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I'm crazy but I get the job done
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October 2014
 
 
 
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aliana1
aliana1
Aliana
Sat, Oct. 25th, 2014 05:22 pm

There are a LOT of storytelling/pop-culture tropes I could happily go without seeing again.  You know, like the one where the young straight white male orphan is tapped as the Chosen Savior of the World, and his ensemble of non-young/straight/white/male sidekicks/mentors sublimate their own arcs into his to support him?  Or women being killed, attacked or depowered mainly to give pathos and motivation to the (male) protagonist?  Or romantic comedy protagonists being rewarded for behavior that would land them with a restraining order in real life?  Etc, etc.*

However, there is one trope that I will gladly consume to the end of time, whether or not it's well done.  I'm talking about Ballister and Nimona, Simon and Marcy, Joel and Ellie, Clint Barton and Kate Bishop, Batman and Carrie Kelley, Rooster and Mattie, Wolverine and any number of teen girl X-Men, and at least 60% of my own fanfic headspace.  Yep, I'm talking about The One Where the Jaded Male Veteran (Usually Reluctantly) Takes on a Kickass Little Girl Sidekick/Protege/Charge.**  I'm not exactly sure why it never fails to delight me, but I have some theories:

1) I used to be a teenaged girl myself, I sometimes still see myself as something of a teen, and I have worked with and mentored a lot of teenaged girls in my work life and have overall really enjoyed it.  So I have personal experience with both sides of the relationship.
2) Furthermore I love girl characters who are capable and flawed, and there to be something other than love interests/victims/window dressing.
3) For some reason I have almost always found platonic friendship relationships in fiction much more interesting than romantic ones, and especially male-female friendship.
4) I also have a huge soft spot for mentor-mentee and surrogate parent-kid relationships.  (I'd also love to see examples in which the genders are reversed, or both members of the duo are female, but for some reason these seem a lot less common than older guy/younger girl and male/male matchups.)

Okay.  Gonna go re-read my Hawkguy, now.  What about you guys?  How do you feel about this kind of trope, what pop culture tropes do you hate, and which ones can't you get enough of?



* Okay, to be completely fair, I have actually enjoyed (and often still do) a LOT of stuff that has employed said tropes, especially the first one I mentioned (Star Wars, Harry Potter, The Lego Movie, etc.) but usually either because they're so goofily and/or self-consciously archetypal in their use of the tropes (Use the Force Luke!), and/or they have other stuff going for them.  But I still roll my eyes and sigh, sure.

** Clearly, Kate Bishop is not actually a little girl; however, she is still definitely a teenager, and Clint still sees her as somewhat young and naive ("like nine years old and spoiled rotten"), though he knows she's totally capable of taking care of herself.

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aliana1
aliana1
Aliana
Fri, Oct. 24th, 2014 08:26 pm

If you haven't read Nimona yet, what are you waiting for?

Noelle Stevenson can just take all my money.  And all my feels.  TAKE IT ALL.

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aliana1
aliana1
Aliana
Wed, Oct. 22nd, 2014 01:29 am

Question for my f-list--I'd like to get an e-reader (am apparently the last person on the planet not on that train).  I'd like something very simple as the only functionality I'd need would be to download and read books.  I don't need any extra apps, media, browsers, etc.  However, I also like to read a fair amount of comics and graphic novels, so I'd really prefer one with a color display--however, all the non-fancy ones that I've found seem to be in black and white.  Anyone know of a simple color e-reader?  Like, maybe some less-known and/or discontinued models I could look into?

Thanks.  (Promise more substantive post and comments shortly.)

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aliana1
aliana1
Aliana
Sun, Oct. 12th, 2014 02:16 pm

Reasons why it would be impossible for me to not love this show:

  • Mustachioed Clive Owen is a brilliant, racist*, cocaine-addicted surgeon who more or less lives in a brothel in Chinatown.

  • The glorious Andre Hollande is an equally brilliant African-American surgeon who strives for social justice while also drinking too much and picking bar fights.

  • Together, they fight crime usher in the dawn of modern surgery!

  • And there is a chain-smoking Irish nun who performs illegal abortions (the only kind).

  • Juliet Rylance is a society girl who literally takes down Typhoid Mary.

  • Jeremy Bobb is compulsively watchable as a delightfully sketchy hospital superintendant.

  • All of this is set to a minimalist electronic score and framed with handheld camera shots.

  • No one yet knows about the drawbacks of X-ray radiation.  It's a glorious modern toy!

It's definitely not for everyone, especially as the surgery scenes can be rather graphic, and a lot of character sequences can feel very distant and opaque.  But if it's your thing, well, it is your thing.


* As I hope is obvious, I am not overjoyed by racism, itself, but I do find it immensely refreshing when historical fiction does not attempt to whitewash (pun intended) the prevalent attitudes of the period in question in order to avoid alienating modern viewers (this goes for sexism, classism, homophobia, anti-Semitism, whatever).  I can't blame writers/showrunners for doing it, exactly, since all historical fiction is in some sense, fantasy.  And it doesn't ruin things for me unless it gets overly preachy.  That said, I find it somewhat disingenuous and pandering when the (frequently white, straight, male) protagonists of a period piece have magically politically progressive attitudes, or else are quickly cured of their bigotry in a Very Special Episode, with real prejudice being the sole provenance of villains.  The fact that Clive Owen's character, and others, are products of their time, and are not immune from the contempible attitudes that were the order of the day, certainly makes them less likeable but no less compelling, complex, and believable.  It also does fuller justice to the everyday uphill struggles and heinous indignities that Hollande's character is subject to on a daily basis, as even the most supposedly educated people in this society refuse to acknowledge him as a surgeon and equal.

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aliana1
aliana1
Aliana
Sun, Sep. 14th, 2014 08:22 pm


Image copyright henneth-annun.net 2014

As many of you know, it was recently announced that the Henneth-Annun Story Archive (HASA) will be retired at the end of 2014, after twelve years of operation.  During this time, and weathering huge changes in the fandom and internet landscapes, the site has been host to works by new and experienced authors; an active fan community, with friendships that endure to this day; and a rich library of Tolkien-related resources.

If you are one of the many fan readers and writers who will miss HASA, I invite you, in the comments, to reminisce and/or share appreciation for the owner, admins and volunteers who devoted so much of their time and resources to this unique site.

Feel free to share this post with others who may be interested.  I have turned off comment screening, so people without LJ/DW accounts can also post (I think).

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aliana1
aliana1
Aliana
Wed, Jun. 25th, 2014 08:45 pm

Holllaaaaaaa!

First of all, let me get my by-now standard apology for being such a lackadaisical/infrequent/non-communicative online friend out of the way.  Work, work, busy, busy (not really a legit excuse because we're ALL work work busy busy, I know).

Moving on to something I am proud of, it was in June of 2004 (the 20th, to be exact), at a callow 19 years old, that, after several months of lurking, reading, and not being able to move on emotionally after reading "The Grey Havens" (it still gets me!  Still!  Time has not blunted this wound as much as one would think or hope), I finally signed up for my own account at Henneth Annun, and, shortly thereafter, with great trepidation, posted by very first fanfic.

Well, the rest was history: the LJ account, the drabbles, the beta-reading, the divine silliness, the OCs, the real-life meetups, the MEFAs, B2MeM, the fanmixes, the icons, the rants....

Yep, this week I am celebrating my ten-year faniversary.

There have been a few lengthy hiatuses (hiati?), but I have more or less been Aliana for my entire adult life.  I can think of very few other activities for which I have been engaged over my entire adult life, like drinking alcohol, or...breathing oxygen.  Anyone here, reading this, whether I have known you for the last ten years (you know who you are!) or the last ten minutes, I want to say thanks so much for being a part of this amazing, creative, vibrant and supportive community with me.  Fanfic and fandom in general often get a bad rap for ship wars, canaticism, flaming, trolling, etc, but I have never felt anything but welcomed and extravagantly supported (and, in my darkest extremities, graciously accepted) in our little corner, and for that I am truly humbled and grateful.

A few small mathoms in honor of you guys:

A donation to support web hosting at the place where it all started (for me, at least).

A donation to support the amazing Welcome to Night Vale (alas, not feeling quite flush enough at the moment to donate enough for Cecil to record me a personal greeting, but someday...)

To honor the Professor's ardent love of nature, and to honor my friends' generous spirits, a gift of seedlings, via the wonderful charity Heifer International, to contribute to reforestation and help developing country families practice sustainable agriculture.
check it out.Collapse )

Last but certainly not least for this bunch of formidable literary women, a donation in your honor to another favorite of mine, Room to Read, which supports education and literacy--particularly for girls--in developing countries in Asia and Africa.
click hereCollapse )

And now, perhaps, to write some faniversary smut, which, as we all know, is the REAL gift that keeps on giving (plus I feel particularly obligated after having dropped the ball on my "Extra Virgin: Autumn Passions" B2MeM assignment this year).  I'm probably going to regret this heartily, but does anyone have any particularly compelling, non-family-friendly ideas?

Love and hugs to all!

~Ali

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aliana1
aliana1
Aliana
Mon, Apr. 14th, 2014 01:35 pm

In honor of your badass cycling expertise, here are some vintage pictures of awesome ladies being awesome with their awesome bikes, just like you but in The Past!

I love their sassy bike shorts/skirts.
more under the cut!Collapse )

I hope you have a wonderful day full of things you enjoy!

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aliana1
aliana1
Aliana
Mon, Apr. 14th, 2014 01:14 pm

Hi, huinare!  Oh, look at this!  Hannibal is so taken with your wit, charm and appreciation of life's abundant darkness that he has made you a birthday cake!

(The reason that it has no candles is that his specially-ordered shipment of handmade artisan wildflower beeswax candles from Switzerland did not arrive in time for your birthday, and Hannibal does not buy tacky wax striped birthday candles from Walgreens, because what is he, some kind of philistine?)

He swears up and down that the cake is NOT people, and that in this case, the phrase "made with the blood of your enemies" is PURELY METAPHORICAL.  Of course we trust this guy about as far as we can throw him, so between you and me, you should probably stick to just the wine.  Still, it's the thought that counts, right?

Happy birthday!

Tags:
Current Location: Hannibal's house, Baltimore

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aliana1
aliana1
Aliana
Mon, Apr. 14th, 2014 12:50 pm

Hope your birthday was great, blslarner!

Here are some flowers I "e-picked" for you on my walk this morning. :)

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aliana1
aliana1
Aliana
Fri, Apr. 11th, 2014 03:12 pm

Many felicitations from the Gateway of India, Oshun!  Here is "Happy Birthday" in the three main languages of Mumbai: Hindi, Marathi, and English!  Hope you have a fantastic day.

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aliana1
aliana1
Aliana
Fri, Feb. 14th, 2014 11:05 pm

If anyone else happens to be watching House of Cards, please let me know so that we can revel in the OMGWTAF-ery together.  (The "A" stands for "actual," as in WHAT THE ACTUAL F*CK JUST HAPPENED?)

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aliana1
aliana1
Aliana
Thu, Feb. 6th, 2014 11:03 pm

Have started several abortive posts this week, mostly about work and so probably not terribly interesting to anyone except me and possibly my parents, who at any rate are not on LiveJournal (that I know of).

However this is more entertaining.  (It is yesterday's Dinosaur Comic by the awesome Ryan North.  For those of you who are uninitiated, North has been cranking out comics with the exact same MS Paint images for the last ten years or so, and they have probably covered every topic known to mankind and are consistently funnier than like 90% of the stuff I read):

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aliana1
aliana1
Aliana
Sun, Jan. 26th, 2014 03:52 pm

During the Fandom Snowflake Challenge, huinare asked the important question (and I paraphrase), "WHERE IS MY FANFIC HOLODECK YO?!"

To which the New York Times' tech blog answers, "2024 BABY!!  THAT STAR TREK SHIT ALL UP IN THE HOUSE!" (I am also paraphrasing).

This is all part of a quest by computer companies, Hollywood and video game makers to move entertainment closer to reality — or at least a computer-generated version of reality. Rather than simply watch movies, the thinking goes, we could become part of the story. We could see people and things moving around our living rooms. The actors could talk to us. Gamers who today slouch on the couch could step inside their games. They could pick up a computer-simulated bat in computer-simulated Yankee Stadium while a computer-simulated crowd roared around them...

“Eventually, wallpaper will become intelligent and we will paper over our entire living room with intelligent paper, surrounding and immersing ourselves with 3-D images,” said Michio Kaku, a theoretical physicist.

Naturally, the blog entry closes with a bit of cautionary speculation that people might prefer to live in the virtual world to living in the real one (though one could also argue that there are plenty of people like this already, even without holodeck technology) by citing a relevant example from Star Trek: The Next Generation:

In one episode, Lt. Reginald Barclay becomes dependent on computer-generated versions of his colleagues for friendships, preferring virtual relationships to real ones. He ultimately requires therapy from Lt. Cmdr. Deanna Troi, the ship’s counselor, to wean himself off the simulations and back to everyday life.

(As a side note, I think one of my favorite aspects of ST:TNG has always been that they have a psychotherapist who plays an integral part of the show and SITS ON THE BRIDGE with the captain and the navigation and communications personnel. Watching it growing up, I never really questioned this; like, of course they have a counselor sitting in the command center, why wouldn't they?)

Anyway, holodecks.  Dropping in ten years.  Mark your calendars.

***

Also, HUGE thanks to just_ann_now for introducing me to the completely delightful and uncharacterizable podcast, Welcome to Night Vale.  (My hipster cred is ever so slightly wounded at not having discovered this gem before it apparently blew up and became the biggest thing ever, but better late than never I suppose!)  I binged on all the episodes over the past week and am now kind of bummed that I have to wait for the next one like everybody else!

As Ann has mentioned (also during the Snowflake Challenge), WtNV has spawned a particularly creative fandom with a huge amount of output in fic, art, etc.  Part of this is undoubtedly due to the fact that the Podcast's format is a "primary source"--it takes the form of biweekly community radio updates from a small desert town with hilariously Lovecraftian overtones (the public library's summer reading program degenerates into a bloodbath, there is a Forbidden Dog Park, and the two mayoral candidates are The Faceless Old Woman Who Secretly Lives in Your House, and Hiram McDaniels, who is literally a five-headed dragon).  I think this makes it a lot more fun and easy to engage with, than, say, if it were a collection of short stories about the same subject matter.  It's also generated a bunch of really pretty awesome realia merchandise.  My personal favorites are the Night Vale NRA bumper stickers:



(Also, Night Vale contains what is probably one of the best portrayals of gay characters and a gay relationship I've ever encountered in mass media, mainly because the fact that they're gay is never remarked upon, and is completely incidental to everything else.  I mean, how couldn't it be?)

So, if you haven't done so already, do yourself a favor and give Night Vale a visit!

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aliana1
aliana1
Aliana
Mon, Jan. 20th, 2014 04:06 pm

Chapter 8, "Camp-follower" || AO3
Characters: See summary.
Rating: General
Warnings: Nothing you didn't do in tenth grade.
Summary: Valacar cuts his apprentice some slack; Beren's back in town, and he's got a proposition.

This installment is brought to you by the letter A (for "awkward silences"), and the sound of crickets chirping. Like the last one, this one was also fairly tough to write, mostly because dialogue, and took me longer than it should have.

Trivia fact! Beren did not have a name, either in the text or in my head, until after making several appearances in Fallen. Outside of the story, I referred to him as "Love Interest Guy" (much in the spirit of "Creepy Guy" and, later, "Rohirric Guy." My creativity, it knows no bounds.)

"Beren will walk me home, tonight," I informed Valacar.Collapse )

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Current Location: Houses of Healing

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aliana1
aliana1
Aliana
Thu, Jan. 16th, 2014 08:06 pm


Fandom Snowflake Challenge banner

Day 15: In your own space, create your own challenge. What’s something you want to see more people doing in fandom? Is there something fun you’ve tried that you think other people would enjoy if they gave it a go? Dare your friends to try it out, and have fun with it. Leave a comment in this post saying you did it. Include a link to your post if you feel comfortable doing so.

Sad it's over. It's been fun to rain down the fandom love like confetti!

Several people have let me know that they'd be willing to take on another Bechdel Test Challenge, and that warms my li'l feminist fangirl heart! However, there's also a consensus that it's probably won't be a good idea to do it until April, because B2MeM, of course. So for the moment we'll be taking a raincheck on that.

Several of you have also challenged and encouraged everyone to read and review more, which I fully endorse and will try really hard to be better about! A great and worthy challenge for sure, for reasons that have been stated very well.

On a related note, I'd also like to challenge everyone (myself included) to talk a little more about your writing process, when updating, SSPing, or just because. How do you like to go about doing research? Which types of things are the easiest and most fun for you to write? Which are more challenging? Which make you want to bang your head against the wall? What are the things that make you comfortable and uncomfortable when it comes to writing and reading?

Personally, I find these conversations just really interesting in their own right. They can also help out when we're feeling like we're stuck on a particular scene or plot point, and they can also be tremendously vindicating ("Yes! I'm so glad I'm not the only one who has a tough-ass time writing detailed intercultural/equestrian dialogue/sex/gardening/etc!"). Finally, I also find that as a reader, they help me give more detailed feedback, because I can respond directly to what the writer is most concerned about, proud of, or spent the most time and effort on.

And thank you, everyone. I've really loved reading your snowflake posts!

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