. This vid is classic in terms of editing style -- no heavy effects, fairly long shots, but a great sense of mood and building up to emotional impact.

Also, I think what Forever does with landscape is really cool, and something I can't recall having seen elsewhere; the closest related vid I can think of is [livejournal.com profile] sisabet's due South vid Icebound Stream, where the polar bears in the snow are used as a metaphor for Fraser and Victoria. In the first minute of Forever (which is all instrumental), the imagery is intercut between Earth and Vulcan, then deserts and oceans, and then finally the two meet in a flyover shot of the beach, then up into the clouds, above the clouds into space...and to the Enterprise. It feels dreamlike and gorgeous and uplifting, and it sets the theme and the mood perfectly. I thought this was partly external footage, like the polar bears, but I am assured that it's not -- all the desert, ocean etc. shots are from Trek.

I love the Russian song, and it inevitably loses something in translation, but I did my best: I've made an English subtitle file for the vid, with the vidders' permission and based on [livejournal.com profile] mrs_underhill's initial translation of the lyrics. I went a bit more literal in places, because all of a sudden I had my translation professor in my head telling me to cut out the poetry, so you may like her version better!

Vid: download and streaming links - I recommend the "worksafe" version, I think it's by far the best. On their website, click the download link below the streaming video. This will take you to a Russian download site, similar to mediafire or megaupload. Here's what to do next in handy screencaps: step 1 - step 2. It may take a while for the vid to download.

Subtitle file: (right-click and save)

The way this works: you save both the vid and the subtitle files to the same directory. Then you open the vid in VLC player (or another player, but I know it works with VLC *g*) and VLC will automagically pick up the subtitle file. If necessary, you can then turn on the subtitles by clicking Video > Subtitles Track > Track 1, and turn them off again with Video > Subtitles Track > Disable. You can also change the size/color/font of the subtitles in Tools > Preferences > Subtitles & OSD.

It's a lot easier to make an .srt file than I thought; you can even do it in Notepad, but I chose to use an editor. If anyone is interested I could do a how-to post on that later?
marycrawford: uhura in stars icon (uhura stars)
This vid premiered at the Vividcon challenge show. The challenge theme was IDIC (Infinite Diversity in Infinite Combination) and I couldn't resist.

Swing
Music: Club des Belugas
Fandom: Star Trek: TOS
Summary: All you got to do is swing.
Download: Big (.avi, 63 Mb, 640x480) | Medium (.mp4, 40 Mb, 640x480) | Small (.mp4, 18 Mb, 640x480) 
Right-click and save, please!

Lyrics )

Notes )

Feedback would be wonderful!
marycrawford: 13 hour clock icon (Default)
While wandering through the Gutenberg archives, I came upon Modern Women and What is Said of Them, a collection of rather snippy articles by an unknown author, published in 1868.

I'm wondering, is the excerpt below the first description of the as yet nameless Mary Sue?

In manufacturing her heroines, the young recluse author puts on paper what she would herself like to be, and what she thinks she might be if only her eyes were bluer, her purse longer, or men more wise and discerning. In painting the slights offered to her favorite ideal, she conceives the slights that might possibly be offered to herself, and the triumphant way in which she would (under somewhat more auspicious circumstances) delight to live them down and trample them under foot. The vexations and the annoyances she describes with considerable spirit and accuracy. The triumph is the representation of her own delicious dreams. The grand character of the imaginary victim is but a species of phantom of her own self, taken, like the German's camel, from the depths of her own self-consciousness, and projected into cloudland.

This is the reason why authoresses enjoy dressing up a heroine who is ill-used. They know the sensation of social martyrdom, and it is a gentle sort of revenge upon the world to publish a novel about an underrated martyr, whose merits are recognised in the end, either before or after her decease. They are probably not conscious of the precise work they are performing. They are not aware that their heroine represents what they believe they themselves would prove to be under impossible circumstances, provided they had only golden hair and a wider sphere of action.

(from the Women's Heroines article)
marycrawford: 13 hour clock icon (kirk spock)
I am so glad it's the weekend, and an extra long one too -- freakishly, we get the Monday off for Pentecost, or as I like to call it, Flames On Heads Day.

To share my weekend glee and joy, here are some links:

- via [livejournal.com profile] sdwolfpup, a literal vid to Total Eclipse of the Heart -- not literal images to the song, but literal singing to the infamously batshit music video. Seriously awesome.

- via [livejournal.com profile] kateandromeda at the [livejournal.com profile] kirkspock comm, this video: TOS Kirk and Spock critique the new movie. It's stills, not a vid, but the image choices and dialogue are great (and perhaps a tad mean, but I thought it was hilarious -- and I liked a lot about the movie). SPOILERS for the new movie, obviously. Spoiler-free quote: "That actor is not even a Vulcan, Jim."

- via me reading UK newspapers at work, tsk: Tennant to reprise Hamlet role for television play. YAY!
David Tennant is to bring his acclaimed performance of Hamlet from the stage to the screen in the form of a BBC 2 television play, the corporation said today.

The Doctor Who actor will star in a three-hour televised version of the Royal Shakespeare Company’s production, along with Patrick Stewart, the Star Trek actor.
marycrawford: 13 hour clock icon (kirk spock)
I am so glad it's the weekend, and an extra long one too -- freakishly, we get the Monday off for Pentecost, or as I like to call it, Flames On Heads Day.

To share my weekend glee and joy, here are some links:

- via [livejournal.com profile] sdwolfpup, a literal vid to Total Eclipse of the Heart -- not literal images to the song, but literal singing to the infamously batshit music video. Seriously awesome.

- via [livejournal.com profile] kateandromeda at the [livejournal.com profile] kirkspock comm, this video: TOS Kirk and Spock critique the new movie. It's stills, not a vid, but the image choices and dialogue are great (and perhaps a tad mean, but I thought it was hilarious -- and I liked a lot about the movie). SPOILERS for the new movie, obviously. Spoiler-free quote: "That actor is not even a Vulcan, Jim."

- via me reading UK newspapers at work, tsk: Tennant to reprise Hamlet role for television play. YAY!
David Tennant is to bring his acclaimed performance of Hamlet from the stage to the screen in the form of a BBC 2 television play, the corporation said today.

The Doctor Who actor will star in a three-hour televised version of the Royal Shakespeare Company’s production, along with Patrick Stewart, the Star Trek actor.
marycrawford: 13 hour clock icon (Default)
All of Squidge.org is down (see [livejournal.com profile] squidgestatus for details), so my website is also down, and will be until Friday morning GMT, looks like.
marycrawford: 13 hour clock icon (Default)
All of Squidge.org is down (see [livejournal.com profile] squidgestatus for details), so my website is also down, and will be until Friday morning GMT, looks like.
marycrawford: 13 hour clock icon (Default)
I'm slowly and haphazardly adding people to my DW subscriptions, and trying to figure out where subscriptions end and granting access begins.

I think the subscription/access thing has potential to be just as fraught as the 'friending' thing on LJ, despite the clearer terminology, and so I hope I'm not treading on any toes by keeping my access list small; stories, vids and general fannish commentary will always be unlocked, so what winds up behind the lock is usually the real life small stuff.

Now let's see if I can successfully crosspost this to LJ. :-)

NB: I still have five four three two DW invite codes to give out! Please comment here with your email address if you want one.

marycrawford: 13 hour clock icon (Default)
I'm slowly and haphazardly adding people to my DW subscriptions, and trying to figure out where subscriptions end and granting access begins.

I think the subscription/access thing has potential to be just as fraught as the 'friending' thing on LJ, despite the clearer terminology, and so I hope I'm not treading on any toes by keeping my access list small; stories, vids and general fannish commentary will always be unlocked, so what winds up behind the lock is usually the real life small stuff.

Now let's see if I can successfully crosspost this to LJ. :-)

NB: I still have five four three two DW invite codes to give out! Please comment here with your email address if you want one.

marycrawford: 13 hour clock icon (Default)
Yep, I too have five two Dreamwidth invite codes to give out.

Please comment and leave me your email address if you want one! Comments are screened.

In case you're wondering what the deal is: Dreamwidth, a journaling service alternative to LJ, just went into open beta. It's now possible to buy accounts, but if you want a free account you need an invite code, just like LJ in the early days.
marycrawford: 13 hour clock icon (Default)
Would anyone like a Dreamwidth invite code? I've got a single invite, so first comment takes all. Claimed!

And yes, I'm over there as marycrawford, too, though I don't know how much I'll be posting - but if I do, I'll crosspost to LJ.
marycrawford: 13 hour clock icon (woot!)
Once again, it's More Joy Day, or as [livejournal.com profile] sdwolfpup put it, "The goal of today is for us to seek out and give joy to others, in the hopes that it will expand outward into the world."

I love this idea. I want to share some music with you all that gives me joy, and hope to lift your day a little, too. And if it does, I'd love to know!

Al Green - L.O.V.E. (mp3, Box.net)
I went to see Al Green in concert last year, in a tiny converted church in Amsterdam, and it was fan-freaking-tastic. His songs just embody joy. During the concert, he said at one point "Y'all are probably thinking, has Al Green still got it?" and then held one of those high notes so long, so purely, that you could see people's mouths fall open.

David Bowie - Let's Dance (m4a, Mediafire)
Any compilation of songs that give me joy would have to include a David Bowie song. That's just a natural law that cannot be broken.

This is a live recording of Let's Dance, from the excellent Bowie at the Beeb box set - it starts out slow and melancholy, and then segues into the upbeat version, and Bowie's voice is just. Wstfgl. This song is from the bonus disc that came with the box set I bought - looking at Amazon, it doesn't seem to be included anymore, so grab it while you can. :-)

The Marvelettes - Too Many Fish In The Sea (mp3, Box.net)
This song happily provides the answer to the "there's a new fandom-that-ate-fandom on the horizon and I don't like it, ohnoes" quandary I've seen mentions of here and there. "Look here, girls, take this advice and remember always in life..."

Aretha Franklin - Eleanor Rigby (mp3, Box.net)
Can Aretha sing the Beatles? Yes. Can Aretha turn a sad, lonely, beautiful Beatles song into a heart-stirring, pulse-quickening soul anthem? Yes. Should you turn up the volume? Yes.

Eva Cassidy - A Bold Young Farmer (mp3, Mediafire)
Yes, I'm all the about the vocalists, can you tell? *g* Oh, Eva Cassidy. I wish she had lived and was with us now, singing her heart out. Once you've heard her voice, I bet you will wish the same.

This soaringly gorgeous version of a traditional British ballad is from her most recent album, Somewhere, brought out after her death - she only released two CDs while she was alive.

Have a great and joyful day!
marycrawford: 13 hour clock icon (Default)
Donald Westlake died this Wednesday. Damn. He was 75, but I don't think he was done living yet, or done writing. And I never did work up the nerve to write him a fan letter.

As the NYT obit mentions, he wrote several books a year for many years; my favorite works of his are the Dortmunder books, a series of comic crime books about capers going wrong, with a regular cast of characters that feel like old friends.

If you've never read Westlake, here's a link to the first chapter of Westlake's Watch Your Back, which is a good introduction to Dortmunder and his friends at the O.J. Bar & Grill:
WHEN JOHN DORTMUNDER, a free man, not even on parole, walked into the O.J. Bar & Grill on Amsterdam Avenue that Friday night in July, just before ten o’clock, the regulars were discussing the afterlife. “What I don’t get,” said one of them, as Dortmunder angled toward where Rollo the bartender was busy with something far over to the right end of the bar, “is all these clouds.”
marycrawford: 13 hour clock icon (yuletide)
I wrote one story this year:

The Adventure of the Expert Cracksman (7062 words)
Summary: Who was Sherlock Holmes before he met Watson?
Fandom: Arthur Conan Doyle - Sherlock Holmes series
Rating: PG

Written for [livejournal.com profile] dallin_dae,

story notes, spoilery )

Thanks very much to those who commented on my story - you made my day! - and special thanks to Dorinda and LtLJ, betas extraordinaires.
marycrawford: 13 hour clock icon (yuletide)
I've only dipped a toe in the sea of Yuletide stories, but what little I've read has been wonderful. I hope to post some recommendations later - probably after the reveal, so I can rec the other stories in the fandom I wrote in without fear of giving myself away.

(The usual offer applies - if you guess the story I wrote before the reveal, I'll write you a drabble of your choice, provided it's in a fandom I know, or something longer if the inspiration strikes. You only have today to guess, though - reveal's tomorrow! *g*)

Meanwhile, I want to point to the two Yuletide stories I received. I got very lucky again this year, and I thank both my authors so much! I can't wait to find out who you are.

The Labours of Iolaus.
Rated PG-13.
Fandom: Hercules: the Legendary Journeys
Summary: The problem, Iolaus thought, was that Hercules just didn't know how to say no.

Cheerful, funny Hercules/Iolaus, yay! This made me grin a lot and go "aw", and there's some very inventive use of the 'official' Hercules myths, with just the kind of twist the show would have used.

1918.
Rated G.
Fandom: Arthur Conan Doyle - Sherlock Holmes, crossover.
Summary: A glimpse of a possible encounter near the end of one career and the start of another.

I'm going to be a little vague here, but this is a crossover between Sherlock Holmes and another detective series of my heart, and it's wonderful. I love all these characters so much, and I adore the way they are written here. I may as well admit that this story made me cry, but it is not depressing, and completely Merry-safe. :-)
marycrawford: 13 hour clock icon (feral iolaus)
I posted earlier about news from TVShowsonDVD that Davis-Panzer might bring out Blu-Ray dvd editions of Xena and Hercules. Now it's looking like someone at Davis-Panzer was a little too enthusiastic, as reported by TVShowsonDVD:
The person I spoke to at first had been incorrect about plans for Hercules, Xena and other Davis-Panzer program to be released on Blu-ray disc. We've received word from farther up the chain that fans should not expect these. Here's what a spokesperson from the corporate offices told us:

"We don't have any plans for Xena or Hercules on Blu-ray; right now we are just doing pre-orders from Season One of Highlander on Blu-ray. And, depending on interest on that, we will move forward with the rest of the seasons. So far there has been a lot of great response, but pre-orders will really make it seem serious."
marycrawford: 13 hour clock icon (Default)
TVShowsonDVD has the news that Davis-Panzer will release all seasons of Highlander on Blu-Ray dvd discs, and that other series will follow, including Hercules: the Legendary Journeys.

They're already taking online pre-orders for the first season of Highlander at $39.95.

I'm a little dubious about this, to say the least, even apart from my feelings about the usual let's-squeeze-the-fans-for-maximum-moolah approach. ("Buy now and get your BONUS Duncan Katana Mini-Sword!" Poor Duncan.)

I'm happy to have my ordinary Hercules DVDs, but they are not exactly pristine in quality (especially towards the later seasons - some scenes turned out to be unusable for vidding purposes because another episode was 'leaking through' in the background). Are the episodes suddenly going to look diamond-sharp, pristine and beautiful thanks to the wonders of Blu-Ray? I don't know enough about the high definition process, or about the way Hercules was filmed, to have the answer, and I'm quite a long way away from owning a Blu-Ray player, let alone a high-definition TV, but if anyone else has more information or a DVD review once they come out, I'm interested.
marycrawford: 13 hour clock icon (spock whee)
I love it when fans make fannish crafts. One of my favorite comms is [livejournal.com profile] crafty_tardis, for Doctor Who crafts (motto: For when you absolutely, positively must have a macrame Dalek). There's never any shipping wank, just people posting pictures of crocheted Daleks or their kid dressed up as the Tenth Doctor for Halloween (this one is seriously adorable).

Another comm I've just discovered is [livejournal.com profile] claycreations. This isn't actually a community - it's where [livejournal.com profile] vandonovan posts his clay puppets of various fannish favorites, and they are fab.

Check out his clay versions of Avon and Vila, Zoe and Wash, Sam and Dean and my favorite - Kirk, Spock and McCoy. I love Kirk's smirky grin and Spock's hands-behind-back stance. <3
marycrawford: 13 hour clock icon (yuletide)
Dear Yuletide writer:

Thank you so much for offering to write some of the fandoms I love most! You are clearly a person of exquisite taste and discernment, and I <3 you.

Fictional packages tied up with strings )
marycrawford: 13 hour clock icon (yuletide)
After I played through Portal recently, I had to make myself this Yuletide icon. (Portal is fantastic, by the way. I would recommend it to anyone who loves witty puzzle games and fiendishly clever game design and writing.)

So, signups for Yuletide have started! And they will be open until next Monday, which is good, because I need some time to wibble about my writing choices and figure out what to ask for. (I have to say, the pile of wonderful stories I was showered with last year makes it really difficult to decide this year. I'm not sure I should even be allowed to ask for anything.)

In the meantime, I have updated my Yuletide for Newbies post with the dates for this year. I wrote this post as an unofficial starting point for people who are new to Yuletide, so please comment if you have questions!

And if you want distraction from the election news (I cross my fingers for you, US people!), there is the Yuletide Fandom Requests page with its reassuring colors, showing which fandoms people have already signed up to write or are hoping to receive. It makes me want to wave at people who request or offer my favorite fandoms, even though I don't know who they are. *waves*
marycrawford: 13 hour clock icon (kirk spock)
I've just spent (mumblety) minutes writing up a wee history of Rude Person stories in TOS fandom for the Fanlore wiki, and I wanted to share a bit here, because these stories are still very funny and I bet a lot of people have never seen them.

The Rude Person stories started on the Alt.startrek.creative.erotica.moderated newsgroup back in '98, when I was a lurker there, and they were a meme before we called things memes.

The original Rude Person story was a parody by Varoneeka of some illiterate troll complaining that people didn't like hir story, and then UKJess stepped in with Ah'm Norra Rude Person, which was a brief Kirk/Spock story that skewered all those classic K/S stories where Kirk and Spock are in a cave and Spock goes into pon farr. It was also written in broad Yorkshire.

This caught on hugely: other people started writing this same story, down to all the details, only changing the style or the dialect in which it was written. It was a spontaneous explosion of creativity, and a lot of it was very clever as well as very funny.

As I said on the wiki, "Raymond Queneau eat your heart out" - he wrote Exercices de Style, which is the same story retold 99 ways, but give me Kirk And Spock Go Ice Fishing anytime. That's the Minnesotan version by Jungle Kitty:
Well, doncha know, Kirk and Spock were out for a Sunday drive in their new shuttlecraft, wearing' their good clothes, and gettin' pretty good mileage to boot. Just cruisin' along, not exceedin' the speed limit--they're good boys, ya know--when the durn thing breaks down. It's still got the gosh-durn dealer plates on, but it's deader than the bacon we had for breakfast.
Or Pon Farr With No Hope of an IPO by jonk, the Silicon Valley version:
Well, it soon becomes clear to them that Spock is in a feedback loop and will overheat if action is not taken to cool him off, and Kirk is nothing if not a man of action. He points out to Spock that he can interface more than one format, with a little hacking and a few workarounds.
Or Unpacking Pon Farr: Kirk, Spock, and the image of the female void, By R. Person, PhD. (really by brancher):
Thus, Kirk unpacks the societal construct of his pants, and, reconciling the Self with the Other, the two subvert the dominant paradigm right there on the floor of the cave. This leitmotif is then repeated, with subject-object roles inverted.
Or Crew Person by Jane St Clair, which is possibly my favorite, and done in the style of Joseph Conrad:
Kirk had about him a ship's mate, of the name Spock, who came from the far islands, who had studied the ways of logic and long known the unnatural practices that arise from the suppression of human feeling. I have seen such things in the Far East, and I know their seductive power. There was many a man brought low by the rising tide of the ponn farr, and Kirk was no better than the best of them.
marycrawford: 13 hour clock icon (feral iolaus)
I stole the subject line from [livejournal.com profile] merryish (and SGA) and I'm stealing the apology meme thing from [livejournal.com profile] flambeau. I haven't managed to finish a story since last year's Yuletide, which is not something I'm happy with, so I just want to remind myself that I did write some stories, once upon a time, and maybe I could do it again!

(Though as I mentioned to [livejournal.com profile] flambeau, it's not the characters in the finished stories I really want to apologize to, but the ones who haven't made it to the end yet - poor Hercules lying in a swamp somewhere stuck full of arrows, and poor Egon kidnapped by Baba Yaga, and so on.)

Dear Iolaus, I'm sorry I set your hair on fire, and made you spill wine down your vest, and made you so tired you were falling over. I'm sorry you nearly got eaten by griffins and something scaly, and that Salmoneus called you Hercules' faithful servant in his official biography.

I'm sorry, too, that I made you go into Tartarus to get Hercules back, but I'm not apologizing for turning you into a vampire or a warlord, because that was all the show's fault.

Dear Hercules, I'm sorry I gave you a cold. Really, truly sorry. *sneezes* I'm also sorry I let your sister watch, that one time. And that I made you have a threesome. Wait, no, I'm not. You should have more.

Dear Jareth, I'm sorry I made you eat live mice and birdseed.

Dear Mr. Holmes, I apologize for the knife wound, and for making you chew tobacco.

Dear Laurence, I'm sorry for locking you up in a French cell without Temeraire.

Dear Peter Venkman, I apologize for letting a rusalka nearly drown you in a washing machine. And for the mushrooms. A bit.
marycrawford: 13 hour clock icon (woot!)
As of today, Yuletide challenge fandom nominations have opened. Go submit thy fandoms! Remember, this is not yet the point where you sign up and commit yourself to writing a Yuletide story; this is where you list the rare fandoms you would like to write, or get a story in. Nominations are open until October 31st, 11:59 pm US Eastern time, so you have some time to make your decisions.

I will probably be nominating old favorites like Hercules: the Legendary Journeys (I know, surprise surprise), The Real Ghostbusters, Sherlock Holmes, Ile-Rien and Invisible Man, but I might still change my mind on any of those, so if you want to make sure, do please go nominate them yourself.

If you've witnessed the Yuletide madness spread through fandom every year, but never joined in yourself, and you're wondering what the fuss is about, here's a post I prepared earlier: Yuletide For Newbies, or, what is this yuletide thing anyway? This post is from 2007, and the dates will not be the same in 2008, but the rules probably will be.

Also: if you are thinking of joining Yuletide this year and you have questions or worries that you don't want to ask the Yuletide mods yet, please comment below and I will do my best.

August 2015

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