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Lemme tell you a little story.

A bunch of assholes started writing fic for some television show with an utterly preposterous premise. But hey, I love fic by assholes, and if there's one thing being a media fan has taught me, it's to ignore preposterous premises. What the hey, I thought. I'll give it a shot. And then that thing happened where one week later you emerge from a stupor to find you've read all the halfway decent fic at the AO3 in a fandom for which you have NEVER SEEN A SINGLE EPISODE.

Several months later, thanks in large part to the kindness of [personal profile] giandujakiss , I've finally started working my way through season one.

I just finished episode 4, "Cura Te Ipsum."

The closest analogy I can get to the experience of watching the last five minutes of that episode is being invited to a reasonably fun party and handed a red solo cup with some perfectly okay beer from a warming keg. Your friends told you the party was going to be AMAZING and it's fine, really, but it's not exactly amazing, so you're a little disappointed, but you're also aware that one person's amazing isn't necessarily another's, and hey, free beer. Then, after a few hours of sort of run-of-the-mill drinking and talking, you're quietly invited into the room where the real party is. There's good scotch and expensive chocolate and a bunch of really smart, really fun people talking about things you find FASCINATING.

All of which is to say, yes, I get it now.
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My now-annual springtime semi-meltdown seems to be on its way. I don't know what it is about the season but the last three years I've had a harder time dealing with shit during springtime. I think I have reverse SAD.
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Weird, right? Maybe I will again, some day. (Leverage! Bones! Supernatural - still! I really am watching television, you guys, and reading fic about it! I swear!)

IN THE MEANTIME, it's nice to have a community of smart ladies to ask practical questions of! Hey ladies, here's one:

Do you use/know of a financial tracking tool where you record all your expenditures and it helps you manage your budget and also examine the way you're spending money? Because I could really use both of those things! I went through my finances recently and it turns out I've been spending HEAPS more money than I thought I was! What an unpleasant surprise.

So basically I'm turning over a new leaf, and recording everything I spend in a little moleskine notebook is only charming for so long.
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So I'm working through my tax stuff in anticipation of meeting my new accountants(!)(!)! Yes, I'm finally taking this shit to some accountants.

SO: Basically, every year when I do my taxes it forces me to think about my charitable / political donations and make some decisions about how I want to increase or decrease for the year to come.

For instance, in 2010, I had monthly gifts to Doctors Without Borders, Human Rights Campaign, the ACLU, and our local public radio station. I also gave some money to Wikipedia in a one-time gift (in the hopes of making Jimmy Wales stop personally appealing to me).

In 2010, it turns out my total charitable/political giving was about 2% of my total income. This seems low to me. For 2011, I'm going to try taking that up to 5% and seeing how it feels. This may mean some belt-tightening, but I think I can handle that.

What I'm curious about is: what do you consider an appropriate level of giving, in your own life? Do you even track / plan for what you give? I never used to, but I'm thinking a lot more about it lately. Maybe it has something to do with turning thirty... I start feeling this pressure to act like a grown-up.

Anyway, I'm thinking of upping my donation to MSF, maybe adding a monthly Wikipedia donation, and picking up a local soup kitchen/homeless outreach charity and something animal-y, like the humane society. Any suggestions for the latter two categories?
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Pushing my head up out of the toxic morass of this hangover for long enough to say:

The story I received, And They Lie Very Still is by Elspeth Vimes whose LJ is either not listed on AO3 or else I'm just not finding it because guys, hangovers make me super stupid.

I adore this story for many, many reasons. It's about robots (you should read PLUTO, if you haven't already) and the ways they are like people, and the ways they are people, and the ways in which they really really aren't.

This is my favorite part:

She plastered on a grin that Helena had seen enough times to recognize as false. “I don't know what we'd do without you, Helena.”

Helena mirrored the woman's expression. “I'm happy to help.”


***

I wrote two stories this year. My assignment was for [livejournal.com profile] amanuensis1. The fandom was The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly. She said, "Go on, slash The Good and The Ugly. Make me believe it." So I did my best.

Nothing Personal

This was a tough one - I ended up with something a lot rawer than I expected, but given that Tuco is basically one big exposed Id, that's probably appropriate. In any case, I'm happy with it.

It's about Tuco (the "Ugly") and Blondie ("The Good"), and when I was writing it, I kept thinking about how the two of them are like kids pulling each others pigtails in this sort of primitive form of flirtation, except instead of pinches and hair-pulling, it's a series of increasingly brutal almost-murders. But there is this weird subliminal dedication or loyalty or fascination that seems to be driving it, and that's pretty much what my story is about.

This is my favorite part:

“Hey Blondie,” he says, looking over. Blondie’s staring into the fire, looking like his mind is a million miles away. “I been thinking.”

“Oh?” Blondie’s voice is softer than usual, slow with booze. He doesn’t take his gaze from the fire, but his head tips to one side lazily. That’s one thing Tuco really likes about Blondie - it’s always fun to watch him loosen up after a few drinks. Those long limbs go all sprawled and even his soft hair gets floppier.


***

The other story I wrote was a pinch hit for [livejournal.com profile] partly. This one was for Live Free or Die Hard, a fandom near and dear to my heart.

The Day is Saved

She wanted something canon-compliant and gen, featuring Matt and John and Lucy. I was only too happy to oblige, and the result is a post-movie story about how it gets kind of wearying to be a tremendous badass all the time. This story was fun to write - I loved writing Lucy, especially. I heart her.

This is my favorite part:

“Everyone drop your weapons or Santa gets it!” Lucy screamed.

There was a pause, then one of the elves started crying.


This is my other favorite part:

When Lucy woke up the next morning, Matt was still at his desk, having broken through the firewall of a huge Russian-mafia financed spam operation and ended up in a hacking war with someone named Georg who thought he was hot shit.

He wasn’t bad, Matt admitted, when all the appliances in his kitchen started whirring to the tune of the Russian National Anthem as performed by the Red Army Choir.

“Matt, what the hell?” Lucy said from the couch.

“Just a sec,” Matt said, and spent the next thirty minutes breaking into the Russian Air Force’s systems, reprogramming an experimental Sukhoi PAK FA fighter jet to operate on autopilot with a semi-autonomous AI of his own construction. He christened it “Little Matty II” and sent it on its way to Georg to settle the matter once and for all.

!!!!!

Dec. 26th, 2010 03:12 am
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Up waaaay too late working my way through the Yuletide riches, and I just noticed - there isn't even one "From Eroica With Love" story this year!

Guys, is it even Yuletide without Eroica? I'm all confused here!

If you're feeling lonesome for Klaus and Dorian, may I point you to the Eroica story I got for Yuletide last year? It's called Breaking and Entering and it's wonderful.

AND WHILE WE'RE TALKING ABOUT STORIES I RECEIVED, AHEM, anyone who has ever read any of "Pluto" should run not walk (figuratively) over to the story I received this year, which is And They Lie Very Still. It's a meditation on Gesicht and Helena and what it's like to be separate from humanity but still sort of implicated in humanity's sins? It's beautiful and sad and hopeful and I love, love, love it.
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I'm in my childhood bed, under a quilt my grandmother made, and the comforter my mom and I bought for me when I was nine.

At midnight the church a few blocks away will toll its bells and I'll start falling asleep even though i want to stay up for yuletide--I never make it. :) It's like trying to stay awake for Santa.

Thinking of all of you out in the world, my friends and cohort. Hope this winter is treating you well.

OMG

Dec. 24th, 2010 07:57 am
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Is it Yuletide yet?!

SO

Dec. 22nd, 2010 09:33 pm
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In the last week and a half, I have:

- pulled a few 14-hour days at work
- made two batches of xmas cookies
- cooked many very nice meals
- finished sewing a little fabric house
- written a yuletide story
- written and addressed a slew of xmas cards
- taken Mister Smarty-Pants to the ER with agonizing stomach pains of mysterious origin
- waited around in the ER for eight hours for doctors to announce that he appears to be fine
- (the good news is this seems to be true: the pain abated during hour two at the hospital and hasn't been back since)
- canceled and rescheduled holiday travel plans on account of ER visit
- slept 14 hours after staying up 24 with the ailing Mister SP
- written a pinch-hit story
- ordered thai food for dinner.

I HAZ AN ACCOMPLISHMENT.
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Pinch hit, pinch hit, pinch hit,
I volunteered for you.
Pinch hit, pinch hit, pinch hit,
What was I thinking?

This story is actually seriously fun to write but WHYYY MUST I WRITE SO SLOWLy and WHY must the deadline countdown clock move so fast?!

ETA: aaaaaand, it's in! This year's Yuletide duties are officially dispatched!

So......

Dec. 18th, 2010 06:59 pm
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Who has two thumbs and just uploaded her Yuletide story?

THIS GUY!
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Belated! So belated! How does a girl get "dear Yuletide writer" letter writer's block? Well, IT HAPPENED TO ME.

At this point it's maybe a little late to say anything useful, not that I really would have had anything useful to say, except: thank you. Thanks for volunteering for this fandom, and thanks for writing this story. I chose fandoms where I'll basically be weeping with gratitude for ANY story, so I don't have a lot to say by way of suggestion, only: I suspect if you write the story you want to write, then I will love it.

There, how's that for non-committal? But do I get points for enthusiasm? Because I've got plenty of that!
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AND THEN I DRANK TOO MUCH COFFEE AND THEN I DIDN'T GET ENOUGH DONE AT WORK EVEN THOUGH I DID SO MUCH and then yoga class, which was nice AND THEN THE A TRAIN AND THEN A ROACH IN THE BATHROOM AND THEN THE CAT WAS CRAZY AND THEN I FORGOT YESTERDAY'S BIRTH CONTROL PILL SO I TOOK IT TODAY WITH TODAY'S PILL AND NOW I FEEL LIKE PUKING

how was YOUR day?
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He's lived up to "Ronnie the Bear" at last! The boy looks like he's done all his growing out, not up. Wouldn't want to meet him in a dark alley. Good golly.
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Does Batman not sleep with Carrie Kelly in Dark Knight Strikes Back? Did I hallucinate this?
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Cut for SPN season 6 spoilers )
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Put in my nominations for this year:

Supernatural
American Idol RPF
The X-Files
Star Trek

Boy, I'm hoping someone writes a story in one of these fandoms! It'll be about time!

I kid, I kid.

ACTUALLY:
Kick Ass
The Outlaws of Sherwood
The War at Ellsmere
City of Lost Children
Resident Evil (movies)

It's not even November and I'm all fired up for XMAS!

Well, for yule, anyhow.
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THIS VIDEO IS CRAZY:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JDruPPPMK3I

But what I want to know is, why does she then not go straight to a club and find some people to have JARED LETO SEX with? Seems like a waste to stay at home.
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Sam is looking less weird in the face area than in the last couple of seasons. Plastic surgery? Better lighting? Alien abduction?
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