Archive for September, 2002

Friday Five on a Monday Afternoon

Monday, September 30th, 2002

Late-night addendum added to question 4.

1. A pairing that you enjoy reading but will never write, and why.

Chakotay/Torres, because it seems so right yet I don’t know enough
about the first three seasons of Voyager to write in that time period. That
seems like their time, to me.

2. The pairing that you think has spurred the most really awful fan

I’m going to have to go with the majority here - Janeway/Chakotay
has the worst, and the
best, fan fiction out there, but only because it has the lion’s share of the Voyager
pairing market. Statistically speaking, it should get all the outliers.

3. A pairing that you just don’t get.

Doc/7. People keep telling me it’s a pairing, with fans, but all I’ve ever
seen of it is a few one-off fics. [See comments.]

4. A pairing that you think is difficult to write believably,
and an example of it done well.

Picard/Troi of C&C
fame goes without saying, but for Voyager I’d have to say Janeway/Paris is a
tough one
to write believably, and nothing really comes to mind that was believable. I’ll
have to root around for one when I get home.

[Monday night addendum] I looked through my notes for a couple
of J/P contest-type situations, and yes, no J/P fic has ever really blown me away.
Thanks for the recommendations (see comments), but I
still haven’t found that J/P fic in the sky. I don’t know that angst done well is
necessarily J/P done well - it seems to me that the main J/P challenge is
keeping them together, not setting them up for a life-scarring fling (as is so often
done to the poor ‘fleet brats). So I will continue to search for the perfect J/P.

This year’s J/P contest
TomKat Awards
) is open for submissions until December 15th, and is a blind
contest. I entered two losing stories in last year’s not-so-anonymous contest,
neither of which was the perfect J/P fic. I think I’ll enter again. I could even
work in some C/7 and Die J/C Die themes, though I think I did that last year. I
suppose I could write that mass-pregnancy fic that I never got around to back
when I was ’shippy…

5. A pairing that you have written or have thought about writing,
despite your own surprise that you would consider it.

That would have to be Garak/7. It never would have happened without
Seema’s nefarious incitement.


Sunday, September 29th, 2002

I wish I had time to blog - instead, I’ll meta-blog.
Here are the things I would blog about, if I only had the time:

  • Jo has a blog!
  • The Consciousness Plague
  • The Man in the High Castle
  • Extreme measures in veterinary medicine
  • How to rank fanfic, a la

  • Why badfic isn’t so bad
  • That the things I hate about Buffy (Angel and the Master, mostly) are just
    like the things I hated about XF (the conspiracy arc)

  • J/C and Austen/Bronte, a la [name deleted to protect the innocent] from
    the C/7 list

Someday, I’ll blog it all!


Friday, September 27th, 2002

Whenever I balance my checkbook lately (usually on the T), I wonder why I bother. In fifteen years I’ve never caught a bank in a mistake - my arithmetic skills only get worse, and the banks’ better. I may as well give up and take their word for it. They must have really good software.

But I digress. Mozilla has been called a web-designer’s browser, a slow car on the information superhighway, and a toy for geeks who just can’t get over Netscape 2.0. (That last one is me.) My mac is old, so Mozilla was extra slow for me.

But not anymore! I downloaded Chimera, a version of Mozilla with native OSX widgets and other geeky things. And, of course, Tabbed Browsing. You’re nobody if you don’t have tabs.

Speaking of tabs, a new beta of Opera for Mac is out. I’m over Opera, myself, but if buggy open-source betas make you nervous for your Mac, you might want to try a buggy commercial
beta of Opera instead.

Yesterday was Bring My Mac To Work day, so I took the opportunity to download the emacs source tree from and build Emacs for OSX according to the directions kindly provided by the prince of Emacs for Mac, Andrew Choi. I owe him my last three Emacs builds and a few binaries, too. I now have a bleeding-edge Emacs.

Confused? Emacs is a text editor, the way The Lord of the Rings is a fantasy. One you’ve known Emacs, you’ll never go back to vi or Notepad or whatever pale shadow of a text editor you’ve been using. There’s even a wiki devoted to the text editor to end all text editors. If you’d like to try the latest OSX version,
drop me a note and I’ll build an installer for you.

Confessions of a Badficcer

Friday, September 27th, 2002

of the blog war

A figure appeared on the sand in ample judicial robes. “Why are we at the
beach?” she asked. “It’s not beach weather in any of our hemispheres.”

“Christine!” There was joy in the Zen Resort, mixed with a subconscious
fear that she had come seeking betas for her legalfic.

“We appear to have misplaced the pool,” Lori said, taking the opportunity to
toss Virgil for Dummies into the ocean.

Jemima contemplated the now soggy tome as it swirled away. “I don’t
understand why we can’t decide how to spell Virgil. My Latin is a bit rusty, but
as I recall they used exactly the same alphabet we do.”

“Which alphabet is that?” Sean asked Lori.

“The Latin alphabet,” she informed her poolboy in an aside.

“I mean,” Jemima continued, “didn’t the fellow ever sign his name?”

“He does predate sig files,” Christine observed.

Liz donned her black toga to explain the situation. “The fellow
spelled his name Vergilius. The proper nick is therefore
Vergil. There’s no known explanation for
the centuries-long tradition of calling him Virgil.” She
paused a beat. “Except, of course, the usual one - nobody can spell a bloody
thing in English.”

Virgil looks nicer,” said the Nice One.

“The Law is on the side of Vergil.” Christine scribbled some
notes. The others desperately hoped it wasn’t a new legalfic.

Vergil gets my vote.” Lori picked a margarita off the tray
Sean was carrying around and sipped it with an air of finality.

Jemima’s eyes lit up. “Virgil,” she said. “Vergil, Virgil,
Vergil. Virgil.
Do you know what this means?”

“What?” Sean asked. Lori slapped him for encouraging Jemima.

“Blog war! The Vergillians against the Virgilantes! Blood, sweat, tears
and little blue corpses filling the trenches of France!” She practically hummed
with excitement. “Seema, are you with me? We must defend the

“The i - sure…” Seema looked doubtful. “Uh, weren’t you
about to tell us about badficcers, though?”

“The i,” Jemima repeated dreamily.

“The witness is evading the question.” Christine rapped her gavel on
a passing smurf’s head. “The topic is badfic.”

Jemima traced a circle in the sand with her toe. “Well, ladies, I do have
a confession to make.” Beach chairs appeared and the Mod Squad seated
themselves. Sean came around with more margaritas. “I…I’m a badficcer.”

Sean gasped. Lori smacked him again.

“I’ve always been a badficcer. I married off the characters.”

“There is that,” Lori agreed.

“I made babies - lots of babies,” Jemima added. “How old is Janeway
anyway? I had her popping them out at the drop of a hat.”

“I must have missed that fic,” Seema said.

“Those five fics,” Christine muttered.

“I was a J/C writer, for Kahless’ sake!”

“We all were once,” Liz said.

“Speak for yourselves,” Seema and Lori protested in unison.

Jemima hung her head in shame. “I may as well be wearing an apron
that says Kiss the badficcer.”

“While barefoot, pregnant and baking cookies,” Christine added.

“Hold on a minute.” Lori held up her empty glass, as if to block further
true confessions. “Jemima may have a weakness for weddings–”

“And said-bookisms,” interrupted Seema.

“And filk,” sang Liz.

“And Chakotay,” spat Christine. A passing smurf drowned in the unexpected
saliva shower.

Lori held up her glass menacingly. “But there’s one thing that sets us all
apart from badficcers–”

“Angst?” Liz asked.

“Slash,” said Christine.

“Plot,” Seema suggested.

“Virgil,” Jemima said.

Lori shook her head. “Spelling,” she declared.

Platinum or Blond?

Thursday, September 26th, 2002

I bet Veronica the real Buffy The Musical CD that Spike is human. How
could anyone be so flesh-toned and curly-haired and not be human? I know the
spoilers are on Veronica’s side, but I prefer to hope for the best.

My filk of The Sound of Music is not progressing, and I was disheartened when
I stumbled across
legendary filk of Do-Re-Mi. How could I ever compete with a classic like Do Re Mi


Wednesday, September 25th, 2002

What Element Are You?


Tuesday, September 24th, 2002

Due to technical difficulties beyond my control (antique phone lines), I
was unable to blog yesterday. I did collect some cool and geeky links, though.

If you don’t know already, you should be using
Mozilla, the coolest browser on earth,
open-source and
(Popup-killing advice compliments of
blogzilla, the Mozilla blog.)

To brighten up your Mozilla, try my favorite mozilla skin,
available from DeskMod. For the
truly geeky, or just those who want an easy way to clean up the cache and
history files after a long day of not-working at work, try the
XULPlanet preferences
. Note the convenient popup-killing checkbox. (I’m not sure why
you’d ever want to allow popups, but the option is there. Or just
the cool reminder of the millions of popups you’ve slain just by using a
real browser.)

On the image processing side, I discovered to my dismay that
Spinwave is forcing you to register before using their on-line image crunchers
to shrink your web images. Fortunately, I found a new site for cutting those
pesky jpegs down to size:
jpeg wizard. Gifs don’t
tend to need as much shrinking, anyway.

While on the prowl for jpegs to shrink, I found a goldmine of totally-free,
public domain images paid for by Your Tax Dollars: Skip
down past the quasi-religious links to the government photo repositories.


Sunday, September 22nd, 2002

Check out
We Read Crap So You Don’t
Have To
, a blog of fic rec announcements. I don’t know that a one-blogger
show can keep up with that long list of rec sites, but man is it trippy to look at.
Just wait a minute before you click anything.

I think I forgot to announce the
zendom update, again. Read
up on how the fans fan.


Thursday, September 19th, 2002

Here’s something for Seema.

Filk:  Season
Original: Memory, from Cats (lyrics by Trevor Nunn after T. S. Eliot)

Midnight, not a word from B'Elanna...
Has my muse lost her bat'leth?
I am writing alone.
In the weblog the broken fics collect in a heap
And I cannot find my drone.

Zenning, all alone with my laptop;
All those files from the old days -
I was popular then.
I remember when first I learned what fanfiction was.
Let the bat'leth strike again.

Every blogger just repeats
More metafic kvetching.
Someone utters and the next one sputters
Another meme is catching.

Jossed out, I must fill up my hard drive,
I must think of the new show
And I mustn't slow down.
By September my fic will be passé as McCoy,
When the vamps come back to town.

Cut off bits of angsty fics,
The same old couples parting.
My traffic drops, another summer over,
Another season starting.

Hit me one last time then forget me,
Let me cherish the memory
Of the contests I won -
Of the bat'leth that taught me just what fanfiction was.
Look, the season has begun.


Wednesday, September 18th, 2002

September 30th and October 1st seem to be very popular deadlines. I have
one nonfiction article due on each day, which makes it hard for me to think about
the fiction deadlines coming up on the same days.

October first is the receipt deadline for
New Worlds VI
, the annual Trek amateur mediafic contest. Note that I
don’t say fanfic contest. Since the majority of fanfic themes are
either banned outright or heavily frowned upon, it can hardly
be called a fanfic contest.
Almost all the don’t mess with the characters rules of the
Paramount pay-per-fic media franchise are in effect at SNW. (For more about
SNW as pay-per-fic, see my review of

I don’t have enough time to write fanfic, never mind pay-per-fic, and the
only think I have approaching a complete, unpublished story is a chapter of
the ever-to-appear Seven Saga which just wouldn’t gel into a real fic. Should
I give it an emergency plot transfusion, just to sell it into slavery to Paramount?

The other fiction contest coming up is much better about leaving story
rights in the hands of the writer.
The quarterly and annual postmark deadline for
Writers of the Future,
the biggest speculative-fiction contest I know of, is
September 30th. Winners get dough along with a week-long writing workshop.
On the downside, it’s run by the L. Ron Hubbard people and, no surprise, doesn’t
allow fanfic. I’ve been reading Writers of the Future XVI, and
finding the fiction a little too speculative for my tastes. I’m hoping for a nice,
juicy space opera before I hit the back cover.

Another upside of WotF is the writing essays scattered throughout the
contest anthology. The best one so far was about…writing. A good story,
Algis Budrys says, should have a beginning, a middle and an end. In the
beginning, you introduce the character, the context and the problem. In
the middle the character attempts to solve the problem and fails - three
attempts, three failures. That’s the rule of three - two is too little, four too much.
Next comes victory, still
in the middle. The end is devoted to “validation”, some sort of external
evidence that the story is really over. The example he gives is “Who was that
masked man?” The character, by the way, doesn’t change - he is only revealed
by the action, not transformed.

Yes, it’s simple, yes, it’s formulaic, and yes, it’s a little odd, but I thought if
I went back to my UFO folder and applied these rules, I might actually come
out with at least one finished story. If I only had more free time…