red_satin_doll: (Default)

Please stay safe!

Everyone be good to one another and I don't mean in a "pretend to be nice to each other's face while you're screaming inside" kind of way.  (IF someone is screaming in your face, however, do what you need to do to take care of yourself.)

I plan on attending the Sister march in Rhode Island as I can't go to D.C. (my fault for waiting too long to make up my mind. But Providence is cool.)

I haven't been able to write partly because of my part time seasonal job and partly because - I haven't known where to begin (rage, grief, etc.) And not just because of Carrie Fisher, Debbie Reynolds and George Michael. (At some point I'll talk about that stuff too.)

With all the news about Russia lately and it's ownership of LJ and it's ties to the incoming adminstration that I've blithely ignored until recently,* I've copied my LJ posts over to my Dreamwidth account. But I haven't mastered formatting over there (mostly, how to do cut tags properly. So I've got these long threads over there and it's still a mess.)

Crossposted to LiveJournal:
red_satin_doll: (Thinky Thoughts)

All this talk of icons, editing platforms and fanart the last week, plus icontests and enjoying other people's work, has made me hungry got some thinky-thoughts a'flowin:

Imagine voting at any fanfiction awards site (WGA, SunnyD, RWSA, NRFTW, NAFTA, AoLA, etc) where all the work is listed anonymously. I am of course excluding juried situations which are sometimes but not always "blind". (In many cases IRL, this may be as much to protect from biases for/against gender, ethnicity, color, etc.)

Can you imagine a list of fic nominees with titles and no authors listed? Of course not. I can't either.  But we do it all the time - on a weekly basis in fact - at icon challenges.

In fact, on one level it might be argued that whenever we publish work using pseudonyms, screennames or what we oldsters used to call "pennames" ("keyboardnames"?), then those stories are de facto anonymous in the real world, but that's another conversation altogether. (Or is it? Anonymity and women not being given credit for their work has always been a feminist issue. Are we protecting ourselves by using pseudonyms in fandom, or just playing into larger cultural patterns? I suspect that's a discussion for another time but worth pondering.)

In the past I've been kind of a fiend to obey the rules of which clearly state that icons must not have been previously posted anywhere else, and we're not to let other people know which are ours. The icons are all posted without the creator's names to allow for "unbiased" voting, right?

I got so anxious about it I even teasingly mock-scolded one of my friends *cough*[ profile] kikimay*cough* (poor woman!) on the subject. I tried to figure out how to make my icons "less recognizable" by not using certain fonts or framing devices, etc. This was especialy challenging with Photobucket, which has a primitive editing suite with a very finite number of choices. When anonymity was becoming a consideration over artistry in my choices, I realized it was becoming a problem.

I was also certain I was alone in my anxieties on the subject until I saw a comment by someone else in fandom, who makes beautiful icons the way I make breakfast for my sweetie -  that is to say, on a regular basis - express concern that one of their icons was recognizable. As it happens, I have guessed some of their icons correctly on a couple of occasions; and other times I've assumed it was their's and got it completely wrong. No one person "owns" a particular character, color scheme, font or effect, as it happens, although we each have preferences.

Not that knowing or not knowing mattered to me. Did I vote differently because I thought I knew which icons this person did? No, of course not. I voted for the work in front of me.

More conversation - and icons - a'comin' . Here's a little appetizer:  

I'm confident of this because quality of the work is paramont to me. It has to be. I've had occasion to be a judge or on selection committees since college for written publications, fandom awards, and independent film festivals, going back a couple of decades to college. I had to learn and am still learning to walk that tightrope of constructive criticism that is fair and impartial but doesn't lose sight of the fact that there is another person waiting anxiously for feedback.

That doesn't mean I get it right all the time, or even most of the time, but it's something I keep sight of pretty fiercely. When I've been a fiction judge or a beta, I may LOVE an author. They may be my dearest friend in the world - in fact, I've been Muse (beta) for several of my best friend's novels and at least one book of poetry for several years - or at any rate someone I trust, respect, treasure.

The fact of my feelings for them has to yet to win anyone a first place or even a runner-up award. Even when it comes to nominations, I'm not going to throw a name out there if I don't believe the work has sufficient merit.

And I expect the same in return because I trust the folks on my f'list to have enough taste, discernment, and intellegence to vote for the work, not for me. I trust that they are bringing all of their talents, experiences and hard-earned skills in art in any medium to bear when they push the button. In fact I'd be horrified if I won an award for crap just because it got the most votes and I feel certain anyone reading this would as well.

Now does that mean I'll haul off afterwards and say "I didn't vote for your work, sorry, I liked this other one better"? HELL NO. Not unless asked specifically ask me. Which nobody does, btw. Not even me. I am more apt to wonder why  the hell you voted for me when so and so's work was so much better. Which is, in essence a slur on your tastes and criteria because they are different than mine. See how tricky that can get? When in doubt, shut my mouth.

Just to be clear, this is NOT a manifesto to the hard-working fandom icontest mods "Change your rules!"  Goodness, no. Your comm - your rules. Period and end of sentence. As long as I participate in icontests I will abide by those rules. I like the challenge, surprising myself; I like getting the juices flowing, I like the focus that prompts provide and I love seeing what other people come up with. And I'd be a liar if I said I don't enjoy winning now and then because I do. I like it, my ego likes it, my tender little heart likes it.  Who doesn't? But I can't let any concern about being recognized or winning/not winning because of that inform my artistic choices. The fact that I've recently been introduced to four new online editing sites gives me a much wider sandbox to play in; but at the end of the day there are still certain choices or stylistic qualities that are recognizable signatures

The bottom line here is, I love you all, I cherish you my darling f'list, but when it comes to having to vote in contests I am ALL ABOUT THE WORK. Period. Whether there's a name attached to it or not.

Now that you've made it this far (no fair cheating and jumping all the way to the end, 'kay?), let's have some tea and cake more icons just for fun!

Why yes, I FINALLY made some icons of VampWillow (excluding my "Lesbian Vampire Seal of Approval Icon, of course). I know it's an iconic image but somethings are iconic for a reason., It's a great shot and I had to start somewhere, right? Also I have been trying to keep the wonderful Willow fans on my f'list in mind. You're welcome. All made entirely or principally in Photobucket unless specified. 1-5 are by reverse order of creation.

1) 2) 3) 4) 5)

6) 7)   8)

I was using #6 for a while as my primary Willow icon but traded it in for one by [ profile] spikesredqueen. I still like it - no fancy effects except what was already onscreen plus increased saturation and brightness - but the resolution leaves something to be desired.  #8 was another possible entry for the recent slayerstillness prompt (negative space) that I missed.

9) 10) 11) 12)

#9 is actually about a year old, another one I have mixed feelings about. LOVE the Buffy hairporn, the quality of a pencil drawing rather than photograph but again, there's the clarity issue. I tried that one again and couldn't get anything better in PB; the cap is just a tad too dark for my liking.

The "steal" from Never Leave Me in #12 is definitely deliberate. And it's not intended a a shipping statement on my part but anyone who ships the two of them is more than welcome to snag it for their own nefarious purposes. Willow's life changed forever when Buffy "took notice" of her. (Consider icons #1-5 "Exhibit A".)

red_satin_doll: (Chosen One - purple)
ETA: According to [ profile] yourlibrarian the Buffyverse Top 5 ends at 6pm EST in the US on Jan. 19th.

Took me three or four days to write this post celebrating my favorite friendship and non-canon OTF(amily). Not, mind you, three to four days sitting 8 hours straight at the computer, of course (more like, sit down, get up to do something, write a little more, go run errands in town, add another link, suddenly realize I'm hungry, come back and realize I'd added 6 stories, agonize over the descriptions, cook dinner, hit post. You know how it is...right?)

"Tara, did you check out these stories?"
"I told you there are people in fandom who love us just for ourselves, sweetie."

Every time I got on the computer to continue writing I'd peek nervously at the BT5 home page in case someone else did a post on the subject before I finished or rec'd the stories I planned to; because in this instance I literallly had five and only five stories on my list. Buffy and Tara friendship (or even B/T ship fics) are one of THE hardest things to find in this fandom. And the only reason I even had five on my list was because [ profile] punch_kicker15 rec'd new-to-me author [ profile] elviswhataguy and literally saved my biscuits.

So, no one in swooped in before me, thank goodness; nor has anyone else done a "5 female-centric fics by [ profile] clockwork_hart1" rec list. SHE'S MINE AND YOU CAN'T HAVE HER, PEOPLE. (I am, however, willing to share her on alternate Tuesdays.) No one else has done another meta list or an art list or...anything, actually, since [ profile] rebcake posted her AO3 list on Sunday...three days ago.

Not that I'm trying to be a nag or anything, folks but....oh who the hell am I kidding? Ask my sweetie, she'll tell you: I AM an old-school nag and yes, I am nagging you right here and now. (A gal's gotta play to her strengths.)

DON'T LET BT5 DIE OUT! I need recs, lots of recs! Art, icons, fics, vids, essays! Show me stuff I haven't seen before, introduce me to people and to corners of fandom I didn't know existed. Show me that buffyverse fandom is about more than just "shipping" (romance, porn, whathaveyou.) Remind me of the richness of this verse as well as the unrealized posssibilities. Tell me something I don't know. Surprise me. Celebrate your favorite people and things - pimpage (aka "love") is what makes the fandom go 'round.

How else do you think I'm going to fill my empty hours and hone my talent for endless procrastination this year?

And if you won't do it for me, then, um....think of the children?
red_satin_doll: (Tara Does Not Approve)
What the title says, basically. ("That she refers to herself in the third person is especially troublesome - psychiatric help is recommend".)

I'm typing this on my honey' s iPod and I honestly don't know how the rest of the world manages with these things. (Note to self - schedule that overdue eye exam.). How are we NOT be becoming a world of blind people, stooped and hunched over like Chinese rug makers at their looms?

Bifocal lenses ahoy.

Also. I am left handed but can type on this fractionally better with my right hand.  There's something about the design that feels as though it's meant to be held that way because the designers presumed such. (I am not making this up btw - I had to get rid of a vegetable peeler for that reason, and I'm slightly ambidextrous to start.)

More proof that lefties are discriminated against when it comes to product design and engineering!   ("Subject displays increasing signs of an anxiety and paranoia....")

And why are the symbols upon which my Internet life depends - * < > _ =  , et cetera located three keyboards deep? What about MY needs?

On the upside (have to look for that, right?) there are also symbol for pounds and euros = £ and € respectively. Also a ¥ symbol. Whatever the heck that is.

My downstairs/down the hall neighbors argue very loudly quite a lot. Right now in fact. They sound like my mom and stepdad #1 when I was a little, burying my head beneath the bedcovers to block them out. It never worked. Living  in houses or flats with just one neighbor really spoiled me.

Now I know why The Powers That Be invented radios and gramaphones.
red_satin_doll: (Chosen One - purple)
Or rather it would ensue if I wasn't so freaking exhausted. But it's sent off and done. (the contents list was actually my partner's thing that were destroyed in the fire and covered by her renters' insurance, but I was doing the work on it while she goes off and earns a paycheck, bless her.)

I know I didn't get everything on their but they only pay so many anyway and there just comes a point where I couldn't. COULDN'T get it all on there.

My sweetie just called and said we'd go out to dinner to celebrate, yay. And I'm still in my pajamas.

In other news: way way behind on fic, vid and other recs for y'all, so I plan to resume after the weekend.

The second honeymoon we were enjoying in this apartment of my partner and I sleeping together (in a double bed) for the first time in years has ended already: I snore and it wakes her up too often and then she's tired at work. I admit I cried a little. So it's back to separate beds for us. I'm on an inflatable this time in our erstwhile office, which feels like I'm a visitor here. The upside is I'm in the room with the laptop and can stay on after she goes to sleep - given the fact that I stay up very late reading fanfic, that probably isn't such a good thing after all! And, I miss the cuddling. I love her, I do, but god I'm human. We hadn't cuddled every morning like that in almost ten years. It does a number on a girl.

And I miss the comfort brand new down mattress and pretty duvet cover, a rare luxury (and necessity) for us. I know there are millions of people in the world who don't have a bed to sleep on and I keep reminding myself of that!  But, only human here.
red_satin_doll: (Get it Done)
Good news: The cable guys came today and hooked up our internet service; we only had two days to wait. So now we're connected again, yay! I hope to be on again more often here - I've missed being here and getting to play. I need the release more than ever.

I just sketched out a rough draft for a post-series Buffy & Faith (and/or Buffy/Faith) fic the other day; I haven't ever written fic about the two of them before allthough I've got plenty of meta notes.  (It's occured to me I should start looking for a beta, and realize for all my experience being one, I have no idea how to ask for one.)

After the housefire, the crying jag, etc I've been thinking about Buffy post-series in ways I hadn't before: What's it like to have your entire world turned upside-down? To lose your home, the things you own, silly stuff that in some ways had come to define you? (Everyone thought I was crazy because I was thrilled that my childhood stuffed koala bear survived intact.) To have to remake-redefine yourself again because the patterns of your life, based on the habits built around the things you owned, the house you lived in, are suddenly no longer there anymore?

I'm familiar with the concept of displacement because I've been moved around many times since my dad died when I was about three yrs old: Mom remarried, then later divorced (and we left the house in the middle of the night); she bought a house and then another later; I went away to college, met my sweetie, moved and moved again. But this housefire is different - we've moved to another apartment but on the same property, we're still sorting through the damaged and destroyed things, betwixt and between if you will. I've tossed out books and antique photos I loved; I can't find anything in this new apartment because it's all still in boxes and bags; I set something down and five minutes later forget where. I did "detail work" today, lining kitchen cabinets, more cleaning and scrubbing of course, trying to find places for things. I'm not a great with organizational skills.  There's no sense of familiarity or rhythms to the way we live yet.

The only thing that feels familiar is the way my sweetie and I communicate - or don't as the case may be. We argue and snipe at each other but we did that before anyway, so nothing new. She says I'm loud, I'm yelling, I'm hyper, etc; I say she's controlling and bossy and is also hyper but doesn't see it. The thing I notice now more than ever is that she says every single thing that comes into her mind. I'm not kidding - it's a constant stream-of-consciousness conversation, and I have to suss out when she's talking aloud to herself and when she's talking to me and expects a response. That's nothing new either but it's more intense now, I think.

The week has been crazy, chaotic - horrible rains on the day we were moving most of our stuff and still a ton left to go. I admit I cursed the deities I don't currently believe in, just for good measure: "Really, God? REALLY? I know you have a sense of humor and all that, and I mean this with all due respect but - Fuck you. Don't take that the wrong way or anything."

But the tarp I'd put up over the tent (all by myself, I'll have you know) withstood the rains and is still standing. *pats self on back*  So there's that at least.
red_satin_doll: (Chosen One - purple)

As I don't have daily access to a 'puter/internet I can't reply to everyone who left a message but I want to thank everyone so very much for your thoughts and well-wishes after my last post re: our housefire on Monday .  The love and support is really appreciated, I don't have words for it.  (Probably due to the general tiredness). I told my sweetie and she was appreciative as well. So thank you so much from both of us!  And because I don't want my "hiatus" to become too hiatus-y, I offer my Tip o' the Day: DO NOT WEAR A RED T-SHIRT INTO A STAPLES STORE. Especially during the busy back to school season, unless you really want to be mistaken for an employee by nigh on five or more other shoppers. And if you've been unemployed for a while, as I have, try not to break out the patented "Why is it that everywhere I go someone mistakes me for an employee (this is actually true, it happens to me in many different stores) but I can't get hired by anyone?"  Because the person on the receiving end of the rant will back away from you very slowly. 'tis embarrassing. *le sigh*

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