Yay!
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ratcreature
I just got my copy of Foxglove Summer! It arrived faster than expected, and the delivery guy even rang *and* brought it up five flights of stairs to my door (rather than clandestinely dropping of a notification card, pretending I wasn't home to avoid said stairs).

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grumble
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So last week I bit the bullet and preordered the UK hardcover edition of Foxglove Summer, assuming that would be sent to me as soon as it came out (normally Amazon is quite good about that), and then it seemed to be the earliest published (which makes sense if you want to sell the more expensive hardcovers). At that time available for preorder were that UK hardcover, a US paperback due in January and a UK paperback to be published next July.

Only when I checked now, apparently since then another UK paperback edition appeared in the options, that one also with a publishing date today. And the German Amazon is actually shipping that one and says it has in stock, whereas the info for estimated delivery times on the hardcover version now is that they'll deliver in 6-9 weeks, which seemed ominous for the chances of getting mine soon. So I switched my order over to the paperback which is now estimated to arrive on Monday (because I'm too cheap to pay extra for overnight shipping). Unfortunately it is not much cheaper than the hardcover, but the chances of getting it seem better. Somehow I find it quite frustrating that they kind of mislead me with their options last week, and that there is this confusion with the available editions changing like that.

Well, fingers crossed that I'll get the book soon. I was almost tempted to just get the Kindle version, but I don't like paying for DRMed ebooks that they can yank away from me again, so that I rather pay for the physical object that is mine. If there just weren't the stupid logistics of getting it to me.

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I kind of hate when series switch to hardcover first publishing
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I'm dithering whether I should pre-order the hardcover of Foxglove Summer, the fifth in the Rivers of London series, which comes out on November 13th, or wait for the paperback. It's harder because the paperback doesn't come out that much later, on January 8th, so it's not even a two month wait, not a year or anything, and that would be nine euro cheaper (almost twelve if I got the US paperback).

OTOH, I really like the series, so waiting longer than necessary would suck. Also Amazon seems kind of confused about the publishing date for the paperback, because it lists the UK paperback with both a January and a July date, and the US with a January one. So maybe the paperback would mean a longer wait after all. And it's one of those fandoms that I enjoy checking out in Yuletide, where there might be fanfic posted for it, and I'd have to avoid checking out those as well to avoid spoilers.

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weird marketing strategies
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ratcreature
So I was buying some mouthwash, and saw the weirdest ad line on a nearby toothpaste I've encountered yet.

In the prominent byline place near the brand name, where normally you'd see claims like "recommended by dentists" or such it advertised with "compatible with homeopathy". Just what? And it wasn't a toothpaste of the organic/all natural/no mineral-oil derived ingredients kinds or some other niche product either.

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sometimes my experiments in combining stuff end up actually tasty
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My dinner tonight was a sweet and sour butternut squash, lentils, and apple combination that I served with baked sweet potato (regular potato would have worked as well), and I found the mix of sweet pumpkin and apples with the lentils quite pleasing.

recipeCollapse )

It didn't look that attractive because it is more or less a mush, but I liked the taste combination.

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sweet potato recipes?
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I've never had sweet potatoes (they're somewhat exotic here), but today my supermarket had some on offer so I got a couple.

Do you have any favorite recipes highlighting their taste that would be good to try them?

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Henneth-Annun Story Archive will be shutting down
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I just saw the announcement that HASA will close at the end of the year, because they don't have the time and resources to keep it current and secure enough to deal with attacks on it.

HASA has been my favorite Tolkien fanfic archive even though its interface is not the most user friendly. I hope authors will migrate their stuff, but inevitably some fanfic will be lost. :(

If you are/were in the fandom, maybe help spread the word?

Well, I guess I'll go through the archive and save my favorites which is kind of tedious, because HASA doesn't have a whole work display, and so you need to save chapters.

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Guardians of the Galaxy
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It finally opened here this week, and it was fun to watch, though slightly confusing, because I'm not familiar at all with Marvel's cosmology and all the alien species running around there and their intergalactic grudges, so it was hard to put the events in any sort of context. Then again, the comics themselves probably don't make much sense in the first place.

some more specific, and thus spoilery confusing thingsCollapse )

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where does the Bucky Bear thing even come from?
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I know that Bucky Bear appears in that Marvel A-Babies vs. X-Babies crack (though I haven't read the comic), but is that the first and only "canon" (well some variety of official source anyway) with Bucky Barnes teddybear merchandise and fandom just really ran with it, as fandom does, or does it appear anywhere else?

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urgh
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One of the downsides of warm weather is how fast you end up with swarms of fruit flies. I do bring down my garbage far more frequently in summer, i.e. way before a full garbage bag accumulates, and they are still a nuisance. Just now I noticed two in my garbage can, which meant I had to take it out again already -- obviously once I spot even one, I get rid of any organic garbage fast, because otherwise who knows how many of them there would be hatched soon after.

That seems enough to avoid true infestations with swarms in my kitchen *knocks on wood* but they are still annoying. And of course the garbage bins downstairs are popular breeding grounds, so you often have small clouds of fruit flies emerging when you open these. :P

I know you can do easy traps with soap/vinegar in water to attract them and do population control, and I'd probably entrap some before I notice any flying around (I mean as soon as you notice a pest it's a safe bet that there are more you didn't see), but frankly the idea of bowls with floating dead insects standing around in my kitchen as preventative measure is also gross.

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how do you currently tag filter on Tumblr?
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I used to do this with that Tumblr Savior script thing, but it must have gone glitchy at some point without me noticing, because right now when I add stuff to its filter list it doesn't hide the posts.

I'm trying to not be spoiled for the new X-Men movie until I watch it, and I have been just staying away from Tumblr the last few days, but apparently Tumblr has by now become a thing that I have a routine impulse to check. So having a working tag filter again would be helpful.

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New Dresden Files!
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My copy of Skin Game arrived earlier than expected! That's some consolation for me still having to wait a few days to watch the new X-Men (because there are not that many non-dubbed showings to begin with here, and I decided to go with my brother).

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it probably says nothing good...
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...about how I spent my time recently that my major accomplishment has been to get to a 4096 tile (screen with the tile as my trophy *g*) in that addictive 2048 game. (You can play on after you won and I got to 2048 a few times now but to 4096 only once so far.)

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Captain America squee
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I just watched Captain America 2 and it was awesome. Surprisingly the cinema was really empty, barely two dozen people it seemed, many rows were entirely empty. Maybe because it was the 17h show not the evening one, or because it was quite expensive due to the IMAX price (but that was where they showed the English version, so I was willing to pay more), but still I'd expected a bigger audience.

very brief squee, because I'm still away from my computer and stuck with tablet posting, but spoileryCollapse )

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gross
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I just took down a poster and in the sticky tape on the back of the thing were three larvae or maggots or something developing as I peeled the tape areas off. Upon taking it down fully I also found a huge dead moth squeezed behind it (the poster wasn't entirely snug to the wall throughout, so it's not as if you saw a moth bulge on the visible side). So maybe the other critters were the moth's offspring. Alternatively two different vermin populations are interested in the backside of posters as habitat.

I find this actually somewhat grosser than finding insects colonizing my foodstuff as opportunity. You anticipate your food to be attractive and watch out for that, but tape being attractive seems entirely random. I guess anything is edible to someone.

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I'm probably not the only one doing this
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There should be a word for being unproductive specifically by spending time fiddling around with various tools, schemes, apps etc. intended to improve productivity or organization. It is the same phenomenon that has me enjoy tv shows or blog posts with cleaning, renovating or DIY tips as method to avoid doing any such thing. I suspect it is a common procrastination method.

It's almost like meta-procrastination, because you are procrastinating through things that are supposed to help you be productive.

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HabitRPG - first results
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I've been doing HabitRPG for a bit now, and this approach has been working for motivation in some respects, for example I managed to do my dishes every evening instead of letting them pile up for days since I started, and my kitchen has been much more functional. I mean, I have no idea why the reward of getting stuff to hatch virtual zombie dragons works better as motivation than just not having to shift around piles of accumulated dirty dishes whenever I want to prepare food, but it does.

On the other hand, for more irregular cleaning tasks and my to-do list the success has been middling. In the past three weeks I did some cleaning, but I'm not sure whether it has been more than usual.

For accomplishing a regular bedtime before 1 a.m. as a habit it has not worked so far. So results are mixed, but my kitchen sink has been bio-hazard free for three weeks now, so that is something.

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talking meme: fandom and language
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[personal profile] lilacsigil prompted: "Fandom and language for you: what fandoms did you experience dubbed into German, are you in any German-language fandoms, how does English-speaking fandom feel to you, things like that."

Well, as far as dubbed tv shows go, pretty much all my fandoms before I had fast internet I first watched in German. So all the series I felt fannish about before finding online fandom, and the things I watched in the late 90s when I first found online fandom too. Some of those I have never actually bothered to rewatch in the original (I don't rewatch things very often in general), like most of original Star Trek episodes I only watched on tv here, same for TNG. But for example the X-Files I first watched haphazardly in German, but later on I got the episodes in the original and rewatched.

With Buffy the video tapes came out with not too much delay (about a season iirc), so that was the same as watching them here, so I bought those from the UK soon. With The Sentinel I first watched dubbed German episodes, but after I found the fandom I managed to get tape copies from another fan, and the later third and fourth season I only watched in the original.

The dubbing for Sentinel made some odd choices, in particular that Jim and Blair stuck with "Sie", presumably because they called each other Ellison and Sandburg in the original, but who would address a close work colleague who is also a roommate with the formal you? But it is a tricky issue, because obviously if they spoke German, they would start out with "Sie" and then at some point a "Du" would need to be offered, which is a significant marker for a relationship. And obviously that doesn't happen on screen, so they would have had to switch suddenly and that would also be odd.

With Due South I watched the RayV seasons in German first, but managed to get the RayK seasons through tape trade.

Tolkien I first read translated, but then later reread in English. Actually, iirc, LOTR was the first English book I read in English outside of English class assignments (which at that point were still mostly short stories). It was a tad ambitious as a choice for someone who at the time was not fluent. I think I was fourteen or fifteen or so, so I had only four or five years of English classes, because when I went to school they didn't yet start foreign languages in elementary school, but only in fifth grade. So that was quite slow going, even as I knew what was happening. Eventually I had the German edition open concurrently as I worked my way through LOTR in English the first time.

It turned out though that deciphering Tolkien was still a better choice for first reading material than reading French comics in the original, which I couldn't really manage after four years of French later on (even before I forgot most of it again). Being able to read French comics was my major aspirational motivation to drop Latin eventually (which my parents had wanted me to take as second language) and pick up French instead, because so many great comics aren't translated. But with so little text as context for guessing words you don't know, and the text not explaining the images but conveying separate things, and being spoken language with jokes and slang, comics are quite far from easy literature.

Speaking of comics, with Carl Barks' Donald Duck comics the classic German translation by Erika Fuchs is really good and sometimes funnier than the original. I have an English language edition of Carl Barks' complete works, but I really like the German translation as much, and many German fans prefer it. Because Erika Fuchs translated so many Disney comics with inventive language she had quite an impact on contemporary German language use, btw.

Actually Donaldism is the closest I come to having a German-language fandom, with German fanzines I have and such. And general comic fandom too to some extent, though that is more a multi-lingual thing. And mostly offline fandom engagement.

I don't watch a lot of German tv. These days I mostly watch tv shows on the computer, and I'm not in any online German fandom. Generally my online fandom engagement happens in English.

I find it even somewhat awkward to talk about fanfic fandom in German, because so many of the terms are English, so that when you talk with another German fan about something, you end up talking Denglisch with every second word (at best, sometimes seven out of ten) or so being a direct loan. Which okay, on the one hand, I won't start saying Schmerz/Trösten or whatever it would be instead of h/c, but otoh at some point it just gets ridiculous.

If you take a fairly normal fannish sentence you might to say to someone while talking about fanfic, like "XY wrote a great gen h/c ficlet for a Mundane AU prompt on the kink meme." you end up with very few German words, and maybe one of them a noun. I mean, even those that have translations are difficult, like say "prompt": Would I pick "Stichwort" or "Aufforderung" for "prompt" in a kink meme? Both sound odd. Maybe just stick with prompt, even though only the adjective meaning is the same in German (I don't think prompt as noun got loaned yet). And sure, you can translate "mundane" as "alltäglich" but "Mundane AUs" are a thing, saying "alltägliche alternative Universen" might as well mean "common AUs". Similarly you could say Geschichtenschnipsel for ficlet, or half-translate it as Fic-Schnipsel (though honestly, saying "fic" in German is, well, it sounds like you say fuck only in German that word is more obscene, because normal German swearwords all are more fecal-based than sexual, as I explained at length in my intro to that topic), but you'd probably end up saying sentences like "XY hat ein tolles gen ficlet für einen Mundane AU prompt im kink meme geschrieben." Awkward.

On the flip side, when fandom first shifted to the blogging/journaling format from mailing list, I hestitated starting one, because doing anything journal like in a foreign language felt weird to me, because I had kept paper diaries before, and those had obviously always been in German. And while thinking about fandom stuff in English was quite natural by then (after years of practicing with maililng list posts), for most other things it was not. The very first post in my blog in 2002 (reposted on DW here) which I started before getting an LJ was about that issue, and the odd feeling. Obviously more generalized nattering in English has started to feel more natural with years of practice.

Though in a way it is still weird, because I've gotten out of the habit of keeping a paper diary, and I post more often about non-fandom stuff, but still in English, so by now it feels more natural to narrate my own life in a foreign language. But that is not really fandom-related.

Otherwise English-speaking fandom doesn't feel like anything particular to me, that I could trace to the language. Sure, you can ponder the pervasiveness of English on the internet and the relative dominance of English language pop culture, and what it means for language diversity and power in international fandom, but in the end having a lingua franca is a practical thing, even if it is not a neutral thing. I like German, and I don't think English sounds cooler or some nonsense, but I'm pragmatic about reaching fannish audiences, English is more common than German, and I speak it well enough to make communicating in it not a hardship. So English it is.

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drawbles for the character roulette meme
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Compared to last time I did this, only a few people wanted to play (I guess I should look for memes not requiring any audience participation instead), but doing drawbles again was fun. It's been too long.

Anyway, my character list was:the listCollapse )

for isagelCollapse )

for lilacsigilCollapse )

for reginagiraffeCollapse )

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character roulette meme, fanart version
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There haven't been many prompts for the talking meme, so I decided to drag out another meme: Character Roulette, but of course I do this with drawbles not comment ficlets.

You probably know how it works: I have a secret list of fifteen characters, then commenters suggest a scenario with the numbers, and I respond with what I think would happen, but as quick doodle.

But please keep in mind when prompting me that in this instance the response is supposed to be possible in a picture. Last time I did this results were mixed, because some prompts were hard to doodle, but it was also cracktastic fun.

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talking meme: fanart process
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[personal profile] tassosss asked: "Do you have a process for how you approach your fanart? Certain things you do first? How you work with ideas?"

(Also, please, if you have a question or prompt for me in the January Talking Meme, you can comment here. Most remaining dates are still open.)

I have an art process tag for posts with in progress stages of several fanart pieces, so there you can see some of the specific details.

In more general terms, I think the central thing about my approach to fanart is that I'm lazy, that is I experience a great deal of inertia before doing anything, and also I have real trouble to self-motivate, which is very bad for something that only truly thrives with practice like drawing/painting. So the problem is that I know in my head that I would need to draw a lot more to gain the ability to draw and paint the kind of thing I would like to produce, but that that would take a lot of effort.

And I don't have any real inner urges to draw or anything like that, which is why last year and the year before I only managed any fanart for exchanges. And it is not that I have a bunch of drawer scribbles or unfinished WIPs or drew non-fanart stuff. I did not draw at all otherwise.

I often have ideas for things that would be cool to draw or paint as I engage in fandom, whether with the source or with other fanworks. These sometimes are a conversational impulse, and that usually results in an uncomplicated doodle that I don't refine further and that takes only a very short time, because the point is just the reaction, or someone said something funny and I want to sketch it or such. Examples for that are this cracky doodle I did for one of Beth H's stories or this reaction to a posted chat transcript.

Far more often I have ambitious ideas for awesome art, both in reaction to canon and illustration ideas for fanfic, or sometimes just daydreaming cool scenarios with characters. Those ideas usually die, because they would be hard to realize and I can never make it look like in my head anyway etc. Sometimes I put them in my "fanart ideas" textfile and then they die.

Looking at that file right now, there are about two dozen fanart ideas I felt strongly enough to make a note about, and then I never did anything further, though in one SGA case I actually started some pencil sketches and intended that to be a reversebang piece where I had signed up, but RL stuff happened and I had to drop out, and then I became less interested in SGA soon after, so that got abandoned even though I had some scribbles. Usually once I start to invest some time into a piece I then bring it at least to a point to show, because one thing I loathe more than making an effort is wasting it, and not have anything to show for the time I spent. Though larger projects can be abandoned in the middle, like I did an SGA/ATLA fusion with Teyla as Waterbender, and in my head I had a full set for the team with John as Airbender, Rodney as Earthbender and Ronon as Firebender. Obviously the last three never materialized, because sadly we still don't have the brain-interfaces to make images happen as you think them.

My fanart ideas are often scenes of fanfic that stuck with me as I read them, same with written canon sources, and then I make a note of the scene with a link to the fic in case of online fanfic. For example while reading the Dresden Files, I found numerous scenes compelling to imagine in my head, so I made notes in that file like "Dresden and Michael at Union station, the hobs (baboon monsters) surrounding them visible in light of the newly drawn sword. (from Small Favor, p 185/186)" or "Dresden in church, standing in shadow (from Proven Guilty)" and such. Of course none of these compelled me enough to actually overcome inertia, but that's how I jot down ideas.

Same when I read fanfic, for example one that I eventually painted was the illustration for [personal profile] basingstoke's Unalienable (I did a process post about that here), and that started as a note "X-Men/HL xover illustration for basingstoke, Methos with mutant baby" with a link to the story.

Sometimes I have ideas for scenes or scenarios that are not illustrations for something existing, but ideas for something I'd like to see. Those are often AU or worldbuilding ideas, because my imagination runs in the worldbuilding direction rather than imagining plots for characters I like. Examples for this from my fanart idea file are (translated from German, my notes file is bilingual): "AU: Erik as Celtic druid (romano-celtic Britain, power over metal seen as magic? Charles as upper class Roman?)" or "X-Men AU, Erik & Charles meet in the Spanish Civil War in the international brigades".

So those are pretty vague ideas. The next step is that I look around for images for further inspiration and ideas, like for example I googled for images of the international brigades and the Spanish Civil War for potential ideas of what I might draw to visualize that AU idea. So in this case I ended up with a folder of mixed historical pictures on my hard disk, from propaganda posters to group photos, but nothing really grabbed me, so thus far it hasn't gone any further.

If I have a specific scene in mind I look for references I could use for my picture and collect all sorts of stuff. With elaborate scenes I sometimes do thumbnails and such for composition, later on sometimes studies of bits (like a hand pose or such) and then I sort of try to assemble it into my first pencils. It's sort of like using photoshop layers but in traditional media, i.e. I often do things on transparent paper and move them around, and use my self-made light box too.

If I was lucky enough that the reference matches closely what I want in the scene, I sometimes even trace it in that step to get the posture right (see the whole lazy part above), though it usually morphs from that later on. As side note: I know tracing is contentious (much more than even photo reference which some life drawing proponents don't like either), and it just doesn't work for faces, as anyone who traced a face hoping to end up with a reliable character likeness will have noticed (because unfortunately humans don't really have lines, and to get likeness you need to either faithfully copy all shades or actively do some abstraction towards cartooning, mere "edge detection" won't do it for our finely tuned face recognition). But if you want to draw, say, a human jump, and have found a picture of such a jump from the perspective you want showing a human of roughly the right body type matching your character, and you trace where the arms and legs go that works well enough to have something in your draft quickly. Of course to not end up with some kind of Franken-drawing of mismatching parts, you have to watch that whatever you traced at some point will coalesce with the rest, i.e. the morphing I mentioned above, same as you do any time you reference things in bits and need to make them fit.

Anyway, looking at pictures on the internet (for backgrounds, actions, costume, character likeness, even just moods) is a big part of clarifying an idea for me, and usually at that point also my vague ambitions of gloriously complicated, epic scenes get broken into something that I might be able to draw in some way at least. Naturally at this point once again many fanart ideas stall.

But if I arrive at something workable I eventually assemble the parts into a whole, this process post about my Star Trek reversebang piece goes into the details, and is an example of the most effort I go to. Often I do less.

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HabitRPG
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I saw HabitRPG linked on Tumblr, and decided to give it a try. Basically it allows you to keep a task list (with the option of daily/scheduled activities, habits you want to form/break and one-off to-do list items you can check off), and then you earn or loose points (and various gimmicky extras I haven't explored yet) depending on how well you are doing like in a game.

Is anyone else using this? I decided to see whether it might motivate me better for the things you are supposed to do regularly to not have your space slide into squalor. In a fit of ambition I also added some like "draw something" that I manage even less well, because unlike a giant pile of neglected dishes, unaccomplished drawing doesn't build up its own pressure eventually. I also added some chores and stuff I already manage decently for the most part, so my avatar won't die right away from not getting any points at all.

One thing I already find not very practical is that with the "dailies" (which is the only category that also penalizes you if you don't manage them), you can't seem to make them just weekly, without setting specific days. There are many cleaning tasks that I'd ideally accomplish once a week but not every day, and I don't want to have to do them every Tuesday or Saturday or whatever. So for now I put these in the "habit" column.

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talking meme: first fandoms
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[personal profile] astridv gave me the prompt "First online fandom, and first fandom overall (in case those are different replies.)"

(BTW, if you want to ask me a question or prompt me for the January Talking Meme, you can comment here. Most dates are still open.)

I have always been a fan. I've been collecting comics even before I could properly read, and I can't remember a time before I self-identified as a fan. And I don't mean that I did fannish things and had fannish feelings while not aware of fandom, but I always knew that there were other fans like me.

My biggest early comic love were definitely Disney comics, in particular the Duckburgh ones, but I've always read and collected other comics too, like Yps, and a bit later I started reading Spirou and Tintin and all kinds of Franco-belgian ones, which my sister collected too, so once I was old enough not to destroy her stuff, I was allowed to borrow those, and of course I read comics from the library too. Though I soon bought my own copies, even if I had read them elsewhere, because collecting comics as physical objects has always been something I loved.

So well before I found internet fandom I was in offline comic fandom. I regularly went to comic stores and collector meetings, attended comic cons, bought zines, read books about drawing comics and comic history, went to open university lectures about comics, and drew comics and cartoons myself. I still have the comics I did in fifth grade. They aren't very good of course, but I was never a "drawer production" person, so I was showing these to my friends. Unfortunately even then I had trouble coming up with interesting stories. Worldbuilding I could do, but not plot. The results were best when I could collaborate with someone, so I did comics together with my older sister and with classmates, but it was hard to find someone wanting to write comics, have it be the kind of comics I'd want to draw and also have them happy with my drawings. I even met with other local teenage comic fans in a comic drawing workshop, but the others there were also into the art mostly, so that wasn't for collaboration. Also quite hilarious in retrospect, this comic drawing group for teenagers was actually some sort of thinly disguised city social work for drug and gang prevention, I think. Only at the time I didn't realize that I probably wasn't the target audience.

I mean, I was of course in the sense that I was a teenager and wanted to become better at drawing comics, and I had seen this offer advertised at the central public library, and went because it was a free comic drawing group. However, the group leaders were an artist together with some sort of youth social worker, and we always met in these youth centers in slightly dodgy places, first some mildly dilapidated building near the central station, then in some sort of anti-drug youth project thing, where I (as sheltered comfortably middle class girl) would have never gone otherwise. I was somewhat out of place, one of the few girls and among the youngest too, but it was quite fun, I learned a lot, and we did a fanzine together and had an exhibition at a local comic con (though I'm still disgruntled that I never got my original art back from that).

That was the only comic fanzine I've had my comics published in, though I also had my comics as serial in our school paper, and did some cartoons for that too.

The first times I ever used the internet were also because of comic fandom. I think it was in 1993 or 1994. My older sister had access through the university, and had told me about this, and I wanted to find what fan resources there were. So I visited her, and browsed newsgroups and FTP sites with FAQs about comics, using Lynx and Mosaic and Gopher for searching, and then printed the pages for reading at home. I still have a folder around somewhere with a stack of these printouts, I think.

But accessing the internet that way is rather inconvenient, so I didn't get to participate in online fandom yet. When my brother got a Compuserve account, I also visited him to use that, and I tried joining a due South mailing list, but the list traffic flooded his mailbox capacity, and it turned out to be totally impossible. But as you can see I was kind of trying to join online fandom before I was online, so as soon as I had personal internet access, even if it was dialup and cost me per minute, I was in online fandom. That was late 1997, iirc, and by then there were already many web sites and lists and lots of infrastructure besides newsgroups.

My first real online fandom was The Sentinel. As usual episodes aired here were much behind the schedule in the US and initially I just wanted to find an episode guide to see whether it was continued in the US, and I found Nightowl's Nest, and found much more than just an episode guide. I read my first fanfic then, and promptly wrote a squeeful email to the author how awesome it was to have found fanfic and their story (it was probably odd, I never heard anything back, and unfortunately a hard disk calamity destroyed my carefully hoarded early emails, so I can't reread it now with hindsight to check how it comes across). But as you can see I wasn't shy, and not even everything being in English could deter me (it certainly increased my English language practice a lot).

So soon after I joined my first mailing list (Senfic), didn't bother much with lurking there either, but started to participate in discussions. Of course I was reading lots of fanfic once I had found it, only gen at first, mostly because I was confused by all the slash warnings, assuming they were for violence (as in "slasher movies") rather than sexual content, though I couldn't quite put together why TS of all things would inspire so much gore, but that didn't misunderstanding didn't last long.

As far as online participation goes I was almost a monofan for my first years in online fandom, though I did read X-Files and Star Wars and some other fandoms too. I wasn't drawing fanart, because it never really occurred to me that I could. It wasn't a very fanart friendly environment. Part of it was technical, with it being on mailing lists and bandwidth issues on archives, but the bigger part was that there was little diversity in styles, and it didn't seem like fanart was welcome. What little fanart there was, were mostly just collage type photomanips (often not very good ones either, so I didn't like what I saw of that art form) and the few illustrations were all aiming for a very photo-realist style, which is not anything close to what I draw like. I know now that even at the time there had been other fanart styles around for tv fandoms, but I didn't know that then. Very few artists showed anything online, and zines were expensive, so I only ever ordered a couple, and even those often did not have any illustrations at all.

Anyway, I thought to be accepted as fanart in live action fandoms art had to try for photorealism. So at that time I didn't even realize that anyone might be interested in the kind of fanart I could do.

For full disclosure of my firsts in fandom, eventually there was a Sentinel fanfic for which I couldn't resist drawing an illustration, but the result was really quite bad. I was too embarrassed to attach my internet identity to that, and incidentally was also for a story I did not want to admit to have liked under my regular pseud either. These days I'm much less embarrassed about my kinks. Of course like I said above, drawer works are not my thing, so I actually posted my first piece of fanart as a sockpuppet (in a way similar to daring to post in anon kink memes first these days). The author didn't react at all though to getting my illustration for her story, so that rather confirmed my impression that fanart wasn't wanted.

Sentinel fandom quieting down coincided with the shift towards LJ, and I became more actively multi-fannish there, and I got drawn into DC fandom (against all my expectations, I never thought I'd like superhero comics in my first decades of comic fandom). Unlike the live action fandoms I was in, it seemed less daunting to draw comic characters than to have to try for a realist style, and there was more encouragement for it too, and with LJ it was easier to post pictures. So I posted my first proper fanart only after being in online fandom for over five years already.

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fanart, Steampunk Maria Hill/Steve Rogers
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ratcreature
I linked my [community profile] yuletart artwork here before, because the exchange wasn't anon, but hadn't reposted while the exchange was still running. It's now over, and I'm putting it here too, to keep it together properly with the other fanart.

Fandom: Avengers (Marvel Cinematic Universe)
Characters/Pairings: Maria Hill/Steve Rogers
Media used: indian ink on paper
Rating/warnings: G, none
Notes/comments: I made this for the [community profile] yuletart 2013 gift exchange for Tielan, originally posted here. For Captain America's AU outfit I referenced bits from Ryan Meinerding's First Avenger concept art and an American WWI uniform, rather than trying to come up with a Steampunk superhero costume for Steve or dressing him into something more Victorian. I couldn't quite see him as a gentleman adventurer or such.

Please do not distribute my art without my permission, i.e. do not upload my art to other sites, services, archives, or wikis. That includes uploading the images themselves to your own Tumblr, even with credit.

Preview: preview of Steampunk Maria Hill/Steve Rogers
the image is behind the cutCollapse )

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talking meme: favorite fandoms
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ratcreature
[personal profile] madripoor_rose prompted with "favorite fandoms" and then clarified that she meant favorite sources rather than my favorites as far as fandom experience goes.

So the latter would actually be easier because I could just point to the largest, most active fandoms I've been in which I tend to find the most fun.

Anyway, favorite fandom sources. This is tricky, it starts with the question of what turns a source into "being a fandom" for me? I think for something to really feel as a fandom for me it has to occupy my thoughts in some prolonged way. However, unlike many other fans I don't usually rewatch or reread media, even if I enjoyed them a lot. Movies I usually watch once in the theater and then maybe once on DVD with the extras or such, same for tv -- even The Sentinel which was my main fandom for many years and for which I eventually acquired copied VHS tapes to watch it undubbed in the time before high speed internet sharing, I pretty much only watched most of the episodes once in the original. With few exceptions (mainly LOTR which I reread multiple times mostly as teenager) I don't reread books at all, e.g. I love HP, have read a ton of fanfic, but have only read the books once each, etc.

So the source on its own almost never occupies enough time for me to turn it into a real fandom feeling (unless there is a *lot* of source). That feeling usually only happens as synergy with other fans present who talk about the source, analyze it, do art, write fanfic etc. so that those conversations and works recall the source and cause me to think about it again and again. In cases where I love the source but that is absent, because I'm not in sufficient contact with fellow fans, I still may think about it in a fannish way, post some meta and fanart, but it is not sustainable. Like for example I like Animal Man, have written some meta, drawn some fanart, but I can't honestly say it is a real fandom for me. It could be, if Animal Man ever got really popular.

Similarly I would love for Rivers of London to become a real fandom for me, because I love the books and their world, the characters are great, and I enjoyed the fanfic I have read and wish there was more, but it is just not a daily occupant in my head.

As far as all time favorite sources for which that requirement is (or has been) true, Duckburgh comics, especially those by Carl Barks but some other creator's too, are high up there. They were my first fandom when I was a little kid, and I still love them decades later. I am still in a fanclub for them, I love both Watsonian meta about the Ducks and their world, and Doylist behind the scenes articles and comic indexes (I have piles of zines and several books); they are the single biggest influence on my art, and I adore the characters, even though I don't currently collect and read a lot.

Tolkien would be another longterm beloved fandom, mainly Lord of the Rings, though I did like getting the background from the Silmarillion and from the fragments of his writing too. I love the world building, and I come back to that again and again. I mean, I never really give up on fandoms, so if I see a new fanwork I remain interested, but LOTR is one of the cases where the source is rich enough that I need less fandom input, though I like Tolkien fanworks too.

As for current favorites right now, that would be the MCU/Avengers, because I like all the characters as heroes well enough and it provides enough fanworks I enjoy for a steady stream of things to engage with, though I actually haven't even watched all the movies (like I haven't watched Iron Man 2). I expect the X-Men to occupy more of my time again once the next movie comes out this year.

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talking meme: my avatar
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ratcreature
[personal profile] kass prompted: "Would you talk about how you created your Ratcreature avatar (did it evolve into the current recognizable form, or have you always drawn it this way?) and what do you enjoy about having a customizable avatar of yourself?

This is going to be a bit rambly, because the origins of my avatar are something of a confluence of things.

I got my LJ in September 2002, and at that time I already had chosen "RatCreature" as my pseud for my website and generally for posting in places that were indexed by search engines, though I had used my first name on mailing lists earlier. On my website I had initially a color-shifted picture of a rat as image to go with the pseud, but that wasn't very fannish or personal and I wasn't invested in that. Icons were an important marker to recognize people, so I wanted mine to be unique and recognizable (I didn't really think I needed more than one initially, little did I know, heh), and a picture of a pet didn't fit that. Also at that particular time I didn't actually keep rats, though I had before.

Of course many fans chose pictures of their favorite characters/actors and such, but I wasn't comfortable to represent myself through photos of other people or objects or something like that, I wanted my icon to be *me* and completely mine not just a rat, but I also didn't want to use a photo of my face, in part because my LJ was for my fannish pseud not about RL. On blogs and on LJ as well many artists choose a drawn self-portrait as avatar, so I decided to do that, even though back in 2002 I hadn't drawn any fanart. There was much less fanart then, and all the art I've seen for the online media fandoms I'd been in had been very realistic art, so not suited to my style or abilities at all.

But I had drawn goofy cartoons a lot in school when I was bored in lessons, which teachers generally tolerated because I wasn't disruptive and could still follow the material and participate even while getting a lot of drawing done. Being lazy by nature I appreciated that I could get good grades without much effort and had strongly resisted any suggestions that I ought to skip grades, and I liked my classmates too for the most part, so I got a lot of doodling done. Anyway, the things I doodled were mostly funny creatures with big noses, initially just with feet and no arms, and some had trunks like these in this very old drawing. I've also always loved anthropomorphic animals, and comics with them. Not quite a furry inclination (I've never been into cosplay), but the Mary Sue self insertion characters in my early teenage fantasies looked like this.

So I generally didn't draw cartoon humans, but anthropomorphic animals and odd creatures in my cartoons. By the time I was finishing high school I regular drew creatures that looked quite similar to my avatar to represent humans, not just me but humans in general, in cartoons for our school paper and such. So naturally in our end of high school yearbook ("Abizeitung") on which committee I was (and suffered much frustration) on my personal page I drew myself like that, rather than as a cartoony human resembling me.

Anyway, when I needed a default image for LJ a few years later I thought back to that, and pretty much took the image from the second panel from the old personal page above, removed the braid, because in 2002 my hair was short and I wasn't wearing a braid like in high school, and made it smile, but I didn't really start drawing RatCreature icons just yet, I had just modified that one picture.

So I had my first icon, and it was good as default, but of course fans did a lot of things with icons on LJ in 2002/2003, There were icon memes and icon makers doing certain themes and such, and being as much of lemming as the next fan, I wanted to participate and have icons like the other fans had, but I still wanted my icons to be unique and immediately recognizable. You can see how that is something of a problem.

One of the prominent icon things at that time that many people had were [personal profile] lanning's "zen fen", with calm pictures and such. I wanted one, but still didn't want to represent myself by an object, like a pond or a zen garden. Also, in kerfluffles I'm not actually very zen (then even lessthan now), so I thought it would be funny make mine a little different, and in February 2003 I drew my zen...or not icon. You notice how the angry posture is pretty much copied from the typical Donald Duck outburst, a scan of which you can also see on my personal high school page. I think I've gotten smoother drawing my avatar with practice since then.

That sort of broke a dam, because the same month I made my first fandom themed avatar, Batman!RatCreature, because I was very much into Batman comic fandom then, and posting about that, and it seemed easy to dress up my avatar with a Batman costume, to have a fandom icon and still a recognizable image that would be me. Sort of like virtual cosplay. Free LJs had three icon slots back then, iirc, and in the Batman GIP post I said "BTW, were I using this LJ and not my blog as main journal, and thus paid for a LJ and had more icons, I would have more different moods and actions with my cartoon personality." (I had started a blog on my own website earlier and was still posting there and on LJ).

Of course with other fans being awesome and enabling, I was promptly gifted with some paid account time, and drew Happy!RatCreature as a celebratory response the same day, and the next day followed Spiderman, Superman, and a tv watching RatCreature, and that has expanded to now 136 icons.

What I still really like about my decision to stick with my avatar in variations as icons, is that all of my icons are recognizable as "me" regardless of their topic or fandom, once you are familiar with their basic "premise", even if you haven't seen that particular icon before. I like that my picture can always be me yet still be flexible and express my mood, so I don't have to be a Sad Panda one day and a Grumpy Cat the next in my images, but I am sad RatCreature and a grumpy RatCreature etc. It does take a little more effort to make new icons and to adapt icon memes and such to my theme, so that can be a bit frustrating at times, but it can also be really fun, and it has been inspiring me to draw. I'm not sure I would have started to draw anything in fandom without first venturing into fannish drawing through these doodles where I couldn't really do anything "wrong" or not get characters right or anything like that, because it is just my avatar.

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that talking meme
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ratcreature
Many people have been doing this in December, and it looks like fun, so in an effort to post something besides f-locked, boring whining about my latest cold, I've decided to try this in January. Slightly late, but there is still plenty of January left to pick days from if you'd like to suggest a topic to, so:

Pick a date below and give me a topic and I'll talk about it (though I'll reserve the right to decline prompts).

list of daysCollapse )

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2013 art roundup
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My output this year is barely worth summarizing as I don't even need one full hand to count, but I've indexed every year since 2006.

This year there was only one piece of art, two drawbles/doodles, one icon and eight months entirely without art, compared to 2012's three pieces of art, nine drawbles/doodles, no icons and nine months entirely without art. 2011 it was six pieces of art, 36 drawbles/doodles, seven icons, and three months entirely without art. Not a good trend. Well, maybe 2014 will be better.

January
a fashion meme drawble (XMFC)

February
a doodle for Beth H's Third Time's...the Charm? (Avengers)

March-October
Nothing :(

November
an Iron Man ratcreature icon

December
Steampunk Maria Hill/Steve Rogers (Avengers), my Yuletart drawing

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self-promotion...
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ratcreature
The [community profile] yuletart artwork I made for [personal profile] tielan has just been posted to the comm here, and since the exchange is non-anon, I can link right away. So take a look. (It's Maria Hill/Steve Rogers in a Steampunk AU, SFW.)

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finished the inking
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Now I only need to think of a title before I can submit the art. Why do they want a title?

*blank mind*

Argh.

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