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19 November 2009 @ 02:42 pm
199: Long Is the Way  
Dear People Out There,

I am hoping you can help me with something.

See, our beloved Philips plays-anything DVD player experienced serious trauma in the move. (Well, we all did.) Now it just sits there with its power light blinking red, and nothing we can do will make it open or play. We've given it time to heal, largely because I hate hate hate replacing things, but it hasn't gotten better, so - what is the current fannish DVD player? The one that plays the most formats, and so on? What do you folks have and love? (That can currently be purchased, I mean.)

Now, onto the recs. Once again, it's long stories. (Parenthood and breastfeeding have really changed the way I'm reading; since I only managed to read fan fiction on the Kindle, and I tend to Kindle mostly longer things, that's what I end up reading. Someday, presumably, there will be more variety here, but you'll have to take that up with the earthling.)

The One with Extra Vulcan Goodness. So Wise We Grow, by captanddeastar. Star Trek Reboot, Jim T. Kirk/Spock.

Okay, I will admit it. I am unabashed lover of epic kidfic. But my standards for kidfic went way, way up during pregnancy. (True fact: at one point, in around my eighth month, I snarled at the screen, "That is NOT how it happens, and that is NOT medically accurate, and also -" and then I realized I was criticizing the medical realism of MPREG. People who tell you pregnancy makes you crazy probably aren't thinking of this moment, but they should be.) And then they skyrocketed again after I was living my own version of kidfic, complete with earthling. So I now approach kidfic with joy and trepidation, because either it's going to make me happy all day long or it's going to make me write yet another lengthy mental post entitled Pregnancy and Childrearing: Actual Facts, Because You Seem Not to Have Any Even Though the Internet Is Totally Full of Them.

This one fell squarely into the "happy all day long" category. And in a rather unusual way, too. See, okay - most kidfic starts from one of two places: either a new baby, via MPreg or alien/divine/future/magical intervention, or a (gasp!) woman, whatever, or a kid still firmly in what I think of as the Era of Cuteness. This story starts out with a kid in the Era of Snottiness, and I just love that. (Partly this is because I have a nephew who has just embarked on the Era of Snottiness, and I have so much enjoyed seeing him discover sarcasm and obstructive literalism and eye-rolling and various gestures behind my sister's back. I imagine I will love this age much less when the earthling gets there, but for right now, it's comedy gold.)

And I also love (we're back to the story again) Jim and Spock, getting it backwards as usual. (First comes baby, then comes marriage, then comes love: I am pretty sure that is not how it usually goes, guys! But then, being captain of the whole fucking ship doesn't usually come at the start of one's career, either, so I am guessing they're used to inverting these things. They'd probably be all shocked if they actually did something like other people for once.) And I love how they fuck up, and also get things right, and how they get it all figured out in the end.

Most of all, I just really, really love seeing Jim Kirk dealing with TWO snotty Vulcans. I cannot think of anything better than that.

The One Where Ray Totally Calls Fraser on His Bullshit. More People Need to Do That! A Moment of Insight, by cesperanza. Due South, Benton Fraser/Ray Kowalski.

Did I really not recommend this before? That hardly seems possible, and yet LJ Archive insists that it is so. In which case, I really have to wonder what the hell was wrong with me. Because this story is so very marvelous, and I re-read it regularly, and yet somehow I failed to mention that fact to you. Maybe I assumed you all knew about it, but if so, I am sure I assumed wrong. (If I've learned one thing on the internet - besides "never click without first seeing where the link goes, especially if the link text is something like HA HA HA" - it's that there is always someone who hasn't seen it, someone staring at the screen thinking, but what's a LOLcat? Often that person is me. Although I do know what LOLcats are, thank god.)

I can't take the risk that there is someone out there who is looking for a good, long story, or a good dS story, or just a story involving hotel rooms in middle America (and if you think there isn't someone looking for that last one, watch a few storyfinders communities - there is always someone looking for a story involving, like, eye infections, or learning to stand on your head, or French-Canadian pastries, things like that.)

So. What we have here is:
  1. Ray and Fraser. (A good way to start! Years of happiness started that way for me.)
  2. Trapped in a hotel room. (I think we can all agree that this is a fundamentally excellent plot development in virtually all fandoms, and before you argue, consider: Buffy and Ethan Rayne, trapped in a hotel room! Hercules and Iolaus, trapped in a hotel room! Reboot Kirk and Methos, trapped in a hotel room!)
  3. Engaged in sex and case-solving, and, really, what could be better? (Fan fiction has changed my definition of "awesome procedural crime story" to the point where I always find myself vaguely disappointed in published if the heroes just catch the bad guys, and don't actually fuck or flirt or have a moment of relationship-defining staring or whatever. This is funny because I love gen fan fiction and almost never have that problem there, but then, fan fiction writers actually know when they're writing slash, most of the time; pro writers often don't.)
Basically, this story is everything I love about dS.

The One Where We Learn About the Persistence of Pizza. In the Memory, I Mean. Forget Me Not, by maisierita. Stargate: Atlantis, John Sheppard/Rodney McKay.

I love amnesia. I just - I really do. (When it happens to fictional people, I mean.) Someone on my friends list was talking about her incredible folly of starting a story with everyone with amnesia and lost in the dark, and I was like: that is an awesome idea. I would love to read that! What's wrong with starting out with everyone amnesiac and lost in the dark?

(Answer: hard to write. Apparently. Whatever.)

I'm not sure what I love more about amnesia - that you get to see everyone without their internal history (who I am, where I hurt, what I've learned) or that you get to see folks interacting without their interpersonal history (who you are, what we fight about, why I like you). Fortunately, in this story, I don't have to choose. Because, okay, Rodney and John may not be lost in the dark, but they definitely both have amnesia. And they're in an unfamiliar world. And not only do they stay that way a good long time, but John gets extra amnesia, which is, obviously, extra awesome. (Also just like him - always taking the largest share of the pie, as long as the pie is made of pain, suffering, time on his knees, or emotional maladjustment!)

I love watching them renegotiate their relationships when they're missing most of the pieces of the puzzle, and figure out what the hell is going on, and deal with the circumstances of their capture. And, equally, I love watching them manage the little stuff - like, they have to reinvent pizza and ice cream and coffee. I think we can all agree that would be a major priority for anyone stuck on an unfamiliar world. (I'm only surprised they didn't reinvent Kraft Macaroni and Cheese. Seems like every American who goes to a distant land sends back pathetic pleas for suitcases full of Kraft. Even when they did not eat it at all in the US.)

Basically, this story takes two classic fan fiction tropes (Imprisonment! Amnesia!) and does them up right, in an intensely satisfying story that I re-read at least four times a year.

(Note for readers who happen to be best_beloved: Yes, maisierita also wrote that one really sad story. This one is not sad. Authors are allowed to have many facets. READ THIS. You will like it, I swear.)

The One That Will Cause Anyone Who Routinely Drives in Los Angeles to Spend a Lot of Time Imagining the Commute and Sigalerts on This Day. Wheels on the Bus Go Round and Round, by Annie D., aka [info - dreamwidth.org] scaramouche. Die Hard 4 x Speed, John McClane/Matt Farrell.

No, I am not recommending this one just because I spend a suspiciously large part of my life singing this song. That is just a bonus. (Although I am kind of sad that there won't be a sequel, because that so obviously would be titled Row Row Row Your Boat.)

Here's the thing: I have never seen Die Hard 4, although I am fairly sure I can fill in many of the blanks. (John McClane is manly and kicks some bad guy ass, for example.) And I actually have seen Speed, but I realized, while reading this story, that I don't really remember it. What I remember is, like, the movie trailer version of it. I remember the central plot device - the bus thing, of course - and a few snippets of dialog and some of the characters. (I think my brain has even set this memory to stirring instrumental music, and prefaced it with a ratings screen.) And I very clearly remember thinking at one point, wow, this movie really needed to end about 20 minutes ago. But I don't actually remember, like, who the bad guy was, or, um, the plot - things like that.

I do not regret this at all, because I am just going to pretend, for the rest of my life, that both Speed and Die Hard 4 went exactly like this story. It has everything I want from an action movie - ass-kicking! Wise-cracking! Manliness! Injuries! Inexplicably well-equipped bad guys who, in reality, would just make several billion dollars looting hedge funds and then buy a tropical island, which would in any case be easier than their nefarious plans! Kissing!

But this story is better than most action movies I can remember, and certainly better than all the ones I can't.

Also, the kissing is between the two main dudes, and I don't think I'm going to be seeing that in a big-budget action movie any time soon. Thank you, Annie D, for giving me everything I want in an action movie. Without even requiring me to hire a babysitter.
 
 
 
Minim Calibreminim_calibre on November 20th, 2009 12:40 am (UTC)
So I now approach kidfic with joy and trepidation, because either it's going to make me happy all day long or it's going to make me write yet another lengthy mental post entitled Pregnancy and Childrearing: Actual Facts, Because You Seem Not to Have Any Even Though the Internet Is Totally Full of Them.

I KNOW. OMG.

Ahem. Welcome to my universe.
tried to eat the safe banana: Adult nowthefourthvine on November 20th, 2009 02:34 am (UTC)
I keep reading stories and being like, you don't even have to look this stuff up! Just get a beta who has a child under 10! FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, GET A BETA WITH A KID!

norah was actually planning a Pregnancy and Childrearing: Tips on Writing It, from ACTUAL PARENTS post. I realize it'd be hard, and she's way way way too busy right now, but I still want one. Because - well, you know why.
busaikkobusaikko on November 20th, 2009 12:42 am (UTC)
When you say 'plays anything', do you mean multi-region? (will play American and Japanese and European DVDs) *watches post with interest*
tried to eat the safe banana: I sleep with computers.thefourthvine on November 20th, 2009 02:35 am (UTC)
My current one actually does have an easy multi-region hack, so that it would play any region DVDs. Yup!
Lucy: Castlecereta on November 20th, 2009 12:52 am (UTC)
I have a Philips DVP5990, which has a slot for a flash drive. The disks I don't burn! I am assured the region-free hack is quite easy, although I've never had to do it.
par avionpar_avion on November 20th, 2009 02:33 am (UTC)
Seah and Merry have an awesome DVD player with USB slot (I don't remember the brand) -- that would be the most important feature (for me) in a new DVD player.
(no subject) - thefourthvine on November 20th, 2009 02:35 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - cereta on November 20th, 2009 03:49 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - tzikeh on November 20th, 2009 05:13 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - nomanomynous on November 20th, 2009 07:29 pm (UTC) (Expand)
V.aurora_84 on November 20th, 2009 12:59 am (UTC)
(Although I am kind of sad that there won't be a sequel, because that so obviously would be titled Row Row Row Your Boat.)
I am laughing so hard right now! And I've had that story opened in a tab for 10 days. I shall get around to it. *determined*
tried to eat the safe banana: TFV bluethefourthvine on November 20th, 2009 02:36 am (UTC)
It's really, really worth it. There is ACTION MOVIE CHEESE. You can't beat that.
travels_in_time: WC--OT3travels_in_time on November 20th, 2009 01:00 am (UTC)
fan fiction writers actually know when they're writing slash, most of the time; pro writers often don't.

*coughWhiteCollarcough*

Well, to be more accurate, they don't seem to know that they're writing OT3.
Olna Jenndormouse_in_tea on November 20th, 2009 01:22 am (UTC)
And it is SO BAFFLING, because honestly, how do you miss it?
(no subject) - travels_in_time on November 20th, 2009 02:17 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - thefourthvine on November 20th, 2009 02:39 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - travels_in_time on November 20th, 2009 03:05 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - elucreh on November 20th, 2009 06:05 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - travels_in_time on November 20th, 2009 01:25 pm (UTC) (Expand)
Dafnadafnagreer on November 20th, 2009 01:10 am (UTC)
I'm stuck in the house w/ h1n1 so these recs are a lifesaver. Thanks.
macey muse: (in)significantmacey_muse on November 20th, 2009 01:23 am (UTC)
(moar long fic and moar long fic mark 2; there's a fair variety. view it as a care package from a fellow (thankfully recovered, although it nearly got me fired) sufferer)
(no subject) - dafnagreer on November 20th, 2009 01:59 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - thefourthvine on November 20th, 2009 02:40 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - macey_muse on November 20th, 2009 04:30 am (UTC) (Expand)
Leynaleyna55 on November 20th, 2009 01:17 am (UTC)
Stories I don't know. Excellent!

I want to read this - Buffy and Ethan Rayne, trapped in a hotel room! I really want to read this - Reboot Kirk and Methos, trapped in a hotel room! and thinking about it some more, THIS - Methos and Ethan Rayne, trapped in a hotel room! would be awesome. The sarcasm, alone, would be epic.

Edited at 2009-11-20 01:18 am (UTC)
tried to eat the safe banana: TFV flowersthefourthvine on November 20th, 2009 02:45 am (UTC)
I totally want to read Buffy and Ethan Rayne trapped in a hotel room. It would have to be a VERY SECURE ONE, though. But I can picture Buffy trying to kick her way out while Ethan was sarcastic, and then him trying magic, and - oh, it would be awesome.

And Reboot Kirk and Methos would be equally awesome. Methos will still be around in whatever century Kirk lives in, and we'd get to see who he is then. And then, obviously, there would be sex.

Ethan Rayne and Methos would have a scary amount in common. Oh, great - now I want to see the Ethan Rayne as Highlander immortal AU. *pines*
macey muse: going placesmacey_muse on November 20th, 2009 01:20 am (UTC)
...wow. is this. what. four long!fics I maybe-probably-not-quite-sure actually haven't read?

I love you so much. ♥

also, I would pay to read that Children: U'r Doin' Them Rong (...oh god, pretend I phrased that better) post. Given that I'm a student being driven bankrupt by a) the government not giving me my loans STILL OMG and b) nanowrimo, I may pay you with, like, chocolate. or something. but it's the thought that counts!
tried to eat the safe banana: TFV glowythefourthvine on November 20th, 2009 02:47 am (UTC)
*glee* Read them! They are awesome!

And, well, I know had such a post planned, but she's too busy to do it, I think. (Either that or I missed it.) Maybe she will manage, one of these days! Or maybe I will. Or we both will. There is a post in it, for sure - I've written DOZENS in my head.
(no subject) - macey_muse on November 20th, 2009 04:32 am (UTC) (Expand)
(Deleted comment)
tried to eat the safe banana: TFV Katamari Damacythefourthvine on November 20th, 2009 02:47 am (UTC)
I admit it, I hope someone will see that and cry, "YES. That is exactly what I want to write today!"
starfishchick on November 20th, 2009 02:33 am (UTC)
Fan fiction has changed my definition of "awesome procedural crime story" to the point where I always find myself vaguely disappointed in published if the heroes just catch the

OK, yes, thank you, this is so how I feel, too! (About caper stories, too! Ocean's 11 fic, thank you!)

P.S. I love A Moment of Insight.

Edited at 2009-11-20 02:34 am (UTC)
tried to eat the safe banana: TFV lettersthefourthvine on November 20th, 2009 02:49 am (UTC)
The thing is, so often the writers of caper stories and crime stories and so on have created a dynamic that tells my readerly instincts "slash is coming!" And then they don't follow through, because they don't GET it. And I am disappointed. (And then I say, "Yuletide fandom!" But first, there is disappointment.) If you write a slashy dynamic, I want follow-through, professional writer people!
Proactively Untwist Octagonal Hippopotamus Pants: canadadramaturgca on November 20th, 2009 02:56 am (UTC)
I totally brought up dS in one of my graduate theatre classes yesterday. Apparently young Canadians think it's kind of lame. I was confused.
tried to eat the safe banana: Fraserthefourthvine on November 20th, 2009 02:59 am (UTC)
Tell them people in Southern California think it's awesome! (Which is totally true. You don't have to mention that it's not, you know, most people, just some of us.)
(no subject) - dramaturgca on November 20th, 2009 03:08 am (UTC) (Expand)
sinquepidasinquepida on November 20th, 2009 04:43 am (UTC)
I am always sad to find out that some people don't remember that the killer bus in Speed was bookended by a killer elevator AND a killer subway train, both of which I thought were way cooler than the killer bus.

And, really, how could you forget Dennis Hopper smugging his way through the final third? That was art. Art, I tell you.
A hilarium of fangirls and boys: ship smile2j_s_cavalcante on November 20th, 2009 05:52 am (UTC)
I imagine I will love this age much less when the earthling gets there, but for right now, it's comedy gold.)

Hee. Yeah, your sister is going to enjoy watching you squirm. And if your earthling is anything like my two, you will find the Era of Snottiness doesn't actually end. Possibly when the kid is FORTY, but also possibly not then, either. Good luck. --And as you surely already know, it's all still worth the pain, anyway. :)

I read kidfic only in Due South and have never been able to tolerate it in any other fandom (not that I read many others)...but maybe that's the problem? I haven't often seen it done that far wrong in Due South. Maybe almost all the kidfic elsewhere is seriously reality-challenged?

Most of all, I just really, really love seeing Jim Kirk dealing with TWO snotty Vulcans. I cannot think of anything better than that.

Hee, yeah. :)

(If I've learned one thing on the internet - besides "never click without first seeing where the link goes, especially if the link text is something like HA HA HA" - it's that there is always someone who hasn't seen it

Which makes it very kind of you to rec, because you're right, no one should miss it. I read Speranza's entire Due South oeuvre a few years ago, but it is always fun to revisit. And that "trapped in a hotel room" trope? Seriously never gets old. :)

1. Ray and Fraser. (A good way to start! Years of happiness started that way for me.)
2. Trapped in a hotel room. (I think we can all agree that this is a fundamentally excellent plot development in virtually all fandoms...


SO TRUE.

3. Engaged in sex and case-solving, and, really, what could be better? (Fan fiction has changed my definition of "awesome procedural crime story" to the point where I always find myself vaguely disappointed in published if the heroes just catch the bad guys, and don't actually fuck or flirt or have a moment of relationship-defining staring or whatever.

I know I know. EVEN TRUER. I adore you for this post. Good luck with the earthling.
forsweatervestsforsweatervests on November 20th, 2009 06:17 am (UTC)
I don't know how much help this will be, but I usually buy a no-name DVD player. As in, a brand name I've never seen before, and probably never will again once this one has died. I find these usually play multiple regions of DVDs, and since that tends to be my main concern when trying to watch my mainly-South American DVD collection, well...yeah. Uh, I've also noticed that Panasonic tends to play at least 3 regions before freaking out on you. So, I guess, my answer is to buy the one that seems both pretty and cheap (and pretty cheap) at Best Buy, or Target, or whatever giant superstore with electronics is out your way.
Lu (Not Your Average Retelling)elucreh on November 20th, 2009 06:29 am (UTC)
Saving these for when I'm not drowning in schoolwork, but thanks for contributing to the prizes!