I always experience a significant amount of terror right before I travel alone -- it got so bad when I was going to Boston that I almost didn't go -- but I'm accustomed to it now and I just ignore the shakes and get on the train and I always have an awesome time once I'm underway.

Riding the train from Chicago to anywhere in Indiana is apparently a pretty bare-bones proposition. There's no first class (which I usually take, it's worth the extra $10) and no snack car, so I was glad I packed dinner. Well, "dinner"; a bottle of water, a Clif bar, and a Snickers bar.

I'll spare you the tribulations I had getting to my housing, but I will say that the Lafayette Amtrak Station is not designed to facilitate a cohesive traffic stream after dark. I got lost in the station. I did, however, finally get where I was going and I got a pretty good night's sleep, though this morning I couldn't figure out how to work the shower spigot and my shower was cooooooold. Still, woke me up.

On the train yesterday I was reading Jonathan Lethem's "The Ecstasy Of Influence: A Plagiarism", which was an article published in Harper's a few years ago and which someone told me I ought to read. Back then Harper's didn't have an accessible online archive, and if you've ever tried to get a Harper's out of a library archive, as opposed to a Harper's Bazaar, it's...difficult. So I never got to read it.

Anyway, happily, a few weeks ago Kate_Nepveu linked to it in a post about fanfic, and it really is a fascinating read on the subject of the relationship between corporate ownership and cultural commons. There are a few rough patches where I don't think Lethem quite got where he was intending to go, but overall it's a great essay.

It did get me thinking about fanfic in a slightly more abstracted way, and about why this current debate over it really enrages me so much. I don't normally weigh in on wanky matters, so to get me to make a statement about it, it must really have got under my skin. Now I think I know why.

Extribulum and fear. )

So, that's the eventual coherent statement I have: fanfic is inherently valuable as, if nothing else, a document of response to the originating media. To decry the thing is to decry merely the symbol of something you can never control. Stripped to its bones, there's no point in fighting an author about it, because they aren't acting from a place of rationality but one of fear, and fear makes people both incoherent and mean.

See, the thing is, you don't have to fight on behalf of fanfic -- just by thinking independently and having an opinion, you've already won. Which is kind of awesome, really. So the decision you're faced with is not whether to fight about it, but whether to respect an author's foolish, fearful wish and not post it, or publish and be damned.

Given I've already violated the spirit of the wish by having an opinion, I choose damnation every time, myself.

(This is the shit I come up with on trains. Jesus I love trains.)
You know, I thought maybe it was just a shortening attention span that made it impossible for me to read most of the new Sherlock Holmes stories kicking around since the film came out. I thought I had some kind of mental problem. When I was nine I had no trouble at all reading the canon, though admittedly I was not grasping some of the subtlety therein.

The thing is, though, that I'm not sure it is my fault, given my expectations. So many of the new stories being posted start with this huge wall of very formal text, and as much as I respect and admire the drive to emulate the historical style, this needs to be said: Sir Arthur Conan Doyle was not generally a wall of text kind of guy. The Sherlock Holmes novels and short stories are both a demonstration of the deductive arts and the Victorian equivalent of a badass action flick.

Okay, let's see if I can get through this without looking like a dumbass.

There was a -- well, quite a sad fandom!secret about me yesterday, and it sort of opened a floodgate and this came out. It's a lot of ideas I've been having for a long time, tied up together. I want to stress this -- it's not a direct reaction to the secret, it was just inspired by it. I'm not angry at the OP; in fact I feel a lot of sympathy for the OP, and rather apologetic, because I may not have hurt them but I have let them down.

So let's talk about me, and fanfic, and fandom, and novels.


I can keep rhythm with no metronome... )
Okay, having had a think about it and read some comments about it I think I know how to talk about why I'm uncomfortable with the scene from last night that I put off discussing until a later date. Hello, later date! Glad to see you.

So let's critically -- and, one hopes, accurately -- discuss what is likely to be a point of division and misunderstanding in fandom, shall we?

Spoilers for Children of Earth through Day Three.

I can hit a target through a telescope... )

Phew. I feel better now. I spent the whole El ride wondering if I could actually be coherent about all this.


Do a shot! )


* Loosely translated as "Now we drink", more accurately as "Now we MUST drink." OH THOSE ROMANS.

So I thought about doing Three Things once I'd watched the first season, but I ended up not, only because I want my thoughts to be a little more coherent than Three Things allows. It used to be a way to free me up, a way to keep me from having to write a big long meta post for each episode. Sometimes, on the other hand, it's also constricting.

So. The Mentalist. Spoilers for all of S1. )

All in all -- not as engaging as some shows I've seen, but definitely worth watching when season two airs in the fall. I do want to find out who Red John is, and I want to see the continuance of Jane's character arc. But I don't really feel the urge to fanfic it, though there are some directions I'd like to see the show take.
So, I rewatched Firefly.

You can blame [ profile] tychoish who gave it to me and [ profile] hija_paloma who helped me snark it. And there was so. Much. Snark.

After I'd seen the epsiodes and the film and thought about it a bit, I wrote a rather long post about Firefly, and then I read it over and realised I could never post it because:

1. You, my cafe, are lovely and rational and thinky, and I adore you, but not everyone in fandom is thus, and throwing a bomb into the middle of fandom is guaranteed to bring out the CRAZY.
2. The post discussed Firefly partially in terms of race, gender, and sexuality fail, and as a straight white male that's not really something I'm sure I am qualified to talk about competently. Also I called it shallow, and I'm a Doctor Who/Torchwood fan, so I have no real room to throw stones.
3. I really don't care about Firefly meta. I had a lot to say about Firefly, but I'm not very interested in discussing it any further. That makes it sound like I can't or don't want to defend my views, which isn't true; I'm just not interested in addressing eight jillion objections to what I say, and I'm pretty sure that's what I'd get.
3a. Apparently it stung a lot of nerves when I posted my 200-whatever things about SGA, and I'm not here to harsh anyone's groove. SGA-fen, please accept a belated apology; I was trying to amuse, but apparently I was failing. You saved Firefly fen from a similar annoyance.

So instead of the critical essay I wrote about what Firefly is and what Firefly could or should have been, I would like to give you the good parts version.

ETA FOR CLARITY: No, really. I saw the film! I saw the film. :D

More Firefly than you ever thought you'd get outta me! )
Busy morning was busy -- I had to rescue about eighteen things from certain doom at the hands of Friday's temp -- but I think I've put out all the fires now.

So, as promised, here is the rant! Sam addresses television writing without any formal training other than watching a lot of teevee and being reasonably clever.

Vague spoilers for Heroes all seasons and the final episode of Life on Mars.

The Story Is All )

Post-diatribe notes:

1. Obviously, if there is wank, directed either at me or at fellow commenters, this post will lock so fast you'll hear the bolts being thrown yesterday.

2. This is, I think, going to generate a lot of thinky, and I encourage thinky. However, it's going to generate a lot of thinky in my inbox. If I don't reply, it's not because I'm ignoring you or think you haven't got a point. It's that OH MY GOD MY INBOX.

These warnings always turn out to be supremely unnecessary, but I know the one time I don't give them, something evil's going to happen.
BossBoss just heard about Tennant leaving Doctor Who.

Sam: Uh. Yeah. Sorry?
BossBoss: I thought he had run out of lives!
Sam: He's got a few more. The show's not being cancelled, far as I know.
BossBoss: Who's replacing him?
Sam: They don't know yet. There are some front-runne --
BossBoss: Can you print out some articles for me?
Sam: Uh. About the casting possibilities?
BossBoss: When you have time.

My boss is the ultradork and I'm getting paid to research Doctor Who casting spoilers.

You know not that he's a chauvinist or anything but he's a little bit old school about Doctor Who and I suspect he would yell loudly if it were suggested to him that a woman might play the next Doctor. Professionalism is knowing when to edit the information appropriately. *edits*

Peapod has come and gone, bringing with it walnuts, two cornish game hens, a package of ground chicken, yoghurt, lemons (for lemon curd!), eggs (also for lemon curd!) and dirty rice mix, among other things. My work is done for the evening. I HAVE A COOKIE. Life is okay!

I've more or less finished with 2006, in the journal-uploading process. So that's nice. Only about six more months to upload before I can automate it via the GJ/IJ mirrors, though I'll still have to check those against Googlereader and tag them and such. I should, with any luck, be fully reupped by Christmas.

In other news, yes, I have heard about David Tennant leaving Doctor Who after the 2009 specials. And yes, it does feel a bit like the franchise is falling apart, between the specials-and-then-bolt for Tennant and the Torchwood miniseries absurdity. It is sad to see Tennant go because he is brilliant and because he clearly loves doing the show as much as die-hard fans love watching it.


I can see where he's coming from, because you want to have a good run and then get out. I'd have said five years rather than three, especially with the truncated thirteen-episode seasons, but it's his call to make and he's a thinky enough guy, with enough insider information on how the show is going, that I trust his wisdom in making it. So I say unto fandom:


I mean, come on, this is what happens, this is Doctor Who! I've never been in on the ground floor of a regeneration before. Get with the gestalt! Man, can you imagine what it was like to see the Doctor regenerate for the very first time? When you didn't know what was going to happen and couldn't concieve of the Doctor regenerating and hadn't got any casting spoilers because Al Gore hadn't invented the internet yet? And if you were there and watching, COME ON, TELL US ABOUT IT, share your stories!

SO ELEVEN, RIGHT. David Hewlett has suggested Eddie Izzard. Someone on fandomsecrets suggested David Hewlett. I think Alan Davis would do well, don't you? He was brilliantly enigmatic in Jonathan Creek. People seemed to like Hugh Laurie when I put him up as the Real Doctor in the Edgar van Scyoc duology.

Let's find some funny-looking mad geeky bastard and throw him in the TARDIS and see what he's made of, yeah?

And for those of you who worry about the whole thirteen regenerations thing, DON'T FRET. I HAVE A CUNNING PLAN.

*re-reads entry*

Yeah, maybe no more cookies for me for now.
Sam: *reads fanfic*
Interesting fanfic: *is interesting*
Mediocre fanfic: *is mediocre*
Brilliant fanfic: *is brilliant*
Incredibly Offensive Badly Written Rape Fantasy fanfic: O HAI THERE.

It's my own fault for not reading headers -- I was linked from a fanfic roundup, as usual, so the header wasn't visible immediately, and I don't normally read them anyway. For serious, though, that was messed up. I'm not against noncon or dubcon (don't read them, don't like them, but whatever feeds your pterodactyl) but I'll make an exception for that one.

Right now, Torchwood fandom on the whole seems to be thunderously silent as regards the fic, because we're pretty nonwanky most of the time -- Who fandom eats all the Torchwood wank alive.

But I couldn't resist posting here just so I can say, when and if wank breaks out, CALLED IT.

Totally bummed that I no longer have the comments to the "Horace Slughorn: Top or Bottom?" post. God, those were brilliant.
AHAHAAHAH I just found and reposted my "Predictions for HBP".

Of six predictions I made, five of them came true to a greater or lesser amounts, though some not until Deathly Hallows. And to be fair some were pretty safe. I predicted:

Spoilers for HBP and DH )
I was reading fanfic. For a non-fantasy-based television drama. This is how it went down.

Normal, normal, normal. Hey, main character is IC and funny in this. Normal, normal, normal, good grammar. Normal, normal norBAM SECONDARY CHARACTER SUDDENLY HAS WINGS WHAT.

I've never actually had a fanfic walk up to me and punch me in the head before. Ow.

It's not like I hate wingfic or anything, though it's pretty much nonexistent for the fandoms I roll in. It's just, it was all gearing up to be this thinky exploration of the hero's psyche and then, wings.

WTF, fandom.
Okay, so, I have no idea what will happen if I cross the proton beams, but everything's plugged in.

The TV and antenna work. I can view, at least, what's going on with the DVD Recorder when I change input modes on the TV; conveniently enough, the Recorder has jacks for the Wii, which the TV doesn't, so I go to the Recorder input mode if I want to play Wii, too. And I can plug the laptop into the front of the DVD Recorder with the S-video cable, so that I can dub from laptop to DVD. Or I can plug the laptop into the TV and enhance my screen size (kinky). And the Wii is interfacing well with my wireless modem.

If I turn everything on at once, maybe it'll be like VR.5 and I will actually invent virtual reality. I could try to dub something from YouTube to DVD and suddenly find myself in YouTube.

Or, the flat will be able to travel in time and space (which I am pretty sure it can do if I can just find the right levers).


We're gonna need a bigger boat power strip.
So, I had to explain the concept of Rickrolling to R last night after a Colbert Report rerun referenced it.

I'm pretty sure he still doesn't get it, even after the Ratpacker joined in. Potentially especially after the Ratpacker joined in. I don't know how they manage to remain friends; watching the two of them together is kind of like watching someone from Baton Rouge try to have a conversation with someone from, say, Glasgow. Technically they're both speaking the same language, but nuance...may be lost.

In fandom news, [ profile] laurab1, who made the icon I'm currently using after reading Second City Torchwood, has done some new manips for Edgar van Scyoc Presents: Doctor Who. Which is good because I couldn't find a single decent photo of Hayden Panettiere that I thought I could use in the actual fic. Also her name sounds like an upscale coffeehouse in a Chicago suburb. These are the things that cross my mind.

Many of my fandoms at the moment look like they're burst out into wank. I've begun making bets with myself about which fandom will be first. At the moment odds are running in favour of Torchwood, but Harry Potter never fails to surprise....


It is about Doctor Who. Yeah yeah, the rest of you can scroll onwards.

So. Classic Doctor Who canon states -- hardcore Whovians can probably tell me which episode and/or which Doctor -- that Time Lords are woven on genetic looms. (LOOOOOOMS). However, many New Whovians treat this as a joke the Doctor pulled on one of his Companions, because:

1. The faintly obnoxious Eighth Doctor film states that the Doctor is half-human.
2. New Who has implied that if Time Lords don't exist as infants they at least exist as children; the Doctor is told he had a Very Lonely Childhood and also we see wee!Master going MAD at the age of eight.
3. At least some genetic contribution is probably going on, 'cause the first Doctor has a granddaughter and the tenth Doctor mentions not only being a parent but also a sibling.

But what if ALL THESE THINGS are possible and also Darwin got involved?

You'd get this:

Sam's Unified Theory Of Everything (Having To Do With The Doctor And Sex) (spoilers for Journey's End) )

The dental hygenist said to me, "So, we're going to clean your teeth with a Sonic Scaler today."

Now, I don't usually dork out in public, I'm quiet about my fandom, but before I could help myself I said, "Not the Sonic Screwdriver?" and then totally expected to get an empty, blank stare. But instead he looked at me for a second and then burst out into peals of laughter.

"It gets better," he said. "It's official brand name is the Cavitron. Which I believe was the original name for the Daleks."

And then we geeked around for like twenty minutes while he cleaned my teeth and confirmed my theory that the only possible reaction to last week's episode is WHAT? WHAT. WHAT?! and many, many tartar/TARDIS jokes were made.
Someone made a brilliant photoshop of the Tenth Doctor and all his Companions. I captioned it. Because I am evil.
It occurred to me in a comments exchange in the last post that possibly it was a slightly unfair post. Not to GDL, so much, you wear that hat and you take your medicine quietly, but to people who 1. Don't know who he is and 2. Don't watch Torchwood.

I believe the exchange went something like:

[ profile] 3goodtimes: I didn't need to know Gareth David-Lloyd existed.
[ profile] copperbadge: No, wait, dude, check this out:

[ profile] 3goodtimes: *blink* I have to go download Torchwood now, excuse me.
[ profile] copperbadge: Don't give up when you hit the boring parts!

So, yeah. This is how I, a noob to the Whoniverse, learned to stop worrying and love the bomb sonic screwdriver stun gun.

Mild to severe spoilers up through Doctor Who S3 and Torchwood S3. Warnings for the more severe ones.

Torchwood and Doctor Who: The Newbie's Guide )

The Basic Outline Of Episodes To Watch )


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