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05 November 2006 @ 08:12 am
154: In a Man's Letters, His Soul Lies Naked  
Dear Amazing and Wonderfully Kindly One,

Thank you for the Frank-o-Lantern! I would offer a story in return, but, well. I can't. So instead I will give a gift in your honor. (And if you want to suggest a recs set theme or something, my comments are here for you.)

Much love and many happy returns of the season,

Dear Ants,

Fuck the fuck off. My house is not your house. No, not even a tiny part. No, not even if it's cold and moist outside, because - look, I'm sure it sucks to be an ant, but if you want a nice warm house to keep you safe from moisture, develop your own technological society and get your own mortgage.

Also, stop whining about moisture. We live in Los Angeles. It's a fucking desert. If you can't cope with this level of water in your environment, move to Mars. You will not be missed.

Please consider this as your final eviction notice before I poison you hideously ha ha ha,

Dear Symantec,

Do you - do you hate customers? Or is this some sort of incredibly comical performance art type prank? Or are you maybe, just maybe, run by evil troglodytes with mud for brains? Because I find your insistence that I run Internet Explorer, aka the least safe browser on the planet, in order to use your webstore to buy a subscription to update my anti-virus definitions to be - well, somewhat nonsensical, in the same way that setting my own toes on fire because I might soon have a headache would be nonsensical.

Also, if you want to outsource your CS, fine. That is your choice. But if you cannot find people who can accurately transcribe addresses after not one but three repetitions, thus resulting in the delivery of my product - which I had to order by phone, because see above in re: IE, and how I would not be at all sorry if someone set your toes on fire - to some random address to be signed for by some other random person, and fourteen email exchanges before I even managed to get my money refunded, then perhaps you should think about how the C in CS stands for "customer," not "crappy."

Off to see if some other anti-virus software vendor wants my money and is willing to take it via Opera or Firefox,

Dear daegaer,

Thank you. I think. Because the snippets of my imaginary fandom were gorgeous and wonderful and seeing it in text was perhaps the strangest kick of my life - and I'm including my teenage years in that - but now I am writing stories about it myself. Many of them. This can only end badly. Especially since you write one of the main characters far better than I do.

Love, hate, and authorial convenience,

As you may have guessed from the above, it is time for a hearty round of document-related stories - specifically, letters. And their ilk.

The One That Proves That Your Mother Was Right When She Told You Not to Put It in Writing. (Well, My Mother Told Me That, Anyway. And She Was Right. Because Telepaths and Schoolkids Could Be Reading It.) Repair, by penknife. X-Men movieverse, Scott Summers/Jean Grey.

This one is going to feel deeply, deeply familiar to anyone who has ever been in a long-term relationship. And I'm not restricting that to romantic relationships, either; I think any not-precisely-fight-but-definitely-not-a-non-fight with anyone you've known for a very, very long time works like this. (Although, for your sake, I hope yours have ended better than this one does; it ends on kind of a hopeful note, yes, but - well. Only kind of.) Familiar as it is, though, we can all learn an important lesson from this: do not make innocent faucets the victims in your semi-fights. They don't need to suffer.

Also, if you live in a building housing many people, including the occasional telepath, remember that Miss Manners, if she was an entirely different kind of person than she is, would tell you that there are two things you should keep decently behind closed doors: fighting and fucking. Your fellow residents do not need to know about your orgasms, your arguments, or your arguments with the people who give you orgasms.

My college experience would have been greatly improved if other people had followed this simple rule. (Frankly, I'd rather they'd covered this in freshman orientation than how to buy books. Why would you be in college if you didn't know how to buy books? But almost no one knew how to live with a person not a relative, do laundry, or cook food. Were those topics covered? No.) And I'm sure the people at Xavier's School for the Mutant Arts or whatever it's called are wishing Scott and Jean would follow it, too. (Probably loud enough for Jean to hear. I would. If she's going to go be telepathic all over the place, by god I'm going to make my thoughts as embarrassing and unpleasant for her as possible. Not that I have, you know, telepathophobia or anything.)

The One in Which We Learn That Peace of Mind Isn't Possible When Lex Luthor Has Your Email Address. Of Epistles and Epiphanies, by nifra_idril. Smallville, Clark Kent/Lex Luthor.

It was once said of Dave Lister that when he got drunk, he really got drrrrr-unk, and all he did was end up broke, diseased, and 793 million miles from home. Lex Luthor would naturally not do anything that simple. Well. I mean. If he woke up broke, diseased, passportless, and in the wrong part of the solar system, it'd take him about two weeks to get home, and he'd conquer the solar system as a byproduct. So obviously he can't go with the tried-and-true for his drunk fuck-ups. No, Lex - if Lex is going to do something stupid, it's going to involve Clark.

In this case, it involves writing the whole truth and nothing but the truth to Clark and then sending the email. The story is about Clark's reaction to said email, and it is delightful and perfect and I don't think I need to go into it here.

But what I love, once I've reveled in the actual story for another re-read, is to picture the other side. Because, okay - we've all had moments where, seconds after we clicked "send," we wished we could get the message back. Or maybe just die a merciful, humiliated death and be buried under a nameless stone that merely reads: "She clicked 'Send' too soon." But Lex - Lex really must've wanted to cancel that message, and he's not good at not getting what he wants. He must've woken up the next morning and tried to, like, buy out the internet. Or maybe he knew better. After all, if there's anyone who can keep Lex from doing something, it's Lex, so maybe he just laid there in bed, one arm over his eyes, and thought, Well-played, Self. But next time the drunken mistake calls, I think I'd rather just nuke Metropolis.

I'm betting he still wiped out a few telecommunications conglomerates after he thought that, though. It's just his way. And that's why we love him, am I right?

The One in Which We Learn That You Shouldn't Try to Hack the Afterlife. Sincerely, by rageprufrock. Angel, Wesley Wyndham-Pryce/Charles Gunn.

Fred teaches Angel to use email. This is, as you might expect, fraught with difficulty - frankly, only a person used to fighting against long odds would even have considered such a thing. But the biggest problem doesn't exactly come from the places you might think - Angel getting involve with Nigerian scammers or penis enlargement schemes, Angel discovering that "the god in the machine" is actually a demon, Angel accidentally taking down the entire internet for seventeen hours and nearly kicking off a worldwide economic collapse.

No. The problem is that he's getting email from Cordelia. Who is, actually, dead.

What I love about this is the hope of it. It argues that some things never change, and even when they do, and even when the change is for the worst, some things can be salvaged, and the important things keep on. I also love that it shows what Cordelia meant to the Angel crew, what a pivotal place she had. Because, you know, the Angel team? Totally a family. And when you lose a family member, things go into unstable orbits for a while.

Basically, this is a story about finding new stable orbits. Well, and email from beyond the grave. And I am quite aware that it is very thoroughly jossed, and I do not care. In my head, they're still out there, helping the hopeless forever. And dealing with the inevitable disasters and tragedies pretty much like this - with romantic comedies and Lush bath products and the occasional technological seance.

The One in Which We Learn That Boys Being Naked Together Can Be Quite a Problem. Unless You're Invited, Too. A Change in Relationship Dynamics, by debchan. Samurai Champloo, Jin/Mugen/Fuu.

You probably don't need to know the canon to read this, although it would help. But some stories are as old as time, and we all know them - two warriors and a girl with a squirrel, wandering through ancient Japan to a background of hip-hop music, chasing and being chased by prostitutes, organized and disorganized criminals, foreigners, politicians, and fighters of all shapes and sizes. I think we've read and seen that one countless times, yes? (And if you haven't, well. Maybe you should try watching Samurai Champloo, you big dork.)

Plus, this story is mostly about a girl thinking about two boys being naked together, and if you can't relate to that, well, why exactly are you here? So you can certainly read this without the canon.

What I love about this, though, is not the indubitably right Samurai Champloo feel, or the way it acknowledges that Jin and Mugen and Fuu are all essential to the story, or the way this is one of the few threesome stories I see leading to a stable relationship, or even the diary entries. (Although I do love the diary entries.) No, I love the way it makes me giggle, pure and simple. Every time I read it, the word "naked" seems funny for days afterward. It's as fun and shiny as the canon can be.

With added sex. I really don't see how you could ask for more than that.


The One That Elucidates Several Methods of Coping with Boredom. The Only One I'd Recommend You Try at Home, Though, Is the Sex. The Fuu Diaries, by gogoangelgunboy. Samurai Champloo, Jin/Mugen.

This is a bonus because - well, you really do need to know a bit of the canon to appreciate this, um, diary entry. But, hey. I think I've already made it clear that the canon is very much worth getting to know. Get thee to some Champloo. It's worth it in its own right. And to read stories like this one.

Because if you know the canon, this story is wonderful. I can hear Fuu's voice reading this out loud, and the focus (on the last piece of sushi) is so very right for her, because if there's one thing that Fuu teaches us in the canon, it's that food is more important than. Um. Basically anything.

And if there's one thing that Fuu teaches us in this story, it's that there's no point in trying to deny the sexual tension. Just succumb to it. Saves a lot of wear and tear on the swords (...No. Really. That was not a double entendre. I did in fact mean actual swords. Okay. And cocks, but there are swords here. You can't deny that.), and you don't miss out on the food, either.

Plus, I had to recommend this alongside "A Change in Relationship Dynamics," because in my head they will always go together. I think, when you read it, you'll see why.

After you stop giggling, that is.
AQ aka Syredronning: xmen3-kisssyredronning on November 5th, 2006 04:26 pm (UTC)
Thanks for the Repair rec, cool "story" ;) Poor couple. I'm glad that I never had such a situation in rl.
tried to eat the safe banana: TFV bluethefourthvine on November 5th, 2006 07:09 pm (UTC)

You know, I don't think situation is that bad. (Okay. Canonically, it's bad, because they're not exactly going to get a chance to work it out, you know? But I mean just within the story.) They're fixing what they know how to fix. In many relationships, if everyone does that and keeps doing it, eventually the core problem is resolved. (Warning: I am a big ol' believer in happy endings, so I'm heavily biased.)

So the situation isn't an inherently awful one, I don't think. People are limiting the damage and doing what they can.

My only question is, is Jean fixing what she knows how to fix? And that's the question the story doesn't answer, not for me, and I think it's the one Scott's asking, too. (And canon's not much help there, either; I don't think I understood any of her motives at all, ever. In the comic books, yes, but the movies? No.)

Um. I'm guessing that's more rambling about this story than you wanted, though. But, yes, it's a great story. (And I'm also heavily biased toward epistolary stories, which are not easy to write but fill my heart with so much joy when they work as well as this one does.)
(Deleted comment)
tried to eat the safe banana: TFV glowythefourthvine on November 5th, 2006 07:11 pm (UTC)
Depends which conglomerates, and what he does with them after that.

I'm not sure even Lex could make telecommunications conglomerates all that much worse. It's like, if Lex Luthor took over Microsoft, what would happen? Things could only get better.
lynnmonster: mugen in waterlynnmonster on November 5th, 2006 05:08 pm (UTC)
(And if you haven't, well. Maybe you should try watching Samurai Champloo, you big dork.)

Hooray, you're pimping Samurai Champloo! Please continue to use your power for good evil ethically questionable traveling trios.
tried to eat the safe banana: Smilethefourthvine on November 5th, 2006 07:14 pm (UTC)
Niiiiice icon.

Hooray, you're pimping Samurai Champloo!

I'm trying to assemble a list of anime and manga canons to rec. So far, I've got three: Hikaru no Go, Princess Tutu, and Samurai Champloo. Any ideas to finish out the set? Anything you perhaps wish to pimp? *makes inviting gestures*

(And, hey. Do you happen to know where I can get Viewfinder scanlations? Since I have you here and all. *hopeful look*)
(no subject) - lynnmonster on November 5th, 2006 09:50 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - thefourthvine on November 6th, 2006 04:58 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - lynnmonster on November 6th, 2006 05:34 am (UTC) (Expand)
Luce: Even more Sailor Stephenlucia_tanaka on November 5th, 2006 05:22 pm (UTC)
Okay, one: I'd so read the fics you drafted in the recs for the SV and AtS fics. Especially SV. I find huge kink over excessive use of power and SV is, really, the only fandom that can pander to it.

Two: I hate you so much. See, I've seen one episode of SV, and it was a torrented pilot episode that took DAYS to DL. So, I really feel strange reading the fic because, really, the author could say "Clark started a school project in which he and Chloe saved all of Smallville's kittens and gave them better homes and all was happy and good" and I have to say, "Okay" because I don't know! *flails* And Lex? I wanna meet Lex so badly, as he seems to be the coolest cat in fandom.

A lot of authors mention him doing insane things with his wealth/power (ie: buying the internet, changing Kansas law on gay marriage, etc). Is that canon?
tried to eat the safe banana: TFV glowythefourthvine on November 5th, 2006 07:22 pm (UTC)
Okay, one: I'd so read the fics you drafted in the recs for the SV and AtS fics.

I had to go back and look at the recs, because I couldn't remember drafting any stories. But, yeah, I could see myself writing Angel v. the Internet: Caged Death Match. *snickers*

See, I've seen one episode of SV, and it was a torrented pilot episode that took DAYS to DL.

In all honesty, the canon is not precisely the strong point of this fandom. Clark and Chloe saving all of Smallville's kittens is a substantially better plot than some of the episodes. But the first season is so loaded with slash-a-rifficness that it's probably worth seeing. If you're, you know. Bent that way. (Toward watching canon, I mean.)

*tries to think of a way to get you eps*

*fails signally*

Um. Ask around, maybe?

A lot of authors mention him doing insane things with his wealth/power (ie: buying the internet, changing Kansas law on gay marriage, etc). Is that canon?

I am the last person you should be asking about the canon on SV. (Or, okay, almost anything.) What I know is usually through reverse engineering and thus susceptible to error.

But the comic book Luthor is definitely capable of such things, although in practice he spends much of his time scheming to defeat Superman. And Lex is predicted to do things like run for President (and, uh, kind of do the destro-beat on the country or the world, from what I know). And just in general - hmmm. This is a good question. It's certainly something that seems like he's bound to do it, you know? But I don't know to what degree that's canon.

Possibly I will see if svmadelyn feels like weighing in on this. She is a woman who knows her canon.

*makes note to send her an email*
(no subject) - lucia_tanaka on November 5th, 2006 08:13 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - svmadelyn on November 6th, 2006 07:35 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - lucia_tanaka on November 6th, 2006 12:41 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - svmadelyn on November 6th, 2006 06:43 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - thefourthvine on November 6th, 2006 08:21 pm (UTC) (Expand)
Rosalitaiamrosalita on November 5th, 2006 05:41 pm (UTC)
Symantec. Ugh. Hate them. At least once or twice a week, I have to turn off my firewall to allow my mail to download, which is entirely ridiculous. I'm ready to go back to MacAfee.
tried to eat the safe banana: I sleep with computers.thefourthvine on November 5th, 2006 07:28 pm (UTC)
They've gotten progressively worse over time. And their firewall is not, as far as I can tell, actually a functional software firewall; it's just an invasive program that regularly produces pop-ups pretty much like ads would if I didn't have (non-Symantec) pop-up killing software. (I already granted permission to that program eleventy-billion times, Norton! Fuck you and the code you rode in on!)

I left MacAfee years ago, and I was happier for it, but at this point I'm starting to think even Billy-Boy and Jim-Bob's Big Disc o' Virus-Munching would be an improvement over what I have.
Sienamystic: Creatrixsienamystic on November 5th, 2006 06:00 pm (UTC)
Aigh. The Cordelia email story is exactly what I needed right now. I will cling to it tightly with both hands.
tried to eat the safe banana: Weird birdthefourthvine on November 5th, 2006 07:29 pm (UTC)
It is indeed wonderful.

(Deleted comment)
tried to eat the safe banana: Huh - Mutant Blue Thingthefourthvine on November 6th, 2006 04:47 am (UTC)
Moving On, of course, I've read - and played with the paper doll, yay - but I don't think I've ever seen the SV/Firefly crossover, so if you do remember the title of it, I'd love to know about it.

But this post also gave me a desperate desire to read a story about Lex defending his castle against an ant invasion.

Okay, but knowing Lex, they'd be, like, Kryptonite-enhanced ants, or invading alien ants. Lex would never have a normal ant problem. He plans it that way. (But it'd be great to see Clark and Lex working together to fight off the Krypto cyborg ant invasion.

I sincerely hope there'd be flamethrowers involved. I hate ants.)

Good luck with your battle.

Thank you. Together, we can overcome this terrible scourge. Or, okay, totally not, but maybe we can at least make a few of them sorry.

*fist of ant-fighting solidarity*
(Deleted comment)
(no subject) - lakester on November 7th, 2006 02:25 pm (UTC) (Expand)
Lady Ivyladyivy on November 5th, 2006 09:53 pm (UTC)
My husband, who used to be a network manager and therefore had to deal with viruses on a company level (with stupid sales people who did sh** like bring in their laptops from home and hook them into his network without asking first, thus infecting said network with ... well you get the idea)

At any rate, he installed a program called avast! on my computer for virus protection. While the corporate level program apparently costs big bucks, the personal version is free. It has the added bonus that when you install it you are actually installing two parts - the anti virus software itself, and the virus recovery database of known active viruses - and the database piece will automatically update itself once a day when you connect to the internet. He's in the shower so I can't ask him if he remembers the address, but I am sure google can be your friend.

And did I mention it's free for personal use?

Might want to give it a try.
tried to eat the safe banana: I sleep with computers.thefourthvine on November 6th, 2006 04:49 am (UTC)
Avast!, hmmm? I will look into this. I can free myself from the Symantec Hegemony! I will!

*rises, in manner of movie heroine, from posture of despair, and looks to the sky, newly determined to FIGHT FIGHT FIGHT*

Thank you!
(Deleted comment)
tried to eat the safe banana: I sleep with computers.thefourthvine on November 6th, 2006 05:01 am (UTC)
*makes note*

I will look into it. Because, seriously, I've been tolerating Norton because it's easier, except it is suddenly, magically, about a thousand times NOT easier.

Also, it is tainted with EVIL.

*off to investigate website*
St. Rougarougogoangelgunboy on November 5th, 2006 10:23 pm (UTC)
my friend mevvy told me you'd recc'd my fuu ficlet - thank you! that's very kind of you. it's small but shiny, like some of the best things in the world *grin* the pimpage is much appreciated, as is any spreading of the samcham lovins...

mind if i friend you?
tried to eat the safe banana: Smilethefourthvine on November 6th, 2006 05:14 am (UTC)
Of course. Friend at will!

And, yes, all must learn to feel the Samurai Champloo love. We cannot rest until the dominion is total.

(Um. Perhaps I have been overly influenced by the discussion of Lex Luthor in these comments.)
(no subject) - thefourthvine on November 6th, 2006 06:08 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - gogoangelgunboy on November 6th, 2006 06:22 am (UTC) (Expand)
Daegaerdaegaer on November 5th, 2006 10:50 pm (UTC)
Dear TFV,

*ahem* Mwa-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha!



PS: Mwa-ha-ha-ha!
tried to eat the safe banana: TFV glowythefourthvine on November 6th, 2006 05:16 am (UTC)
Dear Daegaer,


*shakes fist*

Your loving,

Pet: Supermanapetslife on November 5th, 2006 10:59 pm (UTC)
Ooooh, Smallville! *glomps* Thank you so much for the rec!

I would like to highly recommend AVG Virus Protection. It's free, it's awesome, and it's easy as pie to download, install, and keep updated. Their definitions are updated even more often than Norton! I use it on all my computers and it is GREAT.
tried to eat the safe banana: I sleep with computers.thefourthvine on November 6th, 2006 05:18 am (UTC)
Innnnteresting. I must check this out. There are so many options! Why did I toil under the tyrrany of Symantec for so long?

Well, the important thing is NEVER AGAIN.

*off to google for FREEDOM*
what happened to the '90s :(: deepest darkest desirei_smile on November 6th, 2006 12:13 am (UTC)
I thought we'd killed off all the ants in California by now.

I have trouble understanding how telepaths aren't, like, completely impossible to anger and also pretty cynical about other people (although at the same time optimistic? Because they can't really fail to see how other people justify awful things to themselves, or their motivations). I mean, they get every single thought that goes through other people's heads! Probably doubly so, because I know that I'd be completely incapable of thinking anything but the worst possible things to think in front of someone who could read my mind. (But I guess Logan would already have inured Jean to anti-Scott thoughts, so she wouldn't totally crush me for it unless I accidentally got myself stuck in the third movie. And Professor X--er, at least he can't kill me if I'm wearing a metal hat.)
tried to eat the safe banana: Little Citythefourthvine on November 6th, 2006 05:49 am (UTC)
I thought we'd killed off all the ants in California by now.

I've tried. Oh, how I've tried. *weeps*

I have trouble understanding how telepaths aren't, like, completely impossible to anger and also pretty cynical about other people (although at the same time optimistic? Because they can't really fail to see how other people justify awful things to themselves, or their motivations).

I've put a lot of thought into this. (Well. Obviously. Telepathophobe, here.) And I think - well, for story reasons, telepaths as powerful as Jean and Xavier have to be good; they go to the bad, that's pretty much it for everyone, you know? (Talk about your ludicrously overpowered characters. Yikes.)

But for actual logical reasons, I think telepaths would be just - I don't know. Neither cynical nor optimistic. Because they'd see the full range of humanity, and they'd know - no one is all good or all bad. People do things for good reasons and stupid ones. Basically, they'd have a really, really good appreciation of what it means to be human, and a balanced outlook on people and human nature.

Which is what fascinates me about Jean. Xavier has obviously learned to apply this knowledge to himself; he's pretty aware of the reasons why he does things and that he's neither all good nor all bad. But Jean, hmm. Does not appear to have reached that level of self-awareness.

<> And Professor X--er, at least he can't kill me if I'm wearing a metal hat.</i>

Xavier lives in a mansion filled with teenagers. I'm surprised he doesn't wear the metal hat.
(no subject) - i_smile on November 6th, 2006 07:49 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - thefourthvine on November 6th, 2006 08:23 am (UTC) (Expand)
shayheyred: SamIrresistableshayheyred on November 6th, 2006 02:10 am (UTC)
Oh god, gogoangelgunboy wrote the Fuu Diaries for a prompt I gave him, and he probably heard me squealing here in NY all the way in Hawaii. It's such a freakingly funny thing -- have you read his Jin in the Dojo stories?
tried to eat the safe banana: TFV bluethefourthvine on November 6th, 2006 05:51 am (UTC)
Eeee! No, and I clearly must. How have I missed this?
(no subject) - shayheyred on November 6th, 2006 05:52 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - thefourthvine on November 6th, 2006 06:12 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - shayheyred on November 6th, 2006 06:13 am (UTC) (Expand)
inappropriately bibliophilicraucousraven on November 6th, 2006 07:53 am (UTC)
I love epistolatory fic. And btw, on that last Champloo rec, I got to Dear Diary-chan and just totally lost it. Because, yes, oh Fuu. Gigglefits galore!
inappropriately bibliophilicraucousraven on November 6th, 2006 07:54 am (UTC)
Um. And you're writing the time-travelling government pirates? YESSSSSS. \o/
(no subject) - thefourthvine on November 6th, 2006 08:14 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - thefourthvine on November 6th, 2006 08:15 am (UTC) (Expand)