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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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Let’s talk some more about Infinity Wars. I mentioned earlier tonight at Tumblr I had Theories with a capital T, revolving around the concept of Chekhov’s gun, which just means you don’t put a revolver on the table in the first act unless you mean on using it in the fifth.

Before I go further, the usual warning: spoilers.

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This entry was originally posted at https://marta-bee.dreamwidth.org/14593.html. Please comment there using OpenID.

May. 2nd, 2018

So, Avengers. The kid and I used our $5 Tuesday to see it tonight, and she seemed to get swept away in it all easily enough. I was more than a bit underwhelmed. (Spoilers, obviously, though I'll do my best to stay away from the truly huge ones.

First: there's nothing truly wrong with the movies, in the specifics. Gamora in particular is brilliant, and Benedict Cumberbatch is yet to find a genre he can't rock; apparently we can add "thinking man's action hero" to the list. There are characters I would have loved to see more of (Shuri, for instance, if only because I love Letitia Wright in the role). And Loki didn't get nearly enough screen time. But largely I think that comes dow to personal tastes. It's not that the story really needed more, just that I personally really liked them.

But there's the rub. Not that I get bonus points for having called it, but based just on the size of the cast, I was more than a bit worried it would be too much. And I think it was. Even knowing so much about the earlier movies so I didn't need to "learn" all these characters, there just wasn't much room for character moments, or even to really feel the high "wallop" moments. Again, Gamora's a standout exception here, but I think that's because her big moments happen when the plot is at its least busy. (Plus the actress playing her is brilliant and can own any scene, in my opinion.)

I suspect a lot of this comes down to why you watch Marvel movies. I'm not a comic book fan, and not particularly in it for the action and SFX. I like the characters and that's what keeps pulling me back. That, and the irreverence, and the light and humor. The opening scenes seemed much more DCU than Marvel, if you know what I mean.

Repeatedly, I saw noticed changes to the characterizations from earlier movies just because it served the plot. A great example of this is the Bucky character. We've gone from boy from Brooklyn, to Winter Soldier, to White Wolf. His look is distinctly pastoral by the time we meet him in IW, almost Christlike. But none of that is really referenced or made sense of in IW; T'Challa merely says he's rested long enough (as if the deprogramming and new lessons to learn in the Black Panther post-credit scene are the same as taking a sabbatical to recover from too much work). Of course he's got to fight, and in just this way. But because there's so much going on, there's no room to explain what's to me a really crucial new chapter in his story.

Other characters suffer from this, too. Strange's newfound respect for rules, for instance; or Peter's choosing the Avengers over being a neighborhood spiderman; though in fairness Rhodey's change in loyalties (if you want to call it that) felt so right, I'm grinning about it just thinking about it. I'm not sure I can really blame them for any of that, given the cast size. But for someone who massively prefers her plot to serve the character's purpose rather than the other way around, I did feel underwhelmed throughout.

On the other hand... Black Panther, Thor, and Spider-Man are all tough acts to follow, on top of which I was bringing in a lot of personal baggage. Tough several days at work and I was looking forward to this as a way to "reset" my mood a bit. It shouldn't have to.

Still, all that said, I do think I prefer the solo character flicks to the Ensemble casts. Probably a reason for that.

One last thing: as a Sherlockian, it was such a pleasure to see RDJ and Cumberbatch on the same screen. Because obviously they're their own characers here, but there's a lot of their Sherlock characters as well in how they approach this, and they're so different but also such different sides of the same coin. As I said over at FB, just seeing them snipe at each other was worth the ticket price alone. It's still weird to hear Cumberbatch in an American accent, though.

This entry was originally posted at https://marta-bee.dreamwidth.org/14552.html. Please comment there using OpenID.

Mar. 26th, 2018

Apparently yesterday was some sort of Tolkien reading-day (happy V-S day all!). I know I'm late but I'm toying with rereading something Tolkienesque. The Akallabeth is my obvious go-to text, just because it never gets old, but I'm also toying with something more Third Age-ish. Maybe "The Quest of Erebor" or "The Hunt for the Ring" from Unfinished Tales. Maybe even "Of Fairy-Tales" - seems like heavy lifting, but I've never actually read it, which I'm sure will shock and horrify all who know me.

... I'm trying, is what I'm trying to say. I have good intentions, I still think about Tolkien (quite a bit). And I miss being in the swing of it all.

Did anyone read anything fun?

This entry was originally posted at https://marta-bee.dreamwidth.org/14279.html. Please comment there using OpenID.
To whom it may concern:

  • You have money.
  • I have skills.
  • Nature abhors an imbalance.

Please don't make me break out the Adam Smith on you.

~ M.


Some days I am tempted to just make that my cover letter and be done with it. Other days I want to drop the please and insert a few others of the four-letter arrangement.

This actually isn't meant as anything angst-filled, more an acknowledgment that job hunters spend crazy amounts of time on those buggers and they're all such BS. "I am highly skilled in [objective 1 quoted from the advert], [objective 2], [buzz wordy jargon], and [objective 3]. I can technology and word, and have even been known to be a team player." It's all rather hilarious.

I'll admit, I haven't made the job hunt as much of a priority as I should have. Too exhausted, too soul-crushing. I'm on a bit of an upswing just now because of a work situation that is ridiculous and probably illegal, but equally I know if I brought up to my boss I'd be told to get over it. Which is telling. (I deserve better!) So I'm writing a lot of these letters, and the amount of work they take really is bizarre. It makes me smile, for some reason.

This entry was originally posted at https://marta-bee.dreamwidth.org/13958.html. Please comment there using OpenID.

I have never been so simultaneously proud and embarrassed to be an American....

This entry was originally posted at https://marta-bee.dreamwidth.org/13716.html. Please comment there using OpenID.

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.



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