romantic way 2 die

Now f-locked.

This journal is now F-LOCKED. If you want to continue reading stories and the like, please drop a line here, including who you are, your age, and where you heard about the journal.


Amaltheadubious, LastUnicorndubious

The Decay of the Female Character

I know I haven't posted in awhile; shame on me!  But there's a lot to say.

Let me start with the thing that's toughest to explain: my sudden disenchantment (pun entirely intended) with the BBC Merlin franchise.

I should say I started out adoring this show.  Colin Morgan and Bradley James are eminently slashable, and both the stars and costars know it and make terrific fun of them.  The plot is silly and fantastical, the settling full of scenery!porn, the characters fascinatingly different from their original incarnations.  Merlin and Arthur are arguably the most awesome aspects of the show, but it's hard to dislike Anthony Head as Uther, Katie McGrath as the stunning Morgana, or Angel Coulby, who plays Gwen - surprisingly, a serving girl in this series.  I was really getting into it during Season One, tolerating Season Two, and now that we're on Season Three, I'm forced to confront the elephant in the room.

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Quaint, categories, prejudice, Torchwood

SurveyFail 09

Many other people have done this better than I, and I shall direct them to you forthwith. But first, my own interpretation of what has occurred:

Recently, two researchers named Ogi Ogas and Sai Gaddam sent a survey out on the waves of the interwebs, specifically the Livejournals. And lo, it did provoke a shitstorm.

Ogas and Gaddam produced their survey in order to – god knows, because their hypothesis is never actually stated – but in any case, it was geared towards the readers and writers of slash fanfiction… who, by the by, they seem to believe are only ever a) straight; b) female; and c) achingly stupid.

The thorniest, nastiest WTF is the phrasing of many of the questions as well as that of their answers to concerned fen.

First of all, many questions appear to be slanted towards the generation of a particular response. Not only are some of these questions phrased leadingly, but some are either triggery or outright offensive. If you have any triggers, I highly recommend you skip this next paragraph entirely…

One of the questions blatantly asks the viewer if she has had any fantasies about being raped. One asks what her SAT scores were. Another, how many times I’ve been drunk or doped up while reading fanfiction. (Eh, what?!) There were more than a few that I literally couldn’t have responded to because the doctors were so clueless that none of their suggested answers applied, such as the one clearly geared towards fantasy roleplay.

innocentsmith says it better than I could:

“I'm baffled by this one: 31. What specific fan fiction story would you most like to live out as one of its characters? (If possible, please provide the name of the story, fandom, and author.)

”Aside from the hell no, creepizoid issue of naming the author, etc., I can't help answering, uh, none? Because the vast majority of the fanfic I read is not geared towards me showing up as a sparkly self-insert or a secondary character (who'd probably up being a redshirt of some kind), and I have no particular desire to feature as one of the main characters because I enjoy them as being different from me?....

”But in general, do they think all fic is Mary Suetastic self-inserts, or completely devoid of plot and conflict, or what?”

Then there was this gem: do I feel I practiced a) more boy-activities; b) more girl-activities or c) about an equal amount when I was a child? Wait: perhaps I need a list of acceptable activities for girls before I can answer that question. Also: when is the first time I felt guilty about a sexual feeling? How does 'never'' work for you? Oh, wait, that's not an option - these two men assume that ALL women have felt guilty about sex at some time or another. Variously, the two doctors referred to the transgendered as ‘trannies’ and ‘she-males’. And that really is just the beginning. Christ on a cracker, people, was this a drinking game? Take a gulp whenever you casually squish another subculture?

After all of this, they have the gall to go on to claim that they are not doing ‘social research’, but neurological. Let us make this clear from the get-go: they claim to be able to make neuroscience-based predictions… based on an internet survey.

Okay, so there’s another big WTF of this general WTFery. Neural imaging was directly referenced. But unless there’s some very interesting, new, and frankly scary technology out there that, say, remotely scans my brain via internet, it’s impossible to find out what might be going on in my brain chemically if I check ‘yes’ to the question, ‘have you ever read slash fiction’? Perhaps they should look up 'the social sciences' – along with the word ‘transsexual’, which they misuse:

Well, slash is kind of the female equivalent of the straight male interest in transsexuals.” Whoooaaa nelly. Let’s skip straight past the place where he meant transgendered and where the general statement of straight men being interested in the transgendered is ridiculously faulty on so many levels, and go to the heart of the illogic. You mean two men together isn’t hot to women like two women together is hot to men? Which, by the by, is seen as totally normal. Y’know, when it’s the menfolk doing the fantasizing.

Wait, that comparison would make too much sense. And sense has clearly left the building.

These men understood our closely-knit community so little that they could not possibly understand the shitstorm they had unleashed upon themselves. Within days, fen were calling Boston University to inquire about these two 'professionals' – who turned out to be, oh wait, not affiliated with the university. Boston has since taken their pages down post-haste.  As well as being activists, more than a few of us are scientists … and so provided to fandom a primer on phrenology and neuroscience (with the overall premise that Ogi Ogas and Sai Gaddam are phrenologists), or a narration on psychology and the little we know of it, and a few created helpful synopses or attempted to surf the rising wave of said shitstorm.

And in the course of that the survey has disappeared while the two neuroscientists, with their degrees from a Crackerjack box “digest all this great feedback”. So, yeah.

Of course, the two men clearly have no concept of the use of copious screenshots. God, I love fandom.

I’ve noted before that, unlike Facebook or Myspace or Yahoo, Livejournal appears to be made up primarily of scientists and artists, authors and theorists. It’s hard to say where else I’ve come across a community of such bright, impassioned, creative people. And it is hard to see them injured, but it’s sort of Gondor-Calls-for-Aid to see them band together to fight back, especially against what looks like unconscious yet pervasive bigotry.

You go, my people. You go.


P.S. - Myself and several others have that creepy feeling that means that this may well be Just Another Social Experiment.  However, if so, it is a distinctly elaborate one...

romantic way 2 die

Oh. Em. Gee.

I am... speechless.  And... and blown away.  BOTH our seekers won, our artist seeker AND our fic seeker, and... and we were even short one entry, and...


...we WON.

And let me add that it was an incredible experience, not winning, although that... yeah.  But participating, forcing myself to write fic far above my admittedly 'relaxed' level of quality, and meeting all the AU people and asking for their advice and reading the stories and stressing about the results...

...this fanfiction contest thing?

I highly recommend it.


P.S. - Team AU put together a soundtrack; each person picked a song they believed represented their story the best, or whatever they listened to while writing.  You can find that here at the World Cup, including the song I picked for primum mobile: Now Is Mine, by K's Choice.  This is temporary however, so go now so that you can get the good musics.
romantic way 2 die

the Harry/Draco World Cup Recs

I am just incredibly pleased at how the World Cup is turning out this year. For those of you who have either been hiding under a log or have anterograde amnesia, let me explain the Cup:

Three teams of rabid, H/D-shipping artists and authors. And only one shiny, (virtual) gold cup, brimming with glory.

Yes, indeed.

Now, each day this month, three stories or pieces of artwork have been posted: one from each team. These stories are voted upon based on their prompt, the work's faithfulness to the spirit of their team, and general awesomeness, the latter category being of the greatest importance.

And lo, there was excellent fic, and incredible art.

So: this is the first rec post of several I will make over the next few days. I plan on reccing stories that are not from my team, but I admit I've been preferentially viewing my own team's fic. (Frankly, otherwise I couldn't read this fast.) So, without further ado:

The first fic that really caught my interest was Team EWE's Between the Shadow and the Soul(PG). Although it's a short piece, it's very thought-provoking. I also find that I tend to like stories that explore themes about which I have already deeply pondered, either through my writing or otherwise. A little embarrassing, but probably totally natural (which I'm sure a lot of people say about a lot of things... hee!) Aoifene explores the Harry/Draco dynamic without providing any easy answers.

I've often considered this aspect of pairing Harry and Draco, or even making them friends: in order to do so, one of them has to drastically change, quite possibly as a result of the actions of the other. The moral ground here is shaky at best: if Draco becomes someone Harry could love, is he still Draco anymore? Would he have to betray his family, his ideals, in order to become that person? And if he does change, can he - does he have the *right* - to lay either blame or thanks for these changes at Harry's feet? Aoifene makes a stab at addressing these questions in her fic. The unique POV - Blaise - makes it that much more enjoyable. I'd give it a 7/10.

Then there's my own team's the First Day of Spring(R). This is a Flash video, though the only animation is good fades and falling snow. :) The artist, reira_21, has a very Art Deco look to her Draco and Harry, and boy does it work. Draco's eyes especially are stunning, as is the turn of his foot as he stomps out his cigarette. The background music is well-chosen, evoking a sorrowful, plodding life, where even surrender is ultimately meaningless. This one is super well-done; the only complaint I have is that the ending bears a remarkable similarity to canon... and so the story could easily fit within the confines of the canon universe. Still - 8/10.

Teganscrush's Magical Mystery Tour(PG-13) is adorable, silly and fluffy, not to mention easily the funniest story on the Cup so far. Beware the scooby-doo ending, but otherwise a nicely rounded 7.5/10.

Then of course there's my fic(PG), but you probably already knew that. Ah, well - everyone else got their analysis, so I guess I should get mine... *braces self for the Red Pen of Doom(TM)*
The only thing that I might alter about this story was the inclusion of the OC. If you think about it, Rosmerta could have substituted. Never include something you don't actually need! Still, overall I'm very pleased with this one. I don't think it's very sensible to rate it, though!

I think I'm going to stop here, because it's coming on one in the morning, and I have to work tomorrow! But there you go, ladies and gentlemen - three recs not including my own fic. Have fun reading!


romantic way 2 die

Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog

If you know me at all, you know my resounding love for Joss Whedon. He's a consummate artist and master storyteller who writes strong, able female characters with whom I can identify. And his plots are surprisingly unpredictable - each time you think you've pegged his style, he changes direction mid-stride. I loved the campy movie, Buffy: the Vampire Slayer, and the show even more. When Firefly came out, I stamped it The Best Show Ever, and haven't since changed my mind. And now that Dollhouse is under way, I am following Joss's work with bated breath once more.

So I was surprised to find that a fan such as myself had actually missed something he'd produced in between Firefly and Buffy: Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog, a kitschy musical about a young man with aspirations to Supervilliandom (Neil Patrick Harris). The cast is rounded out with Nathan Fillion, who plays Captain Hammer, Dr. Horrible's arch-rival ("I wonder what you're Captain of") and Felicia Day as Penny, the girl from the laundromat whom he desperately, hopelessly loves.

The story goes like this: during the great Writer's Strike, Whedon wanted to prove that the writers could produce fun, popular work without the aid of a big studio's backing, backlot, or budget. He and several of the other Whedons proceeded to produce a forty-minute musical which was shot over a period of only four days. The actors and actresses weren't even paid until the play started generating revenue, and props, costumes and the like came directly from Whedon.

The result, Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog is a huge success: it remains the number one downloaded series in sci-fi on iTunes, ahead of prime-time hits such as Battlestar Galactica; the demand was actually such that it shut down its hosting site when it first debuted.

The reason for the Doctor's success goes beyond Joss's near-household name. Behind the pretty songs and the hilarious double-entendres, the story of Billy is a poignant one. Everyone wants to be somebody... "an achiever", as Billy tells Penny. And when Whedon makes the point that what we must sacrifice in order to 'become someone' isn't always worth the price, his work slides, subtly and unexpectedly, into the sort of layered story that requires greater attention and multiple viewings.

That said, the wit of Joss's work is gleefully recognizable. One has to watch Dr. Horrible a few times in a row to even catch every half-mumbled joke, and some of Billy's lyrics are as quick as bullets out of a gun - incredibly impressive on Harris's part! - but you need to hear them twice lest their full meaning pass you by.

I have far too many favorite parts to list here, but perhaps I'll have a quotes page after this. I wouldn't want to spoil any of the better jokes for people who haven't yet become familiar with the good doctor. I've embedded Part I of III below for you to watch.

Happy viewing, and hope you enjoy,


romantic way 2 die

...the reviews are in...

...and they are good! I am truly joyous. This was such a tough story to write, so I really did worry.

So, if you haven't already (after my posting a record three times in one day!) go to my Harry/Draco Worldcup Entry here: primum mobile, or ten forgotten things.

And as additional author's notes, the forgotten things are: Hogwarts Castle, ticket, scarf and tie, Galleons, pocketwatch, wand(s), first meeting, Hermione's face, Quidditch, and Potions.

A primum mobile is an old astronomical device, which you can look up here. It is the 'first mover', an outer circle that, when moved, sets all else in motion.



Edit: I've gotten enough online recs to be added to the daily snitch! :D
romantic way 2 die


It has indeed been awhile since I've issued any recommendations in fic or otherwise, but a few things have made me decide it's past time.

First of all, the Harry/Draco World Cup is still going strong, posting one story from each team every day. The AU Team is doing pretty well, if I do say so myself, with many strong entries, some of which I am going to rec.

Second, I have stumbled across a *brilliant* webcomic called No Rest for the Wicked - so let's start there.

No Rest for the Wicked follows November, the princess from 'The Princess and the Pea' fame. While November has always had trouble falling asleep, ever since the Moon disappeared she has been completely unable to rest. She heads off on a quest to find the Moon, with the aid of several well-known fantasy archetype staples: Red Riding Hood, Puss in Boots, the Girl With No Hands. The panels show a strong Japanese/anime influence - one might even say it has a Yu-Gi-Oh/Totally Spies! inspired style. The way-too-big-even-for-anime eyes make some of the character designs look like they've been doodled in the edges of a Japan-loving American teen's notebook: especially the character design of the main character, November.

However, the storyline, concepts, and even some of the other character designs are far from juvenile. First of all, many of you who read this journal already know the <3 I have for fairy tales, which can be understood on so many different levels. But Andrea Peterson has taken us down the rabbit hole, here, to the deepest, darkest place our archetypes live. If you've forgotten why the Wolf from 'Little Red Riding Hood' and the Witch from 'Hansel and Gretel' were ever scary, Peterson will kindly remind you - and give you new nightmares. At the same time, she explores the nature of violence and trauma: she subtly points out how Red has been turned into a witch by what happened to her as a child. There's so much *here* here that it's hard to explain in one review without simply re-telling the story.

Finally, after my slightly disparaging remarks about November's character design (!sorry!) I have to say that Red Riding Hood's is fabulous, reminding me more of the *really* older anime I've seen - the oldies but goodies, such as Robotech and (and oh god... what was the one where they did the English dub with a guy faking Clint Eastwood's voice? ...and eyepatches?) Ehem. In any case, Red is easily my favorite character. (She also reminds me just a wee bit of Escaflowne's Dilandu.)

Well, what are you sitting around for? Haven't I gushed enough? Go read it!

...oh. You're waiting for the HP recs? That may have to be another post.

...because I caught the Flu. Note the capital letters. This is the Influenza virus, the one that makes your bones feel like they *hurt* for no sensible reason. It's the weirdest feeling in the world...

romantic way 2 die



So, to the three people who read my journal, you should go to the H/D WORLD CUP site! It's here, and the fics and art will be posted soon: the deadline for fic is midnight tonight, which means that things will be posted on April 1st and will continue to be posted over the next little while.

Not only are you able to vote for good fic, but insightful commentary will win the team in question even more points! So make sure not just to vote but to comment as well.

I hope to see you all over at the H/D World Cup!


artwork by red_rahl banner by elanorofcastile
romantic way 2 die

This is a test...

...of the emergency fic-posting system. If this were not a test, actual fic would be present.

Actually, this is going to be a kind of present for people who actually follow my writing: it's a Snape-centric fic, the first chapter (rough draft, you can see my notes to myself everywhere.) In any case, it's behind the cut.

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