silveradept: A head shot of a  librarian in a floral print shirt wearing goggles with text squiggles on them, holding a pencil. (Librarian Goggles)
In your own space, share your love for a trope, cliché, kink, motif, or theme. (More than one is okay, too.) Tell us about it, tell us why you love it, give us some examples and recs.

I don't know if it's a specific trope, but I seem to be very much on the path at this point toward liking media that subverts or averts their tropes. And not just in a way that makes it painfully obvious that it's really a horrible story Recycled IN SPAAAAAACE, either.

For example, one of the most fearsome foes of the Final Fantasy franchise (Added Alliterative Appeal) is the Tonberry. Tonberries are slow, they don't attack quickly, but odds are good that the first time you encounter one, it's going to one-shot a character, if not the entire party. Because Tonberries usually have a move that deals damage to a character based on the number of other monsters and creatures that have been killed. Or the amount of steps the party has taken. Or some other hidden counter that springs forth in vengeance and then has to be dealt with on a regular basis. If you play the game the way the designers intended, retribution arrives.

I also like games like Undertale, where the player has to make real choices with consequences and players with Genre Savvy often find themselves strongly in the category of Wrong Genre Savvy. It's good to have your expectations shifted.

Witty banner also helps. Whether Beatrice/Benedick, Laharl/Etna/Flonne/Mid-Boss, or Vash/Wolfwood/Millie, a character group that can sustain some zippy remarks without falling too far into "that's what [x] said" sorts of territory, things are usually going well.

The early Big Bang Theory had gestures of this, but with increasing Flanderization, is become apparent that instead of setting out to write a properly geek sitcom, they decided to write a generic sitcom and then apply various geek flavorings on top. Contrast, say, Welcome to Night Vale, where the weirdness is so thoroughly cemented into the world that is not possible to tell the story without it being there.

I guess that's why it's a little harder to write Dear Author letters - because I'm not looking for specific storytelling tropes that characters can be slotted into. I'm looking for stories that grow organically and can't be separated from their characters and settings. So I'm thinking in plots instead of tropes.

I don't think I'm the only one, either.
silveradept: The letters of the name Silver Adept, arranged in the shape of a lily pad (SA-Name-Small)
In your own space, make a list of at least 3 things that you like about yourself.

This is always difficult because coming up with things is usually difficult, and it makes for some racking-of-brains to figure out things that work.

That said, here's my current attempt:
  1. I'm good at my job. I need reinforcement on this at times, which often comes in the form of happy wiggly children and the occasional parent comment. And the people that say thanks for when you know where to put the chalk mark and save them a lot of time and frustration hunting for what they know is there. And the fact that having worked in the same place for nearly a decade now has to say something about your competence. So, yes, I'm good at my job.
  2. I can make tech do neat things, usually in the service of playing games. Call it what you like, but I do have comfort enough with technology that I can make over technology work to do great things. Most of the limitations, though, have to do with old technology usually being a bit on the underpowered side. This isn't to say that I'm someone who gets elbows deep in code and hardware specs and hacking things that way. I have research skills that usually let me turn up someone else's hard work and allow me to use their fruits for my own purposes. It's the only reason I have much of what I have - gifts and frugality means learning how to build your own computer or how to install custom software on your devices so that their lives can be extended and their abilities brought up to a more current standard after their manufacturers have abandoned them to the tender mercies of time. It's nice to have a working setup that is basically all of your older technology in harmony.
  3. I'm a decent writer. While the kudos counts may never be in the ridiculous, they do come through, and the comments are appreciative. The discussions in the giving of grief to Pern are thoughtful and insightful from a core group that has accumulated over the years. The linkspam posts seem very appreciated, if rarely commented on because of their volume. Somewhere in the last [moped!] years, I think I've managed to put in enough time for skill to catch up to taste. Which is anyways a satisfying thing.
There are other things that I can say to feel good about myself, but they're not things I'm ready to talk about publicly or link to. So you get these, instead.
silveradept: A head shot of a  librarian in a floral print shirt wearing goggles with text squiggles on them, holding a pencil. (Librarian Goggles)
In your own space, create a fanwork. Make a drabble, a ficlet, a podfic, or an icon, art or meta or a rec list. Arts and crafts. Draft a critical essay about a particular media. Put together a picspam or a fanmix. Write a review of a Broadway show, a movie, a concert, a poetry reading, a museum trip, a you-should-be-listening-to-this-band essay. Compose some limericks, haikus, free-form poetry, 5-word stories. Document a particular bit of real person canon. Take some pictures. Draw a stick-figure comic. Create something.

I cheated, slightly, and instead posted a thing that I had already created, but was willing to let sit in my file for a while. So you get this:

The Gold Curse (1193 words) by silveradept
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: Once Upon a Time (TV), Harry Potter - J. K. Rowling
Rating: General Audiences
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Characters: Hermione Granger, Luna Lovegood, Rumplestiltskin | Mr. Gold
Additional Tags: Crossover
Summary:

The curse hit Hogwarts, and only Hermione knows anything about what happened. So she goes to confront the source. Not that Gold is telling anything.



Enjoy!
silveradept: Domo-kun, wearing glass and a blue suit with a white shirt and red tie, sitting at a table. (Domokun Anchor)
In your own space, create a list of at least three fannish things you'd love to receive, something you've wanted but were afraid to ask for - a fannish wish-list of sorts.

For people that have strong fannish preferences, this should be no trouble - the Omegaverse versions of X, Y, and Zed, for example. Or some hurt/comfort of one's favorite pair of frenemies. Since I'm still mostly working things out in terms of what sorts of major fannish places or AUs to hang out in, it's not quite as easy. Then again, I tend to lurk through other people's tagsets when signing up rather than nominating my own. My prompts also tends to be more open-ended and narrative-driven, rather than specific universe requests. Things like pointing out how well the contrasting energies is two characters go well together in a romantic or friendship pairing, but otherwise not actually giving much more than that. I'm not sure that's much help to artists and authors, since I don't have a list of established yes and no in fanwork that I can refer to.

Additionally, I might believe more than others in the idea that people aren't supposed to want, based on my circumstances outside of this space, so it's more difficult to muster up a request. I'm much more interested in filling other people's things at times.

But, since this is supposed to be a wishlist of things that I want, I should give it the collegiate try. Here goes.
  1. Arkos. Unless the people at Rooster Teeth have something very interesting up their sleeves, the Jaune/Pyrrha relationship, well, died. I am still rather invested in it, apparently, and it would be nice to get a fanwork that keeps the ship going or that is a picture of the two of them together before tragedy struck, or just about any other combination of the two of them (with or without others) that keeps the ship going or shows them both delighting in each other.
  2. Badass Hermione. She's the best magician Hogwarts has seen in a long while, save perhaps Molly or Minerva. And yet, in every narrative she's been in that's official (or at least has the author's stamp on it), she's not allowed to be very effective, whether because of the other two or because she's been tied up in bureaucratic everything. I'd like something that just lets Hermione loose on a problem and allows her to bring the full force of her skills and faculties to bear on it.
  3. Icons, banners, fanart, pictures, and so forth. It's the thing I don't have the skills for, but I really appreciate visual gifts. I also understand they take time and money and that it's really kind of an awful thing to ask someone for, to use their time and talent to make something for me and I'm not compensating them. I'd still like things ask the same.


Wishlist complete. Now to cower in a corner somewhere from having the audacity to ask.
silveradept: A dragon librarian, wearing a floral print shirt and pince-nez glasses, carrying a book in the left paw. Red and white. (Dragon Librarian)
In your own space, post recs for at least three fanworks that you did not create. Leave a comment in this post saying you did it. Include a link to your post if you feel comfortable doing so.

These are the first three that I can recommend in the Yuletide collection. They will not be the last ones, but I'm crunched for time, as usual.

The Devil Went Down To Georgia...and for a lot more than what he bargained for.

Some Who Or Other explains, in Seussical verse, how the Whos discovered their missing Christmas, and then convinced a Grinch to return it all.

Mage #24 is all about what happens when your campaign actually goes well enough that the expendable squishy wizard doesn't bite it before you get to know them.

Of course, you could just read the Yuletide collection and get these and many more recommended works all at once. Especially with the influx of new people to Dreamwidth, there's a lot of space to go exploring.
silveradept: A star of David (black lightning bolt over red, blue, and purple), surrounded by a circle of Elvish (M-Div Logo)
Beginning again with advice for the non-selfie type on how to take good selfies.

Tarot by Thistle, for those needs that can be assisted by cards.

A Tarot deck involving the Sailor Scouts and their enemies.

What a moon sign suggests about a person.

Things that people who are not feeling their feelings do to avoid feeling feelings.

The complexity of watching someone get what might be an appropriately karmic fate.

Perhaps it is time to retire the term graphic novel, as comics have more achieved widespread acceptance as a serious art form?

The White House having a rocking party. Pictures of the outgoing President. More pictures of the outgoing President. The outgoing President as a baller. The unabashed joy of electing a black man President. Pictures of the outgoing First Lady. Mannequinning with the Cleveland Cavaliers. Distributing candy to costumed revelers. People look nothing like their younger selves.

Honor to those whose movement reverberates and reminds everyone that black lives matter. Glory to those who go to Valhalla having fought well against cancers and abusers and those fights that are not glorified in Midgard.

Badass women of 2016.

Approaching the soundtrack of Moana with an eye toward making it strongly Polynesian.

The reality that brassiere fitting is the best way to know what fits, and that it doesn't mean a damn thing in terms of size. Also, actually, a really neat trick about red as a color that vanishes under white. And Victoria's Secret has no clue at all on how to do things correctly.

Role models in sexuality still tend toward centering white penises doing abusive actions.

Why people fear Superman, even though he demonstrates regularly that he's not playing into those fears. The burdens of attempting assimilation that can never actually succeed.

The joy that comes with being able to put a name to something. The joys of friendship among those who understand.

Children will do what you tell them to.

The ghost story traditions of Christmas time.

Cards Against Science Fiction. And a lot of other things.

Stories of celebrities behaving well.

A call to politicians to find libraries adequately and for librarians and libraries to be more of the community institutions they claim to be.

The Icelandic tradition of giving books on Christmas Eve, along with a cat that eats those who are unprepared for the winter.

The story structure of fairy tales are very different depending on culture, such that the Campbellian monomyth doesn't apply or doesn't hit squarely. Reminders that publishers will have a long way to go before they will represent disability well.

Paris attempts to reduce pollution by banning certain cars and trying to make public transport very attractive to ride.

On the importance of being able to stop and think, so as to solve problems or have a discussion. On the necessity of being nice to those working retail jobs.

When told all you should do is be willing to settle for what you can get, seizing what you want is the best revenge.

21 young women, girls, and femmes changing the world.

Inclusive headscarf design.

Cultural appropriation buries the stories of those who have come to their identity by living it. Representation in literature matters. Appropriation also sometimes means people asking questions without having done any work and expecting answers. And it also means the expectation that everyone's film classics are the same or that dark-skinned fictional people are always savage and aggressive to the white people around them. It means lawsuits and settlements when hipster clothing outfits take your name and tribal pattern to sell things inappropriate to your culture.

Friendship trumps all sorts of things.

Successfully merging religious identity and sexual orientation.

A successful wedding, even if the marriage isn't legally recognized.

Sigourney Weaver on the roles she has played where the women are unlikable, whether by design or by the fans.

Flossie Wong Staal, the virologist who first replicated HIV and helped determine that it was the cause of AIDS.

The increased connectivity of our world makes it easier for us to be overwhelmed by our own powerlessness, which makes our years seem subjectively to be the worst possible ones. There were plenty of good things to celebrate in 2016. And maybe we can all be the relief of burden that someone else needs right now.

Coaching and lessons on charisma and how to charm a crowd.

Being an ally does not shield you, but says you are willing to listen to critique and to act to help marginalized people. Here are some suggestions. (As self-education is much more helpful than trying to find someone who will do it for you.)

Writing for a different medium helps improve writing skill across all media. The changing definitions of worldbuilding. Yet another plea to avoid using sexual assault as a cheap plot device.

Monstering, a magazine at the intersection of disability and nonbinary.

Moxi, an all women roller-skating tricks team.

The dance of work, being a woman, and parenthood.

Role modeling requires someone in the role to do the modeling.

Be polite to retail workers. (See consumerism for what it is, too.)

Information about how one might go about finding a menstrual cup that works, should someone have the parts that would make it a good idea to purchase. There's also a recommendation, but you can take or leave that as you like. A safer sex campaign using Sailor Moon as the mascot.

More accurate nail polish shades. And fashion illustrations using nail polish as their paint.

Transforming baked goods into interesting scenes.

The Disney Princesses reimagined with tattoos.

Idiomatic phrases in French. Pictures of persons living in Toronto who are originally from every other country in the world.

The construction of a strawberry rose. Artistic constructions of coins. A paper flower installation. Snow transforms a hero into Vader.

New species! And very old ones. A spider named after the Sorting Hat. A cute kitten, decorated, a cute kitten, purring, tarantulas and frogs working together, a cat as stress relief for college students, and everyone else, well-captioned dogs, a dog and their cat companion, sleepy grooming, elephant facts, a dog that has learned how to guide humans to their treats, a perching kitten, a shared emotional state, even DEATH pets kittens, a tortoise-hare race, young ones experiencing the world for the first time, a seal and a dog having a hug, a kitten dressed as a bat, tweets from somewolf clearly not pretending to be a man, glowing creatures (and some of the science with it), recognizing cat asthma, cats that believe they are hiding from the vet, a rescue goat successfully managing anxiety, dogs and humans in before and after pictures, dogs not actually breaking the rules, pieces of good cheer, Terran creatures that look like alien life forms, a tissue box that looks like a cat in a tissue box, and capturing cats in the middle of a pounce.

Technology has a device to turn any bed into a privacy tent, pictures of Mars, then and now, the incredible successes of the Cassini mission, another consequence of an insightful algorithm - it takes paid ads to displace Holocaust deniers off of Google's to results, results that are there because the algorithms have been gamed, a polymer that could defeat antibiotic-resistant organisms by destroying their integrity, actual delivery by drone, attempted cultural preservation through Facebook, embedding seeds in newspapers so that they can grow plants, the knowledge that Word has templates to make sure papers are formatted correctly, the fact that there really isn't any method for losing body weight that works and that engaging in yo-yoing with your weight is bad for you, the reason why a vampire should be able to post a selfie, the very bad consequences of underwater nuclear testing, an automaton that could identify itself by signing its work, tools to make removing your online presence easier, toys that can easily be used as surveillance and recording devices, Stitch maps, that let you see how a project will come into existence, and the ability to download Netflix material to a device for offline viewing.

Last for tonight, very few people understand what they're giving up when they articulate a desire to renounce the world. Because many aspects of high technology are so embedded that they won't notice them until they're really gone.

A new story from H.G. Wells.

Advice on remaining a creative person even in terrible times. Which may involve making music with basketballs. Or finding effective study aids.

School presentations with intent to tell things like they are. Going through the Williams-Sonoma catalog with a snark-toothed comb.

At the very end, I'm sorry things are rough right now, but I think you're pretty great. Some inspirational phrases.

Happy Holidays, everyone.
silveradept: Blue particles arranged to appear like a rainstorm (Blue Rain)
In your own space, set some goals for the coming year. They can be fannish or not, public or private.

I have goals this year, I do. There's a mandated one to get certified in some office software - may as well go for as many as I can, right?

I also have a continual resolution to never have to default on an assignment.

I want to speak at conferences this year, where possible. Or at least attend them.

I am aiming to create a new life for myself this year, which will take courage and assistance from all sorts of people to make it work. If I can do this one this year, then all will be well...as soon as I finish what needs to be done and can then begin the process of recovering from the life I have currently.

I also want to play music. And take care of the animals. And others.

Here's hoping.
silveradept: A head shot of Firefox-ko, a kitsune representation of Mozilla's browser, with a stern, taking-no-crap look on her face. (Firefox-ko)
Most media is consumable and forgettable. Episodes often spend their time driving to a single line or action that is the point of the episode, the single memorable and emotional part that carries through into the next episode or season. Some things only get one of those events, some get several, and some try to build entire shows on that premise and the idea that ordinary people, when put on camera, will do all sorts of heinous things. (Pay no attention to the casting director who deliberately set the mix of people to be the most volatile and explosive one the game gets going.) In any case, as the presence of the shirt of spoilers indicates, there are plenty of memorable elements to our media properties.

In your own space, share a book/song/movie/tv show/fanwork/etc that changed your life. Something that impacted on your consciousness in a way that left its mark on your soul.

A life-changing media work, one that stays with me even as I progress in life? High praise, indeed, for something like that, considering the accelerated pace and multiple distribution channels for media these days. I could talk again about formative adventure games or a book that helped stick some fantasy tropes on their heads, but all of those things are parts and pieces and not soul-branding experiences.

It could turn out that RWBY is going to be one of those media properties, but it's not done yet and has the potential to go splat on that attempt.

I think I'm going to go with Bone as a work that had a strong impact on me. Fone Bone, Rose, the Red Dragon, and the stupid, stupid rat creatures are all well developed characters, and the story does what a lot of memorable stories I have do - start with comedy and light situations, and then strike hard with the serious and ride that to the end. I realize, after writing that sentence, that many of my memorable media experiences do this - Trigun, Brigadoon, RWBY, Eureka, even Calvin and Hobbes does it. It's clearly an effective storytelling trope. It doesn't necessarily mean that's the way I like my media (still an Arkos fan, thank you, and I like silly Vash and the Insurance Girls more than Knives and Legato), but that's apparently the way to get me invested. And also, possibly, very, very upset at the showrunners when they make that turn for the dark.
silveradept: A head shot of a  librarian in a floral print shirt wearing goggles with text squiggles on them, holding a pencil. (Librarian Goggles)
[It's December Days time! There's no overarching theme this year, so if you have ideas of things to write about, I'm more than happy to hear them. Thanks again for reading through the month and commenting. It's quite nice.]

Time for the semiannual fiction output post. I've done quite a bit in these past six, it appears.

  • The Audition (3042 words) by silveradept
    Chapters: 1/1
    Fandom: Avatar: Legend of Korra
    Rating: General Audiences
    Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
    Relationships: Suyin Beifong & Kuvira
    Characters: Suyin Beifong, Kuvira (Avatar), Korra (Avatar), Lin Beifong
    Additional Tags: Metalbending & Metalbenders, Dancing, Post-Canon
    Summary:

    Kuvira returns to the thing that she knows best, after her bid to unify the Earth Empire failed. The metal helps her think. The dance helps her feel. In front of no-one, Kuvira puts on the performance of her life.



    I jumped up my wordcount with this one, but it needed it. I also feel rather proud of this one because of integrating music suggestions into the work itself to help evoke the intended mood. Well-received work and a reassuring sign to me that I was capable of longer things with the right inspiration.

  • Machine Learning (1235 words) by silveradept
    Chapters: 1/1
    Fandom: Person of Interest (TV)
    Rating: General Audiences
    Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
    Characters: The Machine (Person of Interest), Samaritan (Person of Interest)
    Summary:

    What, exactly, can an ASI do when given the opportunity? Quite a bit, it seems.



    A treat to write, from the perspective of the most interesting and least heard-from character in Person of Interest. Contains Asimov references, as I suspect any artificial superintelligence would have them.

  • The Best Revue In The State (2826 words) by silveradept
    Chapters: 1/1
    Fandom: Leverage, White Collar
    Rating: Mature
    Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
    Relationships: Neal Caffrey (White Collar) / Jim Sterling (Leverage)
    Characters: Neal Caffrey, Jim Sterling
    Additional Tags: Crossover Pairings
    Summary:

    If he had known that teaming up with a supposedly reformed art thief and con man would eventually lead to his prancing about on a male revue stage, Jim Sterling might have thought a little bit harder about accepting Neal Caffrey's offer to get closer to Leverage.



    I wasn't sure I could write convincing, or at least plausible relationships between men until I tackled this assignment. I used the fact that Matt Bomer did Magic Mike as the way to getting this story to completion, and it turned out okay, at the very least. I've got less fear about writing all kinds of relationships after this.

  • Human-Cyborg Relations (2715 words) by silveradept
    Chapters: 1/1
    Fandom: Xenosaga
    Rating: Mature
    Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
    Relationships: KOS-MOS/Shion Uzuki
    Characters: KOS-MOS (Xenosaga), Shion Uzuki
    Summary:

    It's diagnostics day for KOS-MOS. Everything would be fine, if it weren't for some strange static infecting her processors every time Shion touches her.



    And then I did this one, which was a relationship between a female character and her gynoid, so now I've done one of each of the same-gender (ish) relationship stories. My beta's seal of approval on this one about being able to write a convincing F/F relationship was very helpful in building confidence in my writing ability.

  • Story Time with Rumpelstiltskin (2454 words) by silveradept
    Chapters: 1/1
    Fandom: Once Upon a Time (TV)
    Rating: General Audiences
    Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
    Relationships: Belle/Rumplestiltskin | Mr. Gold
    Characters: Belle (Once Upon a Time), Rumplestiltskin | Mr. Gold
    Summary:

    Belle and Rumpelstiltskin share a story every night. Tonight, Belle decides she wants to tell Rumpelstiltskin.

    He is not amused.



    This one is fun - if you know the premise of Once Upon A Time, where storybook characters (or at least their Disney versions) have been transported to our world, then the idea of having Rumpelstiltskin have to listen to his own origin story is too good of a chance to pass up. Include that Rumpelstiltskin is generally a grump and a grouch together, and there's lots of fun potential in needling him.

  • Cyber-Serenity (4062 words) by silveradept
    Chapters: 1/1
    Fandom: Firefly, Doctor Who (2005)
    Rating: General Audiences
    Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
    Relationships: Malcolm Reynolds & Eleventh Doctor
    Characters: Eleventh Doctor, Malcolm Reynolds
    Summary:

    A strange blue box contains a nearly-naked man with an offer to travel the 'Verse and get paid handsomely for it. This makes Mal deeply suspicious. His suspicion is warranted.



    What do you get when you cross a cynical Browncoat with a Doctor who crosses space and time? An adventure, of course. The wordcount went back up for this one, which usually is a sign of a more involved plot than what first came to mind. I liked writing it, even though there was a lot of banging my head against Mal's characterization to get him right.

  • Dream of the Hero Near Another World (4189 words) by silveradept
    Chapters: 1/1
    Fandom: Quest for Glory
    Rating: General Audiences
    Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
    Characters: Erana (Quest for Glory), Katrina (Quest for Glory), The Hero (Quest for Glory), Avoozl (Quest for Glory)
    Additional Tags: Cameos
    Summary:

    The dead do not always take their fate lightly. Heroes sometimes find they can still be of use to other heroes from beyond the veil. All it takes is a connection.



    This one needed to both have the fat trimmed and the story expanded. I'm a sucker for prompts that have this game in them, just because it was formative and good and I want more people to write in it. But this story is a testament to the idea of writing what you have and then working backwards from there. Eventually, I got to something that I was satisfied with.

  • To Complete The Set (2743 words) by silveradept
    Chapters: 1/1
    Fandom: Final Fantasy XIII
    Rating: Not Rated
    Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
    Relationships: Lightning/Oerba Dia Vanille/Oerba Yun Fang
    Characters: Lightning (Final Fantasy XIII), Oerba Yun Fang, Oerba Dia Vanille
    Summary:

    Lightning thought she was rescuing someone from a bad situation at the club. What she got into was much, much stranger.



    Emboldened by my success at Human-Cyborg Relations, I decided to go in and write again for an exchange fully on femalash. And ended up writing a story about how a triad came to be off the prompt. I like how this one turned out, mostly because I think I was able to keep the characterizations correct, but allow a character who is not at the forefront in their source material to come out and behave more like how I thought she would be in that same game. The power of transformative works, and all.

  • And finally, since Yuletide reveals were this morning, I get to put my capstone in for this year:

    Promotion (6609 words) by silveradept
    Chapters: 1/1
    Fandom: Chess (Board Game)
    Rating: Mature
    Warnings: Creator Chose Not To Use Archive Warnings
    Relationships: Pawn (Chess)/Queen(Chess)
    Characters: Pawn (Chess), Queen (Chess)
    Additional Tags: Dubious Consent, Mind Control, Violence, Crossdressing, Crueltide, Anthropomorphic, Transformation, Disguise
    Summary:

    The Pawn of e file must navigate the dangers of the Board and capture the Queen. The plan goes well...until the Pawn makes contact with the Queen.



    This is one of my finest works for this year, taking someone's plotbunny and fleshing it out into something they're proud of. The revisions to the drafts from the betas (thank you, [personal profile] azurelunatic and [personal profile] sithjawa) added two thousand words from the initial draft. It's the biggest work this year, in terms of words and in terms of worldbuilding and work involved in it, because it's not like chess has a shared world and characters to draw on for wiring. I'm immensely proud of it and very glad that the recipient loved it.
So, onward to next year's output posts, challenges, and writing. I'd like more kudos and comments to stroke my ego, of course, but otherwise, the joy is in the writing.
silveradept: A squidlet (a miniature attempt to clone an Old One), from the comic User Friendly (Squidlet)
[It's December Days time! There's no overarching theme this year, so if you have ideas of things to write about, I'm more than happy to hear them.]

The Internet Archive intends to copy itself to Canada in case the incoming administration gets censorial. Public libraries intend to keep the minimum of data and logs possible to prevent privacy intrusions by government order. People become creative and inventive in the ways that they route around censors and others who wish to stand in the way of information. Onion routing, for example, or the use of the virtual private network.

If you are confronted with keyword filters, then it's simple enough to find pages with images or videos that contain the information requested. (Not so great for the visually impaired, but I'll bet there are audio and other means that do the same.) Blacklists can be brute-forced, somewhat, to find things that aren't on the list. Whitelists can be turned into an aggravation headache for IT with deluges of requests. Port blockers can be tunneled around, credentials forged or stolen. Essentially, as technology advances, the technology to fool it advances as well. (It's a great line from My Teacher Flunked The Planet.)

But this also applies to social situations well. The Ashley Madison hack showed us that there were more than a few people who needed or wanted to route around the covenants they had put themselves in, without necessarily wanting to it being able to dissolve those agreements. People who don't want to be spied on by others, which could be partners, employers, or government entities, use library computers for their work and Internet searches. Or check out library materials for use in their lives, so that they can explore ideas and identities without having to deal with the judgment of others.

This is why it is essential that devices that are in your possession be under your control. What's phoning home on you is important to know. I also don't like having to make decisions between installing an operating system on a smartphone of my choosing and not being able to partake in cultural phenomena, but that also happens when someone gets overbroad and zealous about making sure a phone has never had anything that might lead to modification done to it.

Getting back to the actual point that started this post, the decision by the Internet Archive should be seen as good practice - since a lot of the servers that power websites and other things are located in the United States, it seems life a very prudent idea to have an off-site backup, in case the political climate shifts so strongly that the information in the Archive is at risk. Or in case bad things happen at the data center that houses the archive. I think it's a rather telling sign, though, that people who are dedicated to archiving and documenting what has happened online are making sure that they have plans to be outside the reach of the incoming administration. It's pretty bad now in surveillance and secrecy, thanks to the cover of fighting the Concept War, but they stayed put for that time. Now they're looking to move. While you can't easily stop things that want to be out in the open, because networks reroute around damaged nodes, you can make it difficult for anyone who wants to speak that truth.

It is my sincere hope that such measures do not become necessary to do one's work.

(And that any of you suffering under censorship of any form find the way to get out and tell the truth about it all.)
silveradept: A dragon librarian, wearing a floral print shirt and pince-nez glasses, carrying a book in the left paw. Red and white. (Dragon Librarian)
[It's December Days time! There's no overarching theme this year, so if you have ideas of things to write about, I'm more than happy to hear them.]

An observation, and perhaps a request for help.

For as much time as I have spent in places with art and statuary of fairies, dragons, and other mystic creatures, I have yet to find an artist in stock who doesn't depict their dragons in one of two ways
  1. Fierce creatures of elemental destruction, whether armored or angry or otherwise upset or in aggressive poses intended to show off their status as apex predators, guardians, or, in some cases, the shackled mounts of other Fae creatures (which horrifies me to think of them as involuntary mounts).
  2. Cute creatures of rounded lines and cartoonish proportions, often small, sometimes not much bigger proportionately than the other entities they are with.

Call it some sort of mental thing for me, if you like. As much as I give grief to all the other things in the Dragonriders of Pern that deserve every bit of it, it is a series that has managed to balance the majesty and size and power of the dragons involved while making them helpful to the people they are around. (Admittedly, the required telepathic bonds are still a form of shackles.)

I can't seem to find an artist who is able to make their dragons properly powerful and respected without making them hostile. My conception of dragons may be very different than anybody else's, but I'd like to believe that this is really just a small world problem and I haven't made the right connections yet.

That's a thing I've observed. Make of it what you like.
silveradept: The emblem of Organization XIII from the Kingdom Hearts series of video games. (Organization XIII)
[It's December Days time! There's no overarching theme this year, so if you have ideas of things to write about, I'm more than happy to hear them.]

Advice to teenagers to ignore the hype that says your teen years are the best years of your life. And yet, the strong emotional states of those years make the things we experienced them memorable.

Even now, I still recognize some of the celebrity READ posters from previous decades, for example, and they have memories of the libraries attached to them.

I'm told that brain science (and Inside Out) has figured out that strong emotional content makes memories stick. Which is why the day to day seems to slip away so easily. Which can actually make it difficult to recognize if you're in a bad situation or relationship, incidentally - the more bad and horrible things are normal to you, the harder it is to realize what's being done is wrong. Getting out early can avoid those tasks, but not everyone shows their full hand immediately.

Anyway, memory tied strongly to emotion, teenage years and college years as basically full of emotions, and strong ones for that matter, makes them very easy to remember - for good or ill. I suspect the people who have fond memories of those times are ones whose privilege or support network made it easy for them to transition into their identities and out into the adult world - the invisible things that made it so they don't have to worry completely about adult responsibilities, or have to spend spoons on disability or resilience against hate and assault. And because, for those people, the amount of free time they had to pursue interests (or not) was a lot greater, so they didn't feel as rushed or worried or concerned about making ends meet and about their financial situations. Or kids, pets, and other things.

It would be nice to retreat for a bit and let others handle all of those things and be secure in the knowledge that they will be taken care of. That's what friends and partners are there to help with, I'm guessing. Tough decisions when I was younger were about games to play and when to see friends. Tough decisions as an adult, well... that's another thing entirely. I can totally see the appeal of the relationship dynamic where someone gets to set aside all of those things for a negotiated length of time and just focus on the now and the person(s) in front of them. Whether as the person giving it receiving our both. We crave having a place of our own to go to when things get overwhelming, and without that place, there's very little that can be done for growth or learning. I guess it makes sense for it to come from a place where things felt safe, and for many people, I guess that's childhood.

Somewhere in all of this, in sure there's a piece of wisdom. Perhaps a story about a link who set his burden down quite a ways ago, or something about the simple and healing powers of nature, or being without focus, or just being more mindful of everything that comes through. I'm not really sure what it is, though, and whether it applies at all.

The advice about ignoring your teen years as your best years is sound, though - we have already done more as adults in the way of accomplishments than we did as teenagers. So much more, even when it doesn't seem like it at all.
silveradept: A green cartoon dragon in the style of the Kenya animation, in a dancing pose. (Dragon)
[It's December Days time! There's no overarching theme this year, so if you have ideas of things to write about, I'm more than happy to hear them.]

For as much as I enjoy art, I realize that I lack the necessary skills to produce it, whether as CG or hand-drawn material. This is mostly a matter of practice, however - should I decide I want to acquire the skills and practice them, I will eventually be able to produce material of sufficient quality to make myself proud of it.

I used to think much the same about the quality of my writing. I realize, though, that at this point of life, I've actually done a lot of writing practice. There's still plenty more to do and improve upon, but if I think about it, I've written into the hundreds of thousands of words over the past twenty-*mumble* years of being a writer. My early work wouldn't make the AO3 minimum word count, but the craft developed a lot over message board RPGs, before graduating into Livejournal roundups, link lists, and commentary on commentary and opinion columns. And now, I'm back where I started, actually, writing fan fiction and commentary on stories, with a lot of experience going to work on making things better. I still need other pairs of eyes to look it over and make sure there aren't major and minor mistakes. But if the commentary I've been getting on the stories and the giving of grief is any indication of how others are receiving the work, I've managed to make it to the point where I can be satisfied that the writing is good, and that others that see the works believe its good, as well.

This is a fantastic thing. I've finally gotten to the point where the output is good enough that it doesn't offend my sense of taste. Through a lot of practice and putting words out. Hooray!
silveradept: The logo for the Dragon Illuminati from Ozy and Millie, modified to add a second horn on the dragon. (Dragon Bomb)
What has happened requires processing and thought. And a willingness to catalogue and synthesize what is right in front of you.

Politics and worse follows. )

Take care of yourselves, though - it's easy to get caught up in everything that you forget yourself.

Virtual hugs for all in distress.

If you are looking for a place to donate time or money, a long list of places where you can donate time or money toward progressive causes.

If nothing else rings for you, have a space where you can be reminded of your virtue and your worth.
silveradept: A star of David (black lightning bolt over red, blue, and purple), surrounded by a circle of Elvish (M-Div Logo)
[It's December Days time! There's no overarching theme this year, so if you have ideas of things to write about, I'm more than happy to hear them.]

Giftmas and the holidays had some nice events. An OVA, a nice game, some books on comics, a gift card or two, some nice games for the digital platform, and Christmas cheer. A letter that warmed my heart. And time and games spent with friends.

And a couple attacks of the brainweasels, because no day is complete without them. The things I gave were much appreciated. The things I received, I also appreciate. Many thanks to all of you for being supportive of me, in all the capacities that you can and have been. I can only hope that I will continue to be worthy of your affection and friendship.
silveradept: A head shot of a  librarian in a floral print shirt wearing goggles with text squiggles on them, holding a pencil. (Librarian Goggles)
[It's December Days time! There's no overarching theme this year, so if you have ideas of things to write about, I'm more than happy to hear them.]

Someone wrote me some Peppermint Patty and Marcie for Yuletide, and I am thrilled.

Sweet Dreams Are Made of Peanuts.

Also, the work that I wrote was received extremely well by its recipient, and that makes me happy, because I was worried they would see what I had done with a potentially sacred plotbunny and they would be disappointed or worse. That is not the case.

And now, to try and wend my way through the collection!
silveradept: A green cartoon dragon in the style of the Kenya animation, in a dancing pose. (Dragon)
[It's December Days time! There's no overarching theme this year, so if you have ideas of things to write about, I'm more than happy to hear them.]

It snowed today. This made me very happy - wet flakes and proper snow. It didn't stick. It didn't last. It didn't matter. Snow around the December holiday is a sign that the world is working according to plan, at least in a place that is able to have snow.

I got my car back today as well, which helped amplify the happiness from the snow. Things are returning back to the way they were, at least in certain ways. Don't have to keep a rental clean and otherwise not lived in. Don't have to worry about it breaking or worse. Don't have to remember that the rental car has touchy brakes and a happy accelerator.

I also had the performance review this afternoon, and it's all good things so far from the new manager and their predecessor. I am good at my job, and the manager seems on board with helping me achieve my goals and ideas for the next year.

There will be friends tomorrow. And also chores. And traditions observed. And then there will be gifts exchanged. And after that, time off. It might not be ideal, but it has the promise of good things to come.

As much as can be done, anyway.
silveradept: Blue particles arranged to appear like a rainstorm (Blue Rain)
[It's December Days time! There's no overarching theme this year, so if you have ideas of things to write about, I'm more than happy to hear them.]

Universal A.C. is the only entity that knows the answer to The Last Question. All the rest of us have to guess, and even so, even in that story, it takes until the universe winds down to nothing before the question can be answered.

The dog came with the relationship. He and his sister were six when I became daddy to them. I'm not a dog person at all, and most of my relationship to him was in feeding him, medicating him, running him outside to use the bathroom, and picking up his poop in the yard. That and having to come home from work and get up every day to take care of all the animals and feed them. There were also times of playing and walking and camping, but those often seemed to be changes of scenery rather than actually any sort of bonding exercise. Yet bond we did, if the evidence of how much wailing I did after he was gone is truth.

He outlived his sister by a year and a half. In that time, he developed occasional seizures (which may have been caused by a brain tumor), started to also lose the ability to keep his back legs and front legs upright and under him, and lost his eyesight (basically) to cataracts. That said, his diabetes was under control through the use of insulin shots and home-cooked food.

DEATH came for him, and hopefully took him to the place where the good dogs go, if such a place exists, where he can be reunited with his sister and they can frolic until Universal A.C. reboots the universe at the end. It was painless and swift, and now comes the rest of what's needed - comforting the living, burying the dead, and feeding the survivors.

Entropy sucks. Can I be done with this manifestation of it for a long while now?
silveradept: The letters of the name Silver Adept, arranged in the shape of a lily pad (SA-Name-Small)
[It's December Days time! There's no overarching theme this year, so if you have ideas of things to write about, I'm more than happy to hear them.]

[personal profile] bethany_lauren wanted to know what one piece of advice I would tell my younger self.

A question like this often stalls out on the need to only give one piece of advice to the younger you. There are a lot of things that produce regrets or hopes to do things over again.

There's also the matter of which younger self I get to talk to. If it's childhood me, the advice has to be couched in such a way as to be comprehensible to younger-me or that it will be written down and not lost over time, so that when I need it again, it's there so that it will influence in the right direction. Teenage-me would need serious convincing of any sort of advice at all. College-me might be wise enough to actually get it and put it to use. And professional me would get it, and then have to do something about it.

Depending on which person I'm talking to, the advice shifts. Many of my younger selves, if given one piece of advice, would probably get "Your friends are more interested in you than you believe. Pursue them," as their takeaway. If I had managed that earlier on in life, I probably would have made some other mistakes, and there would be no guarantees on anything, of course, but I might have managed to avoid being as forlorn as I was about relationships at that point. Considering that my natural state is "clueless", some advice from my future self about how to go about things would have been pretty useful.

At a certain point, though, the advice stops being about pursuing someone and more about paying better attention. The post-college me gets a different piece of advice - "Someone who wants that much that quickly, and doesn't give in return, is not going to turn out well. [Keep your original appointment.]"

Following that piece might alter the time stream significantly enough that the third time that have happened would have washed away and something else taken their place, but I think the me of that timeline would be significantly happier than the one of this timeline, so it's probably worth the risk of scratching out some other things. And maybe they would have happened anyway. Gods only know, and it's ultimately not important until there is a time machine at work.

I realize now that this question always seems to attract regrets and things to do differently. How nice it would be that, if given a time machine, a person used it to go back and just enjoy their younger years again. No need to change anything, just the ability to go back and enjoy things.

(And not like that cruel twist in About Time where you can only go back until the birth of a child, and therefore lose the people you love anyway.)

This year is full of sadness and regrets. Many of them of my own doing. I can only hope that the time traveler's advice for me at this point is "You're almost there. Keep it up, and things will get better."

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silveradept: A kodama with a trombone. The trombone is playing music, even though it is held in a rest position (Default)
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