Buffy Dawn sister love. S5, Buffy Dawn

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Last updated August 16, 2016

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Anya final stand, S7

Posting meme: New music discoveries in 2019 for kwritten

(FYI I have basically abandoned the schedule except for folks that requested a specific date. Also you can still request a topic here.)

What song/album have you had stuck in your head this year? Or what new music did you discover/fall back in love with in 2019? for [personal profile] kwritten
I’m so glad you asked, because I have had a very musical year!! I’m not sure just what it was, but this year I spent time living with a bunch of different new albums and a few individual songs as well, and found some that I think will be longtime faves. I hope you don't mind that I turned this into a general laundry list of music I loved this year.

New Reveille – Kind of folksy country-rock, female-led, with back-up strings and in exactly the flavor of melancholy I like best for this genre. Hounds drives the hardest, but Conway Shores has a sneaky eeriness to it, and Something Worth Saving hits a deliciously angsty vibe.

Tori Forsyth – I discovered Smith at the same time as New Reveille, and she has some of the same vibe. I don’t think she’s going to have quite the same staying power for me, but Grave Robber’s Daughter will definitely remain a favorite.

Billie Eilish – As we know, I went a little nuts over Billie this year. She's making incredibly interesting music with her brother/co-writer/producer Finneas. I can't wait to hear what they do next.

Lady Gaga – After having fallen in love with her album Joanne last year, this year I finally went exploring through her entire discography. I didn’t love all of it, but boy I really enjoy her a lot as a performer. In some sense, she and Billie Eilish feel to me like two sides of a coin: both aggressively weird, neither gives a shit about conventional prettiness or the male gaze. That said, although I like a handful of individual songs from The Fame, the album as a whole never quite gelled for me. Something about the production? It just felt unfinished? IDK. OTOH it's been fun finally getting to know everything on The Fame Monster, after loving Bad Romance for so long, and I will probably spend some more time with the Born This Way album at some point. Artpop the album was kind of a bust for me, although I did like Venus pretty well.

Lil Nas X – Okay, this is just the one song, but what a song it is. It might be kind of a gimmick song, but it is also incredibly catchy. Billy Ray Cyrus adds so much to it, and also Lil Nas X is cute as a bug's ear. I'm curious to see where he goes from here. Between this and Billie Eilish, this year is the happiest I've been about mainstream pop music since Somebody I Used to Know was such a huge deal in 2011.

Lizzo – Hey hey, it's the year of Lizzo! To be honest, my favorite song of hers is Boys, which is a little older, but my favorite off the new album is probably Tempo.

Azealia Banks – Even setting aside her life choices and entire personality, I am so hot and cold about Banks; her pop is not my kind of thing at all, and up until this year the only piece of hers I cared about was Ice Princess (which comes with very possibly the most bonkers music video I have EVER seen, not to be missed). I'd listened to 212 several times before, since it's one of those songs that's always first up when people recommend female rappers, but I just could never make sense of it, like, as a song – and then somehow, this year, something clicked and it made perfect sense? Beats me, man. Sometimes the music has to wait a while for me to catch up to it. Anyway, this track is great for repeat listening because there's SO MUCH going on it; it has FOUR completely separate sections that all sound completely different and yet complement each other, it's got an amazing beat, and it's chockfull of attitude.

Angel Haze – Speaking of tracks with a lot going on, Resurrection was the song that finally turned me onto Angel Haze, after several failed attempts on my part. I love the production on this, the background strings, the swagger, and Haze's flow.

Janelle Monae – Last year felt like The Year of Monae, just in terms of buzz, but it took me until this year to really find a favorite off Dirty Computer and listen to it a bunch of times, and that favorite is Screwed, because I guess I'm into ironically cheerful, sexually-charged nihilism set to dance tunes. "You fuck the world up now / We'll fuck it all back down" is great lyric. So is "I heard a man say / Cover up your areolas / Why they blockin' equal pay / Sippin' on their Coca-Colas." I could quote the entire song here, and I am not usually a lyrics person.

Crossposted from Dreamwidth. Comments welcome over there. (comment count unavailable DW replies)
S4, Buffy desert, ep restless

Posting meme: Top 5 Buffy eps for kimaracretak

In the talking meme, I reserved Saturdays for stuff I've been reading/watching/listening to, but I don't really have anything to share on that front this week, so we're moving on with the talking meme posts, since I already had this one prepared.

Top 5 Buffy eps for [personal profile] kimaracretak
This is 100% a list of episodes that fall in that sweet spot of "I love this episode and have watched it a lot" and "I think this episode is good." Not featured on this list are episodes like Pangs (a comfort watch for me, but the plot, oh dear) and Beer Bad (cheesy as hell, but I love it so). If I just wanted comfort watch TV, probably this entire list would be S4 standalone eps, maybe with a couple of the cheesier S2 eps for flavor. Nor do I have Hush or I Only Have Eyes For You, which are Very Good but which I don't tend to rewatch.

Onward, in no particular order!

Fool for Love – The ep that made me fall in love with the show, which in turn got me into fandom. If it weren’t for this episode of television, I probably wouldn’t be in fandom at all. I honestly can’t fathom where I would be instead as a person. Fandom has meant so much to me in the past 11 years. Um. Anyway: the porch scene KILLS ME. The subway fight is fucking stellar. All the Spike backstory, and his bragging in the present contrasted with his humble beginnings (and terrible wig). One of my very favorite eps of TV.

Once More With Feeling – This is not a perfect hour of television, but you know what, it feels perfect anyway. It’s so dense, encapsulating the entire season in one ep (and I can’t fathom introducing someone to the show via this ep, for that reason). My unpop opinion is that Spike’s song is not great, except for the bridge (I know I should go / But I follow you), which guts me somehow every time. My favorite song is probably Walk Through the Fire, which seems like such a cheat, but all that tension gets to me in the best way.

Restless – One thing Joss Whedon has generally been really fucking great at is dream sequences, and this is just a full episode of this incredible dream-logic, full of commentary on the show, hints at the future, surreal symbolism, and obscure callbacks. One of my favorite bits is that sequence where Xander wanders through a bunch of the show’s different sets in one long take, which they could do because of course those sets all share walls.

School Hard – A classic, and IMO the ep where the show deliberately jettisoned the overburdened mythology of S1 and began, as Spike says, something new. Also, Spike and Dru are iconic.

Lie to Me – It’s so hard to choose a best episode of S2, but for me this might be it. It’s the full meal deal: pathos and comedy (the vampire groupie club!!), shades of gray and a disconcerting lack of moral absolutes, all summed up by that stunning last scene with Giles and Buffy.

Crossposted from Dreamwidth. Comments welcome over there. (comment count unavailable DW replies)
Anya final stand, S7

MCU fic recs 17

Thursday recs!

ART: Nakia/Okoye lesbian pulp cover by [tumblr.com profile] velociraptorerin - SFW and so fucking cool. Also at AO3 here.

ART: Captain Marvel art nouveau by [tumblr.com profile] sanshodelaine - SFW, love the colors.

VID: "Hustler" by [youtube.com profile] Cantrous
Loki, spans Thor 1 through Ragnarok. So many Loki vids take the angst angle, but this is the most fun Loki vid I've ever seen, where he gets to be hot and comedic and badass, and the song choice is great. I've watched it a LOT of times.

Time Share by [archiveofourown.org profile] thingswithwings
Valkyrie/Bruce, 12k. After Ragnarok, Val talks the Hulk and Bruce into a truce. I love how much Val and the Hulk just really enjoy each other, and how Val and Bruce build something between them, too, despite not being sure what to make of each other at first. I am absolutely in denial about the final scene.

the side effects that save us by [archiveofourown.org profile] napricot
Shuri gen, 32k. After the events of Black Panther, Shuri grieves in her own way, ie via overwork and denial. This is such a careful, empathetic look at Shuri, including how isolated she is in a lot of ways. She gets time with Bucky and Ramonda and T'Challa, and those relationships are all great. Just very satisfying.

5 Broken Things +1 Mended by [archiveofourown.org profile] downjune
Steve/Bucky, 6k. After Endgame ends a little differently for Steve, he finds himself losing the effects of the serum, and he and Bucky have to sort out what they're going to do next. I really enjoyed the gentle arc of their relationship into something romantic, back and forth and back, kind of like ripples in water. I also enjoyed the pseudoscience – it rode the line between plausibility and sheer bonkers very well. XD

Unspoken by [archiveofourown.org profile] LearnedFoot
Nebula + Rocket gen, 2k. A five times fic about them through the years. I love how their quiet friendship that is bound together with acts instead of words, and the Rocket voice is great.

Graded on a Curve by [archiveofourown.org profile] scioscribe
Nebula + Tony gen, 800 words. Tony is dying; Nebula takes drastic measures. The story of Tony becoming progressively more of a cyborg is one I had no idea I wanted, but this GREAT. I love that Nebula knows what to do, and that Tony doesn't even freak out TOO much, because after all this isn't all that new to him. The hurt/comfort aspects are great, and all the little details of artificiality are great. Feels like a much bigger story than its length.

Wolves of Ice by [archiveofourown.org profile] Sholio
Thor + Loki gen, 3k. There's an ice-wolf roaming the halls of the refugee ship, and Loki's being squirrely about it. I love the Thor+Loki relationship all throughout this, how fragile it is and how careful Thor is with it, and how he's learned to recognize when there IS no way forward with Loki except wait to wait. The worldbuilding is also SUPER COOL. And there are so many great lines. ;_;

Crossposted from Dreamwidth. Comments welcome over there. (comment count unavailable DW replies)
Anya final stand, S7

Posting meme: one SPN character to hang out with

If you could hang out with any character from SPN besides Sam or Dean for a day, whom would you hang out with and what would you do? for [personal profile] gryfndor_godess

Aw man. The thing about SPN is everyone’s a mess, and the people I’m most likely to have something in common with are typically the ones who die before canon even bothers to give them a last name. I’m such a boring person, relatively speaking! What would I even have to talk about with any of the recurring characters on the show?

I guess I’m going to say Castiel, which feels like a copout answer, but I think we could find some stuff to talk about re: faith and disillusionment, and also I bet he’d be kind of hilarious to have around. I’d put him to work helping me make soup or something and we could put on a movie in the background, and he’d have five million grumpy comments about how pointless the whole activity was. It’d be fun.

(Yay, finally a topic where I actually have a relevant icon! I've just been hitting "random" for months, so that at least some of these icons I still love will see the light of day.)

Crossposted from Dreamwidth. Comments welcome over there. (comment count unavailable DW replies)
Anya final stand, S7

Posting meme: Old fannish events, etc that I miss

(Talking meme spots still open here)

What old fannish thing(s) do you miss? (ex. an exchange that no longer runs, posting memes nobody does, etc.) for [personal profile] eafay70

Honestly, the one fannish event that I have most regularly pined for was insmallpackages, a possibly somewhat niche double blind winter holiday event where you made a few small requests, the mod would post them, and people would fill them, not even knowing whose requests they were filling. But now we have [community profile] in_a_peartree, which is almost the same thing, and I am so delighted!! I look forward to responding to lots of requests. People have been suggesting it's an alternative [community profile] fandom_stocking, but I've always been the pits at writing things for Fandom Stocking, and have never had any trouble at all filling requests for insmallpackages. Sometimes small structural changes make all the difference!

I also miss how fandom used to be oriented a lot more around a) kinkmemes, and b) fests. For all its faults, I feel like I grew up as a fan on spnkink_meme, and it makes me sad that fandom seems largely to have moved beyond the kinkmeme as a structure. I assume this is largely because of the move away from LJ/DW as platforms in general, which makes sense. And I’m part of the problem, too, because sometimes I go browsing on kinkmemes for fandoms I’m in and I don’t even feel any interest in filling any of the prompts. It’s just not how I think creatively anymore, and I’ve also lost all confidence that anyone will read what I write. If I want anonymity and an audience, I’ll fill a 100 words thread for ffa instead.

I think fests definitely do still exist, largely on tumblr and organized as “weeks” (there’s a Loki/Jane week going on soon, for example), but ugh, tumblr. I find that I mostly write for exchanges now that I’m in MCU fandom, because those are places where I can write fic for my weird rarepairs and not only be pretty sure at least one person will read and like it, but that it will get other eyeballs, too, and not be immediately buried in the tag, never to be seen again. A fest could serve that same purpose and also let me write the things I’ve been wanting to write for myself, because no one else wants them. However, again, fests pretty much happen on tumblr, and I think it’d be pretty difficult to get critical mass for one on DW. [community profile] iddyiddybangbang seems like a close cousin, though, and man, ONE of these years I’m going to actually write something for it.

Crossposted from Dreamwidth. Comments welcome over there. (comment count unavailable DW replies)
Anya final stand, S7

books I DNF

One of the convenient things about getting books from the library is they force me to either finish the book or definitively give up and give it back. So, here are some books recently that I haven't finished. And it's all horror! I hadn't really thought that through when I started composing this post.

Mammoth Book of Cthulu, edited by Paula Guran. This purported to be a collection of new Lovecraftian fiction, but so much of it was barely even tangentially cosmic horror, it was just like "here's some dark fantasy," and a lot of it was set in pre-industrial settings, which aren't generally what I want from Lovecraftian stuff, because the conflict between scientific thought and the eldritch beings whose very existence and nature defies and punishes knowledge is a big part of what I love about cosmic horror.

I read six or seven stories and liked ONE of them, by Brian Hodge. I really liked his story in that Nightmares collection, too, edited by Ellen Datlow, so I think he's one I need to seek out more stuff by.

White is for Witching, by Helen Oyeyemi. This kept getting recced to me on lists of atmospheric horror involving haunted houses, but I kind of just found it unpleasant to read, and a bit too experimental in its narrative structure (although to be clear, it's not really that experimental, but a little goes a long way with me, apparently). Maybe I'd have found the horror elements more satisfying as they got more explicit, but I just didn't get that far.

Blood Heritage, by Shari Tepper, in which a man whose wife and son are dead meets an unwilling medium at a party who tells him his family is still alive. I picked this up because I just wanted something from the horror shelf at a bookstore I was visiting that wasn't King or Koontz. Unfortunately, I found the narrative voice kind of sleazy and unpleasant, and the plot veered between lolarious and really boring. Since I own this one, it's still on my shelf, but I just have no urge whatsoever to pick it up again and read the last third of it.

Crossposted from Dreamwidth. Comments welcome over there. (comment count unavailable DW replies)

Posting meme: An animal I would design

If you could design & create one new animal, what would it be? for [personal profile] schneefink.

Schneefink offered me the alternative of talking about pre-S1 TMA headcanons for the archive staff, but man, I really don't have any, and it's been so long since I listened to the early seasons that I can't even remember what we know from canon.

Unfortunately, I also don't have any great ideas about cool new animals, because frankly, I just don't know how to outdo what the natural world has already given us. (PLATYPUS. SEAHORSES.) So instead I'm going to talk about this bonkers sea creature that I've just learned about, the pyrosome. This is a pyrosome:
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A pyrosome is:
- Shaped like a huge tube, up to sixty feet long. (x)

- "A collection of thousands of clones, with each individual capable of copying itself and adding to the colony." These tiny individuals are all stuck together, with their mouths on the outside of the tube, so they can suck in water, filter it for goodies, and expel into the inside of the tube, which then collectively moves the whole tube along. (x)

- Bioluminescent, and in fact its bioluminescence "is unusual in its brilliance and sustained light emission." (x). They start to glow in response to light or physical stimuli, which means if something touches on individual in the colony, possibly with the idea of eating it, that individual starts to glow, which causes all the others to glow, hopefully scaring off the critter. (And it seems pyrosomes tend to hang out near the surface, I assume because there's way more organic matter there to eat, so most things that might bother them can probably see them, unlike way down deep in the ocean.) What's more, the pyrosome starts to sink at the same time it starts to glow, which removes it from the danger, and sometimes multiple pyrosome colonies hang out together, which means if one of them feels threatened and starts to glow, the others do, too, and they can all sink away from danger together. (x)

I find animal colony structures like this fascinating and ripe for exploration from a science fictional angle. Probably my interest with stories about people composed of more than one body at the same time (the dog aliens in the Vernor Vinge novel, the one witch in a later Tiffany Aching novel) stems from that same fascination. And then these guys make colony structures that are HUGE, and they GLOW IN THE DARK because of course they do. And they maintain/add to the colony structures by CLONING, which is also obviously relevant to science fictional interests.

In conclusion: super weird, super cool. The ocean is great. :D

(Full schedule of posting meme days here. There are still spots open!</a>)

Crossposted from Dreamwidth. Comments welcome over there. (comment count unavailable DW replies)
Anya final stand, S7

things read/watched

The Monster of Elendhaven – Jennifer Geisbrecht, another novella in my hunt for stuff to nominate for the Hugos. In a city of dark moods, a man who can’t die and loves killing gets himself a job with a sorcerer. This story was the wrong length. I needed it to either be longer, so I got much more of Johann and Florian and also worldbuilding, or much shorter and more compact, so it didn’t feel like such a tease. I did enjoy what there was, and if you’re looking for dark canon m/m, then Johann and Florian definitely deliver, but I found Florian particularly undeveloped, and even after the story was over I didn’t really understand precisely what his plan was.

IT (2017). I expected a feel-good horror movie about a heartwarming bunch of plucky kids, and that is exactly what I got. There were no surprises here. I really only watched it because I’d heard intriguing things about the next one. That said, the child cast was for the most part very good, excepting the kid playing Eddie, whom I found pretty awkward. OTOH, Jaeden Lieberher (now going by Jaeden Martell, per wikipedia) was absolutely fantastic in the lead role as Bill. That kid’s entire soul is in his eyes. One to watch, IMO. Bill Skarsgard was also good fun as Pennywise.

Speaking of heartwarming, I’m not sure quite what it was, but this was the most bizarrely sentimental film score I have heard in years and years. The rising string section felt completely out of place every time. It honestly felt like something out of the 90s; I double-checked to be sure it wasn’t John Williams. Very Spielbergian.

Knives Out (2019). A famed private detective comes in to investigate the death of a rich family’s elderly patriarch. This was not precisely the house party murder mystery I thought it would be, but it was nonetheless excellent cheesy fun, hilarious, and with a huge heart, because the central character is the patriarch’s caregiver, a sweet young Hispanic woman who’s terrified attention on her will also draw attention to her undocumented mother. I spent the whole movie with my heart in my throat for her. It’s also got a fantastic cast: Daniel Craig as the PI with a Kentucky-flavored accent and excellent comic timing, Christopher Plummer as the deceased patriarch, Jamie Lee Curtis, Chris Evans as the asshole black sheep of the family, and a bunch of other people I didn’t know who nonetheless did a great job. Also, oh hey, Jaeden what's-his-name from IT in a small role.

It also pairs really well, IMO, with Ready or Not from earlier this year: another take on the outsider doing battle with a rich family full of assholes, although the battle here is less literal, and the politics are more racial than about wealth directly. Collapse )

Crossposted from Dreamwidth. Comments welcome over there. (comment count unavailable DW replies)