schneefink: (FF Kaylee excited)
2017-10-06 03:50 pm
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Dear Yuletide Author

Hi! Thank you very much for writing a story for me! :D

Things I like:
* I love friendship/team/found family fic. Characters who grow to like each other, trust each other, and eventually would do many things for each other, yes please. Especially when they're in slightly different positions/places/there are obstacles etc.
* Related to that, navigating relationships: how do they deal with daily life, how do they support and comfort each other at the end of the day, how do they solve conflicts, what happens if there are conflicting loyalties? I'm a big fan of loyalty, betrayal, (self-)sacrifice, and related tropes in general.
* Some other things I love: h/c, competent characters, hugs, plot, happy or at least optimistic endings, …

Things I don't like for Yuletide:
* Stories with a very dark or hopeless ending
* Explicit rape or abuse
* Character bashing
* Stories focusing on harlequin romance tropes or explicit sex
* Different world AUs, like coffeeshop AUs or Harry Potter fusions. I love the canon worlds of all these fandoms so I'd prefer to read fic taking place there. What-if AUs are cool.

Have fun! The prompts below are guidelines, I hope they help you think of ideas.

Spiderlight – Adrian Tchaikovsky )

Children of Time - Adrian Tchaikovsky )

The Bright Sessions (Podcast) )

Elemental Logic series – Laurie J. Marks )
schneefink: River walking among trees, from "Safe" (Default)
2017-10-05 11:27 pm
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Studying is hard

Conclusion: I'm still not very good at studying. I get distracted too easily, I did almost nothing yesterday (in my defense there were extenuating circumstances, like being almost nauseous from hunger because I forgot to eat breakfast before going to the dentist - okay, still my fault), today I also reread long fics instead of studying... but at least I did study for four hours, that's something. But not much. (I bet LB I could do six, hmpf.) I'll do a bit more, and it'll be fine. The exam is tomorrow at noon. Terrible timing, because this is the one time I would have wanted to watch a Critical Role episode live. (I'm so nervous!) Ah well. Better luck next time. At least what I'm studying is interesting (more details some other time) and no matter how well I'll do - I'm very curious because I feel like I really can't say - I'm glad I'm learning again.
schneefink: (Fleury)
2017-09-28 05:03 pm
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Sports is not apolitical

I'm currently on vacation (because there are so many lectures this week), that means I can cook and eat lunch with my flatmates more often :) Today we had couscous with fennel and pears and some walnuts and feta, it was delicious.

The NHL season starts soon, but I'm not very excited about it. Even a week ago I was less interested than in previous years for some reason. The beginning of training camp surprised me (DD too, I texted her when she was on a beach in Greece which I bet made it even more unexpected) but since last weekend it became even more obvious. It's not like I actively expected the Penguins to decline the visit to the White House, I was just sort of idly hoping, but somehow what they said was even worse than I expected. How can you be so ignorant? Inaction isn't neutral, you idiots. And now all the beat writers are defending Sid as if just because he's a "good person" he can't do or say a bad thing. That's not how life works ffs. I'm angry that I'm angry at the Pens because I was really looking forward to the 43-87-59 highlights, but right now it feels like I'm in the middle of a fandom break-up, though I'm not quite sure yet to what degree. Maybe the NWHL posts game highlights.

Yuletide starts soon! I haven't decided on all of my requests yet and it's stressful. I know what I'm offering though, should be fun. Unfortunately I've only finished a single fic this year and that was back in March ("Ghosts" doesn't count because I wrote it last year, just didn't post it.) I do have a few projects that I still have hope I'll finish, I'll see.
schneefink: (FF Kaylee in hammock)
2017-09-11 12:37 am
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I finally found out why our newest flatmates is so often on the phone around midnight and later: she's playing WoW. That makes more sense than, idk, I didn't really think about it, I just wondered. Fortunately I only hear that she's talking, not what, and it's not loud enough to disturb my sleep.

The latest D&D session was amazing. Details, mostly for my own memories )

I have not yet written even one fic for h/c bingo, but I at least started several (okay, only two have more than a handful of words.) I'm still optimistic though! Would anyone be interested in helping me with a post-s3 Bright Sessions fic? I think at this point I mostly need brainstorming help and cheerleading. My flatmate who I would usually bribe to do it is on vacation in Greece (while here autumn weather is finally arriving, unfair.)
schneefink: (FF River and Kaylee)
2017-09-05 11:11 pm
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Some not bad stuff

The constant terrible political news is exhausting, and I don't even live in the countries most affected. Currently, every bit of positive political news feels like a torch in a cave, so if you are like me, have something that is currently cheering me up: at least for now, the planned surveillance laws in Austria failed.

Some background: this got longer than planned )

This was meant to be more cheerful. Also shorter... Ah well, I already typed it up.
schneefink: (FF Kaylee excited)
2017-09-01 12:03 am
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Back to uni

I'm a university student again! o.o I'd been vaguely thinking about it for a few weeks, and then it happened really fast. I asked a week ago if I could cut back on work hours, on Monday I got the okay from the company, and yesterday I enrolled at the university. Sooo I'm actually doing this. *wipes hands* I'm nervous.

I had always planned to do a Master's program eventually, but when I do it'll be full-time and I don't think I'm ready yet. But work isn't really intellectually challenging right now and also not helping me figure out what else I want to do. So I'm doing another bachelor program, business law, at the same university where I finished my first degree (which has the nice side effect that I can directly transfer several credits from my previous program to the new one.) I'm not completely sure yet if I'll like the program enough to finish, I'll find out. I don't actually want to work solely in business law, but it is very interesting. I think that together with my socioeconomics degree it'll open up some nice job opportunities, and I'll try to get into as many interesting internships as I can.

My current work contract is until December, and I'll be working 32 hours, so I'm not doing many lectures to start with, especially because I also need to read up again on those lectures that I technically already did, but that was in some cases eight years ago. I already know it'll be very tiring. First exams are in early October! Partially it's also kind of a test for myself I think, how much I can do. I think I can do it. My problem was never the studying, the problem was getting myself to study, and I like to think I've improved in that area. I think I can do the work, and I have the support network, and financially it's fine, and it should definitely be doable; and if I'm lucky, it'll also be fun.
schneefink: River walking among trees, from "Safe" (Default)
2017-08-28 12:38 am
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I finally watched the early Critical Role episodes a while ago, but forgot to put up my notes, so here they are. Episodes 1-23, brief thoughts )

Recent episodes: Episodes 103-109 )

The game is as much fun as it always was, but I find it harder to enjoy the latest eps because I'm so tense because the stakes are so high. If they'd lost in the Chroma Conclave arc, well, someone else would eventually have been able to finish the job. If they fail this time, ooooh boy, that would be very bad for the entire world. I know it's just a silly game but I got attached to the characters, and not just to the player characters either. Matt is usually very good at giving them a fair chance and they are very high-level right now, but I worry about the odds anyway.

Better than watching others play D&D: playing D&D. Our D&D campaign, recent developments )
schneefink: Babylon 5 (Bab5)
2017-08-25 09:56 pm
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Wolf 359

I'm procrastinating on cleaning up, so I'm trying to get my notes on "Wolf 359" into something that maybe resembles order.

When I first started this podcast I stopped in the middle of episode 3, because it's no fun listening to people who can't stand each other and make each other's lives unnecessarily difficult by behaving unprofessionally on a fricking space station, I mean, wtf. The sheer number of recs I saw while looking for similar podcasts convinced me to give it another try, however. The second half of season one was okay, and then the season finale was fantastic and it got pretty great from there.

The show is currently in season 4. The plot is great, very tense, with the heroes almost constantly in danger of varying degrees. While there are funny and touching moments, there's not a lot of fluff. The "characters can't stand each other" problem gets a lot better, people grow closer under pressure, and by season 4 I really love several of the characters. (Others I enjoy hating.) I'm very curious where it's going, and how they're going to get out of this.

Do try not to get spoiled, there are some great twists. So if you haven't listened to it yet, stop here.
Spoilers: barely organized notes I made while listening )

In offline happenings, tomorrow my parents, LB and I are going to a dinosaur park.
Mom: "Unfortunately we found out that the dinosaur park where we went when you two were kids has closed, but we could do something else…"
LB: "There are two other dinosaur parks."
Mom: "I thought it was about the memories?"
Me: "Mom. It's about the dinosaurs."
It's going to be great.
schneefink: Babylon 5 (Bab5)
2017-08-22 11:58 pm
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Children of Time, by Adrian Tchaikovsky

This book is a fantastic example of why I love Science Fiction: alien cultures, developments over loooong time spans, humans at the very edge and beyond their understanding and horizon. I loved it. It's half fascinating and never dry spider civilization worldbuilding and half about the last humans trying to survive in an ark ship; the way they mirrored and played off each other was great, but the contact moments were the best.

More details with spoilers )
schneefink: (FF Kaylee excited)
2017-08-16 10:52 pm
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I haven't written fic since *checks* May, huh. But then suddenly I got an idea, and now in the past three days I've written over three thousand words and it feels amazing. Story writing is a thing I can do! Oh man, I missed this feeling of getting words onto a page, instead of being stuck at the image-to-word conversion process in my brain.

Btw, I recently read a piece on writer's block that I liked a lot, So you're having a bad writing day: Consider: the act of telling a story is you CONJURING AN ENTIRE UNIVERSE INSIDE YOUR MIND and then using words as knives to CARVE THAT UNIVERSE INTO REALITY SO THAT OTHERS CAN VISIT YOUR IMAGINATION. “Today I am going to make a world out of my brain that you can go to in your spare time,” you say aloud, hopefully realizing that this is far more significant and far more bizarre than tying your shoes or blowing your nose.
Writing is hard, and that's okay. (Clearly prolific authors who update frequently are wizards.)
schneefink: (Kaylee with umbrella shiny)
2017-08-09 12:26 am
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The Bright Sessions

I've been checking out the podcasts you guys recommended and it's been great. Eventually I'll make a longer list of those I liked, but for now I want to talk about "The Bright Sessions," a fiction podcast about a therapist for patients with unusual abilities. I quickly got attached to the characters, and then in season two the plot really took off. Originally I just wanted to make a few notes for a future rec, but by the middle of season 2 I was making notes for almost every episode, so now you get a long list of episode reactions to distract myself from the cliffhanger at the end of season 3.

Season 1 )

Season 2 )

Season 3 )

Season 4 in October! I really look forward to it. And there will be a TV adaption too, I'm very curious.
In the meantime I'm thinking about what fic I want for Yuletide, because it's the season of worrying about Yuletide nominations.
schneefink: (Kaylee with umbrella shiny)
2017-08-01 10:55 pm
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Akatsuki no Yona

I'll just assume you know the feeling of having found a bright shiny new thing that you want to tell everyone about but somehow it's really hard to find the words, and also writing why you like it also takes away time from consuming more of it. I just finished watching the "Akatsuki no Yona" anime (+OVAs) and I'm taking a brief break for some barely organized notes before I go and read all the manga chapters. (Also I should eat dinner, that would probably be good.)

Where to start? It has so many of my favorite tropes, especially when it comes to loyalty&betrayal. (A premise is not really a spoiler, right?) The dynamic between Yona, Hak, and Soo-won is fantastic. Yona herself is pretty great, and so is the whole team she assembles. And it looks like things will only get more and more political, yay.

With spoilers )
schneefink: Parker grinning, from First David Job (Parker smiling before jumping off a buil)
2017-07-30 10:07 pm
Entry tags:

Newest motivational trick

I found a new trick to motivate myself that so far (3 weeks in) works quite well :)
It's limited in scope, but pretty simple: my good friend LK, who is a geek but not in fandom, has wanted to read my fic for years, but I don't want him to (he completely lacks the frame of reference and I think it would be super awkward.) Soo when we recently talked about ways to motivate oneself and considered uncomfortable but not actually harmful forfeits... Every week I pick one task I really have to do, and if I don't manage it, I have to give him a list with titles of my fics, and he can pick any one that he can then read. *shudders* Some stories I wouldn't even mind so much if he read them, but since I don't know which he'll pick...
I told LB about it and he said he wants in, if I don't finish the task in the second week either I have to give him a title to pick too, which I want even less. (Awkward, but also I think I would be very embarrassed and disappointed if he didn't like my stories.)

So tonight I actually did apartment-related accounting instead of continuing to binge-watch Akatsuki no Yona (which I love so far, so many excellent tropes), look at me Adulting! Whatever works, right?

Thanks for the podcast recs, I look forward to trying them :)
schneefink: (FF Kaylee in hammock)
2017-07-29 02:36 pm
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Things to listen to at work

I don't dislike my job, but it's often boring. Fortunately during much of it I can listen to other stuff. During the first few months I listened to many many Critical Role episodes, but now I'm caught up, so I need something new. I've been trying a few different things.

- Political comedy. There are a few I enjoy watching/listening to, like Samantha Bee, Stephen Colbert, John Oliver, sometimes Trevor Noah. Is there something similar for European politics?, that could be fun.

- I tried other RPG videos or podcasts, but haven't been able to get into any. They all start pretty slow, so without recs from people whose taste I trust I'm unwilling to invest much time into it. (I heard good things about The Adventure Zone, but I'm not in the mood right now to listen to a men-only RPG.)

- Speaking of! Podcasts. I was looking for economics-focused podcasts and the vast majority of what I found was hosted by men. I found an article that said about 2/3rds of podcasts are hosted by men, that about fits what I saw and doesn't even take into account which topics the podcasts are about. DD and I wondered how much of that is because men are more used than women to people listening to whatever they say. I also still sometimes have to consciously train myself out of thinking that a woman's voice on the radio or on TV sounds "shrill" whenever she raises her voice and/or gets angry.
If anyone has recs for podcasts hosted by women, especially about economics and/or history, that would be welcome.

- I thought aboud podfic, but I usually get too frustrated by the fact that I know that I can read faster. Radio plays are different though. I was never that into WtNV, but I remembered that someone on DW (I forgot who) recced The Strange Case of Starship Iris. I liked it a lot, but unfortunately it only has 5 episodes and is currently on hiatus. Recs for radio plays would also be very welcome (but no horror, even though I think it's a genre that lends itself well to radio plays.)

- I also spent two days watching youtube videos about ancient battles. I now understand better why [personal profile] dhampyresa is so fascinated by Hannibal and Scipio ^^ Unfortunately battle plans need to be watched and I rarely have time for that.

- I had the idea to listen to Russian language learning podcasts, I found out that there are a few. Unfortunately I realized that while podcasts are okay to remember words I already knew once (I used to speak Russian at B1+, but I'm severely out of practice), I can't learn new words from listening. If I don't see how they're spelled I forget them almost immediately, which is frustrating. Russian also takes more concentration to listen to, which I don't always have.

I also sometimes just listen to Disney soundtracks on a loop when I don't have much concentration to spare, or radio. (I never listened to Ö3 before, but 2-3 weeks ago I realized how little attention the constantly repeating pop songs require.) But that sometimes feels close to wasting time – which is ridiculous when I'm at work, but still. I could be learning things or listen to actual stories! Not the whole time though, I'll try to find a balance, and in the meantime I'll try out more stuff.
schneefink: (FF Kaylee in hammock)
2017-07-24 11:47 pm
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Dice & pages

During work I keep coming up with things I want to post about, and then when I'm home I'm too lazy and/or tired, similarly often on weekends. No vacation for me until September, most likely, but I told myself to pay attention and take a mental health day if I need it. I haven't been sick yet so I wouldn't feel bad about it.

D&D )

I recently found a book again that I'd searched for for years: "Bloodrights" by N. Lee Wood. I was prepared to be disappointed, but to my happy surprise I still like it a lot. It's harsher than I remembered, especially in regards to the cost of striving for power. The surprising reveal at the end made me look at much of it in a different way and made me like it even more. Yay trope subversion. Spoiler )
I liked Antonya and many of the other characters, and rereading the book now there are several scenes that I now much better understand the id buttons they pushed (esp. Kerrick & Morgan.) Also, something I'd forgotten about which was a nice surprise, queer people exist and are, while not completely normal, not a big deal.

Politics, because it's unavoidable: The current situation in Poland is scary, it shows how easily things like that can happen. That the protests appear to have had some success is encouraging but not more than a silver lining.
There are so many countries were democracy is under attack…
In Austria I'm trying to focus on the push-back against the surveillance program, but I'm scared about the new government after the next election. The outcome seems almost certain and it would be a bad one imo, but as we've recently seen in the UK a lot can change during an election campaign, so we'll see.
schneefink: (FF Kaylee in hammock)
2017-07-19 11:35 pm
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I recently reread one of my favorite fantasy series as a kid, the Märchenmond books by Wolfgang and Heike Hohlbein. (I only ever knew of three books, I recently found out that there is a fourth one but with a different main character. I haven't read it yet and I don't think I want to.) The title means "fairy tale moon", though the English translation is "Magic Moon," which for some reason sounds hilarious to me.

I was worried I wouldn't like the books anymore, but I reread them anyway because I had ideas for these characters for h/c bingo. (No idea why they came to mind after so long. Now after rereading I've discarded the original idea but I have another one, let's see if anything comes of it.) Unsurprisingly I don't like them as much as I did, but I can still see why I loved them and enjoy some elements, good enough for me.

As I half expected, I didn't much like the main character, who always becomes unexpectedly extremely wise in the last fifteen pages and makes a great speech; the special fighting skills were pretty much a given. Especially books 2 and 3 required a lot of work to ignore how silly the central conflict premise was so one could enjoy the rest of the plot. In all three books I really liked the secondary characters, they were a lot of fun. There were continuity problems from each book to the next, I did not expect that to annoy me as much as it did.
All in all I don't regret rereading the books, but probably won't do it again, at least not anytime soon.

Märchenmond )

Märchenmonds Kinder )

Märchenmonds Erben )

In apartment news, most of the construction site is gone! Originally it said end of July, so logically I expected it to last until the middle of August, and it finishing earlier than announced was a happy surprise.
Eva moved out today :( She'd only been here for three and a half months, but apart from DD she was my favorite flatmate so far and I'll miss her. We already found the next person, she'll move in in August. She seems nice too, but at least at her initial visit I found it not that easy to get into a conversation flow with her, I hope that'll get better and we'll get along well. We already know that she doesn't bake, that's a downgrade right from the start ;) DD and I decided to bake more often (and also make more lemonade), I hope we'll actually manage to keep to that.
schneefink: (FF River and Kaylee)
2017-07-16 11:56 pm
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Magical Horses + Fire

As a distraction from the (partially justified) anxiety about all the things I should be doing, have a rec.

Friends Across Borders by [ profile] MueraRashaye (Valdemar series)
316k, gen, canon-compliant & OC-centric, series in progress (9 stories completed + 1 WIP)
Summary: Two long-time enemy nations can't become meaningful allies overnight. Stories from the lives of a border-guard Herald and Sunpriest, from their first meeting to the end, and insights into just how Karse and Valdemar were able to turn around their relationship so fast.
What I knew about canon beforehand: In a country named Valdemar some people have special magical Gifts and they are soulbonded to magical white horses.
Why I love it: Enemies to friends <3 More precisely, technically-enemies to brothers on a personal scale leads to enemies to allies on a national scale. The friendship between Firestarter Kir and Herald Anur is so wonderful, and it's great to see the ripples they cause spread outwards. I also really like all the stuff about Karsite culture, cultural difference and culture change etc.; obviously I can't say how much of it is canon and how much is the author's own worldbuilding, but it's beautifully done. Kir also has a very nice atonement storyline.

I then decided to check out canon, which previously I'd only known through vaguely remembered crossovers/fusions with other fandoms (one with SGA and one with Rurouni Kenshin) that I read years ago. I knew that canon was about very different characters and even a different country, but I decided to at least try some books in the series, so I read the "Last Herald Mage" trilogy. It was… okay? I would have loved the books when I was fifteen. The plot was OTT dramatic several times, but sometimes I don't mind that very much. The romance in the first book made me roll my eyes a bit, but hey, teenagers. The second book was tough to get through at times because the portrayals of exhaustion of loneliness were very well done. In the third book spoilers )
I liked the fic series a lot better than canon though, so after finishing the books I read the fic again (for the third time. What. And it is free! I love fandom.)
schneefink: (FF River and Kaylee)
2017-07-10 11:26 pm
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Natsume Yuujinchou Roku

The latest season of Natsume Yuujinchou has been over for a few weeks, but I find it hard to talk about it because most of the time I just want to go "<333". I like it very much, is what I'm saying, and I find it hard to explain why for some reason, idk. Nice and warm and many feelings.

Some short episode reaction notes )

Fic recs:
like religion by [ profile] WerewolvesAreReal
6.9k, gen, futurefic
Summary: Natsume would like to make it clear that this is all the dog's fault.
(OR: how to become a god, by accident).
Why I like it: This would happen to Natsume :D Lovely.
The same author wrote another futurefic, haunting, softly, in which Natsume dies and nobody notices, it is also very good but unsurprisingly sadder.

So the castle that we built won't cave by [ profile] Taisi
1.8k, gen
Summary: The last time he remembers feeling this protective was probably back on the day he and Kitamoto taught Natsume how to ride a bicycle, those pleasant hours of late afternoon that swept by so fast. He had been unprepared for how thin Natsume’s shoulders would be, how fragile his back would feel under Nishimura’s hands.
Why I like it: This author has a tag "Natsume Protection Squad" and it's the best. This one is probably my favorite but go and read all of them. never mind the bus fare is another one of theirs I like a lot, it has Nishimura with a giant crush on Natsume, it's very sweet.
schneefink: River walking among trees, from "Safe" (Default)
2017-07-09 10:51 pm
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Good news: my work contract will be extended :) I don't know exactly for how long yet, but probably the end of the year or nearly.

Bad news: I just found out that I won't get vacation time in the week when I really wanted it. No choir week this summer for me :(
So I obviously need alternatives, and I'm thinking of going to London. I've only been twice, each time only for a few days with not that much time for sight-seeing, and that was five years ago. I definitely want to go again, also because it'll be less easy in two years.
Downside: I would have to plan things. Ah well, I'll manage.

But before I make any definitive plans, questions:
- I found out that in early August the Nine Worlds convention is in London. I've never been to a big convention! Or any, really. Has anyone been? Is it fun? Is it overwhelming for people with no con experience?
- London has a large selection of musicals and plays and I heard many are quite good. Any you would recommend?
- Any other London/surroundings summer travel tips? (Or early fall, maybe, idk. Ugh, planning.)
schneefink: River walking among trees, from "Safe" (Default)
2017-07-05 09:57 pm
Entry tags:

Lost books

There is a new [community profile] findthatbook comm, which you should all check out, especially the post I immediately made about that one book I've wanted to reread for years now. I know what the cover looked like and the entire plot outline - finding out that the "lost heir to the kingdom" knew all along that she wasn't the true heir but just pretended so that she could take over is still among my favorite plot twists - but so far no luck.

Edit: I found it! Thanks to /r/whatsthatbook, always good to try multiple sources. It's "Bloodrights" by N. Lee Wood. I read it so long ago that I have no idea if it's actually any good, but I look forward to finding out.