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December Talking Meme [Nov. 16th, 2014|10:37 pm]

I got a lot of mileage out of this meme last year, and in case you'd like me to talk about something other than my new puppy, or possibly to talk more about my new puppy...

Pick a date below and give me a topic, and I'll ramble on. I'm good at talking. It can be anything from fandom-related (specific characters, actors, storylines, episodes, etc.) to life-related to pizza preferences to whatever you want.

They will probably be brief, or not, depending on the subject. Also, I reserve the right to decline prompts that I don't feel equipped to meet.

This is the stuff I blethered on about last year.

DatesCollapse )

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Fic [Nov. 14th, 2014|10:44 pm]
I'm so glad I'm not doing Yuletide, or NaNo, or really any commitment to writing much of anything in November. I am currently doing 90% of my computer time my tablet as my laptop is one of the objects in my running battle of wills with the puppy over what is and what is not a chew toy.

I keep having to remind myself that it's not her fault she's got no manners; she's brand new, I have to teach her manners. But until she learns the best thing to do is probably to keep anything valuable that she might feel moved to destroy out of the way.

Luckily I finished my got_exchange fic before lady chews-a-lot arrived in the household.

It's basically a character study of Oberyn Martell as a father, a brother, and a son. What? Sometimes I write fic about dudes.

Abu el Banat
ASOIAF; Oberyn, Elia, Doran, Ellaria, the Sand Snakes; PG; 3,700 words
Oberyn Martell, father of daughters.

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The Adventures of Anxiety Puppy and Bear Dystopia Girl [Nov. 12th, 2014|09:19 pm]
Puppy Freya has had her first vaccination and I am supposed to start taking her out into the world and introducing her to things so that she is not nervous later on in life. I find this especially fun as it took cognitive behavioral therapy and pharmaceutical intervention to convince me that the world is not a scary, awful place and best avoided.

The way I explain my anxiety brain weasels to my friends who don't really get it is that prehistoric humans had a setting in their brains for oh fuck, bears, and that although there is no evidence of there being bears in Glasgow in 2014, my brain has become stuck on this redundant setting, and would like me to be prepared for the possibility of bears at all times, even, like, in the bath.

If I had any artistic skills at all we could be a cartoon, The Adventures of Anxiety Puppy and Bear Dystopia Girl.

Anyway, although Freya is allowed out of the house now (and thank god, playing football with the puppy was in danger of taking on a sinister meaning) she hasn't had her second vaccination and so can't get down on the ground. I have a little rucksack that I carry her around in. Neither Freya nor myself find this especially dignified.

Puppy spam!Collapse )

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Puppy! [Nov. 6th, 2014|10:35 pm]
I was really missing having a dog. And when a woman I know from dog walking sent me a picture of a litter of puppies in a basket in front of an aga and offered me first refusal, I went, yes, I'll take all of them, and the aga!

Luckily, I then calmed down and took one puppy. A brown labrador (mostly) bitch who I have named Freya (this is why I was not allowed to name the family pets as a child.) She's nine weeks old and currently at that stage where she's either dead to the world or bouncing around at ninety miles an hour ricocheting off the furniture.

I last had a puppy when I was a kid (I've always been a fan of the rescue dog) and I'd forgotten how much work they are. So, if I'm around less than usual it's because I'm dividing my time between getting up three times in the night to get her house trained and being used as a human chew toy.

If we don't speak again I have probably been licked to death by puppy; know that it's how I would have wanted to go.

Have a picture, and that's a mug next to her for size comparison, that's how tiny she is.

A wee tiny puppyCollapse )

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September & October Booklog [Oct. 30th, 2014|02:21 pm]

I was on holiday at the turn of last month, so this might be quite a long list, fortunately as I read a few of them in early September I can't really remember what I wanted to say about them.

Bad Feminist - Roxane Gay
The Paying Guests - Sarah Waters
Paddle Your Own Canoe: One Man's Fundamentals for Delicious Living - Nick Offerman
Ask the Passengers - A.S. King
Astray - Emma Donogue
Full Fathom Five - Max Gladstone
Annihilation - Jeff VanderMeer
Ascension - Jacqueline Koyanagi
The Duchess War - Cortney Milan
The Heiress Effect - Courtney Milan
The Countess Conspiracy - Courtney Milan
The Suffragette Scandal - Courtney Milan
The Governess Affair - Courtney Milan
A Kiss for Midwinter - Courtney Milan
Talk Sweetly to Me - Courtney Milan
The Assassination of Margaret Thatcher - Hilary Mantel
Ancillary Sword - Ann Leckie

Bad Feminist is a collection of essays about feminism, and pop culture, and guilty pleasures. Clever stuff. I mean, I read and enjoy the likes of Caitlin Moran, but it's good to read anything about feminism that isn't quite so straight, white, and middle-class, you know?

Sarah Waters is one of my very favourite authors and The Paying Guests is my favourite of hers since Fingermsith. It's a bit of a return to form, I thought; I tell myself that I have other reasons for disliking The Little Stranger than the absence of lesbianism, but fair or not, queer women throughout history are why I read Sarah Waters. Anyway, this is about an upper-class mother and daughter in the interwar years who have to take in lodgers to make ends meet. It's half historical lesbian romance, half courtroom drama, and I really liked it a lot.

The Nick Offerman autobiography I read all in one night as I was fending off a panic attack. I don't actually watch Parks & Rec, but I'd seen enough gifsets of him on tumblr to think: this is a man who should have a manifesto, I would like to read that manifesto. The best bits were where he was talking about his marriage. My new romantic aspiration is to marry someone who talks about me the way Nick Offerman talks about Megan Mullally.

Ask the Passangers is YA novel about a teenaged girl's coming out, with a dash of magical realism thrown in. I think it suffered from my unfairly comparing it to The Miseducation of Cameron Post, which I'd read a few months ago and is similar on the surface, and they aren't remotely in the same league.

Astray is a collection of short stories about people moving to or around the US and Canada. What really struck me about it was that there wasn't a single story that I didn't like or was underwhelmed by; that never happens with short story collections. I continue to be knocked out by Emma Donogue's writing is what I'm saying.

Full Fathom Five... I just can't say enough good things about Max Gladstone's Craft sequence. Brilliantly wrought, diverse fantasy about gods and magic and all those stuck in between. This is a don't walk, run type of recommendation.

I had heard so many good things about the Southern Reach Trilogy, and I think maybe outside factors played a part. Because I was chugging through Annihilation cheerfully enough; then when I was about two thirds of the way though my dog died, and I lost interest in reading for a while. And when I finally picked the book up I found the last third really hard going and bleh, and have pretty much no interest in picking up the next two books in the series. So, yeah, sorry, book, it's not you, it's me.

Ascension had so many good things in it. Spaceships! A werewolf in space! Important sibling relationships! The protagonist is a non-white lesbian with a chronic illness! With all that it was kind of a shame that the plot never really came together for me, and by the time it turns out that half the ship's crew is in a poly relationship it had the feeling of some kind of bingo card being checked off. Not that you couldn't do something awesome with a poly spaceship crew, just that this book didn't do it. File under: books I wish I liked more than I did.

Historical Romance is not a genre I read much, or at all. But I heard Courtney Milan's name bandied about in connection with the [ profile] ask-a-man tumblr, and I read the entire Brothers Sinister series, including the novellas, within about a fortnight. I couldn't get my grubby little hands on them quickly enough. I completely loved them, the heroines, beta male heroes, background queer relationships, inter-racial romances, lady scientists, feminist notes, and so so much fun. So, yeah, I'm taking this as a lesson on the benefits of reading outside my usual genres.

The Assassination of Margaret Thatcher is the very definition of a book I bought because of the title. The title story is magnificent, the others slightly more hit and miss. There were a couple I didn't actually understand, but, hey, Hilary Mantel is smarter than I am, news at eleven.

Ancillary Sword I actually liked more than Ancillary Justice, and I fucking loved Ancillary Justice. I loved that the sequel is a little more tight focus on a small group of characters, but that still has the fascinating world-building and smart as heck gender and identity stuff.

I'm having a bit of a book slump at the moment, because all I really want to read is Ancillary Mercy, which, alas, will not be released for a year or more. So if you've read any good books recently, you should totally tell me about them.

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Femslashex yay! [Oct. 26th, 2014|01:22 pm]
[Tags|, ]

[community profile] femslashex went live the other day, hurrah!

My contribution was 9k of bittersweet Sansa/Margaery, which, not to sound immodest, I'm really rather proud of.

The Game of Courtship (ASOIAF, Sansa/Margaery)
I loved a maid as red as autumn, with sunset in her hair

I hit the jackpot as far as gift fics are concerned. I got two (count 'em!) and they are both completely brilliant.

I Knew You Were Trouble (When You Walked In) by [ profile] silly_cleo (DS9, Jadzia/Lenara)
Deep Space Nine Alternate Universe positing the question - what if Lenara Khan had stayed? (Canon Divergent AU post-Rejoined.)

This is the fix-it I've wanted ever since I, oh, first saw Rejoined, and finally!

When Warp Is Fire And Weft Is Ice by [ profile] afterandalasia (ASOIAF, Sansa/Daenerys)
People tell many stories about them, the Mother of Dragons and the Queen in the North.
Some of them even have a grain of truth in them.

Completely gorgeous future-fic for a pairing I really wish got more play in fandom (the queens of ice and fire!)

And not written for me, but I can't say enough good things about this queer revisionist fix-it of Sansa and Shae's storyline.

take my love, take it down by [ profile] lastwingedthing (GoT, Sansa/Shae)
In the chaos after King Joffrey's wedding Sansa and Shae find each other, and their freedom.

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Holidays! [Oct. 11th, 2014|10:53 pm]
My lovely, restorative trip to Munich went terribly well. Especially considering that it was a spur of the moment trip resulting from me having a pretty crappy few weeks and being drunk in charge of a credit card.

Well, it's perhaps a bit much to call it restorative as I got back a week ago and immediately keeled over for, like, three days. I think it's partly because a direct flight from Munich to Glasgow takes not quite an hour and a half, and on the day that I came home it took me in excess of twelve hours. There's also the fact that the entire time I was there I subsisted wholly on beer, bread, and red meat; I think I fell into some sort of vitamin deficiency induced coma.

But I did the whole Oktoberfest thing, which was awesome. Packed tents, beer in massive steins, meat being roasted on spits, drinking songs; at one point I was one drink away from building a longship and invading the low countries. I hung out with a French family (I think I speak French; French people disagree) a Scottish stag party who had misplaced their stag somewhere in Bavaria, and a couple of boys from Catalonia who were very keen to tell me that Scotland had voted wrong in the referendum.

So I did that for two days, at which point my entire system went into open rebellion. I mean, I'm from Scotland, a nation of people who like a drink and would deep fry a cat if we could get one to stay still long enough, so when I start thinking "hey, maybe this isn't good for me", well, it's time to leave.

Also, I didn't want to travel all the way to another country just to get drunk in a tent for five days. Not that I wouldn't have enjoyed that, but I could have erected a pup tent in my back garden, got in a case of Becks, and saved myself the price of the plane tickets. I was there during what I was assured was unseasonably pleasant weather, so I spent hours wandering the city. I love doing that in new cities. Munich is beautiful. Of course, one of the few upshots of being from Glasgow is that when you go almost anywhere else your reaction is: well, this is nice.

Um, what else? I got lost in the Englischer Garten for most of an afternoon. I'd read that it was bigger that Central Park, but as I've never been to New York that really wasn't much of a frame of reference. I walked in, got turned around, and couldn't find the exit. I spent several hours following people who looked like they might be leaving like I was a particularly benign stalker.

I kept accidentally ordering apple strudel. My previous trips to Germany have been to Berlin, which is full of idiots who've fetched up knowing no German; Munich, not so much. I kept being handed menus I couldn't read and didn't know how to say I didn't want, and I recognised the word apfelstrudel. But as I like strudel, and as it was the closest I got to a vitamin all week, it was probably for the best.

Then [personal profile] fallingtowers very kindly took me out for a lovely evening of Thai food and talking about, among other things, fandom and those kids who're on our lawn. I have great luck meeting people from fandom; seriously, if one of you doesn't turn out to be an axe-murderer soon then I'm going to think that it was just my elders trying to scare me. One of the reasons I love meeting fandom people is that none of my friends are really geeky types, at least not in the fandom sense, and I get an illicit little thrill from saying words like fanfiction out loud.

Anyway, I'm calling the trip a success.

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a small favour [Oct. 10th, 2014|11:41 pm]
I do have a couple of different posts to make about my tremendous holiday in Munich, and about the books I've been reading (highlight: currently loving Courtney Milan's Brothers Sinister series), but first I have a small favour to ask.

I have accidentally written 9k of Sansa/Margaery fic. I think it is quite good; it is a pairing I have many feelings about. And I would like another pair of eyes to look it over, at least to catch any missing or transposed words and my egregious misuse of the semi-colon. I'd need it back in, jeepers, a week. Any takers?

Your reward would be my lasting gratitude and this mostly imaginary cake.

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All Dogs Go To Heaven (less importantly, the fate of nations) [Sep. 18th, 2014|10:02 pm]

After chopping and changing almost hourly for the last fortnight I made up my mind in the voting booth. My head said vote No; you've made your point, and they're offering Devo Max, which is what you would have voted for had it been on the ballot. My heart said what the hell; fortune favours the bold.

So Yes it was.

Then again, in the last general election I voted for the Lib Dems, so I've got form for voting for people who talk the good talk then turn out to be lying liars who lie.

Not unlike Jon Snow, I know nothing.

Although I'm not sure I should really be allowed a vote. Last night I drank two huge bottles of 7% Belgian beer on an empty stomach and strong antibiotics, and accidentally bought three hundred quid's worth of non-refundable flights to Munich.

This was because my beloved dog Eustace was put down yesterday because of a brain tumour. Eustance was -- I want to say he was a good dog, but he really wasn't. I've had dogs all my life and Eustace was genuinely the worst dog I have ever owned. I'd rescued him, and he was a menace from the day I brought him home and he tried to eat next door's prize winning pomeranian to last week when he decided he'd like to live in the car. Despite this, or maybe because of it (I was the only one who loved him, so I had to love him all the harder) this has really, properly devastated me in a way that no other pet I've lost has.

I know it's boring looking at pictures of other people's dead pets, so I'll put it under the cut, but it's a cute picture of him and there's a mug on his head, so...

Read more...Collapse )

So I'm off to try to cheer myself up in Munich. Whether I want to or not, really. Did I mention these tickets are non-refundable? Anyone know the city? Things I should see/do/drink?

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Ten Fics Meme [Sep. 12th, 2014|01:48 pm]

it's that meme where you post 10 fics that have stuck in your brain for whatever reason. So without further ado...

- Love Like a Djelibeybian by [ profile] gehayi (Discworld; Ptraci/ofc)

Perfect Pratchett-y tone, delightful use of footnotes, and the best thing to come from Pyramids which is far from my favourite Discworld novel.

- Ladies Who Organise by [ profile] reckonedrightly (Discworld; female!Vetinari)

Genderswap is hit and miss for me. I only like it when it swaps male characters to female (otherwise what's the point?), generally don't care for it when it's one of the juggernaut slash pairings, and am fussy as heck about what characters are swapped. But female!Vetinari's rise to power with the reluctant yet hyper competent aid of Sybil Ramkin. SIGN ME UP.

- Footsteps In The Sand by [ profile] entanglednow (Doctor Who; Donna Noble, Dalek Caan)

I spent an entire summer comfort reading every variation of "Donna gets her memories back" I could find. And this one, where Donna gets her memories, the Doctor's knowledge, a sort of a TARDIS, and a companion of her own in the form of a demented Dalek, was like nothing else going.

- Before the Morning Watch: One Vision and Five Futures by [ profile] deastar (Merlin; Morgana/various)

Basically, five different but brilliantly drawn AUs (I love the five things format) containing some of of my biggest squicks, including pregnancy, childbirth, kidfic, and sexual violence; but so well done that despite all these things I still think it's one of the best things I've ever read.

- Pair Dadeni by [ profile] afterandalasia (Merlin; Morgana/Vivian)

You know that fic that you have in your head? Your perfect fic? Well, somebody wrote mine, and this is it. Two parts Morgana character study/redemption, to one part Morgana lifting the love spell from Vivian, something I'd been longing for for literally years. The fic of my heart.

- all we have of wings by [ profile] honey_wheeler (A Song of Ice and Fire; Sansa Stark)

Probably the only wing!fic in anywhere in fandom that's ever worked for me. Possibly because there's so many bird metaphors in Sansa's story, or possibly because the idea of Sansa Stark growing wings and just flying away is so appealing.

- Crossing the River by [ profile] smirnoffmule (A Song of Ice and Fire; Catelyn Stark/Walder Frey)

A fic I almost didn't read because the pairing is just a world of no. But it's not really about that, it's a brilliant Cat fic and a study in what you can do with a well worked canon divergence AU; in this case, what if Walder Frey asked a different price for letting the Starks cross the river.

- Wicked Blood by [ profile] xylodemon (A Song of Ice and Fire; Rickon Stark)

150 years post canon a Stark tells a story of the villain Rickon Bloodhands. Stories within stories, man, I eat those up with a spoon. Heroes inadvertently becoming villains can so easily veer into character bashing, but when they're done right, I love 'em too.

- Sixteen by [ profile] quigonejinn (Temeraire; oc)

There's a throwaway line in one of the books, about how the first longwing was harnessed by one of Elizabeth I's handmaidens, and I thought, somebody should write a fic about that, and behold, someone did!

- Second Son by [ profile] jmtorres (Vorkosigan Saga; Kareen Vorbarra)

This answered a plot hole I hadn't even noticed when I was reading the books; to whit, if all first sons on Barrayar are named after their father's father, why is Gregor called Gregor and not Ezar? I love Kareen here; I love stories about the powerless taking power in whatever small ways they can.

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