September 15th, 2014


(no subject)

Tonight I heard some rather sad news: the Henneth-Annun Story Archive is shutting down. You can read the full notice here; the highlights:

* The shut-down seems to be driven by some rather extensive technical problems, traced back to hacker attempts and security vulnerabilities, that would take entirely too long to address. (I wouldn't have tried to fix a volunteer site I run with this level of problems.)

* To be clear: while there are security issues, the site is currently secure, and info you've entered on the site isn't at risk.

* The site manager, Anglachel, said she's working with some sites to try to see if certain parts of the site can be archived. Specifically, she's working with Orchard CMS to see if their Resources section can be saved.

HASA was my first home in not only the Tolkien fandom but fandom generally. My connection these days is mainly nostalgic, but that's a real thing. It gave me my first toehold in adminning and helped me develop the confdence I needed to take on Challenges. Most of my friends were HASA members (and quite often HASA admins) at one time or another, and I have nothing but respect for what Ang, Gwynnyd, Cel, Dwim, and all the other volunteers did there. That's just a list off the top of my head, btw - not meant to be exclusive or even all that thorough! More objectively speaking, HASA is also a really nice collection of fanfic and research on Tolkien canon, and I'll be very sad to see it go, though I do want to emphasize: looking at the work it would take to address the technical issues, I completely stand by this decision and would have done the same. Not that my approval matters all that much. As I said, it's been a while since I've been heavily involved.

I hope people who were hosted exclusively on HASA will upload their fic elsewhere. I've had good experiences with Many Paths to Tread and the Silmarillion Writers Guild in terms of finding community, and while I had to leave Stories of Arda years ago due to ideological differences with that site's admin, SOA is another great collection of Tolkien fanfic with some simply lovely reviewers. (SOA's site admin is an excellent woman, btw; I couldn't keep posting there in good conscience myself, but that doesn't mean I wouldn't recommend it to others.) And of course AO3 is open to all fandoms. I've got all my stories posted there and have invite codes if anyone needs them.

Again, that's just the first sites that jump to mind, ones I've used myself and had positive experiences with. Not exclusive or even all that thorough.

But all of that's a bit secondary. We'll get more details as they're available, I'm sure, and things will work them out. For now, I'd just like to say it once more, to everyone who wrote, reviewed, donated or especially volunteered with HASA over the years: Thank you.

granada holmes

home again home again, + Sherlockish thoughts

This afternoon and tonight I flew back from fun in the sun to... reality. It felt good being there, not so good being back but glad to have my own bed to sleep in and . Theoretically there is sugar of some variety in the kitchen, which I will hunt out momentarily. For the moment, though, I'm just tired. Those four flights are a killer, and because it was after dark and rainy I decided to take a cab home rather than trying to spot my bus stop, which was about twice as expensive as I expected and... blech. Not the best financial move I've made lately.

But it was fun. I soaked up some vitamin D, managed to see Guardians of the Galaxy and did some light clothes shopping that was productive for once in my life (photos once I've unpacked, I'm sure), came home with clean laundry and feeling more pampered and creative than I have in a long time, and really connected with my friend's kid who I described, not the baptisee but the older kid who was such a good tour guide at Epcott. And introduced both my friend and her husband to the wonder that is Cabin Pressure while we were getting ready for the dinner. She was blase, but he laughed as hard as I did the first time. And there's just something about flying in the early evening, it's beautiful. So there's lots to be happy about, really. I'm feeling more than a bit blah at the moment, which I think is the depression talking more than anything, but... yeah.

Anyway, beauty. Here's a photo I nabbed from the ride home:

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In more fannish news, on the plane I found myself thinking (for no good reason that I can work out except it's been bugging me off and on since I saw the scene for the first time) that moment in TBB where Sherlock introduces John as his friend (to Sebastian) and John pointedly corrects him to colleague. It's so out of character in its way given that this is a man who just shot the dude threatening Sherlock, within (what?) thirty-six hours of meeting Sherlock. As a statement of just how close Sherlock and John are, it's such a backward statement in its way. It's a regression.

But sitting in the plane watching the night sky roll by, there's really not much to do but think, and that's where my mind insisted on focusing tonight. And the more I think about this, the less it seems to be about closeness and more to do about value and respect. John is coming into this scene being reminded viscerally that he isn't hacking it financially or professionally. He's just been humiliated not being able to provide basic necessities like food. He's had to make himself extremely vulnerable by asking Sherlock (that to-all-appearances independently wealthy flatmate who doesn't have to work at anything, can just laze about and work crime scenes for free with the he-is-the-British-government, seemingly-omnipotent brother), by asking that man for a loan. He perked up a bit when he saw 221B back in ASIP, but it's not like his home; he has a room but no real privacy (I'm thinking of Sherlock's using his laptop) and no real security either (he can't trust they can have nice things that won't be wrecked; I'm thinking here of the scratchd kitchen table that Sherlock doesn't feel any need to even explain), he can't afford the basics of life there -- I can see that bedsit starting to look not so horrible after all, and the handgun he was keeping in his desk drawer a little bit better still.

(Poor John. Poor John. He needs a hug. Back in a minute.)

Anyway. When a man coming out of this situation is taken into a large, ornate financial institution in the British equivalent of Wall Street, arguably the closest thing we have to a secular temple, I can see him feeling a bit overwhelmed but also dwarfed by it all. And when Sherlock introduces him as his friend, that can make it seem like someone who's there not because he's needed or has something of value to offer, but like someone who's tagging along for purely personal friends. "Colleague," on the other hand, seems like a professional status. He is here not because Sherlock likes him but because Sherlock thinks he can offer a useful service. John may think of Sherlok as a friend at this point (I think he does, though I'm sure other people would disagree and I'm too knackered to defend my opinion there), but the important thing is that's not all he wants to be as Sherlock. As a person, he needs his presence at a place like this, on an important case, to be coming from something other than the fact that Sherlock liked him.

Interestingly, over at Tumblr mid0nz noted that Holmes often called Watson his "friend and colleague," underscoring the importance of both sides of that equation. And I think in his own imperfect way, Sherlock is getting closer to valuing John in this way. He asks him to help analyze the Carl Powers case, he sends him to interview Connie Prince's brother, he lets him handle the Brue Partington Plans case more or less on his own and makes sure John realizes that he was willing to trust a matter of national security to him ("knew you'd get there eventually"). Of course he's a first-class jerk about it, and anyone looking at this from the outside would be excused for misreading it. But I think there's a real drive here that these two are driving toward not just personal affection but actual recognition that the other has something to value. And John can be excused for insisting on the second part of that identity. At least it makes some sense to me.