My name is Mooncalf, I'm a thirty-year-old fangirl from Ohio, and this is my weblog. Right now you're either somewhere in the archives or reading comments or something like that. To return to the main page, click here.

Thursday, January 31, 2002

WARNING: Honest.

I'm pretty sure that somewhere in every blog-keeping fanfiction writer's contract, it states very clearly that said writer must produce an essay on Why I Write Fanfiction. And, you know, far be it from me to deny my contract.

Note that I don't plan to talk about what inspires me to write fanfic. Because, you know, I've done that already, and the short answer is that either my sense of humor or my libido suggests something and I become their bitch for however long it takes to pry the idea off my hindbrain.
No, what I intend to attempt to talk about is why I actually bother to write my ideas down and post the resulting fics on my website, instead of smirking, telling Boyfriend the joke, and then getting on with my life.
It's very simple, really.
My first attempts at fanfiction were silly parodies. Completely OOC, no real attempt at characterization or even plot, just a series of silly and lame jokes. And when I went to write them down, the thought in my mind was 'Boy, this is stupid, but kind of funny. I wonder if other people will think so? I think I'll put them up on the web so that other people can laugh at them too.'
And then when I made more forays into actual non-parodic fanfiction, the general thought in my mind was 'I think this idea is neat. I hope other people do too. I'll write it down so that I can share it with everyone.'

That's right. If you strip the above examples of all the mealy-mouthed words that might soften the bluntness: why do I, Mooncalf, write fanfiction? Because I want you to love me.

Okay, so maybe it's good writing practice, and maybe I do enjoy the process of getting an idea from my head to turn into words, and maybe even if I never wrote down another fanword again I'd still be writing fanfics in my head. But those are all secondary motivations.
Maybe I take pride in my work. Maybe I enjoy rereading the finished product and getting the glow of 'I did that'. Maybe I revel in the successful creation of the image that was so nebulous in my head. Maybe I'm all too aware that, as writers go, I'm not too damn bad, and I enjoy proving that to myself. Again, that is secondary.

I write fanfiction because I want you to love me and my product.

Note that I didn't say I want honest critique, or commentary, or literary criticism, or mere feedback. I want love. I want worship. I want you to cringingly validate my sense of humor and my creativity. I want you to proclaim me your minor deity of fanworks. I want you to look upon my works, o ye mighty, and despair!
I bet you think I'm kidding.
I'm not even exaggerating.
Much.

And it's not even that my fanworks are that good. There are multitudes of fanfiction writers who are better than I am. In some cases, a thousand times better than I can ever hope to be. I insist that that is not germane to my point! Whether there exist better writers or not, I still want you to love me and my works!
I am desperate! Please! Validate my existence! Throw me the lifeline of your love before it's too late! I need you! Without you I'm nothing!

... ahem. Excuse me. Got a little carried away there.

But, you know, as horrible - as vain, as needy, as loony - as the above sounds, I must admit that it's more or less true. If I didn't get positive feedback, I probably wouldn't write as much as I do.
And I would like to submit to you that most fanfiction writers, whether they consciously realize it or not, are motivated at least in part by that same desire for love and acceptance. Probably not as much as I am, because I'm an attention whore.
But whether wholly or just in part, I bet that if they were completely honest about their motivations, 'impressing others' would be somewhere on that list. Probably not first, or even second or third... but somewhere. Even if it masquerades as 'entertaining people' or 'contributing to my fandom'.
Or maybe I'm just deluded and I'm down here in the gutter by myself.
But somehow, I don't think so.

Posted by Mie Tsukikoushi @ 08:27 PM EST
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Wednesday, January 30, 2002

RPG's Rules of Order, Vol. 3:

The Death? I Scoff At Death Rule: Death is never much of an obstacle unless everyone traveling with you happens to be dead at once. There will always be some common item, sold relatively cheaply in stores, that can 'cure' the condition known as death, which is, in all truth, simply another status condition.
However, no townsperson has ever been smart enough to purchase or use said item, and therefore, once dead, they stay dead. This is ample proof that adventurers, no matter how stupid, are smarter than ninety-nine percent of the population.

The That's Not Death This Is Death Rule: However, if an adventurer somehow dies outside of combat, they are dead forever and no amount of healing items can reverse this. Said death will, generally, be accompanied by very pretty sad music and FMV, and therefore will more or less be worth it.

The That's Not Death This Is Death Rule, Deus Ex Machina Corollary: That is, they are dead forever or until they pop back up to save your collective hineys from a hopeless situation. If you do not actually see them die/touch their cold dead body, they are not, in fact, dead. However, you are required by the rules of etiquette to believe wholeheartedly in their deaths and display an appropriate amount of angst.

The Two-Timing Bastard Rule: Under no circumstances should you allow yourself to have feelings for more than one person. If you find yourself in love with two people, one of them will almost certainly end up having to sacrifice him/herself to save you/the rest of the party. They will, of course, do this happily and instruct you to be happy, leaving you and the surviving paramour to be wracked with pain and guilt and angst. One wonders whether they do this to be cruel.
However, two or more people having feelings for you is perfectly safe, so long as you do not reciprocate. Indeed, this situation should be considered normal.

The Buyer's Market Times Infinity Rule: While the shops may only carry three or four items, shopkeepers will always have an unlimited amount of said items to sell you. Considering that there are, usually, only one or two normal-sized chests behind the counter, you may be tempted to attempt to purchase these magical chests. This never works.

The Buyer's Market Times Infinity Rule, Decoration Exception: Ignore all the pretty stuff hanging from the walls and the chests behind the counter; it is highly unlikely that you will be able to acquire any of these things. In the long run, it is best for everyone concerned that you simply purchase what is offered you.

The Seller's Market Rule: All shopkeepers, no matter how poor they appear, will be able to afford to buy anything you should choose to sell them. This includes even the rarest and most valuable items. However, be warned: if you sell them something rare, you will, generally, not be able to buy it back. This is because shopkeepers are greedy. That is how they made all that money in the first place.
(all buyer's and seller's rules suggested by Nezumi)

The We're Going This Way Rule: If it is ever blatantly obvious which way you are supposed to be going, under no circumstances should you go that way until you have been positively everywhere else. Be sure to explore every tiny byway first and gather treasure. Don't worry. No one will mention your tardiness. The king will wait on you.

The We're Going This Way NOW Rule: No matter how many times other people and your own companions tell you that you must hurry, as long as there is no visible timer/pursuit/impetus, there's no real need to hurry at all. Feel free to wander around and get into trouble. The worldshaking events, much like the king, will wait patiently for you to arrive. This may cause you to develop an inflated view of your own importance. While you are, undoubtedly, the most important person(s) on the planet, we advise you to act as if you were not.

The No, Really, Going This Way NOW Rule: Even those enemies whom you can clearly see waiting for you will patiently wait for you. You may feel free to run around in idiotic little circles less than ten feet in front of them, and they will neither move to intercept you nor, indeed, say anything at all. We infer from this that most of your opponents are more interested in posing attractively than actually fighting you.

Posted by Mie Tsukikoushi @ 01:45 AM EST
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Sunday, January 27, 2002

RPG's Rules Of Order, Vol 2:

The Look At My Tits! Rule: Upon successfully completing a battle, one or all of the characters may then pose in a suitably victorious manner. To avoid confusion, however, we ask that you pick a single pose and stick to it, to avoid getting hit with the dramatically swooping camera.

The Aw Ain't That Cute Rule: Upon entering a fight, if you discover that your opponent is a single small adorable fluffy creature, run.

The Aw Ain't That Slow Rule: Upon entering a fight, if you discover that you can take several turns leaping forward and attacking, and your opponent neither attacks nor dies but simply waits patiently and accepts the damage, run.

The I Can't See I Can't Think I Can't Breathe Rule: Somewhere in the course of your quest, you will run afoul of a highly powerful person/creature that prefers inflicting status conditions to inflicting outright damage. Run.

The Dramatic Death Rule: No matter how many thousands of monsters have (under the Boom Boom Rule) fallen back and quietly exploded in your wake, if you die, the entire world grinds to a halt, sad music plays, and either the camera will fade to black or focus on your sprawled limp dead body. This is your prerogative as an adventurer. Be sure it's in your contract.

The But Not That Dramatic Rule: Don't worry. Being dead won't stop you for long. You may find, however, that your body was mysteriously teleported back a quarter of a mile or so before you equally mysteriously ceased to be dead. This is normal.
Ignore the artifact that you always cease to be dead next to. It will be explained shortly. Do not question your luck.

The What's This Round Thing? Rule: All adventures generally contain some form of abstract statuary or floor mural that has been mass-produced and shipped to every corner of the globe, including to incredibly dangerous places that have been lost for thousands of years.
We may thus surmise that these oddly commonplace artifacts (called, prosaically, 'save points') are extremely old, possibly pre-human, in origin. And unlike most forms of modern art, these artifacts are incredibly useful. In fact, prolonged and/or repeated contact with said artifacts may be what causes adventurers to build up a resistance to death. Despite the attractiveness, advanced age, and obvious utility of these devices, you may not uproot them and take them with you. Despite all appearances, these antiques will not sell for a bazillion gold or interest a scholar in any way.

The What's This Round Thing? Rule, Harbinger Corollary: These 'save points' also tend to attract the attention of particularly powerful creatures, who may be trying to benefit from the resistance to death or who may, in point of fact, be the descendants of the alien race that left these artifacts behind. Or, possibly, the creature in question may just have a well-developed aesthetic sense.
In any case, should you be in the midst of some extremely dangerous area and suddenly stumble across one of these statues, it is imperative to make use of it, because it is certain that a highly dangerous creature will be living less than ten steps away from it.

The What's This Round Thing? Rule, Good Night's Sleep Corollary: Feel free to pitch a tent or build a house on top of / around the artifact. No matter how badly hurt you might be, a single night's sleep near the artifact will restore you fully. (Or, in some cases, largely but not fully. Those of you who discover that this is the case should immediately stop questing and sue.)

The What's This Round Thing? Rule, Open Spaces Corollary: You can also, usually, perform most of the functions of the artifact when you are out in a wide open space. What this says about the world is unclear but vaguely disturbing. Perhaps if we were able to view the world from far enough away it would simply be a tremendously huge 'save point'. Or, perhaps we are deluded. In any case, do not question your luck.

The Good Night's Sleep Rule: Related to the What's This Round Thing? Rule, Good Night's Sleep Corollary. All inns, houses with beds that you can touch, castles, and so on will fully restore you to health and cure all poison/blindness/etc. like magic in the course of a single night. This is why no townspeople are ever blind, lame, or missing limbs unless the plot specifically demands it.
Some scholars believe that this is a sign that all inns were built by the same aliens that deposited the artifacts on the planet millions of years ago. This is, of course, ridiculous. It has more to do with a very short sleepy-sounding piece of music. Hearing this relaxing tune while the world is dark is what cures you; unfortunately, no matter how short and simple the tune may be, carrying around a harmonica and playing it will not help you. Although it may amuse your teammates.
In some worlds you will hear this tune in conjunction with pitching a tent around an artifact. Despite all appearances, this makes neither one of them more powerful.

The Oh Gross A Bloody Rat's Tail Rule: The more useless something looks, the more useful it will eventually be. Someone out there will be stupid enough to trade you something vitally important for it. Once again, do not question your luck.

The Incredibly Obvious Luck Rule: In fact, never question your luck about anything. Just relax and remember that, in all likelihood, no matter how many times you think you are done for, you will probably triumph.

The Incredibly Obvious Luck Rule, True Love/False Lust Corollary: There's also a good chance you will end up coming to some understanding with the boy/girl/man/woman/animal of your dreams, no matter how wildly inappropriate they are for you. Again, don't question your luck. And be sure to thank the fanfiction writers, who will ensure that you actually manage to copulate with the person in question. Often. In many ways you would never have expected. If poorly.
Of course, given enough time, the writers will also ensure you sleep with positively everyone else you have met/traveled with as well, including persons not entirely of your gender of choice. Grit your teeth and don't question your bad luck. It'll all be over soon. Just pray that the writer in question understands what the word 'lube' means.

Posted by Mie Tsukikoushi @ 12:06 PM EST
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Saturday, January 26, 2002

RPG's Rules Of Order, Vol. 1:

The Guards And Wards Rule: All towns are, by definition, completely safe unless you are explicitly warned otherwise, no matter how powerful the fiends outside it may be. It does not matter if the town has no walls. The town is safe. From this we may draw the conclusion that most fiends are allergic to cobblestones.

The Rule Of Circles: The simple act of running around in a circle like an idiot will, eventually, draw the attention of ravening monsters bent on your death, provided that you do so outside of town. Therefore, actually traveling somewhere is generally not recommended but often required, and will always draw the attention of the aforementioned ravening monsters.

The Rule Of Circles, Invisible Corollary: You will, however, be either so intent on getting to your destination or running in circles that you will never see these enemies coming, no matter how open and visible the terrain. We may, therefore, surmise that all fiends have the classic AD&D version of invisibility cast upon them, that falls only when they attack.

The Rule Of Circles, Exception: Certain worlds do not support invisibility, and you may therefore see your enemies coming. However, said enemies will generally stick to a preplanned path, letting you walk within inches of them and be left alone, provided you do not touch them. There are exceptions, generally involving charging enemies. Don't worry. They won't chase you far.

The World Is A Pane Of Glass Rule: Invisible enemies must always announce their attacks by either: a) shattering the landscape like a pane of glass over the PC's heads and sweeping away the shards, b) smearing the landscape like so much wet paint or c) disassembling the landscape into geometric pieces and moving them away in some pleasing configuration. The only allowable exception is for particularly stable and unbreakable landscapes; in this case, enemies are allowed to simply blink out of existence and reappear somewhere more defensible.

The Rows Of Three Rule: Upon entering combat, all combatants must take the time to form into neat rows facing each other and await orders. Generally, each side will consist of one to four combatants, all formed into a precise military row. If there are more than four combatants, there will be some multiple of three or four, formed into neat ranks.

The Wait Your Turn Rule: Once the rows have been formed, there must be a significant delay before anyone may move. This delay is generally acknowledged to be to permit the rousing fight music to properly start. After this period has passed, combatants may begin to step forward and perform their actions, but must take turns. No two combatants may ever act at once, save for specifically rehearsed combinations. Said combinations will void both combatants' turns.

The Da-Dum Da-Dum Rule: If, at the beginning of the battle, you hear music that is different from the usual track, it is time to remember where you stored the powerful healing items.

The Boom Boom Rule: Save for very particular fiends, most monsters, upon dying, will fall back and explode into tiny pieces, vanishing from sight. Humans with names do not generally die but merely concede defeat and vanish, to be fought later. Don't worry, they'll eventually actually die, if only from old age. Your comrades, of course, do not explode. No, not even the incredibly annoying girlchildren.

The Quid Pro Quo Rule: Nothing is ever free. If you require a service, an item, or a bit of information from someone, you will either be required to face a tortuous quest in his name or simply to fight him directly. Even when the entire world is under threat of certain doom and you are recognizably the only person who can save it, no shopkeeper will ever simply give you the things you need. It does not, apparently, matter to them if you fail because you were ill-equipped. In addition, most fiends carry around small piles of gold and useful items. No one knows why. They never seem to use the items in question against you, and the items are, therefore, completely useless to the monsters. But you must kill the monsters to get them to relinquish the item in question; one surmises that perhaps they are keepsakes of personal meaning.

The Quid Pro Quo Rule, Mad Skillz Corollary: Nothing is ever free, unless it appears in a treasure chest, in which case you are free to open and loot it no matter where it happens to be situated. There will be no repercussions. As long as you are physically and mentally capable of getting to the treasure chest, you obviously deserve whatever is inside, even if it is located inside a person's home or in the castle's treasury.

The Quid Pro Quo Rule, Exception: Occasionally, if you speak to a perfect stranger, they will give you something. You should, therefore, walk up to everyone you can find and say 'Hello' three or four times. Eventually, they will become so bored with you that they will start repeating themselves. You may take this as a sign to move on, as there will be no further handouts.

The Bait And Switch Rule: The enemy that you are most concerned with at the beginning of your quest will not be your ultimate foe. Indeed, the enemy that you are most concerned with ninety-seven percent of the way through your quest may not be your ultimate foe. Ultimate foes, like pocket lint, often appear to spring from nowhere with no good reason and are more of an annoyance and a distraction than anything else. However, unlike pocket lint, ultimate foes are generally not soft wads of fiber that tend to get caught under one's fingernails.

Posted by Mie Tsukikoushi @ 03:36 AM EST
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Tuesday, January 22, 2002

WARNING: Incoming rant.
DISCLAIMER: No matter who you are, this blog entry is not talking about you. I'm serious. As with most of my rants, I have no specific target whatsoever; I have only a knee-jerk reaction to a general trend that I have noticed.

You know what?

I fucking well hate the concept of 'nice'.

Nice. Sometimes people tell me that they think I'm nice and I just want to punch their faces in. Which, I suppose, makes me a little less nice. And I'm glad.

You see, there are two definitions of nice. There's the first one, in which you are kind to other people and small animals and refrain from being mean without truly good cause.
And then there's the second one, gaining in popularity rapidly especially on the net, in which you will say and do any cringing bootlicking toadying thing, including telling blatant lies, because to do otherwise might hurt someone's precious feelings.

The first kind of niceness is, arguably, a good thing, although you should not for a minute be fooled into thinking that just because a person is nice to you automatically means that said person is also a good and decent human being. But the second kind...

Oh, the second kind.

Somewhere along the line, 'nice' peels itself off from 'sincere', and right there is where the line needs to be drawn. I hate the sort of pervasive insincere toxic niceness that flourishes in the shallow and the toadying. Those people who will happily lie to your face because they want you to like them.
Or do something for them. Let us not even talk about those people who fawn cringingly over those with some measure of netfame because they have ulterior motives. If you peel away the "your site is so kewl!!!! this fic rox!!!!" nonsense, you're left with "love me back! link to me! mention me! visit me! let me leech a little of your cachet I promise you won't miss it!". It's like peeling off the layer of chocolate frosting to find a big fat wad of potting soil instead of birthday cake.
But I digress.

Is there anyone on the net stupid enough to accept that fawning gushing obviously insincere and/or obviously motivated praise at face value? There must be. Hell, there are people on the net stupid enough to do damn near anything else.
Of course, the people who are stupid enough to accept that sugar-coated fawning are the very same people who turn around and distribute that saccharin marshmallow fluff. In other words, there's a gigantic ring of only-passingly-brained people all happily kissing each other's asses and spitting when and where they don't think anyone can see them. And all you need to do to join is empty your mind and pucker up and learn to pretend to like the taste of shit.
Insincere and empty praise is empty calories for the brain: a little won't hurt you and might even help you. A lot of it will make you fat and complacent and mollycoddled and slow, choosing more empty calories over anything of substance and taste, until finally a huge indigestible unpalatable wad of truth comes along and blocks your mental arteries and kills you stone dead. (Putting this metaphor down now.)

People are people, profoundly fucked-up creatures that muddle through life as best they can, haplessly doing damage to themselves and each other. Nothing we can do will ever change the fact that most of them are interested primarily in what you can do for them. Ulterior motives will never vanish. And as long as people want something from you, they'll continue to kiss your ass with varying amounts of sincerity.
I don't expect anything to ever change. I just expect to get a decent rant out of it. That doesn't mean that I don't hate it.

In conclusion, fuck your 'nice' if it's not honest. Fuck it if it's not sincere. Sometimes I think that I'd prefer no feedback at all over obviously shallow praise. But then I remember, no, I have a massive and bloated ego that needs a constant influx of calories, empty or not.

But I swear on everything that you and I hold holy, if I give you a compliment, I am damn well going to mean it. Because nothing chaps my ass worse than sugar-coated little white lies falling from my mouth. And how they can chap my ass while coming from my mouth, which is two feet away, remains a mystery to this day.

And I loathe and despise the fact that we currently live in an era and a culture (and on an internet) that all but requires us to tell those 'little white lies' in order to keep the love and respect of people who deserve neither.

Posted by Mie Tsukikoushi @ 12:12 AM EST
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Monday, January 21, 2002

To: The person who searched for 'summer camps for overweight teenagers' on Yahoo! and hit my blog, specifically 'Fat Camp Hell' parts 1, 2 and 3
From: Mooncalf

Sir or ma'am, I'm aware that you didn't find what you were looking for, but I think, possibly, if we're all very lucky, you may have found something you needed to see.

Boom shanka,
Me.

Posted by Mie Tsukikoushi @ 11:09 PM EST
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Sunday, January 20, 2002

I would just like to take a moment to state that I [heart] Google.

Why? Because with Google, you can figure out the title and artist of any song you've ever heard even once. All you have to do is remember a short string of the lyrics.

For those of you who are Google-impaired, it's like this. You type those lyrics into Google, being sure to put them in quotes, and follow that with the word 'lyrics'. For example, one afternoon when I went to check my comics, the radio was playing this really cool weird song. And even though I didn't know who sang it, or what it was called, I remembered that the first stanza was 'A friend in need is a friend indeed / A friend with weed is better. / A friend with breasts and all the rest / A friend who's dressed in leather.'

Okay, so some of you nodded and recognized the song right off. I didn't, though. So when I got home, I logged on, zipped into Google, and typed the following:

"a friend in need is a friend indeed" lyrics

Within two seconds, by scanning the listings Google put at my fingertips, I was able to ascertain that the song is called 'Pure Morning' by a group called Placebo. Not only that, but I was able to go look at the lyrics in their entirety.
Unfortunately, this won't work for songs that are truly new or truly obscure, but the web is a big place, and most song lyrics have been archived somewhere.

Man, it wasn't always this easy, as anyone who went to college with me can attest; well, anyone who went to college with me and remembers my years-long search for 'The Friends of Mr. Cairo'. (Brilliant, terrific, spooky song by Jon and Vangelis. It took me something like three years to find out the title and the artist, and then another year to actually locate a copy. Now I have one. You all should too. Gratuitous plug over.)

Posted by Mie Tsukikoushi @ 03:58 PM EST
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Friday, January 18, 2002

I don't really know why, but furniture stores always make me happy.

Seriously. I think it's because Boyfriend and I wander up and down the aisles making very loud fun of all the ugly tacky furniture and throwing ourselves on the not-so-ugly comfy kind and somehow I always leave in a perfectly cheerful mood. Something about mocking horrible furniture just does that, I guess.

But even when I go by myself, it always cheers me up.

For the record, I was in said furniture store because my old Q-tip lamp bit the big one. (So named by me because it was shaped just exactly like half a Q-tip. Expressive, no?) Now I am the proud owner of the world's dorkiest torchiere lamp. Seriously. It's black enamel and has a big spirally thing under the... uh... big disc thing. You know, the big disc thing that lights up. Boy, you can tell I've only been awake for half an hour, can't you?

Posted by Mie Tsukikoushi @ 04:13 PM EST
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Thursday, January 17, 2002

WARNING: As is specified in my blogging contract, the quarterly pseudo-scholarly essay about yaoi. Also contains minor spoilers for Suikoden II, as I am using it as a ridiculously handy example. I will attempt to be vague about major plot points, or black them out as necessary; however, be warned.
DISCLAIMER: This essay is not meant to tell you how things should be done, rather, how I, personally, do them. It is not my intention to harangue, but rather to muse aloud. And, secondly, every point I make in here could just as easily be applied to heterosexual smut as well. I'm just using yaoi because, well, it's my blog and I can.

Okay. So you want to write yaoi, or male/male smut. Don't argue with me, you do. At least for the purposes of this essay, you do.

Fine and dandy! But before you start limbering up the more esoteric third of your vocabulary, you know what you need? That's right, you need to pick a couple of characters to smut about! (Well, technically, any number of characters is theoretically possible, but single-character smut is not germane to this discussion and three or more is for Advanced Students Only. So, I shall assume two for the time being.)
Furthermore, let us assume that you are greatly concerned that the couple in question make at least some sense within the game, and care more about plot and characterization than prettiness. Therefore, you can't just pick two cute characters and dump them into bed. (Damn.)
Also, you have decided (shut up, you have) to write relatively friendly sex between two consenting adults, instead of rape or nonconsensual sex or any of the other stomach-churning alternatives.

Therefore, the question on our minds today, and the question that I shall address, is this: how do you pick your happy couple?
Well, okay, that's not quite true. The question that I shall address is really 'how do I pick my couple?'. Because I'm terribly self-centered.

The way I do it is a crime.

Well, no, I'm lying. Sort of. Incoming metaphor alert: if yaoi is a crime hidden deep within the game, then the way I ferret out the yaoi and make my arrests is akin to detective work.
In other words, to expose the yaoi to the light of day, I look for opportunity, motive, and evidence (both hard and circumstantial).

Now, to explain.

Opportunity:
Did the two characters in question spend enough time together for something to happen?

This is the first, easiest, and most basic of detections, and by itself is generally not enough to carry a fic unless you have mad skillz or don't care what kind of masturbatory crap you're cranking out. Generally. People can always surprise you.
Using Suikoden II as my example, quite frankly, almost everyone has opportunity. There are a hundred and eight of them, and they all spend months, if not a year, living in the same castle together. That works out to many free evenings/nights/mornings/whatever spent side-by-side in which something could happen.
Let us take a couple that I saw displayed at great length on a Japanese fanart site: Sheena/Luc. The couple is entirely possible timewise but requires a large amount of work on the writer's part to be convincing. There's no reason involved; they're just considered to be pretty. while they do indeed live in the same castle, the game never gives us concrete reason to believe they ever speak to each other, let alone have sex. It is, however, entirely possible simply because it is never contradicted.
However, if you want to write, say, Culgan/Flik, well, let us hope you are a screamingly talented writer. The only time those two spend anywhere near each other is in the middle of titanic battles, fighting against each other. Frankly, that might make sex a bit rushed.

Motive:
Would the characters in question spend significant amounts of time together, be free to pursue a relationship, and possibly find the other character attractive in the important ways?

If a character has motive, they almost alwaysautomatically have opportunity. Almost always. Again, people can always surprise you.
Klaus is Shu's assistant. As such, they work together for hours every day. There would be plenty of time in which to get to know one another.
Hix is involved up to his eyebrows with Tengaar, and as such is a lot less likely to suddenly run off and sleep with, say, Flik. (God only knows why anyone would choose Tengaar over Flik, but I digress.) Most excuses to extract a character from his official relationship are excuses at best and masturbatory at worst.
When I say 'attractive', I'm not simply talking about looks here, you realize, but attitude, personality, ethics, etc. Kinnison the gentle sweet forest ranger is not likely to be attracted to, say, Sid the fucking insane sewer-dwelling bat-winged psychopath. (And excuse me, I must hit myself for suggesting it.)

Evidence:
Does the game suggest in any way that the characters care for each other?

The third and final detection, evidence is the colander through which couples must pass to become canon, and almost always assumes both opportunity and motive. Usually, it involves happily perverting friendship to your own ends.
Hard evidence would be an absolute and unmistakable declaration of love or demonstration of gay, and as such is not terribly common. (Simone and Vincent de Boule notwithstanding. Ahem.)
Circumstantial evidence, though, is rife. And spoilers follow to demonstrate my point. Hilight the gaping black holes in the blog entry to read the spoilers.
Let's take Viktor and Flik. They spent close to two years living and working together between the first game and the second one, and during the setup of the game happily bicker with each other like an old married couple. And, of course, they have a Unite Attack. Sure, this could just as easily mean they're best friends, and in all likelihood that's what it's supposed to mean. But that is a gaping plot hole into which a crowbar may be inserted.
Or Camus and Miklotov, the Matilda Knights. If you are viewing the game through yaoi-tinted spectacles, Suikoden II does everything but write 'Camus x Miklotov' on a baseball bat and crush your skull with it. When Miklotov runs off to investigate Muse, Camus flat-out begs the party to keep an eye on him. When Miklotov resigns from the Knights, Camus is ordered to arrest him, and resigns his own commission instead, so that they can both run off together and join your army. If Camus falls in combat, Miklotov automatically goes berserk. They also have a Unite Attack. They have rooms right next to each other's, for heaven's sake. Again, purely circumstantial evidence, but an easy easy easy place to crowbar the game open.

Basically, (sigh, incoming metaphor warning) if opportunity is the lot on which the house will be built, motive is the concrete foundation, and evidence is the roof. Put them all together and you've got a nice little house of smut.
And, you know, it's such a narrow little house. You see, after all that, I'm going to at least partially repudiate it. There is so much more that you can do with a smutfic than what I have listed above. And it can be done well, too. But, you know, as a place to start, the criminologist approach isn't that bad, I guess.

Exit Mooncalf, singing 'The House Of The Rising Smut': it's been the ruin of many a young girl, and God, I know, I'm one...

Posted by Mie Tsukikoushi @ 05:01 AM EST
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Monday, January 14, 2002

WARNING: The following entry is sick, wrong, pointless, disgusting, stupid, kinky, overtly sexual in nature, and minorly spoilerific for FF8, and as such should probably not be read by anyone. Thank you, drive through.

So.

My friend-on-crack Suze showed me this page, full of fancy metal... buttplugs... from France.

I'll pause here a moment so that those three brave souls who have read this far can scream and run.

Now, then. If you load up that page, which contains no nudity but should under no circumstances be viewed where anyone else can see you, and scroll halfway down, you'll see a buttplug that has an external end shaped like a lion's head. I can only assume that when the buttplug is in use, the lion's head is poking out in a decorative manner.

So, of course, we were all scrolling through this page and smirking at it. And every time I saw that lion-head, I would just bust out laughing.

I think you see where this is going.

All together now: 'Griever!'

The image of Squall wearing nothing but a Griever-head buttplug is almost as wrong as, say, the image of Ashton Anchors with... wait, I've already written that fic. Ahem.

And, you know, it makes Ultimecia's line about 'I shall now junktion myself unto Griever' a whole lot worse.

And, equally, as my friend Sarah pointed out, the line 'Griever! Make them bleed!'

Cough. I'm off to wash my brain with soap now. And Sarah's with Lysol.

Posted by Mie Tsukikoushi @ 10:49 PM EST
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Thursday, January 10, 2002

I've... come to the conclusion that I hate all Internet behavior.

Seriously. I hate trolls and flames. I hate cliques and online fashion trends. I hate ALL sorts of trendy-ass typing: l337, tYPiNg LiKE THis, shortening common words, all acronyms (lol, rofl, j/k). I hate it when people use ten punctuation marks instead of one. Or when they use no punctuation at all. I hate it when they don't capitalize, or type in ALL CAPS. I hate it when they type four lines of text for every reply, and I hate it when they talk in terse sentence fragments.

Sure, I hate all that. Didn't I just say so? Sure, I find myself thinking less of people who display those behaviors. It's not something I'm likely to be able to change, either. I can't really change the way I think, and these are, for better or worse, the things that bother me.

However, just because I don't like something doesn't mean it doesn't have the right to exist. Tolerance is not openheartedly accepting everything and not being bothered by anything. Tolerance is disliking something but respecting its right to exist, without denigrating it publicly. And normally, I wouldn't denigrate these behaviors in public, just grit my teeth and ignore it, but you know, this is my blog, and it seemed like a perfectly fit place to display my frustrations. It usually is. On those days when I just have to break out screaming and rail against imaginary injustices, well, that's what the blog is for. That, and for bad poetry, and for talking very earnestly about smut.

Anyway.

Basically, if it's a behavior that happens on the Internet and nowhere else, I hate it. But then, I am an incredibly cranky old fart with decent typing skills. In 'Internet time', I am ancient, and thereby hopelessly outmoded. I will never, no matter how I might try, be a teenager again, and let me just pause to say 'and thank god for that'. However, this does mean that my chance to be l337 is l057.

First one to make a crack about 'Gramma Moonie' gets whacked with my walker.

Ranting aside, if you like TyPiNg liKE tHiS, then type like that, you have my blessing. What I think shouldn't be important to you, unless you're already a friend of mine, and even then, you're not required to be my clone.

You're not required to like or respect me. I'm not required to like or respect you. If I can't respect your otherwise fine mind because you type LOL after every sentence or use ppl/u/r/4, then that's my problem, and it is my life that is the poorer for it. It only becomes your problem if I specifically and maliciously attack you for it.

Granted, I have attacked those behaviors in general. Please note that I haven't attacked anyone in particular. I'm discussing 'what bothers me', not 'what is right and wrong'. Do what you want, type how you want. Sooner or later you're bound to find like-minded people, and then you'll have friends, and u can all b l337 together LOL. I am not important at all in this equation.

Unless, for some strange reason, you want me to like and respect you. I know, I know, it's crazy, but people have wanted weirder things, right?

Posted by Mie Tsukikoushi @ 09:50 AM EST
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Monday, January 7, 2002

Oh, joy! I must share! Because, you know, anything that makes me laugh hysterically and fall off my computer chair must be shared.

Meriko has crafted 'A Soulpuppetry Moment' Madlibs! And she's graciously let me link to it from my blog!
Fear the oh-so-right wrongness of it!

Posted by Mie Tsukikoushi @ 10:43 PM EST
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Saturday, January 5, 2002

You know, for all that I love, enjoy, and use fanfiction.net, I also love to make fun of it. Because, you know, ff.net is a pit of voles. Pit of voles! Pit of voles!
Ahem. I'm sorry. Why don't you people stop me?

Anyway. Back to my point.

This evening, when I logged on, I checked my ff.net account, and determined that I had received a new review. I went to read said new review. Said new review was by someone that I did not know.
Amazingly enough, said review was literate, well thought out, and made an actual salient point about the fic in question. Those of you who frequent ff.net can attest that this makes the review very close to unique in the history of ff.net.

To recap: I got an intelligent review on ff.net. This is one of the signs of the Apocalypse.
And, you know, if the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, the signs of the end, are War, Famine, Pestilence, and Death...

The Four Horsemen of FF.Net, sure signs of the end, are Tolerance, Intelligence, Taste, and Language Fu.

Thank you, drive through.

Posted by Mie Tsukikoushi @ 10:35 PM EST
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WARNING: Badly-trained literary pyrotechnician on staff. Do not attempt these metaphors at home.

With all due apologies.
Every work of fiction is, let us say, a treasure chest. Complete and self-contained, more attractive or less depending on the skill with which it was wrought, containing treasures like characters and settings and items within. And, further, only a limited number of people own keys to the treasure chest; the author of the book or the developer of the game, say. Occasionally, the author will unlock the chest and add another handful of treasures: new characters, new places, new things. And then he will lock it again.

You, as a fanartist/fanficcer, do not have a key. What you have is a crowbar.

You circle the treasure chest with your crowbar, and you look for a place to insert it. Some treasure chests are harder to rip open than others, but somewhere on the treasure chest, there will be a place where you can, somehow, lever it open and add something to the contents within.

Some of you are very skilled with your crowbars and can lever the chest open with no damage, leaving an offering inside that is indistinguishable from the original contents as humanly possible. Some of you, unfortunately, just smash the chest open and lay dried dog turds in the rubble.

Now. My point, assuming I have one.

There is a very real difference between spotting a place to insert the crowbar and actually inserting it. Knowing when to insert your crowbar and when not to is one of the marks of a talented fanartist/fanficcer.
One of the other marks is knowing what to leave inside the treasure chest once you've pried it open.
No specifics here. What is an appropriate opening and what is an appropriate offering is entirely up to you, to the fandoms in which you circulate, and to the people that you are trying to impress. Take up your crowbar and do with it as you see fit, and don't let anyone else tell you what to do with it.

And, just to make this metaphor even more convoluted and stupid, let's take a look at that crowbar itself.
Maybe your crowbar is just a series of dumb jokes.
Maybe your crowbar is a conversation you had with a friend that began with 'what if?'
Maybe your crowbar is your identification with one of the characters.
Maybe your crowbar is your crush on one of the characters.
Maybe your crowbar is musefic, or soulbondage.
Maybe your crowbar is a song call that's too wrong and yet too right to be ignored.
Maybe your crowbar is an old idea that the new characters can be slotted into.
Maybe your crowbar is the little voices in your head.
Heck, maybe your crowbar is the little leprechaun that tells you to burn things.

And you know what? Every single one of those crowbars is equally legitimate. Who am I to say that using your muses to pry open a treasure chest is any less efficient than telling the treasure chest dumb jokes until it falls apart?
No one, that's who. If keeping muses as pets locked up in an imaginary mansion allows you to create the beautiful art and fic that I drool over, then by god you keep that mansion and renovate it every year and don't mind me, I'll just be smashing one of the back windows and throwing extra people in, in the hopes that they'll eventually get let out your front door as art or fic.
Of course, overextending the metaphor, that brings up the possibility that you have sex with your crowbar. At least, mentally. And, uh, I don't want to go there. So.

Abandoning this metaphor entirely and running the hell away before it explodes, I must admit to a sneaking fondness for the sheer energy and love that drives all fanart and fanfic, even the worst, the dog-turd kind. I love you all, you know that? I love you immensely. Even if you can't spell worth a damn or you use lens flare.
Here's your crowbar. Have fun!

Posted by Mie Tsukikoushi @ 12:54 AM EST
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Wednesday, January 2, 2002

So I was in the mall today, and I had the following conversation with my breasts:

"So. Tits. I've got a deal for you. I'll buy you this nifty soft silky sports bra (in, might I add, the perfect shade of 'fuck me red') and in return, you don't give me a backache tonight. Sound good?"

They didn't answer me, of course. My breasts and I haven't been on speaking terms since early adolescence, when I spent several years sleeping in an underwire bra in the mistaken belief that it would prevent my breasts from becoming saggy. Ha.

I have two things to note about the above.
1). If you are in a crowded public place and you feel the need to carry on a dialogue (or a monologue) with some part of your body, try to do so as quietly as possible.
2). To help the men in the audience to understand exactly why my breasts refuse to speak to me:
a) Take a piece of incredibly sturdy sheet metal about five inches across.
b) Cut a narrow sharp-ended sharp-edged 'U' shape out of it.
c) Wrap the U-shape in a piece of cotton approximately two molecules thick.
d) Now, sew the U-shape into your underwear in such a way that it is wedged behind and around your scrotum.
e) Wear it out in public every day, smile, and try not to indicate to anyone that the U-shape has burst out of its thin cotton shell to poke sharp metal bits into your not-so-happy bits.
f) Now sleep in that. For four years.

Right, then. I suppose I could rant about why, exactly, large breasts are a trial and a pain in the back and not worth the flesh they're made of (or silicone, if you're one of those poor deluded women), but, you know, it's been done, I don't feel like doing it myself, and all I really wanted to do was write a blog entry that started with the line "So I was in the mall today, and I had the following conversation with my breasts."
Oh, and to get to use the phrase 'fuck me red'.
It's a nice 'fuck me red' sports bra.
Very comfy.
Works, too.

TMI over. Mooncalf out.

Posted by Mie Tsukikoushi @ 10:28 PM EST
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Tuesday, January 1, 2002

WARNING: Totally random, pretty stupid, completely pointless. But, uh, I've got a cold. As if that was an excuse.

I hate showering.

Don't get me wrong. I do it anyway. I like to be clean. I really like to be clean. I'm not one of those hair-faced pot-bellied bespectacled fanboys that you run into at the local comic store.

But since I have long hair, I feel compelled to wash it every time I shower, so the process of getting myself clean, dry, and redressed occupies about an hour of every day. And it's a boring hour, too, standing there; you wouldn't expect that spending an hour naked and wet with nothing but a bar of soap and your own imagination would be boring. Well, you wouldn't if you were a pervert. Like I am. But, you know, every damn day... no matter how big a pervert you are, some days you just want to sit around and eat Oreos instead of have sex. Well, if you're like me.
Uh. I think I'll just put this argument down before it gets even more tortured and embarrassing. Thanks.

I argue that this is an hour I'd much prefer to spend, say, online. Because I'm a terrible geek, really.

Posted by Mie Tsukikoushi @ 10:53 PM EST
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