Just a couple of my favorites from today’s update.
Just a couple of my favorites from today’s update.
I have been remiss in publishing this, which is a shame because Liz has outdone herself with these designs.
Each of these quilled logos is sold as an earring and necklace set. On the left we have a disc inspired by MCU’s Black Panther logo, and on the right is a disc inspired by the character’s necklace. Because everyone I know wants to go to Wakanda.
Alternate Universes… Why they are popular? Putting the characters we love into different situations while keeping some of the cannon points in a totally different setting. It sometimes can provide a freshness to the pairing or fandom.
I occasionally find myself liking more than the regular sort of AUs. Alternate Universes (AU) are common in fanfic; some of the usual ones are high school/college, coffee shop, historical/futuristic, Sentinel (based on the 90’s TV with someone having enhanced senses), wingfic, gender changes (Tony Stark is now Toni Stark), powers/no powers (superheroes are just normal people or normal people are now vampires etc.), Alpha/Beta/Omega (which is invented by fans and complicated to explain – I’ll just say there are 6 genders instead of 2 and leave it there), Hogwarts, law enforcement, zombie apocalypse, etc.
But sometimes I’m in the mood for something massively changed. MOST of the time I will head for crossovers or time-travel, especially time-travel fix-its. Sam doesn’t get killed the first time in Supernatural; Thorin, Fili and Kili don’t die in the Hobbit; Tony Stark never builds Ultron, etc. And crossovers are the equivalent of my chocolate addiction (which is under control….really, it is). I especially love when normal shows meet magic shows; when Supernatural meets any of the law enforcement show is an obsession but I diverge…..
Other massive AUs…. three of my favorites are from Potter fandom. 1) Harry is sorted into Slytherin and sometimes goes Dark, this usually ends up as Drarry; 2) Harry is sorted into Slytherin and Dumbledore is evil and has been manipulating Harry’s life (knew/condoned the abuse, is stealing his inheritance money, restricted his ability to use magic, etc.) and 3) Harry is adopted by Snape to get him away from the Dursleys.
And ever since Pacific Rim came out, every fandom seems to have one. These are what are called Fusion AUs, where the author says, “My people can do that too!” So we take the BBC Musketeers set in 1600s France, and drop them in the Pacific Rim universe because they would make damn fine Jaeger pilots. It’s a fusion because they ARE the Jaeger pilots not just meeting the existing pilots from the movie. BTW – this fic exists, in fact there are two on AO3, and I haven’t checked Fanfiction.net. http://archiveofourown.org/works/2453141 and http://archiveofourown.org/works/7053043?view_full_work=true
What if you want your massive AUs to be even bigger? Obviously you change more things! A female Bilbo in a modern day London AU where she owns a bakery and still falls for Thorin and his crazy family and friends, the challenge is to keep the core personalities the same.
So if you want your classic car mechanic Tony Stark or Dean Winchester, it’s probably out there. Your Jaeger pilots Harry Potter and Draco Malfoy, mob boss Thorin Oakenshield, Deputy Derek Hale, vampire Sherlock Homes, winged James Bond, bar owner Han Solo, or lawyer Natasha Romanoff give it a look, that fic might just exist.
I find my tolerance for bad writing/characters/plots has taken a nose-dive in the last 5-10 years. I don’t know if my patience is slipping in my old age or if I’m spoiled by all the fabulous fanfic I’ve been finding.
Apparently my tipping point is terrible characters, mostly. I’ve waded through some really badly written fanfic for a great concept and would give it a B/B-. Although just recently, I got through chapter six of an eleven chapter fanfic, the whole thing being well over 100,000 words. At the end of chapter six I could see the ending plot points laid out like following map directions and while it was really well written I had NO question of the series of events that had to happen to catch the bad guy and have the happy ending; it was only the specific details missing. So after a day of contemplation – I left kudos and hit the back button with no feelings of having missed out.
Recently I took four books out of the library. One was the second of a trilogy, two were books 1 and 2 of a new trilogy and one stand-alone. I ripped through the sequel, then picked up the stand alone and got 20 pages in before dropping it. The stand-alone was set in a medieval society where women were mostly around to be pretty baby-makers, so naturally the girl is the hero. She spends the first 20 pages drifting or maybe wafting, she was such a non-entity, around the castle with all these THOUGHTS and can hardly make herself open her mouth to say thank you and make polite conversation (which one of the few skills she was expected to have) …and SHE was supposed to save the world? I couldn’t even fathom the kind of turn around this person would have to make to be able to that and then I found I didn’t care.
I read the first of the new trilogy and got through it – though I really had to struggle at the last third because of the RIDICULOUS choices the characters were making. I picked up book 2 and got 30 pages in before tossing it too, I couldn’t stand the new main character just introduced and didn’t want to read her story (another submissive woman with THOUGHTS – she at least had an obvious rebellious spark, hiding her magic). I barely got through the guy in the first book’s story and he was interesting – a butthead, but interesting. In both (all three?) instances it was characterization that got me.
And some years ago supernatural romances got big mainstream, so I decided to try some. I researched two of the biggest, most popular writers out there. They each have dozens of books and related stories that looked well put together and sounded interesting. Now, one expects a certain ….style of romance writing. I’ve read straight romances and you get used to the overly pretty people being sassy and fabulous having lots of eye sex before any actual sex and maybe some plot to decorate everything. I tried two books from each author, from different series and couldn’t finish three of them. There might have been actual book throwing (sorry library). The one heroine searched the guy out in his reclusive estate to expose him to the world, fell for him, escaped (don’t ask) and changed her mind literally six times in 3 pages about her feelings and plans. Six – I went back and counted after I picked the book off the floor. I still have no idea what her decision was.
I did get through a space romance…… he was a merc assassin hired to be the princess’s body guard. She was such an awful bitch I would have let her die. There’s sassy and then there’s …oh my gosh where’s the duct tape, and possibly the gun. So, I get that the point of the story is the romance and we’re handwaving the science part of science fiction but what got me (other than the Bitch) was they just hopped into their space ship (usually little 2 seaters that I pictured like X-Wings) and trotted off to another planet in like 30 minutes and I was so distracted trying to figure out a planetary system or propulsion method or anything that made this work other than feeling like they had just grabbed a car and were driving around a city/state.
Recently I got halfway through a book, literally halfway, and I just feel no desire to pick it up again. A friend loaned me this series of 5, I’m in 2, and I love the concept but this is one time where I can point to the author’s style. He’s very detailed and descriptive and harsh with the plot. And I just get a little tired of being hammered with how bad things are and the brutal training and the random evil people and an abuse storyline that I assume will have a purpose sometime in the distant future but is just a trial to get through. And now he’s giving us the evil demon’s pov and I’m struggling with it. I wonder if I can skip chunks and not miss anything too major?
Book 5 just came out and I read the summary and it answers 1 question I had but I still can’t decide. My friend hasn’t asked for them back yet so – decision pending, but it doesn’t look promising.
I appreciate the work that authors put into crafting the stories but not everything is for everyone. Therefore I can put the books down without feeling bad – unless I bought the book. Then I feel obligated to get through it once before donating it. SO, to all you authors out there – keep on doing your thing!
I’m constantly reminding myself that
but there are so many cool things out there. A friend recently pointed me to an incredible video on lace making. Completely cool, but definitely not something I have the time or cycles to learn right now (someday, maybe, but not today).
The thing is, I have a new 40 hour a week job, so that limits time for learning new skills. It does not, however, limit my interest in learning new skills. So when the order I put in for office supplies, including a new pencil cup, got lost in the bureaucracy, I took it as a sign. Obviously I had to make one.
I now longer have access to a pottery studio. I suppose I could have made one from yarn (crochet, or felting,
or fulling or some combination…), but I decided it was time to try something new.
So I collected a bunch of candy wrappers. Later on in the process I began saving the pouches and tags from tea bags, but candy wrappers were basically the bulk of it.
I also had a little theoretically microwavable cup which had, at one time, contained something vaguely resembling chili. I had a jar of Mod Podge,
and I remembered with fondness a time when I was in elementary school and a friend and I just basically smeared our hands with Elmer’s glue, let it dry, and peeled it off. (That friend is now an industrial artist, and here I am still smearing my hands with glue for the fun of it…)
As Joe, Jill’s husband, is quick to point out, I’m basically twelve.
The process is pretty straightforward. Layers of paper, layers of glue, let dry. It’s a messy and sticky process.
In the end, it works fine to hold pencils (or pens or highlighters…).
I’ve still got a baggie of candy wrappers and such in my desk drawer. Maybe I’ll make a coin bank or a paper clip tin later on.
There’s so much more stuff to grep for the recycled necklaces and earrings. I’ve been having tons of fun with the earbud cording, but then Steve brought home his mother’s computer. He recovered the disk for her, but has no use for the motherboard… Not sure how much I can reclaim, but…
So many ideas, so little time…..
I think she was inspired by conversations we had about my Valentine’s ambivalance, but for whatever reason Liz came up with a whole collection of black heart jewelry. Here’s what she had to say about it:
My Cold Black Heart Collection was inspired by those people who aren’t in love the usual Valentines craze. I couldn’t think of something “anti-Valentines” but I thought this might come close. OR if you just like hearts and the color black…this is for you!!!!
Do I have a favorite bad guy? Do you have a favorite bad guy? This came up as a question in a group on Facebook and I thought it was an interesting concept. After asking my fic/fandom partner the question she said, “Are we are going just evil? The bad guys I like the most have some conflict in them.” So – she has a point. After some though I broke it down like this:
Bad guys/villains generally fall into 2 categories with further subcategories. 1 – the likable and 2 – the one that needs to die ASAP.
The likable villain usually A – has a point, B – could be redeemable, C – is styling/charming or D – is possibly the occasionally helpful bastard. Most of these villains have a conflict of some sort or some other quality that make them more relatable.
A 1A villain would be Supernatural’s Lucifer: according to the show’s mythology – he’s gotten kinda a bum rap, I could see why he was so angry, also several hundreds of thousands of years in solitary might also have made him even more unhinged.
A 1B villain would be Darth Vader from Star Wars since he did get redeemed and Severus Snape from Harry Potter who, while unlikeable, was actually a bad guy turned spy for the good side.
A 1C villain would be Angelus from Buffy/Angel – really evil but such style, the Kurgan from Highlander (the movie), Boyd Crowder from Justified, Hannibal Lecter, Professor Moriarty or Mystique from X-Men.
A 1D villain would be Supernatural’s Crowley: once he got promoted to King of Hell – he got roped into helping the Winchesters against bigger and badder in order to keep his position, a similar character is Peter Hale from Teen Wolf – once he was resurrected from being the baddie in season 1, he could be counted on to promote his own self interests but when the bigger evil showed up he stepped up to fight. And of course the MCU’s version of Loki.
The other kind of villain is your psychopath/sociopath headed for world domination/destruction (burn it all down!!) or just as big a body count as possible to get the cash/destroy the good guy/etc.
This would cover classic baddies like Emporer Palpatine from Star Wars, Blofeld from the Bond films, Khan from Star Trek, Gerard and Kate Argent from Teen Wolf, Randall Flagg from Stephen King, Sauron from Tolkien, The Joker from Batman, Voldemort from Harry Potter, Alex Forrest from Fatal Attraction, John Doe from Seven, Bellatrix Lestrange from Harry Potter, Cersei Baratheon from Game of Thrones, Jason/Freddie/Jigsaw/Michael Myers, Cruella De Vil etc. Especially when they stand around and gloat……
As a final thought…… I always feel sorry for the minions (the people not the yellow critters). What makes them work these guys? Surely they can all be in agreement with the boss’s plans?
So -do you have a favorite bad guy?
Due to a combination of travel on Jill’s part, and lack of planning on my part, there will be no shop update for a second week in a row.
On the positive side, Liz has some amazing things for next week’s update, so definitely watch this space.
Steve and I have a shared observation. There is a property, called ‘wake’, which fills the air around cats. They are full of energy, and when they want your attention they will get it. Somehow.
At the same time, after a good night’s sleep, when you wake up with a cat curled up on your feet (or against your back, or on your shoulder, or wherever he or she generally sleeps), it is nearly impossible to rouse yourself.
We’ve figured it out. The cats ‘suck the wake’ out of the room while they’re sleeping. As the level of wake in the atmosphere falls, you find yourself content and relaxed and it’s nearly impossible to get up, make coffee, and so on and so forth.
Then, when the cat has filled him/herself with wake, and needs to be fed, suddenly they start to release it back into the environment (occasionally by scratching on the furniture, pouncing on toes, or meowing in your face).
It’s not the most scientifically rigorous theory, but it seems to be a good working model.
Do to a case of ‘real life intervenes’ there will be no shop update this week. There may or may not be one next week either.
Instead, I’ll continue with something I alluded to last week…
I was always excited about Valentine’s day as a young child. That give everybody paper hearts thing again.
As I got older, I began to have issues with it. There were issues dealing with my awakening feminism, concerns about gender roles, and possibly with not quite conscious questions about my sexual orientation. There was a developing resentment of commercialism as well.
So I declared Valentine’s Day a “Hallmark Holiday” and decided I didn’t want to celebrate it.
That lasted for a few years, until I started dating Steve (who is now my husband). I told Steve very clearly that I didn’t want to do Valentine’s Day. He was surprised, but he took me at my word. So that kind of forced me to be honest with myself about how I felt and what I wanted, and he was really understanding and supportive of that as well. (Did I mention that I eventually married the man?)
Two of them. Who have grown into lovely women and (for the purpose of this discussion) who (for this post at least) shall remain nameless.
One of them has a very traditional relationship with the day.
When she has a boyfriend on Valentine’s Day you can almost see the hearts floating around her head. She clearly hears the music, every step she takes is a dance, it’s hard not to picture her as about to burst into song. When she’s single on the day she’s downcast. She clearly sees the world as paired up around her, and she struggles to keep herself together.
Then there’s her sister who, every year on Valentine’s Day, single or dating, is cheerful and happy.
Because she’s anticipating February 15 – Half Price Chocolate Day!