Archive for July, 2011

deflation of inspiration

July 29, 2011

Recently read an original fiction piece that I really liked and sort of inspired me to re-think about something that I haven’t finished yet: WWII AU epik (see the self-mockery there?).  I was inspired and yet a bit deflated because the author did a great job with all the stuff I’m struggling with – the letter format, the appropriate use of jargon, the language of the time.  On the other hand, they totally skipped basic training and skimmed battle details – which makes me feel a bit better.  (Because we all can’t be awesome at everything, right?)  But the love story in it made me tear up.

I have been in a weird mode of alternatively ignoring (supposedly inspirational) period pieces and being really, really, creepily interested in them.  I have on my ‘to watch’ list a whack of WWII movies and documentaries.  On the other hand, I haven’t watched hardly any.

And Dear Lord, I am avoiding the stinker of “Pearl Harbor” (2001, w/ Ben Affleck and Kate Beckinsdale) like the plague.  I couldn’t avoid it entirely, because W watched it in bits and pieces over the course of a week (it was on rotation on a cable channel).  The snippets I saw were cringe-worthy.  The dialogue was laughable, the emoting was off the charts, and the few scenes I saw were just so cliche.  (I know there’s a reason things are cliche, but “nurse giving shot to military guy who propositions her” needs to be done in a fresh way that’s not head-desk inducing.)  The costumes, though, I really liked and wanted to know how authentic they were.  Especially the uniforms – because there were a lot of variation in the uniforms depending on when during the war they were issued. (Yeah, that’s why this movie was made.  Authenticity in costuming.  Eye-roll at self.)

I still care about my WWII fic, even though that fic is really pretty ignored, according to my stats.  I guess the number of people whose interests carry over between teenage magical ninjas and WWII Japanese-American veterans is pretty much exactly what I thought it would be.  That is to say, very very small.  Still going to finish, though.  But I’ll probably have to take a year off of any other fandom activity to finish it, much like I did my long-fic.  Which is a shame, but now that I know what works for me, I should probably go with it until I figure out something less sensory-deprivation-y.

Also, been writing a lot of crack.  Sigh.  I ask you, dear readers, once you go crack, can you truly go back?

I’m going to try.  (Wish me luck.)


foreign parent bonus

July 27, 2011

Did a little presentation in Henry’s class the other morning.  Showed off his dol hanbok (first birthday Korean outfit), talked about the party we had for Henry for his first birthday, and then we made a simple version of kimbab.  (Rice w/sesame oil, fried egg, carrots, takwon (pickled daikon) wrapped in a seaweed sheet.  Usually, there’s some kind of meat, and spinach and the vegetables are really well seasoned, but because of allergies and how I was carrying each ingredient separately, and the amount of time the whole thing took, I simplified it down to things I thought the kids would eat.)

It was okay.  (Not my best effort, I have to admit.)  Not every kid ate it.  Some kids ate just the carrots, or egg or whatever.  It was nice to see the ones who tried it.  Some did like it – so, yay.  I tried to keep my expectations low – you can’t get really worked up about 15 5-10 year olds encountering seaweed for the first time.  It can be really off-putting to some of them.

Henry gets some kind of bonus points for having a parent who will come in and do a demo/talk on a foreign place, I guess.  I was the only parent who had done something for the “International” theme of the week.   I don’t mind doing it – it’s just weird that other parents didn’t do it also.  (I know this because mine was the only name in the newsletter, and I am not the only well-traveled parent in the group.)  Henry loved me showing up with the demo.  He even ate the whole thing – usually, he sort of picks it apart before he eats it.

To be fair – it was a lot of prep for 20 minutes (spent 2 hours cutting, cooking, etc. not including shopping time) – and that was because the food was done in two shifts!  Makes me think that people who do food demos really earn their money on the prep, as opposed to the show.

Begin rant here:   How can you say no when your kid’s preschool teacher asks you something directly to share a personal thing that unique to your family? It’s just time.  Not your life’s blood.  It doesn’t require money (the stuff I used I took directly out of the fridge – but I could have easily not done that and just showed the outfits which we already had on hand.).   I work with some of these parents –  and I know they’re not that busy.  (I’m on reduced hours in the summer, but come on.)  Yes, I’m judging.     End rant.

fanfic, it’s a drag

July 26, 2011

Here’s a thought – fanfic writers are kind of like drag queens.   Very kind of.  (From my limited understanding of drag queens, who I admire greatly.)

Both are performing art, in a somewhat marginalized field, in a way that might not be greatly appreciated by those outside the circle of interest.

There’s a lot of homage in the work fanfiction writers do,  much like drag queens.  Also, fic writers tend to take on some persona, not as extreme or as encompassing as drag queens, but it does exist.  But this homage done can seem to be ‘appropriating.’  (Which it can be if done by someone immature or unskilled in the field.)

There some serious gender confusion possible.  (Rule 63, I think it is, of fandom, where if there is a male character, it will be made female – or something like that.)

I don’t know where I’m going with this – but I just thought to throw it out there.


July 25, 2011

Can’t post new story, am all full of cramped up stress.  Grr.

LiveJournal, I got an account with you because I wouldn’t have to do this as I did with my other posting site.   Crud.

Have headache.  Must take something to try to soothe the fanfic review beast inside.

Professor – I mean, Sensei – Uh, Master?

July 21, 2011

The longer I’m exposed to stories about institutions that grant higher educational degrees, the more I’m convinced of one thing.

PhD granting professor = krazy kung-fu master. For reals.

Think about it.  Their tasks seem so arbitrary – and the studies so esoteric – and the demands bordering on ludicrous – the failure rate catastrophic – the training of body and mind to deliver the same punishment to future students – the emotional and physical degradation to purify the student – that has to be the answer.  It just has to be.

Let’s play a game, shall we?  Which is it, phD prof or cray-cray kung-fu master?

Walk 20 miles, gather a thimbleful of water 200 times, squirt blue stuff in there, record, and return.   Then I’ll tell you the real task of the day.  But you can’t have looked in the hollow of the tree on the way there or back, I’ll know!

Ye gods, I should put together a webcomic of this concept.

not so kinky

July 20, 2011

So, in the interests of research (yeah, that’s go with that) – I looked up my new ship’s kink_meme.   (I actually ended up there because of a link to a really popular fic.  For reals.  Definition of kink_meme.)   I have never looked into a kink_meme before.  I found out that this particular kink_meme is not so kinky.  I expected, given the name, that it would be full of, you know, kinks (whips, chains, ball gags, what have you).

I think the “kink_meme” nomer is a bit misleading, at least in this case.  It’s more a bulletin board of stuff people want other people to write for them (for whatever reason, can’t write, don’t have time, etc.).  Apparently, in this ship fandom, cuddling and puppies are kinks.  But not in that way.  People just like cuddling and puppies and want to read about them.

Yeah, sometimes there’s smut (which I don’t really read, because I tend to glaze over physical descriptions – there’s only so much about body parts I can take – I like the emotional stuff so much more).  There is a lot of fluff and cuteness too, which I love.

I think the meme is about the connections – the ones you have with the requester, the writer, the readers who belong to the meme, the ones you have with the characters being requested.  I could be wrong.

I find the whole process interesting.

As far as I can tell, a person requests something and sometimes that request gets answered with fic or art.  Sometimes the request is very open, and sometimes it is really directed.  I guess a writer/artist picks up a request if it is interesting and thinks they can fulfill the desires of the requester.   (As a writer, you do get a lot of ideas if you skim the meme.)  It’s all done anonymously, so one never knows what one is getting, of course.

Answering a request requires a couple of things, I think.  Brevity – unless one is capable of writing a whole story/scene in 4200 (?) characters (I can’t, but good luck to people who can) or multiples thereof (because that’s the limit of the reply) – which is irritating, the ability to take a request, and the ability to go anon with something you’ve written and yet proud enough to post.  As long as somebody is not a jackhole about their response (reasonably thankful somebody just took a little time out of their day to work on a piece for somebody else), or not just trolling the meme, or okay if their response doesn’t get answered,  it’s a fairly safe place.  One can request and reply to almost anything.  (Maybe the kink_meme can also refer to the process of being in the kink_meme?)

At this point, I’m not one to request anything – if I have an idea, I will execute it myself.  That’s just how I am. (Also, that prevents being disappointed if the request is not done to one’s imagining.  Yes, I am that big a control freak.)  I might pick up a request to two, just to see if I can do it, and because of the anonymity, there won’t be a lot of pressure to perform in a particular way.  One thing is for certain.  There will not be any smut, because of previously mentioned glazing over because of body parts.  There might be cuddling and puppies, though.

pushing it

July 18, 2011

I love my mother. But. (And there’s always a but.)

She is interested in me producing a third child. Just like she had.   She would even say this when her face was clearly exhausted with babysitting some other kids.  (I live too far away for her to babysit mine – which, to her, is perhaps the ultimate in easy.  Hound me, but pay no price for it.)

I thought this was something she felt she had to say, and once said, and the response given, she was fine and could go back to the rest of her life.  I had put it down to a mental tick – like one of those toys that’s designed to go in a straight line, but it’s got a little broken gear that it just keeps going and going in a hoppetty little circle until you kick it and then it returns to its path.  Then it goes hoppetty once more, and you have to kick it again.  And so on and so forth.

But this is too much. She’s literally hounding me.  On the phone and every time I see her.  Lady, give it a rest!  This even after my sister informed her of a 3rd pregnancy.

I love my kids.  If I were younger and less tired, a third child might be possible.  But when I am woken up in the middle of the night by screaming, when there’s a fight over whose turn it is for something, when I occasionally lose my shit and have to leave the room before I turn into Mommy Dearest, I know two is the right number.  That’s the amount I can make happy and still leave a sliver of room for mental health.  (Never mind the rather alarming statistics about how my age factors into potential for health problems, maternal and infant.)

Mom – I love you.  I never thought I would have children, but you’re right.  They’re awesome.   (You said they would make me a complete person, and that is true.  Although, in my less charitable moments, I think they have made me a completely crazy person.)  And two is plenty enough for me.  Go away now.

On a side note, the way I knew I was basically done was because of my hysterical laughter at the news of my sister’s pregnancy.   It wasn’t very nice, but still.  Twins.

Edited to note that I wrote this a few months ago and posted only now after my sister had the twins, because I’m superstitious like that.   (Mother and children are fine.)  But the harassing to have more children has not abated.  Oh no.

little staring problem

July 15, 2011

Yeah.  That was me at the playground the other day.  The lady with the little staring problem.

That’s because a white dude in a tank top pushing a kid on a swing had MY last name tattooed across his bicep in olde Englishe scripte.

I don’t have one of the top 5 Korean last names (never mind a Korean last name that could be mistaken for a non-Asian last name – Im, Kim, Park, Paik, Pak, Lee, Ee, Choi, Choe, Che, Yun, Yoon, etc.) so it was a disorienting moment to find in the Great White North (where I live) to see my Korean Last Name on some dude’s arm.

A Dude That Is Not Korean.

(His kid didn’t seem Korean or even partly-Korean to me, either, so I don’t know.  Maybe he’s some part ethnic Korean that doesn’t show?  Maybe he’s a fan of some kinds of media or some multinational corporation?  I got nothing.  The best I could come up with is maybe there’s some word in some other language that sounds and spells like my name in English.)

And yes, I am visibly East Asian looking – so that’s my level of comparison.

after a word from the Ketchup Advisory Board

July 13, 2011

I went to a friend’s house a while back.  She’s native Japanese and she thought to make something for me and all of our kids.  She produced something she called omelet rice – omrice.  (recipe here)

It was fried rice with vegetables and then an omelet thrown on top.  But here’s the kicker.  It was made with ketchup, and then ketchup is poured on top.  That’s a lot of ketchup.  I don’t eat a lot of ketchup (or home-made Japanese food) so it was surprising being presented this dish.  (It tasted fine, but I couldn’t get over it being ketchup).  And even though Wikipedia announces that this dish is popular in Korea, I can say with absolute certainty that I have never had it in my Korean mother’s house.

Ketchup – you have invaded the world with your tomato-sweetness.  I’m not 100% sure that’s a good thing, but it also shows how universal that sort of flavor is.  I now know kids from all over the world love it.

(“Ketchup, for the good times.”   Singing: “ketchup, ketchup…”  With apologies to Garrison Keillor and Prairie Home Companion for this whole post (and the state of Minnesota, where ketchup is king).)

edit:  It even has a scene in one of my favorite movies (Tampopo).  I just thought he was making egg and fried rice – not thinking the red stuff was ketchup  (“that natural mellowing agent”).  I just thought it was unidentifiable red sauce.

my head canon is so much better

July 12, 2011

Learning about Telegony (Telegonus) – ruined the end of the Odyssey for me.    Damn classical literature anyway.

I read about some weird term that actually used telegony as the base.  I wiki’d it.  And now, I have to live with the consequences.

So Telegony is the son of Odysseus and Circe.   After much meandering, Telegony ends up killing Odysseus and marrying Penelope and Odysseus’s other son Telemachus ends up marrying Circe.  (Or so people think, given this is a lost book.)  Just too, I don’t know, one-off Oedipal for me.  Convoluted.  Nobody has to marry anybody, dang it.  It doesn’t even make sense.  (I wish I were kidding when I write that I was possessed of a brief, but white-hot, fangirl rage when I read this.)

I was happy with the end of the Odyssey – where Odysseus comes back to Penelope and is recognized by the old dog.  Then he is supposed to die of old age. (It’s been ages since I even thought about it, but it’s weird what comes back to you.)  My brother was, at one time, a huge fan of the Alexander Pope translations.   I remember the Robert Fagles versions (the kind of rough texture of the words was a real surprise to me when I read it, because I always thought classical literature meant ‘prissy, smooth, very edited’ instead of taking the piece for what it was – something that lasted a good long while because it spoke to something universal.  What can I say, I was pretty young and had the strong opinions of the ignorant.).

I should have been happy in my ignorance, at least with regards to Telegony.  Dang internet and curiosity.   (Stay lost, you stinkin’ Telegony.  Ruining my ship of Penelope and Odysseus.  *sniffs woefully like sad fangirl*)