|Full Body||Black & White||Plus One||No Eyes||Upside Down|
|5 Category |PURPLE RAIN|
|Cat 1||Cat 2||Cat 3||Cat 4||Cat 5|
|5 Artist's Choice|
|AC 1||AC 2||AC 3||AC 4||AC 5|
|Center Text||Party||Shadowed Profile||Personification||Plain Background|
|Bright Yellow||Dream||Flower Texture||Touch of Color||Fiery|
|5 Category |TELL YOUR STORY ICONING|
|1.The Beginning||2.Conflict||3.Climax||4.Resolution||5.The End|
|5 Artist's Choice|
|AC 1||AC 2||AC 3||AC 4||AC 5|
And some of the stuff about computers and the internet turned out to be rather uncomfortably true.
1 - 7
2) It has to be better than last year?
3) Let's hope it doesn't suck.
On the other hand: Viola Davis is looking F-A-B-U-L-O-U-S on the cover of InStyle Magazine. It had this cover by Jan Welters at the doctor's office instead of the newstand version; and it looks more like the cover of Vogue circa 1977 than InStyle. I normally wouldn't line the bottom of a birdcage with that rag, but DAMN, that photoshoot. That woman.
Speaking of icontests:
* whedon_elite: Icons for Challenge 135, "Red Hair" are due Sunday, January 24th by 3 pm EST. Make sure to scroll down the page and check out
the fabulous entries already submitted by harlequinss_s, teragramm, all_malocks, dixon, emmatheslayer and sweet_lyri. And I do mean "fabulous"; everybody's brought their A-game. At least in this little corner of the world 2016 is off to a roaring start.
* slayerstillness: Challenge 61, "Reach Out and Touch Somebody" open for entries now through Friday Jan 29 midnight at your time zone.
* btvsats20in20: Voting is open for Round 15 NOW through Friday January 22nd. Be sure to cast your votes for THEMES, CATEGORY, and ARTIST'S CHOICE.
Make sure to click ALL the buttons before you're done, and if you have any questions, don't be afraid to ask the mods. There are about -19-20 votes cast right now which is super but more would be great! I don't think we've ever hit at least 30 votes in a given round but I always think "ok this is the round..." (Back to the Optimist vs Realist conundrum and in my heart I always want the Optimist to win out.)
And because you've made it this far here are some lovely parting gifts: alts and extras from Round 15 plus new alts/ extras from Round 13. I also have a thinky thought or two along the way:
1 - 3
4 - 7
Crossovers with the movie "Possession" starring SMG.
Round 15: (Buffy-heavy at first. Of course. This is me, this is my brain on the Buffyverse.)
8 - 14
After I cleaned the cap up I finally saw that the picture on locker behind Buffy is vintage comic book art, possibly a blow-/print of a Roy Lichtenstein piece, with the SDHS "Razorbacks" pennant covering the eyes of a pretty blonde woman in the picture. Meta commentary on the storyline or just an inside joke? The fact that we see Cordy blindfolded later and no one can "see" Marcy Ross suggests either reading is possible. It seems to coincidental to be a, well, a coincidence.
35 - 40
41 - 45
The flashbacks in the episode look great as screencaps but they're hard to work with; they're overlit as opposed to the rest of the early seasons material, which tends to be underlit.
46 - 49
But it's the second association that bothers me. Our culture has a nearly long history of excluding black characters and actors from science fiction, horror and fantasy in literature, film and tv, except as background filler or literal "space aliens", demons and monsters. People of color as people just did not exist, with count-on-one-hand exceptions.
This may be changing now, I guess - slowly - but this is the reality I grew up with and "it's starting to get better" (by whatever yardstick you want to measure "better") doesn't undo decades of absence. So it just makes me uncomfortable, even if I don't "mean anything by it", I'd rather not go in that direction.**
~ Icons with blank space can be personalized upon request, they are not "bases". If you wish to personalize because you have PS and more font or fx options
than I do, by all means ask.
This was my "last hurrah" of 2015 (Good-bye old year, I won't miss you. At all.) and my first hurrah of 2016, for btvsats20in20 Round 15.
Plus a special treat for the Giles/Angel shippers in the house! (Anyone?)
|Close Crop||Red + White||Pastel||Surprise||B&W + Quote|
|Provided Texture||Green||Hair||Light Texture||Peaceful|
|5 Category |SILVER & GOLD|
|Cat 1||Cat 2||Cat 3||Cat 4||Cat 5|
|5 Artist's Choice|
|AC 1||AC 2||AC 3||AC 4||AC 5|
For the first time ever, I attempted "slashy" Giles/Angle icons. Actually, this would be my first ever m/m slash-y* icons, period. I'm surprised that Giles/Angel isn't more of a "thing". Somewhere in the world I am sure there's a website filled with G/A fic of the two of them screwing each other senseless, but I haven't come across it. Not that I want to, tbh. (This may be a sign of the End of Days. Remember to pack a toothbrush.)
Enjoy - I think?
1 - 6
7 - 11
12 - 13
* I actually hate the words "slash" and "femmeslash". I know where they originate in this context but I think it's time to retire them. And yet, saying "my first gay male icons" doesn't quite sound right either.
Beta: The erudite, eloquent, extraordinary and irreplaceable velvetwhip.
ETA:*Orange and Cat5 (Angel!Pig) reserved for Gabrielle and are NOT snaggable. Sorry.
|5 Category |WHITE DECORATION|
|Cat 1||Cat 2||Cat 3||Cat 4||Cat 5*|
|5 Artist's Choice|
|AC 1**||AC 2***||AC 3||AC 4||AC 5|
1 - 6
7 - 13
14 - 18
19 - 23
I'd love to do this episode another round because there is SO much going on in this episode and so much fantastic imagery that I can't begin to cover it with one round. OTOH, I forgot how CREEPY this episode is, and how emotionally harrowing. REALLY creepy.
I tried as much as possible to emphasize the "victims" here, rather than the perpetrators; but also show how the victims fight back and resist victimization in their own ways. The moment depicting in the Truth icon when she sees through Hyena!Xander's facade ("Now I know") is one of my favorite Moments of Willow Badassery (TM). I remembered that Bob Flutie died terrified, eaten alive; I'd forgotten that before that he chased the pack down in a genuine rage because they killed the school mascot, and dragged them into his office, determined to put a stop to their rein of terror. Buffy manages to fight off Hyena!Xander if just barely escaping being raped or worse; then quips about it to Willow afterwards:
"He tried his hand at felony sexual assault...it's safe to say that in his animal state his idea of wooing doesn't involve a Yanni CD and a bottle of Chianti."
On a side note: it's interesting that in the episode that focuses on hierarchies and bullying in high school, Cordelia and the Cordettes are nowhere to be found. It's interesting to consider where she would have fallen on the food chain if she'd been in the episode. Was Charisma Carpenter unavailable the week they filmed that episode?
* Gabrielle has first dibs on the Orange and Cat5 (Angel!Pig) icons;
But all other are entirely snaggable or make suitable gifts *lol*. Please give proper credit and do not claim as your own; do not post to other websites or archives without asking first. Comments and feedback are always appreciated!
** Crossover, AC1, Alts 20 - 23: Possession starring Sarah-Michelle Gellar as a woman whose brother-in-law body may or may not contain the soul of her comatose husband after both brothers are involved in a car accident. Think a cut-rate version of Jonathan Glazier's flawed masterpiece, Birth (2003).
***Crossover, AC2: Scream2 featuring SMG in a small role as the trope Buffy is meant to subvert: the helpless blond girl in the alley (or in this case, sorority house). Watching "Buffy" crying and begging for her life while being chased by a psychopathic killer is surprisingly unpleasant, btw. (Just saying.)
Thank you again to everyone who voted for my icons in Round 10 of btvsats20in20! My banners, a bit belatedly, with many thanks to
my wonderful betas tempertemper and velvetwhip for their thoughtful and generous feedback on both the banners and the icons:
As with the banners I made for the last round of slayerstillness, the base image is a photograph I took of daylilies at a local bank while waiting in line at the drive-through. I originally was going to do a fancier image with light effects and literally "gild the lily", until I came to my senses and realized simple was best. I love the summertime feel of the image, and how the colors coordinate suprisingly well with so many of the icons.
It should be noted that I all but threw multiple alts of the Faith and Joyce icons in velvetwhip's lap and she, being the superb Muse that she is, singled out the versions I submitted. Take a look (NWS warning for one tiny icon of Darla's cleavage)
I loved making the Faith and Dru icons this round - they were so much fun to make. (Admitedly, I have a weird sense of "fun".)
1 - 7
Speaking of winning icons and banners, congratulations to the winners of whedon_elite Challenge 122 "Bright and Shiny" : teragramm, sweet_lyri and double_dutchess in her
Full set after the cut!
Kudos to: My extraordinary and marvelous Beta-Muse, velvetwhip. WIthout whom this set would not exist, or at least be half as strong.
Special thanks to: starry_night for extending the deadline for me and being so incredibly patient.
|Tara/Power||Oz/Solid Background||Angel/Lyrics||Cordelia/Blue||Spike/Negative Space|
But in the meantime do check out the wonderful entries from sweet_lyri (The Prom), halliwell (Spike), and dark_x_huntress (Faith). Yes, this is a smallish grouping this time. Or, since the sign-ups truly are open the ENTIRE round, you could be all show-offy and smart-alecky and show up with a set of 20 you did literally overnight. I know there's someone out there who can pull that off.
"Helpless" banner (Giles, Buffy) by yours truly; click to view full-size.
My entries for slayerstillness Challenge 43, "Helpless": Thank you again to everyone who participated either as artist or voter!
1 - 5
Awards Banners for me from tempertemper: I know I posted these before but they're too magnificent not to show off again (click for full-size):
Icons are snaggable; banners are not - obviously.
My entries for whedon_elite Challenge 116 "Springtime" :
6 - 9
1) This icon's title could be "Feel the Fear but do it anyway" . One of my personal favorites of this set. The texture looks like some sort of writing (but isn't) so there's a mystery to it, and I think the focus on her expression as it emerges from the shadows is really strong. I originally added text to it (#14) but my wise Muse thought it stronger without and she was right. #26 is the "base" image without the last texture layer.
2) I didn't notice until after I made it that there's a slick of red blood on the underside of her hand. It's very un-showy and subtle compared to #1. Buffy has been through a horrific experience and she's trying to tamp down her emotions when by rights I wouldn't blame her if she burned the joint down and walked away. She endures an awful lot of trauma and keeps marching, keeps forgiving and keeps fighting. Her expression is so poignant and all praise to Sarah for her marvelous performance.
3) I actually freaked myself out with this one and it's companions 20 - 22. BtVS' template was partly rooted in horror movies and Helpless is one of the most overtly horrifying episodes of the series, hence my borrowing of the phrase from the episode Hush. This icon highlights that but also the ways that the series fails in it's "feminism". Again, see velvetwhip's fic Answering Prayers (aka "the best fic you're not reading right now but should.") Technically, I like the smoothness of this icon and the look of a handtinted photograph but I suspect it works better without the text (alt 22).
4) Winner, 3rd Place and Most Creative: Buffy's profile in the abandoned hotel as she looks around at the walls covered with polaroid images of Joyce was the single image I spent the most time with, alone and in combinations with other characters, the emphasize their interconnectedness: the top banner, entry 4, alts 10 - 13, & 16 - 21. (I have a thing for Sarah's oddly timeless profile.) I intended to enter 11 or 12 and changed my mind at the last minute. I'm pleased with the clarity of the smaller image of Buffy, which is hard for me to achieve, and I really like how the library books and the polaroids echo each other. I think that unifying element of pattern-making helped put this icon over the edge for me over the other variants.
5) Winner, First Place: My first first-place win at slayerstillness and I hope I'm not sounding arrogant in repeating that but it makes me all kinds of happy, and thank you to everyone who voted for it! I also mentioned in my prior post that the inspiration for this icon was entirely clockwork_hart1's recent Buffy icons that combined soft color and light effects with shots of Buffy in motion. This icon isn't as blurred as her's; I ended up sharpening the features of her face a bit to contrast with the whirl of hair. #23 is the more "naturalistic" version without the colored light leak effect; usually I go for subdued colors but Lucy's example inspired me to push the color. I'm surprised how well the icon turned out, given the darkness of the cap. There's the irony of the prettiness of it, of the "hairporn" and the direness of the situation, of Buffy's fear and desperation in that moment.
6) My personal favorite of my WE set; I wanted a Wiffy Helpless cap but couldn't get it to my satisfaction, see #32 below. I like the chalky flatness of 32 but I the clarity and sharpness aren't the best so I went with the closer crop. As the theme of the round was springtime and I already had the flowers in #10 - 12 it seemed appropriate to hv
8) I finally made a Cordy icon! See also 34 below. Not a lot to say about it, except that I was inspired by kwritten's beautiful work especially her recent The Freshman Category set when I made this one and # 9. I'm not Cordy's nor Charisma Carpenter's biggest fan by any means; but that moment is one of Cordy's finest in BtVS; when a distraught Buffy asks for a ride home and her reply is "Sure". No questions asked. (Has anyone ever written fanfiction about that car ride home? Has anyone ever speculated on what might have been said - or not?)
9) Winner, Mod's Choice. I wanted to play with this image because of the unusual cropping (that's the way Sarah's face is cropped in the screencap, as Buffy talks to Angel); I really didn't expect this to be the favorite of voters among my WE entries but thank you for the votes and feedback! I worried that it would come off as "she slapped on a texture and called it a day" so I'm glad it doesn't come across like that.
Alts and extras:
I call # 13 "The Needle and the Cross". I don't any of these need further explanation. I like the snarkiness of #15 but also the way the text actually looks as if it's part of Giles' sleeve. If this is "a father's love" then somebody call Social Services. No wonder the poor girl has relationship issues.
16 - 19
20 - 26
27 - 31
My alts for whedon_elite Challenge 116:
32 - 36
** A reminder from dragonydreams that the deadline for entries in otherworldlyric challenge 172 is midnight Friday May 23 and that she could still use some more entries in that challenge. I'm sort of surprised because I thought people would be all over the prompt song this time, until I remember that for a lot of folks it's finals time. Thank you eilowyn for reminding me that world still exists. (Now get back to the books, sweetie.) Which means those of us who have reliable computer acces (tiny percentage of the world's population) and are not in college/sick and dying of malaria and malnutrition/hiking in the Andes/performing at Carnegie Hall/fighting in a war of independence from 50 years of oppression need to pick up the slack.
1) 2) 3) 4) 5) 6) 7) 8)
( More icons and other anti-nostalgia ahead )
spike_1790 : Master fic list here. Mostly m/m slash especially Spike/Xander and Spike/Angel but also Spike/Andrew, Spike/Jonathan and even one Spike/Riley. (Why aren't there more fics about that pairing circa S5? Riley making secret trips to Spike's crypt for a little - "guy talk"? About Buffy. Riiiiiight. And I can offer you zero % financing and low monthly payments on this gorgeous bridge in Brooklyn....) "Daises", a character study of Dawn between The Gift and Bargaining won Best Drabble in the 2013 Absence of Light Awards: "Only one thing made her feel guilt. A single theft amongst many."
"Drowning, Not Waving" (Willow, Spike, Buffy, Dawn) spins silk from the sow's ear "Wrecked" and Willow's magic addiction plotline via five drabbles from various perspectives: "Of course she hadn’t intended it to be this way- just a thrill, right? Just a little bit of danger in a boring life. Something to make the pain go away. She hadn’t counted on feeling this connection, this… electricity."
"Dust You Are And to Dust You Shall Return" was originally intended as Spike/Xander and ended with no named characters, which probably increases it's power as an original work: "Our lives may have depended on it. Someone's probably did. We couldn't hear."
Told from Giles' POV, it highlights the pragmatism he wears like a mask to hide his emotions, at terrible cost: "There will be no well-wishers meeting him there, no fond farewells from the children he grew to love and failed to protect. They can no more bear to see him than he can to look at himself." There's no way to read this, or to watch The Gift, and not recall Passion: the way the broken bodies of the two people he's loved most, Jenny and Buffy, are both laid out before him. And it's hard for me to read this and not be aware of the fact that one of Buffy's most important relationships is relatively underexplored in fics compared to "shippy" fics. There's far more Buffy/Giles, as far as I can see, than Buffy & GIles.
It also shines a light on Dawn''s courage; as bone_dry1013 once said to me in reference to her, "Summers blood must be the blood of champions." Forget the silly deus ex machina; "All Set Down" emphasizes the true importance of "Summers' blood". "She straightens, lifts her chin, squares her shoulders, and rivets him in place with her stare.....there is no waver in her voice."
Oh yes PLEASE. I love to draw parallels and comparisons across the buffyverse seasons so bringing together the early seasons, so that aspect alone is catnip. And Ethan? The Ripper backstory? All of it was so underused in the series. Yes, I know, aimed at a teenage audience blah blah....I want this so bad you have no idea. No pressure or anything like that. *shifty eyes*
And yes, I do know children are starving around the world and women have to walk ten miles to get water and I've never been raped and I'm not mutilated or dead so stop whining and be grateful. No, I'm not joking, this stuff really goes through my head. Although when my landlord pulled out the "at least you have a roof over your head" line I wanted to tell him to stuff it.
So I can still light a fire in the Weber grill with wood I've gathered myself and grill a steak or burn documents without hesitation. The fire and smoke don't bother me because I've mastered this activity and it's "under control", safe and contained.
But I'm hyper-aware of fire truck sirens in the streets, and I startled at unfamiliar noises in this new apartment, the slight ones coming perhaps from outside on the stairwell, beneath the floor or through the walls; in fact I'm not sure where they come from most times. I freeze and wait for a second until they pass. Sounds, not sights or smells, seems to be the main sense in which my recent "trauma" (let's just call it PTSD, shall we?) expresses itself. It wasn't the mattress in flames that terrified me, or the smoke filling my eyes; it was the awful sound of my sweetheart's high-pitched, hysterical scream as she tried to fight the fire. Running up the stairs I thought for an awful moment I'd find her engulfed in flames, burning to death.
No one should have to hear that sound, although many people do, and worse. I know.
But written words can have an effect as well. I had to stop reading beer_good_foamy's recent post re: Night Vale when I read this quote from the podcasts: "The world is awful. And on fire. And beautiful." A month ago I would have loved the elegant and evocative language. Now I run away from it because I want to cry. And I am not liking this state of affairs one little bit. Not at all. But there it is. (Note to BGF if you're reading it: don't change the title of your journal on my account, ok? That is NOT what I'm saying at all.)
It is always unpredictable and never within my control. Perhaps that's what is really setting me off lately, and not the triggers themselves. That may explain why I have a hard time lately bearing my partner's moods when she arrives home. She might be exhausted, in pain, angry about work, hyper-focused on some obsession or project that must get done, throw herself into a frenzy of activity or barely be able to move. She's no different in fact than she's ever been but now it feels very heightened to me. The fact that she speaks aloud constantly, says everything she's thinking at every moment she's thinking it, or thinks and obsesses in patterns and circles, is nothing new. The fact that she wants me to "respond" to her, but automatically know when she's talking to me and when she's just thinking aloud isn't new either. We've been together 17 years, she's always been that way.
It used to be irritating, frustrating; now it feels like nails scraping my skin to be in the same room sometimes. And other times, she leans into me and I stroke her soft hair and forget all that for a moment, until the next disagreement and we're off to the races again.
My primary solace, lately, or methods of trying to hold onto "normal" have included being here with my friends on LJ and chatting for hours while ignoring my must-do list and procrastinating like a champ; and carrying a notebook with me everywhere I go so I can write when inspiration strikes - again, always when I'm supposed to be doing something else "more important".
And lately I'm writing Buffyverse fanfic. After announcing a year ago I would NOT write fanfic because 1) my previous efforts in another fandom sucked which 2) made me decide I'm really a non-fiction writer plus 3) there are so many good writers in this fandom that I could never compete or say something really new and therefore, 4) I was going to write meta in this fandom instead of fic.
( I'm writing Buffyverse fanfic. Be very afraid.... )
In other news, my sweetie and I are going to the Cape tomorrow, to Truro, MA just south of Provincetown; she's taking a painting workshop that was planned and paid for back in May. We've been to the Cape just once before on a weekend trip and loved it. ("Off-season" is the way to go on a strip of land that has only one road going in and out.) I don't know if I'll see the harbor seals this time, but I am taking the laptop along.
And my notebook. Much cheaper than therapy, with none of the nasty side-effects of antidepressants.
"There's a labyrinth of Voices inside your head, a counterpoint of self-awareness and the remembered sayings of your guides and mentors, who don't always agree. Sometimes, you wish you could go back and ask your teachers again to guide you..."
"... but up there, onstage, exactly where they always wanted you to be, you must simply find your way. They have given you all the help they can; the only person who can solve the labyrinth of yourself is you."
- Jeremy Dink, "Every Good Boy Does Fine," The New Yorker, April 8, 2013; pg 43.
Has anyone ever written a Buffyverse fic in which Giles, not Willow, becomes the Big Bad? The idea occurred to me not long after reading the episode notes for WTTH by 2maggie2
In the Bronze, Buffy sees Giles up on the balcony, and he calls her attention to the others out there dancing -- she’s separate from them, with a duty to protect them. (The scene gets called back in season six in Dead Things when Spike adds another layer to Buffy’s fundamental separation from others – but it starts here in the very first episode).
Maggie is talking specifically within the context of how Buffy is separated from her friends/family as the Slayer from the very first episode, but her comments brought back the memory of one of my first visceral reactions to the series. There was something astonishingly creepy about the way Giles is suddenly "there", beside her, an older man next to a 16-year-old girl (foreshadowing Bangel), and I didn't have a "bead" on his character yet. The idea that he would turn out to be a villain who betrays Buffy and isn't what he seems, was as likely a notion as anything else. All of which turns out to be true and false at the same time: he doesn't turn out to be a villain but he does have a dark past as the Ripper (as does Angel), he does betray Buffy at times (Helpless, LMPTM), he kills a man behind Buffy's back knowing she wouldn't approve (The Gift).
And when I watched the balcony scene in Dead Things ("Alone in dark with me") my mind was racing back to the parallel scene in WTTH, giving both scenes greater emotional power - foreshadowing squared to th nth egree. The writers surely could not have imagined any of these events when this was written and shot, bu bless* them for knowingly or unknowingly providing the bones right from the start for everything that was to come.
So if I'd had to guess which of the Core Four was most likely to become a Big Bad down the road at the time I was watching S1, I probably would have said Giles. So it got me wondering if "Giles as the Big Bad" has been done as a fanfiction. I can't imagine someone in the last 15 years hasn't played with the concept. If Willow as the Big Bad was fraught with emotional turmoil, the drama and angst of Giles in that role could make LMPTM look like a Sunday cake-walk.
So, gentle flisters - point me the way to one that's already been written, or let that little puppy play around in your head for a while until you come up with something grand. FYI : I've decided to adopt the term plot puppy because: it's still a small, cute animal that you can stroke and love and huggle, and it won't upset Anya needlessly. In this case, a puppy with very sharp teeth that isn't nearly as harmless as it looks.
ETA: beer_good_foamy and I both ended up rec'ing the same story in the convo thread below, "All Set Down" desoto_hia873 , an AU take on The Gift (and as you know I seem to have a kink for those.) Giles is forced to perform a terrible but necessary act. It doesn't quite fit the "Giles as Big Bad" criteria but it really is quite good.
** (Yes, I know Joss is an atheist. So am I. Or maybe agnostic. Let's go with "undecided".)
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