Back when my online fandom presence activity was done through e-mail communication and my own website (still found here, but lamentably outdated except for my own story listings), I kept a roster of fanfic recommendations that I faithfully maintained and expanded. Somehow that didn’t accompany me on my near-total shift to LiveJournal. I still see nice stories here and there, though, and today seems like a good time to point to a few of them.
“the Perils of Witch Slaying (or How Buffy Ended up in Dinoland)”, by pprfaith, is a short crossover between Buffy and Jurassic World. (Which I haven’t yet seen, but will watch within the next few days purely because of how much I enjoyed this story.) It’s both true-to-character as far as Buffy is concerned, and entertaining and fun in its own right, and the closing lines are delightful.
“Glitter Is Forever” (by the same author) likewise crosses Buffy, this time with the MCU Avengers, but — unless it was done in a previous fic I haven’t found — doesn’t explain how she got there, though she seems to be a member of the team by that point. This one is lighter and more whimsical, but fun enough to read and enjoy and maybe go back a few weeks later and read again. (Which I did, as I did with “the Perils of Witch Slaying”.)
Finally, one from much further back: I’d enjoyed but then forgot about “Agent Barton's Strictly Professional Interest”, by im_ridiculous, until something reminded me of it and I had to expend some effort and exercise some Google-fu skills to relocate the story. Not a crossover, and having nothing to do with Buffy (can you believe it of me? yes, I do occasionally and even unashamedly read non-Buffy fics), this one is also MCU, pre-Avengers. All talk, no action whatsoever, and a hoot from beginning to end.
These stories, and their authors, deserve recognition and appreciation. This is mine. Go thou and do likewise.
Last year I set myself to do a dozen stories — I listed them, with abbreviations for the titles — and wound up coming not even close to finishing. This year I was going to finish that out. Not doing so well on that. I’m less than two thousand words into what will be the fifth of the twelve (as listed in this post, the one that first announced my intent), and I’m stubbornly determined to finish it before I begin another. And it’s resisting me, and I’m letting other things delay me in focusing, and … Yeah. Familiar story.
I’ve also signed up for this year’s summer_of_giles. That’s not exactly invariant, but after my entry in 2013 I’ve skipped only 2015. (Invariant would be RemixRedux; the only year I skipped that, after beginning in 2006, was last year when it didn’t take place, though for a while it appeared that it would. Disappointing.) I already know what I intend to do for it, and it won’t be a major effort, but a small note in the eventual personality of Rupert Giles. Not one of the twelve originally posited, though, so it won’t get me any closer to my goal.
My son in China just sent me a query about how I go about planning for a story: detailed advance notes, vague outline, or just jump in and fly by the seat of my pants? I’ll have to consider how to prepare my answer in a form that will make sense … and caution him, likewise, that everyone who writes goes about it a different way, and the right way for any individual writer is the one that works for him/her.
What seems to work best for me is being on military deployment. I don’t get to do those anymore, though, so I’ll just have to find some operable substitute.
These are the remixes I’ve written, in the order they were done.
B = Backstage story — I = Independent story
B26 Walking After Midnight I06 An’ Foolish Notion B27 X-Factorial I07 Jasmine Tears I08 Family Skeletons B30 Otherwise a Perfect Sky B33 Hungry Like the Wolf I10 Best Foot Forward I11 Mortal Coil B35 And Your Enemies Closer I12 Yet They Grind Exceeding Small I14 In the Air Tonight B38 Bitter from the Sweet I15 Subject to Change I16 Under the Gun B39 Shock to the System I19 Man in Motion I20 Long Time Passing B42 Rough Trade I21 Phantom 309 B43 Just Can’t Kill the Beast I22 Tea and Oranges I25 There Ought to Be Clowns
sroni’s husband Conal is still in the hospital, but much improved. It got a bit extreme there for a while; he spent two days in a medically-induced coma, to head off brain-swelling from all the fluids he was having to process (some from his condition, some medicinally added to treat his condition), and he’s been out of that for most of a week now. He’s even out of the ICU, and his blood sugar is now only 150-200% of normal instead of 600%.
After the original report that this was diabetes, the overall diagnosis keeps changing; they probably won’t know for sure till he fully stabilizes. There’s definitely pancreatitis in there, but it can’t yet be determined whether this is pancreatitis aggravated by diabetes, pancreatitis precipitated by diabetes, diabetes aggravated by pancreatitis, diabetes precipitated by pancreatitis, or pancreatitis leading to diabetic crisis (but not actual diabetes). If we’re lucky, it was the last one, some as-yet-unknown infection bringing about pancreatitis which brought about diabetic crisis.
There’s been luck already. My wife Susan (sroni’s mother, yes) has been a professional nurse for decades, and some of the practices and terminology in the UK may differ from ours but enough came across for her to suspect that that they were treating — or laboring mightily to prevent — multisystem organ failure. MOF is one of those things like heat stroke: however it comes about (and can do so from different causes), it WILL kill you unless actively stopped from doing so. We’re clearly past that point by now.
I didn’t really have any idea how bad it was (or could have got) until after the major threat was over. Susan suspected, I think, but 1) she has a depth of vocational knowledge that I lack, and 2) her experience has predisposed her toward pessimism, in that the worst outcomes are the ones she’s dealt with on a regular basis. I’m just pleased that things have resolved themselves as smoothly as they have.
Apparently my son-in-law is diabetic.
I didn’t know this. He didn’t know it. (He may not know it yet, because he’s in ICU in Dublin, responding to insulin therapy but set up for dialysis if that proves necessary, and his state of consciousness is … iffy.) The onset was so severe and unexpected, there were no symptoms before very late Wednesday night and they didn’t become truly worrisome till yesterday afternoon (Ireland time, which I think is about eight hours ahead of US Central Standard).
I found out about it … well, barely two hours ago, I got home and there was a text from Susan on my phone that our daughter (sroni) had sent her a message by Facebook, so I started questing for details because Susan is still at work.
We’ve wound up using a range of electronic communications. I contacted sroni through Facebook text, got information, relayed it to Susan through phone texts, sent a summary message to my son Kevin (still in China, yes) by WeChat; then sroni went to a different part of the hospital when her husband was moved to ICU, and switched over to Skype on her tablet.
So many avenues, and we used them all because they were there for us to use.
People got by before these various conduits of information were available. Their lives were full and complex, so it’s not a matter of how unfortunate they were. All the same, I feel that we ARE fortunate, to be able to keep one another informed — and become informed ourselves — at such speed, over such distances.
The world is not what it once was. People used to say the globe was shrinking, meaning that the speed of travel and communication had made distance less of a barrier to people in different parts of the world. In that sense it was true, but ‘shrinking’ implies constriction, and my world is larger now that it was even when my children were born. The conquest of these barriers has changed not only what we can do, but how we think.
I am not unhappy about that.
[I’m re-posting this because I just noticed I failed to change the original post, over a month ago, from ‘private’ — while I was making sure everything looked right — to ‘public’.]
Number of my fics where the “f”-word has appeared: 20
Number of times some form of the word was used: 37
Number of characters in my fics who have used it: 12
Greatest offender: Faith (who else?), with 24 of the total 37
– Eleven times in one fic
– Three times each in two fics
– Twice in one fic
– Once each in five fics
Second worst offender: Xander (once each in five fics)
Others: three OCs, Gunn, Joyce, Kennedy, Marcie, Nancy Doyle (twice in one fic), and an otherfandom character in a crossover
Number of fics with f-word appearance per year:
Much of my initial reticence came from the fact that — though done for my own pleasure, and published online for anyone to see — my fics were written primarily as something I could share with my kids, who even by 2000 were still early teens. Obviously, as they got older, I became less concerned with their reaction … but, you know, I’ve just never been inclined to use rough language in my writing except for the specific purpose of making a particular effect.
The world has other ideas these days. That’s them, though. I’m me.
Here’s MY stuff.
I found out about LiveJournal more or less by accident. As a Buffy fanfic aficionado, I was constantly following links to stories recommended by people I trusted, and since I was in-theater in Iraq and Afghanistan at the time, I would find a story on a machine in the internet tent, copy the whole page to a thumb drive, and then read it on my own laptop back in my hootch. LJ was a major pain for that, because my copy attempts kept picking up all the comments at the end of the post; unwelcome to me at the time (more effort to get at what I wanted), but the commentary is what actually got me to eventually join the LJ community. Feedback was enormously more easy to give and receive through the LJ interface — though it took me a long time to reach the point where I could recognize the fact — and it’s been my primary online interaction ever since.
Maybe the new changes in ownership and policies will diminish or even ruin all that. It hasn’t for me, not yet, and I can hope it won’t.
Hufflepuff: Knowledge is its own reward.
Ravenclaw: Knowledge is power.
Slytherin: Power is power. Knowledge is one way of acquiring it.
Gryffindor: This – is – SPARTA!
We keep hearing about political forces in California trying to mount a movement for secession from the United States. I’m like many, many people in thinking 1) we’d be better off without them, and 2) but even so, you just can’t allow something like that, it’s wrong in principle. Now someone in this blog post has lined out several (if not all) of the reasons it not only shouldn’t happen, but probably couldn’t. (The following is all direct quote, except for the segment in [brackets].)
- Federal land in the state. Almost half of the state’s area is Federally owned; National Forest, BLM [presumably the Bureau of Land Management, not Black Lives Matter], military bases, and so forth. What would become of those Federal lands? Would the new California national government pay the United States fair value for those lands? Or would the state just seize the properties? If so, how? Which brings us to:
- The military. Never mind for a moment that the several military bases in California are Federal property, and that the soldiers, sailors, Marines and airmen on those bases work for the Federal government and are sworn to uphold and defend the Constitution of the United States, not the state of California. Would California start their own military? Their own army, navy, and air force? How would they pay for it? More to the point, who would serve in it? Who would lead it? There is no Lee in California; no Longstreet, no Jackson.
- Water. California doesn’t have enough native water to support its population. Instead, they depend on water from the Colorado river. If California secedes, how will they pay for this water? Rivers can be dammed and/or diverted. Colorado, Nevada and Arizona could certainly find good use for the 4.4 million acre-feet of water that go to California every year.
- Electricity. California imports about 1/3 of its electricity from its neighboring states. Given that the state is not fond of building new power plants — at least, the wealthy coastal elites who effectively run the state are not fond of building new power plants — what will California do for power? Will they continue to pay to suckle at the United States’ power grid? If so, how will they pay for it?
- Currency. Will California start coining money? Who will set monetary and fiscal policy for the new nation — the people who are running California’s economy now? Welcome to the Greece of the West, folks.
- Politics. California is a big, sparsely populated red state dominated by a few densely populated bright blue population centers — primarily Los Angeles and San Francisco. The state’s farmers and tradesmen are ruled, effectively, by a well-off coastal elite. Suppose rural northern California, the Central Valley, and maybe Orange County refuse to go along? What if those areas vote to stay in the United States? Will the new California national government stick to their newly found principles of self-determination and allow those areas to remain? And if they do, how will a tiny coastal nation consisting of a couple of major cities and a few hundred miles of coastline feed itself? Speaking of which:
- Food. California is largely desert. The fertile Central Valley produces less and less food all the time, strangled by excessive rules and regulations from the state and (to be fair) the Imperial government. Should the secession prove acrimonious, could California find the wherewithal to release Central Valley farmers (if there are any left) to start producing grain and truck crops?
- Foreign Affairs. Who would California’s international allies be? The most obvious one is the mother country — the United States — but just as in the first time this was tried, it’s likely there would be some hard feelings. Nations have no permanent friends, only permanent interests; who would serve California’s interests in an alliance? Mexico? China?
There’s also the 1861 question; should California announce their secession, would President Trump send in the Army to force them to remain? If so, California wouldn’t be able to resist the way the old Confederacy did. It’s highly doubtful half the professional U.S. military would defect to fight for California.
Honestly, the folks agitating for a secession of California aren’t thinking this thing through. The one thing California would have to do to make it as a separate nation is to switch political philosophies and adopt personal liberty, free markets, and minimal intervention by government in the economy and the property rights of its citizens — and this, True Believers, is everything that California is not. It would be a matter of decades at the most before California sank into a Venezuelan quagmire. We don’t need that on our western border, and California’s citizens don’t need it in their bank accounts.
I can understand the base sentiment of the movement, since some people in Texas (no, I don’t live in Texas, but I did for several years) were making some of the same arguments back when the constant tide of oppressive progressivism seemed on the brink of becoming unbearable. But a nation simply can’t allow portions of itself to opt out — it can’t, and hope to remain a nation instead of an endlessly subdividing collection of Balkan enclaves — and the preceding points show why, in this particular case, it’s not a good idea for the people in the state in question.
Life is tough. Sometimes (as in, pretty much most of the time) you just have to deal with things you don’t like.