b/g - in the library

but... the story goes on without me!

As far back as I can remember, I've believed somewhere in the back of my head, at a gut level of knowing-ness, that the stories in books go on without me. If I put a book down in the middle, it means the story might go somewhere else that I can't see and won't know. I know this isn't a logical attitude, but it's what my brain thinks.

This has led me to sneaking books under the covers, into classrooms in middle-school, and under my desk at high school. Lead to me sitting up all night when I had to be at work at 8 am the next morning just to *find out.* Hilariously I used to get reprimanded for reading too much. Even as an adult. Of course I was often reading the wrong thing since it was mostly sci fi or fantasy books with lurid covers and crazy stories. But even with other types of literature I've always had trouble putting the damn book down.

Which is why I have trouble with WIPs, I think. I mean, I think in some fashion everyone wishes the story were complete, but I think there are a lot of people who really enjoy the getting there and don't mind if there isn't an end in sight.

Me, it's not the end I mind. I LOVE the getting there. It's that a WIP is like a book I'm being *made* to put down. And not being allowed to pick it back up (because there's nothing *to* pick up).

There are only a couple of writers I'll read WIPs from, and it's only because either I love them so much that I don't care, or that the world is so big it's ok, I wouldn't be able to take it all in anyway. For example:

[personal profile] seperis has been writing the epic, world-eating SPN AU fic Down to Agincourt (Dean/Castiel, eventually NC17, currently at 1,077,012 words and STILL unfinished) and I love that. An enormous take on one of the AUs that the show itself spawned, she asks what would have happened if Dean had gotten stuck at the end of the world? It's so fucking dense, textured, ridiculously complex, and yet I *want to know* what happens. But it's also so sprawling that it's ok that Dean and Cas are sitting around at the end of the world waiting to figure out how in the hell they're going to get screwed over AND screw Lucifer's endgame all at the same time. I mean she brought in Goddesses on this stuff. There's whole subplots that make me want to do research as a reader. I have hope that eventually it'll play out, and I'm fine with them living in the back of my head. Though I still tend to try and read not chapter-by-chapter when she publishes, but entire story-by-story so at least an arc is complete.

the ONLY fic that I've ever been pretty into as a WIP isn't so much a WIP as there are short, self-contained fics that are added to a collection periodically that expand the universe just a little bit more.

[archiveofourown.org profile] feather (or [archiveofourown.org profile] lalaietha) wrote this pretty long MCU Steve/Bucky recovery fic your blue eyed boys (Steve/Bucky, M, 123,233 words), which is amazing and lovely. It's all about Steve really trying to figure out what *will* help a Bucky who shows up on his doorstep but is relearning how to ask for things, want things, remember things, consider himself human. But then.

Then she started writing shorts in the 'verse.

(even if i could) make a deal with god (Steve/Bucky, Natasha/Clint, Bruce/Betsy, Pepper/Tony,) that has at last count 121 short fics in it. And short sometimes is 1,000 words, but sometimes is like 20,000. Word count on these "shorts" totals 478,092. Also though it's got some of the most amazing OCs ever, like, ever. When she puts a new segment out in this 'verse it's nonlinear, she jumps around, even though the timeline is incredibly well thought out and everything does fit together if you went and decided to read it right now. It also works though because Bucky's recovery is non-linear, and the form fits the emotional tone of his and Steve's life. Some of the fics make me cry. Some make me sigh. Some make me cheer. There's a young girl Mercedes who you will want to make friends with. Actually the best part of this series is that it's populated with incredible women - a vet named Chloe, her girlfriend Paula, even Betsy Ross is clearly Feather's Betsy Ross. Oh and there's a whole other sub-collection for the Natasha-focused stories [to see you there] (mostly Natasha but also Natasha/Clint, and it's another 133,179 words!)

But these two are pretty much it.

Until last night. When I made the mistake of following links from [archiveofourown.org profile] BetteNoire's Lucky Seven (Steve/Bucky power-AU, very NC17, 94,264 words) where Bucky is ex-russian mafia and fixes/races bikes and Steve is a very tired superhero to this:

([archiveofourown.org profile] silentwalrus, Steve/Bucky, PG13 for violence at this point, 109,211 words)

Steve gets out of the hospital in two days, but just barely. “I’m fine,” he tells Sam, Nurse Eunjung and the phalanx of doctors assigned to make sure Captain America didn’t bleed out and die and get bad PR all over their nice clean hospital. “I have an advanced healing factor. It’s fine. See? I’m standing.”

“That is not standing,” Sam tells him.

“You’re bending the IV stand,” Nurse Eunjung adds pointedly. “Let go and sit down, they don’t grow on trees.”


aka Steve and Bucky's Global Honeymoon Revenge World Tour.


But it's only 12 of 16 chapters done!!

And I didn't realize that until 1:30 am last night, as I'm rounding the corner on their adventures and the boys are getting a little bit lighter and less covered in grim and grime, and there are some truly funny and amazing bits in this and it has all my favorite loves for these two -- Steve getting to have faith in his Bucky, Bucky getting to be a badass but also getting to be fucking wounded and figuring his own way out, Natasha being the one who actually calls everybody for being ridiculous, even herself, and I just....

I don't want it to END per se, but somewhere they're still out there in the back of my brain moving forward in ways that my rational brain knows the fic hasn't moved forward yet. But the irrational gut feeling of me knows that I'm standing still not reading and is worried they'll be going places I can't catch up to.

Thank god for subscriptions.

also posted to katekat on dreamwidth | you can reply here or there
b/g - in the library

Goodbye to my Grandfather

My maternal Grandfather passed away last week Sunday after celebrating his 98th birthday in April. His passing wasn't entirely a surprise, because he'd been having circulation trouble (specifically in his legs and feet) for two years or so, Collapse ), so when he elected to move to the full-care hospice on the Friday after Thanksgiving (or the Wednesday before? something like that), we kind of guessed. He passed away in his sleep, pretty peacefully as far as we know.

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want to see a slideshow about his life? click me

The Horseman
(a poem by my Grandfather Lee F. Page)

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also posted to katekat on dreamwidth | you can reply here or there
b/g - in the library

Sunday night

People have horrible taste.

I know because I read the fanfiction they recommend. And it's true that my tolerance for shitty fanfic has lessened the more fanfiction I've read (there's a great Japanese grammatical expression for this as a verb ... yomerebayomeruhōdo or roughly if you read, you read too much though it can be used in a positive sense). But I just had to nope nope nope out of a fanfic that used given names every single sentence the two men uttered to each other. So sad. It's my own fault for reading a hooker-au I suppose.

I was weirdly depressed yesterday. Not that I mean there's no trigger or that it's weird to be depressed, but more that the depression itself felt different than other depressions I've felt in the past - almost as if I was on the edge of crying even though I was having quite regular conversations and laughing with my friends who came over the other night. I was both at a remove and totally present... performing laughter and interest and engagement at the same time that I was ready to close my eyes and hang my head. I know this is actually a pretty common sign of depression, but it's the first time I've felt it quite like that, a sort of visceral tingling around the edges of my eyes and a heaviness to my limbs. The brain is a curious thing, isn't it? If it doesn't recede (emotions, like tides, arrive in a wave in my brain and body, sometimes rushing up and sometimes sneaking in until the entire shore is engulfed) soon I'll go talk with someone and get some help managing it. For right now I'm chalking it up to holidays and seasonal changes, with a added parental visit and phd/job market pressure thrown in.

It may also be that my current closest female friends in LA are all pretty big emoters themselves right now - one is pretty much in constant job-related turmoil (job-related but world ending, everything is crucial and precariously balanced on a knife blade), one is learning to manage her anxiety but still having pretty extreme anxiety ... loops (they're not sudden so i hesitate to call them attacks), and one who just got back into town and who likes to fall head first into two-week great love affairs with men, or jobs, or plans to return to school, or friendships. The thing is they're all brilliant, caring, and kind of awesome, but it feels a bit like juggling with explosives sometimes. And that's even when I do a lot of self-care.

Hey, such is life. Like tides.

also posted to katekat on dreamwidth | you can reply here or there
b/g - in the library

so it's not anxiety, it's learning to overcome distress intolerance

One of my good friends had approximately a four-hour anxiety ... it's not quite correct to say attack, maybe bout? a spike? an episode? regardless, it was four hours of it that we spent together. She was having an extremely difficult day and came over as one of her management strategies (sometimes being alone makes for even more difficult spikes). I tried as best I could to help - we took a walk, I made tea, I encouraged her to eat a granola bar, since she hadn't been able to eat yet today. And we talked, and talked, and talked, and talked. She'd had a fight with her boyfriend and was pretty concerned that he was going to break up with her.

It was an all around rough time. The tough part about her anxiety is that she loops through a series of thoughts always spinning into the worst case scenario - a boring dinner with a friend becomes that friend hating being at the dinner table, and silently judging every word of the conversation. a fight becomes the ending of the relationship. a causal comment becomes a flat out rejection or veiled criticism that someone must *always* be thinking *all the time*.

So I found this website that, while I wouldn't sent it to her (she can google just fine on her own), helped me have some more possible strategies for helping her manage the distress. I don't know if it's a terrible website - maybe someone who knows about the therapeutic side of this can look at it and tell me?

But it's certainly helped *me* be more focused in how I react to her anxiety - made me feel less at sea. I am not a trained therapist, I'm her friend. And oh gods my first thing that I ask her is if she will consider talking with her therapist about this stuff, and encouraging her to do so. And if nothing else came out of this day, one of the best things that did is she set up more frequent sessions when she got ahold of her therapist (apparently they don't do phone stuff on the weekend, but regardless). So yay. But sometimes I feel like I don't know how to be a good friend, and that I inflict damage just talking things through with her because the way i approach things is different. Some of this stuff did slightly better than suggesting she breathe with me (which has been my go to in the past, with ineffective results).

The site also reassured me about the stuff my Mom does to manage her manic episodes when she's on an upswing. It reminded me that my Mom has been going to therapy for longer than some people have been alive, and she's been managing the effects of her nonstandard brain chemistry for a long long time. There's no perfect in bipolar, but there's strategies too. And she works her way through a lot of them.

She's visiting for the holidays, you see. So she was here today too (and sympathetic to my friend, though also mostly just letting us do our thing while she made cranberry sauce for the friendsgiving we went to as well).

So, four hours of trying to help a friend manage distress intolerance, two and a half hours of friendsgiving, and I was done. We've spent the rest of the night in two armchairs reading (and I've been talking to elizabuffy!), and that was about all I can manage.

also posted to katekat on dreamwidth | you can reply here or there
b/g - in the library

scary tales of uber

I don't know if any of you are into alternative modes of transportation that have arisen in the last couple of years, but if you live in LA like me, they pretty much have transformed the landscape. Collapse )

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I wrote all that so I could get to this.

Here's a horror story of someone who, because she refuses to accept technology, got completely shafted. Here's a horror story that I don't quite know the moral lesson to.

My ex-housemate from Japan (remember her? I'll try to tag this post appropriately if you don't) is someone who eschews mobile technologies. She's very frugal so I think she doesn't have a smart phone so that she can save money. She also pretty much refuses to text people. It's been a source of irritation for others of our friends just because that is an easy way to communicate that's pretty ubiquitous. I haven't talked to her about it, but I'm pretty sure she doesn't have a texting plan.

So she went to a conference on the east coast a couple of weeks ago, and she had to get a ride back to the airport. Apparently the public transit system was on the fritz due to a storm. The taxi line was really long. An Uber guy pulled up alongside the taxi stand and she decided to take it.

However, because she doesn't have the app on her phone, she gave her credit card to the driver, who said he could input her card into his phone - it would charge her for the amount they drove.

What was supposed to be a $50 charge (long drive to the airport) turned into a $300 charge.

That's right - $300.

And because she gave her card to the driver, she didn't even get a receipt for the transaction (all of these apps email you receipts in-app). Her bank won't let her fight it, because she can't show a receipt. She's probably going to be out $300 because she didn't use the service in the way it was intended. And because she took a risk going with a driver who then bilked her out of money (oh, and the charge to her card is UberBlack - their limo service... so she may have gotten ripped off because that WAS the charge for the service, not the $50 the driver told her).

Crazypants huh? I think so too.

also posted to katekat on dreamwidth | you can reply here or there
b/g - in the library

I'm a terrible bowler, a decent friend, and a nester extraordinare

Like seriously, went bowling Friday night to celebrate a friend's birthday and got the lowest score, and our high scorers were in the ~100 points range. I don't think I broke 50? For *any* of the games we played. I do know the logic of bowling, but my fingers are too thick to fit into the holes properly. [insert a holes/fingering joke here now if you're so inclined... it seems appropriate] So I ended up mostly dropping the ball instead of actually throwing it. I spent most of one game throwing granny style with both hands just so my wrist didn't get entirely thrown out of whack. Still fun though - giggling and mugging for each other, celebrating every single pin being knocked down, and marveling at the computer graphics (we can now pick exciting under the sea theme games so there are cute little fish animations adding up our scores).

Spent last night with a friend who is trying to process her mom's cancer diagnosis - she just spent two weeks with her family while her mom had emergency surgery for a cyst, and it was the worst news on the biopsy - it's metastasized. Twenty years ago I think cancer terminology entered into the common vocabulary, but it's weird to think that fifty years ago there wouldn't be these words that have meaning for us now: cyst, benign, biopsy, lymph notes, metastasized, chemo, and the rest. Of course she's trying to process and it's all uneven, because like so many of us with family her relationship with her parents is conflicted, and with her larger family it's confusing, and with her sibling it's difficult. And part of the reason why we're such good friends is that we both have a savior complex a mile wide and a couple of miles deep. There's something about being there that we're both so sure makes all the difference (and it sometimes can, because it's family, and we understand family in almost instinctual ways -- but that sometimes isn't the most healthy move, for the family or for us). Anyway, we sat and talked and pet the puppy, and went for a long dinner where we caught up. It was really good. Maybe not as much processing as she could use or need, but maybe it was enough to give her a space to be away, and to smile for an hour, and to just breathe.

Oh, and to rehang the party lights. I wanted them moved so they'd actually hang over my little cafe table outside and it only took me (and friend, since I needed one person to hang and one person to hold the strings) almost a month to do it!

But the thing that's making me really smile the most right now is that I bought myself an adult chair! If I've done this right you should be able to click it and see the beautiful picture from the website. I love it. I keep petting it. I can't stop sitting in it, either, which I know - that's the point, right? But also makes me realize how much I sit in one place in my living room.

What about you guys? Do you have a living room and you move around from couch to chair? Or are you like me and you have one chair (ok, I now have three chairs, but one is broken down, the other is the housemate's chair, and the third is my new chair) and you pretty much stay in that chair all the time? Searching my memory, my stepmom has "her" space on the couch that she's had for years...and my mom certainly has had her favorites that she stuck to. So at least I come by it via the parents, even if no one else has their "spot" in their living room.

eta: dear gods I originally started this post thinking I was going to wax nostalgic over files I found on my backup drive, meander through my job prospects and what my writing plans are for the week, and blather about being afraid of moving... the best laid plans, eh?

also posted to katekat on dreamwidth | you can reply here or there
b/g - in the library

Message I'm considering sending

Dear Cousin,

I'm defriending you on facebook. Not because I think you're a bad person - I think you have good intentions and those come from someone with a good heart. Not because you comment on my posts with different opinions - I actually like talking to people with opinions different than mine, especially when they are well read, and you seem to do a lot of reading.

But every time you comment on something I post you're aggressive and you level personal attacks at me. You told me I had no right to my opinions because I wasn't a mother. You told me it was no wonder your mom stopped talking to mine because I was just terrible as she was. Today you are telling me I'm being argumentative and I think you're also accusing me of being fat when I was trying to tell you "hey, you have your opinion and I have mine, and this is why I have mine."

I friended you because I'm not close to you and you're my cousin. And I remembered you from when we were kids. I wanted to get to know you. But when you comment so aggressively to my posts, when you tell me I can't have an opinion different than yours, when you call me ignorant, or terrible, when you attack me? It makes me feel bad, and sick, and angry. Maybe that's what you mean to do. If so, that's pretty toxic, because you don't know me either.

It seems like you're pretty happy with your life. I'm glad. I'm pretty happy with my life too. And one of the ways I try to draw boundaries in my life is to stop accepting abuse in the name of family or friends. I hope you have a good life. If I see you at a family thing I'll be happy to have a conversation with you - again I wish you well and happy. But I don't actually need to be attacked online.

Be well,
Katekat1010

also posted to katekat on dreamwidth | you can reply here or there
b/g - in the library

Recapping life - that's just like recapping TV right?

I'm in a nostalgic mood because I'm rewatching Buffy (Season 4 rocks!4eva!) in my free time, just introduced one of my friends to the first episode of Firefly last night, am sorta joining in on the Veronica Mars rewatch my housemate is doing when she has it on and I come home, and basically... it's like TV in the past. Oh and my friend "IL" has me watching Empire's first season because she loves Cookie so. Can't argue with that - the role is so much better for Taraji Henson than her character on Person of Interest. Not that it's perfect - Empire is very much a show about drama. High drama is ridiculous all the time. No one's life is like that. And people have a bad habit of breaking into song (though it's not as bad as Smash). But at least Cookie has some range - is good, bad, beautiful, strong, both generous and selfish in turns. Henson is absolutely fascinating to watch no matter what she's doing.

But since I'm watching "Primeval" I'm feeling all blog-centric. Well that and I had a great conversation with my mom last night about what we put in journals and why we love them so. Even though this isn't a written journal it is a record of pieces of my life, and even though sometimes it's fragments, it's still a record of some kind. Just like every journal is fragmented. I can't tell you how many times I've sat on an airplane writing the first page of my journal for my trip to somewhere ... Japan, Boston, Minnesota. Traveling brings back the introspection in my family apparently.

And Buffy watching.

So, in navel gazing, I had a major birthday. It passed with fanfare of the best kind - planned and executed well, if I do say so myself. There were a hideous number of festive tissue paper pom-poms and garlands made of playing cards, and while there weren't fountains of punch there were several pitchers of sangria that went over incredibly well. Oh, and cupcakes! All of my thinking and obsessing and preparation and anticipation actually worked out incredibly well!

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Work has been relatively good this week, which is nice - I'm trying to finish a rough draft of my entire dissertation by the end of November, so we'll see how that goes. It's going to be a close thing. But every time I sit down and read another magazine I feel closer to my source material, and even though I haven't read everything, I've read so many new things that expand my understanding of the conversation happening within the pages of the magazine. And it was a conversation, even if it's hard to hear how people speak back to a printed article. It's pretty awesome.

I went to my second academic SF conference the weekend after my birthday - both fun and a little weird. Lots of cool info about scifi that doesn't always get into the conversation. Did you know that there was a pretty big Mexican Cyberpunk movement in the 1990s? And that First Nations peoples are considering alternative ways of knowing as both SF but also just S (ie: science). One of my professors presented on some of her preliminary work on Korean SF, and a friend presented on this amazing graphic novel where the two women main characters are a spaceship captain and the engineer and they both make love to each other and their ship!

Unfortunately there was also just a little social weirdness. Some of the male grad students I struck up a conversation with were dudebros, and some of the spanish speakers just straight up didn't talk in English in order to exclude the non-spanish speakers from the conversation, but such is life.

also posted to katekat on dreamwidth | you can reply here or there
b/g - in the library

That time when all things spiral inward to one due date...

10 jobs to apply for, 8 post doc applications due, chapter rewrites required, book reports, an article submission deadline, the world feels like one of those swirling vortexes with a black hole at the center that eats all light (that is, of course, October 1, my first due date). Then, if I'm lucky, I get sucked through the whole and come out the wormhole on the other side.

Of course there's also half a dozen meetings between now and then on campus until 9 pm that I'm due to go to, so the educationally social is coming along hand in hand with the academic. Then there's things like friends. Why am I not a hermit?

Kidding. Mostly. I like people. I like my friends. I like them so much I actually am throwing a party for my birthday that will wine and dine them. And things keep arriving from amazon to help with the party. It's pretty cool.

but wow, i kind of am loving and fearing the next two weeks. It's like how I imagine stepping through a stargate feels - anticipation mixed with fear until you arrive safely on the other side.

also posted to katekat on dreamwidth | you can reply here or there
b/g - in the library

A turning point is coming...

In a little more than a month I'll be turning 40. Most of my friends are in their late 20s, so it's a weird place to stand socially. I'm considering throwing myself a fantastic 40 party with a kind of boozy alice-in-wonderland type theme, but we'll see if I change my mind 50 times between now and then or not.

I've been seeing two fannish turnings that I'm fascinated by:

1) some interesting meta by someone in the Hockey RPF about one of the Hockey players who is probably a rapist and why she's going to continue writing it. eta: author has apparently removed post entirely, which is a bummer. It was her discussing how she got into reading and writing RPF through LOTR and Merlin, where the actors' characterizations in fic were largely constituted through the characters they played. She then argued that because of this, she was writing/reading a fictionalized character of a real hockey player, and didn't have to take into account in her writing the *real* person's current actions. He was being accused of raping a woman.

This was my response:
Collapse ) We have this idea that there is some perfect world where all these stories have absolutely no meaning and are just fun (thus having no effect), but in the same breath (or in your same post) we conceive of the fanfiction process as transformative and liberatory - it actually MUST have an effect in order to be transformative and liberatory.

Acknowledging that damage is possible is the only way to continue forward, I think.

Also, could you please add something about this being a discussion because of rape allegations in your tags (or notes)? It seems like a gaping absence.

2) fannish history is a continual act of forgetting, it seems, instead of a continual act of remembering. This post by [personal profile] bluemeridian is something that I've heard about multiple times over the years, and interestingly seems to happen with every generation. I was (am?) part of the LJ generation of fandom (I started on yahoo groups and sent out my first fic through them, but still did most of my fannish stuff on LJ as a platform). But I've become aware of a much larger fannish history the longer I've been in fandom and the longer I've read academic things by people who do fandom studies. Henry Jenkins writes about Beauty and the Beast fan practices Textual Poachers, and that there even *was* a fandom around this media property is largely forgotten in the oral history of fan culture I was introduced to in the early years.

I don't think it's indicative of a particular aspect of fan culture, though there is something to the way that new technologies and online platforms, because of increasing monetization of participation, would like us to forget what forms came before. Tumblr is invested in keeping people *only* on tumblr (only and *all the time*) because it lets them make claims about unique users and advertising, and the sense of newness and exclusivity creates a user over-identification that they really want. After all, yahoo groups users are unique, adventurous, young, and hip like no one else on the internet! NO, wait, I mean LJ users are unique, adventurous, young, and hip like no one else on the internet! NO, wait, I mean facebook and twitter users are unique, adventurous, young, and hip like no one else on the internet! No, wait, I mean tumblr users are unique, adventurous, young, and hip like no one else on the internet! /sarcasm

I think it's actually indicative of human culture. As much as we try to spend time reminding ourselves about history, collectively we spend just as much time rewriting or ignoring history.

also posted to katekat on dreamwidth | you can reply here or there