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12 Days of Christmas

I know the 12 days of Christmas aren't till later, and I missed the start of the month for an advent-calendar-type thing, BUT I saw this on meh-guh's tumblr and thought it sounded cool (slightly modified). Not sure I can pull off one per day, but let's give this a shot:

Drummers Drumming:Twelve facts about my holiday life
Pipers Piping:Eleven of my favorite things
Lords a-Leaping:Ten things I like about my personality
Ladies Dancing: Nine facts about my body
Maids a-Milking:Eight things I like about my friends
Swans a-Swimming:Seven foods I dislike
Geese a-Laying:Six quirks
Golden Rings:Five shiny things I like
Calling Birds:Four things I dislike about my life
French Hens: Three rivals/enemies
Turtle Doves:Two people I like
Partridge in a Pear Tree:My one love


Twelve drummers drumming...Collapse )

SPN countdown, day 6 of 10

Let's pretend it's still yesterday.

Thoughts on Season Six...Collapse )

SPN countdown, day 5 of 10

So close to being my favorite season, except for one thing.

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SPN countdown, day 4 of 10

The first episode I saw live is the episode that's still my favorite.

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SPN countdown, day 3 of 10

Among other things, S3 had the best DVD cover.

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SPN countdown, day 2 of 10

Season Two. Best season. That is all.

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SPN countdown, day 1 of 10

Because it sounds like fun even if I know there's no way I'll actually make a post every day for the next ten days. (Optimism, I haz it.)

The first SPN episode I ever saw was "Skin." I got into SPN through the side door by reading fanfic from an author I really liked from another fandom. *waves at jennk528* This was during the summer after S3, and I read through the Wikipedia descriptions of the seasons and the episodes and thought this sounded worth watching (the characters had already captivated me from the fic I'd read). I love love love love love the evil twin trope, so I thought I'd start with "Skin."

Hello.

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I read a book and I liked it

Embarrassing confession: I literally can't remember the last time I read a fiction book (that I hadn't read before). I was a voracious reader as a kid, but now with fanfiction and the Internet and whatnot, sitting down to read a piece of fiction when I know nothing about the author or the characters has seemed surprisingly intimidating and time-consuming.

BUT. I saw a rec on tumblr from xcziel that intrigued me, and so I gave it a shot. Ancillary Justice by Ann Leckie won last year's Nebula Award as her first novel (!!) She also won the Golden Tentacle Award for best debut novel; I did not know such an award existed, and now I WANT IT. *ahem* Anyway, I put it on my iPad next to my collection of Big Bangs and had at it.

It was interesting and well worth the read. I suspect I have read better fanfic, but it was certainly quite good. She did some really intriguing things with POV and language and show-don't-tell that got me thinking about how we write speculative fiction and introduce world-building and all of that. To my mind, her creativity came in those elements rather than in characterization or plot or themes, but that's not to knock her creativity. (You have to appreciate a book that uses "she" as the default pronoun.) I don't want to put any spoilers in the post, but I would love to discuss the book in comments if anyone has read it. And I would recommend it to you sci-fi geeks out there!

The Love Meme

Exciting and new
Come aboard, we're expecting you...

Wow, I can't believe that song is still floating around somewhere in the back of my brain. Anyway, the LJ revival continues!



♥ LOVE MEME ♥

full meme | my thread

Summertime, and the livin' is easy

Bored. Bored, bored, bored. I have so much to do in terms of work and fic and running and quilting that I don't want to do any of it. As an aside, I've noticed that I can be disciplined about any two of those four things at once: I did great churning out the fic this spring, but now I'm burned out on it. I've been better about running more often and for longer, but I can't seem to get myself to work even though it's summer and my only deadlines are vague, far-off ones. Of course, that could be the problem; I work better under pressure, I guess.

Way back at the start of the year, I had this post-a-week idea set up, and then I stopped doing it. I still have a lot of suggestions to answer, so I'm going to start with xcziel's question:  maps! Top 5 things you love about them + 1 time you maybe were a little bit of a map!geek.

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There are still plenty of weeks left to fill, if you have questions you want to ask!

Baseball!

In honor of LJ posting day, I'm posting to say why I'm not posting.

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Real estate update

So remember this house that Mr. Z and I have been trying to sell? The one we put on the market last May and had zero interest in all summer and fall, the one where we decided not to renew our realtor's contract when it ended in December? We found a new realtor and spent a few thousand dollars getting the place fixed up (while being in NZ/AU), put it back on the market in February, and got an offer within a couple of days. Hooray! we thought.

But the house isn't willing to let go of us just yet.

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Melbourne report

I find it really hard to believe that we've been here for a month already. Feels like we just got here! On the other hand, New Zealand seems forever ago, and Melbourne is starting to feel familiar. There's only seven weeks to go, one of which will be in Sydney, so it also feels like it's all going to be slipping away soon. :( I don't know if I can handle going back to a place without five cafes on every block, and worse yet, a place where they don't have flat whites. There's no brewed coffee here, just espresso (short black), espresso with water (long black), lattes, or something like a cappuccino but with micro-foamed milk (flat white). So coffee is always freshly made and always really flavorful. And it's everywhere. Sushi bars, Thai restaurants, fried chicken shops, pizza parlors, ice cream shops, etc. I decided early on to set myself the challenge of having coffee from a different place every day, and so far I haven't had to deviate more than a block off my usual walk to campus. :D

So I'm loving the coffee, and I'm loving living on the 16th floor overlooking the city and one of the many parks/gardens that fill the city (and are great for running in; thanks to pedestrian overpasses and riverside paths, the distance you can cover without having to cross more than one or two streets is incredible), and I'm loving that I'm missing one of the coldest and snowiest winters the Midwest has ever had (sorry not sorry). Here's the view from our bedroom, followed by two shots from the balcony:

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Icon meme

So dugindeep picked out five icons for me to talk about a while ago, and I finally got to it!

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52 weeks: running

I haven't been keeping up with the post-a-week, but since I have nowhere near 52 weeks' worth of questions, I figure I can cut myself some slack. :) And also ask for more submissions!

The lovely deirdre_c asked me to share my most and least favorite things about running.

When it goes well and when it goes poorly.Collapse )

SPN report

[Thoughts on "The Purge" below the cut...]

My instant response on Twitter was, "Well, that's not going to result in several violent eruptions of Mt. Fandom or anything." So I might be poking the volcano here, but...

I want to go back to my second response to 9.02. I pointed out the three times Sam had done the "right thing" and it bit him in the ass: not shooting YED!John, letting Jake live, and not sacrificing Nancy. Then he was willing to try anything to save Dean (Time is on My Side), and later, anything to avenge him. Eventually, that led to the Apocalypse and Sam saying yes to Lucifer, and tortures in Hell that we still don't know the full extent of. At this point in time, given the past decisions Sam has made and how they've turned out for all involved, he seems to have learned that the cost of saving the one you love can sometimes be too high. So that's one reason I understand his pronouncement that he wouldn't do to/for Dean what Dean had done to/for him.

(Of course, Dean's deal to save Sam also led to the Apocalypse. But just as Sam observed in this episode, Dean did it for himself, not for Sam. (Although I think it's fair to say that both of them bore the brunt of that sacrifice, if in different ways.) And Dean did let Sam go once (the "overgrown man" conversation). As agelade just wrote, that's probably why Dean can't let him go again. But I also think that it was about Dean feeling that Sam needed to atone for what he had done, which was not the case in the church or in 9.01.)

There's another really important thing to keep in mind here. There's been a lot of talk about the many different ways Sam's body has been violated without or against his consent: YED in the crib, possession by Meg, hunters holding him down to force demon blood on him, the body swap with Gary, all the things soulless!Sam did, Hallucifer's very obvious hints about rape in Hell, etc. And then the final blow: Gadreel and Crowley, both at the hands of the person Sam had trusted most for all of his life. If the question Dean asked of Sam at the end of this ep was, "If the situation was reversed, would you do the same thing?", can you blame Sam for saying that under the same circumstances, he wouldn't force yet another bodily violation on his brother? That's the piece that Dean is still missing or not understanding, and as long as the show refuses to give us Sam's perspective on S9, I don't think that he'll get it.

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Title: Hic Sunt Dracones
Artist: lightthesparks
Author: zubeneschamali
Rating: PG-13
Genre: Gen
Word count: 9,557
Warnings:[Spoiler (click to open)]character death (OC)
Spoilers: general for first half of S9
Summary: AU for S9. After the Wicked Witch was dispatched, Sam and Dean decided it would be a good idea to try mapping out the rest of the bunker. Dean never expected to find something as unreal as a hatching dragon…or that it might prove to be the answer to how to get rid of Sam's no-longer-welcome passenger.

A/N: This is my entry for the 2013 spn_reversebang. I was lucky to get in fast enough to choose a wonderful piece of art that turned out to be by lightthesparks, which made it even better! She's been great to work with and I've had a good time collaborating with her. I also owe her for the title, which is perfect for the story. One of her most excellent posters is below the cut, but you should see all of her awesome art here. Thanks also to fiercelynormal for the beta job.

Dragon_Banner

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52 weeks: what's your area of study?

Last Sunday, I was shivering in Minneapolis in negative (Fahrenheit) temps while it snowed and blowed enough at home to send dozens of cars into the highway ditches. Yesterday, I went for a run and ended up wearing just a t-shirt. Gotta love the Midwest.

Wed. is the day we take off for the second semester of sabbatical! First is the 31-hour plane trip, assuming all goes well. *fingers crossed* Then there are a little over two weeks in New Zealand, which should be awesomely fun and beautiful and leading to lots of excellent photos. And then from Feb. to mid-Apr., both Mr. Z and I will be visiting the University of Melbourne, doing research in our respective areas.

Which leads me to the question cassiopeia7 asked me: what's my field/discipline?

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If you have questions about me you'd like answered, there's still plenty of room on the calendar here.

Belated travel report: Scotland

The new year is 5 days old and I've already had one fangirl meetup: beadslut for a lovely brunch in St. Paul. The company as well as the biscuits and gravy were awesome; the subzero temps were not so awesome. Can't wait till tomorrow, when it's forecast to be colder here than it is on Mars. (No, I'm not kidding.)

For the first week of my post-every-week-all-year meme (which still needs a lot more blanks filled in--lurkers are particularly welcome!), wendy asked to see those pics of Scotland I teased about but never showed you. Not wanting to be accused of being a tease who doesn't put out deliver as promised, here they are!

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Happy 2014

It's still 2013 in Central Standard Time as I write this, but it's the new year for most everyone reading it, so Happy New Year! *horns* *confetti*

This upcoming year promises to gain me more frequent flier miles than I've ever gotten before, including three months spent on sabbatical in Australia. I'm really looking forward to it, esp. since winter has been tougher than usual already. I got to meet up with 7 different fangirls on my first semester of sabbatical, so here's hoping the second semester goes just as well. :D

I have some specific, goal-oriented resolutions, but I'm not going to bore you with them. I can boil them down to two:
1) Be more communicative. (speak out more, call friends more often, respond to e-mails and comments more quickly, stop dropping into a black hole on occasion)
2) Focus on what makes me happy in the long-term instead of what I want right now. (eat healthier, exercise as training, work for a few more minutes rather than check tumblr one more time, focus on quality rather than quantity in fic writing)

As motivation for #1, I'm adapting the "ask me a question" meme I've seen floating around to one a week for the whole year. Now, I don't know if 52 people even read this journal, so if you have two questions you'd like to ask, go right ahead! I'll take questions on fandom, writing, quilting, running, places I've lived or have traveled to, my job, random icebreaker questions, or whatever you want to ask. If it's something I'm not comfortable answering in public, I'll let you know. Here's the schedule: let me know what you want to ask and when you want to ask it!

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Title: Time to Let Go
Author: zubeneschamali
Rating: PG-13
Warnings: mention of suicide
Word count: 3,110
Spoilers: through S9 mid-season hiatus
Summary: Sam's only been himself again for a few months when an old enemy threatens to end his life for good. Can he trust Dean to save him, or is it better to just let go?


A/N: Written for the ohsam prompt (full version here) of post-Gadreel Sam not trusting Dean even though his life is at stake. Also filling the "twenty-four hours to live" square on my trope_bingo card, which makes it a blackout bingo! \o/

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Best. Exchange. Gift. Ever.

You guys, I am flailing so much I can't even. I have wanted an SPN vid of Bruce Springsteen's "No Surrender" for YEARS, and this year ash48 got me in the spn_j2_xmas exchange and made all my dreams come true. It's mostly early seasons, but there's the right amount of later seasons in there, too, and all the Sam and Dean feels, and PERFECT use of the lyrics and the music (duh, it's ash48), and you really need to go and watch it right now. Even if you're kinda sorta or totally out of the fandom, you'll still appreciate it.

Vid here

Thank you SOOOOO much, Ash!

Happy Monday!

Because wendy prompted us to make a post today, and because I have a thread at the Holiday Love Meme that I wanted to subtly point out.

And because I'm back home! The first semester of sabbatical is winding down, and I traveled a lot and wrote a lot and didn't work nearly as hard as I should have, which is probably why multiple people have told me I look much more relaxed and happier. Huh. Go figure.

I have much to say about my visits to different places and the many fangirls I saw there, but let me leave you with two pictures that represent the joys of traveling with fangirls who look at something and start laughing at the same time you do for the same reason:

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