tardis_stowaway: TARDIS under a starry sky and dark tree (holmes profile echo)
Things I have done in the past few days:

I Believe in Sherlock Holmes (cut for photo and vague spoilers for Sherlock 2x03) )

-dyed my hair a dark reddish brown.  This marks an improvement over the long roots in dull medium brown, faded chestnut middle, and tips sun-bleached almost blond that it had become in the many moons since I last dyed it.

-saw The Artist.  I was attempting to see The Descendents, but that was sold out, so I decided to see something else at my friendly local independent cinema since I was already there.  I thought The Artist was interesting, well made, and a lot of fun, though I don't understand why critical response has been quite so overwhelmingly fantastic.  It was good but not THAT amazing.  However, I'm not really a movie history buff, so I guess I'm not the optimal audience.

-amazed a sixth grader at work who started singing some of the few clean lines of "I'm On a Boat" by telling him that I knew that song and he needed to stop singing right there.  The fact that I'd heard the song apparently blew his young mind. 
tardis_stowaway: TARDIS under a starry sky and dark tree (prepare for awesomeness)
This post exists to link to some things that have been linked a ton of other places, but they are so worth seeing that I want to do my part to ensure that the entire internet sees them. 

First, the latest post on Hyperbole and a Half, Adventures in Depression, is insightful and sad in addition to having the usual Hyperbole and a Half humor.  Large parts rang so true it felt like the blog had been posted from inside my head. 

Next, on a happier note, the two greatest things on YouTube, at least if you are a Doctor Who fan. If you haven't seen them yet, prepare to squee:


I love how David Tennant just looks so excited to be doing the goofy marching dance in every single shot of the 500 Miles video.
tardis_stowaway: TARDIS under a starry sky and dark tree (the sound of torchwood)
At a concert Friday night (Red Skunk Jipzee Swing Band), I started thinking about musical instruments and how many of them have distinct personality types stereotypically associated with them.  Of course there's plenty of exceptions to these stereotypes–I've known shy trumpet players and smart drummers, and one of the most macho guys in my high school played the flute–but they aren't entirely without basis in fact.  After all, people sometimes choose an instrument because it speaks to some aspect of their personalities.  Then my mind drifted into fandom.  Now I've got a question for y'all.

Which characters do you think play or used to play an instrument, and which instrument?  Sherlock plays the violin, of course, and John says he learned the clarinet (though there's no evidence he's kept it up).  The Doctor has been observed playing the recorder (as Two) and the organ (as Ten in The Lazarus Experiment).  I'd love to hear more canonical examples, but even more than that, dear flist, I want your speculation.  (My examples below are from Doctor Who and Sherlock fandoms, since that's where I mainly hang out, but if you feel like discussing something else, go for it!) 

Does Lestrade spend his off-hours playing electric guitar in a band with some of his mates from the Yard?  Did Amy Pond decide to rub her Scottishness in the faces of the people of Leadworth by learning the bagpipes?  Does Eleven play the banjo, because banjos are cool?  Does Captain Jack like to blow a trumpet?  Does Anthea get the finger dexterity for that Blackberry from playing the piano, or does she let off steam playing bass in an all-woman punk band?  Does Anderson enjoy how his trombone sounds like he's always imagined the call of the noble Parasaurolophus? 

For the record, I played the French horn from fifth grade until I graduated high school.  If any of y'all play(ed) instruments, feel free to share that too. 
tardis_stowaway: TARDIS under a starry sky and dark tree (pond rory pond)
One more reason to love Neil Gaiman:  he essentially said on Twitter that he hopes people will write fanfic about his ep.

slightly spoilery text of the tweet )
tardis_stowaway: TARDIS under a starry sky and dark tree (allosaurus bitches)
One of the lovely things about Sherlock Holmes is that the original canon is out of reach of copyright laws, meaning that established authors can write fanfic and get paid for it.  The BBC's Sherlock is a classic "born in another time period" AU, for instance.  The Improbable Adventures of Sherlock Holmes is a book with an excellent collection of professional Holmes fic that may appeal to the Sherlock fans on this flist as well as others who have read some of Arthur Conan Doyle's stories.

The concept of this collection is that it contains a mix of genres:  some straight-up mystery stories where every bizarre occurrence can be explained away, and some speculative fiction stories where the solution to the mystery involves something like aliens, Cthulhu, or travel to a parallel universe.  In almost all of the stories I was able to tell whether the supernatural occurrences were "real" almost immediately, well before the reveal, but the variety of genres was fun nevertheless.  As in any collection of short stories, some are better than others, but there were a number of stories I absolutely adored and only one or two I truly disliked. Some of my favorites included (with some fairly minor spoilers):

-Naomi Novik does her fanfic origins proud in "Commonplaces."  She directly addresses the question of exactly how deep the connection between Holmes and Watson runs.  I squeed SO DAMN HARD, even though it's a bittersweet story.  Also, I really like Novik's version of Irene Adler.

-Stephen King's descriptively titled "The Doctor's Case," wherein Watson solves the mystery before Holmes.  It turns out that my fondness for super-competent!John in the BBC-verse translates to other versions of our detective duo as well.

-"The Singular Habits of Wasps" by Geoffrey Landis, a brilliantly unsettling take on Jack the Ripper.

-Neil Gaiman's "A Study in Emerald."  If you don't already know why this story is a dark gem, you can also read it on Neil's website.

-"The Adventure of the Pirates of Devil's Cape" by Rob Rogers.  Inspired lunacy with an albino alligator and PIRATES!  Also, BAMF!Watson fights a giant.
-For an example of a pro writer dipping into that beloved fandom genre of crack, I loved "The Adventure of the Lost World" by Dominic Green.  Those in Sherlock fandom may be especially amused to note that this story contains a dinosaur.  (Yes, watchalong folks, it is better than the movie with Gareth David Lloyd.) As if the prospect of Sherlock + dinosaur isn't tantalizing enough, I really must share this selection of dialog between Holmes and Watson.

[excerpt behind the cut )

In summary, if you're looking for a fun bunch of stories putting familiar characters in unfamiliar situations or you want some [mostly] gen Sherlock Holmes fanfic you can carry around in book form, I recommend The Improbable Adventures of Sherlock Holmes.
tardis_stowaway: TARDIS under a starry sky and dark tree (kaylee parasol smiles)
Last night, I had the late night urge to combine my new muffin pan with the blueberries I'd bought at the previous week's farmers' market. Blueberry cinnamon muffins happened.  Yum!  I am the Evil Midnight Muffin Maker What Makes Muffins at Midnight. (Anyone who gets that The Tick reference gets +5 points.)

Today, I did a nice hike up Bishop's Peak, ran some errands, bought more produce at the big Farmers' Market/street fair in SLO, and settled in at Linnaea's Cafe to try to accomplish a bit of work on the Jack/Doctor fic I'm writing.  It turned out that there was going to be live music, a fairly common occurrence at the cafe, and generally a welcome one.  The woman onstage tonight had a lovely voice and a "folk funk" (her description) sound that I was really digging.  Then, a few songs in, she announced, "this song is about River Tam."

I did a double-take.  Yes, she meant Firefly's River Tam.  I had serendipitously shown up at a geek concert in a non-convention venue, as another audience member more prepared than me soon proved by donning a Jayne hat.  The concert included several more songs, maybe a third of the ones she played, vaguely or not-so-vaguely referencing Firefly mixed in with the more standard singer-songwriter fare.  The non-filk songs often had a humorous touch ("You're like an avocado, baby.  You're only really good for one day.")  She also played an anthem about being a geek, featuring percussion played on a manual typewriter.  I repeat:  manual typewriter percussion. 

Her name is Marian Call, and you should check her out!  You can listen to some of her music streaming on her website.

The concert must have helped with the fannish brainwaves, because even though my fic only had half my attention, I finally managed to write a version I like of a scene that had been giving me trouble.  Hooray!

Bonus geek moment of the week:  I wandered into a local bead store a few days ago, just to see what was in there (answer:  beads).  The woman behind the counter became the first stranger to ever speak in recognition of the small TARDIS pin on my purse.  
tardis_stowaway: TARDIS under a starry sky and dark tree (change is good)
I don't know what the folks at Huffington Post are on, but I suggest that they keep at it.  They posted an article on which US politicians ought to be cast as the Doctor.  If you're not going WTF?, you're not paying attention.  The article is moderately amusing for their explanations of why certain politicians are like the Doctor, though mostly I can't possibly conceive of these people in the role (even aside from the fact that they are American politicians).  Hillary Clinton might have regenerated her public persona, but, meaning no disrespect, none of those personas have been very Doctor-ish. 

However, the article did propose one Doctor and companion pairing that won the Internet forever:

Doctor:  Barack Obama
Companion:  Lady Gaga

WORLDS OF YES!  I WOULD PAY IN CASH AND POSSIBLY BODY PARTS TO SEE THIS.  Obama has Nine's ears, Ten's geekiness, and the general Doctorish commitment to hope and idealism with a steely underlayer.  A depressingly large number of Americans are already convinced that he wasn't born in the US anyway...why not Gallifrey? 

The true genius of this, though, is the companion casting.  Obama!Doctor's intellectual calm with side of dorkiness would be well (and hilariously) balanced out by Lady Gaga's total out-there in your face personality.  Anybody who goes out on stage wearing those insane heels she sometimes sports is brave enough to be a companion (though let's hope she takes it down to only two- or three-inch heels when she has to run).  If they wanted to have a companion who wasn't from 21st century earth, viewers could easily believe that she's from the future and/or alien.  (Heck, I like the idea of Michelle Obama as the relatable human companion and Lady Gaga as a second, alien companion, or possibly a personification of the TARDIS or something.)   Cosplayers would be overjoyed at her distinctive outfits.  Every episode could have a musical number. 

Heck, even without Barack Obama, I would be endlessly amused to have Lady Gaga on Doctor Who.  Kylie Minogue was a singer who appeared as a co-star, so there's precedent.  Amy Pond is already pioneering the territory of how to be a companion without trousers.  Lady Gaga could take over the Daleks so instead of shouting "Exterminate!  Exterminate!" they shouted "Puh-puh-puh-poker face!  Puh-puh poker face!"  Who's with me?
tardis_stowaway: TARDIS under a starry sky and dark tree (I can kill you with my brain)
My mother likes sending me links to silly things online.  Imagine my surprise when one day she sent me a link leading to An Archive of Our Own (AO3)!  Had she discovered my fanfiction habit?  Was she coming out of the closet about a fanfic habit of her own?  No on both counts, thank heavens.  The link was for Wait Wait Don't Eat Me, a fic about NPR's news quiz show, Wait Wait...Don't Tell Me*, reporting on the zombie apocalypse.  Let me say that again:  National Public Radio fanfic, with zombies.  It's utterly hilarious!  The voices for all of the hosts and panelists are exactly right, and I cracked up at the news about what various politicians and other famous people were doing in response to the zombie hordes.  A zombie calls in to be a listener contestant.  The consequences of giving too little on the pledge drive are revealed. 

Still curious about where on Earth my mother located this, I checked the Wait Wait website and found that they had linked to the fic on their twitter feed.  I know that my mother uses Twitter to follow some people (our phone conversations frequently include discussing the latest news from Neil Gaiman as if he were a family friend), so I am choosing to assume that she found the story through that tweet. 

God, I love the Internet!  (Other awesome and COMPLETELY unrelated internet stuff:  DW writer Paul Cornell's blog post the other day denouncing the perception encouraged by the media that to be Christian is to be homophobic.  Well said, Paul!  It bothers me that the most hateful strand of the Christian faith is so often the loudest, and it bothers me that the media discourse just amplifies these strident voices who do NOT speak for the Jesus I see in the Bible, nor do they speak for me.  Like Paul, I'm a person of faith, and I am in favor of GLBT rights.  Passionately so.  I know many other Christians of various sorts who feel the same.  As a more or less Quaker person, I might worship quietly, but I refuse to be silent in standing up for the rights of others.  I don't feel the need to talk about my faith a whole lot in the secular world, but I do get tired of hearing atheists and agnostics who are allies on the political and social issues I care about assuming that intelligence, logic, compassion, open-mindedness, and progressivism are antithetical to belief in a higher power.  Stop with the pigeonholing, people.)

*For those of you who aren't in the US or aren't public radio listeners, Wait Wait Don't Tell Me is a weekly news quiz comedy show with a combination of listeners phoning in, regular panelists, and celebrity guests.  It's well worth checking out the podcast if you aren't in an area where you can hear it broadcast.  Even without zombie apocalpyse, it makes me laugh out loud every week.  It helps that Peter Sagal, the host, is apparently a huge geek.
tardis_stowaway: TARDIS under a starry sky and dark tree (vampire books)
I just read an article about females in fandom that brings up some interesting points but also frustrated me.  Media powers are now realizing that women are sometimes interested in geeky things too!  Wow, girl geeks!  Who could have guessed?  *eye roll* 

Some people in the article talk intelligently about things that we in fandom generally already realize:  men and women are sometimes fans of the same things but not for identical reasons, with women typically being more interested in emotional connections with the characters.  As a generalization, this is true, although there is a LOT of variation within both sexes.  I like a tightly written plot and a thrilling action sequence too, I just won't get really into a story unless I care about the characters.

What frustrated me about this article was its focus on Twilight as some epicenter of female fandom, with some idea of males being universally anti-Twilight and females all being screaming fangirls about it.  Women in fandom existed (more commonly than many acknowledged) long before Twilight, and many of us couldn't give a damn about teenage stalker sparkly vampires and the disempowered Mary Sues who love them. 

Also, how can you write an article on female fans (actually, three articles, although the first two really don't add much to the one I linked) and not once mention fan fiction?  They are ignoring a big part of how a lot of women and girls relate to the books, tv shows, movies, etc. that they love.  Instead, the article is focusing on the screaming teens who follow hot actors around at conventions.  Fic's a way that fans are creative, really engaging mentally and emotionally with the original works.

I did like the quote from Kevin Smith in response to his audience's booing of Twilight:  "That's the next generation of fans!  That's what I love about a comic book convention. People will come to a convention, stand there in a Spock costume, look at someone in a Chewie costume, and say, 'Look at that f__in' geek. How dare you pass judgment on those 12-year-old girls who like vampires!"

Oh, interfandom judgment.  Really, as much as I will criticize Twilight and its less sane and/or mature fans, I hope the books' success can ultimately be a good thing.  Some of those girls will go on to a better quality of sparkle-free vampire fiction (Buffy, Robin McKinley's Sunshine, Tanya Huff's Henry Fitzroy books), and from there to the rest of fandom.  At my local borders, they have moved the Young Adult section to the front of the store.  I hope that's an indicator that a lot of younger readers are buying books.  Admittedly about half of it is Twilight and its ripoffs, but surely some of the girls who go there will get into a habit of reading fantasy and sci-fi.  (Incidentally, a RL friend of mine who works in publishing keeps a blog reviewing YA books from an adult perspective, focusing on quality works. Her reviews are excellent reads in themselves.  There are tons of really good books for teens to move to when they start to tire of Twilight.)

Finally, I have a random question.  I know male fans are out there since I see them at conventions.  However, the aspects of fandom I participate in (fic, LJ) are very heavily female.  What do the male fans DO when they aren't at cons?
tardis_stowaway: TARDIS under a starry sky and dark tree (fantastic!)
I needed to share This Modern World, one of my favorite political comics, this week.  Doctor Who fandom is taking over the world!  (The politics contained here are leftie, so be aware.)


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