justhuman: General thoughts on Solstice/Yuletide. And then more specifically, we know that pagan practices sprinkled themselves like glitter over Christmas, but nowadays is Christmas glitter back on the pagan Yule celebrations?

So the December Meme kind of died a death after I got sick, but this was the last specific prompt I'd penned in.

I'm not a hundred percent sure how to answer this. I'm a relatively new pagan -- the last four years or so -- and I've not managed really to build up my own traditions yet, although I'm very much a fan of the idea of Eight pagan festivals evenly interspersed throughout the year to mark the passage of time in steps that mean not all the festivities are just plonked at one end of the year in the middle of winter. Because, one, it's marking the passage of time, and that's something we should be doing by more than just thinking about when we have to turn the heating up or the fans on in this modern world where we spend most of our time sitting inside a house or a workplace or a car, because I think it's kind of important to be aware of what's happening in the natural world. Because two, really, it's wishing your whole life away having that one look-forward-to event in the year, isn't it?

Which is actually beside the point in a way, because one thing that I've started really believing in, these last few years, is living in the moment, in the day that's right now, and not pinning all your hopes on some event that's happening in the future. Find something to look forward to now. And the pagan festivals, sure there tend to be actual festivities -- there are very big events not far away from where I live at Beltaine and Mabon, and Samhuinn's always great from that perspective, and I personally enjoy Lughnasadh -- but they're as much or more spiritual milestones.

So winter solstice/Yule/Christmas time is weird for me, a little bit. I very much don't buy into the glitter of the season anymore. But I have a family who do, and work colleagues who do, and cards and presents are still expected, though I've sidestepped the cards by sheer laziness or just making bead snowflakes for everyone the past few years, but definitely the presents are still expected (and honestly I do keep asking my family to tone it down with the ones they get for me). But I haven't really got into a rhythm with it all. The local pagans I hang out with have been doing this much longer than me, but some of them also have families or at least little girls at mainstream schools who still expect Christmas to happen with all the trimmings, and it's kind of so-so how much decoration and glitter and presents and festivities happens with the others so I am not alone in my pagan apathy.

I managed to sidestep being put in charge of the Christmas tree this year at work. Third time of pointing out that this duty seeming to be permanently handed to the one member of staff who does not strictly speaking celebrate "Christmas" perhaps sinking in. *snerk* Usually I do have a tree of my own at home, though, so it's a bit of a snide piece of objectioning (though I still can't help but feel that the thing with ending up doing this at work is inappropriate) and lots of pagans are all "Well, it's as much a pagan tradition anyway" about the whole tree thing. This year my tree is nearly naked and it's only been up about a week. I have no idea where I put the decorations when I was tidying in the summer. I did string fairylights all over the bedroom wall and dressing table, though.

Things keep stopping me from being properly pagan and going out to watch the solstice sunrise. This year -- and I wanted to, I was determined to, I planned it -- and I fell horribly ill with that sickness bug that put me down like a stone.

Now my family have been getting the same bug throughout the Christmas period, so it's been a downright strange festive period all around, this year.

Various emphatically-non-Christians on Tumblr were up in arms earlier in December about their world getting taken over by Christmas and guilting me for not being more determinedly pagan about this time of year. But I kind of had that crisis and then figured fuck it, I am not going to berate people for sending me Christmas cards that have Merry Christmas on them, I am not going to be snotty at people who wish me well, and I don't see any reason to get down on other people's festivities.

Though I kind of wish that it would start, say, around December 1st. And not at the end of August/beginning of September. Because I do not love the commercial emphasis and the hype. Yeah.

I feel like my response to this question should have been cleverer. Probably it would have been more spiritual if I had actually managed to answer it around the solstice and not been in a whimpering pathetic huddle of germs! :)
8th Dec: [personal profile] printfogey: Can you name two fandoms that truly surprised you, in a good way? Like you thought you knew what kind of book/comic/manga/show it would be the subject matter and tone, and then it turned out to either be about something quite different, or the way it treated the subject matter was way different from what it first seemed/what you had assumed.
Or maybe it was just unexpectedly good at what it was doing. Anything's fine!

I think you're kind of anticipating this one but I don't think I can not mention One Piece, because it looks insane, and I'd just been thoroughly turned off Shonen manga by the brain-sucking monstrosity that is Naruto (I think I got as far as time-skip, missing out a number of episodes on the way and then just... couldn't be bothered. I mean, I fucking love Gai and Lee and I didn't actually mind Naruto himself, but it's pretty obvious there are a zillion characters and the creator's interest is mostly focused on the atrociously uninteresting ones and the fandom is only focused on Sasuke). So yeah. I think I started watching because I was reading TvTropes and discovered Luffy had a similar power to Reed Richards, and the body horror/body modification stuff is always interesting to me. It looked completely nuts and I watched a few clips on YouTube and then I watched a few fight scenes and montages and then before I knew it I was watching the whole thing in order.

What I seriously, definitely wasn't expecting from the design of the characters and the general tone and the colours and the crazy was to discover this was actually A Show To Take Very Seriously. Which could and frequently did reduce it's audience to pathetic sobbing. And by the time you get to Nico Robin's backstory arc, really, there aren't enough tears in the world.

I think I watched most of the anime before I started reading the manga, on this one, but I can't be absolutely sure, it was a few years ago now.

I don't think there's another that's Surprising on the same level. I didn't expect Haven to take over my brain the way it did. I didn't expect Firefly to be worth the hype. I didn't have any expectations going into Fullmetal Alchemist (the first anime) because I'd never watched an anime that had that much emotion in it before and the hero was... kind of "eh, that's the hero?" and "like this is ever going to be anything I can take seriously? He's a freakin' tiny bad-tempered kid!" That was a very weird first-episode introduction, and that anime/manga are the nearest thing as damn it to fannish perfection for me now.

Maybe 3x3 Eyes? Because I think that time I was also TvTroping for body horror (it seems to be a thing I do when I'm between shows and in need of a fandom: I swear I don't know why, but horror in general doesn't draw me, I'm too fascinated by the supernatural IRL and I've watched/read too much profiler-type stuff to do more than doubt the psychology in slasher killers) and somehow stumbled across Yakumo's regeneration power, and it was a horror manga. I don't know if this was about the same time I was reading Franken Fran? I read a bunch of horror manga. So I was reading stuff that was pretty bloody and unyieldingly grim (though Franken Fran is pretty funny, too). And 3x3 Eyes? It's really bloody, but it's also really damn sweet. The characters are so earnest and well-meaning and essentially good and just adorable. The character designs are cute without being too unreal or overboard with it. The two main characters are a obviously a couple and they're a couple pretty much right the way through and tension isn't artificially derived from trying to split them up or engender misunderstandings between them... though there's so much going on that they don't actually get to consummate until almost the end of the series (that and there's the somewhat less amenable dual personality of the heroine, but it turns out they both love Yakumo in the end).

Anyway, it seems to turn a few things I'd got used to in shonen-ish manga/anime slightly askew and just be quite dissonent with the usual recipes of elements, and the heroes a lot more self-effacing and really just wanting to live normal lives rather than having great ambitions that they shout about a lot. I get the sense that Yuzo Takada kind of marches to his own tune? The other things of his that I enjoyed had a weird gentleness to them as well. (Shizume and Little Jumper. Didn't like the Blue Seed anime much, though, too much perving on the underage heroine.) And it is very bloody but most of that's Yakumo, who Gets Better (nb. healing factor: not so fun as you'd think it'd be), and toward the end it also gets very grim, and the ending isn't the happiest in the world, though it does have a sort of It All Ends Well Eventually clause. But I think this one felt more like an epic science fiction read for me than a manga, and especially than a horror or shonen manga. Felt like the stuff I used to borrow off my dad's bookself and curl up with when I was 14.

(There should be an anime of this one. It would kick ass. And then more people would get to be fannish about it. Yes.)

I don't know if this is the most helpful answer to the question, but there it is...

Now I want to re-read Franken Fran.
roseveare: (Luffy blink)
( Dec. 6th, 2014 09:09 am)
[personal profile] escritoireazul: What do you look for when creating and/or consuming vidlets?

This is yesterday's post late, because I came back from a party last night with a touch of food poisoning and fell asleep without doing anything much (just to complete the perfection of a thoroughly awful week). I'm going to take "vidlets" as "fanvids" because I don't particularly prefer or require them to be short, it was just that I called them vidlets in that particular post because if they were made quickly enough for the meme they'd have to be 30 to 60 seconds long.

This is a really difficult question because it's often been more defined by things that I don't want, when consuming vid, like ridiculous introductions that stroke the vidder's ego, excess special effects to the point they distort the clips, the CONSTANT talking montages (oh God Haven fandom why?) placed over the video. But looking at the pluses is something I haven't really done before. The negatives might still come in a little bit, but I'll try.

Good, strong music.

I'm not someone who listens to the charts and the radio. I have an aversion to plastic girl/boy band/singer pop. But if a song fits, then it fits. I'm more likely to like something with an older or indie or rock/folk/otherwise unusual song on it, but if it's a current chart song and it fits like hell and says something, then that can work just as well. Pirate Bones was using music I wouldn't usually like, although that song's alright and it is perfect for the context. The big thing is that for the love of everything it should try to be as unique as possible, at least a lesser vidded song. It can work with a song that's been vidded a million times in every fandom out there already but it had better be a perfect, perfect match otherwise there's no excuse for not finding something to give people a different experience. (There's always that little personal exception to this one, though: for instance, I'll rarely not enjoy a vid to Kryptonite.)

SO, individual/unique song choice. Something that fits the fandom's general musical tone is sometimes better, but it's not necessary. Particularly with a show that provides only an insipid folksy music soundtrack. (Disclaimer that musical taste is personal and there's nothing any of us can do about that, but a good match is still a good match.) I struggle hugely with song choice tbh. I've known I wanted to vid Duke/Nathan since I started watching Haven, but it took me a year and a half to find a song for them. Sometimes Fanmixes are good inspiration, although it's probably good to tell the fanmix creator they inspired you and then credit them the original thought behind the song choice.

A narrative is nice.

I like the videos that say something. I think most of mine have that narrative tied to the song lyrics. I'm a lot less about the vids that are composed of a bunch of shippy clips of a couple or sexy clips of a character or funny clips of a show. Sometimes with mine the narrative is quite complicated. Maybe too complicated. (One More Mile and All That's Gone, for eg.) Things tend to work better with a single clear intent than something that takes a paragraph to explain. But I kind of dig going for the complexity.

At the same time, I don't love vids to be so focused saying something meaningful and clever that the clips are weird or not interesting to watch or not really focused on the characters or relationship and the things that I'm into that show for...

I want to see the show/characters/clips in the vid.

If it's covered in special effects this can make it difficult to enjoy the vid for the things that I'm in it for in the first place. I'd rather see the characters, and that they not be green, strobing, cycling colours or flashes, or distorted by whorls or watercolour styles or anything else artificial. Sepia and black and white I'm alright with but it can take the visual interest from a vid if it's used the whole way through. I'll use black and white in sections for flashbacks or to distinguish a more thoughtful stretch of clips from the rest. Sometimes I'll alter a clip's original speed; this is usually if something doesn't fit the space I want it to occupy, or is slightly too fast/slow for the music. About 1-2 clips per vid I'll have a movement effect or a zoom on because it didn't have enough happening or didn't have the immediacy I needed without it. I'll use fade to/from black/white. That's about the limit of me and effects.

There have been very rare exceptions to this but as a rule an effects covered vid has to be done really, really well and hit all the notes perfectly to work for me.

Variation in pacing is good.

Generally the actual songs vary their pace, and have faster moments and slower moments, and give natural places to vary the pace of the vid. It works better if the clips follow that and take advantage of it to vary pace and zero in on parts that give the potential to do something slightly different. I think it adds more interest and makes it easier to keep attention. It also helps to break the vid into sections so you can have like little subordinate clauses to the main statement in it (hah) and focus on maybe a softer aspect if there's a slow section, and the like.

Cutting and clip choice.

I'm fond of relatively fast cutting because, hey, I've seen these clips before, you know? I know what happens next. All that's needed is to give me enough of the scene for the visual and to make the thematic/storyline connection and then move on. I don't need the whole scene set to music, because then my attention starts to drift. There's a particular style of framing the contents of the screen that I'm probably more fond of, looking for clips that are symmetrical (or give that appearance by the movement in them) or central -- if you want to see this in super-obsessive action look at Weight of the World because that one's packed with them. But there's also a factor of varying where the eye focuses on the screen being important, and the sense of movement within the clip itself is important. I think the movement issue is big in Poison, off the top of my head. That's in terms of sending the eye across the screen in an individual clip. Between clips it's not great to follow a head shot with a head shot, unless it's cutting within a conversation or a Meaningful Look between two characters (where that's really more the same clip with a cut in the middle). Basically I don't by preference want a clip that takes a particular distance view, whether close-up, middle-distance or long-distance action, and follow it up with a clip that's the same distance view from a different scene. If it's the same scene with a couple of cuts in it that's fine and can even help avoid confusion. This is more forgiving with the middle stuff than the extremes of this, though; it's just a matter of watching what looks right and making sure there's enough variation in there. But it is better in all instances (I think?) if the clips vary which part of the screen the main focus of interest is in, unless perhaps you're trying very hard to centre the eye's focus through the whole thing (see Weight of the World as above). This is still all about visual interest and variation.

I like and will use jump cuts. I believe they're not everyone's cut of tea. But I usually find there are moments where they work well. This feature has largely come about through wanting to pack clips into space that they are too big for. :D

ETA. Related to my effects bug, I'll use two types of transitions -- regular unadorned ones and fades. I don't know if anything else ever does anything but distract and detract from a vid, for me.

I'll probably think of something later that I could have said, but I think that's about it for now...? I'm always a little wary of the appearance of giving any guidelines and how-to-vid meta because I think I'm a part-time vidder at best, and there are lots of fans for whom vidding is their main thing who have more stake in this than I do, but at the same time I do have strong preferences/opinions. I think the conclusion here is I'm in the middle ground between 'clips of x character/ship looking hot set to music' and 'super arty vids', and ideally I want my preferred characteristics of both.

Links to the vids mentioned in here:
One More Mile http://roseveare.livejournal.com/406383.html
Weight of the World http://roseveare.livejournal.com/472222.html
All That's Gone http://roseveare.livejournal.com/716520.html
Poison http://roseveare.livejournal.com/664044.html
Pirate Bones http://roseveare.livejournal.com/477135.html

Vids tag on LJ for all my vids: http://roseveare.livejournal.com/tag/vids
[personal profile] tassosss: What was your first fandom?

I've just one substantial fanwork for my first fandom posted online and it's this one (if you've never seen Blake's 7, btw, this will spoil the hell out of you, but it'll definitely let you know what you're getting into):

Blake's 7 happened to be tucked in amongst the 1970s sci-fi and Doctor Who novelisations on my dad's old bookshelves which I raided when I was growing up and got tired of Enid Blyton and pony stories. The whole series started to be released on video when I was about 14, and I bought them. All of them. That was obsession to the tune of about £300 of saving up pocket money in the early 90s. I was in the fanclub, Horizon, and had some paper zines, but I've never actually published/posted any fic anywhere, although I did write some. I've still got it somewhere. The first fanfiction I ever wrote was a PGP (post-Gauda Prime, ie. the end of the series) episode-style gen. I think it may have been typed on a manual typewriter. Unless we were up to the greenscreen and the dot printer by that time. :D

My investment in the show was mostly about Avon and also about the women, because this show has awesome ladies. Women running around with guns doing everything that the men did, without anyone questioning their right or capacity to do that or treating them any more delicately than the male characters was very important to me. Cally and Soolin were my favourites. Soolin's characterisation was spotty because she wasn't around for as long as the other cast, but there were plenty of hints that she was as tough and ruthless and as smart as Avon, once she got going, albeit in different ways. Cally... I really liked Cally. The contradiction of the fight-to-the-death doggedness of her and being the compassionate voice of the crew, the telepath-alone. And obviously, SERVALAN. Is she the best female villain ever?

Anyway, back to Avon. I don't know how Paul Darrow manages to be a sex symbol in those outfits hamming it up for all he's worth. I think it's mostly about the voice? The character was something I hadn't seen before, Spock without the alien, adherence to logic with the knowledge that there's a human behind there who life somehow made that way, which I think is more intrinsically interesting. And there's the wall of sarcasm and mercenary attitude but of course you know he cares. He's out of his depth and he never wanted to be a part of the crew anyway and he ends up, somehow, in charge of the Liberator holding off an alien invasion and then nominally in charge of the remnant of Blake's quest, fighting for a cause he doesn't believe in and is endlessly sarcastic about but still fighting.

I'd have to admit here that I didn't have a huge amount of interest in Blake. He needed to be there to make up the themes and the tension but I don't have any amount of connection with that sort of idealist character. Vila's another popular one that I'm... eh, okay. And I'll read the Blake/Avon and Vila/Avon slash, but I'd rather read gen.

...Oh yes. And this, in my very first fandom, was where I encountered my first slash as well. I don't have a good memory of how I approached this at first. I remember seeking out the Vila/Avon for a while, because it tended to be fun and bantery, but was never terribly interested in Avon/Blake. (I think I was more into reading the slash in my second fandom, which was Deep Space 9, and Bashir/Garak & Bashir/O'Brien.)

This is kind of the Fandom of Death (which is what the above vid is about) and, gee, am I morbid? Let's see... Blake's 7... to Angel... to Haven. Hah.

I think this show definitely shaped my view of how science fiction should be, with the rag-tag band of dubious allies on a stolen spaceship, hopping from random planets which all looked vaguely like quarries, occasionally facing weird aliens that weren't supposed to exist but they sure encountered a lot of them for just one crew. The political dystopias, and the bleakness of it all. The crew that banter and go through all that together but might still stab each other in the back given the right incentive.

This didn't end up much of a pimping post, it's more just a blurge of thoughts. But if you haven't seen it, and you can take the shoddy sets and special effects of 1970s sci-fi, you should definitely give this one a go. Farscape and Babylon 5 were great but this was first and this is still greater.
roseveare: (Default)
( Nov. 27th, 2014 11:04 am)
Okay, let's do this, but make it multimedia. Ask for opinions on fandoms, fic recs, random whatever, ficlets, vidlets, gifs, cartoons and sketches. (Half of my cartoons are visually expressed opinion anyway.) I can't promise that any of the above will be elaborate or impressive or on time, but we can try. Don't feel like you have to know me well to put in a prompt. Anon is fine too, assuming it's still enabled and I didn't switch it off back when there was all the spam.

(I'm only going to put up the list dates/topics as people request them, though, because I'm not typing out 31 numbers and then getting 5 requests.)

(Also, if you have one of these with spaces still open, drop me a link to it, because I just went back several pages on my flist looking for them but I'm aware of being late to the party.)

1st Dec: tassosss: What was your first fandom?

5th Dec: escritoireazul: What do you look for when creating and/or consuming vidlets?

6th Dec: alessandriana: Haven and/or Jake 2.0 fic recs?

7th Dec: rheasilvia: ficlet (Duke-centric)

8th Dec: serrende: Can you name two fandoms that truly surprised you, in a good way? Like you thought you knew what kind of book/comic/manga/show it would be the subject matter and tone, and then it turned out to either be about something quite different, or the way it treated the subject matter was way different from what it first seemed/what you had assumed.
Or maybe it was just unexpectedly good at what it was doing. Anything's fine!

11th Dec: rheasilvia: fic rec

15th Dec: anonymous_sibyl: Have you ever drawn anything based on the series of original fantasy novels you've written? I'd love to see that sometime in December.

17th Dec: rheasilvia: ficlet (Doyle-centric)

20th Dec: justhuman: General thoughts on Solstice/Yuletide. And then more specifically, we know that pagan practices sprinkled themselves like glitter over Christmas, but nowadays is Christmas glitter back on the pagan Yule celebrations?


roseveare: (Default)


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