May 2015

S M T W T F S
     12
3456789
10111213141516
17181920212223
24252627282930
31      

Syndicate

RSS Atom
Powered by InsaneJournal

Previous 20

Jan. 3rd, 2014

I Don't Think You Get The Point of Sci-Fi

Today I stumbled across a publisher of sci-fi and speculative fiction that bills itself as being socially conscious and progressive, called Expanded Horizons. And it is seriously one of the craziest things I've ever read.

Don't get me wrong: it starts out reasonable enough- as far as I can tell, you are not required to adhere to literally every single thing on this list, because I can't see how that would be possible, especially as multiple things are contradictory. But it's nothing particularly out of the ordinary. They want to increase the number of non-white people, women, LGBT people, and disabled people shown in sci-fi, which is an admirable goal. I have no problem with that, and I actually think it is a good idea, since I've read enough sci-fi that is basically “White Dude Saves Aliens And Fucks Alien Lady” that it's getting old. More diversity could lead to more interesting stories.

Where it goes batshit insane is where they say they want to increase representation of psychics, otherkin, otakukin, real-life vampires, and people with magical powers. And they are 100% serious about this- they really mean what they're saying.

For those of you who don't know, otherkin are people who believe they are animals trapped in a person's body. To me they largely come off as either kids goofing around, or people with some severe issues. A small subset of them treat it as a sort of religion, which I guess I can understand, since there are plenty of religions out there that come off as equally odd to me. Where it starts to become a problem is when adherents to this demand that people recognize their “true inner wolf” and demand that people stop sitting on their imaginary tail. Overall, though, they tend to be mostly harmless, but they're hardly a group that needs special representation. People who think they are wolves aren't... exactly what I would expect an organization focused on social justice to pay attention to.

Where it gets even weirder is the otakukin or fictionkin. Otakukin are people who quite literally believe that they are anime characters. If I was to identify as Higurashi Kagome from Inuyasha, I would be an otakukin. Fictionkin are the umbrella-type of otakukin, meaning people who think they are fictional characters of any type. A guy thinking he is Harry Potter would be a fictionkin.

The whole submission guidelines are a mix of understandable, if somewhat shortsighted (seeing as they are a science fiction publishing company) rules, and utter WTF-ery. No stories about aliens or giant bugs taking over the world? That's like half of sci-fi right there! No stories where mutants are oppressed? Guess the X-Men are out now. No sexbots, no blonde people, no clones, no zombies, no apocalypses in general, no aliens, especially no fat aliens or aliens that are very different from humans, but you also can't base your aliens on people... what the hell are you supposed to write about for your sci-fi? That's like 90% of sci-fi right there. And with the otherkin/fictionkin, psychics, and vampires included, I can't help but wonder- who exactly are they trying to market this to? People who hate sci-fi? Psychiatrists? Actual aliens? I don't know, and canno imagine anyone actually being able to write anything that fits to their exacting standards, especially any science fiction.

Dec. 12th, 2013

My New Pen

For a long time, I've been intrigued by fountain pens. They look so complicated, but they're so pretty. They have such a wide variety of ink colors that aren't necessarily reproduceable in the gel ink pens I usually use for writing various things, and I've always wanted to try using one. I bought a really cheap disposable one at the art store once, but it leaked all over the place and ended up ruining both my pen case and my clothes. So I've put off buying a real one for a while, because I'm nervous about how it would work out. The nib was also really broad and wrote widely on that pen, and because my handwriting is so small, really trying to write with anything bigger than a 0.7 mm line makes it illegible. I wasn't sure how wide most fountain pens wrote, and if I bought an expensive one, I would like to be able to use it and actually read whatever I had written.

Well, last week I finally bit the bullet and ordered a Sailor Clear Candy Milk Coffee fountain pen, medium fine nib. So far, I like it a lot, although I do wish the tip was a bit thinner. I would estimate it to be about equivalent to a 0.6/0.7 mm line, about the threshold for readability for my handwriting. I also bought a bottle of J. Herbin ink, although I haven't used it yet, I'm going to finish the cartridge of black ink that the pen came with first. Of course, in order to use the ink bottle, I had to get a ink converter too.

I can see how writing with fountain pens could be a very expensive hobby. The pen itself was $16.00, which was on the cheap end for fountain pens- I've seen pens for sale upwards of $200 at the fancy stationery shop in my city. The converter was $8.25, and the ink was $9.00. However, I've also done a lot of research, and the fountain pen may be more economical in the long run. I have a problem with hoarding office supplies, but even though I hoard them I end up buying more gel ink pens every few months because I go through them so quickly. I handwrite drafts of my fics, so I use a lot of ink. From what I understand, one bottle of ink for a fountain pen can last six months to a year, so I wouldn't have to buy pens as often, and they really do come in lovely subtle colors.

Of course, this doesn't mean I won't use my old pens anymore. I do get bored writing with only one color, and I don't think I'd want to have to clean my converter every few days to switch the ink color.

Pictures will be forthcoming in a few days- I can't find my camera at the moment and my cell phone doesn't do the pen justice.

Oct. 15th, 2013

I Ate The Textbook

We need to have a bit of a talk, folks.

If you want people to read your fics and fandom essays, you need to make them actually readable to the majority of the population. And I'm not talking weird-ass fonts and bright-ass colors, I'm talking about the language that you use itself.

While I was working on the fic rec for this month, over the past few days I've come across what feels like a ton of fics that are filled with highly specialized terminology and concepts that are not accessible to anyone who's not in sociology or gender studies or whatever. No one is saying that you have to dumb down your language to the level of the Cat in the Hat, but it is very frustrating to have to constantly Google words because you don't know what they mean. The other day, one of the fics I was reading included a reference to “kyriarchical oppressions.” I have no idea if I spelled that right, either, because it's not a word, according to spell-checker. I... wasn't sure what that meant, so I looked it up. The word “kyriarchical” apparently is highly specialized terminology used in academic circles, especially in sociology, gender and women's studies, that sort of discipline. Which is great! If you're interested in that, go nuts! Use all the bigass words you want!

But if you're putting things out there for public consumption, you really need to tone down the jargon a bit if you want to be understood. If I'm trying to explain something about computers to people, I don't ramble on and on about bootstrapping and the BIOS and bash shells and technical jargon that they likely wouldn't understand. I'd say something like “the thing that makes your computer turn on.” Because unless you have a very good understanding of computers or have studied IT or comp sci, most people just go “huh?” when you throw the jargon at them.

Also, consider the platform. I have no doubt that there are probably people out there that want to read a dissertation in fic form. I don't. I'm not everyone, but I think a lot of casual readers will not want to read that. I have always found that sort of thing boring and tiresome, but again, it's a free Internet and you can write what you want. But if you want to appeal to a larger group, you should probably tone it down. I especially do not want to read thinly veiled diatribes about why something is “problematic” when I was expecting fanfiction.

Maybe I'm the one that needs to get over it. But I can't help but feel a bit awkward when I click on something that looks interesting only to get a barely-comprehensible screed that sounds like someone swallowed the sociology textbook.

Aug. 26th, 2013

The Reccing Process

Okay, so I know that probably no one cares about how I create the fic recs each month, but last night I was getting started on the September rec list, and I actually started thinking about what my process is. This post is mainly for me to sort my thoughts out and potentially come up with a better system, because at the moment it's a bit disjointed, but I thought that some readers might be interested in how I decide what to recommend. Sorry if this is long and boring, but again, this is mainly for myself and anyone who might potentially be interested.

First, I tend to spend a lot of time sitting around in various places. When I was still working in the shop I used to work at, there would sometimes be long waits in between customers coming in, and if I'd finished all of my other work, I literally had nothing to do except sit around until someone came in. So I would often download fics onto my phone while I was at home to read while I was at work- that's where a lot of the long multichapter fics came from. The shorter oneshots I would read at home or while I was waiting in an area with Internet, like while I was waiting for classes to start. Sometimes I would read things directly on the computer.

If a downloaded fic was one that I decided I wanted to rec, I would have to go back when I got to the computer and find it again. Sometimes I would email the link to myself from the phone, but that didn't always work correctly. So I would have to go back and find the fic. If I could not locate it, I would write down the title and attempt to find it later- sometimes I didn't find it until after that month's rec had been posted, so I would just put it onto the next month's. Fic I read while I was at the computer was easier to add to the list, since I was sitting right there.

As for what I choose to rec: unless it's a specific themed rec, I try to get a pretty good mix of fandoms and storylines on the list. I tend to prefer slash and gen fic, but I occasionally like a het or femslash fic enough to put it on the list. I also try to mix up the archive locations as much as possible, to get the maximum amount of exposure for the fics I like. Unfortunately it doesn't always work out that way, where I end up reading mostly on AO3 that month, or there just weren't any off of the main archive sites that I liked enough to want to put on my list. I do attempt to put fics from at least three different sites on each rec, but again, that doesn't always end up panning out.

Next come the content notes: in some ways, I'm kind of uncomfortable with specifying content notes, because of the whole trigger warning debacle. 9 of 10 times, I don't know the writer's thoughts on that matter, and if they are of the “I never warn for anything” persuasion I don't want to upset them, and I understand their thought process, since it really is kind of an ugly debate. But at the same time, I don't want anyone going into a fic blind, and reading something that might upset them. I don't want them to be upset in the first place, since it's meant to be fun, but I also don't want to accidentally unleash an Internet war where the commentor attacks the writer. I don't want to cause too much controversy with the fic rec, because it's literally a list of fics I read and enjoyed. But given the volatile nature of some segments of fandom, that might not always be possible. To find a happy medium, I've decided to use content notes- it is a way for people to find out if there's anything that might be upsetting in the story, but in a way that I hope is less controversial than using “warnings.”

This year I haven't really done any themed fic recs, although I am definitely planning to do a Christmas one. If I have a themed rec planned, I start adding fics that fit the theme to the list three or so months beforehand. A normal rec, I start adding to after the last one was posted, but for a themed one, it's more common that I don't read as many fics that would fit it in one month, so I give myself three. The Christmas rec, I start collecting for around June, because I do usually try to make it a bit longer than the standard monthly list. This year, however, I haven't really found too many Christmas-themed fics I liked, other than one multichapter that finished sometime in May, so that's been waiting in the wings. Also, the Internet connectivity issues I experienced while in Japan put a damper on that somewhat.

So, that's the bare-bones reccing process. It can get a bit more complicated than that, especially if there's a fic that I'm not sure whether or not I want to rec, but that's a post for another day.

Aug. 10th, 2013

Letter To A Younger Fic Writer

And yes, I'm aware of how pretentious this is, but after seeing a high school freshman get excoriated for the unbearable sin of writing a less-than-politically-correct fic, I couldn't help myself.

To the attackers- people, back the fuck off. That fourteen-year-old who you just tore apart for putting a supposedly gay historical dude in a straight relationship, in the background of a fic set in a historical canon? Congratulations on making your side look bad. Seriously? I don't know the sexual orientation of every single historical dude out there, and if the situation made sense for the plot (which it did, according to you), then what's your problem? It's not like the historical dude is going to sue, he's been dead since 18-whatever. Especially since I went to Wikipedia and looked up the guy in question- he was married to a woman (granted, it was a very brief marriage, but he was still married to a woman, which shoots some holes in your argument right there). And what you, as adults, consider to be “common knowledge” might not actually be common knowledge to anyone younger than your demographic group, or outside of your chosen profession. I don't expect everyone to know what a Linux kernel or bash shell is, because that's just not reasonable.

Also, seriously? Picking on a kid? Didn't your momma ever teach you to pick on someone your own size?

To the kid- I know it sucks, starting out writing in today's hyper-sensitive environment. By the way, your story was very impressive- much better than anything I could have ever hoped to have written when I was your age. But, there is one thing you need to be aware of- today's fandom climate, especially in certain fandoms, is sort of like a pack(?) of piranhas. They will eat you alive if you do something that they determine to be against the collective. It's a tricky situation to be in, especially if you post your work on tumblr- which you do. To be honest, that's probably why they found you in the first place. Tumblr is a fascinating website and it can be a lot of fun, but there's some definite problems there. The site's format makes it very easy for one person to take offense to something, and then broadcast it to a lot of like-minded people. I will bet my paycheck for the next six months that's what happened. My advice to you? Get off tumblr, or at least don't put your fic there. Move it to AO3 or FF.net. I would advise avoiding LJ/Dreamwidth fandom communities, though, because the same sorts of people that like to lurk around on tumblr lurk around there, as well.

However, and I do kind of hate to say this, it might be simpler for you if you do a bit more research next time. Yes, I know the guy in question was married to a woman for a while, but people get extremely touchy about this sort of thing. And with good reason, in a lot of cases. No, I'm not saying that this time was good reason, but now that you've seen what they'll do, I hope you'll take that into consideration in the future. I'm not trying to discourage you from writing, but these people can be absolutely fucking vicious. I've seen people lose their real life jobs because they pissed off the wrong person. I cannot stress enough how important that is. You are young, but you won't be in high school forever, and people do carry grudges. I feel really bad telling you this, because the last thing I want to do is discourage you, but maybe in the future avoid writing romances with actual historical people in them. I know, the guy's been dead for over a hundred years, but he was still an actual guy, you know?Just watch your step in the future. Again, I'm not saying this to scare or discourage you, but I also don't want to see you get drowned in an endless sea of rage.

I really feel sorry for younger fic writers just starting out. Back in my day, we wrote whatever the hell we wanted and no one gave one good goddamn about what we wrote, unless it was a Mary Sue. Today, it must be a minefield for someone just starting out.

(Note: I am turning comments off on this, and no, I will not be providing a link to anything. The writer has gotten enough shit already, the last thing I want is to direct more haters at them, or for them to somehow stumble across this and see even more hate)

Jun. 1st, 2013

Wow...

I have been involved in fandom since... oh, maybe fifth grade or so? But even though it's been a long time, almost a decade now, I was never involved in anything as bugfuck crazy as what I found out about what happened in old Harry Potter fandom.

Seriously, this is like a television drama or a movie in the way it's so... batshit. The MsScribe story is a fascinating look into Harry Potter fandom's history, including the absolute lunacy of some of it's big name fans back in the early 2000s. The whole thing started over a fight about pairings, and whose pairing was going to become canon. Let me just say that i've never been more relieved to be primarily a slash fan then I have as I read this account. Stalking, angry emails, hacker attacks, threats of litigation.. apparently fandom was serious business back in the day, enough so that people were willing to cause real-life harm to the people who they were arguing with.

And then MsScribe showed up and things got really, really weird. Even as I read this I can't help but wonder about this woman's state of mind. It's generally accepted that she was an extremely dedicated troll, but holy shit, I can't imagine keeping up a troll persona for years. Maybe I'm just lazy, but dear god. Someone should make this into a television drama, I would watch the hell out of it. It's like Gossip Girl, only with a whole bunch of grown-ass adults that should know better than to behave like a bunch of bratty kids. For something spawned from a group called “Harry Potter for Grown-Ups” it seems woefully lacking in, well, grown-ups.

Just... wow. Even if you're not really interested in fandom, this is worth reading. All of this happened before my time, but it's a useful cautionary tale for what happens when things get out of control in fandom. I have, unfortunately, seen some of the fandoms I like to read in starting to go down the wank path (although not so much with regards to pairings), and given the current climate on some of the more popular websites, I have a feeling that we could end up with MsScribe 2.0 on our hands here if we're not careful. Already I've seen some things happening with the vaporware video game project that shall not be named.

Anyway. They say that those who don't understand history are doomed to repeat it, and I am a bit frightened that such a thing may be happening again, only with less ship wars and more politics.

May. 17th, 2013

Caveat Lector

I cannot believe I am diving into this cesspit once again, but it's really getting on my damn nerves, and I even use them on my fanfiction most of the time. I am, of course, talking about trigger warnings.

Generally, I will put the warnings on my fics, mainly because I know several people with PTSD who enjoy fandom, and I don't particularly want to send them into a flashback. If someone asks me to put up a warning on something, 9 of 10 times I will if you're not being a twat about it. The other time is probably because I just don't think it's necessary or graphic enough for it, and that's only in extreme situations. I once had someone ask me to put a trigger warning on a goofy- G-rated Akatsuki fic I wrote in high school. I don't remember what they wanted me to warn for, but I do remember it was pretty ridiculous, considering that fic was probably the most “clean” thing I've ever written/..

But anyway.

I know that the warnings fight has been going on for a while, but I thought that it had finally settled down with people acknowledging that there are writers who, for whatever reason, refuse to use the warnings or dislike them for other reasons. It is common for them to use the “choose not to warn” option. I thought that was universally accepted as the compromise. People who either have PTSD-related triggers, squicks, or are just easily butthurt, can avoid the fics that say “choose not to warn,” and people who don't really care can just click on whatever they want. It's been like that since around, oh, I don't know, 2009 or so. Back when I was a tiny little Kaboomlet just getting into fandom, there wasn't such a thing as “warnings.” It was considered polite to warn if your story contained non-con or graphic violence, but that was it.

These days there's a laundry list of warnings that certain people expect. I'm not going to name names or post links, but there's a certain fic meme out there on LJ that has gone completely overboard on the required warnings. Last time I counted there were 31 things you were required to warn for, which ranged from the fairly clear-cut “graphic violence” and “non-con” to things as vague and subjective as “sexism.” How in the hat are you supposed to warn for “sexism?” I mean, I understand the concept behind it, but when you have people out there whose definition is “having a character use the word 'bitch' in passing, even if it's canonical,” where do you draw the line? I'm sorry, but I'm not going to use a warning for one fucking word in my fic, one that's not even all that foul. MAYBE if I was going to drop some specific words I would use a warning, but for something like “bitch” or “crazy?” Hell no. That is also the sort of thing that “choose not to warn” can help to avoid. If you are not sure exactly whether or not your story contains things that could reasonably upset a reasonable person (and I'm using that phrase very loosely, because anyone who goes bonkers over in-character use of swear-words is not a particularly reasonable person), using “choose not to warn” helps.

But now, apparently that's not enough. Every single paragraph, every single sentence, has to be analyzed with a fine-tooth comb looking for potentially upsetting material. And that's just not on. If you're that sensitive, I sincerely and honestly encourage you to seek help, because that's not healthy. If you're on that much of a hairtrigger, there's something very wrong there and you need to get help, because you're not going to be able to function in life.

I will continue to do as I have always been doing, but seriously- if you ask me to put a warning on my work for something stupid, or if you complain if I choose not to warn, I am probably just going to laugh at you, and no, I don't feel too bad about it. You're the one asking me to label my work for minor things.

I would like to stress, however, that if I do forget a warning for something like graphic violence or non-con and you point it out to me, I will fix it as soon as I can. Because believe it or not, I'm not that much of an asshole, really. What I mean by the above statement is if you want me to put in warnings for swear words or snarky commentary that's 100% in character.

Apr. 9th, 2013

Weasel Story has been translated too!

Anthi.Chau from Fanfiction.net translated my old Naruto fanfiction Taffy into Vietnamese a few weeks ago. She has also translated one of the very first fanfictions I ever wrote, Weasel Story! I'm really honored that she has taken the time out of her day to translate my work, especially work that was written so long ago- it's almost a bit embarassing, that my work is getting shared with a global audience now- there's so many other wonderful stories out there, it's really a huge ego boost that a talented translator has chosen my stuff.

Go read it here!

Apr. 4th, 2013

Read Taffy in Vietnamese!

Anthi.Chau from Fanfiction.net translated my old Naruto fanfiction, Taffy, into Vietnamese! Anyone who's curious can check it out here!

Thanks so much for the translation!

Nov. 28th, 2012

Fic Update

Since I've been having some questions about when I'll be next updating my fanfiction, I've decided to do this post to hopefully clear some things up. This schedule could change and it is not set in stone, though, so do be aware of that.

Partisanship: this is the one I've been getting the most questions on. Yes, I said I would update again in November a few months ago, and I've done everything I could to keep to that schedule. Unfortunately real life decided to get extremely complicated over the past couple of weeks, and I'm still working on the chapter. I'd estimate I'm about 80% done with the chapter at the moment, and it will be up by next Saturday (12.8.2012) come hell or high water. There are only two more chapters in the entire story (including the one I'm working on now), and I intend to complete it before 2013, assuming the world doesn't end.

The Donors: I'm working on it. Expect the next chapter in mid-December, and a special holiday bonus story before Christmas.

Syntax Error That Launched a Thousand Ships: On hiatus. Probably will be picked up again once I've completed The Donors.

Oct. 24th, 2012

DON'T TELL ME WHAT TO DO!

Today's post is yet another semi-political rant, but it's quite a bit less serious than the last few. If anyone actually thinks this is a pressing issue, then I honestly don't know what to say to them other than that their priorities are kind of messed up. Fuck the economy, we've got PEOPLE WHO SHIP THINGS I DON'T LIKE to deal with!

Apparently, your shipping preferences are political now. If you prefer slash to het or femslash, you're a tool of the patriarchy and a misogynist and probably also homophobic.

I recently read an article written by a woman who claims that anyone who writes and reads slash fanfiction is misogynist, furthering the patriarchy, and also probably homophobic. Her rationale for this? Well, the misogynist thing she gave a few weak-ass examples of fan writers erasing women from the equation. Which, okay, fine, might happen sometimes. But that is an awfully broad brush you're painting with there. In fact, I don't think it's a brush at all anymore, it's more of a paint roller. Okay, so a couple of nearly decade-old Harry Potter fanfics demonized Ginny to make room for Harry/Draco. Have you read all the fanfiction ever? If not, how are you able to make the judgment that every single slash fic is like this? I'm sure there are some that are. I've even seen some myself. But to go from “some slash fics are offensive” to “every single slash fic in the history of the universe is offensive” is a hell of a logical leap.

As for the whole “slash fic is homophobic” thing, there was no evidence for this other than “cuz I said so!” I do not doubt that it is the case with some stories, but again, how can you state that every single story is like that?

Oh man, I really wish I could give a link for this, the article and its comments section were like a buffet of WTF. Unfortunately Firefox crashed and purged my browsing history and I've been unable to find the article again. If I do I will update this post accordingly.

Sep. 20th, 2012

I honestly have no words...

OK, you know what? If you're going to send a writer hate mail because one of their stories is “offensive,” don't use your university email account. Some dumbass (who I will not name, because I'm better than that) apparently thought it was a good idea to bitch at me about my My Little Pony story The Donors about how offensive it was. Never mind that I actually did put warnings on it that it deals with some themes of domestic violence, as well containing some more philosophical discussions on the morality of genetic engineering/IVF as well as some graphic depictions of violence. No, obviously my story is misogynist because a character gets pregnant (by her own free will, I will note, considering she sought fertility treatments) and another character was the survivor of domestic violence. Never mind that it is pretty fucking obvious from my story that domestic violence is a bad thing. Never mind that the character that gets pregnant was actively trying to get pregnant. What the fuck, seriously. Also, telling me that my writing was “typical male tripe?” Uh... well... it's not like I usually run around announcing it, but I also don't exactly make an effort to cover up the fact that I'm a woman. So unless I am actually one of those fish that can spontaneously change gender at will, you calling me a man is really pointless and just shows how stupid you actually are.

Also, can I just reiterate how fucking stupid it was for you to send me that email from your university email account? Way to reveal your identity while being a complete twat. I'm not going to actually do anything with it, but seriously? Way to be a moron. You've also been added to my list of known spammers, so any more messages you send to me will be automatically deleted.

Honestly, I'm still kind of in shock that this happened. Haters gonna hate and whatnot, but what the fuck. If you're gonna complain, at least make your complaint make sense.

Sep. 18th, 2012

Semantic Saturation

Have you ever read a word or said a word so much that it stops sounding like an actual word? Word word word word word word wor-duh word. It loses all meaning to you after a while, and it takes some time for your brain to reset so that you can actually make sense of WTF you're trying to read. This phenomenon is called semantic saturation, and it is surprisingly common. Since the semester started, I've been going to my classes, and there's a few words and phrases that have been repeated so much that they no longer make a bit of sense.

Normalize the metrics: Last night, I went to my global information technology class, and the professor spent the entire three hours talking about things like GDP, percent growth, and income per capita. That would be bad enough on its own, but every other word out of his mouth was about how you have to “normalize the metrics.” Ostensibly, he was talking about how, if you're comparing the GDP of two different countries, you need to divide the GDP by the number of people to get the correct comparison, because while a country like China has a larger GDP than the United States, people in the United States generally tend to have more money as individuals. At least, I'm pretty sure that's what he was saying... after about the fifteenth time he said “normalize the metrics” my brain turned into mush.

Acronyms in general:
there's a saying in the IT department, as well as in politics: when you start spekaing more acronyms than English, you know you're either in politics or computing. And it's pretty true. Earlier today I was doing my telecom homework and it hit me that I didn't know what the fuck half of the acronyms I was using stood for. There's the obvious ones, like Wi-Fi (wireless fidelity) and coax (coaxial cable), but then there's ones that while I knew what they technically related to, I didn't know what they actually stood for. I knew EMI is something you don't want in your network (it actually stands for Electro-Magnetic Interference), and PSTN/POTS had to do with phones (Public Switched Telephone Network/Plain Old Telephone System). But then, it's like, dafuq is a ADC? It actually stands for Analog to Digital Converter, but after a while, you stop seeing that and instead only see the nonsense letter.

Mansplaining: I fucking hate this word in general, it's not even a word, and I used to think it was exclusively used by lesbian separatists and fourteen-year-old wannabe intellectuals on tumblr, but after I started taking an English class on politics in literature, I learned that is not the case. There is a girl in my class who, if anyone dares to disagree with her interpretation of the book, will start whining about sexism and how men never let women have anything to say. This is one of her favorite words, and now every time I hear it, it's like nails on a chalkboard for me. It also lost any meaning whatsoever when the girl in question accused another girl of “mansplaining.” Bitch, do I need to take my pants off an show you my hoo-hah if I want to disagree with you or something? ARGH.

Moist: This has never actually looked like a real word to me. Sorry.

Jul. 15th, 2012

A Small Observation

Can I just say that political correctness policing amateur written erotica is fucking ridiculous? I mean, what are you expecting? Shakespeare? Honestly.

Jun. 2nd, 2012

Diction

One of the things I like about writing is choosing the correct words to convey the mood I want to set. English is such a rich language- we have so many words that technically mean the same thing, yet convey a different nuance. There are also words that have similar meanings, but have a different weight to them. No one is going to argue that “despondent” means exactly the same thing as “sad,” even though the words are synonyms, and despondent technically does mean “sad.”

Another interesting thing about our language is that words can change meaning over time. The word “peculiar,” for instance, used to just mean “unique.” Now? If you describe something as peculiar, odds are that you're trying to say that it's weird. Another example of this phenomenon is the word “awesome.” That word used to mean that something was impressive, awe-inspiring, maybe even a bit daunting- “the awesome power of the new super-weapon.” While the older meaning is still sometimes used, more often than not, if you hear someone using the word “awesome,” it's in the context of “that new roller-coaster was freakin' awesome!”

Alternately, words that used to be innocuous can also change meaning over time into something offensive. I'm not going to spend too long explaining this, because I think that by now everyone knows that there are some words that you just shouldn't use, even if they weren't originally meant to be offensive. I will never forget the day my ninth-grade debate teacher went off on a classmate for calling someone else a “faggot.” She basically yelled at him that one, he was being a little shit in the first place, and two, he was calling the other kid a bundle of sticks. The term “retarded” also used to be a medical term, used to describe someone with intellectual disabilities, but everyone knows what it usually means now.

Yet, even with that, sometimes these offensive words can mean totally different things in different contexts. The Douglas informs me that in Scotland, a “faggot” is a kind of pork meatball. Also in the UK, “fag” means a cigarette. But again, my intention with this post isn't to discuss the offensiveness of words that most people know are offensive, or even to explain that there are words that might be offensive in one context that aren't offensive in others.

The point I'm getting at is this- when I am writing, I carefully select the words I want to use to paint the picture I want to paint. And I don't really give a flying fuck whether or not you think my word choice is offensive. Because guess what? Sometimes, you want to shock the reader into going “WTF!” at your words. It creates a greater emotional impact that way. And really, who wants to read a story that's just a bunch of emotionless mush? Our daily life as people isn't always perfectly inoffensive. Sometimes, you need that word that has the punch to get your point across, even if it might offend someone.

There have been plenty of incidents where I've seen certain people get upset at a writer for using words in their story or comic that they find offensive. One of the most egregious examples of this was when a writer wrote a heated argument between a married couple. One of the things that sparked the fight was the husband thought that his wife was cheating on him. One of the things that the husband said in his rage was “my mother always told me you were a slut, I should have listened to her!” This person jumped on the writer for that, saying that she was a horrible sexist monster for including that in her story. Never mind the fact that one, it was a fictional event, two, it was an argument (in my experience, when you're in an argument, the last thing you really care about is avoiding hurting the other person's feelings), and three, it wasn't like the wife in the story was really any better- she was giving back as good as she got. The writer's reaction was basically along the lines of “WTF!? Yeah, he's insulting her because he is angry.” The complainant's response was “well I'm glad a lesbian if that's what a man says to a woman he's upset with!”

Uh. Do you even understand the concept of anger?

For that matter, do you even understand the concept of fiction?

A fake dude calling a fake woman a slut in a story doesn't necessarily mean that the writer thinks the fake woman is a slut. People write stories about things they don't agree with all the time. Do you really think the writers of Law and Order think murdering, raping, and torturing people is OK? Do you think Harper Lee wrote To Kill A Mockingbird because she thought racism was alright? If you think that, then I honestly don't know what else to say to you. You kind of missed the entire point. Fiction is fiction. There are bad people in fiction, there are good people in fiction, and there are gray areas. Like with real people. There are good people, bad people, and people that fall somewhere in the middle. Most of humanity falls somewhere in the middle. We've all said things we regret, things we didn't actually mean in anger... why can't we write about that same thing in our fiction?

I would hate to live in a world where every single little thing had to be perfectly politically correct. That would be boring. Who wants to watch movies or read books with no conflict?

May. 10th, 2012

Help! I'm being nibbled to death by weasels!

Some people get plot bunnies. I get plot weasels.

It's kind of a long story and it stems from an inside joke with my friends back in high school, but suffice to say, when I get ideas for fics, my brain becomes overrun with very annoying weasels which nibble on my brain until I finally give in and write what they're telling me to write. They also make me crave donuts. I'm not sure why, but usually when I get in a writing mood, I really, really want to eat some donuts.

Over the past week I've written about 10k words for fic, and I'm still not done. I thought if I wrote one thing it would be enough to satiate the weasels, but apparently not. And now I have exams to worry about over the next couple of days, but how the fuck am I supposed to take exams when my brain is full of weasels! I'm pretty sure I can't write on my Internet Security exam that XYZ fandom stuff is the reason for hackers, and also weasels. Although considering that professor is crazier than a hat full of cats, it might actually work. And I can't write fic on my Japanese exam- for one, I don't know enough kanji to properly write a fic in that language, and two, I don't want to traumatize my professor.

And it's really hard to go to work when all I want to do is write! Have you ever tried to focus on work, on customer service, when your brain is being chewed on by imaginary varmints? It doesn't work so well!

AAARGH. SOMEONE KICK ME.

Mar. 13th, 2012

Fanfiction, Writing, and Omnific Publishing

I write fanfiction.

It's not exactly something I'm ashamed of, although if you asked me in real life and I didn't know you all that well, I would probably deny it. It's not because I'm ashamed of my “goofy-ass hobby” (to paraphrase someone on Fandom!Secrets a while back), it's because to be honest, it really is just a hobby for me. It's something I do for the lulz and to exercise my creative side (in my current line of work, and what I'm going into once I get a degree, there's really not a lot of freedom to be creative). And depending on what the hypothetical relationship between us is, I might have other reasons for denying it. I'm not about to tell my boss or my coworkers about my hobbies- that's none of their concern, and besides, I know them well enough to know that they probably wouldn't approve. Since it's not something I make income on, it's just a way for me to blow off steam, I don't really feel like anyone but me needs to know about it.

I am not delusional, I know I'm not going to make tons of money if I just decided to write something original. And, if I may be blunt, I don't really want to publish my original fiction- most of it I don't even publish online at all. To me, my original fiction is more personal, and a lot of it I wrote during more difficult times in my life, and the content really kind of reflects that.

But this is just my own personal opinion. I know that plenty of people write fanfiction to practice to get better with their original fiction, because their end goal is to become a published writer. That is perfectly fine. I am not the Grand High Poohbah of Other People's Business. If your end-goal is to become a published writer, more power to ya. In fact, let me know if you do get something published so I can read it- I like to read good books. If your whole purpose for writing is just for fun, that's great too- welcome to the club. I don't even mind if you enter your fic in a charity auction (like Fandom Helps- last March they did an auction for tsunami relief in Japan)- that's a good way to get fic you want AND to help out people in need. Even though the legality of it is a bit questionable, it's not like anyone other than a complete psychopathic copyright lawyer would care that money was made on fanworks, especially since the writer doesn't get to keep any of the money they make.

What I do have a problem with is repackaging fanfiction to be sold as original fiction, with a few minor tweaks.

I am not talking about official licensed tie-ins. My father has about ninety billion sci-fi books based on Star Trek in the house, using Star Trek characters. All of these books were approved by the official franchise, even though technically a lot of them started out as fanfiction.

What I am talking about is things like Omnific Publishing. At first blush it appears to be your standard self-publishing company- there's a lot of those, you can even do it with Amazon. And from my experience a lot of self-published books tend to be utter crap (there's a reason major publishers like Simon&Shuster and Penguin Books make you get an editor), there are some really good ones out there. So what's the problem? Yeah, they might come up with some lousy books, but then again, that's par for the course in self-publishing, as well as mainstream publishing. I've read terrible self-published books, and I've read terrible mainstream published books. One more self-publishing company isn't spelling the END OF BOOKS AS WE KNOW THEM.

But if you do a little digging online you find that this company got its start professionally publishing fanfiction. (Please note that the above links are all to different social media sites- JournalFen, Livejournal, and Absolute Write, and include information from anons, so not everything may be entirely correct). Which is basically putting a big sign up over your stuff that says “SUE US PLEASE.”

I really dislike how certain individuals and organizations go overboard with regards to copyright infringement. The RIAA once tried to sue LimeWire for more money than exists in the world (several trillion, the worldwide GDP is about $1.4 trillion [USD]). People writing fanfiction is not going to cause the Apocalypse. But even I recognize that there are some things that are over the line, and mooching someone's intellectual property, messing with it a bit, and then trying to claim it as your own is dodgy, to say the least. At my university, if you try to do that with regards to academic work, you literally get put on trial in front of the Honor Society, and if you're found guilty, they'll expel you.

Honestly, though, I don't really care if a few arrogant fangirls get smacked down with copyright law for trying to make money on their fanfiction. What worries me about this is that this could potentially bring fanfiction into the mainstream public eye. I'm not saying that to sound like hipster, either- it could cause serious problems for people who just want to play in the sandbox for their own entertainment, so to speak. I write a lot of fanfiction, and I do it for fun, because I love the worlds and characters. I'm not trying to make money off of it, and neither is anyone else I know who writes fanfiction. But considering what's happened in the past when butthurt people get wind of stuff like this (see:SOPA), I have a feeling that this could eventually blow up into a clusterfuck of epic proportions, culminating in some seriously damaging lawsuits. And then those of us who just want to do our hobby in peace could find ourselves in some expensive legal trouble.

It sets a dangerous precedent, I think. If the enemies of free speech and expression can make a convincing case for “hey look, these people are stealing shit and making money on it,” we could eventually start to lose more and more rights, and what we'd taken for granted since the Internet's inception could come crashing down around us.

I am not saying this to be a doomsayer or a conspiracy theorist. I'm just saying that you might want to keep an eye on this sort of thing, and take steps to protect yourself. All I'll say here is that it might be a good idea to back your stuff up and make sure everything is disclaimed to infinity and beyond. It probably wouldn't protect you in a court of law, but it might offer some measure of security for a time.

Mar. 6th, 2012

Things I've Realized Writing Partisanship

When I set out to write a Hetalia political satire nearly two years ago now, I knew I was basically putting a big target on myself and yelling “COME AT ME BRO.” While it hasn’t set off any major shitstorms (yet, anyway, I probably won’t complete the fic until after the Presidential elections this year), I have noticed that people tend to have certain reactions to it depending on their own political views. This is by no means an attack on anyone, just my own observations.

More conservative readers generally realize right off the bat that I’m not actually serious with most of what I write in that story, and they get that it’s meant to be for the lulz. They generally do pick up on the jokes. However, they are a bit more likely than a more liberal reader to take offense at the jokes about them and their politicians. Sarah Palin supporters, in particular, really seem to get butthurt over the way I’ve portrayed her in the fic.

More liberal readers, however, aren’t always as quick to realize that I’m not serious with most of this fic. I’ve had people message me enraged because I dared to include the conservative politicians in a humorous light (you would not believe the rage I got for the Republican primary chapters). But once they do realize that the story is meant as a joke, they seem to take it better when I poke at them and their politicians.

I knew when I started this story it had the potential to get kinda hairy, and overall, I’ve been pleasantly surprised. The vast majority of readers have understood what I’m trying to get at with that fic, and not taken everything I write in there as my gospel truth views. For which I am grateful. But sometimes I think that if I had put it on LJ instead of FFNet and AO3 I might have gotten a very different reaction, due to the dramatically different culture of those sites. It’s an interesting thought, realizing that you can get seriously different results depending on where you post your work.

Nov. 15th, 2011

Introducing...

Oh god how did this get here?, a tumblr account used to feature funny pictures and, again, yet more writing. Most of the writing content will be posted either here or on LJ as well, but the images and videos will not be. Follow me if you feel like it!
Tags: ,

Sep. 7th, 2011

Pens!

It shouldn't come as too much of a surprise to anyone that I love to write. And very often, I prefer to do my fanfiction writing by hand for the first draft, because I feel like it gives me a chance to think things through better, and really decide on what I want to put down on paper. I also do a lot of handwriting for classes, like for taking notes and such. And because of that, I have a bit of an addiction to pens- if I see them for sale I'll buy them, often to the detriment of my finances. I especially like Korean and Japanese pens, because they tend to come with finer points, and my handwriting is so small (and messy!) that if I use a pen with a thicker point, it becomes near-illegible. So I'm always on the lookout for places to buy pens from, so that I can add to my ever-growing collection of writing implements. I also collect mechanical pencils, and I'll have to do a feature on them sometime soon, but today, it's all about my new pens.

Anyway, I discovered a website called Jetpens. I'm a little wary of using online retailers, because shipping is expensive, and goddammit I'll be pissed if my shit doesn't ever show up. But through some Googling, I found out that Jetpens is very reliable and is accredited by the Better Business Bureau, so I decided to buy a few things from there. They showed up in record time, shipping a day and a half after I placed the order and showing up in my mailbox a day later, even though they would have had to travel across the country to get from Jetpens headquarters to my room. I bought the following:

Dong-A Miffy gel pen set- 10 colors, 0.5 mm (and yes, that is my thumb in the bottom left corner of the photo)

Dong-A Miffy gel pen set

Zebra Pticolon pen set- 8 colors, 0.8 mm

Zebra Pticolon pen set

They're wonderful. They're scented pens, and they smell so good (both sets). They're a real pleasure to write with, and it's so easy to do business with the company that I will definitely be using them again. In fact, I just placed another order yesterday, for some mechanical pencils in the hard-to-find 0.3 mm lead size, and a few more fun pens.
Tags: ,

Previous 20