jmtorres: (hide)
so, vividcon. this post is entirely subjective and all about my complicated mental health feelings, not so much about any fannish experience of the con. Will be posting the vids I took to vividcon after I write this, and that will probably be the extent of posting on fannish matters.

About a year ago, [personal profile] niqaeli and I took my brother out to the movies and pitched Vividcon to him. Every time I'm in town we take my brother out to do something even if it's as silly as wander around IKEA for two hours, because he has, since his first attempt to go away to college at 18, been living at home with fairly debilitating OCD. He is now 25. He's lost touch with all but one of his friends, he relies on my parents for a host of super basic things like turning off the water after washing his hands, he has IBS which only makes his unclean feelings worse, and I really feel like getting him out of my parents' house is a service to everyone involved.

Anyway, my pitch about Vividcon was, it's a trip halfway across the country that he'd take with me and not our parents, to do a fun fannish thing I hoped he'd appreciate, and did he think he could work on his OCD crap enough in a year to be able to go and take care of himself in the ways our parents usually take care of him at home. He does this thing, part of his OCD, where he has to come up with the exact right words to articulate himself for fear of misleading you if he gets it wrong. It can take him days to answer a question. I tend to treat this the way I would querying a computer--I try to ask an exact, specific question to elicit a succinct answer. So I asked him, first, did he want to to, and second, did he think he'd be able to. The answers were yes, and since it was a year away, he thought so.

I made various deals with him over the course of the last year--that I was going to work on making a vid, which was going to be my hurdle parallel to his OCD behavioral therapy work. (I made one! Two actually! Proving once again that the only thing that makes me complete vids is deadlines.) That I would FaceTime with him at least once a week to check in. (Sometimes I had a hard time with this, because when I was behind on my goals or having a bad brain day, I didn't want to have to admit that.) I gave him advice from my own experience getting treated for depression--that it's okay to have bad days, but you don't let a bad day become an endless string of bad days, you pick yourself up and start over the next day.

So last week, or, Saturday nearly two weeks ago, I FaceTimed him after having not for about three days. I was in the process of bleaching my hair and dyeing it pink, and I was afraid my mom would give me crap about being interview-ready on the job search, so I wanted to have the whole thing done and a fait accompli. I have the stupidest reasons for failing to call my brother as regularly as I promise. It turned out that basically the entire three days he'd spent ruminating on how he didn't think he was going to be able to go, and Mom told him he should talk to me about it but he didn't call me. Because well. He was even more internally flaily about that than I was about the dye job.

Our travel plans included me driving to Phoenix, where my family lives, the night before we flew to Chicago for Vividcon. I ended up driving out three days early to spend more time with my brother and try to convince him it was TOTALLY POSSIBLE. And meet his therapist in passing. On Tuesday, he decided that he would go ahead and contact that one high school friend he still talks to every few months, who happens to live in Chicago now. I cheered. The next day we went clothes shopping, because Mom wanted him to have new slacks and shorts for the trip. He was incredibly patient about trying on everything she found for him. There are so so many parts of why this was amazing.

So anyway: we did it. We totally got on the plane and flew to Chicago and went to Vividcon.

And I think my brother enjoyed it more than I did.

At one point around April or so I wrote him a long long description of what Vividcon was like, to my recollection. Club Vivid and the Joxer Dance and the anticipation of Premieres and stuff. One of the things I wrote to him was we'd probably go to 2-3 shows/panels per day, no one went to everything (read: I never went to everything). It's funny to me that I remembered that, but not why.

The why is, I find cons exhausting. I took like three naps a day the entire trip and I felt just beat after watching a vid show (of course, stupid, engaging the extreme focus to watch vids for an hour takes a lot more mental energy than watching an episode of a TV show for an hour). Let alone talking to people. Once we were in the consuite for like ten minutes and when [personal profile] niqaeli decided to go do something else I was like TAKE ME WITH YOU EVERYTHING IS TOO LOUD. There were a ton of people that I marginally recognized as "person I have seen at VVC the last time I was here 5 years ago" but my mental connections between faces and usernames are crap and I was never good at talking to people at cons.

PS If you talked to me about my vid and I made weird faces or said something dumb, it's because my brain was going AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH HOW TO FAKE BEING A HUMAN?????? I mean, I also do not know what to say to compliments so assume what I MEANT to say was "Thank you" but oh my god, SO much alien cyborg input error brain.

I ended up hiding in [personal profile] echan's room watching Olympics during Club Vivid to distract myself from feeling that there were too many people, and too much noise, and I stressed myself out about plane tickets, and also everyone else was enjoying booze while I was not because meds and it's not that I don't want anyone to be drunk around me? It's more, I don't know, I felt like I'd left myself out of everything on that score. Or something.

It was so frustrating, that like. By almost any metric I would have thought of beforehand, this was a very successful Vividcon for me. I made vids, and people liked them. I saw other people's vids, and they were awesome. I did my hair and made a costume for Club Vivid and it was adorable and lit up. I got my brother to go on a four-day trip without my parents and his OCD did not prevent him from participating in the con or meeting up with his friend or even getting out of the hotel room by checkout time. There was no wankfest that blew up in anyone's face.

But my stress-activated GERD had me burping all through Vid Review and during the back half of Club Vivid I was watching Michael Phelps get a medal and having a bit of a cry.

This was the first time I've been to a con since getting medicated for the depression, so probably five years ago I put all the same kinds of reactions down to my brain is borked. But now a year and change into pharmaceutical unborking, I am still having these fundamental problems. The introvert problems. The, too loud, too many people, being around this many people exhausts me and maybe even frightens me, at least in the social awkwardness sense. The, everyone is having fun except me.

So I think I probably won't be going to Vividcon again. Or any con.

Which really sucks because where will I get deadlines to goad me into finishing vids now.
jmtorres: Quinn from Sliders asleep with book open on his chest. Text: Sweet dreams. (sleep)
I appear to have slept 16 hours. Yay.


Seller on one of the anime series I am acquiring dropped me an email to say 'is it okay that it's a fansub?' Ordinarily, cool, but I told him I needed raws and were the fansubs hardcoded and the answer is yes, of course they are. So yeah. Went elsewhere. It's kind of a pity, I'd really like to buy from merchants that thoughtful.


I am not totally sure I am enjoying #ebz as intended. I am not at all well-rounded; I'm going to be the least dangerous entity in the 'Neath at this rate (I recently accidentally did something to increase dangerous quality to 4). At the moment I have an opportunity card from my Mysterious Benefactor which has an easy option (persuasive, which is very high because I seduce everybody) and an almost-impossible option (watchful, which I only bother with when it's something I specifically want). Since the watchful option involves investigating the Mysterious Benefactor, I totally want that one, and since it's an opportunity card I only get one shot at it, so I'd better increase my watchful beforehand. So I went to the fair and watched the anatomy lessons until I practically had enough whispered secrets to trade up for cryptic clues and then wandered back to Ladybones Road to see if this had opened up in further watchful storylets. I'm currently throwing myself on an almost-impossible challenge repeatedly to increase my watchful quality. Eventually I'll find this duchess's heir too, probably.

Meanwhile my ambition needs confident smile 4 and I haven't seen anything that mentions that, so who knows when I'll get any further with that.


Bro came over to watch some B5 last night. I'm reminded that I once upon a time had a Cartagia vidbunny that I can't find any record of having written down a song for. At present I think it would be hilarious to whip out the Tik Tok for it. I mean, what would be more hilarious than Cartagia rinsing blood of his hands to brush my teeth with a bottle of jack?


Okay it's never gonna stop being funny that the cat wants to play fetch.
jmtorres: 3D go board. Don't stand aside this time (don't stand aside)
Earlier today I very much wanted to completely quit my life here and go back to Cali and move in with [personal profile] ysobel and cook her grill cheese and curry and falafel every week. We could make dorky Merlin vids and I could find somewhere to work part-time and pay me crap to support my food habit, but I could stop worrying about the rent money and spend the rest of the day being her wife and writing fanfic that might be optimistic? Reading fanfic. And her library. Heh. Unfortunately I couldn't bring the children with me and through a bizarre quirk of bureaucracy I'm medically uninsurable if I don't complete another year at [current university] here and I do, actually, have a few commitments here that I can't walk out on. But isn't it a pretty fantasy?

I stopped off at Borders tonight to pick up my brother's birthday present and ended up taking home a pretty notebook, because while I found the Loki book, I've actually used all the pages up and the binding's coming undone. So. New year, new book. Paperchase makes a lot of pretty notebooks but I ended up picking not the one I thought was the prettiest but the one that made me happiest. It is very silly. It is covered in shiny flowers that look like they were drawn by a five-year-old and then preserved with tin foil. I just officially wrote the first words in it. They are I'M A FREE BIT, BABY, because that's how we're rolling this year.

(I, I do not know why blasting Bad Romance in my car cheers me up as much as it does. But at least part of it has to do with the radio edit version of the CD I have cracking me the hell up. You can't stop the signal, guys! She's a free bit! Whee.)

This entry will consist primarily of quoting people off my droll who made me laugh tonight. It's Follow... Tuesday? Sure! Why not?

[personal profile] thedeadparrot: I discovered after doing this one that apparently I am introducing each person I quote. Um, [personal profile] thedeadparrot! I have followed her for so long that I forget what awesome thing she did to attract me. It might have been FMA fic? I sort of went on a spree when I was reading FMA fic.
I believe that we should not be ashamed of writing fanfic. Yeah, I write romance. Yeah, I even write porn. Yeah, I did this as a teenage girl. And yeah, I sometimes daydream about characters. None of this should mean that my writing -- our writing -- is automatically worth less than that of some fanboy who daydreams about being Paul Atreides and about things blowing up and writes a script about his daydreams and then gets it turned into a movie. I am looking at you, James Cameron.

[personal profile] thefourthvine: I could quote all of every entry of hers, every single one of them make me laugh. She's been watching TOS for the first time and it is hilaaaaaarious. If you do not actively hate small children, ask to be on her Earthling filter, it is cuteness and awesomeness and wonderfulness and total quirkiness (they started calling him Earthling in the womb when they couldn't decide on a name, and I am still not sure they ever did decide on a name, because one of her worries was that they would just keep continuing to call him Earthling in perpetuity if they started then, and, online at least, they have). But most of the time, [personal profile] thefourthvine writes recs. Sometimes her recs go off on tangents. Here is one:

Benton Fraser has porn. I just want to repeat that, because I think it's a brilliant concept that deserves far more attention than it is currently getting: Benton Fraser has porn. Yes, this story is just as good as it sounds like it must be.

But there is a down side to it, and it is this: after reading it, I could not stop imagining the porn collections of other fannish favorites. Rodney McKay likely has roughly a terabyte of porn, but really only uses three short clips and one still photo. He's just completist. Jim Kirk (Reboot) also has the terabyte of porn, but he's actually working his way through it - he jerks off to something new every time. It's all hot if you look at it the right way, you know? Batman's porn does not bear contemplation and is certainly not something I would ever want to see, so I am pleased and comforted to know that it is hidden somewhere no one will ever find it, and also it is designed to self-destruct if anyone besides Batman touches it. Clark Kent likes the underwear catalogs. He's never been able to bring himself to get turned on by anything more explicit; he's always afraid his mother will walk in. (Lex Luthor's porn, it goes without saying, is his extensive Clark Kent memorabilia collection.) Methos's porn is called his memory. Jack Harkness's porn is called everything in the world, because everything is hot. How can you put a plug in an outlet and not get turned on? And laundry! All those dirty clothes, shirts and pants and trousers all touching, writhing together: clearly the hottest thing ever.

[personal profile] dragonfly: I recently subscribed to her (? --my default assumption in fandom, though it occurs to me that in this case I don't actually know) because I am reading every White Collar fic under the sun, seriously, White Collar makes me happy like you wouldn't believe, every night I check to see if anyone has recced new White Collar fic, and, uh, I like hers. Yes. Also apparently we are both giant dorks who are trying to figure out where the hell Neal's radius is on googlemaps.
So Sunday I met with my writers' group and they were critiquing a chapter of Mom and my mystery book set in Arizona. The people around the table told me they wanted to know more about the Native Americans I had introduced. Could the main characters have more interaction with them? Were they going to show up later in the book? I said, uh, no, not really, but if they were really that interesting ... So we started talking about Chekhov's gun and how if you introduce a gun into a scene it needs to get used at some point. Likening my Native American characters to Chekhov's gun, I said, "So you're telling me if I introduce some Indians into the story, I have to shoot them."

Stunned looks followed by hoots of laughter all around. Er, that didn't come out right.

[personal profile] zvi is smart and opinionated and, I find, often leading serious discussions I find important and want to take part in. Also she started Ladies' Choice, an AO3 collection for stories in which women enjoy having sex and do not have shame about it. I could love her for this alone.

Helpful advice what I have learned from fanfiction: If I accidentally have sex with someone with whom I would, in actual point of fact, enjoy having an ongoing sexual or romantic relationship with, I should not hastily begin apologizing for the sex, calling it a mistake, or otherwise characterizing it negatively. Because if the other person had enjoyed having accidental sex with me and would have liked to intentionally have sex with me in the future, they certainly aren't going to say so after I declare that it was a terrible idea, having had sex with them.

And, uh, one more--I read this at about two o'clock in the morning so that totally means I read it tonight today. It might not have been on my droll, exactly? But I deeply wanted to share it with like five people immediately and none of them were online, so here we go. Homo Ex Machina by [personal profile] toft is Sherlock Holmes fic--apparently the 1984 version, which imdb informs me is the Jeremy Brett version, which I hear is very good; not having seen it, my brain is currently slotting in RDJ and Jude Law for all versions of Holmes and Watson. In any case! In this story, Holmes is anonymously notified that someone is writing and publishing smut about them. There's a manuscript and pages go everywhere and lines of lurid, purple description keep catching Watson's eye and he is dying of mortification because--because--oh my god, this is probably a story spoiler, but so is the quote I want to pull--because he wrote it. This is probably my favorite line of narrative in the whole piece:

What on earth could I say? Holmes, I accidentally published a pornographic novella in which you and I perform a number of illegal acts, and now I am being blackmailed into making it a serial?

Because oh my god accidentally yes he did. But the awesome of this story cannot be contained in any summary, because the reveals keep coming. Holmes is always six steps ahead of everyone, right? So you can be well-assured that Holmes has even better secrets. I deeply want to quote some of Holmes' dialogue from later in the story, but whoa story spoilers, and really, part of the deep, deep awesome of this story is every time you think you've turned the twist there's a bit more. I just have to say: OH HOLMES. (Yes, that is actaully very like OH DEAN. Who knew?)
jmtorres: The arch-elf from the movie Santa Clause, with pita. (Bernard)
A year ago I moved out of my parents' house for the first time in a meaningful way; before then, I'd lived in dorms, which meant most of my books were at home, and I had no kitchen of my own. A pint-sized dorm fridge and a microwave, yeah--a kitchen? Not so much.

I remember the first year I went away to college I had a 13x9 pyrex baking dish. It fit in neither the microwave nor the pint-sized fridge, which is why it eventually got thrown away--disgusting leftovers had congealed in it, uneaten, because it was too big to save. (I had no tupperware. Seriously, my cooking life in the dorm was severely limited.)

But before that incident, I went downstairs to the dorm kitchen and made apple brown betty in that dish. I used the kitchen in that dorm so rarely that I can't picture where in the building it was, though I have a vague memory of how closet-sized I found it. I can't remember whether I walked to the Safeway for apples and flour and brown sugar and butter, or if my neighbor drove me--both happened, on occasion--but it must have been a specific trip, because even a staple like flour or butter, I didn't have. I'm not entirely sure I didn't have to buy a knife to peel apples. I made my apple brown betty without a recipe, because you hardly need one--arrange apple slices in a pan, mix flour and butter and spread on top of the apples, dot with brown sugar, bake until delicious. I remember the flour and butter weren't well-mixed, so there were white spots all over the crumble-crust.

Still, there were no leftovers.

My current 13x9 glass baking dish comes from IKEA; I bought it on a massive, scary stocking trip [personal profile] echan and I made. We were also buying things like garbage bins and sheets and I think the frame with fabric drawers she got to organize her desk. We were so unprepared for setting up house. I asked my family for a dozen kitchen things for Christmas, a frying pan (I was sort of hoping I'd inherit my parents' cast-iron, they prefer the non-stick these days), a food processor (my parents bought me a better model than they had, which I in turn headdesked and traded down on, because I needed the money more), pyrex loaf pans (my grandmother got me heavy gauge aluminum steel non-stick loaf pans which are still in their wrappers because goddamnit, I meant pyrex). They tried to give me a more expensive kitchen than I'd asked for. That's... honestly, for me, that's not what kitchens are about. I want the same kitchen my parents had when I was growing up. My mother makes fruit bread as gifts at Christmas--it used to be cranberry orange walnut bread, but now she's allergic to two-thirds of that, so now it's other things. She had a pyrex loaf pan and a couple of beat-up aluminum loaf pans, and she was making so many loaves she'd use them all in succession and turn them out and wash them and use them again. The pyrex was my favorite because it washed out easiest, and nothing you did scratched it up.

I've made brownies and fish in my 13x9 glass baking dish. I haven't made an apple brown betty, although I had a craving recently. I haven't made my mother's Christmas cranberry bread, though when I am overcome with the desire, I will probably go to the grocery store and buy a pyrex loaf pan or two and come home and ask the internets who would like a pair of heavy-gauge aluminum steel non-stick loaf pans, free to a good home with cost of shipping.

A great deal of my everyday diet no longer has much in common with my parents' diet, partially because of my mother's allergies, partially because, while my commitment has wavered lately, I am still much more likely to cook fish or tofu than beef or chicken. My mother gave me the cookbook with our falafel recipe on "permanent loan" when I moved out--I make falafel much more often than they do, and I think they might have started making it when I was in high school and vegetarian for the first time. A lot of our family recipes have that sort of oddness to them. Pumpkin crescent rolls are a must at Thanksgiving and Christmas; they date to when my brother could not be convinced for love or money to consume actual vegetables, and are still his favorite food on the planet. We used to make pumpkin oatmeal cookies too. A little pumpkin here, a little pumpkin there, some Vitamin A down your gullet, mister. Orange is the color of our baked goods.

Every once in a while I ask my mother to email me one of our old standard recipes for baked goods. Gingerbread men, I asked for this week. Gingerbread boys, she corrected me. I can't find a cookie cutter, so I'm actually planning to cut my own shapes out with a knife and make gingerbread lesbians. I was inspired to write this entry about the family history of my kitchen because I had ginger, but I had to go shopping for allspice and nutmeg. My spice cabinet consists of everything my mother had two jars of when I moved out, plus all the grated orange peel, and a jar of this and that I bought as needed during the past year. I have bars of baking chocolate in my spice cabinet, but my mother rarely does anymore, because most brands of chocolate are produced in factories with nuts. She keeps a bag of chocolate chips a specific nut-safe brand in the fridge to munch from, but she rarely bakes with chocolate anymore. I have a giant jar of sesame seeds in my spice cabinet from the Asian market, where my mother has a standard spice jar of them from McCormick that probably cost twice as much, because I am far more likely to want them for sticky rice or tofu or what have you.

I'm making gingerbread lesbians as gifts to send across the country. I have one ball of regular gingerbread dough in the fridge right now, and one ball of experimental, because I'm trying to make a gift for [personal profile] viridian5, who has a gluten allergy. I started off with ground almonds instead of flour in hers, but the dough wouldn't ball up properly, so I ended up adding a bit of brown rice flour as well. I still expect them to bake highly biscotti-like, and I'm not sure how they'll roll out.

I want to cook more often, and bake more often, but I don't know how to do it in a vacuum. I don't know how to find the motivation to actually make dinner (as opposed to throwing something ready-made from Fresh and Easy in the microwave) without having family, blood or chosen, here to cook for. Food is a gift, food is something you make to share, food is an art you design to show off to and to please other people. The kinds of foods we make are expressions of our culture, both the broader milieu of our society and the closer traditions of our family. And when we sit down to eat a meal together, that's family. That's community. That's love.

Q & A

Aug. 7th, 2009 05:39 am
jmtorres: Purple boots. Love me, love my boots. (boots)
Question: Juls, how are you so awesome?

Answer: All it takes is hard work and perseverance!

(Why yes, my to-do list is caught up. Paper finished, laundry dry, DVD burning for my brother, and my ride won't even be here for another two hours. I could nap!)


jmtorres: From Lady Gaga's Bad Romance music video; the peach-haired, wide-eyed iteration (Default)

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