Archive for January, 2002

Some Search Results

Sunday, January 27th, 2002

Some Search Results

Principal Snyder: You. All of you. Why couldn’t you be dealing drugs like normal people?

Willow: Sarcasm accomplishes nothing, Giles.
Giles: It’s sort of an end in itself.

Spike: Spike had a little trip to the vet, and now he doesn’t chase the other puppies any more.


The muches (not as many as I’d expected):

Morbid much? -Cordelia
Pathetic much? -Buffy
Having issues much? -Xander
Overidentify much? -Cordelia
Broken record much? -Dawn

Buffy Transcript Search

Sunday, January 27th, 2002

Buffy Transcript Search

New at Jemima’s Wiki Wonderland is Buffy Transcript Search, an exciting service with a boring name. Find your favorite lines! Research snakes and ascensions.

How long it will be before I hear the big cease and desist is beyond me - if that day comes, I’ll set TWiki to search the scripts and then redirect to Psyche, in her legal limbo across the sea.

Also updated are the Voyager quotes, for Lori, and a stray quote that got onto the Buffybot Memorial Page.

Sci-fi is the only literature

Thursday, January 24th, 2002

Sci-fi is the only literature

It’s not really tonight’s topic, I just wanted to get it off my chest.

Note to Christine: The Fellowship of the Suit sounds like it was ripped off from “The Wonderful Ice-Cream Suit”, one of Ray Bradbury’s better-known short stories (and he’s a man known for his short stories). Bradbury used to write a short story a week; I think he did it for years. I tried it; it lasted for a couple of weeks. Anyway, the Ice-Cream Suit isn’t really sci-fi, but that could be said of a lot of Bradbury’s sci-fi proper. It’s all a bit fantastic, like “Dark They Were, and Golden-Eyed”, one of his many tales of endangered Martians on a Mars that’s like a bit of the Old West, oxygen-nitrogen atmosphere and all.

One other note on something Christine said in her zendom article, and that Lori agreed with by blog: what’s so wrong about Godawful? Yes, it’s a questionable honor to be chosen as Worst of the Web, but I’ve known a couple of people who held that dubious distinction, and they didn’t stop writing. Her friends rallied around one of them, and still revile Godawful whenever it’s mentioned. The other one admitted that her story was, in a word, Godawful. It was an ill-conceived round-robin that she knew deserved its place on that infamous Worst Of site.

Stop by Godawful sometime and ask yourself, is it really so bad to scare these people off writing? They put their fic up in public where anyone can stumble over it, read it accidentally and be squicked in their sense of literary propriety. If we can have rec pages, why not anti-rec pages? Silence is not enough to protect the innocent.

Besides, Godawful serves an educational purpose, just like Bad Fanfic! No Biscuit! claims to. I’ve never quite understood why it’s acceptable to mock bad writers on BF!NB! but wrong to quote them directly (getting them far more hits than their fic merits) on Godawful. In either case, the lesson of Don’t Try This At Home is one that can’t be overemphasized. Not every newbie knows the difference between good and bad fic - else whence the hordes of fluffy-pairing-fic fans?

Even BOFQ’s can appreciate the occasional fic that’s so bad it’s good. Don’t tell me you haven’t read your share of bad, bad fanfic - I was there in fluffdom with you. I heard you squicking.

Originality is such a lonely word…

Tuesday, January 22nd, 2002

Originality is such a lonely word…everyone is so un-new

Many thanks to Jintian for summarizing the whole HP plagiarism debate in her blog for those of us who don’t have two hours a day to follow glass_onion when it gets rowdy. Well, you know I’m going to have an opinion. Let me just get out the soapbox…

I give Harry Potterdom a free pass. Let them rip off Buffy. Let them query-replace whole novels. (I recommend Emacs for ease of query-replacement.) Let them steal other people’s fanfic, even. Go ahead, rip me off.

It was Jintian herself, in the case of real people fic, who implied that people who live in glass fandoms shouldn’t throw stones - yet the stones are flying now. So the question that occurs to me is not why plagiarize? but why dost thou protest so much? Aren’t we all just the bottom-feeders of the literary ocean? We “original” fanfic writers use unoriginal characters in our own unique ways. The HP plagiarists use unoriginal characters and unoriginal lines in their own unique ways.

We are artisans, not artists - if you value originality so highly, why not write in a genre that emphasizes it? Insisting on originality in fanfic seems like trying to have your cake and eat it too - you want the ease and accessibility of fandom, plus the glory of having been “original”. I don’t think there’s room in this town for the both of them.

Plagiarism is a term of disapprobation that can only apply in a context where originality was expected in the first place. This isn’t Martin Luther King Jr.’s dissertation, people, this is fanfic. We frown on originality. We abhor the Mary Sue. We shy away from the Delta Fleet. Fanfic is not literature, and cannot be judged by literary standards.

Fanfic is like a troop of Girl Scouts gathered around a campfire, singing the traditional campfire songs (my favorite was always “Green and Yellow”, the tragic tale of a camper who ate a poisonous snake he’d mistaken for an eel), improving the verses that wanted improvement, and adding in original verses. Maybe those verses would get picked up by other scouts and passed on as the One True “Green and Yellow”, or maybe they’d be forgotten, like so much ephemeral J/C flufffic. One thing’s for sure, though - no girl scout would cry plagiarism if she heard her new verse (What color flowers do you want, Jesse my son? / What color flowers do you want, my beloved one? / Green and yellow, green and yellow - mamma come quick ’cause I’m very very sick and I wanna lay down and die…) coming from the next campfire over.

Fanfiction is an open-source movement. Maybe some people don’t want their source spread around, but the common-law history of copyright and the longer history of mankind telling tales around campfires is on the side of the alleged plagiarists. This is what it is to tell a tale - to take the best bits (including the best zingers) of tales you heard before and put them together in a way that pleases your audience. Harry Potter, the fandom, has rediscovered the art of storytelling, and it shall not be taken away from them.

If Joss doesn’t want to be quoted, he can stop broadcasting his best lines. As for the sacrosanct published authors, no one owned their lines until the printing press, and someday soon they’ll be common property again. No desperate clinging to printing-press laws can hold progress off forever. The future will be open-source; the future will be fanfic.

Rumors of War

Tuesday, January 22nd, 2002

Check out the BlogWars page for the latest in wookie warfare. There’s an X-File, more incitement from the cowardly Swiss, and a whole new universe opening up in Lori’s blog. (Everyone join in with Marvin and groan, “Oh, not another one.”)

Veronica tells me that Demon Casablanca Blog has moved to its own page. Veronica also recommends BitterSweets? for the upcoming holiday.

Speaking of despair, I entered the AAA. Here’s the evidence:

From: “Entries”
Date: Sun Jan 20, 2002 09:13:20 AM US/Eastern
Subject: Re: Entry for Awesome Author Award 2002

Thanks for entering AAA 2002. Good Luck!

From: Jemima

Action/Adventure Title: The Museum
Action/Adventure url:
Rating: PG-13

Drabble/Poetry Title: Jade’s Drabble
Drabble/Poetry url:
Rating: PG-13

Friendship Title: A Light Beyond
Friendship url:
Rating: PG-13

Humor/Light Title: Lethe
Humor/Light url:
Rating: PG-13

Romance Title: The Dance
Romance url:
Rating: PG-13

Sad Title: Thrive
Sad url:
Rating: PG-13

Wild Card Title: Lurking
Wild Card url:
Rating: PG-13

Comments: I think it would be nice to list the top three stories in
each category, even if you don’t give awards for them, so people can
know how they did and readers can read the most popular stories

Sent by:
Browser: Mozilla/4.0 (compatible; MSIE 5.0; Mac_PowerPC) Opera 5.0


Saturday, January 19th, 2002

In response to popular demand, the BlogWars are now linked in the wiki. And, by the way, there’s a wiki. It’s TWiki, not the UseModWiki I used at the J/C and C/7 wiki sites. Authentication isn’t working yet, so you’ll show up as TWikiGuest. Don’t bother to register yet. I’m working on cookie authentication, like UseModWiki’s.

The TWiki also has a Zendom section and Trek and Buffy areas for future use.

Taking it to the Streets

Tuesday, January 15th, 2002

Happy Birthday to Seema!

There have been a few more volleys in the Blog War, duly linked in the Guide. I took the liberty of titling the untitled.

Veronica informs me I’m terribly behind on Demon Casablanca Blog as well. Sigh. I’ll redo that link list soon…


Monday, January 14th, 2002


You can’t tell from your end, but I’ve gone high-tech. My stone-age mac is all fast and aqua now.

How did it all happen, you probably won’t ask but I’ll tell you anyway - but first, why? Macs are a little annoying in that they go on working perfectly well while you’re salivating over a new firewire Powerbook, then a new grape iBook, then a new Titanium PowerBook, then a new pearly iBook, or a new Cube, then a new G4, then a really snazzy new iMac with the flat screen display on the robot arm. But your old mac keeps going and going and going, like the Energizer bunny, even though you run ten programs at once on its paltry 64MB of memory and fill up its teensy weensy hard drive with Joan’s Buffy scripts, Jim’s Voyager Reviews, mpegs of musicals and embarrassing pictures of Spike to be explained later. If you don’t do much with it besides IM your beta reader, edit your fic, and read your mail, then you don’t need new operating systems every six months. MacOS 8.6 was a very good year, you tell yourself, and you know you’re right.

Then, if you’re really lucky, your boss asks you, token Mac addict among the Windows sufferers, to deal with the Mac port that so-and-so requested. And then he says that lovely word, “reimburse”. Gotta love that word…

And that’s how I found myself at the Mac store yesterday, having enough memory (and then some) installed to run OS X on my Bronze-age Mac. I considered just buying the memory, on the off-chance that I would fry the motherboard or something trying to install it myself, thus creating the perfect excuse to buy a nice new titanium PowerBook - but I couldn’t do that to my poor mac. And it’s a good thing I didn’t try it at home, because there were problems - the specs were a little vague on the question of adding RAM, and the 256MB didn’t work. I suspect the problem was that it was designed for up to 192MB in each slot, bringing it up to its telling maximum of 384MB. (I know, I’m boring you.) If I could be bothered to read the directions, I could have told the genius dudes that.

Instead (yes, interesting part now), I came off looking like a twit, with my desktop image of Spike that I forgot about, because something is always covering it when I’m using the computer. (Ten programs take up a lot of screen space.) Just the night before, my lovely sister Veronica had admired Spike when I was burning my fic to a backup CD using her new iMac, but did I stop and think, take Spike off the desktop before somebody sees him? No, of course not.

Nevertheless, I made it out of the store with new ram in, and the old ram out. (Anybody need 64MB of SO-DIMM, at 100Mhz? It won’t work in a new iMac, but an old one, or a Powerbook, would take it.) The next, and scariest, step was formatting the hard drive. That isn’t usually necessary, but I had a Yellowdog Linux partition taking up half my teensy weensy hard drive, and OS X, being Unix itself, needed just as much space. So I ascended the ladder of operating systems from 8.6, past 9.2.1, to X.1.2.

OS X is so cool. I remember way back when the OS X Server was in development and my supervisor had somehow convinced Apple that he was a Mac developer and got a copy. It was cool. Now it’s way, way cool.

It’s also very slick, and designed to keep people who have no clue what they’re doing out of trouble. I’ve been using Unixen of various types since I’d rather not say when - though the soft spot in my heart for SunOS 4 says more than enough - and if you’d told me Unix could be user-friendly, I would have responded with the full syllogism: “UNIX is user friendly. It’s just selective about who its friends are.”

What did I think I was getting in the nice white box with the big X, then? I don’t know - I guess I didn’t believe that there was really a Unix under all that aqua. Maybe I thought it was some sort of velocity engine too deep for mere mortals to access. Then I found the command line - this puppy is running a Turbo C shell just for me. You can’t fake tcsh - I know, because I’ve installed my share of clunky poseurs on Windows.

Ain’t nothing like the real thing, baby.

And Don’t Let the Door Hit You on the Way Out

Sunday, January 13th, 2002

And Don’t Let the Door Hit You on the Way Out

(A sequel to Bye Bye Bye. For previous chapters, see Jemima’s Annotated Guide to the Blog Wars.)

Jemima mounted the soapbox that had taken out Seven of Nine.

“That’s enough!” she shouted. “There isn’t room in the van for the boyband, the Britney and the 80 million teenagers. You are hereby banished to one of the frostier circles of Hell.” Jemima snapped her fingers, and the extras disappeared.

“Much better,” Lori said. Seema sent Tom to the wetbar for another margarita as Jemima watched thirstily. Then a lightbulb appeared above her head, and she snapped her fingers again.

A platinum-blond appeared and said, “Bloody hell! This scene again.”

“Spike, take the wheel. As long as we’re in this galaxy, we may as well blow up the Death Star.” Jemima rubbed her hands together eagerly.

“Which one?” Lori asked.

“There’s always one hanging around,” Jemima assured her. “Snape, fetch me a Guinness.”

Snape appeared from behind the wetbar and poured Jemima a foamy one.

“Now this is the life - two poolboys and a perilous mission to save the galaxy.” Jemima dismounted the soapbox and sat down in one of the minivan seats, putting her feet up. Snape retrieved a tray of deviled eggs from behind the wetbar and began serving.

Chakotay cleared his throat. Everyone ignored him. Jemima handed her Guinness to Snape to hold and pulled out her UFO bag - not the unfinshed fanfiction, but the unfinished cross-stitch projects. “Lori,” she proposed, “how about a real round robin?”

“Sean, fetch my crochet bag,” Lori said, and the two stitchers were soon deeply involved in their other common addiction.

“When will you drop us off in the Delta Quadrant?” Chakotay asked.

“Are you still here?” Jemima frowned. “Talk to Seema about tying up that loose end.” Seema saw him coming, however, and had Tom run interference while she started on her third margarita and petted her angst bunny.

“Say, luv, does this van have any armaments?” Spike called from the front.

“There’s probably a freeze-ray around here somewhere - why?” Jemima said.

“Because we’re coming up on that Death Star you ordered.”

“As a neutral country, I must protest,” Liz said, “or at least bravely run away.” Harry, Hermione and Ron gathered around her, drawing their wands and and uncorking a few potions in preparation for a sudden retreat.

“Fine, but leave my poolboy here,” Jemima said. Snape gave her one of those piercing, ambiguous looks that was so much more complex than a vapid Volvo-boy smile, and she sighed contentedly. There was nothing in the world like semi-evil, tortured poolboys who looked good in black.

“It was nice seeing you, Liz,” Seema said pointedly.

Such little hints were lost on Jemima, who added, “And don’t let the door hit you on the way out.”

War Whoop

Friday, January 11th, 2002

(Dazed and confused? See Jemima’s Annotated Guide to the Blog Wars.)

I forgot to mention another blog war chapter, From the Swiss Department of War, by Liz. I think it comes before Lori’s installment. Rumor has it Blogger ate Seema’s next chapter. And where did I get this reputation for yelling? I have not yet begun to yell…