karenhealey: Rainbow Dash overcome with excitement (My Little Pony) (Default)
It's Saturday night, Internets. What's in Karen's tabs?


Oh, fanfic, I love you. I love you especially when you do stuff I like, like for example go into some of the politics of having an international body of superheroes stomp around fighting people with little respect for due process. Or expand upon the sadly little bits of ladies we get in the movies (with the exception of Thor. GOOD GOING, THOR.)

Sadly, the most popular pairings in Avengers fandom tend to be Loki/Thor - which runs right into my incest squick - and Steve/Tony, which is actually fine. There's some really good writing in that pairing, some of which I shall be recommending in a moment. But there is this thing that happens in many fandoms where a dude is an established canonical het relationship, and people want him to get together with another dude instead, so they write the lady out of the picture. Like, she broke up with him and never speaks to him any more. Or she cheated on him. Or she died. Whatever happens, she just doesn't really turn up in the story. Sometimes she is shoved together with another lady - happy ending! Romance for her too! But still very little page time for either of them in the fic.

This makes me sad. I am all about finding romance wherever it is to be found, and lord knows we need more representation of queer people on stage, screen, and on the page. But this does not have to come at the expense of lady time, and it does in a lot of fic, and because I am lazy as heck, I hate trawling through to see if I am going to be disappointed in my lady expectations.

Anyway, I am going to rec some fics currently in my tabs, by which I mean "I opened those tabs just now for the purposes of this post". They are mostly long, and they are all great. Teen readers of my blog, you should just assume these all contain explicit sex scenes (I think some of them don't, but I am too lazy to scan through and remind myself of which ones) and approach with whatever caution you feel appropriate.

Tomorrow Belongs To Me, by valtyr.

If you are into the fandom, you know this one already. It is a fic which does not neglect the ladies at all, while simultaneously squishing Steve and Tony together, and also being very funny and poignant and full of plot and also Loki being a fail boat, which is actually a lot of the plot, and we discover the Asgardians are culturally bisexual YAY bi people in fiction!

Steve wakes up in the 21st Century. He doesn't think much of it, and it's dubious about him. He meets a Norse God, joins a superhero team, and feels terribly awkward about the whole momument at Arlington he's rendered obsolete by not being dead. Meanwhile, Tony is trying to make his mark on history by being the man who finally drove Nick Fury over the edge

Gift of Asylum, by Carleton97 and Sister_Wolf.

The pacing goes a little haywire in this one, but as a reader I didn't care that much because I was giggling so much at Darcy Lewis being a snarky queen of awesome. Lots and lots of ladies, including Darcy getting a massive crush on Pepper's massive brain. Also, Winter Soldier! WINTER SOLDIER.

The story of how Darcy Lewis accidentally helps found the Avengers while having an epic, failboaty romance with that dude she nailed in a bar two years ago. Tasers, jackbooted thugs, Tony Stark, and life-altering job offers are par for the course when you help discover an alien/god dude with amazing pecs

Team Building Activities, also by valtyr, who is some kind of Avengers-writing genius.

Lots of Pepper PoV! (I love you, Pepper.) Also exes who are still friends and occasionally sleep together sometimes even when they're trying to cut back. Also Natasha buys Tony several lap dances from dudes to test a hypothesis, AMAZING. (I LOVE YOU, NATASHA). And Tony convinces Steve that Wall-E is a documentary.

Fury's a beautiful princess. Clint's plotting a Communist revolution. Rhodey's not sexy. Wall-E's not a documentary. Clint's not gay but he does give a great blowjob. This fic is not an AU.

Magnetic, by boombangbing.

Sometimes when a lady and a dude are in an established canon relationship and the writer wants to add another dude to that mix, they just totally add him! Awesome. Would you like some polaymory fic, Internets? You can has! And I just now realised this is part of a SERIES, oh my, got to get my act together and scrape up some serious reading time.

Tony and Pepper are in a committed relationship, everyone knows that. Tony still flirts relentlessly with Steve, though, and Steve doesn't know what to make of it. Then he starts having weird feelings about Pepper too, and he really, really doesn't know what to make of that.

Average Avengers Local Chapter 7 of New York City, by hetrez.

This one does not have quite enough lady action for my tastes but it's not like it disdains the ladies either and also it is hilarious and involves union work and Steve being a social do-gooder, which is why I love him so much. He is so earnest! Also he would kick horrible Ultimate Steve's ass. Also it is shorter, like, just over 9k words where all the ones above get well into five digits.

Steve and Tony accidentally start a national do-gooders association and fall in love.

Simple, Not Easy, by LJC.

This is the one where Loki kidnaps Darcy by accident and then she and he become total bros. She gives him some Xanax, she pushes him towards his therapist, she criticizes the way he kills people, she tries to set him up with his ladylove, she makes him watch How To Train Your Dragon and she isn't into him at all! It's totally a friendship fic! Also she gets some hot action with Hawkeye, always a bonus.

Darcy should have seen it coming. She couldn't hang around the spandex crowd forever and not end up with a great big target painted on her back eventually. She was just surprised it took Loki so long.

And it's nearly 2am and I have to get up and go to Retail Job tomorrow, so I will leave it there. Happy reading, Internets. What's in your tabs?
karenhealey: Rainbow Dash overcome with excitement (My Little Pony) (Default)
Yo! Internet! Sorry about the no talky, been writing Secret Secret Shush Shush*. And playing a lot of Civ V. Goddamn I love the Islands map except I can never find enough iron.

Also, it is Saturday! What's in Karen's Tabs?


Triple-Chocolate Cookies

I was going to make these tonight, and then my mother said that my honorary aunt and uncle were coming over for dinner, would I like to make dessert? I love cookies, but I do not feel they are dessert, so instead I made chocolate mayonnaise cake and bourbon caramel sauce.

Speaking of...

How to Make Mayonnaise

I have made mayonnaise in a holiday home in a chipped mug, using a fork, with nothing other than the power of my mighty arm (and a couple of glasses of wine as fuel, it must be admitted).

But today, sober, in a well-stocked kitchen, with a food-processor, I managed to fail. Twice.

So I bought mayonnaise for the cake. (I had to check ingredients. There were a lot with mustard in them! That's weird to me.)

Salted Caramel Sauce/Bourbon Caramel Sauce

Fortunately, this went way better. I've made this sauce twice now, and I'm convinced that it's really hard to screw up - you could probably burn the boiling sugar if you forgot what you were doing, and of course you've got to be splatter careful because sugar syrup burns are extremely nasty - but the colour change is slow enough from pale yellow to dark amber that you don't really have to make split second decisions. And then it just tastes rich and smooth and sweet.


Northern-Most Capital. From a "make up fake facts" thread... somewhere. I dunno. Cracked? Anyway, the detail! The capital of Denmark!

Greenhouse Gases. Another example, simpler, but possibly even more hilarious, if darkly so.

Agreeing with Firm Nodding And Occasional "YES, Exactly!"-ing:

Let Me Tell You About The Birds and Bees: Gender and the Fallout Over Christopher Priest.

Author Catherynne Valente explains that men being crotchety online get a much kinder reception than women doing the same. And much fewer rape threats. Warning: People in the comments who still Don't Get It. (star comment: "If you're just venting to your friends on LJ, I apologize. [John] Scalzi elevated your post to the level of social commentary when he linked to it.")

Some thoughts about gender and literature.

Author Seanan McGuire, with some thoughts on "finally, books for BOYS that GIRLS will like!"

And yet somehow, the fact that ["girl books"] have girls on the cover makes them not worth reading. The fact that the main characters have to squat when they pee makes them untenable to half the population. The fact that their authors grew up being told that real science fiction, fantasy, horror, and adventure starred men doing manly things in a manly way, and yet grew up to write books about women doing the same things, does not prove that literature can be a gender neutral experience where story matters more than anything else; it proves that we need more books for BOYS that GIRLS will enjoy, too. It means that the girls keep on coming second, that we keep being the deviation, and not the norm.

The Problem is Not The Books

Author Saundra Mitchell, some time ago, on "OMG WHAT ABOUT BOYS WHO DON'T HAVE BOOKS TO READ???"

The problem that needs to be fixed is not kick all the girls out of YA, it’s teach boys that stories featuring female protagonists or written by female authors also apply to them. Boys fall in love. Boys want to be important. Boys have hopes and fears and dreams and ambitions. What boys also have is a sexist society in which they are belittled for “liking girl stuff.” Male is neutral, female is specific.


"Come Together" from Across The Universe:


Air Vent Passageway (WARNING: TV TROPES)

Secret Secret Shush Shush has plot-important air vents, but because I am aware of this trope**, they are specifically ones that you can't crawl through.

"Hm," thought I. "I wonder if TV Tropes has a page on- oh damn, there goes the next hour."

Hey, you're welcome.

* Not its real name.

**I mean, I love it! But there's enough reality-handwaving in Secret Secret Shush Shush already; I don't need to compound the problem.
karenhealey: Rainbow Dash overcome with excitement (My Little Pony) (Default)
Happy Saturday, Internets! What's in Karen's tabs?


If You Liked The Book, You'll Hate The Movie, by paperclipbitch.

Following a rec from [personal profile] brownbetty, I discovered this X-Men: First Class AU fic, and it is wonderful.

I was reliably advised away from watching the movie, on the grounds that I would probably shout at the screen a lot, but that is not stopping me from enjoying the fic, because who does not love them some Emma Frost? No one who is me, Internets!

There's a hella lot of unpowered alternative universe fic in this fandom, possibly because the movie itself ends with the fandom's favourite pairing as bigass frenemies. AUs where they're a barrista and a novelist, or an antiques dealer and a professor are good ways of glossing over the whole irreconcilable philosophical differences and diametrically opposed views of mutant/human relationships. But, fun as these AUs are, they also tend to skip over what to me as a reader is one of the awesome things about superheroes: which is that people are running around with highly individualised superpowers that do cool things and add a lot of character points in terms of how one deals with one's powers.

"Liked The Book, Hate The Movie" does something I really love, which is take those powers and transpose them to character traits in a high school AU, where the writer appears to have thought a great deal about how that would work.

So Emma Frost is the cheer captain of the Angels, nicknamed the Hellfire Club, and she a) knows everything that goes on around the school and b) has an exterior emotional shell that is very hard to read. Teen delinquent Alex Summers has rage issues that mean he frequently explodes into focused, intense, and brief violence. Charles Xavier is relentlessly charming, to the point where he can get anyone to do almost anything he wants, and has no brain to mouth filter - he always says what he's thinking. His kid sister, the new girl Raven Darkholme, is fine with being a geek's best friend, and a singer in a stoner band, and joining the cheer squad - why, it's as if she can fit in anywhere she likes!

And Sebastian Shaw, who gets not a single line of dialogue, but is nevertheless built up to be a horrible, menacing presence - and that is a neat trick I have to steal sometime - is very clearly bad news. But all the consequences just seem to slide right off him... until guidance counsellor Erik Lensherr steps in.

It's super interesting and finely written, and there's some hilarious dialogue and achingly good depictions of teenage frustration and bewilderment and I'm on my second re-read.


Google Image Search: White High Heeled Sneakers

Because Emma Frost in the aforementioned high school unpowered AU wears white high heeled sneakers and I could not visualise them, so I googled.

Turns out they look kinda cool.


Con or Bust, the annual auction that helps fans of color/non-white fans attend SFF conventions, is on, and bidding closes this Sunday evening, American time.

"Oh sigh," I thought. "As usual, everything I want has soared out of my price ra- WAIT A MINUTE."

Because apparently you can bid for plot points and character names and so on in the next Dorgian Galaxy novella.

The Dorgian Galaxy series (NOT AT ALL SAFE FOR WORK OR IF YOU ARE UNDERAGE) is a highly silly parody of sci-fi porn and romance novel conventions that hits a number of my hilarity buttons. There's amnesia, and plots to gain thrones, and soulbonding, and pirates (in space) and spayswurms (in space) and oh, just tons of random stuff, including a choose-your-own-adventure (SUPER UNSAFE FOR WORK), all wrapped up in ludicrous metaphors as expostulated by characters named things like "Chairite" and "Milquetoast Rogers". I don't even know, but hello, if I win one of these auctions I get to dictate some of the hilarity.

I'm pondering a runaway carriage (in space).


Bikini Martini: I thought about trying this, but with mango juice instead of pineapple juice, because mangos are awesome and pineapples are gross.


Long Island Iced Tea: Turned out I had the ingredients for this instead! And it tastes goooood.

Internets, enlighten me. What's in your tabs?
karenhealey: Rainbow Dash overcome with excitement (My Little Pony) (Default)
It's Saturday! What's in Karen's tabs?

Not a lot, this week - I installed some stuff and restarted my computer today. But it's all quality!


Curve magazine.

Tagline: "the best-selling lesbian magazine". Good reading for non-lesbians also! I really enjoyed this article on a group of queer women in Palestine:

In Israel, a country that prides itself on being the most gay-friendly destination in the Middle East, Arabs experience discrimination for being Arabs, but they also suffer silently within their own Arab cultures for being queer. Add gender to this already complex duality, and you’ve got … well, complications. From its inception, Aswat has faced these complications head on.

Hindsight, by rageprufrock.

If you don't know anything about Stargate: Atlantis, it's a lovely novella about a fairly broken FBI agent and a cantankerous astrophysicist falling in love. Plus, gross stuff with a pedophiliac serial killer.

If you know anything about Stargate: Atlantis, it's a lovely alternate universe fic where John couldn't join the Air Force and so became FBI, based in Colarado, and meets Rodney when Rodney defuses a bomb in his own car and ends up dating him without really noticing for a while. Plus, gross stuff with a pedophiliac serial killer.


Buttermilk substitute.

Buttermilk isn't a standard item in supermarkets around here, so I checked this out for a recipe I didn't end up making after all. (Because later in the recipe it called for shortening, and I really hate working with shortening. Damn stuff never comes off your hands.)

Chocolate Chip Maple Walnut Cookies.

I did make this recipe! I don't really like walnuts, but I had pecans, and maple syrup, and chocolate chips.


I also didn't have maple extract, so I just left that out and added another teaspoon of maple syrup instead. I really didn't miss it.

Then I made an awesome banana/pecan/choc chip loaf bread thingy with the leftover chocolate chips and pecans and the bananas that were getting unappetising on the bench and that was also magnificent, although not quite as good as those cookies. Which were so good I picked out four to hide in the freezer.

Take THAT, family!
karenhealey: Rainbow Dash overcome with excitement (My Little Pony) (Default)
It's Saturday night! What's in Karen's tabs?


Bad Machinery, by John Allison: My favourite comic about British teenagers dealing with supernatural events in the great (tiny) city of Tackleford.

Gunnerkrigg Court, by Tom Siddell: My favourite comic about British teenagers dealing with supernatural events in the great and suspiciously creepy school/town/amazingness of Gunnerkrigg Court.

The Non-Adventures of Wonderella, by Justin Pierce: My favourite comic about an amoral, lazy, alcoholic superheroine who fights evil in a swimsuit and high boots and a tiara and has nothing at all to do with that other one you might have heard of.

Social Mediae, by Hope: A BBC Merlin fanfic that is hilarious even if you have never seen Merlin. About all you need to know is some basic form of the Merlin mythos, realise that in this version, Merlin is the same age as Arthur, and be on the internet to then enjoy stuff like this:

“I’m calling it: The Book of Faces,” Merlin declares proudly, dropping the book on the desk, directly on top of Arthur’s chicken-scratched accounts.

Arthur sighs and lifts it cautiously off the wet ink, shuffling aside his papers before settling it down again. The book is bound in a dark blue canvas, coarse but hardy under Arthur’s fingertips. When he opens it, it’s to see Merlin’s face grinning stupidly back at him, from a small, unbelievably real-looking portrait in the top left corner of the first page.

“I just wanted to send messages quickly,” Arthur begins gruffly, feeling reluctant in the face of Merlin’s good mood to criticise… whatever this is.

Merlin is unperturbed, though. “I know, but this is better. Look.” And he flips the page to the next.

Gwaine’s likeness smirks up at Arthur from a similarly-sized portrait, and as Arthur watches, words rise to the surface of the pale parchment in dark ink. Heading to the tavern, it says.

“I told him to write something,” Merlin says proudly. “He’s got a book too! And look, here’s the next bit…” He takes the book from Arthur, flicking through pages and pages of portraits, and then cracks the spine open on one about half-way through, setting it back in front of him.

Summer Tourney is scripted ornately along the top of the page. Camelot, Midsummer is below it, and then, in smaller writing: Are you attending?

Yes / No / Maybe appears below that, and Merlin has circled Yes.


[personal profile] commodorified's "Cooking for People Who Don't" Blog Carnival: Carnival the first. Also extremely useful for people who do.

Chocolate and coconut slice recipe. I made this about an hour ago, without icing, with chopped up dried apricots, and shredded coconut rather than dessicated. It's delicious, and the evidence points to it also being easily adaptable.


It's Still Not Okay For Ladies To Get Angry, by Erin Gloria Ryan, at Jezebel.

Links of curiosity:

The page for Saved by Cake, by Marian Keyes. I have this story about The Time I Met Marian Keyes which I may tell sometime.

The page for Boys, Girls, and Other Hazardous Materials, by Rosalind Wiseman.

The Wiki link for "Raccoon dog". Because I saw the term and went, wtf is that, and then found this page and went. "Oh! Tanuki!"

Handmade paper dresses made from old maps! (!!!)

I Totally Respect Him As a Person*:

Harry Shum Jr, and his abs.

And finally, my excellent friend [personal profile] brownbetty ponders the important questions. Her post, in its entirety:

Tony Stark puts lifts in the armor's boots, claims the design is to incorporate the repulsors. Y/Y?

The answer is Y.

Internets! What's in your tabs?

* Actually yes. But also I respect his abs.
karenhealey: Rainbow Dash overcome with excitement (My Little Pony) (Default)
What up, Internets?

I have a post I'm going to make tomorrow on Awesome Teen Comedies with Serious Messages, but tonight I am actually watching said teen comedies, so you get what will probably be a regular Saturday thing: What's in Karen's Tabs?

I am screening out all the boring stuff. You don't really want evidence that I'm googling the correct hanzi for "Taiwan". This is a selection of the veeery best.


The House of Aunts, by Zen Cho, at Gigantosaurus.

The first time she saw the boy across the classroom, Ah Lee knew she was in love because she tasted durian on her tongue. That was what happened–no poetry about it. She looked at a human boy one day and the creamy rank richness of durian filled her mouth. For a moment the ghost of its stench staggered on the edge of her teeth, and then it vanished.

She had not tasted fruit since before the baby came. Since before she was dead.

After school she went home and asked the aunts about it.

“Ah Ma,” she said, “can you taste anything besides people?”

Go read this story right now. It's incredible, and it does so much: young love, the sick touch of colonisation and invasion, the strength of women, the generation gap, and more, all wrapped up in evocative prose, dialogue that is heartbreaking and hilarious, and superb characterisation.


And so:

The Four Generations of Chang E, by Zen Cho, at Mascara Literary Review.

起狮,行礼 (Rising Lion- The Lion Bows), by Zen Cho, at Strange Horizons.

Zen Cho's dreamwidth account, [personal profile] qian, with a sticky post at the top listing everything in print. I just read the ebook in which "Prudence and the Dragon" appears - most certainly worth the tiny amount I paid, and then there are MORE stories!


Twilight and Eclipse Commentary Moments. RPatzz and KStew bring the trolly, trolly lols on this excellent tumblr blog tag.

You're Beautiful (Episode 4), SBS Youtube channel.

This k-drama is awesome, but I can only take it in about ten minute chunks or all the FEELINGS rush over me and I commence to squealing. My sister came in and I paused it to give her the brief summary - cross-dressing trainee nun joins boyband in place of her twin brother so that she can preserve their dream of trying to find their mother, is found out by mean bandmate with heart of gold, who threatens to tell but doesn't, and creepy bandmate who doesn't even tell her he knows but is just like, and now she is my girlfriend? She is not found out by the dumb blond bandmate, who is getting really wound up about all the apparent gay among his friends.

ME: Okay?
FABULOUS SISTER: ... okay...
ME: *starts episode again*
FS: Is that the girl?
ME: No, that's the creepy one.
FS: Oh, so THAT'S the girl.
ME: Nope. That's the mean one with the heart of gold. They are meant to be.
FS: But he's wearing sequins!
ME: He sure is! And this is how the world's least convincing cross-dressing passes.


Purple Ombre Sprinkles Birthday Cake. I am doing this the second I have a vaguely viable occasion to cook it for. Like, "Happy Tuesday!"

Slow Cooker Spiced Porridge for a crowd. This is the recipe I did last night. It cooked HEAPS, and I've got breakfast sorted for a week.

Bourbon Brown Sugar Chicken. I cooked this for dinner tonight, with steamed corn, seeded mustard mashed potatoes, a chopped salad, and some carrots I threw in the roasting dish. My picky, picky family declared themselves satisfied.

What's in your tabs, Internets?

April 2014

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