tried to eat the safe banana
01 December 2006 @ 06:54 am
Yes, yes. I know from the recent poll that many of you are right now whimpering, “What, more vid recs? Where are the stories, damn it?” (I also learned that a surprising number of you apparently need only animals to make your lives complete - penguins, llamas, puppies, whatever. Have I mentioned recently how totally awesome you all are?) But a) I had this post in progress before the poll, so it’s not like I’m deliberately taunting you, and b) I have a good reason for doing a vids set today. (There will be stories soon, though. Really.)

See, this is the first day of vidvent, which is a really cool concept - giving vid feedback for the holidays, basically. (To learn more about it, go to this post. You can do as much or as little as you like; it’s a very low-key challenge.) I’m going to make my own attempt to do this, although, given how much I suck at coloring inside the lines, odds are good that I’ll make an honest effort, sure, but what will really happen is that I’ll send 24 pieces of vid feedback on the same day next March or something. Still, I’m going to try. (Shut up, Yoda.)

And it would be cool if some of you did, too. Doesn’t have to be for vids, either. You could do it for stories, too, because - well, I sometimes wonder if feedback doesn’t decline a bit around the holidays. I know that for me December is basically one long streak of Yuletide angst followed by a totally obscene, off-the-charts FF binge. I’m not sure what happens, precisely. I come out of my binge sometime in the middle of January, all covered in fragments of text and with only the vaguest memories of what I did. I just have to hope I didn’t, you know, get naked with someone’s Scrooge/Cratchit story or whatever. My point is that during December I am even worse than usual about leaving feedback. (I suspect that for much of the month I don’t actually meet all the statutory requirements for being alive, never mind actually communicating on any subject whatsoever.)

But this year, I plan to try. Wish me luck. My next conversation with you may be a slurred, “Augggh what did I do last month and oh my god is that a jingle bell piercing?” sometime in January, but the effort will be there.

And, to celebrate the first day of vidvent, here’s some vid recs!

The One with the Eye-Fuckingest Cowboys I Ever Did See. Big Country, by gwyn_r. Magnificent Seven, Chris/Vin.

You so don't need to know the fandom to love this vid, and I am the living proof, because I love it - it makes me deeply, deeply happy - and I will be the first to admit that I do not know from this fandom. I gather that it's about cowboys. I gather that there are horses. I gather that there are these two guys who ride on horses a lot and are so totally doing it. Also, one of them quite clearly has both Trauma and Issues. Needless to say, I gathered all that from this vid. There could be lions and tigers and naked slave boys in the parts of the canon that Gwyn didn't use, and I would never know it.

Except I almost did know it, because this vid damn near made me snuffle around looking for Magnificent 7 recs; it is a bundle of pimpery in a very pretty package. (Shush. I meant the gorgeous camera work and the, well, big country. Country, people. No actual packages, big or otherwise, are showcased during the course of this vid.) This is pretty amazing, given that it is, going by the vid, a Dreaded Hat Fandom. (See, I have a hard time telling people apart, and most TV shows are cast with people who look exactly the same. I know, I know, it's terribly speciesist of me to say "all you humans look alike," but you mostly do, at least when it comes to your faces. So I have to look for identifying details that I can easily pick out in close-up shots. Like hair. Hair is key. Unfortunately, in some fandoms, hair is covered by a hat, and I spiral into hopeless confusion. So until somebody kindly creates a TV show in which every single character is a different color, and I mean like green or purple, or wears his name on his shirt in large block letters, I basically have to wince away from Dreaded Hat Fandoms. But, wow, this one almost got me, hats and all.)

Because, oh, it is so gorgeous. And slashy. I have no idea which one is Chris and which one is Vin, so I think of them as Issues Boy (he has the trauma) and Country Boy (Gwyn, at any rate, links him to the earth and the sky a lot). (No one should start singing "thank god I'm a country boy" here. No, really not.) And I tell you this: judging by this vid, Issues Boy's issues are obviously going to be resolved through some time in rugged terrain with Country Boy, and I do mean with Country Boy.

Seriously. Watch this vid, and the fan fiction will write itself in your head. Gwyn titled her announcement post "cowboys in love," and I just can't put it any better than that.

The One That Asks, "How Do You Solve a Problem Like Gregory House? I Mean, Without Killing Him or Turning into Him?" Bukowski, by Shalott, aka astolat. House.

I just - let me just quote from the song here: "God, who'd wanna be such an asshole?" Now. If you know anything about House - and what I know could be written on two sides of a quarter, but I don't let that hold me back from the sweeping authoritative statements - you know that this is perhaps the most perfect song choice in existence. (And apparently we have tzikeh to thank for that, so thank you, tzikeh.)

And, wow. I think maybe House is a tough show to vid; I get the sense that its appeal comes a lot more from dialog and a lot less from pure visuals. (But, hey, I could be wrong. I'm basing this entirely on what I've gathered from vids.)

But this one? This totally works, probably because of the magical combination of perfect song choice, fabulous editing, and House's remarkable, um, clarity of character. (Seriously. Has the actor won an award yet? He should have. He has the best damn body language I have ever seen on a TV character.) For me, this vid pretty much sums up why, in another time and place, House would be one of my main fandoms: House is a character I'd love despite myself, a character I'd love even though he was anything but lovable.

And this vid captures that character perfectly.

Plus, come on. It's set to a song about Charles Bukowski. Can there be a better reason to download it?

Is It Hot in Here, or Is It Just This Vid? Boom Boom Ba, by charmax. Xena, Xena/Gabrielle.

I mentioned this a while back as a vid everyone must see, but I realized just today that I'd never written a proper recommendation for it. So here it is, the proper recommendation:

This is the sexiest vid you will ever see.

Oh, I have other stuff I could say - the use of color in this is jaw-dropping and the movement, my god, I could write a fucking essay on the way Charmax uses movement to create mood and the illusion of continuity and direct the viewer's eye and match the music. But that essay would only distract you from the central point, here, which is that this vid is sex. And dancing. And the dancing is also sex. So, basically, this vid is pure sex.

Download it, and you will not be sorry. I don't care if you haven't a clue who these people are. (Xena is the dark-haired one. I think she's maybe a god, and I also think she used to be bad but she isn't anymore. Gabrielle is the blonde. She's not a god. She writes scrolls. That's what I know, and it's more than enough to get this vid.) My only regret is that I missed the super-high-quality version Charmax had uploaded for a while, but trust me, the 50 MB one is just fine.

So, so much more than fine. Also, did I mention the sexiness?

The One I Watch When I Think a Day in My Life Has Been Hard. I Mean, It Could Always Be Worse: I Could Be Psychic. A Day in the Life, by Shalott, aka astolat, and Speranza, aka cesperanza. Dead Zone.

When I re-watched this so I could write up the summary for it, my first thought was: "Oh, I need to warn people this is canon-dependent." And then I remembered that when I first watched this vid, I hadn't seen any Dead Zone. And, sure, I missed some nuances, but I got the gist of it just fine. (The gist: it's hard to be Johnny Smith.)

This is another vid I'd commend for song choice, but doubly so, because - seriously, I wouldn't have imagined there was a way to make "A Day in the Life" (by the Beatles) into a coherent single-fandom vid. Switches in mood and - um, can I say narrative about a song? Well, I'm going to, and if it's wrong, someone tell me what I should have said instead - narrative are critical to vids, yes, but this song kind of takes that to extremes.

But then, Johnny Smith's life is not exactly without its switches and sharp 180s, you know? So, as it turns out, he fits with this song really damn well. (All together now: “Poor Johnny.”)

Actually, this vid was one of the things that finally convinced me to watch some Dead Zone; any single canon that contains all of the stuff in here had to be worth seeing, you know? (For the record: it is. At least, the parts I’ve seen are.) And the same goes for the vid; there’s a lot of stuff packed into it, and it is both dense and rich. And, okay, that made it sound kind of like the fruitcake of the vidding world, but here's the thing: you'll actually like this.

(No offense to fruitcake-lovers, of course; I honor and respect your culinary perversity.)

The One That Allows Masks to Take Their Rightful Place Beside Clowns, Mimes, and Puppets in the Pantheon of Massively Creepy Things. Meds, by Destiny, aka dcallingchaos. Nip/Tuck, gen. (The vid’s at the bottom of the page.)

I feel kind of like I should warn for disturbing content here, except, well, the disturbing content is the vid. And, see, I have no idea what the vid’s narrative is exactly; I think you’d have to know more about the fandom to be sure. What I know about Nip/Tuck is that, going by the YouTube snippets misspamela posts from time to time, there are two guys on this show, and they are the gayest two straight guys ever.

But the gay is not quite so evident in this vid, which is, as far as I can tell, about a serial - um, not killer, since he doesn’t kill. Cutter? A serial cutter of other people’s faces. Who is crazy, and maybe his crazy is kind of contagious. And, yes, that's creepy.

The vid makes it much, much creepier, though. It is quite effects-intensive, and those effects combine to create this kind of insane, jerky, god-what’s-even-true-anymore atmosphere, with lots of twitchiness and tension. And the thing is, what you see on-screen isn’t even that disturbing. (It’s not fluffy bunnies, either, mind you. Did I mention the serial cutter?) But the vid itself kind of magnifies the disturbingness, and what you get is - well, a vid that puts you slightly on edge. A bit more on edge if you re-watch it late late at night while you’re writing the rec for it, actually. Um. Yeah, I’m looking over my shoulder from time to time, here.

So it's an impressive use of effects, plus the equivalent of an entire suspense movie in three minutes. You want to see this vid.

(Side note: me being able to rec this at all is a total triumph of fannish networking over my own disorganization, by the way. I apparently originally got this vid on a rec from cupidsbow and then immediately forgot that. So when it came time to rec it, I didn’t know the fandom and couldn’t figure out who did it. I wandered over to vidfinders, where three separate people figured out what the fandom was and who the vidder was and basically did everything but tie my shoes for me. The moral of this story: lost vids can be found, folks. So if you’ve been avoiding sending feedback on something because you have no idea who to send feedback to, fandom is here to help.)
tried to eat the safe banana
This was going to be a set of stories about the undead, because of Halloween. (Yes, it was started before Halloween. I'm the Pokey Little Poster!) And then it was going to be a vid recs set, because, well, vids. But somehow I got completely sidetracked into crossovers, and I'm not the least bit sorry. I don't think you'll regret it, either (especially when I tell you that there were no zombies in the undead set), because who doesn't love a good crossover? And these are great crossovers.

But, hey. Does anyone know what kind of crossover the first story is? I've been calling it a fusionesque, because it brings elements (but not characters) of one universe into another, but I'd love a proper, dignified term. And obviously nothing I come up with is going to qualify for words like those.

And as long as I'm asking questions - Best Beloved is getting an iPod for an act of devotion above and beyond the call of any marital contract, so obviously it needs to be a good iPod. An exceptional one, even. Those of you who have them - do you like yours? Hate it? What would you buy if you were getting one today? (A video iPod is definitely not what we want here.) Are there accessories I should get, too? Give me advice, people, please. And, if you're feeling especially loving, links. Links would be very nice.

Best FF That Once Again Proves That, in Defiance of All Reason and Logic and Sanity, Snakes Are Sexy. Daemonology, by trinityofone. Stargate: Atlantis x His Dark Materials, John Sheppard/Rodney McKay. So I guess the first question here is, have you read Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials trilogy? And if not, why not? These are brilliant books, people, and they include one of the best concepts introduced in any book anywhere ever: daemons. If you don't know what those are, trinityofone has provided a handy guide that will tell you everything you need to know to read this story. Which you should obviously do at once. But after that, well, know that I will weep tragic Victorian-heroine tears if you don't try at least the first book of HDM, The Golden Compass. (And let me just say that daemons are not the only marvelous concept incorporated into this book's universe.) Okay. I'm getting off-track even for me, so enough with the mixed pimping and back to the story. Except - there's not a lot I can say without spoiling this. These are precisely the characters we know and love from SGA; the HDM add-in may even have made them slightly more themselves. And, hey, there's sex, and it is amazingly appropriate, and also weirdly sexy, considering that it mostly involves a lot of mouse-touching. Hmmm. I think I'm doing a terrible job of conveying just how good this story is, and just how much love I have for it, and just exactly how cool the mouse-touching is. (Although I imagine I have now done an excellent job of persuading you that I am sick.) Just read it, okay?

Best FF with More Cops Than the LA Freeways on Three-Day Weekends. Five Homicides Never Investigated, by Samantha, aka inlovewithnight. Homicide: Life on the Street x Angel x Battlestar Galactica x Firefly x Horatio Hornblower x Stargate: Atlantis, gen. I warn you, I'm not familiar with all of these fandoms - I mean, I can just about spell Firefly and Battlestar Galactica, and that's it - but I still totally get, and love, the point of this story. See, we know who the good guys are, and why what they're doing is right and good and necessary (unless it is totally not, like for example marrying Rowena instead of Rebecca), but - well, in their local universes, the cops usually don't. So, yeah, we all understand why the Mayor on BtVS had to die, but to people who weren't there, it must've looked remarkably like a graduating class going insane, rioting, killing the Mayor (and their own principal), and torching the school. Which is unusual even in California. (Well, in the suburbs, anyway.) I'm usually happy to suspend my disbelief about these things; after all, the alternative would've been for Buffy to turn into a courtroom procedural in its fourth season. (Maybe with Spike as the slouchy, smiling, weirdly scary prosecutor who does all the cross-examining - team him up with Lindsey McDonald for an extra-scary Joss-cross DA team! - and Ethan Rayne as an extremely worrying judge.) But one of the reasons I love FF is that I can find stories that give some much-needed attention to real-world outcomes without having a full season of episodes with titles like "The Process Server Always Rings Twice."

Best FF in Which a Fork Is Used As an Aphrodisiac. No, I'm Not Kidding. And No, It's Not Icky. What, Don't You Trust Me? Thrift, by Te, aka thete1, and Pares, aka kormantic. Buffy the Vampire Slayer x The Sentinel, Blair Sandburg/Faith Lehane. Um, yeah, you read that right. I don't usually enjoy crossover pairings that much, and we all know I get seriously bitey, if not downright rabid, when people trifle with my OTPs, but, well, this is an exception. Because Faith works with anyone. She's the super-sexy little black dress of fandom (and if this makes anyone think of pairing her with that other little black dress, John Sheppard - huh. You know, I was going to say don't, but...) and it turns out she looks excellent on Blair. Or all over him. Whatever. But in this story, my greatest joy actually comes from watching Blair Sandburg deal with the assorted oddities of Sunnydale - vampires, mechanical failure, sexy minors with mysterious fork abilities. I won't say he manages with panache, precisely, but when you consider everything that happens to him in this - well, let's just say that life with Jim Ellison is apparently excellent training for dealing with strange with a side order of dangerous. (At this point, Blair could probably write a whole self-help book called Listening to Adrenalin: When to Run, When to Fight, and When to Call for Backup.) And I'm sure Giles will have a fascinating chat with Blair. Once Faith's done with him, of course.

Best FF in Which It Really Is Vasculitis. Evil Vasculitis. Change Is the Only Constant, by Mara, aka marag. House x DCU, gen. Well. Okay. Some crossovers just don't work. You can, like, find them on some crack-pairing list, and giggle about them, and maybe test your brain's flexibility by imagining them, but the fandoms just don't mesh. You know what I mean: Crossovers That Woman Was Not Meant to Read, Let Alone Write, God Help Her. I would have said that House x DCU is one of those, except that I totally do want you to read this, and furthmore I encourage all kinds of writing like this, because it so totally does work. (Which suggests that any crossover can work in the right hands. I have long suspected this, though no one should write Pride and Prejudice x Backstreet Boys just to prove it.) I'm not spoiling anything when I tell you that the central concept here is Tim Drake = Gregory House. And, wow. That's an equals sign that just has no business at all existing, right? But marag does a fabulous job of showing how point A gets to point B, which is way the hell out of spandex, without breaking any characters. (As far as I know, I mean. I've read, like, four House stories and seen absolutely zip of the canon, so I'm making no promises there.) And, okay, I should probably mention that this story contains spoilers for Identity Crisis and WTF Games, or whatever the hell those canon clusterfucks were called, but the thing is - it resolves those arcs in a way we probably won't get to see in canon. Plus, this story has Cass, and she always elevates the level of discourse. So - grown-up, snarky Tim. Grown-up Cass. Batfamily guilt trips. Emotional resolution. This story has it all. And did I mention the whacked-out crossover aspect?