BEARS

Dec. 18th, 2014 11:50 pm
beatrice_otter: Yuletide (Yuletide)
That is all.
beatrice_otter: Cover of Janelle Monae's Archandroid album (Janelle Monae)
From the blog:

Beginning January 1, 2015, there will be a change in how I charge for Pinboard.

Right now, users pay a one-time signup fee that grows by a fraction of a penny with each new signup. At the moment, this fee is $10.55. Pinboard also offers archiving accounts, which cost $25/year. Users who upgrade after joining Pinboard can deduct the signup fee from the first year of archiving.

Under the new scheme, basic Pinboard accounts will cost $11/year, while archiving will continue to cost $25/year.

My main reason for making the change is so that I don't have to keep explaining how pricing works. An astonishing number of people already believe that they're paying annually for Pinboard. Others accuse me of baiting and switching them when they upgrade to archiving and get a renewal notice. Note how much easier it is to describe the new policy than the old one.

If you already have a Pinboard account, or sign up for one before January 1, 2015, this change will not affect you.


If you have ever considered getting a Pinboard account and have eleven bucks to spare, this might be the time to get one.
beatrice_otter: Me in red--face not shown (Default)
I will not be doing the December Meme, and I probably won't be commenting on many posts y'all make for the next month.  Why?  Because December is the craziest month of the year for me, and what little fandom time I have is taken up with [community profile] yuletide , which I haven't even finished the source material review for, ugh.

(Why pick this of all months to do a major meme?  It sounds so fun, and I'm looking at what you guys are posting and going "wow, that sounds like it would be fun to talk about!" but I can't because work is ramping up.)

Anyway.  I will, instead, be doing the meme in January.  Somebody poke me before the end of December so I can get the master post up, okay?

beatrice_otter: Yuletide (Yuletide)
Finally have time to re-read canon for my Yuletide fic.  The things I didn't notice when I read it and loved it as a teen ... it has not, thank goodness, been visited by the Suck Fairy in the meantime, but it does have certain elements that have not aged well.  The two protagonists are wonderfully complex and nuanced women, but one of their mothers is ... well, not quite the stereotypical Evil (step)Mother/Evil Powerful Woman, about as close to it as you can get without being, you know, evil.  (Thankfully, she has a very small part in this book, and will be off-stage soon, to leave me to focus on the two awesome protagonists.)

And I'm only thirty pages in and I've gotten several reminders that, of course, beautiful women can't really have women friends because of course jealousy will ruin everything!  From my vague recollections that stops being A Thing pretty quickly, here, and I hope so, because it's really getting old.

Most of the book (so far) has aged very well.  It's just that thread that runs through this first bit before the Adventure starts that's really annoying me.  (Teenage me, being homely and geeky and having no clue and less interest in makeup and hair and styling, and thus having no clue about what Beautiful Women were actually like, probably just nodded solemnly and accepted it as Received Truth.)

ETA: Hah.  Just spotted a factual/cultural error.  In places with intense sun and heat, wearing long, loose garments that cover your skin but allow a breeze through can be better protection from the sun and even sometimes cooler than shorts and a tank top.  Someone who spent time in the Sahara Desert as a child should know this.

ETA2: The worldbuilding and eloquence of language is not quite as breathtaking as I remember it being, but it's still pretty darn good.  Funnily enough, while one of the heroes seemed so grown-up to me as a teen, she now seems ... a bit juvenile for her age.  Though that may be an artifact of the literary style of the era the book was written in.
beatrice_otter: Eowyn holding a sword (Eowyn)
Henneth Annun has been one of the larges Lord of the Rings story archives for over a decade.  There are many stories there whose authors have left fandom and can't be contacted, and many of those stories are unique ... found nowhere else, certainly not online and for many of them the original authors may not have copies anymore.

And they've been hacked multiple times recently.  Their code is old and decrepit.  It would take not just money but technical resources they don't have to code a new archive and/or figure out how to transfer stories from their (old, outdated, and custom) code to a modern software that would be less vulnerable.  They can't do it.  So they're closing as of the end of this year--just a month away, now!  (This was announced back in September, but I only just heard about it now.)

They want to save as many stories as possible.  Multiple other LotR archives have offered to host stories.  But the mods and maintainers don't want to transfer stories to other archives without the permission of the original authors (which is why they aren't just using the AO3 Open Doors project, which would handle moving all the stories over to AO3 for them).

So!  This is where the call for help comes in.  They need volunteers to a) try and track down the original authors to either get them to move their stories or allow them to be moved and b) download copies of stories in case that permission comes in after the deadline (which is, after all, only a month away at this point.)  They've been at this for a couple of months already, but with thousands of stories to be saved I bet they're still chugging away and could use some more help.  If you've got the time, this is an important part of our fandom heritage even if you're not into LotR fandom.

beatrice_otter: Miss Piggy in a superhero costume: Were you looking for flying pigs? (Were you looking for flying pigs?)
It's the scene where Tootsie's character on the soap is supposed to have a kiss with the douche doctor, and instead she hit him over the head with a clipboard and tells him off for being a sexist jerk.  It's awesome, and I have a craving for it.  And I can't find it!
beatrice_otter: Counselor Troi and Amy Pond, with the Enterprise-D in the background. (Crossover--Troi and Pond)
Title: A Daughter of the Fifth House
Author: [personal profile] beatrice_otter 
Fandom: Star Trek: The Next Generation
Characters: Deanna Troi, Lwaxana Troi, Will Riker
Rating: G
Word Count: 2558
Summary: I may not have gone where I intended to go, but I think I have ended up where I intended to be.--Douglas Adams

At AO3

Deanna gritted her teeth, shielded her mind, and stared down at the class work on the PADD in front of her with as much focus as she could muster. )
beatrice_otter: Aim high--you may still miss the target, but at least you won't shoot your foot off. (Aim High)
Hey, I just came across an article about freelance jobs where the demand is currently growing (supposedly).  Since none of these jobs are ones I'd ever heard or thought of (so presumably others may not have heard of them, either), and because I know there are people on my flist who may be interested in a side gig to bring in some extra money (or even a main gig to get them out of crappy jobs, if it works out), and because many of these freelance gigs use something fen tend to be very good at (i.e. writing or other artistic expression such as drawing and voice acting), I thought I would link to them.

11 freelance niches that are growing at The Simple Dollar

Had you ever thought of writing product descriptions?  Neither had I, but as everything is sold online--and Google keeps changing their algorithms--many companies need new, enticing, accurate, google-bait descriptions of all their stuff, and need it changed with some regularity to keep up with Google.  Or voice acting!  Not for Hollywood movies, but for corporate cartoons and instructional vids.  Bet some podficcers out there would do an awesome job at that one.  Transcriptions?  Psh.  Fans do that all the time.  Doodle video creation (again for corporate cartoons and instructional vids), again, I know some fans who could knock it out of the park.

For those of you out there who need some cash, take a look!

beatrice_otter: What are we Protesting against? (Protest)
...and gotten a tumblr.  I highly doubt I will ever post anything there that I don't also post here--their whole user interface annoys me to no end.  (I get why some people really like their format, but I find it really annoying).  But I wanted to be able to comment on something someone else said, and to do that you need one yourself, and there you have it.

Having it, I might as well at least get it set up.

So!  If you have a tumblr, let me know what your handle is, please, so I can find you there.  Or if there's someone you think I should be following, let me know.

Or if you have advice on how to use it or deal with it or set it up, that would be great to know, too.

If you would like to follow me there, you can find me at: http://beatrice-otter.tumblr.com/

(The benefit of having a fannish name that 1. is not like most peoples' "real" names and 2. is not fannishly or culturally specific is that I can be pretty sure it's not been taken no matter where I go--I've never come across a place where "Beatrice Otter" was taken.)

beatrice_otter: Lex Luthor runs for his life (Run for your Life!)
I did not know that even "paranormal researchers" in today's world can get insurance for supernatural causes.  (Of course, what I want to know is, if you have an insurance policy against demonic possession and you live in a world in which no credible authority believes demons exist, or at least even the ones like some churches that believe in them can't prove them, if you are possessed, how do you file a claim and expect the insurer to actually pay out?)

Now I want a story about supernatural insurance in the world of, say, Teen Wolf.  Or any other modern fantasy series, really.

beatrice_otter: Hobbes says "God must have a funny sense of humor" (God's Humor)
"Interesting" things pastors get in the mail: offers to give my congregation free "voting guides" by someone who thinks that the national debt is the absolute most critical issue facing the nation (second only to the government "subsidizing" anything else he dislikes) and that anyone who disagrees is either a Calvinist or an "Islamist." And claiming that using his voting guide could result in a gift of $10,000 to my ministry.

This guy also wants me to show a DVD to my congregation about how "atheists, gaytheists, and lawless thugs have infiltrated the IRS for criminal harassment of churches." And assures me that anything I may have heard about churches losing IRS tax-exempt status for endorsing particular politicians is only "ridiculous misinformation" spread by "noisy atheist groups" to "gullible clerics."

It kinda has the feel of somebody taking a Nigerian scam email, diehard Tea Party frothing (not any of their actual serious discussion points, just the froth and slogans), and a Bible, throwing it all in a blender, and sprinkling cheerful glitter over the resulting incoherent mess. The smiley faces throughout add an ... interesting touch.

beatrice_otter: Yuletide (Yuletide)
DON'T PANIC.

This is a very long letter with lots of stuff, but DO NOT PANIC.  I'm actually fairly easy to please; I am very rarely disappointed with a ficathon story.  I write long and detailed Dear Author letters because I find such things helpful when I'm writing for other people; if you are like me, here you go!  If your style is different and a detailed letter makes you feel hemmed-in, feel free to do what works for you.

The most important thing for me in a fic is that the characters are well-written and recognizably themselves.  Even when I don't like a character, I don't go in for character-bashing.  If nothing else, if the rest of this letter is too much or my kinks just don't fit yours, just concentrate on writing a good story with everyone in character and good spelling and grammar and I will almost certainly love what you come up with.

One thing: I do have an embarrassment squick, which makes humor kind of hit-or-miss sometimes.  The kind of humor where someone does something embarrassing and the audience is laughing at them makes me uncomfortable because I identify too much with the person getting laughed at, so instead of being funny it is squicky.  On the other hand, the kind of humor where the audience is laughing with the characters I really enjoy.

My generic preferences )

Fandoms )

beatrice_otter: Grammar (Grammar)
I am a pedant and a grammar geek.  I'm normally the one who gets tweaked by apostrophes in the wrong place and always notices when someone uses the wrong word and it really tweaks me off.  (The large annoyance factor has to do with my Aspergers, I'm pretty sure.)  (Which is why I was so surprised that this weekend at the synod's youth gathering I wasn't the one to spot the repeating error in the devotion directions--it said "scared" instead of "sacred," so there was like a whole page talking about "scared space," and once somebody pointed it out to me it was pretty funny, especially considering it's October and I'm on the board of a group planning a small haunted house in town.)

But, anyway, in fic I can usually tell when someone has too much reliance on their spellchecker and not enough on an actual dictionary to make sure they're using the right word.

Today I spotted a perennial favorite: "rouge" instead of "rogue"

Rogue (the word they meant) means "a person who is dishonest or immoral; a man who causes trouble in a playful way."  "Rogue" is also the name of one of the X-Men, and the name of Luke Skywalker's squadron in Star Wars.

Rouge, on the other hand, is an old-fashioned word for red (well, in English it's old fashioned, in French it's the regular word for it), and also an old-fashioned name for certain types of makeup, usually what we now call "blush" (i.e. the red stuff you put on your cheeks to give you color).  The nightclub Moulin Rouge (the setting for the movie of the same name) means "The Red Mill," so named for the red windmill on top of the building.

Having your hard-bitten investigators sitting around a table talking about bringing in someone who  "went rouge" is, er, unexpectedly humorous and gives me a mental picture of someone being brought in under arrest for being a drag queen or something similar, or possibly turning into a can-can dancer.  Not quite the effect the author was going for ...

This is one reason why betas are a good thing, because they (hopefully) catch things like this.  And I don't care how good a writer you are, everyone does this sometimes (or has a computer do it for you when it autocorrects incorrectly and you don't notice ....)

What are your favorite (or least favorite) perennial typos/misspellings/homonym abuses/malapropisms?
beatrice_otter: WWII soldier holding a mug with the caption "How about a nice cup of RESEARCH?" (Research)
Is there anyone interesting on the Austin Bruins?  I ask because I brushed shoulders with the team coming back to the hotel after a game.  (And if any of you ant to know what junior league hockey players eat after games, the answer is apparently pizza judging by the boxes they were carrying.)
beatrice_otter: Miss Piggy in a superhero costume: Were you looking for flying pigs? (Were you looking for flying pigs?)
I've heard a lot of good things about Sleepy Hollow, so I decided to give it a try and am four eps in on Hulu.

There are, indeed, a lot of good things about it.  Each episode has been interesting and entertaining, and there is a diverse cast featuring a black woman as co-lead.

Alas, I my undergrad degree is in early American history and my grad degree is in theology, and that is a bad combo to watch this show.

I keep getting thrown out of it so hard.

The historical details aren't so much changed for dramatic purposes as a few pop-culture elements thrown into a blender on high.  And their interpretation of Revelation is just as bad.  I was hoping that once the first few episodes set the scene that there would at least be less historical references, so I would only have half the problems.

Alas, that does not seem like it is going to happen.

I don't know how many eps I can take before it gets to be too much.

beatrice_otter: Cover of Janelle Monae's Archandroid album (Janelle Monae)
For those of you who might not know, Janelle Monae is an awesomely talented Afrofuturist R&B singer whose first three albums tell the story of an android named Cindi Mayweather (played by Janelle). Cindi falls in love with a human and is thus to be hunted down and destroyed! But she eludes the hunters and goes on a journey through time and space, giving hope to her oppressed people. The songs are excellent, the story is great, the videos that go with it are awesome, if you're not already listening you should be. There are already some really good stories over at AO3, and the album arc has been nominated for [community profile] yuletide , so I am hopeful that there will be more coming soon.

Janelle Monae is awesome, and her Metropolis Suites albums are great SF and wonderful music. So I made some icons! Credit is love.

Total Icon Count: 26

Teasers:

She's the Electric Lady, Metropolis' Most Wanted )

Please credit and spread the word about how awesome she is! And remember, she's been nominated for [community profile] yuletide !  Request and write!
beatrice_otter: Dali's Christ of St. John of the Cross (St. John of the Cross)
... an LCMS pastor is the religious leader coordinating and sending out emails for a local Christian Unity gathering.  [personal profile] quinfirefrorefiddle will know why I snicker each time I see one.

The Lutheran Church, Missouri Synod (aka LCMS or just "Missouri Synod") is much more conservative than the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.  Although they aren't the most conservative Lutheran church in America, they're the largest conservative Lutheran denomination.  And they have an institutional phobia about doing anything with people who don't hold and proclaim the "pure Gospel" like they do.  They couldn't possibly do anything that might imply that they endorse anything that isn't the ABSOLUTELY PURE LUTHERAN DOCTRINE (which they are the only arbiters of), and nobody can possibly be a true Lutheran without agreeing with them on every tiny point of doctrine (and some of them aren't too sure that people who disagree with them can even be called true Christians at all).  Most lay people in their church aren't bad about it, but some of their pastors can and do lead witch-hunts to root out impure doctrine and improper ecumenism.*   So when I see an LCMS pastor working on anything to do with Christian Unity, it's funny.  And I wonder what his superiors and fellow pastors think of him ...

*You may recall that after 9/11, an LCMS district president (their equivalent of a bishop) participated in a huge ecumenical prayer service in New York City.  (It might have been held at Yankee Stadium?  It was a really big deal, anyway, lots of religious leaders from lots of denominations.)  He had permission from the overall president of the LCMS to do it, but the ultra-conservative faction managed to get him brought up on charges anyway, hoping to use him to oust the president (who was, gasp, shock, horror, only a moderate conservative, not an ultra-conservative).  The District President resigned, instead.

For those of you interested in the history of it, internecine Lutheran strife, witch hunts, and propaganda )
tl;dr: the LCMS has been kinda screwed up since the late 1960s.

beatrice_otter: Yuletide (Yuletide)
Yuletide noms are open.

My Yuletide noms, sigh. I kept a list this year, of what I wanted to nominate or request ... except one fandom didn't make it on the list. So, when the nomination planning came around, I pulled out my list, picked three (two of which, Donovan's Reef and My Fair Lady were for sure, one of which (The Moon is a Harsh Mistress--I have seen one feminist critique-fic of it, and want more. And also more Mike, because I love him.) I was on the fence about. And when I posted my list to the nomination coordination post, I had several people squee about tMiaHM, and how they would love to read/write it and thank you for nominating it.

Then I realized yesterday that I HAD TOTALLY FORGOTTEN ABOUT JANELLE MONAE'S ARCHANDROID SERIES. If you don't know her, she's a phenomenally talented psychedelic soul and R&B artist whose first three albums tell the story of a robot named Cindi Mayweather in a dystopian future who falls in love with a human and is scheduled for termination because of it. There's time travel, and robots, and a sharp commentary on race and class and who matters and who doesn't and finding hope in dark times and all of it set to music that makes someone who doesn't tend to like modern pop music (and particularly not the R&B/Hip-Hop edge of it) go, yeah, okay, I see why people love this type of music.

I would rather get Janelle Monae fic than MiaHM fic. But nobody else has nommed Janelle Monae's albums, and other people want MiaHM and probably won't be nomming it themselves because they think I will be. And I would like MiaHM fic, it would be a worthy Yuletide present. So I nommed MiaHM, as I said I would. (But it hasn't been confirmed yet, so I may change my mind and edit it.)

If anyone has an open nomination slot, nominate Janelle Monae's work!  Here are the proper Yuletide tags for the fandom and characters:
Metropolis Suites - Janelle Monáe
Characters
Cindi Mayweather
Anthony Greendown
DJ Crash Crash
Maestra (Metropolis: the Chase Suite)

beatrice_otter: History will attend to itself.  It always does. (History will attend to itself)
I'm watching Rio Grande, one of the greatest Westerns ever made. But there is something really ironic that was not intended to be so. John Wayne's character's estranged wife, played by Maureen O'Hara, comes to visit because Reasons. She's a Southerner, John Wayne is a US Army colonel. Fifteen years ago, he was a captain during the Civil War, and in the march down the Shenendoah, he gave the order to torch his wife's family plantation. There is a lot of angsting about this from all sides (the general who sent him to do it and is now still his commander, the sergeant who was the one who actually held the torch, etc., etc.) At one point the general wonders what history will make of their actions in Shenendoah.

Well ... not much, actually. The destruction was fairly limited, and civilian casualties were low. Southerners gripe about it, but actual historians and everyone who isn't from the US South go meh.

What doesn't get a "meh", what people care about and shake their heads over, is the persecution and destruction of Native Americans who were forced from their homes and either killed or confined to reservations (i.e. the worst land available that nobody else even wanted). You know, the stuff that's the action plot in this movie, that everybody's taking for granted as the right thing to do.

(Also, I think it's hilarious that the movie takes place somewhere between 1877-1879 (depending on which Shenendoah campaign they're referencing), and at one point an Irish guy requests that old great song, Down by the Glenside (The Bold Fenian Men), which wasn't written until 1916 ...)

Still, it is a very good movie.  John Wayne and Maureen O'Hara are at their best, the supporting cast is excellent, the script has a lot of great bits, and the cinematography is gorgeous.
beatrice_otter: I don't want to be killed because of a typo.  It would be embarrassing. (Typo)
A while back I got bit by a plot bunny (rabid critters, I know) about classic movie star Cyd Charisse being a Vulcan stranded on Earth.  Which plot bunny I am now writing in fits and starts.

And obviously, the background information we have on her will have to be massaged to fit.  But Wikipedia is lying to me.  It says she was born in 1922 and joined the Ballets Russe de Monte Carlo at age 14.  Which would be 1936, for those of you who have basic arithmetic skills.

The problem is that Wikipedia also tells me that the Ballets Russe de Monte Carlo was not formed until 1938.

I am choosing to believe that Cyd Charisse was 16 when she joined the Ballets Russe de Monte Carlo the year it formed, as that fits better with the timeline of my story.

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beatrice_otter: Me in red--face not shown (Default)
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