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Dear Yuletide Author

Hello, and welcome to my Yuletide letter! First, as always, let me thank you, dear author, for being willing to write something for me. If I am a fan of anything, I am a fan of Yuletide. Thank you for participating.

Archer, Clash of Clans, and Dirty Rotten ScoundrelsCollapse )

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Bastian WTF
I stayed up way too late last night watching events unfold in Ferguson, and doing my best to RT and signal boost.

This really is the sort of thing Twitter is best at. Reporters use it in the moment, on the ground, and it gives you the quickest snapshot of real time events.

As things settle down and narratives emerge, they'll be linked there too. And if you follow a number of people--activists, reporters, teachers, citizens--you'll get a stream of different accounts that will give you a fuller picture and more information for accurate triangulation.

Which is to say, even if you don't use twitter, you can read off the Ferguson hashtag and get a sense of what's going down in real time.

I'll be using this in my Digital Culture class. I already had other events to demonstrate the power of twitter. I didn't need another one. But I'll use it.

It's pretty much the best contribution I'm equipped to make at this time. I wish I could do more.

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Vividcon days 1-3

I had originally planned to write one entry per day, but that obviously didn't happen. So, now that I'm home, I'm going to try and write up the whole weekend...because if I don't do it now, that won't happen either.

For a lot of these events--all except my own panel, I think--[personal profile] kass has more thorough notes.

FridayCollapse )

SaturdayCollapse )

SundayCollapse )

Again, thanks to VVC for inviting me. I had a super time, and I hope they felt like they made a good decision in having me come. I'll definitely be back.

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Vividcon Day 0.5

Hello from Chicago!

Yesterday morning I parked my car at [personal profile] kass's house, and together with her and [personal profile] sanj drove to the airport. Security was relatively painless, except for the fact that I had completely forgotten that I had stashed my car key in my bra (because I was wearing a long flowy maxidress with no pockets) and set off the X-ray alarms, for which I was awarded an extra-breasty patdown. It was painless, however, and the female TSA agent was cracking jokes about the extra pockets we well-endowed ladies are endowed with.

The flight was uneventful, unless you call flying across the aisle from a very quiet, well behaved carry-on cat an event. I have begun reading Lev Grossman's The Magicians under the advice of a former student, and so my flight went by quickly reading that.

I followed the signs to the bus/shuttle center, and then waited almost an hour for a shuttle. But this was okay, because I found [personal profile] the_shoshanna while waiting, and we also found a whole lot of con-bound folk and filled the van that finally arrived.

Once ensconsed, I met up with sheafrotherdon, and later [personal profile] kass and [personal profile] sanj made it the rest of the way from our common airport (they had two flights, while I had a direct), and while Kass left us for a previous dinner engagement, we acquired [personal profile] grammarwoman and [personal profile] franzeska and went out for Thai food, which was yummy.

I got newbie orientated, registered, and watched a bunch of vids in our palatial suite fit for 5, though not in that order. Now I'm waiting for panels to start, after getting orientated for staffing the consuite, which I am doing in partial payback for being the scholarship recipient.

Con proper starts soon! Find me if you haven't yet!

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Vividcon! Panel! Come!

Hey, it occurred to me yesterday that Vividcon is only a week away! It kind of snuck up, largely due to the fact that last week I was on vacation (which, if you're friends with [personal profile] kass, you already knew), and I haven't even posted about THAT yet.

BUT! As the Vividcon scholarship recipient this year, I'm expected to do some volunteering of my time (which I am totally excited about doing, as it's the best way to get to know a new con), and one of the suggested ways was doing a panel.

So I quickly proposed a panel on Teaching Using Vids with my co-presenter, which is a thing we've been doing and talking about for a while anyway. And so those of you who will be at Vividcon on Friday might notice that it's happening at 4pm.

Please come, if you can! And find me so I can meet you all! <3

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Tried Supernatural. Didn't stick.

Started watching the first few eps of Supernatural the other day. For fannish context, I guess. Or because I didn't know what else to watch.

Got to the one with the plane-crashing demon, in which the brothers very seriously remind each other that the Latin name for God is "Christos."

...and I was out.

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How can we say that Vergil wrote fanfic?

I should be writing this in academic register right at this very moment, but I took some time to read my reading list, and seanan_mcguire wrote another excellent post on fanfic. And I had to read it. And in the comments was a question that I've been wrestling with for the entire dissertation:

If we start saying that what Shakespeare or the Brothers Grimm was doing is fanfic, then is any derivative work fanfic? Didn't Shakespeare have to be passionate about his sources in order for his work to count as fanfic? If not, where does it all end?

[personal profile] cathexys asked me this question once, in a slightly different form. That is, if we say that Vergil, Shakespeare, and the Grimms wrote fanfic, then don't we lose what is special about fanfic?

And the answer is yes, but I'm going to qualify it. Because, part of the issue here is holding fanfic on one side and Shakespeare and the Grimms on the other. Because Shakespeare and the Grimms weren't doing exactly the same thing either. No, Shakespeare didn't write fanfiction. When we say he did, we're using a metaphor to emphasize how very similar what Shakespeare did is to what fic writers do. But context matters.

I've been wrestling with this explicitly this summer because my advisor decided that I needed to use a narratological argument throughout the dissertation to demonstrate exactly how similar the form of what other rewriters have done is to the form of what ficwriters do. And she's right. But I also need to make sure I don't lose sight of the contextual specificity of everything all rewriters do. Shakespeare borrowed from the Greeks, Romans, and Italians because he was writing during the English Renaissance, which was all about borrowing prestige to bulk up the cultural reputation of the British Isles. The British Empire didn't really exist yet, and the English were pretty late at this Renaissance thing. Rewriting stuff that came with prestige in the first place was the easiest way to get some for his own culture. Translation figures prominently in this dynamic, as well. It's also what Vergil was doing.

It's not what the Grimms were going. The märchen weren't prestigious. The Grimms weren't borrowing from high culture. They were trying to find common threads in the folk culture to tie together a disparate German people. They were nationalists, but of a different sort. They were also translators. They revised their märchen over and over and over again, with a very specific goal in mind: to create a common German culture.

Fandom is also its own specific culture, and does things for its own (very much NOT monolithic) reasons. The form that the rewriting takes can be similar, and I'm going to be working on deconstructing the specifics this summer--but the particular system that gave rise to fandom has its own unique place in history. But so did Shakespeare, and so did the Grimms. It's not that they wrote fanfiction. It's that fanfiction participates in the same rewriting urge that they do.

But we'll probably keep saying Vergil wrote fanfiction, because it gets people's attention, and it's a subversive thing to say. And it gets closer to the truth than holding fanfiction completely apart from "real literature" does.

Besides, I can't be entirely positive Vergil wasn't a-squee about his perfect pious hero Aeneas while he was writing. There may be more affective response in the canon than we were taught.

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It's still dance week...

But it's throwback Thursday, so.

One of the things I love about having had an LJ for so long is going back and looking at posts like like this one, in which I record the beginning of Cassie's dance career, six years ago.

Her first show with the school was a year later, as she started in the summer and their shows run at the end of the school year. Here's a shot from backstage at that first show:

And a shot from last night, in one of four of her different costumes, during the dress rehearsal for this weekend.

Time. I don't know, man.

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Birthday week

So I've been sick for the last week.

Wednesday and Thursday were the worst days. My throat was on fire and my fever got as high as 103 degrees F, but I never managed to take myself to the doctor because the last couple of times I thought I had strep it was a false alarm. Apparently I can have a strep-like virus that just knocks me out in exactly the same ways that strep does. The throat started getting better Friday, so I just rode it out.

I'm still having a bit of a head cold, but it's very much better now. And I've amused myself by getting completely hooked on Scandal. I binged-watched the whole first season and most of the second in the past week, and despite the fact that it's starting to wear on me, this crew of smart people with some really tragic bad-decision jeans, I still enjoy the hell out of it.

My birthday has always coincided with Father's Day, and for the past 11 years also with my wedding anniversary (on Saturday), which we are celebrating by attending another wedding. Also in the past 6 years by Cassie's annual dance show, which is actually happening on two separate nights because she's graduated to the big-kids' show), and also with the end-of-spring-soccer tournament day.

I think next week I might just sleep all week. :)

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So...this happened. Who's going to Vividcon? Whom do I get to meet? YAYS!

I know that I have [personal profile] kass to thank for this. She's pretty much the reason that I get to beta anyone's vids (because it's usually hers) and why it's not a lie to refer to me as a "proto-vidder" (because while I've had clip-by-clip vids floating around in my head for years, it's only recently that I've asked her to walk me through actually making one, and, well, we'll get around to that one day.)

I'm trying to beat down the imposter syndrome voice that's muttering in the back of my brain that I'm not really a professor yet. Never mind that I teach college and have done for almost 10 years.


Now I just have to finish rewriting the whole dissertation again before August.

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the grey-eyed

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October 2014


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