It's winter; the fire's on; the headphones I just accidentally gave a bath to are hung at a strategic distance from it, across the fire-screen, which is an irrelevant piece of furniture because the fire is gas. (It comes in handy when drying clothes, however.)
Offline, I've been settling into my new house. Our longtime friend AC moved in as a flatmate in February, and in April, another old friend, AR, moved back from Scotland and came to live with us for two months while looking for his own place.
The house has been good to us. There was one miserable and expensive week when we checked out some suddenly-blocked drains and the plumbers, while dealing with that (in a temporary fashion - the tree roots that caused the problem have yet to be worked around), alerted us to a gas leak caused by corroded pipes and then arranged for those pipes to be replaced. No hot water for five days while I was in bed with a cold and the tradesmen had to dig a trench through the reinforced concrete that forms the support for the house's front extension. In other house maintenance respects, I am yet to kick into high gear. We need a large pair of curtains downstairs to keep the heat from flowing out and away at the large French doors, and I have not enjoyed my dealings with the curtain consultants thus far. But I love having a spare room. I love being able to offer guests space with a real bed. I love having two ovens. I love the giant converted garage and the view over the valley to the western hills. I love having a bay tree and a lemon tree. I love having a house on street level. Before this, I moved out of my last street-level house in January 2006.
AC is a fantastic fit as a flatmate. She and I share the idea that although other kinds of social interaction are worthwhile, the most pleasant is to be in the same space as someone else, each with a computer, very occasionally remarking on interesting and amusing things that pass our screens. Also, she is a fandom writer and artist. Also, she and Joel have somewhat compatible tastes in games and TV. I have had really good luck in flatmates over my years in Wellington, but in my last major shared flat, my flatmates were the kind of people who are pure introverts when they get home. I respected that, but this is my ideal.
I'm already missing AR a little. Four people in the house was really nice too. AR flatted with me and Joel in 2007-2009, and then flatted with AC and two other friends in 2015, and then he went off to Scotland, and then ten months later he returned. It is a nice way to be tangled together. He's coming around for dinner and boardgames tomorrow night. I hope he brings Codenames. He introduced AC & me to the game last week and I really, really liked it: simple mechanics + word-association problem-solving & teamwork.
There are, of course, also politics going around me and other offline updates, but perhaps another time when I'm not trying to dust this journal off after months of silence. (Joel, btw, is currently in Las Vegas, in the 'holiday' part of a North American business trip.)
Online, I've been struggling to catch up after Yuletide. Here's what's caught my interest:
- Night on Fic Mountain went live a few days ago, at a solstice. This is a fic and art fandom exchange for rare fandoms - basically, mini-Yuletide on the far side of the year. I used to co-mod it, but nowadays dhampyresa does all the work and only calls on me occasionally. *waves pompoms* I did write a pinch hit, and enjoyed several pieces of art and fiction. Have a look.
- Alternate Universe Exchange is a new project from Rosencrantz, whom I also team up with when Once Upon Fic comes around (see below). This is a fandom exchange (fic-only) for alternate universe ideas - whether they're of the "but what if Bob didn't die" or the "everyone works in a coffee shop" variety. Tag approving is.... interesting. If you think you might want to nominate, get in quick.
- Speaking of Once Upon a Fic, that went live in May, and I still have stories to comment on. This is a challenge for interpretations of fairy tales and similar canons, and I love it so much. I was really disappointed in myself that I did not complete a work this year, and I would like one day to make it up to my recipient. Meanwhile, however, the works that were created are brilliant. bleodswean, I think you in particular would appreciate Children of wild, legends round our neck, must shatter, a 30,000-word celebration of the stories of Baba Yaga and Koschei and Vasilisa and Ivan(s).
- The other exchange that I delight in the most is Jukebox, which went live earlier this month (again, I'm still browsing and commenting). I love seeing all the different directions in which people take song lyrics and music videos. Again, I recommend the works. They are fantastic. I am, of course, biased. Even so.
- After Yuletide, I made two poor fandom decisions, the first of which was to sign up to Worldbuilding Ex despite already feeling burned out & having a tonne of Yuletide admin to catch up on. I can't entirely blame myself because this is a concept I get really excited about, and I had a blast discussing ideas with the mod, and there were amazing works and I got amazing gifts.... It's just that it was unwise for me at that time. I hope next year I manage to be in a better shape after Yuletide.
- The second poor fandom decision was to take on a pinch hit for Fandom5k, a fic exchange for all fandoms and works of 5k+. I mean, I can sincerely say that it was a fun prompt and I felt I was on my recipient's wavelength, that it offered me the challenge of something I rarely do (write for a TV canon), and that it was satisfying to know I could confidently sketch out a plot that would be long and dense enough and then bring it to fruition. But it was also bad timing and I stressed myself out for a continuous month over the thing.
- Now I look at my AO3 assignments page and there are NO OPEN ASSIGNMENTS and it is beautiful. Beautiful.
- ... and while I will not finish a NYR before Crossovering starts, I can at least work on one, and so I will begin to feel on top of things. (Crossovering is awesome! Come play with me! Get your fandom crossovers here! Ahem.)
And in my silence, the song I keep coming back to is Crowded House's How Will You Go, because on their album Woodface, this track ends in over a minute of silence and then a sudden refrain... I'm still here, of course. Looking it up just now, I see it is labelled a bonus track, which makes sense yet never occurred to me before now. I just thought it was .... all the same track. With silence in the middle.
seekingferret, thanks again for the playlist - I really liked "Mah Yedidus" and I grinned to hear it, and the rest comes in shades of appreciative interest. More later.
I also have some gifts from all these exchanges I've taken part in lately. I shall post later about my recent gifts.