tried to eat the safe banana (thefourthvine) wrote,
tried to eat the safe banana

FAQ, or More Answers Than You Thought There Were Questions

A while back, I, under orders to update my Infrequently Asked Questions post, begged you all to - well, ask me some questions.

It was an educational experience, to say the least. First, I learned that you are all awesome: when you are asked for questions, you come through in spades.

Second, and rather less awesome, I learned that all of you are tragically unaware of the joys of Ituna, a "growing east central Saskatchewan community." And this is a sad, sad thing to me. Because aside from the name (although if the Ituna leadership was forward-thinking, they would rename themselves iTuna, sell wireless fish, and cash in big), there are many other things to enjoy about Ituna.

Or, okay, its website. I've never actually been to Ituna. (Although I did believe for much of my childhood that Canada was a hotbed of anti-Semitism, and that Saskatchewan was the epicenter of the Canadian anti-Semitic movement, which meant for many years I feared Saskatchewan beyond all reason. This is a true fact, people. I spent years of my life believing that Canadians were notorious Jew-haters. And now I want my very own "Canada. Which I dig." t-shirt. Canada, we've come so far in our relationship!) But I've been to Ituna's website, and it is wads of fun. Like, in bragging about Ituna's many facilities, it notes that Ituna "offers good recreation facilities for a town of its size." That size, by the way - I checked - is, according to the Itunans, 777. I spent a lot of happy time trying to imagine what constitutes "good recreation facilities" for a town of 777 people - a book? A grain storage bin? Someone's collection of Precious Moments figurines? Alcohol? But then I checked - the handy thing about a town of 777 people is that it has the whole yellow pages listed on one page of the website, and you can read through it pretty quickly - and it turns out Ituna has BOTH a theatre (spelled in Canadian!) AND a magician. (No, really. He has a website and everything. If you are in the Ituna area, I encourage you to "Unleash the Astonishment at Your Next Event." Provided I am not invited, because magicians bother me.)

And then I clicked on the real estate for sale page, and oh my god. People, seriously, you need to see this. Or maybe I should be warning you not to click, because my first impulse was to go to Ituna just for the purpose of buying a house that cheap. There are homes for 24,000 - 35,000 Canadian dollars. If that doesn't make you want to go to Ituna just for the novelty of buying a whole house for less money than your average car costs, then - okay. Probably you don't live in Los Angeles, is what that means. But it fascinated me.

In fact, I am kind of in love with the Ituna website, and also with Ituna and its many facilities, and if I ever find myself in Saskatchewan (suggested motto: "Not really a hotbed of anti-Semitism, we swear"), I am so going to Ituna, just to see those facilities in person.

Okay. So. On to the actual question-answering portion of this event.

The questions are grouped by general topic, and ordered within each section by number of times asked. I amalgamated a lot of questions, and edited some of the ones I didn't amalgamate. If I failed to answer your question - and it's possible, because there were a lot, and I am only human - or if you somehow have more unanswered questions, drop a line in the comments and I'll add to this post. With your help, it can become the longest post in my LJ history!

Be warned: this is already what is technically known as a "long-ass post." (Or, more informally, tl;dr.) If you try to read it all in one sitting, you may experience nausea, headaches, mystic crystal revelations, and the inability to make a fist.


Okay. Somehow, I thought you people would not have this many questions about me; I think this FAQ is going to contain more me-related content than everything else I have ever said about myself on LJ. By a factor of approximately three thousand.

With no further ado, then, I present to you - the most frequently-asked question of the entire poll:

So if you're the fourth vine, where are the first, second, and third vines?

They died tragically in extreme recommending accidents. SEND GLITTER PENS.

thefourthvine, what does your username mean?

Apparently my username has been driving a lot of people crazy. And I'm glad you all (and I do mean all - good lord did a lot of people ask this) let me know. I will answer as clearly as I am able, and I hope you'll pass the answer on, because somewhere out there is a fangirl who needs to hear this before she picks her username.

Once upon a time, there was a girl who wanted a LiveJournal of her very own. Not, of course, for posting - under no circumstances would she ever make any posts in her LiveJournal! She just wanted the friends list, a convenient means for tracking the many LJs she found interesting. And maybe she would leave a few comments with it, but even then, probably not.

Still, she was kind of nervous about getting a LiveJournal. It Meant Something (and what it meant, by the way, turned out to be, "Say goodbye to your free time and sleep forever," but that's another story).

So she waited until the middle of the night, when she was half drunk and very tired, to sign up, because being drunk and tired gives one a certain amount of extremely laid-back courage. (I think this might be the key to proper Ford Prefect characterization, by the way.) And, since it totally didn't matter what her username was - she only wanted the friends list, remember, and would never ever post anything ever, not even under torture - she picked the first thing that came into her head.

Remember how I said it was late, and she was fairly drunk?

She picked a username made from very bad, totally not humorous word play on her real first name. One that even people who got it - and most people never did, not even after they knew both her real name and her username - did not find amusing. (Except one person, but I think he's crazy.)

And that girl - that girl was ME.

You will note that I do in fact post. And I do so under the name I picked out that drunken night. And it is not a good name. (Also, as we've seen, it worries people.)

The down side of this is that I have a seriously pathetic username that no one understands and I can't easily explain, and I am married to this username. It has come to mean me, at least in fandom. I would no more change it than I would change my real name, at this point. But the thing is, my parents put quite a lot of thought (really quite a lot, by all accounts, in that the hospital threatened to send me home named Baby Girl if they didn't get to the decision-making portion of the event) into my real name. I wish I'd invested a hundredth of that time in my fannish name.

The up side is that so far this name has been available on every service I've ever tried to create an account on.

You will grant, I think, that the benefits do not outweigh the disadvantages. Think, oh ye unnamed fangirls, and do not just name yourself any random thing that crosses your mind. You will regret it. I speak with the sadder but wiser voice of tragic experience, here.

TFV, how are you so awesome? (No, seriously. Fourteen people asked this question!)

I take supplements.

What music do you like? What books do you read?

Music: My tastes have been reliably described as "eclectic." (Best Beloved, 2007) I tend to prefer songs with lyrics - ideally lyrics I can understand - to instrumentals. And that's about the most specific I can get. Let me put it another way: you know those people who say they like all music, but they hate country and rap, or heavy metal and hip-hop, or whatever? I like at least a little of all kinds of music, including country, rap, heavy metal, and hip-hop. If I had to pick a genre of music I was guaranteed to hate, it would be, "a whiny German man wailing discordantly for upwards of 20 minutes with background music made with scraping nails and electric guitar feedback."

Sorry, that's the best I can do. But if you have further curiosity, let me know; I am willing to share my top 20 most-listened-to songs with you.

Books: We have far, far too many (although still fewer than 10,000) and I continue to acquire more like it's my job. (And it is Best Beloved's job, since she's a librarian, which only makes the whole thing more confusing.) Since finding fan fiction, I've found myself reading less fiction and more non-fiction, although this in no way means that I don't read any fiction. I am particularly partial to essays (travel and otherwise), humor, and weird histories of specific things, like salt or sand or actuary tables. I am also very, very much in love with hard SF and YA fantasy.

In my youth, I loved children's fantasy books - The Dark Is Rising, Edward Eager, E. Nesbit, etc. Basically, put it this way: my sister picked the first two "big girl" books I read, and she picked A Wrinkle in Time and Half Magic. That pretty much set the standard for the next seven years.

Sadly, I was also intensely fond of series that I cannot bear to re-read as an adult. The Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle books, which seemed so light and amusing to me as a sproggins, now strike me as child abuse primers. The works of Enid Blyton, rivetingly fascinating to 8-year-old TFV, are horrifying to me as an adult. (Although they still give me cravings for lashings of ginger beer.) And we will not speak of my strange, obsessive fixation on Trixie Belden, except to say that I still think of the books fondly, but only because I know better than to try to re-read them.

I was also heavily influenced in my childhood by what we might term age-inappropriate books. (My parents did not believe in keeping me from reading anything I could lift, probably on the grounds that it really couldn't be done unless they wanted to go the duct tape route.) My father had an old copy of Friday, by Heinlein; um, yeah, in retrospect I probably shouldn't've read that at that age, as it set back my SF discovery about ten years. My early attempt at Kafka left me psychologically scarred and violently afraid to go to sleep for fear I would wake up as a bug. Stuff like that.

What do you fear?

I have a lot of entirely irrational phobias. This is why I avoid horror stories and shows; they tend to prey on my fears, and frankly, I do enough of that all by myself.
  1. The dark. No, really. For years, I genuinely believed I wasn't afraid of the dark. When Best Beloved said I was, I said, "I am not afraid of the dark," in deeply sulky tones. (She responded, extremely patronizingly, "Of course you aren't afraid of the dark," in a tone that meant, "Yes, and the sky is filled with kittens, too.") And then one day I added, "I'm just afraid of what might be in the dark." BB pointed out that that's what everyone who is afraid of the dark is afraid of, and I realized: Shit. I am afraid of the dark.

    This is why I can never have a roommate who isn't Best Beloved. I sleep with the lights on. Seriously.

  2. Dentists. You can't tell me they aren't evil. I won't even believe you. I actually wasn't afraid of dentists at all until I had my braces removed, and then the orthodontist a) cut an inch-long gash on my gum, which is a seriously large injury for such a small and sensitive area, and which filled my mouth with blood while I was lying on my back and thus I wound up kind of choking b) wouldn't let me sit up to, you know, stop choking on my own blood and c) PLAYED THE BAGPIPES AT ME afterwards. (He also played them after I got the braces put on. The man knew how to add insult to injury, I'll tell you that for free.) Anyway, since then I have feared dentists.

    My current dentist plays movies at me while I am dentified. This is an improvement over bagpipes (although seriously, tooth-people: entertainment is not required; it's not like we'll forget the horror, you know), and would be even more of one if he allowed someone with a modicum of taste or sense to select the movies.

  3. Insects, especially cockroaches. If I could press a button and wipe every cockroach off the face of this earth, I would, ecosystem be damned. I hate cockroaches, and just thinking about them makes me need to go take a shower.

  4. Telepaths. Sure, they might technically not exist, but I fear them anyway. CREEPY AND WRONG, that is my feeling about telepathy, to the extent that I have several times told Best Beloved, "If you develop telepathy, it's over. I'm sorry, but - really." (BB: "I already knew that." Me: "AAAAA are you reading my mind right now oh my god stopitstopitstopitstop it." BB is evil sometimes.)

  5. Telephones. Oh, I'll use them. But it always requires a deep breath and a stern bracing internal lecture. I am convinced that nothing good can come from the telephone. That ring, that ring strikes a chill into my soul.

    And it doesn't help that I have looked into the dark, sadistic heart of telephones. Let's talk, for example, about the telephone/answering machine combination I had in college, which developed the sinister habit of playing a tinny version of "Let Me Call You Sweetheart" (in beeps) at my callers. Initially, it just did this occasionally, and briefly, but by the end of a year or so, it was playing upwards of fifty repetitions before it would let anyone leave a message, meaning most of my messages were a) incoherent and b) somewhat rage-intensive.

    The telephone that replaced that one, when I was finally persuaded to replace it, worked fine for two months and then decided that it would only let me hear callers or callers hear me, but not both, so I had to change my outgoing message to "I might be here, but my phone's broken. I can hear you, but you can't hear me. But you can hear the beep if I punch buttons on the phone. So if I pick up, please stick to yes or no questions - I'll give one beep for yes, two for no." This went on for a full semester, until my parents grew tired of séance-like communication with their youngest child and sent me a new phone. Which rapidly developed button-rot and had to be dialed with extreme caution and lightning speed and perfect pressure if you wanted to call a specific person, as opposed to just any person. I spent a lot of time listening to the "the number you have dialed" message on that phone. Also conversing with strangers.

    Basically, I come by my fear honestly, because every phone I've ever had has been evil. I am patiently waiting for our most recent set to develop satanic innuendo. And trust me. They will.

  6. Zombies. I honestly do not see how anyone can not be afraid of zombies. They are mounds of rotting flesh that can chase you. And they want to eat your brains, which means if they catch you, it's going to be a slow, smelly death. This is bad, people. BAD.
Is it possible that you are the Typhoid Mary of cross-fandom pollination?

Let me put it this way - I would be proud if it were so. Does that make me a bad person? (Although, frankly, if nothing else I've done has made me a bad person, I would be surprised if that was what tipped me over the line.)

No, seriously. I think you are responsible for my descent into new fandoms. How do you sleep at night?

I don't actually sleep all that well, but this condition way pre-dated any pimping I might have done. In fact, I will probably sleep better (for which read: have a marginally better chance of sleeping at all) if I think that somewhere someone is reading a fandom I love that she might otherwise not have read, all because of me.

If you were a tree, what type of tree would you be?


Looking back at your life, if you could do it all again, would you still smuggle the exploding coconuts into the United States?


If you were stranded on an island, with which actor would you least like to be stranded?

Probably Tom Cruise. First he'd try to convert me to Scientology. Then, when he found out I am a Supressive Person, he'd try to kill me and eat my brains. (ZOMBIE TOM CRUISE AAAAAAAAAA RUN!) And he's got the teeth to do it, too.

If you could do any celebrity, who would you pick?

I wouldn't. Celebrities squick me, as you will learn in the not even remotely fascinating but definitely overlong section on my squicks, below. And I do not want to be touched by one of my squicks, ew ew oh my god EW.

If you could do any fictional character, who would you pick?

I. Um. Hmmm. ...I am actually having a very hard time even imagining this. Possibly my brain doesn't work that way.

What are the sexiest, most wonderful shoes you can imagine, and do you think you could walk in them, if they came in your size?

Well, I can barely walk in totally unsexy shoes - or bare feet, for that matter. I don’t want to imagine in too much detail what might happen to me if I wore sexy shoes, but I'm guessing it would involve a comical disaster ending in a visit to the emergency room.

If you were a town in Russia, which town would you be?


Who are you in places other than LJ?

I'm thefourthvine on InsaneJournal.

I'm thefourthvine (just for variety) on GreatestJournal, and I'm also keeping an off-site backup of my LJ posts there.

I'm thefourthvine or TFV on GoodReads.

I'm thefourthvine (Consistency is a virtue. It's a foolish consistency that's the hobgoblin of little minds, thank you very much.) on IMEEM, too.

I'm sometimes littera_abactor right here on LJ. (Well, I had to have one different name. It's a rule. I think. I, uh, kind of lost the Official Internets Rulebook, v. 3897.144. Please don't tell on me.)

I'm TFV on

What is your favorite kind of cake?

Chocolate. I'm really a very boring person. But, actually, I like most cakes that are not actively evil. (Actively evil cakes include: banana-flavored cakes, cakes with raisins, and especially any cake made with artificial lemon flavoring. Real lemon is one of my favorite flavors of pretty much anything, but fake lemon is the taste of disappointment and clowns.)

Fandom and Me

You've often said you don't generally watch source canon for the fan fiction you read. How, then, do you keep from getting confused? How do you understand the stories?

Well, okay. The first answer to that is - you don’t need to know the source to know if the story is good. You really don't. But the second is - you don't need to watch the source to know it.

I have two techniques for learning the source without watching it.

One is Netflixing it, getting Best Beloved to watch it, and then getting a bullet-point summary of it. She hits just the salient points in her summary, and sometimes has me watch snippets that she finds especially relevant. (Read: especially slashy.) And, voila! I know who everyone is and what's going on and I didn't have to watch much.

The other is back-engineering. This is a process of triangulation: I read many stories, by many authors, and the back of my brain sorts through what I read looking for unusual clusters of common factors. When I find these clusters, I know they're either canon or fanon. Figuring out the difference is fairly easy from contextual clues and weighting. This works surprisingly well - by the time I watched, for example, Asylum (due South), I could recite pretty much the whole script from back-engineering.

If you're wondering why I'd back-engineer rather than just watch canon - well, okay.
  1. Back-engineering is fun. Watching has gone from being absolutely agonizing work (I slept for 15 hours after my first TV viewing experience - I was exhausted) to being kind of fun, too, but, well, you don't get really quality puzzles like back-engineering all that often, so I'd still rather do that when I can.

  2. When I do watch source canon - and keep in mind that I have never seen a full season of anything live action (although until recently I thought I had) except a British show that has, like, 6 episodes per season - my view of it is often at right angles to everyone else's view, so I still am not watching what you all are watching, which obviates the whole point of watching in the first place.

  3. I'm not in fandom for the source. I'm in fandom for you. I am a fan of fans, a fan of fan works - I am much more interested in the nine million ways fan writers can play with Call of the Wild or Sentinel, Too or The Tao of Rodney or The Abyss or whatever than I am in actually seeing those episodes. (Note: I picked those for a reason. I haven't seen any of them, yet I've read a metric ton of FF set in or around or on each.)

  4. I'm better at being a fan when I don't know the source. I was a terrible LotR fan because I did know and love the source. I'm a really good SGA fan even though I've seen, um, parts of season one. For me, the real thing that took me from fan fiction reader to fan was crossing into fandoms with source I didn't know.
And if you're thinking, "but then you're not a real fan" - and it's okay; I know some of you are - then, well, maybe I'm not. By your definition. But if you like my recommendations or my fan fiction (all written, by the way, in fandoms for which I have incomplete source knowledge or no source knowledge) or my meta, I would submit that I'm faking it well enough that I could almost be considered real.

Why do you have problems understanding TV and movies? How did you make it all the way to college before you understood movies at all, and how did you make it to fandom before you understood TV?

We need to start this with another story. I'm sorry, it's just how it works. In this case, it's a story my parents told to me when I, sitting in righteous judgment on my parents' parenting skills as only a teenager can, demanded to know why they did not let me watch TV, thus making me an outcast and a pariah.

"We tried to make you," my mother said. "You didn't want to."

My father said, "We put you down in front of [some children's show], and you crawled away. We did it again, and you waited until we weren't looking, and then you crawled away. You hated it. You never liked being in the room with the TV on. In the end, we decided it was better to let you read than to strap you down and force you to watch television." (This was a decision they would come to regret; I don't think they had a view of my face totally unobstructed by a book for, like, eight years.)

And so I didn't watch television, because I didn't understand it. You people with your natural TV processing abilities - know that I hate you all. You have no idea how difficult what you're doing is.

How can it be difficult? Well, I don't see what you see, and I don't interpret what I do see the way you do. Like, okay. I did, throughout my life, occasionally see visual material - this is unavoidable when you live with people who actually get this stuff. (In other words, everyone but me.) But for much of that time I "watched" by constructing narratives to go along with the dialog I heard, because the visuals were just - confusing, distracting, usually impossible to interpret. This means that the stuff I remember watching before college never actually existed.

For example - here's my summary of Blade Runner, based on my high school era viewing of it: "It's a science fiction romance. At the end, the hero gets the girl and there's a wedding." This description left Best Beloved staring at me in flat disbelief, and she's used to my wacky interpretations of TV and movies. (Note for those who have been dwelling under the same rock I was: That's not the real plot.)

Here's my summary of Doctor Who based on a few episodes I sort of watched with my sister when I was in middle school: "It's about a machine called the TARDIS, and the TARDIS travels in space and time with its doctor and some other people." I honestly believed the TARDIS was the main character. I don't remember the people being in it very much. Imagine my surprise to discover that they changed Doctors; that was something I would never have noticed at that age.

In other words, we are talking about a serious disconnect between me and visual material.

How I learned to watch movies - and, eventually, television - is outside the scope of this question. (Thank god. The answer is already longer than whole chapters of some works in progress.)

So if you haven't seen most of what you're a "fan" of, what have you seen?

Here's a complete list of all the shows I've ever watched. No, really; I'm incredibly proud of this list - you think I'll pass up the opportunity to brag when people (more than one, even!) actually asked? (And, yes, this includes totally non-fannish shows. If I've seen it, and I remember it, it's here.)
  1. Angel (nearly all of season one)
  2. Are You Being Served? (a lot of episodes spread across the earlier seasons)
  3. Avatar: the Last Airbender (all of season one, almost all of season two)
  4. Azumanga Daioh (whole thing!)
  5. Buffy the Vampire Slayer (parts of the first three seasons, plus "Hush" and "Once More With Feeling")
  6. Cowboy Bebop (several episodes, including all the most Ein-intensive ones, because Best Beloved knows what will catch my interest)
  7. Dangermouse (assorted episodes spread at random across all seasons)
  8. Dead Zone (at least 12 episodes in seasons one and two)
  9. Doctor Who (almost all of the Nine episodes)
  10. due South (approximately four episodes from seasons three and four)
  11. Farscape (six episodes, and it'd be a lot more if I could figure out the subtitles issue - subtitles are NOT OPTIONAL for DVD sets, TV people!)
  12. GetBackers (more than half of the episodes)
  13. Hercules (four episodes)
  14. Highlander (four episodes)
  15. Hikaru no Go (the complete series, and, seriously, how much do I rock?)
  16. Life on Mars (approximately 10 episodes in the first and second seasons)
  17. The Muppet Show (an episode and a half, roughly speaking)
  18. Princess Tutu (the whole thing, and that's not me being awesome, that's the series being awesome beyond belief)
  19. Red Dwarf (every episode in the first six seasons, and I will take applause, thanks)
  20. Samurai Champloo (assorted episodes)
  21. Samurai Jack (half of the movie)
  22. Scrubs (a lot of episodes in the first four seasons)
  23. The Sentinel (part of the first episode - look, it counts, okay?)
  24. Sports Night (almost all of season one, two eps in season two)
  25. Star Trek: the Original Series (one episode)
  26. Stargate: Atlantis (about 12 episodes in season one)
  27. Trigun (most of the episodes up to the last disc, which killed me)
  28. Wonderfalls (almost all the episodes)
  29. Yami no Matsuei (four episodes)
Of those, my favorites were probably Hikaru no Go, Princess Tutu, Avatar, and Life on Mars. If you have anything you'd like to recommend to me based on that, I'd love to hear about it. (As is obvious, I tend to prefer animated to live-action media if I'm going straight into watching it. I usually need a fannish hook - vids or stories - for live-action stuff. Animated things I can get without that.)

I also really liked almost everything else; basically, if I watched it, it was chosen for me by Best Beloved, who knows exactly what I'll like, so I am in the lucky position of never having had a really bad experience with television. (I mean, I've been terrified, and I've been angry, and I've certainly been confused as all hell, but I've never been bored.)

And this list is growing all the time. I've watched so much TV since I started in fandom, I cannot even begin to tell you. Okay, I mean obviously I can tell you, but do you know how many hours of TV that is? Lots! I am so unspeakably proud of myself about this. I am a real TV watcher!

Except that I have never seen a show in real time, as it's being broadcast, and I likely never will. I have no idea how you people do that - how do you manage without rewind and pause, without the rest of the season, without knowing what's coming next? I mean, I watched the Angelus arc on Buffy, and - it would be horrible to watch that in real time, with a week between each episode. And I watched Wonderfalls, and I can't even imagine how you deal with watching a show and loving it and then it being canceled so early; it was agony enough watching it knowing what was coming. I just don't know how you people who watch in real time cope.

What was your first fandom?

Lord of the Rings. It was not, for a variety of reasons, the best fit for me, not the least of which because if I truly love the source, I don't do nearly as well in the fandom.

You can learn more about my very early days in fandom here.

How many fandoms are you in now?

About 40, all told, but some of them are pretty small.

Does pimping make you more or less likely to watch a show? Is trying to pimp you into my fandom a good idea?

Pimping definitely makes me more likely to persuade Best Beloved to watch the show, and, in the fullness of time, she'll decide if it's worth me seeing it. But I don't need to see the show to read fan fiction or watch vids, and in fact would generally prefer to do it the other way around.

And pimping makes me much more likely to get into a fandom. So, yes, totally pimp your fandom to me all you want. (And feel free to pimp the show, too. Just know that that's less likely to work.) There will be rejoicing!

What do I have to do to pimp you into my beloved fandom?

fanofall is the registered expert at pimping me, but here are some tips:
  • Don't bother with pictures of the characters. They won't look attractive to me, and I won't recognize them later. So, you know, if you link me to pictures, I will gaze at them in a thoughtful fashion, but there will be no actual cognition taking place. (Sarcastic picspams are a whole other story. I peruse those with pleasure.)

  • Don't encourage me to watch it if it's a TV show; I will feel guilty asking you for eps if I'm not going to watch them, and I mostly won't. Instead, encourage me to have Best Beloved watch it. Our Netflix queue still has some room.

  • Do send me links to stories that are awesome. If they hit my kinks, so much the better.

  • Do point me to vids you love. I watched Life on Mars solely because of a confluence of vids so awesome that I had no choice but to force Best Beloved to watch it, and then it proved to be so marvelous that Best Beloved had no choice but to force me to watch it. Vids are totally a gateway drug to the source.
Basically, if you really want to pimp me into a fandom, convince Best Beloved to watch the source while inundating me with recs of light, humorous and/or long, plotty stories that don't require a lot of background knowledge and don't hit my squicks. I will cave so fast you won't even see it coming.

Is there any source you think should have a huge fandom that doesn't?

Oh my god yes. First, there are a lot of movies that are totally overlooked by fandom, or mostly overlooked - The Sting is so slashy that it convinced Paul Newman's wife. Ocean's 11 is basically the Danny and Rusty: So Doing It franchise. And so on.

Then, there are many books that beg for fan fiction that don't have it, or don't have enough of it. The non-Jeeves Wodehouse books, for example. Moby Dick. The Vorkosigan series.

And, finally, there are fandoms that I think should be larger. Hikaru no Go, for example - it has an English-language fandom, but it should have been a gigantic one. Hikaru no Go is love.

What are your bullet-proof kinks?

I don't entirely have them, on the grounds that there are some things that render stories so bad that nothing can make them clean again. But I will overlook a lot for:
  • Happy endings.
  • Humor.
  • Banter.
  • Time travel.
  • Playing around with point of view or perspective.
  • Science, properly used and applied.
  • Magic, wishes, or anything else that's basically an excuse for letting the crack flow freely.
  • Most kinds of AUs.
  • Realistic other cultures or aliens.
  • History or the future
In porn, I like:
  • Porn that furthers the plot or supports the characters - in other words, cookie-cutter porn is not my thing. (And PWPs only work for me in certain skilled hands.)
  • Orgasm denial.
  • Bondage.
  • Power games (but only in porn; I like equal relationships outside the bedroom).
  • Atypical sex scenes (in other words, anything that mixes up or derails the usual progression of sex scenes in fan fiction).
What are your bullet-proof squicks?

My number one, absolutely solid, renders-the-story-unreadable squick is animal harm (or, obviously, animal death).

My other major squicks:
  • Serious power imbalances in a relationship. So, in other words, most examples of teacher/student, doctor/patient, sibling/sibling, parent/child, dependant/care-taker, etc. Cannot cope, may die if I try to.

  • Celebrities. Celebrities just basically squick me; it's like my brain secretly believes that their existence is a mortal affront and goes into massive deny-and-repress mode the second they are mentioned. This is why I can't handle RPS with anyone my brain classes as a celebrity - currently famous people, people who were famous in my lifetime, most people who were famous during my parents' lifetimes - but am fine with RPS involving people from before 1950 or so. Those people aren't celebrities, to my mind, and thus it's okay to read about them. (Amusing side note: I had to incorporate a celebrity into a Yuletide story I wrote once. In other words, I wrote one of my own squicks. But the story required it!)

  • Chan.
My minor squicks (in other words, it will bother me, but I'll keep reading if the story is good enough, and I've got the recs to prove it):
  • Rape, non-con, and dubious consent.
  • Graphic torture.
  • Angst cranked to 11.
  • Sad endings.
If you're curious about the things I just don't like, well, my rants should make that very clear.

But what are your thoughts on yaoi?

Do you think you would be a somewhat different person if you had never heard of fandom and fan fiction?

Yes? Well, obviously the answer is yes, but I don't know what the differences would be. I'd have fewer really cool friends, I think, and be a lot less social just generally. I'd write a lot less. I wouldn't have this FAQ. I wouldn't be as happy as I am.

I'm sorry. I know there's probably a deep answer to this somewhere, but I have a hard time finding my depths. I've lost my internal bathyscaphe.

How many hours a week do you spend reading fan fiction?

I have no idea. I do know, though, that at least two nights a week, I won't be able to sleep, and I'll read a ton of fan fiction, do almost nothing else all night. And I read several stories a day apart from that - one with breakfast, one with lunch, probably one while I'm making dinner. That kind of thing.

It also varies by fannish season. It's definitely more when I'm just getting into a fandom, and less other times.

Should every fandom have a pirate AU?

Yes. This is true even for those fandoms that are canonically about pirates. There are no exceptions to the Pirate AUs Are Awesome rule. (Note: in some cases, the AU may need to be about space pirates, instead. I see nothing wrong with that; space pirates are all part of the glorious pirate family, after all. And anyone who says she does not want to read about Will Turner, Elizabeth Swann, Jack Sparrow, and James Norrington in space is just - well, she needs our support and caring in her time of trouble.)


Why did you begin writing recommendations? What do you like about recommending as a fannish practice?

I have a profound compulsion to recommend things and not stop recommending until everyone on earth loves the things (stories, mostly) I love. It's - it's pretty much a disease, and I think you're born with it; I was recommending long before I found fan fiction. I think I feel about good stories the way proselytizers feel about their religions; if it wasn't for the internet, I would totally stand in an airport and demand that people accept the works of my favorite authors into their hearts, for example.

I think recommending, as a fannish pursuit, is three parts love, one part obsession, and one part cataloging instinct. In other words, it's perfect for me. But I would totally recommend original fiction, too, if there was an easy outlet and audience for that, or non-fiction, if anyone wanted to know why they should read and love, say, Marriage: a History.

What is the approximate ratio of fic you read to fic you rec?

I read a lot more than I recommend, and that's partly that much of what I read isn't recommendable and partly that there's a huge backlog of recommendations I haven't gotten around to making for whatever reason.

How do you find the things you recommend? Where is all the really good stuff hiding?

I read, pretty much. The thing is, the more fan fiction I read, the easier it gets to find the good stuff and the lazier I get about doing it. I no longer feel compelled to read every story posted to a flashfiction community, for example; I cheerfully skip all the ones with "lol" in the author's notes or misspellings in the disclaimer or whatever. (Author's notes and story headers: the single easiest way to avoid bad fan fiction. They're like the warning rattle on a rattlesnake.) I have a mental list of writers I'm damned and determined never to read again. I know to avoid works in progress that are called "Aftermath" and are on part 63 out of ???.

When I join a new fandom, I get a head start by devouring other people's recommendations; after that, other recommenders don’t help me much, because I've read 99% of what they rec that I'm willing to read. So I

It's pretty much the same process as finding good books, except there's way more choice and you just open and close tabs instead of hauling books off the shelves.

Who are your favorite recommenders?

As I said before, I use recommenders kind of peculiarly. For me, the recommenders I use fall into three main categories:
  • Multi-fandom recommenders. These are people who are all over the place; when I get into a new fandom, I check them all, hoping some of them are already there. That gives me a head start on finding the very best in the fandom (and also allows me to catch up fast on what I missed, since I am generally a late adopter).

  • Obsessive monofandomers. These are the people who read almost everything written in their fandom. I try to find at least a couple after I've read through everything the multi-fandom folks have to recommend in my new fandom. I skim their recommendations, looking for stuff I know; if they're into the same stuff I liked from the multi-fandom recommenders, I check out their other recommendations. But once I'm out of the new fandom phase, I'm also done with the obsessive monofandomers; once I'm caught up, those pages are a lot less useful to me.

  • feeders. I'm just getting into this now, but - these are people who read in at least one fandom we share, who read a lot, and who tag their read stories in (I try to avoid people who tag a lot of unread stuff in I use my network as a way to keep in touch with fandoms I'm not as into and to make sure I haven't missed anything in my major fandoms. (Because, well, stories slip past. It happens.)
The only thing I can think of that would be of interest to other people is a list of the multi-fandom recommenders I turn to again and again, and, um, I am in the process of compiling said list. But it's going to be long. So, in the meantime, I direct you to norah's Rec the Recommenders page; she uses a lot of the same resources I do, and she's, like, organized and stuff. It's awesome. (And if I haven't put together my own recommending-the-recommenders page in a month or so, prod me, please.)

What ever happened to Fandoms I Have Loved?

Still ongoing, in process, and in fact up to number 12, now. (Feel free to issue suggestions for number 13.) It's just, they take forever to write, so they tend to be few and far between. (In the beginning, I had a backlog of ones that were mostly finished, so I could post a whole bunch. They also used to be shorter. But then, everything about my LJ used to be shorter; my LJ is proof of the continuous expansion of the universe. At this rate, by 2010, I will be breaking LJ post limits with single story summaries. Yes, I'm terrified, too.)

How can we get you to post more recs, both fic and vid?

Find me more time. Or, failing that, send me links to fabulous stories - through comments, email,, whatever. thete1 triggered several recent bouts of recommending just by sending me links to stories I'd never read, or forgotten about; I'm just that easy.

You could also consider nagging Best Beloved; since she's the one who determines that it has Officially Been Too Long between sets, well, if she started hearing complaints, she'd probably start reminding me to post sooner.

My Family

Who is Best Beloved?

Best Beloved is my (female) partner. We've known each other since I was 16 and been "married" (in the strictly non-legal sense, thanks to our country's rather narrow-minded view of marriage) since I was 19.

Best Beloved is a librarian who is deeply interested in management and finance, but I love her despite these perversions.

She is very patient with me. Obviously.

How did you and Best Beloved get together? Bonus points if it's a funny/romantic story, containing books and cookies, deaf plays, Dr. Gene Scott, dead engines, and cats between legs. *koff*

Sadly, the answer to that question is x-rated. And while I know that we are all very comfortable with such material in these parts, Best Beloved has declined permission for me to post porn that stars her.

Don't complain to me. Complain to her.

What does Best Beloved think of all this fandom stuff?

When I started this LJ, I told Best Beloved. She looked amused. Later, I told her I'd made my first post, and she stared at me in shock. "I thought you were kidding!" she said. "You really made a LiveJournal? You really posted? What's the URL? Show, show, show!"

Since then, she's basically been the reason I post. When it's been too long between posts, or when I feel like everything I've written sucks, she tells me to just get off my ass and POST already. When I feel like running away from fandom, she reminds me that I love it here. She reads every post I make and almost everything I recommend, watches whole TV shows on the off chance that I might want to read the fan fiction, watches vids with me, and just basically is there for my whole fannish experience. Her LJ is best_beloved, conveniently enough (I, um, picked the name - I didn't want her to repeat my username disaster), so if you get a comment from her, give her a hug from me, okay?

Your dogs. You speak of them often. Who are they?

Cassie is the First Dog and ambassador to the whole human race. She's the sweet potato dog. She is Macavity, the mystery cat, except she's a dog and she mostly doesn't use her powers for evil anymore.

She's a Labrador Retriever with a bump on her head where her extra brains fit in. She is wildly enthusiastic about everything and everyone. If you meet her, her enthusiasm may leave bruises; for one thing, her tail is always wagging, and, well, I've been hit with it. It's like being whipped with a baseball bat.

She can open almost all doors, her own crate, and cabinets (even ones with toddler locks). She has used the phone to call someone in the 876 country code, someone in the 251 area code, and my mother. She knows several hundred words and can pick critical ones ("food," "treat," "dog") out of conversation so well that we have to use code for those things and change up the code every month or so. For a while, she seemed determined to learn how to drive the car, and we lived in terror.

She is probably smarter than I am. We believe she may have limited mind control powers. I have already started forward planning for the day she takes over the world.

Brick is the Second Dog and designated worrier. He's the supermodel of the dog world: gorgeous, elegant, neurotic, and with approximately two neurons rattling around in his sleek skull. But he is incredibly sweet and good-natured, and you have to love anyone whose ideal universe is you patting him while he lies on a soft, soft cushion.

He's a retired racing Greyhound; he was retired after one race, probably because when he gets out ahead of anyone while running, he skids to a stop and looks around, panicked, trying to figure out where the other dogs went.

And, seriously, he really is not at all bright. Once, he went to lie down on a cushion in the living room; he circled a few times, the way dogs do, then flopped down facing the wall - and then starting crying in a panic because we had left him. We had to say, "Um, we're right here. Right where we were! You're just facing away from us now."

He routinely gets stuck between his crate and the wall, he's gotten stuck in a rosebush, and he once ran full-tilt into a wall that he apparently had forgotten was there.

He hates squirrels, cats, and any kind of change, and is easily frightened. He sometimes cries for no reason, just because life is hard.

I am a lot more like Brick, but I aim to be more like Cassie.

What about your childhood dog?

She was a Lab mix named Blackberry. (I named her. I was four. I don't want to hear criticism, thanks.) I loved her more than words can express. In Marley & Me, John Grogan describes his childhood dog as sainted - St. Shasta, I think he calls his dog. And that makes sense to me. Childhood dogs are special; we remember none of their flaws, only the love they gave us and the love we still have for them. And they stay forever, loved and perfect, in our hearts and minds. So my childhood dog was St. Blackberry, the most perfect dog on earth.


Do you object to getting comments from people you've never heard of? Does it feel weird and stalkery?

No, of course not. I mean, I know there are people who feel that way, but I think they have different journals than I do. I love hearing from people who don't usually comment, just as I love hearing from people who comment all the time. Basically, in my opinion, comments = yay, unless they are from anonymous spammers who wish to share grand news about Viagra with us.

How long have you been on LJ?

I created my LJ on March 11, 2004. I used LJ for a while before that, manually going to check out the journals of writers I hoped would post something soon. I even posted a couple of anonymous comments before I had a journal with which to post named comments. (That's part of why I'm trying to keep anonymous comments on, despite the irritation of having to deal with spammers.)

How come you don't use cut-tags?

I do cut really long things, like Fandoms I Have Loved posts, and things I think people will want to avoid (or at least that I want them to consciously choose to read), like rants and spoilers. But I mostly don't use cut tags because once, a long time ago, I asked people if I should start using them, and the consensus fell squarely onto, "No, don't bother. We already know you babble."

Perhaps I will revisit this poll someday soon, though. People may have grown more impatient with babble.


And when I say miscellaneous, I mean it. Some of you had questions that were, um. Very interesting, but not really related to the topic at hand. But - asked, and now answered! To the best of my limited ability!

What is a-squared plus b-squared?

c-squared, where c is the hypotenuse and a and b are the legs of the triangle.

How do YOU prepare your organic quinoa? Mine always keeps this watery, popping texture that I thought was cool at first, but now kinda scares me.

I don't, basically. The last time I bought a package, I ended up using part of it in an unfortunate science experiment. Now the remnants sit in a baggie, staring at me reproachfully. I am afraid to try to cook them; they know I did their fellows wrong.

Conan or Colbert?


What are Navier-Stokes equations?

The Navier-Stokes equations are the foundation of fluid mechanics; they describe the flow of incompressible fluids, and you can use them to model lots of complex systems. They're very interesting, in other words, and they've been around for a while, and we don't understand them all that well. (One of the Millennium Problems is based on the Navier-Stokes equations.) If you want to see what they look like, you can check here.

Dragon/donkey hybrids: awesome or crime against nature?

I fail to see why both can't be true. Lots of crimes against nature are awesome. Waffle cones, for example.

How many roads must a man walk down?

Just one. That's all you get. But it's long. And twisty. And sometimes it's really hard to see. And if you step off it for even a second, you will likely be eaten by a grue.

When you wish upon a star, does it really make no difference who you are or is that just a lie they tell the astrologically ill-favoured?

When you wish upon a star, it really does make no difference who you are: the star doesn't hear you and nothing much happens. Sorry!

What is the best thing to put on a hummus sandwich?

Cucumbers, in my opinion.


Yes. Until recently, I would have said no, but I have become converted to the One True Mango Way.

Why do fools fall in love?

Because nature is a scheming bitch.

Where did you last see your other sneaker?

In the hallway. (Farewell, sweet sneaker; I loved you well.)

Badgers or weevils--which are funnier?

Badgers, absolutely and without question.

Is it worth watching two hours of totally forgettable musical for GENE KELLY TAPDANCING ON ROLLER SKATES OMG?

I'd say yes, except then I'm afraid someone might try to make me watch Xanadu, and then what would become of me?

Can I play with madness?

...Well, obviously.
Tags: [faq], [miscellaneous]
  • Post a new comment


    Anonymous comments are disabled in this journal

    default userpic

    Your reply will be screened

    Your IP address will be recorded 

← Ctrl ← Alt
Ctrl → Alt →
← Ctrl ← Alt
Ctrl → Alt →