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21 July 2012 @ 07:49 pm
Loving the Spacetoaster  
The other night, Best Beloved and I were reading before sleeping, as is the custom of our people, and I had to take a break from the story. In the days when I did most of my fan fiction reading on a computer, that meant just switching to another tab. But now I do most of it on my Kindle, and I can't switch in and out as quickly. (On the other hand, it's way easier to read fan fiction before bed.) So for short breaks, I just kind of - look away from the screen. Which is what I did.

"What?" BB said, looking up from her own Kindle.

"It's getting gross," I told her. I may have sounded a trifle grim when I said it.

There was a pause as she tried to figure out if she wanted to know, and decided she probably didn't, and then realized she couldn't stop herself from asking anyway. (This is, by the way, self-destructive curiosity. Normally I'm the one who has it. Not this time.) "Like - blood?" she asked. "Serial killers?"

"They're having feelings all over the place," I said. And I meant it.

See, even in stories, I prefer feelings in small doses. When people start having impassioned conversations in which they share their innermost thoughts, I have to stare into space for a while, even if they are totally great and in-character conversations and the story is awesome.

I realized, after BB finished laughing openly at me and returned to her book (in which people probably had feelings left, right, and center without her flinching at all, because she is weird enough that she believes a serial killing is more disgusting than emoting) that this was totally related to a question [dreamwidth.org profile] bethbethbeth posed quite a while back, about people's favorite character types.

This might lead you to believe that my favorite character is the strong silent type. And, okay, I do enjoy reading about people who, if they have a feeling, have to go ford a stream or hack through a jungle or venture into deepest space to deal with the trauma. But that isn't my type.

My type is the spacetoaster. I love spacetoasters. I can get into all kinds of fandoms and I can like all kinds of characters, but only a spacetoaster will force me to turn my brain into a sort of heart annex to hold all my feelings of love. (Yes. Irony: I live it.)

So it's probably pretty obvious, but I'd still like to define the spacetoaster.

A toaster, see, is someone with a feelings dysfunction. Maybe the toaster has few feelings. Maybe the toaster has lots of feelings and is totally bewildered by them. Maybe the toaster has spent a lifetime getting distance from any and all feelings, only to be suddenly confronted by them and fail to deal. Whatever. My point is: toasters don't get feelings. They spend a lot of their lives watching other people emote and wishing to be elsewhere, or having feelings themselves and thinking they're maybe hungry or something. (And, yes, there is a bond of sympathy here. I once had an argument with an art therapist in which I finally said, "But I don't have feelings all the time." "You do," she told me, using the tone that therapists used to get with teenaged me after half an hour or so of attempted therapy. "Everyone has feelings all the time. You just don't acknowledge them." And then the hour was up, thank god, but I still think I was right. Sometimes I don't have any particular feelings.)

But not all toasters meet my character needs. There are lots of people who are coldly efficient, or coldly correct, or coldly distant who in no way grip me, or at least don't specially grip me, because I am specifically interested in spacetoasters: toasters who are alien, or alienated. Or maybe just easiest to describe in alien terms. Whatever. My point is, if you have an alienesque person who dreams in black and white, a person who acts like all her feelings are beamed in from a space station orbiting Jupiter, you have a character I'm going to want to meet, and read about, and write about, and possibly pin up on my super-secret Wall of Spacetoasters.

This is why my reaction to Spock was, basically, where have you been all my life, you dreamy, dreamy spacetoaster? Spock is the exemplar, the archetype, the essence of spacetoasterdom. If you're looking for a spacetoaster, you can do no better than Spock. And if you're trying to build a better spacetoaster, I'm just going to have to laugh at you, because they don't get better than Spock. (Although I encourage you to try. So, so strongly encourage you to try.)

But there are other spacetoasters out there, of course. Benton Fraser, I would submit, is a spacetoaster - a guy routinely labeled a freak even by his fellow Mounties, whose only successful emotional relationship, as the series begins, has been with a dog. (Many spacetoasters are better with animals or babies than with adult humans.) Aeryn Sun would rather shoot everyone in a building, or indeed on a planet, than have a single heartfelt sharing moment, and she is, again, an actual alien: spacetoaster! (And, man, maybe it's just that I never really watch - uh, anything, basically - but to me it looks like there is a serious shortage of lady spacetoasters out there. Someone needs to get to work on that, stat. I mean, I get the sense that Temperance Brennan may be a spacetoaster, but I also get the sense that she's on an ensemble show, and I still have scars from the last ensemble show I tried to watch. Beyond that, and of course my beloved Queen of Attolia, I've got nothing.) Jamie Hyneman has three certified expressions, last had a feeling in the fall of '39, and is weird even to other Mythbusters: spacetoaster, spacetoaster, spacetoaster. Abed Nadir is, as far as I can make out, the result of Dan Harmon's actual attempt to build a better spacetoaster. (He failed, of course. There's only one Spock. But Abed is awesome, even so.) And then there's Sidney Crosby, who only has feelings during and about hockey, and who may actually be from space. Spacetoaster. (In fact, the word itself comes from a pathetically long email exchange on the subject of one Sidney Crosby. I am not going to implicate my co-conspirator, though, on the grounds that she might then refuse to finish a story I really want to read. Guess what it's about!)

So, you believe you may have a spacetoaster on your hands, but you aren't quite sure? Here are some signs! (Please note that, like many tests, this is not intended to diagnose. A high score merely provides a basis for further testing. The real proof of the spacetoaster is in the story.)
  1. Is your character highly competent at something that is not feelings or people? (If yes, +10 spacetoaster points.)
  2. Try writing a story from your suspected spacetoaster's first-person point of view. Then write the same story from some other character's point of view. If the first character requires more words to get to the same place, and those words aren't in dialogue, you may have a spacetoaster on your hands. (+1 spacetoaster point for every additional thousand words. In extreme cases, you can just stop the test here; some spacetoaster points of view can add 50k words to a story.)
  3. Imagine writing a story in which your suspected spacetoaster is a robot. Now imagine writing a story in which the same character spends fifteen minutes discussing his or her feelings intensely and sincerely. (+5 spacetoaster points if the robot was easier. +10 spacetoaster points if you fell over laughing when you tried to picture the second scenario. +15 if your character is actually already a robot.)
  4. Picture your possible spacetoaster receiving a heartfelt hug from an acquaintance. (+5 spacetoaster points if the character stands there stiffly. +10 if he or she recoils, flees, or flinches. +15 if it is impossible to picture an acquaintance hugging your character because the Do Not Touch field is so strong with this one.)
  5. Take a random sampling of five stories about the suspected spacetoaster, or five episodes, whatever you have. Count the number of times the character fails to understand some extremely basic human concept. (Example: if you want to kiss someone, that might mean you are attracted to that person!) (+1 point/incidence.)
  6. Consider the same random sample. Give one spacetoaster point for each incidence of the following:
    • Someone calls the character an alien.
    • The character must engage in some level of research (reading texts, calling friends or relations, setting up an elaborate double-blind study, whatever) to understand a joke.
    • The character avoids an emotional scene.
    • The character fails to notice an emotional scene.
    • The character wishes to be a robot.
    • The character fails to respond appropriately to a fairly basic cultural concept. (Example: not really understanding the rules of visiting a friend at home.)
Total up your points. The higher the number, the more likely it is that you should email me with news of your spacetoastery discovery. What, you thought you were taking this test for you? Don't be silly. (You might not even appreciate spacetoasters. Although I hope you do.) This is my attempt to get you to tell me about your favorite spacetoasters, because I might have missed some. And I'm sick. There's nothing like a spacetoaster when you're sick. The hopeless way she stares at you in distressed confusion, pats you awkwardly on the shoulder, and then disappears and comes back with a welding torch - it just sets you right up.

Also posted at Dreamwidth, where there are comment count unavailable comments.
 
 
 
Jillsjourney: J2 Funny Facesjillsjourney on July 22nd, 2012 03:27 am (UTC)
Right from the beginning of this entry, I was like "I see why Sidney Crosby is her favorite hockey player." I figured "spacetoaster" was a way of making "hockeybot" non-fandom-specific. Then I thought that the "space" part might have come from John Sheppard, also a massive spacetoaster.

What makes the checklist the funniest is that Sid has +10000 points not from fics, but from like interviews and gifs and real things. Hee hee hee.
tried to eat the safe banana: Emotionthefourthvine on July 22nd, 2012 04:13 am (UTC)
I figured "spacetoaster" was a way of making "hockeybot" non-fandom-specific. Then I thought that the "space" part might have come from John Sheppard, also a massive spacetoaster.

Space is - well, probably to honor Spock. But also, to be honest - okay, I grew up being told by EVERYONE that I had to be an alien, and I started thinking of space as this really awesome place populated by people like me. You know. Spacetoasters.

What makes the checklist the funniest is that Sid has +10000 points not from fics, but from like interviews and gifs and real things. Hee hee hee.

It's true. It's glorious and true.
I love this post! - cesperanza on July 22nd, 2012 03:25 pm (UTC) (Expand)
Melody: LEVERAGE_parker_moneymelodyunity on July 22nd, 2012 03:48 am (UTC)
I think I have another lady spacetoaster for you -- Parker from Leverage. She is an extremely competent thief, is considered weird by the other denizens of Leverage Crime World, and does not understand people or emotions, even ones she is currently having herself. Spacetoaster, for sure.

I love that term, btw.
tried to eat the safe banana: Emotionthefourthvine on July 22nd, 2012 04:15 am (UTC)
Oh, interesting! BB tried to watch Leverage, but I think she bounced off. (Which means my chances of watching it are nil; if she doesn't like it enough to watch it a bunch, I can't watch it because I'll never understand it.) But in the fan fiction I've read, I loved Parker and liked Hardison. That - makes sense to me now.
(no subject) - elucreh on July 22nd, 2012 04:34 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - shinealightonme on July 22nd, 2012 04:50 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - melodyunity on July 22nd, 2012 05:32 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - shinealightonme on July 22nd, 2012 05:35 am (UTC) (Expand)
keerawakeerawa on July 22nd, 2012 03:53 am (UTC)
Sherlock Holmes from BBC!Sherlock = space toaster

Also, me. With Asperger's. FTW.
Kres: kompirkres on July 22nd, 2012 03:56 am (UTC)
+1000
(no subject) - thefourthvine on July 22nd, 2012 04:16 am (UTC) (Expand)
lyndseaslyndseas on July 22nd, 2012 04:07 am (UTC)
Uh. I think I'm a spacetoaster. Although the internet (and reading lots of books, before I discovered the internet) has managed to make me at least *aware* of human feelings/actions/jokes.

Most of the characters I like are spacetoasters, although I...approach it from the other direction? Most important to me is a high level of competence, followed by voluntarily keeping people at a distance (or trying to anyway), and comfort with their/other people's weirdnesses.
tried to eat the safe banana: Emotionthefourthvine on July 22nd, 2012 04:22 am (UTC)
I, too, am a spacetoaster! Although I like to think I've developed a functional spacetoaster to human lexicon.

Although the internet (and reading lots of books, before I discovered the internet) has managed to make me at least *aware* of human feelings/actions/jokes.

The internet is so great for this, because in conversation you just recognize the whatever as being something sailing over your head. On the internet, you can google until you figure it out. THE BEST.
Imaginary Researcher: Pyro - Chaobell from Dreamwidthhannahrorlove on July 22nd, 2012 04:29 am (UTC)
You've just described half the cast of Team Fortress 2. One of them even dresses up as a robot for Halloween. Another chopped off his hand to replace it with a robotic version thereof FOR SCIENCE! These guys - well, eight guys and one bipedal testament to ambiguity - are varying degrees of spacetoasters, all of them lovely. And come to think of it, Pyro being an actual space toaster underneath that mask and suit isn't the craziest theory people have managed to come up with.

How are you with violence when it's animated, black comedy, and committed by spacetoasters as part of their job? ("I'm not a crazed gunman, Dad, I'm an assassin!...well, the difference being, one's a job and the other's mental sickness!") Yes, you would have to watch a few videos, but you'd only need to do so in two-to-four minute bursts - the longest is just under five minutes. Why, you could get through all the videos in an entire weekend.
tried to eat the safe banana: Emotionthefourthvine on July 22nd, 2012 07:38 pm (UTC)
...I admit the movie about the sandwich is really tempting. And I'm okay with violence, as long as it doesn't cross over into torture porn territory, and AWESOME with black comedy. You show me spacetoasters being sarcastic while up to their knees in guts and I am IN.

(Who is the bipedal testament to ambiguity? I appreciate any and all footnotes.)
(no subject) - hannahrorlove on July 22nd, 2012 08:21 pm (UTC) (Expand)
Vonnie: Odo backvonniek on July 22nd, 2012 04:32 am (UTC)
Odo from Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, who ranks up there as one of my all time favourite fictional characters. Cranky, taciturn, incredibly competent, ruled by logic and a deep sense of justice, and the most alien creature in a space station full of aliens. Up until season 3 or 4, he thought he was the only member of his species (and when he learned otherwise, it wasn't much for the better.) Not human -- not even humanoid. He's basically big blob of liquid who has fashioned himself into a vaguely human shape in order to fit it (which he never does.) He feels deeply, but would rather throw himself out of an airlock than let anyone see him be vulnerable. He shares quite a few characteristics with Spock.

Incidentally, I highly recommend Deep Space Nine if you are ever in a mood to try a Star Trek franchise other than the original. It's got great multi-season arcs, gorgeous character developments. complicated politics and shades of gray up the wazoo. Splendid stuff.
je suis marxiste, tendance Groucho: ds9 great tribble huntshinealightonme on July 22nd, 2012 04:56 am (UTC)
Oh, Odo is a good one. I hadn't even thought of him as a spacetoaster - my thoughts jumped straight to ♥DATA♥ who is, after all, at least a cousin of a toaster - but yes, he has so many ~*~feelings~*~ all over the place and has no idea what to do about them, except maybe to go yell at Quark.

(Kira is in my list of all time top three television characters, at the very least. Possibly she is number one, but I am horribly indecisive. I think my point was, yay, DS9 fan.)
(no subject) - thefourthvine on July 22nd, 2012 07:43 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - vonniek on July 22nd, 2012 08:54 pm (UTC) (Expand)
Lu (Not Your Average Retelling)elucreh on July 22nd, 2012 04:45 am (UTC)
Okay, so yes, Parker. But also Zuko from Avatar is an excellent spacetoaster! I know you don't celeb!RPS but Ryan Ross was a spacetoaster in the early days of Panic!fandom. There is of course Sheldon, of the Big Bang Theory, and Bernard Black. The latest seasons of Fringe have an Alt!Astrid who is very clearly a spacetoaster, but she's a minor character.

OOOOOO! OOOOO! Kalinda from Good Wife is SUCH a spacetoaster, and such an AMAZING spacetoaster!!!!!

There's Greg House, to a certain extent. Elmer from the MacDonald Hall books is the very charmingest of spacetoasters. Sometimes Gibbs is one, depending on the fic. Kyoya Otori! from Ouran.

EMILY/AMANDA/EMANDA, from REVENGE!!!! She is a MARVELOUS spacetoaster.


Warren Peace of Sky High. (Er...can you tell I'm just going down my pinboard list of fandoms and including all the spacetoasters?) Castiel was a spacetoaster when he was first introduced, although Idk if he's still one because Supernatural betrayed me deeply and I stopped watching. There is of course Derek of Teen Wolf. And Mark from The Social Network.
Lu (Not Your Average Retelling)elucreh on July 22nd, 2012 04:57 am (UTC)
And, oh, DUH: Nick from the Demon's Lexicon trilogy!!!!
(no subject) - melodyunity on July 22nd, 2012 05:34 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - thefourthvine on July 22nd, 2012 07:48 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - elucreh on July 22nd, 2012 09:02 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - innocentsmith on July 22nd, 2012 09:32 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - westingturtle on July 25th, 2012 11:15 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - sara_tanaquil on July 22nd, 2012 12:59 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - elucreh on July 22nd, 2012 02:17 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - thefourthvine on July 22nd, 2012 07:47 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - melodyunity on July 22nd, 2012 08:38 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - elucreh on July 22nd, 2012 09:01 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - angharadd on July 22nd, 2012 09:00 pm (UTC) (Expand)
Diana: Simple Math -- McKay and Sheppardbutterfly on July 22nd, 2012 05:13 am (UTC)
John Sheppard probably counts as one, for the most part (ha, especially to Teyla, since he's an alien to her).

John: "Look, Teyla... I'm not really good at, uh... actually, I'm... I'm terrible at expressing... I don't know what you'd call it, uh..."
Teyla: "Feelings?"
John: "Yeah, sure, okay. The point is, I don't really have good, uh..."
Teyla: "Social skills?"
John: "Well, that is why I enjoyed flying choppers in the most remote part of my world before all this craziness happened, but, uh, you should know, I don't have, uh..."
Teyla: "Friends?"
John: "No. I have friends."
[pauses]
John: "You, Elizabeth, Ronon, Carson, even Rodney, are the closest thing I have to a..."
Teyla: "A family?"
John: "I'd do anything... for any one of you. If I had to give up my life the way Ronon was going to, I would."
[gets up from the table and starts to leave]
Teyla: "Thank you. For everything you... meant to say."

I tried to find the scene on youtube but couldn't. Which is a shame because it comes across even more strongly with the acting.

Edited at 2012-07-22 05:20 am (UTC)
(Deleted comment)
(no subject) - butterfly on July 22nd, 2012 03:05 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - reginagiraffe on July 22nd, 2012 06:35 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - butterfly on July 22nd, 2012 06:36 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - reginagiraffe on July 22nd, 2012 06:39 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - butterfly on July 22nd, 2012 06:41 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - thefourthvine on July 22nd, 2012 07:52 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - butterfly on July 23rd, 2012 05:56 pm (UTC) (Expand)
_whiskers_whiskers on July 22nd, 2012 05:15 am (UTC)
<3 spacetoasters. Among them:
- Heero Yuy and Trowa Barton (Gundam Wing)
- Lex (Smallville) - debatable? but at least has lots of spacetoaster qualities
- John Sheppard (SGA)
- Batman and Tim Drake (DCU)
- Arthur (Inception)

Pretty sure seven of nine on ST:V qualifies as a female spacetoaster.


Diana: Janeway -- a rose for memorybutterfly on July 22nd, 2012 05:16 am (UTC)
Pretty sure seven of nine on ST:V qualifies as a female spacetoaster.

Oh, yes! I agree.
(no subject) - thefourthvine on July 22nd, 2012 08:08 pm (UTC) (Expand)
Stillanestillane on July 22nd, 2012 05:24 am (UTC)
I'm going to second Derek Hale from Teen Wolf, with the caveat that he's probably more a spacetoaster through circumstance than birth. We don't have any evidence of what he was like before a series of unfortunate events rendered him... well, the way he is. He's more Aeryn than Spock in that he prefers causing property damage and/or bodily harm as an alternative to sharing. He has occasionally been forced to talk about a single emotion - anger! an easy one! - and every time looks like he'd rather be sticking his tongue in a light socket. It's not so much that he doesn't understand extremely basic interaction concepts, it's that he just really can't be bothered with them. (And they've ended badly for him in the past, to be honest.)

Where do traumatized werewolves fall on the human-alien-robot scale, anyway?
Everybody wants a thrillkelly_girl on July 22nd, 2012 07:30 am (UTC)
I agree with you about everything concerning Derek Hale's spacetoaster status.

I was just going to come over here and talk about Derek. One of the best fanfic descriptions of him is 'half greek god, half suppressed rage' because wow, I could not believe how much he glared, and lurked and generally acted like rage personified in S1.

Also I love how so many of the responses list John Sheppard. Oh John, I miss him on my tv.

Does Daniel Jackson count as a spacetoaster? (ha, spacemonkey!) I don't think Jack O'Neill from SG-1 counts(but I could be wrong) though he does use his ability to be an incredible smartass to hide a lot of stuff emotionally. I just think he doesn't give a crap about all the emotional stuff, at least at the beginning of the series. He needed something way bigger than himself to stop from killing himself and he found it but yeah.
(no subject) - melodyunity on July 22nd, 2012 06:27 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - thefourthvine on July 22nd, 2012 08:13 pm (UTC) (Expand)
Melodymelodyunity on July 22nd, 2012 05:31 am (UTC)
Hmmm. Olivia from Fringe -- spacetoaster or not?
Lidabetbiggersandwich on July 22nd, 2012 06:35 pm (UTC)
It's a really interesting idea because she could have been very easily, but I'd say Olivia actually ended up surprisingly well-adjusted? She might appeal quite a lot to people who are interested in spacetoasters because she also won't suddenly get her feelings all over you and she certainly fits the highly competent bill. She seems pretty capable of recognising other people's feelings and her own though, she's just more likely to state them definitely and move on than to wallow and agonise.
(no subject) - thefourthvine on July 22nd, 2012 08:14 pm (UTC) (Expand)
E: sun in the shape of a girlstarbrow on July 22nd, 2012 07:40 am (UTC)
Sheldon in The Big Bang Theory, with bonus asexuality. Like Sherlock Holmes in modern-day California, doing physics instead of detective work.
Melodymelodyunity on July 22nd, 2012 06:29 pm (UTC)
Sheldon is a classic spacetoaster. Canonically, he is a HUGE Spock fanboy; he clearly identifies more with Spock than with...just about anybody else, real or fictional. And he has expressed a desire to turn himself into a robot/download his brain into a computer.
(no subject) - thefourthvine on July 22nd, 2012 10:52 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - hellpenguin on July 22nd, 2012 11:33 pm (UTC) (Expand)
sheldrake: h&w legssheldrake on July 22nd, 2012 09:13 am (UTC)
OH! I identify with this so much my insides feel funny. I love spacetoasters! I have always loved spacetoasters!

And perhaps this explains my sudden all-encompassing obsession with Lewis - I think Detective Sergeant Hathaway might just be a variety of spacetoaster. Evidence from canon I have delved into thus far [SPOILERS SPOILERS]:

Highly intelligent/gifted (was recruited by MI5). Plays chess. Extremely competent police person. Trained to be a priest but it didn't work out for *reasons* which he refuses to talk about. Ditto his backstory/childhood/family. Has no social life. Spends time looming over people with blank expression on face, making dry remarks in a monotone, looking tall.

Somewhat atypical in that he has a sense of humour, is clearly sensitive and sort of good with people. Also does not appear to be touch-averse. Yes, ok... But it is an extremely *individual* sense of humour, and the people he's good with are all murder suspects rather than friends.

When asked for his feelings on love, he talks about how he loves the regularity and reliability of the bells of Oxford. In the same episode he is referred to as 'middle-aged' and states that he is unable to cry. Emotes instead by smoking a lot of cigarettes. There is a disagreement over whether there is 'something wrong with him'. Although he eventually does cry [FAIRLY BIG SPOILER] the result is that someone tries to burn him alive. So he probably won't be trying that again any time soon.

In conclusion, results are inconclusive - further testing required.
tried to eat the safe banana: Emotionthefourthvine on July 22nd, 2012 10:56 pm (UTC)
Oooo. I have been dabbling in Lewis fan fiction here and there - my hockey obsession doesn't leave a lot of time for anything except stupid werewolves - but this has made me a LOT MORE INTERESTED. Please keep me updated on the results of your further testing! (And do lots and lots and LOTS of testing. To be sure. You can never be too sure.)
(no subject) - sheldrake on July 27th, 2012 07:32 pm (UTC) (Expand)
misspamelamisspamela on July 22nd, 2012 10:56 am (UTC)
Oddly enough, as I am possibly as far from a spacetoaster IRL as you can get (not surprising, given my line of work) I also love this type of character! I think it's because I either associate people gushing their innermost feelings to being at work OR because I'm thinking, "Man, this person needs to learn some boundaries."

Or because my family likes to express affection but sarcasm and arm-punching.
tried to eat the safe banana: Emotionthefourthvine on July 22nd, 2012 11:01 pm (UTC)
I am spacetoaster enough for two, so you can share my spacetoaster cred.

And there's nothing wrong with sarcasm. Sarcasm is the premiere indicator of affection in every walk of life! (My instant reaction to arm-punching: That's a lot of touching. But with your immediate family, I guess it'd be okay?)

But I can see why your job would sort of make you, like, YEARN for people who would rather not deal with feelings at all. Or even have any.
(no subject) - misspamela on July 23rd, 2012 12:33 am (UTC) (Expand)
sara_tanaquil: robin_kittysara_tanaquil on July 22nd, 2012 12:34 pm (UTC)
Oh, my goodness, thank you for this post, because you have explained to me a character I've been trying to work out in my head recently, because she is so utterly inscrutable: Nico Robin from One Piece.

She is totally a spacetoaster -- or, at least, a pirate toaster.

[Under the cut in case anyone needs to be protected from One Piece spoilers -- I assume you don&apos;t care?]
Avocation: archaeologist (with a particular interest in deciphering dead languages). Goal: to uncover truths about the past that the government is hiding. Former profession: assassin, secret agent, and vice-president of a criminal organization. Current profession: pirate.

As a child (before she was eight), she acquired a supernatural power which terrifies most normal people and enables her to kill with ease (she ate a devil fruit -- this is a Thing in the One Piece universe).

Never knew her parents. Her mother ran off when she was two to be an archaeologist and save the world (yes, really). The mother did show up again for like five minutes, right before she got killed.

Was "raised" by a bunch of crazy scholars who ran the equivalent of the Library of Alexandria.

Earned the equivalent of a PhD when she was eight.

Is the last surviving member of her people (culture, not race).

Her best friend as a child was a giant who had to try to teach her to laugh, because she didn't know how.

At the age of eight, saw her mother, best friend and all her mentors shot before her eyes, the library incinerated, and her entire country and people wiped out Hiroshima-style by the government.

Had a huge bounty placed on her head (let us recall: she was eight) because the government thinks she knows how to build a weapon that could destroy the world. (She does, but she's not interested in building it.)

Survived for twenty years on the run (from 8 to 28) by betraying everyone she dealt with before they could betray her.

All of this has left her a little... warped. Feelings? Good luck finding them.

The amazing thing is that since joining Luffy's crew and learning (at great length) to trust them, she shows few ill effects other than a very warped sense of humor and a tendency to play her cards close to her chest.

Three of my all-time favorite Robin moments:

(1) After being (temporarily) separated from Luffy's crew, she is taken in by a bunch of idealistic revolutionaries who think she's the most amazing thing ever, but she basically says "Thanks for your hospitality, I appreciate it, but I'd rather stand out here by the freezing cold railing because I don't like being indoors. Or around people, really." (So they come and keep her company out in the freezing cold. They're very nice revolutionaries.)

(2) In the midst of a scary and mysterious situation, Robin is imagining (out loud) the goriest and most terrifying option possible (she tends to do this, usually with an expression of mild curiosity on her face). The younger members of the crew are terrified. Franky, with a mildly disapproving tone: "Robin-sis, you really shouldn't scare people for your own amusement." She laughs, because he totally has her pegged.

(3) Robin happens to be in locked up in a jail cell with two characters, Luffy and Smoker, who are each others' nemesis(eses). Her line, loosely paraphrased: "Oh hey, remember when I worked for Crocodile and had you guys locked up in a cage together? Good times!" (Trust Robin not to bother to avoid the socially awkward topics.)


I highly, highly recommend One Piece (manga and anime versions), but it's, uh, really long. And not finished (fifteen years and still ongoing). SO WORTH IT THOUGH.
tried to eat the safe banana: Emotionthefourthvine on July 23rd, 2012 02:48 am (UTC)
OMG PIRATE SPACETOASTER. I do believe that is the best thing I have ever heard. I must take a second look at One Piece. (My first look convinced me that I would never have enough time to figure it out, and that's probably still true, but - PIRATE SPACETOASTER.)
(Deleted comment)
tried to eat the safe banana: Emotionthefourthvine on July 23rd, 2012 02:51 am (UTC)
Um, yeah. I - uh.

Want a cookie?
janne_d: buffyskillzjanne_d on July 22nd, 2012 01:26 pm (UTC)
I am now adding the term spacetoaster to my everyday vocabulary because it is so awesome.

I'm also seconding the nominations of Sheldon and Bernard Black (from Black Books). Bernard also comes attached to Manny and Fran who are every bit as dysfunctional and just pretend that they understand the rest of humanity (but this is clearly a lie) so probably also deserve at least honorary spacetoasterhood. Mind you, they all fail on the competence requirement, but Black Books has a high likelihood of making you laugh until you cry, if you have not seen it previously.
tried to eat the safe banana: Emotionthefourthvine on July 23rd, 2012 02:53 am (UTC)
I have seen one episode! And a really great vid. Which is, let's be honest, more than I can say about a lot of canons. And the Black Books trio are just - I'm still sort of surprised that episode two wasn't about the rest of the neighborhood teaming up to buy them therapy.

(And you should totally use spacetoaster in your everyday vocabulary. It explains so much!)
(Deleted comment)
tried to eat the safe banana: Hockey Geno/Sid Good Luckthefourthvine on July 23rd, 2012 02:55 am (UTC)
He's a true spacetoaster, and that's why we love him.

Well. That's why I love him, for sure
(Deleted comment)
(no subject) - thefourthvine on July 24th, 2012 05:57 am (UTC) (Expand)
angharadd: English/angharaddangharadd on July 22nd, 2012 09:02 pm (UTC)
Sadly, Temperance Brennan is no spacetoaster: they tried to write her as such, but it's more like

ALL THE OTHER MEMBERS OF THE CAST: Oh Temperance, you should open up more!

TEMPERANCE: *emote emote emote emote emote emote emote emote emote*

VIEWERS: 0.o
tried to eat the safe banana: Emotionthefourthvine on July 23rd, 2012 02:58 am (UTC)
RUN AWAY RUN AWAY RUN AWAY.

Broken spacetoasters are so sad.
macey muse: demolitionmacey_muse on July 22nd, 2012 09:09 pm (UTC)
So, Touya Akira and Wufei Chang. I think you've rec'd HikaGo before, but can't recall if you've done Gundam Wing? Wait, I'm dumb, it's there in the sidebar. ^.^;

So: Wufei vs Heero Yuy, who wins Biggest Spacetoaster of GW? I mean, probably Heero, because Wufei kinda does emote all over the place at times - it's just that his only emotion is Vengeance.
tried to eat the safe banana: Gothefourthvine on July 23rd, 2012 03:03 am (UTC)
Oh, Hikaru no Go, beloved of my heart. And, no, that had nothing at all to do with the spacetoasteriness of Touya Akira. IT'S JUST A REALLY BRILLIANT MANGA OKAY. (With a spacetoaster.)

And I will have to consult with an expert on the Wufei vs. Heero issue, because GW is one of those fandoms I rec based on a total and complete lack of canon knowledge.
Kia: pink sunglassestheadaze on July 22nd, 2012 10:19 pm (UTC)
Heh, this is amusing. I think I'm a spacetoaster too, but possibly a broken one -- or maybe just incompetent. I'm more of a "I know what I'm supposed to feel and do, but damned if I know how to do that without appearing completely socially awkward, although the fact that I'm thinking this probably means that my interactions are going to be doomed no matter what I do" - kind of person.

But my sister is definitely a spacetoaster, especially that of the sarcastic bastard kind.

Weirdly enough, I don't have much interest in fictional spacetoasters -- maybe because I already have to deal with that type (myself included) quite a lot in my daily life. :D

But I do absolutely love the term "spacetoaster" and your posts in general. I'll add you to my flist, if you don't mind. :)
tried to eat the safe banana: Emotionthefourthvine on July 24th, 2012 02:33 am (UTC)
Oh, man, social awkwardness is a thing I have in spades. I have great sympathy. (I am a socially awkward spacetoaster. Go, me.) And I can see why you'd be at your spacetoaster limit without adding them in fiction too.

But I do absolutely love the term "spacetoaster" and your posts in general. I'll add you to my flist, if you don't mind. :)

Of course! The more the merrier. Hi!
exemplaryetoileexemplaryetoile on July 23rd, 2012 07:19 pm (UTC)
Derek Hale part 1
So just today I was thinking to myself, "Wow. I really wish TFV would get interested in Teen Wolf because her recs are solid gold and I would faint with pleasure if she started getting interested in that hot mess".

Then you posted this.

You see, I immediately thought of Teen Wolf's character Derek Hale as a possible candidate for spacetoasterhood.

The thing about Derek is he has epic amounts of guilt and manpain and the whole being-a-werewolf thing which leads to some pants-wetting-in-the-good-way aggression but he is also socially dysfunctional and emotionally constipated to dying-on-the-toilet-like-Elvis levels.

Using your helpful diagnostic aid, I came up with the following:

1. Is your character highly competent at something that is not feelings or people? - YES - Derek is (now) an alpha werewolf. He owns that shit. He's so powerful he doesn't know what to do with it. Almost literally.

2. Try writing a story from your suspected spacetoaster's first-person point of view. Then write the same story from some other character's point of view. If the first character requires more words to get to the same place, and those words aren't in dialogue, you may have a spacetoaster on your hands. - OMG YES - I have been working on a fic where all of the scenes that feature the POV of Derek's object of affection are basically end-to-end sassy dialogue. The scenes from Derek's POV feature regretful sighs, paragraphs of trying to understand his angst, failing to understand other people's feelings, looming at the bedside while object of affection sleeps cos that is not creepy, oh no, etc.

3. Imagine writing a story in which your suspected spacetoaster is a robot. Now imagine writing a story in which the same character spends fifteen minutes discussing his or her feelings intensely and sincerely. (+5 spacetoaster points if the robot was easier. +10 spacetoaster points if you fell over laughing when you tried to picture the second scenario. +15 if your character is actually already a robot.) - YES - I can imagine Derek as an amazingly hot and hirsute robot but I find it less easy to imagine him having an earnest convo about his feelings because in canon someone tried to torture him and trigger those feelings to their own ends and IT DIDN'T WORK. Not even under actual torture.

4. Picture your possible spacetoaster receiving a heartfelt hug from an acquaintance. (+5 spacetoaster points if the character stands there stiffly. +10 if he or she recoils, flees, or flinches. +15 if it is impossible to picture an acquaintance hugging your character because the Do Not Touch field is so strong with this one.) - YES - so easy with this one. If I was spiffier with my gif skills I could give you examples where someone touches Derek in a friendly/joking way and he almost (literally - hello - werewolf) bites their arm off.

5./6. Take a random sampling of five stories about the suspected spacetoaster, or five episodes, whatever you have. Count the number of times the character fails to understand some extremely basic human concept. - YES - Yes yes yes. I especially like that fact that Derek is an 'older guy' who has no problem hanging out in teenagers' bedrooms with the lights off, waiting for them to come home so he can threaten talk with them.

tried to eat the safe banana: Emotionthefourthvine on July 24th, 2012 02:43 am (UTC)
Re: Derek Hale part 1
Oh, thank you! I am actually dabbling my toes in Teen Wolf fandom, browsing around, trying to find the good stuff, and so far, so yay. Derek has been spacetoastered by trauma, is my understanding? LIFE IS HARD FOR WEREWOLVES.

Actually, as far as I can tell, life is hard for everyone in Beacon Hills. In some fictional universe, there is a Geographic Information Systems specialist putting together a map to identify incident hotspots, like Sunnydale and Beacon Hills.
exemplaryetoileexemplaryetoile on July 23rd, 2012 07:20 pm (UTC)
Derek Hale part 2
Anyway, all of this is (also) a gleeful way of saying, have you wet your toes in Teen Wolf? Do you feel like trying? There is this pimp post on Tumblr and this shorter explanation of the phenomenon in a nutshell.

Plus did I mention how it is probably the most LGBT-positive teen show out there and fandom is convinced that our slash pairing may become canon at some point *weeps* and the show's creators/cast are happily encouraging that?


(And also making fun of the show's unique brand of, ahem, realism?)

:)

And this feeds into your previous post about Tumblr because seriously - Tumblr is where Teen Wolf fandom has exploded exponentially. There is so much good stuff there. It helps that the show is so slash-friendly and even posts delicious little gifs on their own damn official Tumblr where they thank fandom for being fandom.

And if the above hasn't piqued your interest even a little bit, just watch this Pride & Prejudice parody fanvid. YOU WILL NOT BE DISAPPOINTED. It makes Teen Wolf fangirls faint with joy. Or maybe that was just me.

PS: OK,I'll admit I'm maybe shoehorning Derek into the spacetoaster mould. There may be TW fans who don't agree with me. I guess the thing with Derek is he can't express his feelings BECAUSE THEY ARE SO BIG AND PAINFUL. But then this reminds me of Spock in the Star Trek reboot where his feelings were so overwhelming, he had to hand command over to someone else because he was, in his own words, "emotionally compromised". Not words many people expected to hear from a Vulcan. So there's that.
tried to eat the safe banana: Emotionthefourthvine on July 24th, 2012 02:44 am (UTC)
Re: Derek Hale part 2
Oh my god, thank you for this glorious introduction to Teen Wolf! YOU ARE THE GREATEST THE END.
Orient Sand: Abysswindfallswest on July 23rd, 2012 09:32 pm (UTC)
Anya from Buffy the Vampire Slayer is an excellent example of a female spacetoaster, although you may already be aware of her, since you were reccing some BtVS a few years ago. In case you were only experiencing the gay porn, though: Anya volunteered to be a vengeance demon about a thousand years pre-canon after being jilted. Events in the series turned her human again, although other characters frequently question her status as a human being. There is at one point an actual robotic character who displays more sensitivity.

Anya does not possess mental filters, or understand the concept of social conventions such as tact or privacy. Although she seems to have had at least some of these problems even before she became a demon. Having been jilted and spent a thousand years doing various hugely nasty things to men, Anya is understandably confused to find herself attracted to one (Xander). She seduces him (to get it out of her system, naturally) by walking into his room naked and declaring that they are going to have sex. She has emotions, or desires, but mainly of the greedy or jealous or impatient, i.e. self-centred, variety.

Also, she's terrified of rabbits.


(I'd also submit Constantine from Robin McKinley's book Sunshine, who is a vampire, but not the sparkly kind. Also Rook from Jaida Jones (of Shoebox fame)'s Havemercy, who will admit to having emotions, but will be damned if they aren't anger. Karev from Grey's Anatomy, who actually tries to ask a girl to go steady with him by telling her he's made a date with someone else. Actually, the more I think of it, the more [space]toasters I know. And you're right, most of them are guys. I'm always happy when someone runs with Number One from the TOS pilot, who was supposed to be Spock, only with boobs, and who got turned into Spock because a 60s audience couldn't handle it.)
tried to eat the safe banana: Emotionthefourthvine on July 24th, 2012 02:53 am (UTC)
I agree with Anya, from what little I know of her! (She didn't spring to mind because I haven't seen too many eps with her in them. She's my Best Beloved's favorite Buffy character, though, which I guess is not a surprise. BB is in love with a real-life spacetoaster, after all.)

And, oh, interesting. Deerskin made me wary of Robin McKinely forever and ever amen, but I'd like to read her version of a spacetoaster. And Karev sounds AWESOMELY spacetoastery. That is a serious spacetoaster move, right there.

And oh, Number One. I loved what I saw of her. Although I love Spock so much I can't wish they'd gone ahead with the series with her in it. WHY CAN'T WE HAVE BOTH, CRUEL FATES?
(no subject) - windfallswest on July 24th, 2012 05:48 am (UTC) (Expand)
twfftwtfwftw on July 24th, 2012 01:01 pm (UTC)
"And then there's Sidney Crosby, who only has feelings during and about hockey, and who may actually be from space."

Please do not ever say that last bit while in Halifax, or while in earshot of anyone you suspect of being from Halifax. I'd miss you.

My first thought, as with a poster above, was Cas from Supernatural (though like the poster above, I'm not sure of his current status. While I WILL make it to the end of S7, my SPN buddy and I have stopped our bloodyminded death march to the finale for the moment). Cas is an angel, which means he has trouble relating to humans - but even the other angels think he's weird. His sideways head-tilt of "You humans confuse me" is so frequently employed it inspired an entire sub-genre of fic in which Castiel is turned into a cat. He does, eventually, start to develop doubts and feelings, and boy, does that ever piss him off. The only thing that makes me hesitate is that he might be a Real Boy ("I have all these feelings now and I don't know what to do!") rather than a true spacetoaster.

(...this is reminding me that at one point I'd said I would do you up a Dean/Castiel primer, but pimping you into a dying show seems cruel. Although all the great existing fic is of course still out there...)

Re Bones, yes, Brennan is almost certainly a spacetoaster. And she had a lab assistant at one point (...I want to say Zach?) who was even more toaster-y than she was; about as Spock as you can get without being Vulcan. He hated anything that wasn't logical or couldn't be resolved using logic (not that such things exist, of course).

But yes on the second point, too. Bones is indeed an ensemble show, and the other characters work overtime with the feelings. (There is, if memory serves, a running gag at one point where a new lab assistant keeps going "Oh my God, this is a WORKPLACE, these drama-laden conversations about your personal lives are COMPLETELY INNAPPROPRIATE!") So... maybe get someone to edit together Temperance Brennan's greatest hits, with a little Zach thrown in?

And even though I've never really seen the show, based on fic, I fifteenth Parker from Leverage. It's an ensemble show, but I believe the entire ensemble is emotionally-damaged criminals and con... persons? (Conpeople? Conmen of both genders?), so there's that.