Riona
19 August 2017 @ 12:14 pm
I recently had a conversation with my housemate about how extremely screwed up the Animorphs books were, containing the line, 'Yeah, that's not the first genocide in the Animorphs books.' It reminded me that I once wrote an Animorphs-inspired short story for school, and my English teacher called my parents because she was worried about my psychological health. (Look, we were prompted to write about nightmares! Were you expecting something nice?)

Seriously, though. There's one book where a kid's parents have been enslaved by mind-controlling aliens, so he goes, 'Well, I'll just murder this terminally injured kid and morph into him and go "look, I've made a miraculous recovery!" and then I'll have his parents,' and our heroes end up trapping him permanently in the body of a rat on an isolated island, which gets a reputation for being haunted because passing sailors can hear the rat-kid's psychic screams. One of our heroes, in rat form, is forced to chew through her own tail so their horrible plan will work. I was maybe ten years old when I read this.

Wait, are the Animorphs books the origin of my fondness for the Teenagers Suffering Horribly genre? They're definitely the origin of my writing style; the influence is really, really obvious when I reread my early Pokémon fanfiction. I've kept the 'very straightforward prose, lots of dialogue' aspects to this day. (And, on a content note, I'm still writing about teenagers suffering horribly.)


The theme of the inevitable Linkin Park segment in this entry is 'songs Linkin Park inexplicably never released on an album and don't have on their official YouTube channel EVEN THOUGH THEY'RE GREAT', because I went on a desperate hunt after hearing 'No Roads Left'. I've never heard Mike sing like this before! He usually raps or sings more gently; I had no idea he could manage something this desperate. And 'Across the Line' (warning for suicidal themes) is easily polished enough to be an album song; the buildup of the instruments is great. (The cats just had a DRAMATIC BATTLE while I was listening to it, and it made for the most incredible background music.)

Moving to some softer songs, 'She Couldn't' (again, suicidal themes) is also very good, although at least I can see why this one never ended up on an album: it was recorded in the Hybrid Theory era and wouldn't have fit with the harder sound of their other songs at the time, and the sampling might have created legal issues. And I love the instrumentation and singing on Blackbirds, although the lyrics hurt.

(Hard to think of any song from this band where the lyrics don't hurt. I'm doing a little better now (writing that horrible Until Dawn timeloop fic was incredibly cathartic and helped me claw myself out of a bad psychological dip), but it's been a really tough month. Chester's death in many ways feels like the death of my childhood, and it also got tangled up in my head with the death of a friend of mine under similar circumstances years ago, so I've been grieving on a weird number of levels.

WAIT, CURSES, I GOT SAD IN AN ENTRY AGAIN AND THE RULES SAY I HAVE TO POST SOMETHING CUTE TO MAKE UP FOR IT. Here are Chester and Joe putting on a stupid puppet show with puppets of the band members. I love the 'making fun of friends you know really well' feel of it. I also enjoyed Chester bouncing around ridiculously to a silly version of 'One Step Closer'.)
 
 
 
 
KJ
Between North Korea and Charlottesville and everything else happening, it's hard not to feel like everything is burning down. But until the world actually ends, it's better to proceed as if it will keep on turning, so have some linkspam.

 
 
 
author_by_night
16 August 2017 @ 09:27 am
I got this from a fandomsecrets post, because yes, I sometimes go there despite the trolls. (I even met some of you there.) Although I go far less than I used to and don't comment much. 

Anyway, one of the secrets was about stupid/awkward questions at interviews and panels. I was going to write an entry on this anyway, so many as well roll with it.
Read more... )
 
 
Riona
14 August 2017 @ 10:02 pm
Taking things out on fictional characters? I don't know what you're talking about. At least I've started writing again, I suppose.


Title: New Game?
Fandom: Until Dawn
Rating: PG-13
Wordcount: 2,500
Summary: Mike is caught in a time loop. Maybe this means he can save everyone. Then again, maybe it doesn't.


New Game? )
 
 
 
 
 
Riona
13 August 2017 @ 01:07 pm
Why have I created an online quiz that helps you decide which Linkin Park song to listen to? Good question. I don't know. The latest in my increasingly laboured series of excuses to talk non-stop about Linkin Park's music, I suppose. But here it is, in any case.

I made this and then went, 'Wow, what a colossal waste of time, I can't believe I spent five hours on this,' and a few hours later I went, 'God, I've got Chester's acoustic "Let Down" stuck in my head and for some reason it's emotionally devastating me. I need to listen to something to drive it out, but I don't know what! If only I had some sort of guide to - HOLD ON.' (It took me to 'Forgotten'. Always a good choice.)

It's not a definitive guide; it's missing some absolute classics ('Somewhere I Belong' is the worst omission). But it's got a reasonable selection: about forty songs (not counting joke songs), at least five from each studio album. Very useful if you know enough about Linkin Park to go 'I want a Chester song' or 'I want a Mike song' but somehow not enough to go 'I want this song specifically'. I'll be honest: this is absolutely pointless. But it was fun to work on. My favourite question is 'How much do you want to feel Chester hates you? [a lot/incandescently]'


In other news, I played a bit of Transistor recently, although I don't know when or if I'll have the opportunity to continue. 'Why does my sword have an opinion on food?' I asked at one point, puzzled. I was happily 'shipping the main character with her sword, but I 'shipped them substantially less after I realised the sword was actually a person, rather than just being a talking sword. That's much less fun. I did appreciate the inclusion of a 'hum a tune' button, though (even if nothing will ever beat the 'tell a terrible joke' button in The Last of Us: Left Behind).


Finished the first series of Pretty Little Liars! It is still delightfully silly. At moments I've found myself slightly 'shipping Hanna and Emily. To be honest, at moments I've found myself slightly 'shipping all four of them. They should all make out. And then A should use that for blackmail purposes, obviously.

I'm so sad that this is never going to happen.

Ezra has transferred schools, so he's no longer Aria's teacher and their relationship is now legitimate. I really hope it comes out at some point that they were involved while he was teaching her. What's the point of including a teacher-and-student romance plotline if you never get the enormous scandal of it coming to light? 'OH NO, ARIA'S JEALOUS' seems to be the only Ezra/Aria plotline we ever get, and 'OH NO, YOU'RE IN SERIOUS TROUBLE NOW' would be much more fun.
 
 
 
 
KJ
12 August 2017 @ 06:11 pm
Title: Inapproriate
Fandom: FFXII
Rating: Teen-ish
Wordcount: 7902
Characters: Ashe/Balthier, Ashe/Al-Cid, Penelo, Ondore
Spoilers: Yes but nothing really blatant.
Notes: A few months ago, I was complaining about not having any fic ideas, and [personal profile] renay pounced on me with a suggestion of Ashe/Balthier and fake dating. This is the result. Thanks to Nay for the bunny and to [personal profile] justira for a super-helpful beta read. Also thanks to Square Enix for releasing The Zodiac Age, thereby giving me the opportunity to put the characters' voices back in my head.

Summary: Beset by advisors who are pressuring her to marry, Queen Ashe reacts by bringing sky pirate Balthier as her escort to an important state event. Just having a bit of fun at her council's expense... right?

Posted on AO3.
Tags: , ,
 
 
Feeling:: accomplished
 
 
KJ
11 August 2017 @ 10:31 am
LADY BUSINESS WON THE BEST FANZINE HUGO.

IS THIS THE REAL LIFE?

More when I can actually be coherent about it.
 
 
Feeling:: jubilant
 
 
KJ
10 August 2017 @ 10:32 am
My regular work schedule is officially Monday through Wednesday, but what with one thing and another I've been working a lot of Thursdays lately. But today, I am not (except for a call in a couple of hours), so I am free! (Mostly.) Currently I am doing the "laptop in cafe" thing, which is usually how I spend my non-working Thursday mornings. Then I'll head home for the call, maybe do a little work, and then I'll have a free afternoon until it's time to meet people for dinner. But I'm sure what I'll actually do is sit around and be jealous of everyone who is in Helsinki for WorldCon.

Speaking of WorldCon, have I told you all how very excited I am for next year? WorldCon in my back yard. And so many awesome people are coming. I wish I could invite everyone to my place and have a big party, but it's 1. too small for a large gathering and 2. about 40 miles from the venue, so it's not like we could just pop over. But if you are attending, and plan to spend any time in San Francisco before or after the con, let me know! I am happy to play tour guide. Everyone should come to San Jose, and we will have excellent adventures together.
 
 
Feeling:: content
Listening to:: "Lullaby" - Alana Davis
 
 
 
Riona
08 August 2017 @ 10:42 pm
I have now listened through all seven Linkin Park studio albums from beginning to end! I've bookmarked a... frankly ridiculous number of tracks, although most of them were in my bookmarks before I actively started listening to full albums. (Counting non-album tracks, I have bookmarked over fifty Linkin Park songs. Fifty. There are more than half a hundred Linkin Park songs I love. They are the best band ever and all the other bands are just going to have to deal with it.)

Here is my definitive, unfaultable ranking of which albums are the best, determined through the following extremely scientific method:

METHODOLOGY: Which album have I bookmarked the most tracks from?
CONCLUSION: That one's the best.

I am a woman of simple needs. I don't care about how well the songs flow together or how coherent the album's themes feel. I just want a load of songs I like to listen to. As such, I am not going to make adjustments based on the total number of tracks. Screw your percentages. A twelve-track album on which I like eleven tracks is better than a ten-track album on which I like all ten, because it gives me more songs to listen to endlessly. If you think that's unfair, One More Light, you shouldn't have skimped on the tracks!

A couple of caveats:

- I listened to Hybrid Theory from beginning to end many times as a teenager, so I think of it more as a full album than as a set of individual songs. I originally just bookmarked the album playlist. Since then, I've bookmarked a few particular favourites, but I haven't been quite as diligent about going 'ooh, better hang on to this one' as I have been with songs from other albums, because I know I'm never going to lose a Hybrid Theory song; at some point, I'll listen to it in full again. Its position on the list of albums may therefore be lower than it deserves. (I hadn't realised until just now that I'd left the eternal classics 'Papercut' and 'Crawling' off my bookmark list. Better fix that.)

- The entire One More Light album is now pretty painful. I listened to it from beginning to end before we lost Chester, but I haven't been able to bring myself to since. There are songs on there I might decide to bookmark if I heard them another time or two (e.g. 'Battle Symphony'), but right now I just can't.

Weird discovery in the course of this adventure: 'New Divide' was never on a Linkin Park album? Really? Are you sure? I mean, I wasn't expecting 'Rolling in the Deep' or that silly song about jellyfish to be on any of their studio albums, but 'New Divide'?

I don't particularly expect anyone to be interested in this entry, but TOO BAD, I'M WRITING IT ANYWAY.


The definitive, absolute scientific ranking of Linkin Park albums. )


I found myself feeling unexpectedly chipper whilst compiling this entry! Chipperness has been in short supply for the last few weeks and I was terrified it might have fled me entirely, so this is great news. I just love this band! I love talking about this band! And maybe I can never enjoy them in the same way again, but I'm relieved to realise that doesn't necessarily mean I can't enjoy them at all.
 
 
 
 
author_by_night
07 August 2017 @ 07:56 am
Picking up after Ron's.

Read more... )

 
 
Riona
07 August 2017 @ 11:38 am
Having now listened to Minutes to Midnight from beginning to end: yep, favourite Linkin Park album. (Even if it contains 'Leave Out All the Rest' and 'Bleed It Out' and 'Shadow of the Day' in immediate succession, which is such a high concentration of agonising lyrics that it's almost hilarious.) 'Wake', 'Given Up' and 'In Between' are the only songs I didn't love enough to bookmark, and I still like them (and I have to respect Chester for holding that scream in 'Given Up' for an entire sixteen seconds). I'd never heard 'Valentine's Day' before; it's so pretty! (And heartbreaking. LIKE EVERYTHING.)

No more Linkin Park in this entry, I promise. (I wish this band could stop being my primary fandom. I'd sort of hoped my mind would go 'yikes, suppose I'd better latch onto something else' when they went from causing me joy to causing me intense sadness, but instead it's going 'NOPE, I'VE TAKEN OUT A SUBSCRIPTION AND THIS IS STILL THE ONLY THING YOU'RE ALLOWED TO CARE ABOUT.' I can't even distract myself by throwing myself into writing, because I can only write for whatever I'm currently fannish about, and writing Linkin Park fanfiction would be far too weird and upsetting! I mean, no offence, guys, I love you, but this has not been one of my better fandom experiences.)

(EDIT: Wait, I forgot the rule that I'm not allowed to be sad about Chester without also posting something cute about him! Swanning around in a cape.)


I really love the friendships at the heart of Pretty Little Liars. I'd assumed this was just going to be a show about awful people being awful! But instead it's largely about good people being awful, and that gives it a lot of charm. I suppose it appeals to me in the same way Dangan Ronpa and Higurashi do, although Pretty Little Liars doesn't contain quite as much murder. Here are some teenagers! They're largely good-hearted and they care about each other. Let's watch them make horrible, horrible mistakes.

My other favourite thing from Pretty Little Liars is A's increasingly stupid methods of sending messages. The best so far: sneaking a message into a fortune cookie. 'Writing a message on one of a fortune teller's tarot cards, apparently in the knowledge that that card will be deployed when one of the people you're blackmailing is having her fortune read' was also top-quality.


Although I tend to get more invested in good-hearted characters, I can appreciate the occasional awful person in fiction. Our household has been watching Gypsy on Netflix, or, as we've taken to calling it, Bad Decisions Therapist. It's very slow-paced and I might not have stuck with it if I hadn't been watching with my housemates, but I'm enjoying what a terrible person the main character (the titular bad decisions therapist) is. My favourite scene so far is her trying to drag details of her patient's sex life out of him because it's turning her on. She's not the worst fictional therapist you could go to, but only because Hannibal Lecter exists.

(...as a character. I don't think Hannibal Lecter actually exists.)

My housemate challenged me to write fanfiction about the protagonist playing 'fuck, marry, kill' with Hannibal (specifically of the television series Hannibal). Here is the terrible result:


"Okay," Jean says, trying to keep her smile under control. "It's unprofessional, I know, but... your patients. Fuck, marry, kill?"

Hannibal nods thoughtfully. He seems to be taking the question a little more seriously than she'd anticipated. "Will."

There's a pause.

"Wait, which one?" she asks.

"Will," Hannibal says.
 
 
 
 
KJ
July was a busy time for me at work, and then I went on vacation, and as usual political events moved really quickly. It seems like years have passed since the last time I did one of these, although in reality it was just under a month. So it goes when you're on Trump time. But Congress is on its summer recess (mostly -- the Senate pulled a procedural trick to keep the chamber officially in session, so that Trump can't make any recess appointments; this isn't an unusual practice, though), and the big man himself is on a seventeen day vacation (because he's been SO HARD at work these last several months, you know), so maybe things will be a little quieter for a bit, and we can catch up.

It's nice to think so, anyway.

  • The big story on Twitter this weekend is an anti-diversity memo making the rounds internally at Google. The full text was leaked to Gizmodo; I'm not going to link to it, since it's 1. easy enough to find and 2. the same tedious MRA/alt-right bullshit we've all seen a million times about how women are too emotional to be good coders and "meritocracy" and why Google's REAL diversity problem is not enough Young Republicans (although Anil Dash's short version is pretty entertaining). However, I will link to this ex-Google employee's response, which is excellent. I also direct you to Dr. Nerdlove's Twitter thread on why "at least it's promoting discussion" is exactly the wrong response.

  • The Washington Post examines exit poll data from the last few president elections in search of "Trump Democrats" only to find that they basically don't exist. Most of the voters who switched from Obama to Trump were Republicans who crossed the aisle to vote for Obama. Yet another reason for the Democrats to stop chasing this demographic and focus on pleasing their actual base.

  • Speaking of, yet again more nonsense about the DNC/DCCC giving money as support to anti-choice candidates. Stop. Just stop. It's never helped us before and it's certainly not going to help us now. I will never forget how anti-choice Democrat Bart Stupak almost derailed the passage of the ACA by pushing for anti-abortion provisions. I don't believe in ideological purity tests, and I know that not every regions of the country is willing to elect loud and proud abortion activists. Candidates and elected officials can believe whatever they want, and take more moderate positions on the issue. But when it comes down to it, if you are a Democrat, you support reproductive rights. The end.

  • That said, I have a huge issue with purity politics in general. Bustle has a good article on why women politicians in particular are hurt by an insistence on ideological purity. I'm really ready to be done with circular firing squads now.

  • On the lighter side, sort of, it recently came out that Trump considered buying the San Francisco Giants back in the 1980s. Sports writer Grant Brisbee reacts with the appropriate levels of existential horror.

  • On the occasion of Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller impanelling a grand jury, Vox presents a really handy explainer of the probe, what Mueller's authority is, and how the investigation might go.

  • Hey, remember back when we thought Trump's real endgame for his campaign was to launch his own TV network? Well, would you take a look at that.

  • Because of the time gap since my last post, I missed the rapid rise and meteoric fall of never-quite-officially White House Communications Director Anthony Scaramucci (aka "The Mooch"). He'll be a great trivia answer in about ten years. Anyway, Jay Smooth had a great take on the whole thing.

  • The central topic of my last linkspam post was the Senate's continuing attempts to ram through some flavor of ACA repeal; as we all know, that didn't happen, in dramatic eleventh hour fashion. One of my favorite stories about that night comes from Senator Chris Murphy, Democrat from Connecticut, who shared his view from behind the scenes.

  • You may recall a senator with cancer who got a lot of attention for his last-minute no vote. I'd rather celebrate Senator Mazie Hirono, who flew to DC from Hawaii right after surgery for Stage 4 cancer, held the line on every vote, and gave a beautiful, impassioned speech.

  • Speaking of credit where credit is due, let's not forget two other Republican Senators who have stood firm against ACA repeal, almost unwaveringly from the beginning: Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski.

  • Here's an interesting report on the number of Congressional challengers who have already filed to run in 2018 and comparing them to other elections at this point in the cycle. It's worth reading the whole thing, but the upshot is that, in wave elections like 2006 and 2010, opposition party candidates file early in considerably larger numbers than those from the party in power, usually about twice as many. This year? It's an order of magnitude. (209 Democrats vs 28 Republicans.)

  • In the interest of this post not being five million pages long, I'm not even going to get into the whole Donald Trump, Jr., saga, but I was amused in an eye-rolly sort of way by this report from The Hill that Junior is "miserable and can't wait for his dad's presidency to end". Join the club, kid. (Note, autoplay video at that link.). Also, from the BBC, an article on whether this might be the smoking gun, and whether a smoking gun is even enough anymore.

  • Finally. this article is a little older, but it's from the man who coined the phrase white fragility, and it is a very good examination of the subject. Every white person should read this essay with an open mind and a willingness to learn.
 
 
Listening to:: "Annie Get Your Gun" - Squeeze
Feeling:: okay