Last week, after much consultation with y'all, I decided what iPod to get for Best Beloved. (The video iPod, if you're curious. Best Beloved likes lots of storage space.) I went to the online Apple store, put a bunch of stuff in a shopping cart, and checked out. As I am a human being with functioning brain cells, I of course immediately made a note of every single number Apple gave me, including what I suspect is Steve Jobs's inseam size, and I also carefully inspected their predicted wait-until-shipping and shipping times, making a mental note that, since they were saying 5 to 7 days to ship and then 5 days for it to get here, I should send my first, polite email inquiry on November 15.
Except. And this is the part that is so amazing to me I can hardly stand it. The iPod is already here. It came on Monday. Yes: I purchased something computer-ish that came early. And it came with the latest version of its software - no need to download patches large enough to contain every book ever written in English! It came with all the right connectors and cords! I plugged it in and it just started working!
It was weird.
Obviously, it's early days yet - Ivan the iPod could still prove to be severely broken or just plain evil, and I could still spend the next several weeks exchanging email with a whole slew of people in India who will not even read what I have to say before linking me to an irrelevant website and thanking me sincerely for my business. Or it could prove that iTunes has compromised our desktop's integrity, installed a cloaked rootkit, and sent all our personal information, including bank account numbers and humiliating childhood nicknames, to the residents of Folsom State Prison. But that hasn't happened so far, which is already a minor consumer miracle. The iPod has been in the house for days and I have not even needed the Knowledge Base yet.
About an hour ago, as I was wistfully reflecting on how much I suddenly want an iPod of my own, I thought: Wow. If only these people made computers..
Thank you all; you told me what to buy, and you were exactly right. The wisdom of the friends list (greater than the sum of its parts, which was already a very large number, let me tell you) has prevailed again. What with your help and Apple's shockingly non-violent attitude towards consumers, this has been a completely painless, nearly fun shopping experience. (Did I mention that I got free shipping? That got the iPod and all its add-ons here before it was due? With everything I ordered right there, as though I had a right to these things simply because I paid for them? Whereas I am, for example, still struggling to get Amazon to disgorge an item I purchased nearly a month ago, which was supposed to be in my hands last week but will not be here until - if I am lucky - my birthday. With no promise made about which birthday. And I will not even talk about the many joyous conversations I've had with Amazon's contractors in India on this topic, except to note that I've spent so much time corresponding with Neetu and Srividhya that I feel we should be sending each other holiday cards. Especially as I suspect I also chatted with Neetu about my Dell not too long ago.)
So I'm expressing my thanks with recs. (Which is, yes, how I express pretty much everything in this LJ.) Today: family stories. Because, hey, iPods are family members, right? Join me in celebrating Ivan's arrival (OMG early) with this truly excellent fan fiction.
Can I get a yay?
Best Moose-Free Story Containing Surprising Links to a Moose-Intensive One with Which It Has Nothing Else in Common. The Water Moon, by Salieri, aka troyswann. Stargate: SG-1, and this is pretty much gen. There's mention of Teal'c/Drey'auc, but since they were canonically married, I don't think that exactly qualifies this as het. Because this story? Is so not about romance. It's about what comes after the romance, the marriage, the breakup, the dissolution, and it's about the way Teal'c's (eeesh, that possessive looks awful) choices and sacrifices have affected the people he loves. I love what Salieri does with the character of Drey'auc here. I'm totally unfamiliar with her canon appearances, of course, but I doubt that in them she has time to be anything like this, well, real. But that's why we love fan fiction, right? Equal time for lesser characters! (Our motto: proud to be forming whole pairing armies around characters who don't have canonical last names. Or first names. Or sexes. Hell, we can make a kerfluffle-ready pairing out of half a footnote and an unofficial spoiler.) Drey'auc is painfully human (okay, or Jaffa) in this story; she's in a bad situation that she didn't create, and she's making some very tough choices. There's also a wonderful original character in this, and while we're on that topic? Disturbing themes, people. This is a fabulous story, but it pulls no punches. Which is why I find it fascinating that the beginning of it comes from Salieri's silly, fun, moose-based Elvis Has Left the Building. As she says, this shows what context will do to you.
Best FF That Demonstrates Once Again That Evil Lurks in the Ocean. Do Not Trust the Shellfish: He Does Not Have Your Best Interests in His Squishy, Primitive Heart. Inheritance, by Dasha. The Sentinel, gen. No, wait! Come back! I know lots of people find the concept of Sentinel gen hilariously unappealing, like watery cheese or balloon animals. But, see, I like it. And you should, too. There, I've said it: you should read Sentinel gen, even though the show itself was apparently not really all that gen, judging from the vids. Because, see, there are aspects of the whole senses thing that are legitimately fascinating, in a way that makes me wish that TS had been written by other people. And, okay, I really have no idea what is canonically up with Jim's family, except that he is yet another character in the long line of them, stretching all the way back to, for example, Zeus, who has major daddy issues. Those things are like the plague, baby; they're everywhere. Which, um, makes me think of this, which I will put behind a cut for all our sakes:
Jim sits in a bar, having a beer. Another cop sits down beside him and orders a triple.
Jim: Tough day?
Other Cop: Yeah. [sighs] I had to deal with my father.
Jim: I hear that.
OC, eying Jim thoughtfully, because ordinary cops don't talk like that: It was the same thing as always. He's telling me what to do, he's telling me what to think. Does he ever tell me he's proud of me? No. Does he tell me he loves me? No.
Jim: Never. Not once. And he doesn't like my friends. Or the, uh, person I'm dating. Or my job.
OC: Shit yes. I'm like, I'm protecting the innocent! Preventing crime! Isn't that what you raised me to do? But he's all pissed I won't do it his way.
Jim: Yeah. My father, too. Though in his case I think it's the wealth and the CEO thing coming out.
OC: Hey, mine too. Totally the head of a company, totally treats me like an employee the half of the time he remembers my name. Jesus, it's like we have the same father.
Jim: You know, for all my father tells me? We could be fucking twins, you and me. He doesn't ever talk to me.
OC: Yes. Would it kill him to say three words to me? Like, I don't know, 'How are you?' or something?
Jim: Exactly. [pause] So. I'm Jim Ellison, Cascade PD, I'm in town for the whole Policing in the Twenty-First Century thing.
OC, shaking his hand: Dick Grayson, Bludhaven PD. Likewise. Good to meet you. [eyes Jim thoughtfully] So, Jim. how are you with spandex?)
See, this is why it's better not to think about the Bruce-and-Dick = father-and-son thing. Takes the brain to unhappy places. (And speaking of unhappy places - OMG, Blair could never wear a Robin suit. Don't even try to picture it, because you will be sorry.)
But getting back to this story - see, this is the Ellison family trying to enjoy a nice day out. But, no - they can't have nice things. They have to have intergenerational strife. And vomiting. I love this story for the Stephen point of view, the explanation of William's asinine behavior in re: the senses, and for the appearance of highly competent Sandburg. It's brilliant. It's compelling. It's the series the way it should've been written. Plus, just like the series, you can totally assume Jim and Blair are doing it. So, please - won't you try some Sentinel gen today?
Best FF That Teaches You About Ass Words. And Also the True Meaning of Family. Try Beating That Combination, People. My Claustrophobia and My Letter 'O', by julianlee. Scrubs, J.D./Dr. Cox. Okay, fine. All you people who said Scrubs was wonderful, you win. Best Beloved is watching it, and apparently it's good enough that soon I'll be watching it, too. So. You got your way. Happy? Good. Now write some damn Scrubs stories. How can the show be as slashy AND as funny as Best Beloved reports and not have more FF than this? Although, you know, what's there is choice, and these stories are fine examples of that. They are wonderful (yes, even as wonderful as Katharine Hepburn). And that's no surprise; Julian Lee writes great stuff, especially in what I have come to think of as the Dialog Fandoms (Sports Night, The West Wing, etc.), and Scrubs is apparently just such a fandom. The family connection does not actually come into this until the second story, which is an odd kind of familyfic, since it's about J.D.'s odd new family. But anticipation will only make it better, right? And in the first one you'll learn about ass words, so that's all right. And then in the second one you'll read a scene that I believe - although my studies have been necessarily limited because of a tragic lack of FF in this fandom - could only work in a Scrubs story. (I'm serious. I've been trying to imagine any other character ever doing it, and it's - really scary, people.) So read these. You have nothing to lose but your composure, and everything to gain. Ass words included.
Best FF That Makes Me Go All Wistful and Goopy over Numbers. Apparently, in My Secret Heart of Hearts, I Think Prime Numbers Are Just Adorable. Small Primes and Square Roots, by liviapenn. Stargate: Atlantis, John Sheppard/Rodney McKay. I think I fell in love with this story before I read it. Seriously. The title alone did it. Except, you know how it is; you start out loving something - cookies, a fandom, your new socks - to the point where you would even confess to loving it in public ("Socks! I love you!"), and then later - maybe after you've eaten a few more or read some FF or actually put them on - you realize that what you felt before wasn't even love. That's what happened to me with this. Because the title is excellent, yes, but that's - whoa. I was going to say, "That's only the beginning," but fortunately I caught myself in time. My point is: this is an excellent story. It's kidfic - we all know of my love for kidfic, right? - and it's from the Harlequin challenge - and we all know of my love for those stories, right? - and, hell. I can't say anymore. I'm afraid of, you know, spoiling it. Oh! But I can say that Rodney is so incredibly Rodney in this it's surprising he doesn't climb out of the page and off the screen and stomp around your living room calling you an idiot for wasting your time on fiction when you could be learning something. And also, couldn't you find something better to be a fan of? Like Star Trek or Penrose tiling or Richard Feynman? But the answer is (sorry, Rodney) no, you could not, because anything that produces fan fiction this good, is by definition, the best thing ever. (Also - the kid in this? I love this kid. Why wasn't I this kid?)