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Yuletide recs (part 3): Jeeves & Wooster, The Grinch, Matilda/The Librarians, Arrogant Worms, The Good Place, Jane the Virgin

  • Jeeves | Jeeves, Bertie | G | Three Plus One
    Bertie has three unpleasant experiences in the bathroom and one good one in his bedroom. (Platonic soulmarks AU.)
    trope:soulmates,pairing:jeeves_wooster,genfic,series:jeeves & wooster,fic:one-shot

  • Jeeves & Wooster | Jeeves/Bertie, ensemble | G | Jeeves and the Sporting Spirit
    The Drones are hosting their annual Olympics, and all Bertie wants to do is get his own back after last year’s humiliation. But things are never that simple where Bertie is concerned… Featuring an unwanted fiancee, a Pekingese masquerading as a cushion, a new Drones recruit, and the world’s ugliest tie.
    series:jeeves & wooster,fic:one-shot,pairing:jeeves_wooster

  • Jeeves | Jeeves/Bertie, Honoria | M | Rescuing Honoria
    Honoria is engaged. Not to Bertie this time, but to a man who won’t let her break their engagement. Jeeves must be summoned, but Jeeves is on holiday in Herne Bay. What to do?
    pairing:jeeves_wooster,series:jeeves & wooster,fic:one-shot

  • Jeeves | Jeeves/Bertie | M | All the Spinach You Can Eat
    A man finds himself at the mercy of a valet who destroys his engagements, his wardrobe, and then his self esteem. Bertie thinks it’s jolly good pornography but wonders what it’s got to do with him.
    pairing:jeeves_wooster,series:jeeves & wooster,kink:bdsm,fic:one-shot

  • The Good Place | Chidi/Eleanor, ensemble | G | we’re all in this escape room together
    “This isn’t a thought experiment.” The Judge looks at Eleanor. “If we do this — if we reform the afterlife like you want, and keep all the humans — ” (She makes a face at that.) “If we do this, you four have skin in the game. You’re going to live under this system just like everybody else.”
    fic:one-shot,series:the good place,pairing:eleanor_chidi

  • Jane the Virgin | Petra/Rafael/Jane | T | Happily Ever After
    It was all out of Petra’s control. She didn’t know what their game was, and she felt weak to stop it, or demand information. They just kept smiling at her, both of them, with their big dark eyes, taking deep breaths whenever she said something sharp, moving forward. But forward toward what? She had no idea. Was this friendship?
    fic:one-shot,pairing:jane_rafael_petra,trope:polyamory,trope:soulmates,series:jane the virgin

Yuletide recs (part 2): Captain Marvel, Lilo & Stitch/Phineas and Ferb, Doctor Who/Bojack Horseman, Addams Family, Murderbot, Discworld

  • The Murderbot Diaries | Mensah, Murderbot, ART, Pin-Lee | T | Situation Normal
    Hi, I said, along with amusement sigil 159 = wave. It seemed a little inadequate, but what do you say to the ship that radically altered your appearance, helped you figure out your past, and also threatened you with terrifying weapons? Amusement sigils seemed like my best bet.
    fic:one-shot,series:murderbot,genfic

Peter Donnelly appreciation post

Doing this separately from the regular music-rec posts because, whoo boy, tracking the guy down at all was a Journey.

Peter Donnelly does soft rock/folk pop — think Dan Fogelberg, but gay romances instead of straight ones. Some of the lyrics get to be more direct and nuanced than any “highly LGBTQ-relatable feelings, but wrapped in a layer of metaphor” songs. Others are sweet and heartfelt without any gender-specificity. Some are just funny or weird. Most of them are really pretty.

…and almost none of them are findable online anymore.

It took a bunch of searching just to find non-dead links about the right Peter Donnelly. This is the one who did A Sure Thing (AllMusic, Amazon, the producer’s website) and Express Café (AllMusic Amazon).

Can’t stream any of his songs on Amazon or Spotify. Can’t get the lyrics…pretty much anywhere. If you have one of the CDs, Windows Media won’t be able to identify it. The only audio left on YouTube is “a couple of well-buried shaky-cam videos of live performances” and “this one fanvid I made.”

I did finally think to check the Internet Archive — they have a version of his website from 2013! Which is the only place I found any info about his last album, Road With No End (consider its threadbare Amazon listing). Plus a tiny treasure trove of sample .wma files.

Facebook has a pretty recent live performance (non-embeddable), and reports the duo of Donnelly and Richardson having future gigs as well as past ones. So apparently he’s still around. Hasn’t changed his name, or died, or anything drastic like that.

He’s just…staying way off the internet.

(Feel free to compose your own “and who can blame him” jokes here.)

So at this point you may be thinking “hang on, Erin, you are not exactly a known aficionado of obscure and/or indie music. How do you even know about this guy?”

Well, in the late 2000’s he was one of various LGBT+ performers and speakers that my college’s Alliance hired to do their thing on-campus.

(About that club name: it started as the Gay/Straight Alliance, then the community acronym started expanding, and somebody with excellent foresight realized we’d be changing the name every few years if we tried to keep up. So we sidestepped that problem by dropping the descriptor at all.)

(Still unimpressed about the time I was trying to get formal authorization for some club thing, the admin person assumed we were the Environmental Alliance, and when I clarified that actually we were the gay one, they went “wait, that’s a school-accredited club?” Like it was a surprise.)

Express Cafe cover, signed

So Peter Donnelly set up at the local coffeehouse, and did some songs, and I thought they were great.

I bought both the CDs he was selling! I got them signed! I am so glad I still have that physical evidence, now that it’s all dropped off the face of the web!

This whole thing has really driven home that in-person stuff is important. Local community groups are important. Outreach to the people in your area is important. You never know what you’re going to be saving for each other.

…I can only find Express Café in my CD rack right now. Went ahead and scanned the whole lyric booklet. If anyone comes across this post looking for Peter Donnelly lyrics and/or Express Café lyrics…here they are, straight from the source:

Express Cafe lyrics, part 1

Express Cafe lyrics, part 2

I did type up the Dangerous Games lyrics — not long after I bought the album, wow. For the rest of the songs, you’ll have to do your own transcriptions.

If I ever find my copy of A Sure Thing, I’ll scan the materials from that too.

…and since there’s no longer any way to get this audio directly from the artist, or through a sales channel that supports him, I’m just gonna leave these here.

Express Café (full album, plus the cover/back/booklet art, 80.4 MB)
A Sure Thing (partial album, 3/4 of the songs, 46 MB)

Yuletide fic recs (part 1): Strangers With Candy, The Good Place, Temeraire, Galavant, Middleman, Utena

  • Temeraire | Laurence, Temeraire | G | the becoming garb of a gentleman
    “Laurence has several robes from the Emperor’s court already; I was rather thinking of something more modern. It has been so very long since he bought himself anything fine. He says he sees no need for it, now that he is no longer an admiral, but he is after all still a prince; sometimes I think he forgets.”
    series:temeraire,fic:one-shot,genfic

  • The Middleman | Wendy/Middleman, Ida | T | The Rubber Shapeshifter Assimilation
    “No, thank goodness.” He did a small, dignified shudder. “You can imagine the amount of suppression we had to do to ensure March of the Penguins was a moving nature study instead of a dread-filled, all-too-real account of how close the world came to an emperor penguin Napoleon. No, Dubbie, there’s a research station in dire need of assistance. They’ve unearthed a slab of ice.”
    series:middleman,pairing:middleman_wendy,fic:one-shot,trope:hurt-comfort

Wednesday fic recs: The Magicians, Harry Potter, Hellsing, Jeeves & Wooster, Marvel, Sherlock, Good Omens

  • Hellsing | Alucard/Integra, Seras, others | M | Embracing Sin
    Integra needs more out of her new life as a vampire. So, taking Seras’s advice, she temporarily hands the reins over to her and plans a journey starting in Romania. Everything started out great, that is, until they find themselves upon a battlefield in 1477 and come face to face with Vlad the Impaler. AxI
    series:hellsing,pairing:integra_alucard,fic:chaptered,trope:timetravel

  • Jeeves & Wooster | Jeeves/Bertie | M | Jeeves à la Spode
    Some lingerie samples are missing and Roderick Spode is on the warpath. What can the guilty parties do, other than hide the items about their persons? (Or, Jeeves and Bertie do kinky things in stockings and suspenders.)
    fic:one-shot,series:jeeves & wooster,pairing:jeeves_wooster,trope:genderplay

  • Jeeves & Wooster | Jeeves & Bertie | M | Beware the Bogeyman! Hush! Here He Comes!
    A terrible plague has been ravaging Europe for months, with the disease slowly creeping across the rest of the world. Jeeves is one of the afflicted. Bertie responds in the only way he can – to do whatever it takes to save Jeeves, or failing that, to keep him safe.
    pairing:jeeves_wooster,series:jeeves & wooster,fic:one-shot

  • Jeeves & Wooster | Jeeves/Bertie | M | All’s Well That Ends Well
    To the general disappointment of his family, Bertie Wooster was born an omega. After enduring his dreaded Aunt Agatha’s best efforts to pair him off, he has all but given up on love and resigned himself to the life of a perpetual bachelor.
    series:jeeves & wooster,fic:chaptered,pairing:jeeves_wooster,kink:omegaverse

  • Sherlock | John/Sherlock | M | The Only Unproblematic Slash Fic
    Anyways here’s my fanfic. If you comment on this fic with ANY NEGATIVE OPINION it’s ABUSE and I will call the FBI. I’m only 28, so if you comment on this fic at all and you’re older than me, it’s GROOMING and I will call the FBI.
    fic:one-shot,pairing:holmes_watson,fic:parody-mst,series:sherlock

  • Good Omens | Aziraphale, Crowley | T | The Brazen Serpent
    The Israelites have almost reached the end of their forty-year exile, but Heaven has some business with them first. Unfortunately, that business includes a certain interfering demon.
    series:good omens,series:religion,pairing:crowley_aziraphale,genfic,trope:hurt-comfort,fic:one-shot

Post-Yule retrospective on the past few months

First, a PSA:

8tracks is shutting down. In 3 days. They did install an automatic “save playlist to Spotify” button to back up everything before they go…so I guess I’m finally getting a Spotify account, huh.

* * *

I got a delightful Yuletide fic!

It looks like this:

curiosity and candy (makes the world go round) (3481 words) by Anonymous
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: Pet Shop of Horrors
Rating: Teen And Up Audiences
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Relationships: Count D/Leon Orcot
Characters: Count D (Pet Shop of Horrors), Leon Orcot
Additional Tags: Swearing, Canon Era, Canon-Typical Behavior, Canon-Typical Levels Of BDSM References, yes this is a tag now, Yuletide, Supernatural Elements
Summary:

Word has gotten out that Leon is D’s new chosen mate, and the supernatural is pretty eager to test out his worthiness for the role.

Shame that Leon hasn’t been informed of any of this.

I also gave one, in a niche-enough fandom that it’s barely gotten any attention — but, listen, the recipient liked it, so it’s a win.

Slowly working my way through the rest of the archive, but I have a bunch of pre-Yuletide fic recs that I haven’t even queued yet…so the rec posts of not-for-me Yulefics may take a while in coming.

* * *

I subscribed to Hulu With Live TV for the month, purely so I can watch the new Steven Universe episodes before the internet has a chance to spoil them.

Seriously, the speed at which people can draw fanart of totally-new character designs is unreal.

And during the rest of the eek, I’m trying to make the most of the subscription by bingeing as much other Hulu-exclusive content as possible. Caught up on Archer and a smorgasbord of superhero movies, still working through Family Guy and The Resident, got an apprehensive eye on Stargate Universe.

Surprisingly entertained by Gary And His Demons. (Satirical commentary on Chosen One narratives, Rick-and-Morty-type dysfunction-based humor, our hero has a magical-girl-style transformation sequence for which he sings his own theme song…it’s a lot.)

…they have over 300 episodes of ER. And it’s excellent background-watching-while-making-comics TV. I may or may not end up going another month with this.

* * *

Speaking of avoiding spoilers: I saw Frozen 2!

It was enjoyable, don’t get me wrong, but also awfully weird. Go watch Jenny Nicholson’s review for a good, thoughtful, funny breakdown of a lot of the reasons why.

Haven’t been any other movies since Endgame that I was really determined to see in theaters. Considered it for Star Wars: The Final Movie For Real This Time Really, but at this point I’ve been spoiled for enough of the reveals that, eh. Might as well wait until it’s out on streaming, and pick that time to do a free Disney+ trial period.

* * *

Decided to bake cookies for Christmas at the last minute, which had me trawling the internet for “recipes that can be made using the ingredients currently in my cupboards” on Christmas Eve.

Sidenote: I have seen so many retail outlets this year advertising “our stores are open on Christmas Eve! and will even have limited hours on Christmas Day!”, and, guys, that is not something to brag about. Go watch one of the thousands of adaptations of A Christmas Carol, then swallow your profit motive for a couple days and give your people the time off, already.

So I wasn’t going to go buy late-night groceries, because I am not a monster, and here’s the recipe I was able to make. It’s just flour, butter/margarine, brown sugar, and vanilla. Plus a bag of butterscotch chips, because I do what I want.

They were a hit at the family dinner! Then a hit again when I brought the leftovers to work. Go make ’em some time. Mix up the base with your own (premeditated or improvised) favorite add-ins.

* * *

WordPress was offering a deal on paid blogging plans, and it was cheap enough that I sprung for it.

…only to find out it doesn’t include any customization that wasn’t already in the free version. You have to pay twice as much to control your own CSS.

Oh well. I’ve gotten enough value out of WP over the years that they’ve probably earned the donation.

Prompted me to finally look for a new theme, too. Took way too long to find something that was (a) 2 columns, (b) didn’t collapse to 1 column when you weren’t practically fullscreen on desktop, (c) had spaces to keep all my widgets and menus, and (d) didn’t have clashing colors in places that non-paying users weren’t allowed to customize.

Came out pretty nice, I think.

The theme is Bouquet. The header image and the purple background are customizable. All the pink is one of two pre-set options (the others are blue and orange), which thankfully coordinates with the header pretty well.

Apparently it’s also infinite-scroll and I don’t know how to turn that off, but oh well, you can’t have everything.

* * *

Bumped up to the next-higher dose of Wellbutrin a couple months ago, and it’s been a smashing success.

Before the switch, it had gotten to the point where I was sleeping 10+ hours a day, and could feel the not-getting-anything-done. (Doesn’t help that I have a longer Day Job workweek these days — it’s great in most ways, but having it eat up all my awake time was a bit of a drawback.)

First week on the new dose, I felt refreshed, could focus way better, and was able to draw more than I got to do in probably the whole month before.

Turns out taking the higher dose too many days in a row leaves me not sleeping enough…but by now I’ve got the hang of swapping in the lower dose before I start to feel too wired, and it’s balancing out really well.

* * *

The last Leif & Thorn Kickstarter alternately feels like it happened forever ago, and like it just ended last week.

The first unbound proof arrived a whole month ago, in November:

I ended up tweaking both files, and asking for a new proof of just-the-cover. (There was some tricky color correction involved — you don’t know exactly how it’ll come out in CMYK until you see it in person.)

So the new one arrived…and somewhere between the file I sent and the paper coming out of the printer, the colors got changed in ways I didn’t do. Not in a way they would notice when quality-checking, either — it looked perfectly-balanced, which is the problem, it’s supposed to have a purple tint.

(Volume 1 was pink-tinted. Volume 3 — the one with the magic vine attack — will be green. Volume 4 is shaping up to be red.)

The company blamed an equipment failure, apologized, and sent a free replacement. I now have 3 separate copies of this cover, and the books themselves are gonna be in production…any day now. Depends on when people come back from vacation.

* * *

I drew 2 full pages ahead in BICP!

Then decided the events of those pages should be bumped back to happen after other events. Which leaves me in the fascinating position of “two pages of scanned and fully-polished lineart, still hasn’t gotten me ahead re: the page I’m supposed to post on Monday.”

…One of my New Year’s resolutions is to actually finish the series in 2020. Fingers crossed.

* * *

Marshmallow Fluff continues fluffin’ along.

I did a family visit that left him alone for the weekend, and he seems to have coped just fine:

No special Christmas dinner for Fluff, because he started turning up his nose at canned food a while back. I figure it’s a good thing — he’s no longer afraid of imminent starvation, so he feels secure enough to be picky — but it really cuts down on my “treats to provide for special occasions” options.

He also sometimes sits on one end of the couch while I’m sitting on the other! And almost relaxes. I get the joy of having a judgmental mop staring at me.

The Secret Commonwealth review: It was…pretty underwhelming, mostly

Finally got the audiobook of The Secret Commonwealth checked out from my local library!

(Here’s my review of its predecessor, La Belle Sauvage, if you want to start there.)

It’s 20 hours long. Whoof.

As for the contents…look, it was well-written prose. I didn’t get bored while listening. (Rereading that last review, I realized I’d written the same thing about the previous book, too.) But in retrospect, there sure was not a lot that happened in those 20 hours. Some notable action bits, in between a lot of padding.

And my reactions mostly consist of…complaints. Not “this is hideous, time to ragequit the series, this is an unqualified anti-rec” complaints, more a low-level churn of frustration.

(There’s one scene I know has made someone else outright refuse to read it, though, and I think it’s totally reasonable. More on that later.)

So I’m gonna try to unpack a bunch of it here. Hopefully in enough detail that, if you haven’t read it yet (and don’t mind spoilers), it can help you make an informed decision about whether it’s worth spending 20 hours of your life on.

Spoilers start here!

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