So. If you were wondering about the State of the TFV, that state is: moody. (Or, in terror alert levels, "Run for the hills. We can live off the land until this is over.") I've been moody all week - not any actual mood, mind you. No, I've been fairly okay there, but my coefficient of moody friction is way, way lower than usual, so I know that the slightest push can convert my potential moodiness to kinetic moodiness, and then they will have to call out the National Guard. That's the way I've been this week.
I'm sure you can imagine the trepidation with which I have approached the internet. I mean, I love this habitation of links and string, but it's not a good place if you're right on the edge of qualifying for Superfund money to clean up your toxic emotions, you know?
And now I'm listening to my neighbors, or rather their teenagers, who are having a party. I'm not sure what the party is for, but if I had to pick a single word to describe its theme, I would go with: bass. Like, the kind where it isn't music so much as it is a seismic tremor capable of triggering alerts as far off as Texas. And I find myself wondering - see, I know it would be a bad idea to force people to live in communities based entirely around musical preferences. It would be, right? I mean, aside from the fact that I would inevitably end up living in the "No Detectable Taste of Any Kind" community, you'd have - you'd have, like, the people who force themselves to listen to Eminem so they don't have to live with the Classical Snots Who Still Believe That Elvis Is a Flash in the Pan, and you'd have the hideous shame of discovering that your recent illicit drunken download of the complete oeuvres of Britney Spears and Celine Dion meant no one wanted to live next to you anymore. That kind of thing.
But, still. I watch my windows vibrate - and these aren't even next door neighbors, mind you; this is the house behind the house next door to us - and I think, Hmmm. Maybe. And, let's see, who'd have to move? Us or them?
So, what with everything, it seemed like a great time to recommend a Random Mishmash of Stuff That Makes Me Cheerful. Go mishmash!
Best Not Exactly FF (But More Than Close Enough) to Feature a Pirate Queen-in-Residence, Which, I Now Realize, Is Exactly What I Want to Be If I Grow Up. Ever so slightly longer but not quite as thick: Toward a quantitative literary sexology of Harry Potter fanfiction, by blythely and circe_tigana. Harry Potter fandom. Well. I have to assume most of you read the title, giggled, said, "Oh, that's fabulous," and clicked. So I'm addressing this strictly to people so strange and unearthly that they don't want to propose marriage to both authors immediately after reading the title. And my first message to you sad few is: seriously, you can take a Spock imitation too far. Fake pointy ears are acceptable in many communities, but failing to find mock academic papers amusing is most definitely not.
And please don't tell me that you're excused because you don't read Harry Potter. You aren't. You'll recognize the concept under study here immediately, possibly with little cries of horror. (Or, if you don't, please tell me about your fandom.) If you've ever read any slash, or any academic papers of any kind, or you've even written a paper or a research report, this is a link for you. And, honestly, if you haven't done at least one of those things, I have to wonder what you're doing here, so how about leaving a comment and telling me? Those are your choices: explain how you've spent your life on Mars, breathing shallowly and avoiding porn and peer-reviewed journals, or go read this. (Hint: pick the latter one.) You'll thank me later. And don't miss the endnotes, which cheer me up more than any SSRI ever could; I don't know precisely how I lived before I read, "The authors wish to thank ... Flowery Twat and Sparcck for peer review." Flowery Twat should be given an award for the excellence of her name, which all by itself is enough to make me downright buoyant.
[Ah. Much better. The toxic emotional sludge is retreating.]
Best FF Featuring What Is, I Believe, the Least Romantic Proposition Ever in All of FF. Given the Characters, I Would Expect Nothing Less. My Sleepy Blue Ocean, by Sandy, aka circusgirl. Scrubs, John Dorian/Perry Cox. It's hard not to be made happy by someone whose life is both weirder and gayer than your own. (That would be J.D., for those not following along at home.) And that's true even when the topic is a wee bit sensitive, because death is just another source of weird gayness for J.D.; if Death actually showed up in Scrubs, he'd do something serious and dramatic, yeah, but he'd be carrying a trick scythe. (For those who are worried about reading a death story: it's a death of a character I'd not previously heard of, who I am pretty sure died in the canon, and also this story didn't seem very sad to me, if a personal testimonial is any good to you.)
In this story, the fine folks of Sacred Heart help J.D. through the five (or six) stages of grieving: Turk forswears mashed potatoes, Janitor reveals his inner, self-published depths (which are just as sticky and disturbing as you'd expect), Carla bonds with J.D. and ruins his shirt, and Dr. Cox goes above and beyond (and wants to hate himself for it, but can't quite manage it). There's a special appearance by Sister Utherina, also known as Yet Another Reason to Fear Nuns. And in the end, J.D.'s problems are solved with spicy pork rinds (no one tell me what those are; seriously, I am not kidding) and sexual healing. Scrubs fan fiction: you have to love it. (And you also have to write it, people. I consider the absence of a large body of Scrubs FF in this universe to be the definitive refutation of Pangloss.)
[Toxic sludge is way off in the distance, emitting little cries of pain.]
Best FF That Demonstrates the Importance of Thinking Outside the Box, Especially If You Are Currently Destined to Die Inside It. The Definition of Stupid, by Tangerine, aka tangeriner. Dead Zone, Johnny Smith/Walt Bannerman. I think this story had me when Johnny describes himself and Walt as frat boys trying to be superheroes, because that's a lot of the charm of the show; these guys weren't meant to be superheroes. Johnny, okay, he's got some of the Chosen One vibe going down, what with all the Only You Can Avert the Apocalypse stuff, and, well, just the visions themselves, but even so, he'd really rather be a teacher. Or, hey, married to Walt's wife. And Walt is totally not meant to be a superhero; he's a cop who doesn't have supersenses or anything. But, you know, there's these visions, so Walt has to try. They both try. And they mostly succeed. Um, sort of.
So. Right. The story. See, I love this story. There are always a few stories that define Yuletide morning for me, and last year, this was one of them; the obituaries, in particular, made for perfect holiday reading ("died suddenly in a sardine can"). (This does leave me with one tiny question: am I the only person on earth who doesn't have a list of stuff to do if I know it's my last night alive? Because I don't. Thinking about it, off the cuff, I'd probably tell Best Beloved and the dogs that I love them, try to call my friends, maybe post some kind of So Long and Thanks for All the Porn message here. Then I'd have sex and go to sleep, because if there's a single word that defines how I want to go, that word is "obliviously." But, you know, I only made that list just now. Am I leaving stuff off? Do the rest of you have detailed ones, all, Tell Muffy I never loved her and Hear Lumina play the piano one last time? I can't be the only one who never really thought about it, right? Right?) And I love - yes, I'm back to the story again - love love the ending. Any Dead Zone story has to be about Johnny, and any story about Johnny has to be about Sarah and Walt, and I love so much that Tangerine gave us that. Plus, hey - sex in a sardine can is always fun.
[Status Report: TFV - cheerful. Sludge - very very sorry for its sins.]
Best FF That Has Given Me a New Motto: "Life Hates Me, but I Hate Life More." Existence As Interesting As Possible, by waxjism. Stargate: Atlantis, Rodney McKay/John Sheppard. Of course, SGA almost always makes me cheerful; I rejoice in the existence of a fandom so inundated with crack that no one blinks at mere telepathy or MPreg anymore, and it's not serious crack if only one person changes species. (I am quite seriously and patiently waiting for someone to write the story where Rodney finds this gun-shaped Ancient thing, and John is all excited and tries it out, but it doesn't do anything until he accidentally points it at Rodney, at which point they discover it's the Ancient version of Calvin's transmogrifier gun. "Colonel, I expect you to get me back. I liked that body, and don't you dare roll your eyes at that. At least you still have eyes! And - wait. Are you thinking about a turkey sandwich?" "Well, yeah. I'm hungry, Rodney." "Don't shoot! Don't shoot!")
But this story (which is totally not crack, even though in a different fandom unicorns would pretty much guarantee a crack rating of +++) also makes me insanely happy, because: dragon. The SG universe is sadly lacking in canon dragons (and don't tell me it's only in fanon that they encounter that kind of shit; promo pictures suggest that poor John Crichton ran into Merlin the second the SG folks got ahold of him). Thank god we have FF to make up the lack. And, seriously, if dragons won't get you to this story, consider John and Rodney stuck on a planet for the better part of two months, with nothing but unicorns and serious seismic instability for company. See? This story is most definitely a source of happiness in my life, and if you haven't read it, know that it can cheer you up, too.
[So. I feel better. And I imagine the Sludge feels better, too, in its new life as a bath tile cleanser. Fan fiction heals, my friends.]