Scribblings by Lizbeth
Confessions of a Hawthorne Fangirl
Rants and Raves 
6th-Apr-2012 10:45 am - Out Burns-ing Ken Burns
Someone explain to me how it's even possible that a comedy that clocks in at 21+ minutes (minus commercials) can actually out-Ken Burns Ken Burns?

How is this possible?

I pretty much spent the entirety of Community howling with laughter, right from the PBS-like cold open to the close of the PBS-like pledge drive.

And, and, AND!

They parodied Burns's The Civil War to absolute perfection! Right from the liberal use of still photographs with voice-overs, Britta's attempts at dramatic war photography, the dramatic readings of the text messages between Jeff and Annie (I was howling people...HOWLING!), to the musical signature that sounded suspiciously like "Ashokan Farewell".

And finally, KEITH DAVID as the narrator. He actually worked with Burns!

It's like Ken Burns threw up all over Community. No, wait. That's exactly what happened!

This episode has rocketed to the number two spot in my heart ("Remedial Chaos Theory" will never be dislodged because it's the first episode I ever watched) just for the Burns-ian/PBS-ian conceit alone.

You can watch the whole episode at NBC.com, and it is soooooo worth watch if you've seen even one Burns doc and even if you've never seen Community before. Beware, though. I believe the video is geo-locked, but I'm not sure which regions have access and which don't.

Wheeee! My week is now officially lighter.

And I have the overwhelming urge to watch Ken Burns's The Civil War again.

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5th-Apr-2012 08:51 am - SERENITY NOW!
Wow, it's been...

*counts on fingers*

Almost 6 months before I posted anything at all at any journal.

So, the short answer? Not dead.

The long answer? Real life, work, school, parental units? Kinda kicking my ass.

Thank god the Daleks have put out a relaxation vid. I don't know how I would've survived without it.

Seriously. Best. Thing. Ever.





Between this and Inspector Spacetime, I think I'm set.

What? Don't look at me like that. Yes, I've finally discovered Community (see icon). Thank you "Remedial Chaos Theory" (literally the first episode of Community I've ever seen and I was hooked like a hooked thing) and Hulu and Netflix and now DVDs from Amazon.

With the way my life is going these days, 21+ minutes per episode is kind of like the perfect size.

Sidenote:

How is it possible that Bio 101 has so much writing involved? I seriously have to write a 1–2 page lab paper per week. And I swear I have a test every second Monday of the month (I have one this Monday in fact). Plus the reading. The reading. Ugh. Ugh. Ugh.

I keep asking myself how I managed to go to school full time and work full time when I was getting my bachelors because I sure as hell couldn't do that now!

Anyway, this rambling message brought to you by...by...exhaustion? Yes. Exhaustion.

I'll try to be better about keeping in touch. I swear.

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7th-Nov-2011 11:19 am - Over on NPR: R.E.M. Listening Party
NPR is hosting a first listen for R.E.M.'s farewell greatest hits double-CD Part Lies, Part Heart, Part Truth, Part Garbage 1982-2011.

Yes, 'tis streaming now!

While it's great to listen to some great R.E.M. songs from really, really early in their career that never, ever get air play (like "Radio Free Europe", "Driver 8", and "Fall On Me"), if you already own a boatload of R.E.M. CDs it seems that this release is not worth getting. There is nothing rare or unusual to be found on the two-disc set. It is what it says on the tin: a greatest hits release that collects music from across R.E.M.'s career.

I will admit this much: listening to the R.E.M. stream has inspired me to dig out my bootleg R.E.M. CDs when I get home. I have the "Bingo Hand Job Live at the Borderline" (from 1991) and "Poets of the Wheat" (bootleg compilation of various live performances recorded across 1989-90).

Also, I apologize for not responding to my "Ask the Person Who Grew Up in a Haunted House" post yet. Things have been a bit nuts in RL at my end, between preparing to go back to school, work, and some life-change type things with the parental units.

It doesn't help that on weekends I collapse into a whimpering heap, barely able to complete even the most basic chores.

*sigh* It'll slow down soon. Maybe. I hope.

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27th-Oct-2011 10:24 am - Facts and figures on income iniquity
Some interesting points in favor of supporting the Occupy Movement (as I do).

First up, Matt Taibbi lays it out for people who keep insisting on "not getting" what the Occupy Movement is about, which is amazing considering there are freakin' signs explaining it. Read, Wall Street Isn't Winning — It's Cheating for the best (and best-resourced) explanation why a good chunk of us 99% are pissed off.

The import nut graphs from Taibbi's article:

The point being: we have a massive police force in America that outside of lower Manhattan prosecutes crime and imprisons citizens with record-setting, factory-level efficiency, eclipsing the incarceration rates of most of history's more notorious police states and communist countries.

But the bankers on Wall Street don't live in that heavily-policed country. There are maybe 1000 SEC agents policing that sector of the economy, plus a handful of FBI agents. There are nearly that many police officers stationed around the polite crowd at Zucotti park.

These inequities are what drive the OWS protests. People don't want handouts. It's not a class uprising and they don't want civil war -- they want just the opposite. They want everyone to live in the same country, and live by the same rules. It's amazing that some people think that that's asking a lot.


Yes. This. Exactly. Go read the whole thing.

Also, from LiveScience, an infographic on the spread of income/power iniquity in the U.S.

Warning: Large embedded infographic under the cut! )


No, your eyes are not deceiving you when you see the cycle of the wealth gap in this country.

No wonder why many school districts have cut back on teaching post-Civil War U.S. history in schools. If more people realized that we were making the exact same damn mistakes over, and over, and over again, things would get real ugly hereabouts.

Why yes, history is a weapon, provided you educate yourself and use what you've learned. You can start with buying Howard Zinn's book to see how the shit hit the fan before. And by seeing what happened before, you can definitely see how the shit hit the fan again.

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10th-Oct-2011 04:49 pm - Ask the Person Who: Grew Up in a Haunted House
I've been thinking about doing this for awhile now, and have held off for various reasons.

But I've decided: 'Tis the season! And what's the season without a little old ghost story?

In this case, a ghost story that's roughly 40 years old and still going strong.

Now, I know what you're thinking. You're thinking, "Liz! What's with the woo? You're all about the science!"

To which I must answer, "Indeed. I'm a hard-core skeptic, especially when it comes to claims that some place is haunted."

The irony is this: If I didn't grow up in a house that was haunted, I'm pretty sure I'd be much less of a skeptic about these things. And honestly? That's not at all unusual for people who've grown up in for-reals haunted spaces. They tend to be the biggest skeptics of all when it comes to claims about hauntings (and by extension, all things woo — like UFOs and pyramid power).

It's because we know, man. We know.

So, I offer myself up for questions about growing up in a haunted house.

But first, I'll try to get some of your questions out of the way with a FAQ of the ghosts that still (un)live in the house in which I grew up.

We've never been scared. Startled at times, but not scared. )

Wow. That went on longer than I thought. And I'm sure there are lots of questions out there.

So have at it. I will answer questions as they come in between now and November 1, 2011.

I will answer all of them (it just may take me awhile).

I'll tackle them in the evening, when I actually have time to respond.

And no, this isn't a joke. I'm not making anything up. I'm being deadly serious.

But it's okay if you laugh.

I'd laugh, too.

If, y'know, I didn't grow up in the house that I did.

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5th-Oct-2011 01:28 pm - Best...PBS...Sponsorship...Message...Ever!
Sorry to post and run, but I have to share this:

The new Ken Burns documentary, Prohibition, on PBS has been running for the past three nights.

Guess which company decided to pitch in for local co-sponsorship of the series on WGBH Channel 2 — Boston?

The Boston Brewing Company, makers of Samuel Adams Beer.

What? It amused me! It even made me laugh out loud!

By the way, if you missed Prohibition, you can watch it, and access the additional material, at PBS.org.

Highly recommended for its in-depth look on how Prohibition happened (Hint: It wasn't exactly overnight, and the prohibitionists actually kind of had a point.)

Was it my imagination, or was there a subtle parallel being drawn between Prohibition and our current War on Drugs?

I mean, the reasons for it happening, active lawbreaking by otherwise law-abiding citizens, tactics for enforcement, problems with enforcement, and ever-escalating violence sounded and looked awfully similar.

I'm just sayin'.

(And yes, I'm for full legalation. For all of it. Or, should I say, let's legalize and then tax the shit out of it. Marijuana legalization alone would get us as a nation lots of yummy tax money — not to mention the savings we'd realize when the police stop chasing pot heads for anything other than DUIs.)

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4th-Oct-2011 09:53 am - *facepalm*
Why, oh why do I bother with FB? The knee-jerking, stupid, selfishness is strong there.

Dear former high school classmates living by the credo, "Fuck you, I got mine":


  • To the guy who was a straight-D student in high school actively rooting for the Wall Street Occupation protestors to get beaten and tear gassed because "college students are only protesting the banks because the banks gave them loans to go to college" (say what?) — shut up. You didn't go to college because 1) you were too stupid to go, and 2) you stated that college was a waste of money.

  • To the gal who was the straight-C student in high school who is now a middle school teacher and calling the Wall Street Occupation protestors a bunch of spoiled little kids who don't want to pay their bills (really? have you seen the unemployment rate?) — shut up. I know for a fact your mommy and daddy paid 100% for your college education. You fucking bragged about it when you walked into a restaurant where I was waitressing during my senior year in college and snotted how you couldn't believe that my parents weren't paying 100% for my college because I was sooooooo smart (the "so smart" was said with a smirk). Bragging that you're not going to pay shit towards your own kids' college educations is really fucking rich, coming from you. And where the fuck did you learn how to spell? Because that's some seriously bad spelling there. Plus, your grammar sucks, Teach.

  • To my former classmates, most of whom I recognize as not being honor rolls students liking the above two comments: You've got some mighty convenient memories, sports. I remember your entitled, lazy assess in high school. That entitlement is quite a trick, since only one classmate could be classified as rich and the rest of us were most definitely from blue collar families. Weirdly enough, the rich kid who was kind of a prick in high school, is not a prick and seems like a pretty straight-up kind of guy who isn't actively rooting for violence. You, however, are exactly the same spoiled brats I knew in high school whose first instinct was to smash shit if you didn't like it at first glance.



Plus, my "dear" former classmates, your reading comprehension sucks. Far as I can tell, the protest on Wall Street has fuck-all to do with college loans. None. Nada. Zip. Zippero.

What it's about is pointing out that no one — as in not one — person from Wall Street and/or the banks has seen the inside of a courtroom over crashing the economy. Furthermore, no one on Wall Street has taken responsibility. Worse, our cowardly politicians refuse to reinstate the regulations that were put in place during and immediately after the Great Depression, which were designed to prevent shit like this happening. (Much as I would like to blame Reagan 100% for this clusterfuck, Clinton gets to share the blame here as well.)

But most of all, the protests are happening because the 99% are paying for the top 1%, because God forbid the top 1% pay their fair share in taxes.

Seriously. It's really not that hard to figure out why people are protesting.

And actively rooting for the protestors to be subjected to violence is really too much, especially since you were the same people actively rooting for Teabaggers to cause violence during the whole healthcare debate.

Christ, what a bunch of hypocrites.


Pee. Ess. — I'm not saying you have to agree with the Wall Street Protestors, or even like that it's happening. Your prerogative, right? But actively rooting for violence to fall on people you disagree with politically? What the ever-loving fuck is wrong with you?

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28th-Sep-2011 09:41 am - Yay! Free eBooks!
Huuuuge hat-tip to [livejournal.com profile] janedavitt for this one:

eBook site chock full of public domain goodness at Feedbooks (Feedbooks also has a commercial eBook side, as well). It's also easier to navigate than Project Gutenberg can sometimes be, although I see that some books to link back to Project Gutenberg.

I know, I know. I'm supposed to be working, but I've already downloaded Sinclair Lewis's It Can't Happen Here (which I've been dying to read for awhile) and Theodore Dreiser's Sister Carrie.

I must back away from the site now, before someone realizes that I'm not reading the documents I'm supposed to be reading...


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27th-Sep-2011 02:38 pm - You Are All So Fired!
How could you forget to tell me that Penn & Teller are going to be on Discovery in a back-to-back block with Mythbusters on Wednesday nights?

How, I ask you?

Anyway, here's the link to a discovery promo showing that the back-to-back thing will be starting October 5.

That's an awful lot of awesome going down on the Discovery channel on Wednesday nights. I'm getting giddy.

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20th-Sep-2011 10:07 am - Sick of Feeling Science-Ignorant
The thing about working at the Jolly Green Giant (now a subsidiary of the French Baguette) is that:

1) I am surrounded by scientists
2) I am surrounded by statisticians

It's at this point that I feel like I should state that really, really fucking love science. Advanced math, however — defined here as something greater than balance-the-checkbook math — and I are still not on speaking terms.

The great tragedy in my life is that my high school science and math teachers sucked. Majorly sucked. Massively sucked.

Sucked to the point of incoherence.

Sucked to the point that I got so frustrated that I literally said to my mother: "Who needs this shit? I'm never gonna use any of it."

*spreads arm wide*

Consider me a walking object lesson on "Just 'cause you're 17 and heading off to college, it doesn't mean you know shit."

For reals.

I've managed to spend half my career now playing with science and, to a lesser extent, math. (Ooooo, the latest American Medical Writers Associate Journal has a tutoring article on how to interpreting statistics in medical studies. SWEET!)

Now, I've managed to pick up a lot by osmosis. I mean, a lot. But here's the problem: no matter how many books you read and how many questions you ask, without some formal training you're going to miss a shit-ton of the basics.

Hence my decision to go back.

Okay, it's only for an Associate's, and it's only community college, and I'm only going back really part time (like one or two classes a semester), but still! It's for science! Which is hard! (Okay, hard-ish!)

In looking at the in-state tuition rates...oy! One class is going to cost roughly $800 after assorted fees are thrown in, and that doesn't include books. Thankfully, the Jolly Green Giant has a very generous continuing education policy for classes that are specifically tied in to your job. (It's science! And some math! Yes! It applies!)

And before you say, "Then apply for financial aid" let me laugh at you. The salary I make? I should be paying full-freight (and that's even without the corporate reimbursement) and to think otherwise is just fucking immoral, yo.

Now that I've made up my mind, I'm scared out of shoes. Okay, not scared enough to have second thoughts, but scared.

The last time I was in a formal classroom was literally half-a-lifetime ago.

And here I am, planning to go back. For science no less!

Okay, it's only for an Associate's Degree and it's only community college, but still!

It's for science! (And a little math...)

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16th-Sep-2011 09:30 am - NPR First Listen: Tony Bennet's Duets II
Photobucket



For those of you who have a weakness for classic crooners, NPR is running free streaming for Tony Bennet's new CD "Duets II", feature not just the man himself, but also Amy Winehouse (her last recording), Queen Latifa, Willie Nelson, Andrea Bocelli, a reunion with previous duet partner k.d. lang (squeeeee!), and many more.

Hey, the streaming is free (which means not just computer, but smartphones and tablets can play it while you go through your day) and the music has a laid-back cool that's totally worth the listen.

And this is why I love NPR. *huggles*

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14th-Sep-2011 11:32 am - Song of the Day! (This Download is Free)
Right. So, let's try something new.

In an effort to get back into the habit of posting something more often, I'm gonna post a song of the day. Or, y'know, a song I happen to be listening to at the time.

*deep breath*

So, today we have the following:

Photobucket



Reverand's Son by Barnaby Bright. Not only is the entire track available for free from Amazon, but the entire 8-song sampler is as well. If you like Americana, the sampler (and a second one going by the same name, which is also available free of charge), then this is well worth the download.

Note to self: I really need to post my reviews of music storage locker services sometime soon.

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26th-Aug-2011 09:20 am - It Appears My Procrastination Is About to Bite Me in the Ass
So, the only debate about Hurricane Irene at this point is whether it's going to be a Category 2, Category 1, or a "mere" Tropical Storm when it hits us in the People's Republic of Massachusetts.

Then there's the whole, "Will it hit the west end of the state? Or the east end of the state?"

If it hits to the west, then we're going to have higher winds across the state, i.e., flying cows. And yes, there are plenty of cows in the People's Republic. (I know because I've been happily eating them, and the local pigs all summer. Yum.) If it hits to the east, we're going to a metric fuckton of rain, as opposed to just the fuckload you'd expect to get.

So, which poison should I hope for?

Decisions, decisions.

In either case, it occurs to me that hopping in the pool after work is probably not the best use of time. I should probably hit up the grocery store for some staples rather than counting on the Farmer's Market being open tomorrow morning.

*sigh*

Plus there's gas. And laundry I've studiously not done all week.

Truly, I have screwed myself here.

Well, yes and no. It's not like I'm going to starve, but it might behoove me to pick up a few odds-n-sods.

Also, note to self, I must make sure the cell phone and the NookColor are fully charged, since I may be hunting for things to do when the power goes out.

Yeah. The to-do list is a wee bit longer than I thought.

I expect I'll be falling into bed at about...oh...3 a.m. by the time all's said and done.

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25th-Aug-2011 04:17 pm - This Makes Me Weirdly Happy
First, check out my new icon! Yes, I took the picture. Yes the puffin was that close. Yes, it's shareable. And yes, you must credit moi.

At some point, I really need to upload my "Puffin Safari" pictures online so you can see them.


As for the other reason why I'm posting, for those of you of a certain *kaff kaff* age this video will bring back some really interesting memories.

Some of those memories will make you ask yourself one or all of the following:

• You mean I didn't hallucinate/imagine/dream that?

• Wait. Are you sure you can do that on television? You can't do that on television now.

• How much shit can you get away with because someone, somewhere stuck their hands up the ass of a Muppet?

Heee!

Anyway, the "Muppet Show Theme Song" by OK Go...with Muppet help.

(Sweetums! They have Sweetums at the beginning! Sweetums is my favorite Muppet monster!)








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17th-Aug-2011 01:04 pm - Jaws Redux
I know, it's been almost a month since I posted, well, anywhere.

I've been a bit tied up on the after-work activities, so not a lot of time to actually participate in the greater journaling world.

But this is too good to pass up.

For all you shark fans on my FList, the Boston Globe has a story about how the now annual invasion of great white sharks off the coast of Cape Cod (or if you want to get specific, off the coast of Chatham, MA) has once again shut down the beaches in the area.

Now, you'd think that the people of Chatham (and the Cape in general) might be hopping mad about this due to loss of tourist dollars.

You'd also be wrong.

As it turns out, since the great white sharks have decided to make the coast of Massachusetts a regular stop on its "Annual Eating Our Way Across the Atlantic Tour", tourism has increased. The locals are raking in the dough in a way they never did when the town was a quiet little beach community. And scientists are living in heaven.

The harbor seals, however...

Notsomuch.

Behold this awesome picture from the Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries that ran in today's Globe for some visual proof:




A great white shark stalks harbor seals off the coast of Lighthouse Beach in Chatham, MA — Photo from the Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries


I'm sorry. But that picture? Made me giggle. Okay, I feel sorry for the seals, but that shark, man.

In any case, there are now Shark Watching Tours starting up on the Cape (now that we know that the great whites are pretty much here to stay after several years' worth of visits). They're kind of like the local Whale Watching Tours, only with the promise of actual blood 'n guts as the sharks snap the seals out of the air like the seals are nothing more than popcorn kernels.

I may have to do one next summer, just to say I did...

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21st-Jul-2011 03:05 pm - Urge to Leave Work Fading...
Sonuvabitch.

It's a "mere" 94° F/34° C outside.

But the heat index (air temp plus humidity) puts it at 100° F/38° C.

What the frilly frell?

I know I had a plan to hide in my housing development's pool until Hell on Earth moves on from Massachusetts, but now I'm wondering if the better option isn't just to hide in the office where the centralized air conditioning lives.

I'm pretty sure My Fellow Americans down south, and more than a few Australians, are probably calling us New Englanders whimps but — seriously now.

Seriously.

Not only is that an inhuman level heat, we can actually see the air because the quality is so bad.

*cries*

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20th-Jul-2011 03:30 pm - I'm Not Ignoring You, I Swear...
Heh.

Well.

This is kinda embarrassing.

But the truth is that I honestly don't have oodles of time to write these days, mostly because I'm either swimming or kayaking after work and on weekends. What this translates to is that for 1-and-half hours a day, 5 to 6 days a week, I'm outside and doing some kind of water-based sport.

(I can hear you say "EW!" You all have dirty, dirty, dirty minds!)

I'm actually letting myself tan *a little bit* this year. Of course, I'm going through so many ounces of lotion to counteract the sun exposure that I look like I'm suffering from some kind of lotion-based compulsion.

So, yeah...

I swear I'm not ignoring anyone. It's just that I'd much rather be outside and enjoying the sunshine while the summer weather lasts.

In fact, I'm already plotting to escape the heatwave (the next 5 days are promising to be Hell on Earth in Massachusetts) by hiding in a swimming pool for 2 hours after work today, tomorrow, and Friday. I'm thinking of just moving into the pull for the day on Saturday.

I will try to get on the Journals more often, especially now that work has fallen back to a livable 40-hours a week (down from the 50 to 60 hours-a-week I was working through April, May, June, and the beginning of this month).

It should be doable.

Also on the to-do list: Taking a a flame-thrower to my apartment to clean up months of clutter and general *yuck* as work took over my life.

Despite the work-based crazy that ate almost all of Spring and the first half of summer, this is turning out to be the most relaxing summer I've had.

I credit easy (if expensive) access to both pool and kayaks, and always having a choice between which one I want to do on any given day.

It's nice to finally have a life where kayaking-or-swimming is the most taxing decision I have to make, as opposed to the stressful groceries-or-health insurance decision, which I've had to make twice in my life and had to live with for multiple years (a grand total of 4 to be precise).

It took *years* to get here, so I plan to enjoy the low stress time for however long it lasts.

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15th-Jun-2011 03:25 pm - FIC Commentary: Orpheus in the Underground (Dark Minuet)
Yes, I'm going to start with the easy one to write commentary for:  Orpheus in the Underground (Dark Minuet)

Let me start off with this admission:  I've been dying to write a remix for Eurydice by [archiveofourown.org profile] thistlerose  since I first read it a couple of years ago.  Not because I think it's a bad story (it's really not), but because it hits all of my kinks:  prickly and not necessarily nice Faith and Xander, a tentative offer of friendship despite a problematic history, and allusions to mythology (in this case, the mythology around Orpheus descending to Hades to rescue his dead wife Eurydice.

Needless to say, I've always been disappointed that I never got [archiveofourown.org profile] thistlerose in the Remix, so when the Mods decided to throw open Remix Madness for the first time this year, and I saw that [archiveofourown.org profile] thistlerose had volunteered, I was on this story like a shot.


More discussion under the cut )


So, there you have it. It's a pretty straight-forward process Orpheus in the Underground, and not terribly interesting to boot.

Feel free to throw any questions you might have in the comments. (Assuming anyone is still reading this journal. Since it's been awhile since I posted, that part is somewhat in doubt.)

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15th-Jun-2011 03:04 pm - FIC: Orpheus in the Underground (Dark Minuet)
Title:  Orpheus in the Underground (Dark Minuet)
Author:  [personal profile] liz_marcs 
Remix of:  Eurydice by [archiveofourown.org profile] thistlerose 
Fandom:  Buffy the Vampire Slayer

Summary:  Xander knows way too much about how those lines blur between wide-scale destruction and personal loss than is entirely healthy

Rating:  PG-13 for language; vague imagery for a large-scale disaster.
Pairing:  None.

Author's Note:  Takes place post-"Never Fade Away" on Angel.  Spoilers for Angel.  Comics are cheerfully ignored.

Disclaimer:  Xander Harris, Faith Lehane, and all associated characters and organizations are the property of FOX and Mutant Enemy.  Any mention of real life events and real people is not meant to imply that the people or incidents in question as they are used in the story have any relationship to reality. All original characters and the plot are mine. No payment was asked for or received in the writing of this story and no profit was earned. No copyright infringement on FOX or Mutant Enemy.

The thing about the 24-hour news cycle is... )</div> This entry was originally posted at http://liz-marcs.dreamwidth.org/424527.html and has comments. Please comment there using OpenID.
13th-Jun-2011 12:21 pm - I swear I'm not usually an asshole... (The Better Late than Never Remix)
Now that life is somewhat settling down after a month of work crazy-ness and sick parent-ness and sick me-ness (that would be me this weekend, and I'm still not feeling great)...

I'm finally able to write about Remix. A month late, it's true.

In any case, I will get the stories and my behind-the-scenes exposition up later this week for what I wrote (if anyone still cares).

In the meantime, here's the links:

Traditional Remix:

First off:

Where the Boys Are (The Barbie Dream House Remix) was written by elemntalv

This one remixed Cuckoo in the Nest by focusing specifically on Jessica Harris and what happened the night she went to the frat house.

As I said in my original review, I've always left Cuckoo in the Nest unprotected for the Remix with mixed feelings. I've always wanted someone to at least take a crack at it, but have always been afraid that I'd get something that was...disappointing (to put it diplomatically). The original story was tricky as hell to write, so I figured the remix would be, too.

Elemntalv does an excellent job of bringing a key element of Cuckoo in the Nest to life in what I left as nothing more than a horrific implication. Be warned: the story focuses on Jessica's rape (I'm not calling it non-con) and the long-term effects on her psyche. It also dovetails nicely with Cuckoo in that it goes a long way to explaining why Jessica was willing to deny Xander's existence when it looked like he was out of their lives for good.


I wrote Waiting for My Real Life to Begin (Old Photographs Waltz), which I wrote as a compare-and-contrast mirror-image story to the original Watcher by Zulu.

I will be the first to admit that the genesis of this story was...odd to say the least. It's the first story where I can honestly say that I wrote it completely by accident. So much by accident that I write half of it before I even realized what I was doing. Good thing too, because my original choice never gelled.

I'll explain when I have more time to write a behind the scenes account of how this story came together.


Remix Madness:

After Action Report (The No Complaints At All Remix) was written by Nothorse, a remix of my Complaint in Three Voices. If you're looking for an antidote to the angst and horror stories in this post, this one is it. It's hard to explain, but it's sure to give anyone who reads it a good giggle.

Also, I'd like to add a very public apology to Nothorse. I didn't even realize that this remix existed until today. *winces* I never got notification that it existed, and given my life has been a tad crazy for the past month, I never really got a chance to go through the Remix Madness archive. As a result, no feedback from me until today.


And finally, I wrote Orpheus in the Underground (Dark Minuet), a remix of Eurydice by Thistlerose.

This story is one I've been wanting to remix for a couple of years (yes, the story is that old) using a Xander POV to contrast against the Faith POV in the original. Unfortunately, I've never gotten Thistlerose in the remix, so when I saw she had signed up for Remix Madness, I figured, "Why not do it now?"

In any case, stories and behind-the-scenes discussion of what I did will be up later this week. Promise.

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10th-May-2011 11:19 am - Thanks for All the Good Thoughts and a Brief Note on Remix
Thanks everyone for your good thoughts for Dad!Marcs.

As it turns out, the whole thing was caused by medication. The funny thing is: it's medication he's been on for years.

Or, maybe not so funny. As the body gets older, it's not unheard of for the body to become less effective at metabolizing drugs. So, what we've been watching has been a veeeeerrrryyyyyy sloooooooowwwwww car crash. Which finally crashed into a wall.

The upside to this is: medical science has caught up enough that a little hour-long laser-light surgery can now fix the condition the medication had been controlling. Which my dad signed on board for before he was discharged on Saturday.

The bad news? He's got to schedule the thing first, and it could be a wait. Yuck.

In any case, I'm still catching up on sleep due to my hellish last week, and I'm still strung out like a junkie at work. I'm hoping, hoping, hoping, hoping that I'll be able to at least get one of my remix stories up here today (I did one for the regular remix and one for the remix madness) along with some kind of meta.

This year's remix was a strange one for me. Definitely the lowest response I've ever gotten for a remix (even before the reveal), and I'm kind of mystified as to why. I wonder if the stories I did this year just missed some kind of sweet spot (I'm pretty sure I turned in the only non-shippy stories for Buffy fandom), or if Buffy fanfiction fandom is simply drying up to the point where it's going to be a low-response kind of fanfiction from now on.

Of course, there's always the possibility that the stories I wrote this year just weren't all that inspiring, too. *shrug*

In any case, I better get back to work, before someone wonders why I'm typing so quickly...

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5th-May-2011 04:34 pm - Between Work Insanity and My Father in the Hospital
Soooooo....

Approximately 2/3 of my work team is down and out with various unexpected health/legal/personal issues, which means that 2/3 of my work team is basically out of the office for the entire month of May.

Which means that those of us who are left are riding the nervous breakdown train because the level of work hasn't decreased, just the number of people who can actually do it. Which means that those of us who are left are working 12-hour days to make up for it.

Of course, in the middle of this whole, "It doesn't rain, it pours" scenario today I get a midday call from my brother telling me that Dad!Marcs was rushed to the hospital from the doctor's office.

Cripes.

The problem, which has been on-going for the year (or more), are dizzy spells. Now, these dizzy spells have been getting increasingly more frequent.

We've tried everything: changing glasses, tests for low blood pressure, high blood pressure, diabetes, low blood sugar, anemia, potassium levels, and on, and on, and on.

Nothing seems to be working.

Finally, today in the doctor's office Dad!Marcs had one of his violent dizzy spells in front of an actual medical professional.

The good news? My parents had an actual medical professional finally witness one of these things.

The bad news? Dad!Marcs was sent directly to the hospital. Do not pass go. Do not collect $200. All praise be to Blue Cross Blue Shield, retired federal employees plan.

In any case, he got sent to one of the best hospitals in Central Mass for the battery of tests they've run him through today, will run him through tomorrow, and probably Saturday, too. When I asked how he was feeling, Dad!Marcs answer was, "Like a pincushion."

As for Mom!Marcs, she's sounding mighty relieved because, she figures that someone, somewhere will finally find something wrong after more than a year of putting up with the mystery.

So...yeah.

Looks like I *will* be having a nervous breakdown sometime this month.

But it would be nice if, at long last, the mystery of Dad!Marcs's dizzy spells were finally resolved.

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28th-Apr-2011 04:26 pm - Remix Madness (in addition to Remix)
I know, I know.

I've been under the radar, what with me writing this year's Remix (which turned out to be a challenge for both obvious and not-obvious reasons) and with RL kind of settling down into a constant medium roar.

So, yeah, lots of updates to be had. Eventually.

In any case, I feel like I need to break out of my writing rut, so yes! I have indeed signed up for Remix Madness, which appears to be a short-term, two-day free-for-all, anything-goes remix challenge.

I'm going to try to ping one or two, to see if that'll help loosen the fic muscles that I seem to be having trouble flexing these days.

It's not writer's block, exactly. It's more like: "Everything I write sucks."

So, yeah. I'm in on the Remix Madness. I just figured I'd boost the signal.

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2nd-Nov-2010 03:07 pm - Not the Clutch
But the Right Front Axle. And more repairs besides.

See updated rant for increased vitrol over the financial screwing my car has performed on my checkbook/credit card.

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2nd-Nov-2010 12:57 pm - Dear Right Front Axle,
Thank you sooooo much for snapping in half at 7:30 a.m. as I was backing out of my driveway. I also thank you for your impeccable timing. While it's never convenient to have a major car repair, this is less convenient timing than most.

That said, I am grateful that:

  • You waited until I had enough cash in the bank so that I could pay for an axle replacement without resorting to a credit card.

  • You waited until I was safely nested in my shiny and new good-paying job at the Jolly Green Giant.

  • You did it in the driveway and not while I was getting off or on the Mass Pike.

  • You did it in my hometown where getting a tow, a mechanic, and a rental car all while taking a side-trip to vote was over and done by 10 a.m., which means I was only a mere 2.5 hours late for work. Not too shabby!

  • Since my car's gonna be in pieces anyway, the mechanics can give the car an overall check while they're at it. Ooooh, look! The exhaust system (factory original on a 10 year-old car) and the oil pan (also factory original) need to be replaced. Sadly, I already knew these two items were on their way out due to a couple of automotive symptoms I recently started experiencing. I was just hoping that something *magic* would happen and the symptoms would fix themselves. Or something.


So, there it is. I have a minimum repair bill of $1,700 hovering in my future. (Ouch!)

On the upside, that's three major repairs getting done at the same time. Outside of a single hit-and-run on my car in a parking lot, I've not done anything besides change the fluids in the engine and an oxygen sensor in the seven years I've owned the car.

On the downside, it's a $1,700 bill, of which I'll have to put half on a credit card. Gah! It's frustrating. I feel like I've gone 5 steps forward only to get pulled 8 steps back on this one credit card.

Furthermore, I'm shelling out for a rental. However, the local Enterprise (which sucks, by the way) didn't have an econobox. No. Instead I got a mini-SUV for an econobox price, and they were acting like they did me a favor.

The truth is, driving this SUV has not changed my mind about SUVs in general. They are all — to a vehicle — oversized, top-heavy, underpowered pieces of shit. I have yet to drive a SUV or be a passenger in a SUV where this statement wasn't true.

Oh. And on top of everything else I'm working late tonight so I can make up for being 2.5 hours late for work.

In short: FML.

Screw you, you useless piece of automotive hardware,

Moi

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1st-Nov-2010 08:34 am - Thanks For the Stories...Still Taking Your Pimps
Thanks to everyone who posted their self-pimp stories here.

Sadly, I didn't get a chance to read any of them this weekend due to real-life legal ickyness of the civil kind. (A very, very loooooooong story. But if you want the short answer? I'm gonna win.)

Also, I probably won't be able to read any of the stories until next weekend, mostly because I'm going to be tied up in this same legal mosh-pit for the rest of the week.

Thank God for my job at the Jolly Green Giant. At least I have a place that's far less stressful than home.

I only wish I was joking.

In any case, if anyone out there still wants to pimp their thang, add your story to the list.

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29th-Oct-2010 12:32 pm - Meme: Calling All Halloween Stories!
I seriously need to get into the Halloween mood.

And since I am faced with a crappy, paperwork-filled weekend (long story), I want some cool Halloween-type stories in my que.

(It doesn't help that I haven't been able to do more than glance at my FList for the past month.)

So, I'm starting a self-pimping meme.

All of you fanficcers out there, I want you to post a link to your most Halloween-ish story. Note, the story doesn't need to be about Halloween, or even take place at Halloween. Just the story that you think best fits the Halloween spirit.

Some ground rules:

1. It must be complete. No WiPs allowed.

2. Do NOT post just a link. Post all header information, such as title, fandom, pairing, trigger warnings, etc. (See below for an example.)

3. All fandoms welcome.

4. All pairings welcome.

5. All genres welcome. For example: If you think the story you've written that best fits the Halloween spirit scares the pants off people, fantastic! If you think the story you've written that best fits the Halloween spirit is a straight-up laugh-fest, fantastic!

6. Given numbers 3, 4, and 5 above, I can't promise to read every story sent to me (I've got my own pairing dislikes and squicks, and I don't know every fandom ever). Think of it as a as a resource list where like-minded people might find your story, and where you might find stories by like-minded people.

7. I know some of you on DreamWidth and InsaneJournal are going to hate this, but: Post your information here on ElJay. (Most of my FList is still on ElJay, and I'd really like to keep the list in one place.)

So, here's an example of what I'd love to see for self-pimping in the comments for your Halloween Spirit story:

Title:  The Monsters Are Due in Washington Square
Summary:  Nothing’s the same after the monsters come to town.

Genre:  Gen; Apoca-fic, dark fic, future fic
Rating:  PG-13
Series: Buffy the Vampire Slayer/Angel the Series
Characters:  Xander, Faith, Willow, Angel, original characters
Pairings:  Xander/OC; Xander/Faith (referred to in the past tense)

Warnings: Buffy and Angel comics are willfully and cheerfully ignored. Character (original character) death. Violence.

Author’s Note:  Title inspired by The Twilight Zone episode, “The Monsters are Due on Maple Street” written by series creator Rod Serling. Opening quote taken from The Twilight Zone episode, “Third from the Sun” written by Rod Serling. Story vaguely inspired by a mash-up of both “The Monsters are Due on Maple Street” and “Third from the Sun”.



So, let's see some Halloween stories out there!   (Pretty, pretty please!)



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26th-Oct-2010 02:17 pm - Why Mythbusters Rule! (Only 10% of Your Brain Myth...)
One of my all-time red buttons is when any tv show, movie, book, magazine article, fanfic, ect., ect., ect. makes the positively ridiculous claim:

"We only use 10% of our brains."

If the media involves medicine or science in any way shape, shape, or form, my reaction is:



Dear INTERNETS/TEEVEE/MAGAZINE/BOOK:

We use all of our brains. Every last bit. If you are talking about the ability to think abstractly, you’re right. That job is the job of the cerebral cortex, which is only a section of the brain. But all the other bits of the brain? They have jobs, too. Like giving you the ability to breathe and blink.

I know it doesn’t sound like an impressive job (although, I, personally, think the autonomic nervous system is a very impressive thing), but just try losing the ability to breathe and blink.

Now that you’ve thought about it, I’m sure that you will agree that the brain is a very, very busy beaver in which all parts are in use.

Get a basic anatomy and physiology book like the kind they give out in high school and crack the spine just once so you can look at the chapter on the brain. Kthanxbi.

Not-so-lovingly-yours,
Moi

Who, in fact, uses 100% of her brain (although I'm beginning to doubt that the same is true of you).



Okay...no. You got me. It's not that calm.

Usually there's a lot of incoherent yelling involved.

Then I change the channel and refuse to watch the show again. (I'm looking at you "House".)


As you can tell, this "use 10% of our brains" thing is a bit of a sore point for me.

Which is why I'm pleased to announce that the Mythbusters will be tackling this particular myth tomorrow.

*rubs hands with glee while doing happy dance*

My week has now been redeemed.

Yes, yes. I'm a very sad little muffin if Mythbusters can make it all better for me...

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26th-Sep-2010 07:34 pm - Bird Pictures! George the Amazing Lovebird and Finchy-Face
I figured I better take pictures of Finchy-Face so I could text them to potential adoptive homes.

And then George the Amazing Lovebird got frown-y face at me, so there's a few pictures of my buddy, too.

Photos of That Lucky Little Shit, aka Lucky, aka Finchy-Face )

In the meantime, George would like a few words with everyone out in Journal-Land.

And, yes, these pictures were actually taken in order, which makes it even funnier.

George has something to say... )

Lovebirds are so weird.

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20th-Sep-2010 09:00 am - Best. Web. Site. Ever!
After the horror of my week last week, I've discovered the best Website EVAH!

I swear, it's better than LOLCats.

Hungover Owls!

It helps that owls are, like, among my favorit-est animals.

But pictures of owls looking like they're waking up from a bender with hilarious captions?

Smells like a winner to me!

The pictures are totally SFW...the captions vary between SFW and NSFW (swearing), but since they're not splashed on the pictures themselves, you'll probably be safe if you look at this site in a public place.

Unless you're in a place where you can't snort like a water-buffalo because you're laughing so hard.

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16th-Sep-2010 08:48 am - Need Someone to ExplainDW points...
Either I'm being especially dense, or the FAQ explaining how DW points work is really poorly written. I can't decide which.

Can someone explain to me how the point system works?

I just bought the mid-level account last week, but I would like to buy "points" so I can upload all of my icons to my DW account (I only want the icons, not the full premium).

The FAQ page is less than helpful in explaining how to go about this, unless I want to convert my regular paid to a premium account. Which I don't, honestly.


Okay, got an explanation. You can't buy DW points and exchange them for extra services a la cart, i.e., extra icons. You either gotta buy the premium account for the extra icons, or you settle for the lower number of icons at the regular paid account level.

Which is...fair enough. I don't have any problems with that (not that I'm going to be ponying up for a premium account any time soon because I'm really not).

That still doesn't negate the fact that the whole "buy DW points for your friends!" entry on the FAQ really needs to be more clearly written to spell out DW's actual policy on points and what they're used for.

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10th-Sep-2010 08:29 am - Americana Music Awards
Sometime today (Friday), NPR will make the 2010 Americana Music Awards available for streaming.

For a definition of Americana music, Wikipedia has a pretty good overview. It's not quite folk, and it's not quite country, and it's not quite bluegrass. It's kind of hard to explain. Here's some legal MP3 downloads for you to listen to.

I think I know what I'm going to be listening to while I dig myself out of my clutter tomorrow (I'm still fixing shit from my slight depression days...geez it's a mess).

Oh, and did I mention?

I decided to reward myself and I bought me a Bose SoundLink Wireless Wave Speaker for my computer. This bad boy is awesome. Now my computer really is my jukebox.

Ooooo! I can't wait!

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8th-Sep-2010 02:23 pm - Dreamwidth Message Dump...
If anyone on Dreamwidth has sent me a PM, or has added me to their Reading Page and have not gotten a response for either one, all of the messages in my inbox have disappeared in a puff of electronic smoke.

No, I have no idea what happened.

If you need a response to a message or would like me to add you to my Reading Page, please don't hesitate to ping me via PM. Or you can simply respond to this post via the Dreamwidth link below.

My name on Dreamwidth, as on ElJay, is [personal profile] liz_marcs.

And, yes, I'm trying to be better about cross-posting...

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4th-Sep-2010 07:25 pm - Official Video of Cee Lo's Infamous Song (*squee*)
Cee Lo finally put out the official video for "Fuck You", which kind of makes me love him so much.

Aside from those catchy Motown licks that make me buttdance in my seat, this video is so unbearably cute that it makes me giggle like a schoolgirl.

I want to draw hearts around this song and video. Seriously.

Not Safe For Work, obviously....





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12th-Apr-2010 05:54 pm - My Very Bad Day: Laid Off
Well, I've been laid off from my job as a medical writer.

If there's anyone in the Boston area that knows of any writing opportunities (medical writer or other position), please drop me an IM.

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