gwyn: (bumble _hellsbelles)
So I didn't realize I forgot to add a cut tag to my end of the year fic wrapup. Whoops! Sorry about that. It has been fixed. (Though I suppose with everything being a desert these days, long posts aren't as terrible as they once were, I know I barely notice them anymore.)

[personal profile] st_aurafina is doing a friending meme, which, since so many people are migrating here from LJ in the past few days, is a great way to start off the year, I think. I know there are plenty of people I'm still trying to find here.

And I will probably be doing the Snowflake Challenge, but starting a little late, hopefully tonight if I can get a few chapters of my book edit completed.
gwyn: (walken wonderland)
I didn't write nearly as many stories this year as I have in previous years, but that was made up for by the fact that most of them were long honking huge things of more than 30,000 words, and one was a WIP that I posted over a couple months, so. I'm definitely at a lower word count than I had been in 2015 (though apparently more than in 2014!), but counting the two things I wrote in December, it brought it up to a respectable number, considering that I've felt mostly like a worthless failure that no one wants to read. I wish I'd done more of the comment fic prompts people gave me back after Civil War, to get out of that malaise, but who knows, maybe that's something I'll go back to this year.

I'm not gonna go month by month since some months I didn't have anything, these are just the stories what I wrote:

How Do You Fondue? The little Valentine's Day fic
I Meant What I Said When I Said Until My Dying Day One of the interludes I was writing based around the Civil War trailers and my guesswork
Don't Wait Up for Me The WIP, where Bucky and Sam go to the place Bucky fell for some closure
All we've got (is what no one can break) The last of the interludes based on the trailers
Dedication A little tumblr fic I wrote for Memorial Day
Clean Skin A comment fic about Bucky in Bucharest (I feel like that should be the title of an adventure comedy, don't you?)
The Bucket Another comment fic for Civil War, about Three Caps in a Bug
Stealing Home The final story in the baseball series
Still Let Me Sleep My Stucky Big Bang entry, a dreamsharing epic
Sway With Me The coda to Still Let Me sleep
These Long and Better Days To Come A shrinkyclinks, nonlinear narrative fic I abandoned back last January 1st and finally finished in November
War Dogs A little Christmas fluff, Bucky and Steve and dogs

Thinky thoughts part of the meme )

my final word count wasn't too terrible, all things considered:

gwyn: (yuletide lights)
From [personal profile] sineala, You've been in fandom a while. Is there something you miss from the olden days of fandom that no one does anymore? Or is there something that fandom does or has now that you wish you'd had way back when?

Man, yeah, there's a lot about fandom of yore I miss, and I think a lot of it was that sense of we were in a small group of people who weren't known much, and so we were all in this together. Now it's this thing that's talked about endlessly in the media, there are people who have academic careers built on it studying us like we're lab monkeys, everything's out there and in public. Which--it's great because you don't have to be mentored into things anymore, you can start doing fandom sort of right out of the box and if you're a person in a hostile space or live somewhere remote, you can still have fannish connections with people, you don't have to have enough money to get to a con in order to make connections or find an ad in a magazine and write away for zines.

But the flipside is that we have these shitty-ass communities that mock and sneer at and attack fic writers and vidders and artists, we have people who steal fannish content and appropriate it, we have anon hate and all that kind of crap. We have corporations making money off of fans and thriving on our energies. I was talking with someone recently about how now that Yuletide is so huge, we have a lot of people who create sock puppets just to get gift fics and don't do anything in return, there are tons of people who participate who really only do it for themselves or to try to become popular in as many places as they can. We have these awful sites like Yuletide Coal, because sure, why not shit on the people who are providing this entertainment for free out of their own time as gifts for other people.

There's no way to put the genie back in the bottle, and I love that people who might not have been able to find fandom can now, but god, I miss that sense of community, I miss the world where the levels of wank and shittery were much lower, and there wasn't so much anonymized hatred out there for the cowards and mean girls. I was actually feeling like, the other day, I almost kind of missed the days of personal web sites for fic and web rings! Simply because it wasn't about this relentless popularity contest, and you didn't see fans getting attacked in their own story comments sections.

Certainly there were assholes back in the day, god knows there were plenty of them, but I honestly can't remember anyone ever saying "you should just kill yourself" because someone's story didn't provide them the proper level of free entertainment and apparently backbuttoning was too difficult for them. Certainly there were people who mocked or laughed at someone's fanfic or their fannish personality, but I can't remember the vitriol I've seen heaped on people or felt myself just because someone doesn't like your fanworks.

There's so much more to choose from, obviously, so much more fic and vids and art, and you don't have to pony up $20 for a zine all the time or go to cons so you can bid on original art. And that is cool, it really is. But I miss the...smallness of it, I guess, the community that felt a little stronger, a little more loving, and less fractured.

And to end on a more positive note, one thing I would have killed for back then, though? Digital media. There are times I hate like hell what's going on with the vidding landscape as programs disappear and codecs stop updating and media conglomerates make it harder to distribute vids, but holy hell is it so much easier to work, once you can get things finessed. I think about a vid like Hallo Spaceboy, with so many different types of source and being able to completely change the look of clips and "age" them and all that stuff...and I boggle. Of course the tech had to evolve, that's how it goes, but back then, oh the things we might have been able to do!
gwyn: (yuletide lights)
Sorry, yesterday was a really, really bad day, and that was without the death of Carrie Fisher, so I missed the 27th posting date. Between it being my dad's birthday (I'm just realizing more and more each year that I'm completely alone now and have no family left), and there's been some really negative weirdness (I know it's not just me, even other people have said dude that's terrible) around my Yuletide fic, and then Carrie, who was…well, I've been with her since opening night of Star Wars in May 1977. So. Yeah.

Anyway, getting back to things:
For the 27th, [personal profile] kirbyfest asked If there was a cancelled TV show you could bring back, which would you pick? With the same cast (this is a fantasy, so pretend this is totally possible even if someone has passed away), or rebooted with a new cast?

Yes, hands down, Now and Again. It was a brilliant, witty, clever, unique show with some of the most amazing performances (Dennis Haysbert's Dr. Theo Morris at the top of them) and musical selections and spot-on New York guest stars, and thanks to a pissing contest between CBS (the network) and Paramount (the production company), CBS cancelled it after one of the cliff-hangeriest endings I've ever seen. I would resolve that cliffhanger stat, of course, and pick up right where we left off, so I'd also need a time machine because 16 years have passed. :-D It had mild sci-fi, action, romance up the wazoo, and just…tonally, cinematographically, acting-wise, there was nothing like it. Over the years I've seen it cut up (the original opening sequence was over 20 minutes long), chunks cut out that were crucial to the story, and there's apparently a DVD version with none of the amazing music they used (I don't even know if they allowed Dr. Morris to, when his human creation awakens for the first time, sing "Close to You"). It's just a travesty how badly this incredible show was treated, but if I could bring it back, I would treat it like my most precious baby.

December 28: [personal profile] anoel What are some of your favorite childhood books?

The weird thing about being this old--and having moved so much in my early life--is that I can't remember the names of the books anymore! When we were really little my sister and I were in the Weekly Readers Book Club, and we got monthly shipments of about ten books, five for sis_r and five for me. I remember one time getting so excited about our books being there, and Mom was on the phone, and us running around and around her while she tried to talk on the phone, getting wrapped up in the long phone cord, and my mom just losing her shit. After she hung up she told us we couldn't open the book box till later as punishment, so my sister picked up the phone (this was one of those heavy old '60s phones) and bopped me in the eye with the handset, pow, two black eyes and when we were finally allowed to look at our books, I couldn't read them. One of the books in the shipment was one of my favorites--all I remember is that it had a girl witch, and it was bright and colorful, but that's all I remember (I can't believe this: I found it! It's called The Witch of Hissing Hill and here's an Etsy seller with a copy. I don't think this has survived into the modern era, and one Etsy seller was even advocating tearing it up for scrapbooking needs, arg). I think another one that I loved dearly was in that shipment, or it could have been another time: Ping, the story about a little duck on the Yangtze River.

I wore out two copies of The Velveteen Rabbit--I read it so many times and I carried it everywhere I went, so both copies disintegrated in rainy Seattle, as you can imagine. I don't remember a lot of kid's books, because I was reading at such a high level that they let me go into the older kids' libraries and I wanted to scope out more "grown-up" books, so a great deal of what is really crucial to people I know from their experience reading it as a kid is lost on me, the little showoff, bad form Past Me you missed out on some cultural touchstones. I do remember that I'd loved Where the Wild Things Are and that I discovered what might be my actual favorite forever book in a section away from Maurice Sendak's other books because it was so "grim": Higglety Pigglety Pop: or, There Must Be More To Life. I…that book. It is just so creepy and weird and I loved it and I thought Jenny and I could have been the best of friends.

Later, in my pre-teens, I discovered this insanely creepy book about dreams kids have, where this photographer tried to re-create different children's dreams and most of them were these bizarre nightmarescapes. I checked that book out so many times from the local library that the librarian started making sarcastic notes on the checkout card. But once it was gone from that library, I was never able to find it again, and a few years ago I asked for help on MetaFilter and lo and behold, someone actually knew right away what the book was: The Dream Collector by Arthur Tress. One of these days I might still try to buy a copy of that, though some of them still make me shudder even as an adult.

Others I remember liking were the Danny Dunn series, and I think I loved reading Nancy Drew even though it frustrated the shit out of me with all the girly nonsense and the sexism back in the day. I read all the Hardy Boys, too--I often gravitated to books that were way, way too adult for me (Valley of the Dolls, anyone?) or they didn't like me reading because they were for boys, but I was interested in adventures and being free to do whatever you wanted, and there weren't a lot of titles back then for a kid like me.
gwyn: (walken wonderland)
For today: from [personal profile] grammarwoman, What book(s) have you re-read the most? & Of the shows you're watching now, list a few OTPs and NOTPs. Or if TPs aren't your thing, plots you're hoping for and against.

That's a tough one! Mostly because I'm not much of a re-reader. Sometimes I'll re-read portions of something, but I rarely will revisit an entire book (or at least, adult novel length pieces, I've been known to re-read comics or children's books many times). I'd say the contemporary novel I've read the most times is Michael Ondaatje's The English Patient. I fucking love that book above all his others, poetry or fiction, just because it's the most amazing blend of the two, and he weaves in World War 2 history (which is catnip to me) and different types of love stories and there's espionage and desert exploration and it just…ugh. It's so beautifully written and there's this thing he does at the end, where in one sentence he writes Kip in the past and in the future and I have never seen anything like that anywhere else.

Of the older novels I've re-read the most, I'd have to say The Three Musketeers & The Count of Monte Cristo, because I was always a big Dumas fan, and Persuasion, which I honestly think is Austen's best work and one of the best books ever written, period. Comics, I think I've re-read the Winter Soldier Captain America series so many times now it's sort of ridiculous, but I loved it before it was a movie, and I loved it more after it was a movie.

As for shows I'm watching…I'm not really into much lately where there's any shipping going on for me. A lot of the things I enjoy watching don't have any pairings I worry about, or the show is doing just fine with the characters as it is so I don't feel any pull toward pairings (like, I'm a bit disappointed that Jessica Jones and Luke Cage are apart, but then they gave me Misty Knight, so…). Plus, I'm not watching that much TV, at least not with any interest. Many of the shows I watch are just…there. I'd say the closest I can come to answering that would be Pitch--I get why people ship Ginny and Mike, and I salute them. I wouldn't exactly be disappointed if they did go there. But for me, the joy is in their friendship and mentor relationship, and I'd hate to see Ginny end up throwing her career away because of being involved with him, and you know she would be: she'd be pilloried for sleeping with the team captain, that would be all anyone would believe got her to the top and the first woman pitcher in MLB, and so I don't know that, as long as Mike's on the Padres still, I want to see that happen. Plus I just love their friendship dynamic; my two closest friends are men, and I just never get to see myself reflected in entertainment that way, it ALWAYS devolves into melodramatic romance, always. I mean, they were even going there in Sleepy Hollow before that imploded.

I would have loved to see where they went with Agent Carter, and of course find out who the hell her husband was. I feel like they sent us off believing it was Daniel, though of course he looks nothing like the photo she has on her nightstand in Captain America: the Winter Soldier. But the initial service history didn't match up (though someone said they retconed it?). Honestly, once they brought her in, Ana, and Jarvis were my OTP there. :-D I hated where they took some of that storyline (god, really, infertility once again? ptui!) but that doesn't mean I loved Ana and Jarvis any less.
gwyn: (walken wonderland)
Squeaking in under the wire with a question from [personal profile] kass : If I could come and visit you where you live, where would you take me / what would we do?

Oh man--well, we'd have to do the obligatory tourist things like the Pike Place Market, because everyone wants to see that, and drive down to Mt. Rainier, and take a ferry across the sound. As much of a tourist destination as the Market is, it's really fascinating and is a huge part of Seattle's history, features some amazing views of Puget Sound, and has all these interesting little side places to look at, besides the usual things that people think of: the fish throwing market stalls, the cafes that have had movies filmed in them, all that stuff that people think about because they've seen Sleepless in Seattle or something. Many people go to Pioneer Square, the "old town" area, and love to do the Underground tour--a lot of Seattle was destroyed in the 1800s so they built on top of it, and the tour takes you through the areas that remain underneath Pioneer Square still. I've never been on the tour, weirdly, even though I've lived here most of my life. Everyone wants to ride to the top of the Space Needle, as well. But I feel like the mountains and the water are sort of necessary in some ways, because that's also what's informed this city's character--we're surrounded by water and many large and small lakes, bordered by mountains on the peninsula and in the middle of the state.

But I'd also want to take you to my neighborhood, West Seattle, because it's kind of eccentric in some ways, and it has the only real sandy beach in the area and it's really beautiful to walk along. It would be fun to take you to Fremont, where I used to live, because that's the funkiest part of town and has the famous statue of Lenin and the Troll (a cement troll that lives under the Aurora Bridge and has a VW Beetle clutched in his hand; it used to be a real Beetle till they had to cover it with cement too because people kept stealing parts off it) and beautiful art on the bridge. Capitol Hill is a pain in some ways, but it's also fun and has the most restaurants, I think, outside of downtown and there's always a good place to eat. Hopping on a ferry from many different points could take us to tons of different places like the Olympic Peninsula, some of the islands like Vashon or Bainbridge of best of all, Whidbey, or fun little places like Poulsbo or Gig Harbor.

We are very much a film city, though in some ways it's declined a bit in recent years, but it would be fun to take you to Scarecrow Video, and the film festival if you came to visit in later spring. We are also a reading city, and there are still some independent bookstores around, so going to those would be swell as I don't have a lot of opportunity these days. A lot of people want to visit the Rem Koolhaus designed downtown library, too--it's not my favorite place, I think the design is terrible, but many people love it a lot, so it's at least worth a visit. And frankly, I just love hangingin around downtown and don't get to much anymore, and so I'd love to take you to some fun restaurants, shops, and museums or cultural places.

ETA. I would also have to take you up to Vancouver to see all the film locations of shows you like, and then down to Portland for other show's locations, like the Librarians!
gwyn: (steve and bucky)
For [personal profile] kore : where do you see Steve and Bucky ending up eventually? Or if that's too vague, what would be your idea of a Steve and Bucky HEA?

Man, I have no idea where they could end up, because in comics, there'll never really be an "end" since they always cycle back to keeping the characters in play, and in the MCU, it's dependent upon contracts, and Sebastian Stan has essentially six more movies on his but Chris Evans only has the one. And while he's been open about re-upping if they can come to terms, I feel like they don't really give a shit about him, that the only one they care about is Downey/Stark or fucking Spider-Man, so I don't know what would happen. If they made a stand-alone Winter Soldier movie, I don't know if they'd go the route of dead Steve and Bucky!Cap. I'd love it if they did Bucky!Cap if they did Commander Rogers, but...I just don't understand the choices the MCU people make anymore. It's really hard to get a sense of where they're going--but I also would love Nomad, so.

But if it were up to me, their happily ever after takes a lot of different forms: I'm just as happy to see them giving up the fight and living some quiet, small life together as I am Steve continuing to be Cap but Bucky giving up doing that and just being a house husband. Or Steve taking on some other kind of role, like Commander Rogers, to make a difference, or even if that just meant being a volunteer for something rather than as Captain America. And I also can see a case made for both of them as Avengers or Avengers adjacent, fighting because they were created to be supersoldiers and they feel it's the right thing to do.

Mostly I would want their HEA to be the two of them having fun in the 21st century. I'm not sure what could be repaired after the changes to canon in Civil War, but I'd love if they could have that created by choice family, and enjoying that, and each other, for a really long time--whatever they choose to do.
gwyn: (bumble _hellsbelles)
Today's question from [personal profile] sholio : If you had been in fandom when you were a kid, what shows would you have been fanning on, and what kinds of things would you have looked up for them?

I used to actually write stories, sometimes on paper, sometimes just in my head, for my favorite shows and movies when I was little. The first thing like this I know of I wrote when I was five--a little Hound of the Baskervilles remix, I suppose you could call it, of the Mickey Mouse and Goofy version. We found it when we were going through my mom's things after she died, and I laughed my ass off because…wow, even though I didn't know about this kind of fandom till I was in my twenties, apparently I was a little fanfic writing fangirl as a child.

I also still have the record albums my sister and I wrote all over with ballpoint pen--the first two Monkees albums; we put hearts and stars and shit all around the names of the guys we liked best (she was a Davey Jones girl, I went for Mike and Mickey). I was fucking obsessed with that series, and their music, I really was. I still love it, unironically, unashamedly. If we'd had internet then, I would absolutely have been following them on social media, and buying all the weird merch, and going to shows, and whatever else was out there. As it was all we had was Tiger Beat and 16 magazines, so I had to get my fixes there.

I also would have been writing fanfic and vidding, I'm sure, for this incredibly obscure western called Laredo. No one knows about it, but for some reason my sister and I were obsessed with it, which was difficult because my mother pretty much banned westerns from our television--my sister and I wanted to watch Bonanza and the Rifleman and stuff like that, but my mom had this deepseated antipathy toward any show where anyone used the words "ma" or "pa" and so it was rare for us to be able to watch those things. There was very little written about it, and I think we found it after it had gone off the air and was being shown in reruns on a Saturday afternoon or something--that was the one time Mom wasn't dictating what we could watch, so I think that was how we found it.

It was a strange show, in that it was tonally different from anything else you'd find on TV then--not quite a dramedy, but definitely a comedic hour-long series. The two main characters were complete hotasses, and even my young self was wide-eyed at William Smith's pecs and biceps and traps, and he wore pants that rivaled Jim West's in tightness, BUCKSKIN pants that were deliciously tight, and he had that Chris Evans Dorito shoulder to waist ration. So much of the series makes me cringe now, the racism and the sexism and all of that '60s era shit, but man, little me loved it, and I'd have been all over fan sites if I could have.

There were a lot of things I was actively fannish about without even knowing that a thing like fandom existed--my walls were littered with the pullout posters from Tiger Beat (sigh, David Cassidy), I'd write in for giant posters of actors like Paul Newman, and I collected clippings in scrapbooks and stuff. I was a budding film buff as young as ten, so I was starting to research movies and collect things about them, and the movie stars, and the musicians I liked. I think that's why I know I'm never going to be able to fully disinvest from fandom--I've been this way my whole damn life, without even knowing that such a life existed.


ETA: Did anyone else get a kudos email today from AO3? Man, I finally have some kudos and I still don't get an email even when I have some! I'm used to going days and days without any kudos, but it would have been a nice thing today except that there's been no sign of one, it's almost midnight, and I can't find anything about it on the twitter feed so I assume everything's fine.
gwyn: (walken wonderland)
[personal profile] anoel asked: What are some of your favorite vids and why? Are there any patterns in what makes you love a vid?

Unfortunately a lot of the vids I love most aren't available online or streaming because they come from the old VCR vidding days. A few are, but I have a lot of fondness for many of them because flashy technique has never been what I'm interested in--I'm really into narratives, for the most part, and since we didn't have tech to use, the focus was always squarely on story. A lot of what people go crazy for these days leaves me cold because there's no feeling that I get from it, it's all about style over substance (or it's a lot of spoken dialog and score music layered over vid music and that drives me batshit, because it's never equalized).

One of the first vids I ever saw was Deejay's Too Long a Soldier for The Professionals and it still is a huge fave, because it's such a great narrative about who Bodie is and how operating in that world of violence makes him act. Plus it introduced me not just to vids but to outside (the show's) source in a vid. I also still really love Jo's Ebben? Ne Andro Lontana vid for Band of Brothers, and not just because I suggested the song and it was the impetus for our first vid collection--but because it painted a picture of Band of Brothers in a really haunting way. It was almost like a literal painting, just in moving pictures. And Full of Grace, Morgan Dawn and Justine's Due South vid, might be my favorite vid of all time or at least in my top two, because it's one of the most gorgeous, tragic, affecting portraits of a character I've ever seen. (There's a link to it here!

Motorcycle Drive-By from Lynn (at JKL, I think, on is a huge favorite for a similar reason--it's just such a perfect marriage of song and subject and describes Spike and his hopeless love for Buffy in the most deliciously sad way. I think I wore out two tape copies of it back in the day, I watched it so often. Oh! And of course, I adore Dante's Prayer because it's incredible, but there was also a vid that Killa and T. Jonesy made around the same time called Bleed to Love Her that I am the biggest fan of, it's an amazing story of what Kirk is willing to sacrifice for the Enterprise, sob.

Some newer vids that I love include AbsoluteDestiny's vid that he made for me in the Vividcon auction a few years ago, for the movie The Navigator, that he called Death and the Navigator (his vids are here but I believe this one's being blocked, grrrr), and the other day on my tumblr I reblogged a vid from last year's Festivids for The Martian to Under Pressure, because I'd been telling people how much I adored it and how much it affected me. It's just a great fusion of story and song, where it's not simply retelling the movie's story but giving us a deeper look into that story.

Those are all off the top of my head; I'm sure if I went through some con playlists and stuff I'd find a lot more, but my head's in a bunch of different places tonight so I'm not remembering everything, I know.
gwyn: (bucky steve bar)
For [personal profile] ranalore: Is there a Steve/Bucky vid or fic you'd prefer to watch or read that you haven't run across yet?

You know, that's actually a really hard question to answer. I had to think about it quite a bit, because I tend to either make the vids I want to see most or write the stories with the ideas I like best. I mean, this is one of the few fandoms I've been in where there's a lot of good fic that's pretty representative of what I'd like to read, which is rare since I'm so fucking picky, but I still have to write the ideas I like most of all more often than not because no one else is doing them. And I hate that; I'd much, much rather read something than write it myself.

Someone wrote a story for the big bang that's about the Ghost Army in WWII and I look forward to reading that (though I'm always trepidatious about reading historical pre- and war-era fiction in this fandom because so many people get so much of it wrong and that just drives me batshit, especially the war OMG it's horrible). I'd been contemplating a story based around the Ghost Army, and it's nice to know now I don't have to waste my time writing something no one will read. I'd love to have someone do the WWII fic with the bonus appearance of Band of Brothers' Easy Company so that I don't have to spend so much time with my references and plotting and shit, but I know it's not gonna happen. And I've never in my life written a true AU, but I think all the time about how fucking cute a Desk Set AU (minus all the gross period politics) with Steve and Bucky could be--Steve in the head researcher Kate Hepburn role, Bucky in the computer guy efficiency expert Spencer Tracey role, lots of banter and sexual tension. If someone wrote that I'd be so happy.

I wish someone else would make the vid I was talking about the other day! There've actually been a lot of vids to songs I wanted to see or themes/stories, since Winter Soldier even came out, but I haven't liked most of them--they've been wildly popular, but for whatever reason I thought they were not done well and that was really disappointing. I know that these days using the same song as someone else isn't the bad form it used to be in olden tymes, but I just can't see doing those songs or concepts again, so I'm always going to be a bit disappointed by that--it's like the thing I want is so close and yet so far.
gwyn: (food)
[personal profile] musesfool asked: any favorite dessert recipes?

You know, I'm really a sucktastic cook. I built this whole amazing kitchen with these plans to learn to cook better, and...that never happened. I never got any better at it. I wanted to be a baker, but I'm just a freaking disaster at it.

When I did the remodel, though, my dad gave me a KitchenAid stand mixer with an ice cream attachment, and a few years ago I was making ice cream a lot. I wasn't especially good at it, more often than not there was one thing that was off a bit in it, it was never as good as I wanted it to be. One of the favorite recipes I tried was a Persimmon and Black Pepper Syrup Ice Cream--the persimmons were still a bit too astringent in the end, but it was almost good, and the black pepper syrup gave it a really interesting kick. This is a similar recipe to what I used:


1 1/2 teaspoons whole black peppercorns
1 cup water
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon (scant) salt
8 large ripe Hachiya persimmons, halved, seeded
1 cup chilled heavy whipping cream


Heat heavy small skillet over medium heat. Add whole black peppercorns; toast until fragrant and beginning to smoke, stirring often, about 3 minutes. Transfer to small bowl to cool. Coarsely crush peppercorns in mortar with pestle, or place peppercorns in resealable plastic freezer bag, and seal; crush with mallet.

Transfer crushed peppercorns to small saucepan. Add 1 cup water, sugar, and scant 1/4 teaspoon salt. Bring to boil, stirring until sugar dissolves. Boil mixture until reduced to 1 cup, about 4 minutes. Refrigerate until cold. DO AHEAD: Black pepper syrup can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and keep refrigerated.

Scoop persimmon flesh from skins into blender. Puree until smooth. Measure 2 cups puree for making ice cream, reserving any remaining puree for another use. Cover and chill puree until cold, about 2 hours.

Strain black pepper syrup into large bowl. Whisk in 2 cups persimmon puree and cream. Process in ice cream maker according to manufacturer's instructions. Transfer ice cream to container, cover, and freeze. DO AHEAD: Can be made 1 day ahead. Keep frozen.

And I used to, every year, make these anise cookies with my dad from a recipe that came down from my mom's German family. It's...huge and my dad used his math skilz to first halve it and then quarter it and it still made ginormous batches that we gave to everyone until I found out that no one else except [personal profile] mlyn liked them--our cousins hated them, my friends hated them...

They were a pain in the ass to make, it uses molasses and so much flour and I seem to remember shortening, though I haven't made it since Dad died, but I loved the anise flavor with the molasses and the walnuts, and the ancient cookie cutters we had in my family for a million years were awesome too. You had to have lots of room, to cool and ice all the cookies and let them dry before you could stack them in containers. (If anyone wants the recipe I could try to type it up.)
gwyn: (walken wonderland)
Today is: what is something you've always wanted to do in a vid that you haven't done yet? (I'm thinking of form, but if it's musical or fannish, that's okay too) for [personal profile] cesperanza

Oh man, so many things, honestly, but they are all things I need to be far more competent for, and to know how to use AfterEffects and be able to figure out how to use Premiere, which bewilders me, and get it to actually function the way that it supposedly does for apparently everyone else except me.

One of the few things that isn't oriented solely to technology and a specific program is using stills. I have this vid I've been trying to make since 2014 that I can't seem to actually make (partly it's a problem with lack of video, which I'd hoped Civil War would rectify but...not so much), partly it's a problem of finding the narrative, but on occasion I've been trying to re-examine it as a stills-focused vid, or at least stills heavy. I don't know if you remember a Sentinel vid back in the day that was nothing but stills of the series set to a Sarah McLachlan song, but soooorta like that. I mean, not exactly, and not like the original songvid slideshows of the earliest days of fan vids, but doing a sort of collage effect in a way, building a narrative through still shots rather than just using them to illustrate a word or line.

And not to be grandiose because I'm definitely not pretending to be Chris Marker, but I loved that storytelling approach in La Jetee, that lingering effect you get with still images over music or words, that hazy, dreamlike state. Or it might work well to use the stills for choruses and have verses be in the active motion clips, I don't know, because I haven't tried noodling with it yet. (Insert offer for anyone who'd want to team up and work with me on this here.)
gwyn: (teevee jim ward morris)
Today's question from [personal profile] dine: which is your favourite character from an old TV show, and why?

Ha ha ha ha. I mean, I'm so fucking old that I can't remember half the TV shows I loved when I was a kid. I suppose the easiest answer would be Spock, but I honestly don't think that happened until a bit later, when I was thinking in terms of characterization and tropes and all that metatextual stuff that I didn't examine for a long time. And I'm gonna cut off at the mid-'70s for the definition of old here, because I just don't want to include things like The Professionals and other major fandoms the came after I found media fandom as a lifestyle choice.

I think if I had to pick one, and I don't go for the obvious Star Trek choices because that's the show that's come down through history as THE old TV show for everything, it might be Samantha from Bewitched. I always thought Elizabeth Montgomery was just the shit and I thought she was so cool in a sophisticated, actressy way, I suppose, and I wanted to be like her so much. And a lot of that image was probably due to the Samantha character--she was married to an idiot who patronized her and didn't want her to be what she really was, and my little proto-feminist heart identified with that so much; I was outraged on her behalf and the words feminism and women's lib had never even been uttered outside of intellectual and academic circles at that point in history. She was willing to sacrifice and only use her magic when she had to because she loved a mortal guy, and I love a good love story, but I never once understood why anyone would love Darrin. Either actor who played him--he was a perfect example of white male patriarchal entitlement, and it spread its oily hooks into her mother, who was this delicious agent of chaos, and Serena, who was an even bigger, more delish agent of chaos. Because she looked like Samantha and was also played by super cool Elizabeth Montgomery! He was constantly at war with them, they knew he was beneath Sam, and I just…I was so awed by that.

I actually hate villians and agents of chaos, but the fact that I confusingly loved Endora and Serena meant, I think, that I appreciated Sam's calm and capability and common sense even more. I'm sure that had a lot to do with the person I became as I grew up--my friends called me Mom because I was usually the only one who had any fucking common sense, but I was deceptively responsible and "good" and hid really well the fact that I was always coming up with plans and schemes that were totally forbidden and getting my friends into situations they could be in serious trouble for and just generally being a Naughty Girl. Samantha and Endora and Serena were role models without me even understanding they were. I also thought that whole advertising world, parties and swinging midcentury modern lifestyle was pretty cool, though I often couldn't grok why, when she could twitch her nose and be anywhere she wanted to be doing anything she wanted to, Samantha chose to be a housewife. It's such a perfect encapsulation of that post-war life, isn't it? Women stayed home and made babies and tended house, they wanted us to believe that was the only way the world worked, and they lauded the profession of advertising, selling us stuff we didn't need to become a consumerist culture and Darrin's boss being obsessed with profit--and there was this woman who could transcend all that yet chose not to because reasons. It was frustrating, even if I couldn't understand why, but also really fascinating and subversive.

I loved the witchcraft-wielding people around her because they were chic and wild and entertaining and flamboyant and Samantha, while exasperated by them all, clearly loved them. If it had been even halfway true to what women really are like and not some patriarchal white guy view of what women are supposed to be, Samantha would never have given up being with them, because they were so fucking fun. Even though I didn't know what a gay person was--and no one in my life believed they did, either, back then--I recognized that Uncle Arthur was not what he seemed, not "average" in the way most men I knew were, and Dr. Bombay, her dad, Maurice, all those people were just…they were the societal shifts that were happening in the mid to late '60s and '70s, right there on my TV. Sam was young and hip even though she married a square who demanded she not be herself, she was surrounded by these insane people, she was smart and collected and had special powers…damn, I just adored Samantha Stephens.

Also, the coolest of credits.
gwyn: (bumble _hellsbelles)
Earlier this year during the Snowflake challenge I said I'd hoped to post more often than just announcements, but of course, that didn't happen. And I missed the first half of the December posting meme, but I figured I could just do half of it, since it's the midway point of the month. I'm not going anywhere, or doing anything, and I don't have family, so I'm mostly around and working on a soul-destroying novel copyedit.

If you have any questions I can answer for the dates, I'd love to have them!

December 16: [personal profile] kass What do you love most about Steve and Bucky right now?
December 17: [personal profile] dine which is your favourite character from an old TV show, and why?
December 18:
December 19: [personal profile] cesperanza what is something you've always wanted to do in a vid that you haven't done yet? (I'm thinking of form, but if it's musical or fannish, that's okay too)
December 20: [personal profile] musesfool any favorite dessert recipes?
December 21: [personal profile] ranalore Is there a Steve/Bucky vid or fic you'd prefer to watch or read that you haven't run across yet?
December 22: [personal profile] anoel What are some of your favorite vids and why? Are there any patterns in what makes you love a vid?
December 23: [personal profile] sholio If you had been in fandom when you were a kid, what shows would you have been fanning on, and what kinds of things would you have looked up for them?
December 24: [personal profile] kore where do you see Steve and Bucky ending up eventually? Or if that's too vague, what would be your idea of a Steve and Bucky HEA?
December 25: [personal profile] kass If I could come and visit you where you live, where would you take me / what would we do?
December 26: [personal profile] grammarwoman What book(s) have you re-read the most? & Of the shows you're watching now, list a few OTPs and NOTPs. Or if TPs aren't your thing, plots you're hoping for and against.
December 27: [personal profile] kirbyfest If there was a cancelled TV show you could bring back, which would you pick? With the same cast (this is a fantasy, so pretend this is totally possible even if someone has passed away), or rebooted with a new cast?
December 28: [personal profile] anoel What are some of your favorite childhood books?
December 29: [profile] daria234 What editing choices in your vids are you most proud of? Pick 1-3 and explain why. No self-deprecating allowed :)
December 30: [personal profile] sineala You've been in fandom a while. Is there something you miss from the olden days of fandom that no one does anymore? Or is there something that fandom does or has now that you wish you'd had way back when?
December 31: [personal profile] reginagiraffe What your favorite hors d'oeuvre to make and/or eat?

Oh wow, so many cool questions, you guys! Thank you--this will definitely help keep my mind off how depressing the holidays can be now. Keep 'em coming!
gwyn: (box o kittens rahirah)
Stolen from [personal profile] sholio:

Give me a character, and I'll tell you:

First impression
Impression now
Favorite moment
Idea for a story
Unpopular opinion
Favorite relationship
Favorite headcanon

I'm familiar with an awful lot of media out there, but I can't promise all the answers to something I'm not really into--though you can certainly try!
gwyn: (bucky winter soldier)
When I'm miserable, I seem to meme. Seen pretty much everywhere: Pull seven lines from the seventh page of your WIP I don't generally tag other people but if you want to tag yourself to do it, please do!

One of the scientists once told you that you’re a robot--only a robot would have such an arm, such strength, such focus, so you agreed. It made sense at the time.

And yet, and yet. You bleed red when you’re wounded, just like your targets. You feel pain when they perform maintenance. You shave, wash, eat, clean your teeth. You remember the apple-flavored kisses of a boy with soft blond hair.

One of at this point four fucking WIPs I've got going. I hate everything. And yeah, second person, I suck, I know.
gwyn: (bucky end of the line)
The second of two for [personal profile] ranalore, about Things We Lost in the War:

I guess for that one I'd love more meta than commentary, really. I'd love to hear what inspired you to write the story, which is one I kind of really, really wanted and never expected because I always want poetry+my OTC fic in all my fandoms and sometimes it fits better than others and in this case I thought it might actually fit but I wasn't sure anybody else saw it that way and so I resigned myself to likely never getting it.

You know, I was trying to remember what started me down this path but I can't for the life of me remember, I started writing it so long ago. A lot of times an idea will just spring fully formed into my mind, and I think at some point the idea of Bucky not being ready to have contact face to face with Steve was there (honestly, it probably came out of writing Dark Approach, I believe), but that he could write, would want to write. We forget these days how important letters were to people back then, how difficult and expensive even phone calls were, and I had been reading some letters from the front of the European theatre during the war as well as my dad's letters home. My dad, genius though he was in the sciences, couldn't string a coherent sentence together half the time in print, but his letters from the war were still really amazing and full of such vivid detail it almost didn't seem like the dad I knew--and I think that's one of the things that wormed its way into Bucky's story, that people can have these different layers to them that come out in different ways depending on the type of communication.

Letters pull forth a different type of thinking, there's, I guess, to process your thoughts, and an intimacy of thought when you're sharing communication with someone. They give you time to sink into your feelings, and you're safe, in a way, to respond to the prompts of someone else's letter to you, there's no one there to talk over you or have a body-language reaction that might overcome what you want to say.

And I know a lot about dead drops, but when I was in Washington DC last October, I went to the Spy Museum, where they had the post box that was used as a dead drop in the famous FBI spy case, and I found where Steve's apartment was, because I'd been thinking about this story and planning the letters and how they'd get delivered. It was a super inspirational fannish trip, and that put a lot of thoughts in my head about how the story itself would develop, how things would proceed and what they'd do along the way--sort of the blocking, as it were.

I've never been the biggest poetry fan, to be honest, but the poets and poems I like, I really really like. Rilke's one of them, and it helped that he was of an era where Bucky could have read his stuff and he would have had that presence and be well known enough. Thinking about Steve being a painter was what inspired me to want to have literary!Bucky--that Bucky could have a gift too that was beyond just being a soldier and a weapon, beyond the typical fanfic tropes of working at the docks or something like that. I've been writing since I was five, and it's just always been this thing in my life, even when I wasn't doing it, so I really liked thinking about Bucky having something like that in his life. That he could have had such a rich interior life.

But of course, that would be something that would come out in his letters home once he was in combat, and in writing to Steve because he didn't know how else to deal with his pain. Some of the WWII letters I've read over the years were just so amazing, so tragic and hopeless and yet beautiful, and I wanted some of that for Bucky, so that Steve could see the parts of Bucky he never did back then. And then they could move forward.

To be honest, I didn't expect people to embrace this aspect. I thought everyone would laugh at it, that the idea of Bucky loving poetry and literature would just be...stupid. Because of circumstances, I wasn't able to get it beta'd as I'd hoped, and that was my biggest fear, posting it without having anyone to tell me that it was a ridiculous idea and a poorly done story. And I still wonder if some people I know think it's a ridiculous idea; I haven't ever been that nervous posting something. But the people who've liked literary!Bucky seem to really like it, so I'm breathing a bit easier now.

I think it's really easy to see guys raised during the Depression, in poverty, in tough old Brooklyn, as only being rough and tumble. With Steve, we have his canon as an artist, but the most we have about Bucky is the tough teen sidekick that Brubaker created and gave more of a background and maturity to. I just didn't think being tough and having that background cancels out an appreciation for art, or a capability. Bucky contains multitudes, you know? I just really wanted to give him that chance at an artistic voice, too, while writing a war story and a recovery story and a love story.
gwyn: (bucky steve mouths)
Today is the first of two for [personal profile] ranalore, this one for Dark Approach : The hospital scene after Bucky comes in, which kills me every time I read it.

So, I wasn't sure if you meant the entire hospital scene or just the stuff with Steve and Bucky, but I'll talk about the entire thing just in case. I knew from the start, even though the process of writing such a long fic took me in different directions many times over the course of the months I worked on it, that I wanted to have a scene where Bucky is being sniper boyfriend keeping tabs on Steve and saving his life from a distance, and I had the whole scene with Thor coming in and thinking Bucky's a threat to Steve and hitting him with lightning and they would fall together, already mapped out. And that that would be the final catalyst to get Bucky back to Steve--even if he's not emotionally there, he's physically there.

And I really wanted Steve to just completely fall to pieces over it, and have his friends be the ones to shore him up--I think that's what's often missing in a lot of what I read, that Steve needs people helping him with his shit just as much as Bucky does. Seeing Bucky there really does him in, he's both happier than he's ever been and maybe more miserable than he's ever been, because all his guilt and sense of failure is hitting him hard, seeing Bucky like that. And even though Bucky chose to come back to Steve for help, that wasn't exactly how he wanted to make himself known and hospitals + Bucky are a really bad combo, so he's panicked, needs to escape. Which I think would make Steve just feel all the worse about everything, even though he knows why Bucky came in. It's a bit over halfway through the story, so things have to change at that point, and even though Bucky's kind of fighting it, he knows that the tough love Steve's giving him is right.

And of course, everyone else is worried--about Steve, about Bucky being a danger to him, and so on--but they see how things are with Steve and they know they need to help him, whatever their feelings about the Winter Soldier are. I think Steve is often portrayed as oblivious to what would help Bucky get better, like he's incapable of getting it, and I wanted him to be not oblivious, but helpless, because he has so much guilt and an overwhelming sense of responsibility for what happened to Bucky that he doesn't know what steps to take and he's feeling his way there. In the hospital, they are both suddenly helpless--Bucky because he's been in cardiac arrest and pretty much dead for a few minutes on top of the terrible withdrawal from the drugs Hydra had him on, and Steve because he can't dig himself out from under the mountain of guilt he's buried in. They are both injured there, in different ways.

And I really wanted to have Sam and Tony see that, and understand that, and try to figure out how they can help, even though they both feel pretty inadequate there too. I really wanted that section afterward to be from Sam's point of view, because he's seeing the shift in Steve and Bucky's relationship there, and he gets it more than pretty much anyone else could.
gwyn: (vin arms mlyn)
For today's DVD commentary, [personal profile] avidrosette asked for a scene from Ciudad de Estrellas (fandom: The Fast and the Furious): The scene starts in the middle of the story, on page 110 of my download, with the line "Tanner studied Toretto as they were explaining the wire to him, taking note of what he paid attention to, what he brushed off." This is the scene that takes place in the surveillance van, where Tanner and the other cops are interacting with Dom as someone on their side for the first time. It starts in Tanner's mature, insightful, somewhat distrustful pov, as he observes Dom and Brian&Dom, and continues in Dom's pov. It's a wonderful moment of character revelation - a turning point at the dead center of the fic - and I found it really satisfying and memorable even at this remove.

It's been so long since I've looked at this story that I had to go back and read all the stuff leading up to and after this! But I do kind of remember writing it now. One of the things that was going on there was that I didn't see Tanner very much in F&F fic, or if I did, he was usually an antagonist for Brian and Dom or the generic grumpy boss cop we see all the time, and in Ciudad I really wanted him to be a part of the story, to get beyond him as Brian's beleaguered boss. Since he's helping them on this little escapade, at some point he'd be confronted with the relationship between Brian and Dom and have to figure out whether to shut things down or continue, knowing that they'd be compromised--so of course it was easier for him to just ignore it and continue with the operation.

I love Tanner's sarcasm and his world-weariness, but he's also a pretty insightful guy, as we saw in the movie when he's talking to Brian out by the pool. And so he's kind of acknowledging in that scene that Brian's compromised, Brian has that "you can't keep a beautiful wild thing in a cage" (which was one of my favorite lines to write in that whole story) problem going on, but he's starting to also understand Dom in a way he hadn't before. He's getting that Dom is a lot more complicated than he'd just assumed, and seeing the way prison has shaped him, and so that cop's disdain for the thug criminal is being filed down in the surveillance van. And in the POV switch, Dom can kind of see that, too, except he doesn't know that he wants to admit it. It's hard for him to admit that a cop can be a good guy, despite his feelings for Brian, but he has to confront it there, possibly because his adrenaline is up from being startled by Muse.

I felt like they HAD to change, both of them, for the story to go forward. As fun as writing them as antagonists is, it doesn't do much to propel the story if no one changes or has their preconceived notions altered, and since the story is plot-centric, they needed to see things in each other (maybe the things Brian saw in both of them) so that when the big crisis came, they could handle it together in a way that would make sense. I don't think Dom could really fit back into the world of that story if he didn't start at least in some small way to see Tanner differently, and I don't know that Tanner could really be the mentor to Brian that Brian wanted him to be without being able to look at Dom with different eyes.

I hope that makes sense! I don't know if it does, but it was awfully fun to think about again after all this time, thank you for asking!
gwyn: (bucky steve bar)
[personal profile] kore asked for Man With a Plan, beginning and ending, for a commentary.

I have commiserated with people (especially [personal profile] musesfool) a lot about how there isn't any substantial amount of porn based off the scene in the first Captain America movie where Bucky says, "But you're keeping the outfit, right?" And I hate having to write the kinds of things I want to read, because there's no fun in it for me, it's just work. But I had to write it because it wouldn't leave me alone, only there were two problems: 1) I have never written a story that's solely porn before and 2) I seem to be constitutionally incapable of writing just porn. And also, for the beginning, if I wanted to set it in the London pub where Bucky says that, I had to deal with the fact that Peggy comes in right after that. I just didn't think it would work to start the fic with Bucky's line, and then skip past Peggy's presence and importance to Steve and they go back to their quarters and fuck like bunnies.

I'm also kind of weirdly not particularly threesome oriented--I enjoy read threesomes sometimes, especially with the Cap characters in various trios, but it's not something I'm super attracted to in general and not something I feel compelled to write (not that I couldn't, it's just…not something I think is on my horizons). So the beginning had to be about Bucky and Steve dealing with the fact that their relationship has changed for all the obvious reasons, and Steve reassuring Bucky that it hasn't changed that much yet, because he does have a plan for when they get back to their quarters. I really liked being able to play with that--how they've changed, how they are going to have to renegotiate their boundaries and abilities and the complications of their feelings, but they're still really into each other as friends and as lovers. And Steve knows that some of this is Bucky teasing the crap out of him and trying to embarrass him, but he's perfectly capable of giving it all right back to Bucky and calling him on his bluff.

So yeah, oops, I couldn't just go straight into the porn and got some plot on my PWP, and then there's the buildup of Bucky kind of inserting himself into Steve's story as the Star-Spangled Man, since he wasn't there, and hearing about it/visualizing Steve (and himself) in it while getting Steve worked into a lather.

Which ties into the ending. I wanted to do a modern-day post-Winter Soldier tag from the start, I wanted to show Steve trying to get Bucky back to that teasing, wise-ass kind of guy, to remind him of what they used to be like with each other. That Bucky could be playful and it would be okay, and Steve would remember how much fun sex with the outfit was and want to re-create that. Who better, then, than Natasha to go to for your kink advice needs? Of course she would know where to get the period-authentic costume made, Steve would be certain of it, and of course she would be helpful rather than snickery about your relationship kinks. And Steve would be very happy because he has his Bucky back, and he'll get his costume back, and he still has a plan.

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