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06 June 2007 @ 01:00 am
168: Fandom, I Love You.  
Hi. So, I think you know I love fan fiction, right? And I would hate to lose any of it. Ever.

And I think fandom as a whole is pretty damn special, too.

Which is why I'm following the discussions at otw_news with incredible interest. And I know you've been hearing this a lot lately, but just in case one of you hasn't: it would mean a lot to me if you went to check out that community, see what it's about, maybe spread the word. Because I want us all to represented there. I want it to be for all of us.

So, to learn more:

There's a summary of the last few weeks. There's an Organizational Structure post, which tells you what we (as in, you know, fandom - I am not affiliated with the project and I don't speak for it or anything) are trying to do. And there's the Willingness to Serve post, which tells you how you can get involved. (There are lots of ways, people, seriously. Something for everyone!) You don't have to be a slasher or a LJ member or a fan fiction writer to be a part of this. You just have to be a fan.

And, since this is the best way I know to remind you of why it is such an awesomely wonderful idea to have an archive of our own, I'm going to recommend some fan fiction. But, because I'm contrary (Sad as it is to say, I think my motto may be: "Give the people what I want. Eventually, they'll learn to like it. I hope."), I'm going to go with gen - hurty gen, for the most part. But never fear; there's a great big squishy hug coming at the end. Come for the pain, stay for the hugs! (And, oh my god, that sounded like the summary for almost every Starsky and Hutch vid I've ever seen.)

So, here are some reasons why we need to keep our fan fiction around:

Because Sometimes We Need to Face the Big Bad Wolf Through Our Characters. Red, by big_pink. Supernatural, gen. (Note: I don't consider this an animal harm story. You might think so, from the description, but - well, I just don't. If you disagree, let me know and I'll slap a warning up here.)

First, let me say up front that I do not know from Supernatural. To me, this is a fantastic story, but it could be wildly out of character and out of canon for all I know. I really doubt it, but even if it is, I totally don't care. It is a fusion of Little Red Riding Hood and Supernatural, people. How could that be other than awesome?

It couldn't be. Or, well, not in this writer's hands, anyway.

And, see, I was never a big fan of the story of Little Red Whiny Hood. For one thing, I pretty much hated her, and I wasn't that fond of her grandmother, and I definitely despised the hunter. I always wanted the wolf to win. He seemed like the only person in the story whose motives I could really get behind, you know?

Oh, how this story cured me of that.

Well, okay. I guess technically it didn't. I mean, I still want the wolf to win in the original fairytale. But this version of it made me like the hunter(s), which - wow. You people who know me, you know how extremely unlikely that is. And it made me fear the wolf. I mean, maybe the Brothers Grimm said that the wolf was big and bad, but big_pink made me believe that he was.

And this is a story that I think could not work in the format of the canon. It had to be written, not filmed. (Two reasons, just as examples: first, in a TV episode, the awesome detail about treeplanters and logging and so forth just wouldn't make the cut. And, second, wolf-human things always look laughable and sort of pathetic on film. You just cannot make a decent wolfman in live action, and, frankly, I really wish people would stop trying.) Which is why we need fan fiction: to tell the stories the canon can't tell.

Because Sometimes We Need to Know What Would Have Happened If. Dysmas, by Salieri, aka troyswann. Due South, gen.

I don't want to say too much about this story, because I don't want to spoil it. Also, I don't want to scare you off, because the fact is, this story is like being shot in the back and not having it miss your spine. (And, yes, it is a Victoria's Secret AU. And, no, the spine thing, that's not the AU. I think that'd actually be - you know what, no. I said I didn't want to scare you off, and, um, I'm not exactly exerting myself to the fullest capacity to achieve my goal there, am I? Oh, hell. It turns out my teachers were right about me after all.)

But, you know, despite the, well, somewhat uncomfortable nature of this story, there is an ending to this, and it satisfied me, made me remember this story with pleasure instead of thinking, "Oh, right, that's the story where Salieri decided it would be fun to rip my heart out one tiny piece at a time and feed it to gulls." Not that she didn't obviously decide that that would be fun, but at the end, she gives me my heart back, and if it's not quite like new - well, trust me. It wasn't in mint condition before, and a few more little nicks only add to its patina. (I believe I have just metaphorically turned my own heart into a piece from Restoration Hardware. Oh, this does not bode well for this set, people. Courage!)

I view this story with utter awe. Because this is fan fiction at its very best: an uncompromising, totally perfect, totally right exploration of how something could have gone. Would have gone, with just one small change to the canon. Had to go. And you know what? I'm so happy this story exists, but it could never be canon. Which is why we need fan fiction: to take us to places the canon could never go. (And to a place that, in this case, I really am glad canon couldn't go. Wow, so very much glad.)

Because Sometimes We Need to See a Beloved Character in a Different Light. Or, You Know, in Total Darkness. A Time Ago, by brown_betty. D.C. Universe, gen.

This story is so damn plausible, and so damn brilliant, and it's such a fantastic synthesis of the canon (Or, really, canons, because anyone who thinks that DC is still working with just one canon has read one lone issue of Batman. Or has a severe case of amnesia. Either, really.) and something else, something I can't tell you about without killing it. In fact, I can't tell you anything about this story without spoiling it.

Normally, I'd fill the space where I am ostentatiously Not Spoiling the Story with character squee, but I can't even do that. (Seriously, Betty. Did you have to cover all the bases so well? It makes it really hard to write a useful summary, you know. Fortunately, I have a solution: a useless summary!) So instead I'll squee about the story's structure. (When in doubt, be a stylegeek. That motto saved me in many an English class - seriously, lots of times I had nothing to say about the story, but I always had something to say about how it was written, and it turns out your average English professor is really tired of reading the same eight things about the story and will welcome, say, an obsessive discussion of comma use instead. I know. Really, there are several English professors who are massively to blame for my current style; they encouraged me, and I will give you their names if you'd like to complain.)

I love the slow reveal here, the way the reader's progress through the story matches the main character's. And I love the way this is written. The first time I read it, I was mostly focused on the actual story (and on, let it be said, the kick to the gut that is the ending, because oh, Batfamily, how are you so fucked up?), but the second time through, I was entranced by the writing itself. This story had to be written precisely the way it is. And I love that, love reading it and seeing all the places the writer did it exactly right. It never fails to make me happy. Which is good, because something about this story has to be an emotional boost. You know the character is in trouble when he starts out in the dark, and cold, and at the end of the story you sort of wish he could go back there.

And right now I am conscientiously objecting to this canon, but I still love the characters so much. Which is why we need fan fiction: because sometimes, we need a good story, and the canon just isn't providing it, goddamn it.

Because Sometimes We Need to Explain What an Episode of the Canon Really Meant. Triptych, by mad_maudlin. Stargate: Atlantis and Stargate: SG-1, gen.

This is based on - okay, inspired by - Moebius, an episode of SG1. And I have never seen a single second of that show, except in vids. Also, to be honest, I don't have the foggiest idea what Moebius is even about. (ETA: There's a helpful summary of Moebius, with spoilers, provided by loriel_eris in the comments.) See, I love reverse-engineering television canon; it's so much easier to triangulate back to canon from the fan fiction than it is to watch the shows, and it's also just the ultimate puzzle kick. And I did an awesome job on SG1, if I do say so myself, so much so that sometimes I'll watch a vid and shriek, "Oh my god, this is from [episode name]!" (And Best Beloved will say, "The sad part is, if you'd actually seen the episode, you wouldn't know that." Which is entirely true.)

But Moebius defeated my back-engineering skills utterly. I read dozens of stories set in and around it, and the best I could do as a summary is, "Something very confusing with time travel happens. Probably. And there is a lot of sand." I even tried looking at spoilers, but the thing is, you people don't write spoiler posts for people who haven't seen the show, so spoiler posts tend to contain a lot of exclamation points and relatively few neat, tidy explanations of precisely what the hell was up with all that sand.

My point is: this is based on Moebius, and I think explicates something that happened in Moebius, but you don't need to have seen the episode (or, most assuredly, understood it) to love this. Because this is, quite simply, the many universes theory with a side of time travel, and it - oh my god. At the beginning, I was happy. By the end, I was gasping like a landed fish, but I was totally in love. I mean - oh, the internal references, and the textual cues, and just - there is so much awesomeness in this story that it's stunning. Which is why I'm not telling you any more. You'll thank me for not spoiling it later. (Or you won't; feel free to yell. The point is, you should read it. Now.)

This story is like a great science fiction story. But it's not one. It's a great fan fiction story, because this just could not exist outside the context of fan fiction; if the author hadn't been able to assume our shared knowledge of the universe, build on our existing familiarity with the characters, work inside fanonical and canonical themes, she couldn't have made this incredible work. Which is why we need fan fiction: it's a genre with a unique combination of freedoms and restrictions that leads to works of art that couldn't exist any other way.

And:

Because Sometimes We All Need a Group Hug. (Oh, Don't Even Try to Deny It. After Those Stories, It's Okay to Need a Hug!) Friendly Competition, by siegeofangels. Stargate: Atlantis, gen.

This story made me grin like a loon the first time I read it. And, because I am a scientist, I had to study that response, see if it was a reproducible result. Guess what? It totally is. I re-read it for maybe the dozenth time just now, because I was writing this post, and I still just beamed helplessly. I won't bother to tell you why, except to say that I totally think there is a game suggestion in here for the next Muskrat Jamboree. (And if you play it, oh my god, I want video.)

And, see, this is part of what I love about fan fiction. I would pay cash money to see what happens in this story happen in an actual episode - and make no mistake, this could totally happen in one - except. Except. I think I'm actually happier with it this way, on the page and in my mind. Sometimes it's better when it's not canon. Which is - you're getting the refrain now, right? - why we need fan fiction.

For me, this story, all these stories - these are great examples of what fan fiction is about: exploring the unmapped territories, seeing what could have happened, finding stories hidden in the niches and cracks and subtext and hints and our own crazed imaginations. Fan fiction, to me, is about loving something so much that you make it even more, even better.

And just as we all love our canons that way, I love fandom that way. Which is why I want the otw_news project to fly: because it's a way of preserving everything we love, and I also believe it's a way of making fandom itself even more. And even better. So - go take a look, won't you?

Thank you.
 
 
 
buddleia: Behind youbuddleia on June 6th, 2007 08:45 am (UTC)
Oh, my god, after I'd got through Red I hassled my poor boyfriend to read it just so I could wave my hands around and talk about it to someone offline. Also, it made me want a salmon burger. SUCH a good story.
jeddy83 on June 6th, 2007 09:31 am (UTC)
I don't blame you. It's the sort of story people should be forced to read.
(no subject) - thefourthvine on June 6th, 2007 04:32 pm (UTC) (Expand)
The Spikespike21 on June 6th, 2007 09:22 am (UTC)
good recs! I love when you rec stuff I've read and I find new things to look for in the fics. I thought Red was fantastic and I think big_pink could easily be writing episodes because her version of the characters synchs *exactly* with who I think they are in the show. She's written quite a few stories and the long gen ones have all been amazing. The current WIP continues the trend.

I also really liked the Tryptich story. Love good sf extrapolation and character extrapolation and I thought she did both.

and now I'm off to curl up with Friendly Competition, because I too need something cheery.
tried to eat the safe banana: TFV dogtagsthefourthvine on June 6th, 2007 04:51 pm (UTC)
Thank you!

I thought Red was fantastic and I think big_pink could easily be writing episodes because her version of the characters synchs *exactly* with who I think they are in the show.

Oh, good! I must thank Best Beloved, who was the one who made me read it, because it sounds like the perfect story to read if you don't know the canon or the fandom at all.

and now I'm off to curl up with Friendly Competition, because I too need something cheery

*nods*

The last line of that story makes me so happy. *feels all toasty warm, just remembering*
don't make me use my librarian voice: happysiegeofangels on June 6th, 2007 10:02 am (UTC)
Eee! Thank you for the rec! I am attempting to accept this with calm dignity.

And WORD on the this-is-why-fanfic-exists everything, because you can read one tiny Jack/Daniel that rips you apart because there is such a huge rich history that would take books and books to get into if it wasn't already known.

The amusing thing is, the first story I read that made me go, "This is why we have fanfiction: to tell stories that couldn't be told any other way," was actually popslash. I am totally not a popslasher.

(One thing: my username is actually siegeofangels, i before e. Don't worry--it took me way too long to stop misspelling it myself.)
tried to eat the safe banana: Writhesthefourthvine on June 6th, 2007 04:58 pm (UTC)
(I - your icon. What is happening in your icon? there appears to be an octopus or squid flying through the air. I find that...entrancing.)

And, oops, sorry for the username error - this is what happens when I post late at night. But it's fixed now! Assuming I didn't introduce errors in the process of fixing it, which is totally possible, because, well, I was up pretty late last night. (I am part of an ongoing study to see if fandom can replace sleep. At least, that's the only explanation I can think of for my life that seems reasonable.)

And WORD on the this-is-why-fanfic-exists everything, because you can read one tiny Jack/Daniel that rips you apart because there is such a huge rich history that would take books and books to get into if it wasn't already known.

Yes! Precisely! And even books and books wouldn't necessarily get you to the same place, because, at least for me, the cumulative weight of lots of authors is greater than the cumulative weight of lots of canon. Fandom: it is necessary.

*nods wisely*

*clings to fandom*

(no subject) - siegeofangels on June 6th, 2007 11:25 pm (UTC) (Expand)
petronelle on June 6th, 2007 10:13 am (UTC)
I adore reading your recommendations.
tried to eat the safe banana: Smilethefourthvine on June 6th, 2007 04:59 pm (UTC)
And I adore you.

*pounces on you with random hugs*
cad27 on June 6th, 2007 11:05 am (UTC)
Red is the reason I'm in SPN. I've yet to read almost any stories that top it and best of all, there's a continuation
tried to eat the safe banana: TFV glowythefourthvine on June 6th, 2007 05:00 pm (UTC)
Ooo! Continuation!

*clicks link*

Thank you!
Martha: snow white in the  woodssaffronhouse on June 6th, 2007 12:00 pm (UTC)
Oh, joy. I have a line of tabs open right now with so much good reading to come (grief! then hugs!!! I can hardly contain myself. I feel like a little Sheltie dog I knew who would get so excited and happy she would run in tight circles yapping in glee until she fell over, panting. That's me, right now. May be a while before I calm dowm enough to actually Read any of these, but that's OK. They'll last longer. Thank you! Thank you for the recs.
tried to eat the safe banana: Black umbrellathefourthvine on June 6th, 2007 05:03 pm (UTC)
You know, I could just as easily have named this the saffronhouse set. I mean, it goes: creepy, hurty, creepy, hurty, HUGS. That's - that's like a summary of 80% of your fan fiction, right there. (And it's why I love you, naturally.) This set was made for you and me, but mostly for you.

(And I can totally imagine that Sheltie dog: JOY JOY JOY JOY JOY PLOTZ! I know dogs like that. *pats her in absentia*)
(no subject) - saffronhouse on June 6th, 2007 11:48 pm (UTC) (Expand)
Loriel Eris: time fishing // sg1loriel_eris on June 6th, 2007 01:11 pm (UTC)
If I haven't told you this before, I shall do so now: I have so, so , so musch love for you and these recs posts. Every so often (ie usually when you post) my friend, who is also in Fandom/on LJ will receive and email with the instruction "read this post [insert link to your post]. You don't need to read the links, just read the post." *g*

If I end up reading my first Due South fic ever, after having only watched a season or so about 12 years ago? I'm totally blaming you. No. Really. I mean it.

Also, it was also very weird to see you see you rec Triptych just after I'd done so.

Moebius For The Beginner - It's long

[NB: Bear in mind it's ages since I've seen it and I was "wtf???!" at the time. And I completely fail at life because someone on my flist did a timeline of Moebius which was oh god so awesome and I can't find the post...]

Original!SG1 find reference to a ZPM on earth 3000 years ago in the time of Ra. They decide that Ra never took it with him and no-one used it, so it's been sitting useless on Earth for 3000 years. But they have no idea where.

Cue plan to go back in time to find the ZPM and collect it/leave it somewhere they will know where to find it in the present (I'm kinda hazy on this point) just before it will be lost for all time (thus not disrupting the timeline).

There's a fuck-up and they can't get back home. They decide to make a video tape of Things The SGC Should Know And Will Be Used To Check That The Timeline Isn't/Wasn't/Hasn't Been Disrupted By SG1 Staying In The Past. Thus SG1 fill a tape with things such a Jack's pond doesn't have any fish, Clinton was president from whenever to 200 and we landed on the moon in 1969. They *want* to bury the tape with the Stargate, which they know was buried (because they unburied in 1929 in Giza) when Ra left Earth (because of rebellion, I'm pretty sure). So they kinda also hope to start/incite the rebellion. I'm pretty sure that shit happens and the plan goes awol (and there may or may not be capture, but there's definitely "we're stuck here and we can't contaminate the timeline type arguments") the tape doesn't get buried and we--

Cut to present day. Which is so frelled. And we have geek!SG1. Jack's on a boat in... the north. Sam's a civilian shit-upon-froma great-height assistant geek. Daniel's a local local college teacher (basically the most shit upon kind of teacher/lecturer). Teal'c is First Prime. The SGC finds this video tape and comes to collect them all to explain what they're all doing on a tape found with a top secret device the Stargate. (I can't remember details, but the timeline was really fucked up - geek!SG1 was definitely not the biggest change!)

Stuff happens (mainly, they get FirstPrime!Teal'c on board). Geek!SG1 including Teal's, minus Daniel, go back 2995 years (I really do not know). The only original!SG1 left is Daniel.

There's debates on timelines and paradoxes and wtf and stuff. *insert hand wavey* Read: I can't remember exactly what happens. Except, there's a plan on Daniel's part and the gate isn't buried yet and they're still working on the rebellion. They have a grand plan to bury the Stargate and tape (which Daniel still have 5 years later) and the plan is set in motion and there's action! and impending doom and then cut to-

Present day and we're back at the beginning on the episode, before Daniel finds the reference to the ZPM ie the whole two eps haven't happened yet. Jack appears with basically ZPM in one hand and this tape (see above) that they're on, but none of them remember filming. Everything in present day is is as the tape!SG1 describe, so everyone assumes that they/noone else has fucked up the timeline.

Cut to SG1 and Jack's cabin and a fish jumping out of the water.

And the whole of fandom going omfgwtfbbqpolarbearsyouhavegottobekiddingme!!!??

End of Episode.

And despite how it looks I still haven't got my head around this episode.
tried to eat the safe banana: SG1thefourthvine on June 6th, 2007 05:16 pm (UTC)
Thank you!

If I end up reading my first Due South fic ever, after having only watched a season or so about 12 years ago? I'm totally blaming you. No. Really. I mean it.

And I will be proud to take that blame, because, seriously, dS stories are awesome, and if you aren't reading them, you are missing out on a source of great joy. But if you haven't seen the episode Victoria's Secret, you might want to start somewhere else other than Dysmas. (Not that I am trying to get you hooked or anything. Certainly not. Would I do such a thing?)

Also, it was also very weird to see you see you rec Triptych just after I'd done so.

Oh, cool! Clearly, you are a person of taste and distinction.

[Moebius explanation]

*reads*

*stares at the screen*

*reads again*

I - I guess I really have no comment on that. (Although a small but very persistent voice in my head is shrieking, "How did they make a video tape that lasted for three thousand years?" I really need to let go of the science facts, don't I?) I think the SG1 writers need to read some good SF. Or good FF. Or something.

But, hey, thank you for the explanation. I now feel much better about not being able to figure it out. Apparently, the confusion was in the canon at least as much as it was in me.

*eyes SG1 writers*
(no subject) - loriel_eris on June 13th, 2007 01:04 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(Deleted comment)
tried to eat the safe banana: Smilethefourthvine on June 6th, 2007 05:21 pm (UTC)
*blushes*

*heart swells three sizes*

I am so glad you enjoy my recs. And a million thanks for leaving this comment; it made me incredibly happy. (And I really needed the happy this morning, on account of I stayed up way too late last night and then woke up early because of crappy dreams. I honestly don't think both my eyes are focusing in sync yet. But now I'm a happy bleary camper, thanks to you.)
The sanest lunatic you've ever met: duesouth: awesomesdwolfpup on June 6th, 2007 03:00 pm (UTC)
"Dysmas" is one of my favorite stories in the entirety of Due South fandom, and given the size and quality of DS fanfic, that's saying a lot. I'm so glad you rec'd it. I look forward to reading the others!
tried to eat the safe banana: Fraserthefourthvine on June 6th, 2007 05:23 pm (UTC)
Dysmas is an awesome story, and it really needs to be recommended everywhere on earth.

Yes. That is What Should Be.

*nods firmly*
Minim Calibreminim_calibre on June 6th, 2007 04:19 pm (UTC)
Hee. First, let me say up front that I do not know from Supernatural. To me, this is a fantastic story, but it could be wildly out of character and out of canon for all I know. I really doubt it, but even if it is, I totally don't care. It is a fusion of Little Red Riding Hood and Supernatural, people. How could that be other than awesome?

Red is not just frighteningly in character, it is one of those stories I occasionally forget is NOT, in fact, canon.
tried to eat the safe banana: TFV dogtagsthefourthvine on June 6th, 2007 05:26 pm (UTC)
Red is not just frighteningly in character, it is one of those stories I occasionally forget is NOT, in fact, canon.

Oh, excellent. It's an amazing story, and I never really had any doubt that it was in character, but it's good to know for sure. (And I must definitely remember to thank Best Beloved for reading it and then making me read it. In-home pimps are simultaneously the best and the worst of all possible worlds.)
Vera: atlantis - forwardcopracat on June 6th, 2007 04:55 pm (UTC)
Ah, Triptych is an awesome story.
tried to eat the safe banana: SGA infinitythefourthvine on June 6th, 2007 05:28 pm (UTC)
It so totally is. I am helplessly in love with it.
Advection: mind's eyeadvection on June 6th, 2007 05:27 pm (UTC)
Thank you for pointing to 'Triptych.' I come to it from exactly the opposite direction -- having watched 'Moebius' a bunch of times and having pondered it (and deeply loathing what I think is the creators' premise and what I think the creators believe they created with it). I've read a fair number of SG-1 fics dealing with what I think the consequences would be, but never an SGA fic, and that one rocks in a multitude of ways, and so do you.
tried to eat the safe banana: SG1thefourthvine on June 6th, 2007 08:58 pm (UTC)
You know, I am quite the veteran of (and fan of) many universes and time travel fiction. And, having read loriel_eris's summary of Moebius, I still do not get what that episode was supposed to do, be about, all that. So I'd love to hear what you think the creators' premise was and what they were trying to do, because, wow, I just totally failed my geek cred roll with that. Or maybe they did. One or the other.

But Moebius has given us such wonderful stories I'm grateful to it all the same. (It's tough, being a fan of mostly fan fiction, because sometimes the episodes the primary fans really hate are the ones that give rise to the best fan fiction.) And I agree with you, obviously, that Triptych is one, and is basically made of awesome.

And I'm happy to hear that it works for, you know, someone with actual serious canon SG1 knowledge as well as it worked for me.

Thank you!
(no subject) - advection on June 7th, 2007 07:16 pm (UTC) (Expand)
Kitestringerkitestringer on June 6th, 2007 05:29 pm (UTC)
OMG, thank you for reccing "Dysmas," because I'd meant to read that a long time ago and then somehow never got around to it, and it's BRILLIANT.
tried to eat the safe banana: Fraserthefourthvine on June 6th, 2007 08:58 pm (UTC)
It really, really is brilliant. Oh, Fraser. Oh. *sniffles helplessly*
Mara: Tim climbs inmarag on June 6th, 2007 06:10 pm (UTC)
Oh oh oh! Thank you for the recs to A Time Ago and Friendly Competition. The former made me sniff and the latter made me giggle hysterically.
tried to eat the safe banana: Batgirl in glassesthefourthvine on June 6th, 2007 09:00 pm (UTC)
Aren't they wonderful stories? The first one makes me want to pat Tim, all, "Oh, poor baby, it's okay." (Even though I would be lying, because it's Gotham. It'll never be okay.) And the second one is just - AWESOME. *hugs the whole world*
(no subject) - marag on June 6th, 2007 10:26 pm (UTC) (Expand)
minnow1212 on June 6th, 2007 06:12 pm (UTC)
OT
OMG, I was so chuffed to hear you’re coming to VVC! Yaaaaaaaaaay!
tried to eat the safe banana: Yay!thefourthvine on June 6th, 2007 09:01 pm (UTC)
Re: OT
OMG are you coming too? I am excited and scared and excited! Awesome people! Shiny vids! Eeeeee!

(I will soon be doing a poll to find out who is coming, because back when everyone was saying if they were, I wasn't paying attention; I never dreamed I'd be going. So - poll. Eeeee!)
Re: OT - minnow1212 on June 7th, 2007 01:42 am (UTC) (Expand)