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[sticky post] fanfic master list

Below is a list of my various fanfic and blog posts discussing different books, TV shows and movies. Feel free to poke around and read anything that strikes your fancy.

The fiction in particular often carries specific warnings and benefited from the help of beta readers and (in the case of some poetry) co-authors. Rather than trying to recreate this information here, please find it at the archive where the stories are posted. If you've helped me out over the years and I haven't properly thanked you, please let me know so I can correct it. Most of the links point to ArchiveOfOurOwn.org, which I joined several years ago, and while I've done my best to give credit where due, I do know my own limitations in this area and am willing to fix any mistakes.

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health cost-sharing plans - thoughts?

Heaven help me, I am seriously considering an HCSP (health-care sharing plan). For realz.

So I missed the deadline to sign up for health insurance through the ACA marketplace. The simple explanation is due to a technical snafu, but equally it's because I couldn't bring myself to pay what felt increasingly like a penalty for working at a job that didn't provide health insurance.

At my income the "bronze" plans would have cost just under $300/mo, and the silver just over $500. Bronze was doable, barely, but as I understood it, outside of preventive services, I'd have to rack up about $7500 in bills before it would cover anything - on top of the monthly fee. I couldn't imagine having that much medical expense; better, in purely selfish terms, to sock $300 a month in a savings account and pay out of pocket and just plan on paying the tax fee for not having insurance.

I'd looked at HCSP's in the past, mainly just out of curiosity. They sidestep a lot of the bureaucracy, and they're non-profits which appeals to me. They were also billed as a Christian alternative, meaning you had to live a certain "lifestyle" (no smoking, drinking, extramarital sex), which raised all kinds of privacy concerns for me. Also I just didn't like the idea of having my lifestyle or faith be judged before I got to participate, on general principles. And and, they tended to only "share" (offer reimbursement) for pretty high amounts.

So I like the principle, but I did have some Concerns with a capital 'c'.

Anyway, when I didn't sign up the website that had been pinging me with reminders now sent a link to an HCSP. And it's very upfront, this is not health insurance, it does not cover all the areas ACA plans are required to (notably, mental health and drug rehab). It is religious in nature but this isn't emphasized, and the values statement you're supposed to accept is so generic, if you believe in God at all I don't see you having a problem agreeing to it. I certainly could.

What's interesting is, the way it's described it seems pretty good for the routine stuff. You get for instance five visits to a primary care doctor at $20 per visit, and that includes any labs they order. Drugs too - you can get some very generous rates (about $10/mo/Rx for mine), all before you hit your deductible. The problem is when you need to go beyond that: with the plan I'm looking at you have to pay the first $10k per incident yourself, and it caps out at I think $150k. So for instance if I fall and break my leg, I'm in trouble. ACA plans, true "insurance," tended to have lower deductibles and higher per-incident caps, meaning if I need something beyond routine office visits, I'd be better off.

On the other hand, I'm walking around without insurance at all right now. So... ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ Just being able to get back on some medicine I'd stopped taking because I couldn't afford to see a doctor, I think would be a big step toward improving my life quality.

And... I'm rambling. Also hating myself a bit for considering what essentially feels like a sell-out (buying a cheap plan to manage my own out of pocket costs rather than paying my "due" to support others who can't afford it). I'm also beyond frustrated that we (meaning I) have to make these choices. But equally, the one thing holding me back is the fact they charge an application fee ($125 on top of the first month's premium) to join up, and there's a part of me worried it's somehow a scam. On paper at least, it seems simple and commonsensical, and really quite good.

I'm curious... anyone have experience with these kinds of plans?

This entry was originally posted at https://marta-bee.dreamwidth.org/13401.html. Please comment there using OpenID.

Dear Sherlock Fandom

Sherlock fandom: This is just a Sholto songfic waiting to happen, isn't it?

How has it not happened?

This entry was originally posted at https://marta-bee.dreamwidth.org/13221.html. Please comment there using OpenID.

Jan. 3rd, 2018

I bought one of those oscillating fans with a heat setting. This may have been a mistake: I'm not sure how I can ever be expected to get up from this chair ever again.

The good news: if the weather's as bad as expected, I have permission to work from home tomorrow.

The not so good: I'm not sure that will be nearly long enough.

This entry was originally posted at https://marta-bee.dreamwidth.org/12903.html. Please comment there using OpenID.

Net Neutrality and Fandom Economy

I'm thinking about a meme I keep seeing over on Tumblr (here). Basically it's an "ad" for an imagined future, where you pay a base rate for internet services and then can purchase "packages" for full-speed access to your favorite websites. Without them you can stream at the lightning speed of 128 kbps. $5 for Livejournal! $10 for Netflix! What a dystopian dreamscape that would be.

To be clear, I'm obviously not in favor of net neutrality. Outside of Comcast execs, I've not met anyone who actually is. Speaking on a purely relativistic level, I'm not convinced it's worth the outrage when there's so much else going on these days to get in a huff about, but it's obviously not good. But every time I see talk like this I always get hung up on the rhetoric. Because when we talk about $5 for LiveJournal, we're not talking about $5 going to the actual content creators (the bloggers and commenters), or even to LiveJournal, but to the ISP that lets us get there.

And this bothers me. A lot. The funny thing is it's actually how the web works now, isn't it? But having it laid so bare like that does rub salt in a wound, because it always seems like such misplaced priorities. I see blogs written by really intelligent people with unique perspectives, and people --myself included-- who approach the content like something we're entitled to. I wouldn't mind a mechanism to give (say) Andrew Sullivan or Paul Krugman $5 a month for the privilege of accessing their thoughts. And I'd gladly cough up a few bucks to AO3 authors or other fan-creators. They give me much more enjoyment than Netflix ever could.

I don't donate to the AO3 platform just because they don't seem the most efficient. I've gladly donated to other sites to help cover their operations costs, and would love to buy some of my favorite webmasters a Starbucks from time to time. But supporting the platform directly --let alone the technical infrastructure that lets us access it-- is different from supporting the actual content creators.

Of course, in fandom particularly, I'm not entirely sure how welcome it'd be. Tolkien fandom in particular revels in the idea that this cannot be bought, and I don't want to rob that from them. Sherlock fandom (both Doyle and BBC) seem more open to this idea, I'm guessing because there's such a history of commercial or at least professional adaptations and spin-offs. What's the difference between a pastiche sold to a magazine and a fanfic written in the Doyle style posted to AO3? And with fan-artists, there's a similarly murky divide between illustrators, professional artists using the characters with or without permission, and fan-artists. So the idea of selling commissions or accepting donations is more acceptable in that world, even expected. (I've bought my share in recent years.) But for those who don't like thinking of their work in those terms, I certainly wouldn't want to force that metric on them.

At the same time, though... these days it does seem like we value things when we (or someone) have to pay for them. That's not right, but increasingly it does seem like reality. So when we conflate "paying for YouTube" or "paying for access to YouTube" with "paying for these particular YouTube users who produce the videos making me want to spend time there," that seems to miss something vital.

I'm curious: is there a way to insist that fan-creators or content-creators generally (that would include bloggers and anyone else creating and sharing online) matter, without saying "you should pay for this"? Is there a better way to talk about supporting and maybe even giving people the breathing space to have a little fun and be a little more creative, without boiling it down to money and marketplace? How do we do this in fandom?

(That's very murky, I know, but I hope you all know what I mean, somehow....)

I do know that when I was posting to a paid blog site and getting paid a nominal fee, that nominal fee meant I could go do something guilt-free and off-budget, and it made me feel really good. I do wish I could give that experience to my fellow fan-creators.

This entry was originally posted at https://marta-bee.dreamwidth.org/12611.html. Please comment there using OpenID.

Dec. 13th, 2017

A happy holidays to Roy Moore's attorney, and anyone else celebrating it.

This entry was originally posted at https://marta-bee.dreamwidth.org/12288.html. Please comment there using OpenID.
Does anyone remember the DS9 episode "The Visitor"? The basic premise is that Sisko apparently dies but the accident actualy traps him in subspace and "tethers" him to his son Jake. Meaning he occasionally resurfaces in Jake's vicinity and has a short window of time to live a lie with his son. The problem is, Jake becomes so obsessed with rescuing his dad properly, he gives up on his writing, ends up divorced and with no family. The ep ends with Jake given a chance to "die" in a way that lets him and his dad avoid the accident.

Laid out like that, it seems rather dry, but it's one of the tenderest, most interesting and moving episodes I think I ever saw in that universe. It just has this sense of longing to it.

Anyway In my current status of "just because you can't actually write doesn't mean you can't dream up plot bunnies, I can't help imagining a Johnlock version of this. What if, instead of Sherlock actually coming back after his "death," John goes for decades of struggling against the shape his life takes in the absence of Sherlock I can imagine some sort of magic realism working well - Sherlock making a mephistophelean bargain where he actually died, or at least is forced out of the narrative as it were, and only gets bursts of life with John, becoming fewer and further between as John's life becomes less imprinted with Sherlock's spirit, as it were - as he builds a life that's premised on Sherlock not being there, I guess.

Which sounds rather more like "A Christmas Story" than what I was imagining. Maybe if it was twisted around so John made the deal - Sherlock's survival at the pool in exchange for not being in his life, then it going increasingly pear-shaped for both of them until finally John has to "die," snap back to the crisis point, and get them out of their stand-off in a different way.

I don't plan to write it, or work it out in any great detail. But somehow the possibility is a really nice one to sit with for a while.

This entry was originally posted at https://marta-bee.dreamwidth.org/12213.html. Please comment there using OpenID.


Guess who just landed an unlocked cell phone for $119, tax inclusive?

*two thumbs up*

This girl.

This entry was originally posted at https://marta-bee.dreamwidth.org/11795.html. Please comment there using OpenID.
Martha Stewart would be turning in her grave, if she had one. Store-bought pies for the work potluck?

The reality is: I like playing with cookies and muffins and the like, can get pretty adventurous, but I've never actually baked a pie. I've not even baked a proper cake in this oven. And I'm a bit nervous to try with a proper function. Probably wise, but it does feel like a domesticity failing. Not that I've ever claimed great skill there!

Also, let's be honest: 1) Mrs. Smith makes a better pie than I ever would manage (and they're getting two and whipped cream), and 2) it's $5 Tuesdayds at the movies. I know where I'd rather be.

Must say, though, this little fellow is tempting.

(I may give him a try with the community table meal I'm helping with on actual Thanksgiving day proper. A bigger kitchen, and those kids deserve the fun more than the sourpuses in my office anyway. :-) )

This entry was originally posted at https://marta-bee.dreamwidth.org/11367.html. Please comment there using OpenID.

Big News in the Tolkien Fandom


Amazon is putting together a miniseries set before LOTR, most assume the gap between 2941 [The Hobbit] and 3019 [LOTR]. With no justification that I can see, but it does seem natural. My first impulse was that I thought it would be neat to see, but that I was really struggling with how you'd create a standalone story arc out that time period. But then miniseries and series generally can be more episodic.

I'm curious: if you were coming up with a miniseries based off of those years, how would you structure it? What events would you zero in on, and how would you give it a conclusion of some sort? My fantasy version would focus on the hunt for the Ring, building on Gandalf's friendship with Bilbo, the Dwarves of Erebor's unwillingness to give up his identity, maybe Bilbo's adoption of Frodo and even a kind of time-compressed Gandalf guiding Aragorn through the Thorongil years and searching the archives himself, with some nice Denethor tension. But I still can't see how to give it a good conclusion.

Of course, there's nothing that says they have to be telling that kind of story, an adaptation of canon at all. One idea I've seen floated is it will be the Shire and Rohan and Mirkwood and all that, but a totally new adventure involving original characters. Maybe television's answer to LOTRO or something of the sort? Can't say I'm overjoyed at that idea. Could be well and good, but all I can think of is how my least favorite parts of the Hobbit movies involved them going off script.

Maybe we're going to have more of that in the future, though, because of the other big news:


Christopher Tolkien's stepping down from the Tolkien Estate! I'll admit, my first thought was "it's about time," and I owe him more respect than that. Speaking as a Numenor fangirl - I owe him for the Akallabeth's existence in a big way. But at the same time, I've always found his more obvious editing to be heavy-handed, and I do think he's a bit stuffy when it comes to JRRT's legacy and proper respect for it - which means he'll want adaptations to be more canon-compliant, traditionally interpreted.

Personally I'd love to see a miniseries adaptation of The Silmarillion if it was done right (a big if!). Not a film or even film series by anyone, it's just not structured that way. But I think it could be really interesting, and if the new "Thor" movies teach us anything (I'll be vague and spoiler-free here), it's that the heart of myths can still play well when you modernize it the right way. Not that I want a Marvel version of Turin or Maedhros, but certainly this assumption that the Silm is hard to get into doesn't have to be true. And the thing is, right now the Silmarillion is completely off the table for adaptations, and obviously it's a very personal story for Christopher and the family generally - Beren and Luthien as JRR and Edith and all that.

Interested in folks' thoughts here. About Silm adaptations, but more about CT stepping down. Do you think it's a good thing or not?

PS - If re in a fic mood, maybe check out my story Bronwe Athan Harthad. It's a look at how JRRT might have been affected if Christopher had died in World War II, written through letters to his dead son. Interspersed with lines from John Mayer's "Say," of all things. It really shouldn't work, but I have it on good authority (not my own!) that it really kind of does.

This entry was originally posted at https://marta-bee.dreamwidth.org/11162.html. Please comment there using OpenID.



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