bobthemole: (Default)
@NeilHimself: According to , genetically I am 99.6% Ashkenazi, 0.3% unspecified European and 0.1% East Asian. I want to know the story of that .1%

@Bobthemole: My entire family is South Indian, but testing showed my dad's maternal ancestor is north european. We are all v puzzled.

: Who was the Adventurous Nordic Lady who made her way to India all those millenia ago and became my ancestor?

: it's wonderful to wonder.

bobthemole: (Default)

[Crossposted from my Tumblr]

Here’s the scoop on the latest kerfluffle.

Shortly after the conclusion of GISHWHES (the Misha-organized scavenger hunt), all participants received an email pointing to mysterious websites and twitter accounts that hinted at a new event, “Christmas Will Never Be The Same”. After the success of GISHWHES and various other Misha-related events, expectations were high for another creative, participatory, and/or charitable event.

Today the event turned out to be a web screening of “Stonehenge Apocalypse”, a Syfy original movie starring Misha. He and another actor will be providing MST3K style commentary. There is a small fee for viewing, and options to spend more money to interact with the actors/receive swag. All in all, a bit of a letdown after all the fan speculation.

What’s been fascinating to me is the fan reactions (all readable on the Tumblr #misha collins tag while the wank lasts). They tend to fall among the following broad categories…

  • “I’m disappointed that this event is kinda lame and costs too much money. It’s Christmas, and I thought Misha would give us a gift.”
  • “How dare you criticize Misha! He does so much for us and we should be grateful for what we get.”
  • “Misha is a sell-out, going commercial and exploiting impressionable young girls for money and boobs.”
  • “Stop putting hate on the #Misha Collins tag! I will block anyone who does!”
  • “I’m not criticizing Misha, I’m just saying I’m disappointed. I’m entitled to my feelings and I’m allowed to have an opinion, aren’t I? I’m just stating my opinion.”
  • “You’re an entitled cunt for having such high expectations of someone who just had a baby, ran a marathon for charity WITH A COLD, and is still wading through photos of hairy men in tutus trying to identify the GISHWHES winners. What more does this beautiful man have to do for you?”
  • “It’s just $8, and I know you have money so stop acting like you’re an advocate for impoverished fans.”
  • “What’s going on? Why is everyone angry at Misha? What’s this Stonehenge thing? I’m so confused!”

Oh, Fandom. Never ever change.

I know I’m getting to be an old fart when fandom wars make me tick off squares on a bingo card. But there’s an extra layer of madness that keeps me hanging around the Misha Collins fandom.

On one hand we have the ginormous hydra-headed internecine fandom. On the other hand the object of the fandom’s devotion is a professional troll with a degree in Social Theory, who likes to poke things to see what happens.

Whether Misha genuinely miscalculated the excitement value of the Christmas project, or consciously engineered high expectations followed by a plausible let-down just to collect data on fan reactions, I do not know. But I really REALLY want it to be the latter.

Because I’m an old fandom fart and I want to see something new under the sun.

bobthemole: (Default)
All these years I've been wondering how the human populations keeps increasing despite EGADS BODILY FLUIDS!!!!!!!

The explanation: "Sex Doesn't Gross You Out When You're Aroused."

Thank you, researchers from the Netherlands.


Apr. 7th, 2012 03:18 am
bobthemole: (Default)
There's still a bit of stigma attached to admitting that one likes Titanic. Leonardo DiCaprio entire career has been built on establishing himself as a Serious Thespian instead of the Justin Beiber of the mid-90s. No one sings "My Heart Will Go On" except under the most ironic of circumstances.

But for one moment in timeTitanic was the biggest thing on the planet. No English movie has ever been as big in Pakistan (My 80 yr old grandfather heard the hype and wanted to see it), and I don't think the phenomenon was any smaller elsewhere. Little wonder - the movie was about the biggest man-made vessel of its time, the grandeur and hubris of the late colonial period brought low by implacable Nature. Throw in a pair of star-crossed lovers, craft every scene to wrench at the heart-strings, then dial everything up to eleven. There is no room for smallness.

Titanic is back on the big screen today, in full 3D glory. I am fifteen years older than I was when I last watched it. The wild impetuous love between Jack and Rose no longer makes sense to me (though I give the actors credit, Winslet and DiCaprio worked miracles to make them credible). The class dynamics appear simplistic. The idiot villain makes me face-palm. But the movie still cast a deeper spell on me today than anything I've watched in recent memory. Even as the ship barreled to its doom, even with every kind of foreknowledge, I was on the edge of my seat hoping Please, God, let them miss the iceberg this time and the collision shook me along with everyone else.

Titanic is overblown and sentimental and as much as mark of its maker's hubris as the original ship, but boy is it good at what it sets out to do. It doesn't even try for subtle. It just clubs you over the head until the catharsis spills out like cerebral fluid. It appeals to your inner 15-year-old. And that's how it can draw you back into the theater a decade and a half later when you have disposable income and an overpowering nostalgia for a simpler pre-9-11 world. There's a reason why no one in the theater was younger than 23, and why people came out singing "My Heart Will Go On", softly but unapologetically.

No one would have remembered the movie if it were a quiet intimate period piece like, say, The English Patient.

No one would remember a ship that didn't sink.
bobthemole: (Default)
"I am Looking Forward to Lent" by By Kinsolving, Hancock and Franzen
bobthemole: (Default)
Gave up fanfic for Lent. Lasted two days.
bobthemole: (Default)
I rarely see a TV show that I feel I have to run out and tell people about immediately, but Touch is one. Just saw the pilot - it's awesome as a stand-alone and it lays an intriguing foundation for the rest of the series.

If you don't have time for a new TV series on your plate, just watch the pilot for the story of an unremarkable cell phone that travels around the world and changes peoples' lives.
bobthemole: (Default)
The Groundhoggus officialis has seen its shadow. Since winter hasn't actually arrived in Texas yet, does this mean 6 more weeks of autumn?

Recs post!

Jan. 4th, 2012 12:25 am
bobthemole: (Default)
Yuletide came and went. I finished the last corrections to my story about 5 hours before the deadline and then gasped for breath. It is unquestionably the longest fic I have ever written even if it's still well under 10,000 words, but I'm happy with it. And very relieved that the recipient seems to like it too.

The Heirs of English Magic is my sequel to Susanna Clarke's Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell, in which I tie up various loose ends from the novel and give the female characters a well-deserved chance to kick ass. For all my complaints during the writing process, this has been one of my most enjoyable writing experiences. It took me a few days to get comfortable with the 19th century-ish prose style but once it clicked, I had a ball! Research was a ton of fun - canon-compliance takes on a whole new level when "canon" is actual history, and some of my favorite bits were the result of trying to force the story to fit real events and places.

I've already posted about the gifts I received, but I'll mention them again. Both were based on the character Quorra from Tron:Legacy. #include "light.h" by cmshaw and Sunrise by that_runneth.

In the Supernatural fandom, The Chuck Writes Story is a fanfic about Fanfic, and hilarious and familiar and ambitious and utterly poignant. It's a satire of fandom wank and a philosophical meditation on the intersection of Fiction and Reality. And it seems to suggest that, by writing about questionably-fictional and unquestionably attractive men having hot sex, perhaps we are doing God's Work. Read this if you read nothing else.

Deep Breaths by trollprincess. What Supernatural canon would have been if the women lived and the men died. Mary Campbell/Ellen Harvelle.

I seem to like stories about Chuck Shurley. Here's another: The Winchester Revision is a University AU framed within the greater SPN verse. Just because Dean and Sam weren't the victims of an apocalyptic conspiracy doesn't mean their lives were perfect. And Castiel, in all his forms, will ask questions.

That's it for now. I haven't been keeping track of my Yuletide reads but I'll collect and post them at some point.

Happy reading!
bobthemole: (Default)
It will come as a surprise to no one that I can be somewhat weird. I watch Summer Blockbusters like the rest of society but when while everyone else is ooh-ing and gasping at the crisply rendered explosion that smothers the screen after a T-rex chomps on a Transformer, I'm distracted by the fate of the minor female character who is neglected by the script after she does her duty lending Emotional Depth to the male protagonist. It's become a trend.

Tron: Legacy would have been another forgettable explode-a-thon if not for the last few minutes of the movie. Quorra, a piece of self-aware software who had lived her entire life in a virtual reality world, was incarnated into the "Real World" by a piece of technology that broke my brain*.

I immediately had two questions: (1) Does her body work normally? and (2) Did Sam have to explain menstruation to her?

My prompt for Yuletide was: Quorra spent her entire existence as an "isomorphic algorithm", mentored by, well, a guy. When she finally transfers into the real world, the computer fabricates for her what appears to be a fully-functioning human body. A female body. In a film world that magnificently fails the Bechdel test, how does she come to terms with the messy practicalities of being a newly-made human? Do the richness of colors and scents make up for the drawbacks of being stuck in this strange new world? How does she construct a background for herself, and who are her allies?

Maybe I'm not the only person who was captivated by Quorra's story, because I received not one but TWO Yuletide stories about her.What I find amazing is how the same prompt inspired two brilliant but very different stories**.

One, Sunrise, is a long, deliciously plotty account of how Quorra adapted to the "User World". The rich, sensual details contrast the beauty and ugliness that the world offers to someone unprepared for it. Quorra survives a crippling isolation and then returns to the Grid with a new appreciation for it.

The other, #include "light.h", is more brief but no less intense. It's a missing scene from the movie - the minutes between Quorra's and Sam's emergence from the virtual world and their ride on Sam's motorbike. The witty banter between the two characters had me grinning like a maniac. There's also a lovely bit of world-building as Quorra tells Sam about religious belief in her world.

Thank you, wonderful writers, for making my Yuletide gay. Everyone else, please read their excellent stories!

* I'm a biomedical engineer. I design microscopic structures on a computer and use lasers to fabricate them out of goop. In 4 years, I've barely made more than little rectangles a thousandth of the size of a grain of rice. Seeing fully-functioning people pop out of thin air...hurt in ways that I can't express.

**To the credit of both authors, they kept FAR away from my wacky preoccupation with guys-dealing-with-periods.


Dec. 23rd, 2011 11:00 am
bobthemole: (Yuletide Penguins)
Things are looking good.

I finished my Yuletide fic with a couple of hours to spare yesterday. It is by far the longest story I have written and I am quite pleased with it. Now I can calmly look forward to the story that Yule Goat will deliver unto me on the 25th. Writer, I love you already. Incidentally, I will be in the thick of a family gathering on the 25th and may not get internet access immediately so if I am slow to respond after the reveal, please pardon me. I'll certainly get a chance to read it by the evening of the 26th.

My mommy is visiting for winter break. Yesterday, while I was at work, she went out adventuring and toured the entire city by bus - something I have never gotten around to doing. Then we walked around to see the neighborhood light with mugs of hot tea. Our neighborhood goes all out in its Christmas decor and adds a peculiarly Austin touch. This year we were graced by the presence of animatronic alligators and flamingos in addition to the usual standbys: Disco Baby Jesus and the Sock Monkey Nativity.

Have I mentioned I finished my Yuletide fic? I can't believe it's over. It was also the most fun writing experience I've had in years. I want to hug the person who prompted me.
bobthemole: (Default)
Available here. I ran it on my fic journal.

crisp for reasons based entirely on hearsay. The worst of the burrito? Would I still be me if I should sign in pig’s blood. “ Buffy dissolved into peals of giggles. Spike decided to not call attention to the flames and continued. "Lanai was enraged and sent him out anyway. “All those months I lived by your word and knew I was convinced that I had the answers for him, right here.

Would I still be me if I should sign in pig’s blood?
bobthemole: (Default)
I cut my hair, I cut my hair! Shorter than shoulder-length!

It was getting badly tangled and damaged, so as much as I liked having lush rolling curls tumbling midway down my back, I was more into not shedding everywhere. And not spending an hour detangling dreadlocks in the shower. And not having a sore scalp from the weight of it.

I don't miss a single inch.

I watched Tangled in celebration. Did have a twinge of regret when I realized I never got around to wearing a Mother Gothel costume. But by the time I can afford to buy/make one, my hair will be long enough for the role again. Don't hate me 'cuz I'm a conniving bitch.
bobthemole: (Yuletide Penguins)
Firstly, thank you so much for signing up for Yuletide this year and for being my writer.

I apologize that my letter is yet unfinished. I will be traveling all day Tuesday and may not have the letter completed until Wednesday. I'll try to add bits to this letter whenever I get the chance over the next two days. Thanks for your patience!

Secondly, thank you for being patient as I completed this letter. The Yule-Letter writing process makes me fret a bit because I get enthused about sharing ideas with someone else who cares about my tiny neglected fandoms, but I don't want you to feel hedged in by my suggestions. What I truly want to read is a story that you enjoyed writing and felt fulfilled by. If that means going in a direction completely different from the ideas below, wonderful! I enjoy being surprised.

I guess it's traditional to mention loves and squicks. I have a fondness of gen-fic, but I don't mind a good romance. I am equally happy with plot-driven or character-driven stories. I like unexpected alliances. I usually dislike revenge. I avoid scenarios with dubious or no consent given to sex. I like bitter and cynical, or happy and hopeful, or anything in between. I even like gratuitously Christmassy.

Above all, I will like what you write. Thank you.


Five Find-Outers
    Bets Hilton
    Frederick Trotteville

I grew up on a near exclusive diet of Enid Blyton books, and the Five Find-Outers series was by far my favorite. I loved the humor, the disguises, the CLUES, the chemistry between Bets and Fatty (fully acknowledging that both of them had barely hit puberty), the clotted cream and warm scones and lemonade bottles and hard-boiled eggs and tongue sandwiches and picnics by the river that would make any post-War child's mouth water.

Even now, when I see all the problematic class-ism and racism in the series, I'm nostalgic for the good bits: lazy summer warmth, Fatty's bottomless pockets, and the thrill of a mystery that needs to be solved.

I'm so excited about seeing the Five Find-Outers on Yuletide this year that I'd be thrilled to read practically anything. A whodunit in the style of the books? A slice of life piece when everyone reunites for the holidays? A bitter-sweet story of their last case together? Fatty and Bets grow up to become MI-5 agents? Why not!

(My one big request is to avoid underaged sex between any of the characters. Thanks!)

Mary Poppins

I'm open to ANY exploration of the world of Mary Poppins. Feel free to write about established characters or create your own. I'll talk a bit about the aspects of the film that get me excited, but please don't feel restricted by them.

Every time I watch Mary Poppins, I get hints of a deeper world, hinted in song, just off-screen...

Winds in the east, mist coming in,
Like somethin' is brewin' and bout to begin.
Can't put me finger on what lies in store,
But I fear what's to happen all happened before.

And later...

Up where the smoke is all billowed and curled
'Tween pavement and stars
Is the chimney sweep world
When there's hardly no day
Nor hardly no night
There's things half in shadow
And halfway in light
On the rooftops of London
Coo, what a sight.

There's a whole world out there that Mundane London doesn't see. A world where chimney-sweeps are the kings of liminal spaces, where powerful witches choose to work as nannies; a world whose denizens live beside ordinary people and spread a subtle kind of magic where ever they go. I wonder: What else is going on in this world? What is the source of their magic? Why are so many of them in service positions? Where does Mary Poppins live between jobs?

I am open to any kind of story in this world, character-driven or world-driven.


Grimm is just yummy. I like the characters, especially the ideosyncratic supporting roles: There's Eddie Monroe who is torn between his stay-out-of-trouble pilates-and-zen lifestyle, and the excitement of solving cases with his (technically) greatest foe. There's also Aunt Marie, who was a BAMF on her deathbed and somehow managed to hide her evil-slaying side career from the nephew she raised.

Quirky characters aside, I'm fascinated by the world that's been constructed around the kernel of germanic folk-tales. What other species are out there that we haven't seen? How would another fairy-tale be incorporated into the mythos? Is the Grimm authorized to hunt non-Germanic beasts?

Feel free to go wild - I'll happily read a story about any of the established characters or something original.

Tron: Legacy

I feel a bit nervous about making this request because my interest mainly lies in one supporting character. If my prompt isn't of interest to you, please feel free to toss it and write something that YOU enjoy, because your passion for your favorite characters and preferred scenarios will make the story come alive and I WILL love what you write.

But if you are interested, my question is this: Quorra spent her entire existence as an "isomorphic algorithm", mentored by, well, a guy. When she finally transfers into the real world, the computer fabricates for her what appears to be a fully-functioning human body. A female body. In a film world that magnificently fails the Bechdel test, how does she come to terms with the messy practicalities of being a newly-made human? Do the richness of colors and scents make up for the drawbacks of being stuck in this strange new world? How does she construct a background for herself, and who are her allies?

bobthemole: (Default)
I tend to dislike amnesia-fic, especially if they are about reuniting a memory-less person with the other member of their OTP.

Characters are the products of their histories and if you take away the memories of those histories, how are they the same people? Unless the fic is an exploration of how much personality remains intact if you take away memory, but fics (outside the Dollhouse-verse) seldom explore that.

There's also the dynamic when one person in a pairing is an amnesiac and the other knows everything about them. If they two are teaming up to reconstruct the amnesiac's life, I think that's an interesting story because the memory loss is the primary "antagonist" and everyone's agreed on that.

But what I don't get is stories where A thinks B is dead and months later discovers a memory-less (and newly human) B working in a bar somewhere. The story then becomes about A convincing B that they belong together, although B would rather keep hir current simple bartending life and not be pursued by this creepy stranger, thank you. Inevitably, A devolves into a stalker who can't stay away from this stranger who bears a resemblance to hir lost (unrequited) love. And B is unusually content with hir memory-less life and has no curiosity about hir past. A eventually wears down B and they establish a new relationship. Sometimes B regains hir memories, precipitating another crisis, but conflicts are resolved and they embark on a happy paired life of whatever shenanigans (vampire slaying? demon hunting?) they were up to before they were separated.

I'm not entirely sure what's going on at a meta level, but it seems that the reestablishment of the pairing is prioritized over the will and happiness of the individual characters. And it's like amnesia is a shortcut for getting characters together without dealing with their mutual baggage - which I think is completely pointless and undermines everything that makes the pair interesting in the first place. What surprises me is the popularity of this trope - I'm sure I've read half a dozen spuffy fics with this plot, and now I'm finding them in Supernatural too.

There's probably a good reason Amnesia fic is so popular, and if I knew what it was I'd be able to appreciate it better. Does anyone have thoughts? Have you written or do you love reading this genre? What am I missing in my analysis?
bobthemole: (Default)
Here are my nominations for Yuletide:

Dresden Files - Jim Butcher :

Karrin Murphy
The Leanansidhe
The Archive (Ivy)
Rashid the Gatekeeper

It's a motley bunch of (mostly) supporting characters and I don't recall them interacting much in the series. But The Dresden Files is an incredibly layered series with a bunch of complex worlds and I couldn't decide which to focus on. So I picked an interesting character from each from mundane Chicago, the Unseelie Court, and the White Council, plus one creepy little orphan girl who knows everything (including the contents of every parenting book ever written). I could have fun writing any or all of these.

Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell - Susanna Clarke :

Arabella Strange
John Childermass
Lady Pole
John Segundus

Most of the flash-bang in the Strange/Norrell series comes from the volatile Practical Magicians in the title. But I was drawn more to the sedate sensible people* who ended up as collateral damage to the protagonists' shenanigans. I can see them pooling their resources after the conclusion to the novel, and lobbying for responsible teaching and practice of magic.
* Perhaps "sedate" and "sensible" aren't the words to describe Childermass, but he's the most pragmatic character in the book and knows how to play his cards.

The Lost Room :

Suzie Kang
The Sood
Lee Bridgewater

This SyFy mini-series was Character-actor-Central when it aired, and it had exquisite world-building. I was fascinated by the underground economy that sprang up around the pursuit and acquisition of Objects, and the subtle (and not so subtle) ways the Objects drew out the worst in their owners. I picked two characters (Kang and The Sood) who trade in knowledge about the Objects, but avoid personal contact with them. Wally owns one Object with a ludicious power that he hoards like his Precious. Bridgewater's a cop who was trying to help the Token Mundane in the series. I want to know what she does with her new-found knowledge of the Objects after the series conclusion.
bobthemole: (Default)
The man--possibly Castiel--looked down. "I, too, was not entirely truthful. Or I was, but no one would believe me. I am an Angel of the Lord. Dean and Sam Winchester are real. The apocalypse is coming."

There had been a long pause.

"The apocalypse is coming and you're writing porn?" asked Sweets.

So Lance Sweets is "observing" Booth and Bones so he can write Kathy Reichs fanfic. Castiel is writing wincest for the Supernatural book series. Everyone goes bowling on an awkward triple date.

The whole series is worth reading...


Oct. 30th, 2011 07:57 am
bobthemole: (Default)
Never gets old.

CW-actors RPF AU / Harry Potter Marauders-era crossover

"I think you need to tell me what happened here, Mr. Ackles," says Professor Fry.

Jensen has been in Professor Fry's office a lot before, for all sorts of reasons. He's never thought you should expel me before.

"I told A--Jessica Alba. About the Whomping Willow."

bobthemole: (Default)
If I made Cinderella, the audience would immediately
be looking for a body in the coach. —Alfred Hitchcock

When I write a story, what do readers immediately look for?

If you told me you expect troubled characters to have epiphanies in bathrooms, I wouldn't be surprised. After all, I have an actual series by that name.
bobthemole: (Default)
Everyone watch TERRA NOVA you guys!

Fifteen minutes into the pilot I was crying for the leads!


bobthemole: (Default)

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