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branchandroot: oak against sky (Default)
So, Fanlore (which is in no way synonymous with the Fandom History fiasco, despite the efforts of the FH creator/troll) is looking for knowledgeable people to talk about that eternal question:

What do we call this stuff?

I find myself torn, really. I mean, a big part of me says "this should be simple, Categories are like tags, so you create as many Categories as there are Kinds Of Stuff and slap all that are applicable on any given wiki page".

Another part of me says "but that will make the Category structure really unwieldy and hard to navigate!"

One thing I'm sure of is that I do not think Anime should be merged into Cartoons, nor Manga into Comics. The latter are names for specifically Western art forms, and using them for non-Western forms would, in my eyes, be a nasty sort of erasure, given the cultural history involved.

Kind of like using Manga as the Category for something that's really manhwa. Given the cultural history involved.

And so I come back to "a Category for everything". Actually, I'm not at all sure that's a problem. I don't think it would be that unwieldy, in the end. And trying to limit the Categories implicitly assumes that the world is only as big as X number of categories. Which is just plain wrong.

So, what do you think? What Categories do we need?
branchandroot: oak against sky (Default)
Okay, I actually consider a lot of these questions out of line or poorly phrased. But I took this prompt because we are trauma-initiated, and may be a little more familiar with some of the medical BS behind some of these.

Also, fair bit of profanity, in here, and not a huge amount of sympathy for the original questioner.

Lots of questions re genesis of multiplicity and medical assumptions herein )
branchandroot: oak against sky (Default)
One of the things I feel the fic-urge to do is rationalize Sage mode. Because Kishimoto made an everloving hash of it.

The idea that using external chakra is dangerous is well established, in this universe, and it makes a certain amount of sense. Our initial examples of it, after all, are people drawing on the chakra of demons (the tailed beasts) who seem to be extremely hostile. The consequences of being overwhelmed by an external chakra are, sensibly enough, uncontrolled transformation.

Then Kishimoto had to go and get weird. First we have the notion that ninja are not already using "Nature" chakra when quite a few things about ninja practice in general are firmly based on philosophies that emphasize the ways in which human chi is not apart from the world's chi: both clan-specific practices like the Hyuuga's Not Really Tai Chi At All, and general practices like the hand seals themselves. This, however, can be rationalized somewhat by supposing that the "nature" chakra involved in sage practices is more intense or concentrated a drawing-in of external chakra. Concentrated enough to potentially overwhelm someone, just like the tailed beasts' chakra can, and cause similar uncontrolled transformations.

Then we have what I consider the greater problem that Nature = Toads. Apparently only the toads know how to do this thing, because Not Really Mt. Kouya At All, the only place sage-ness is taught in the whole world since we never see anyone but Jiraiya and Naruto using it, is populated solely by toads. And, just to clinch it, being overwhelmed by nature chakra will cause one to turn into a toad! Just a toad, no variety, Nature = Toads.

I'm sorry, whiskey tango foxtrot, say again?

I can buy that toad mountain is one of the places renown for these arts. I can also buy that Jiraiya becomes toad-ish when using sage arts, because his assistants/batteries/transformers are, after all, toads. Having his form be toad-flavored quite makes sense in light of this. But that's as far as I'll go. For the rest, I say there must be a solid dozen or so places that teach sage arts in different ways, and Naruto only winds up with toad eyes because he was taught the particularly toad way.

And that brings us to the next problem, which is the notion that one must be perfectly still to gather nature chakra. This is such a smashingly obvious case of "I need it to have a drawback for plot purposes, and it can't be difficulty because Naruto has to totally ace learning it, because he's the Chosen One now" that I can only throw up my hands. There's no excuse for this one and a good deal of precedent against it in Asian esoteric and martial practices; I hereby ignore it.

And I note that Kishimoto, after using the sage arts to show how Cosmic and Enlightened Naruto is becoming, abandons it and goes right back to the tailed beasts. The entire arc involving Pain might as well never have happened; all the consequences were erased or not shown to have any effect. It's like this bizarre quantum loop of time outside the rest of the progression. I can't help suspecting this is because Kishimoto finally realized just what a corner he painted himself into with this whole Apotheosis Of Naruto kick he had going. I mean, really, what do you do for an encore after that, to wrap up all the dangling ends?

You go back to what works, that's what. I propose to follow this example, sans the detour in the first place.
branchandroot: pocket watch on leaves (watch)
So there's this thing called Income Based Repayment, a program available to US citizens carrying student loan debt, which can a) reduce your monthly loan payment and b) limit your repayment period to 25 years.

If your student loan debt is greater than your yearly income, you probably want to do this.

Figuring out if it's immediately profitable is easy, though the forms make it sound hard. The question to answer is: are you paying more than 15% of you Alleged Disposable Income yearly, in loan payments?

To find that out do this simple math.

1) Find the poverty line (PL) for a household of your size this year and multiply it by 1.5; this will give you your Somewhat Stingy Cost of Living (SSCL) figure. PL x 1.5 = SSCL

2) Look at your latest tax form and find your Adjusted Gross Income (AGI). Now subtract your Somewhat Stingy Cost of Living figure from that. This gives you your Alleged Disposable Income (ADI). AGI - SSCL = ADI

3) Multiply your Alleged Disposable Income by .15 to get fifteen percent, or your Target Loan Repayment (TLR) figure. ADI x .15 = TLR

4) Divide your Target Loan Repayment by 12 to get the Monthly Payment figure. TLR / 12 = MP

5) Compare the Monthly Payment figure to your current monthly loan payment amount (CP). If the Monthly Payment is lower than your current payment, you are eligible for the Income Based Repayment program, and the MP will be your new monthly payment. CP > MP = IBR

Your IBR payment will always be 15% of your Alleged Disposable Income (divided in 12). If, at any point, that figure becomes equal to what your payments would be on the Standard 10 year repayment plan, you will be automatically switched over to that plan.

If you reach 300 payments (25 years) without being bumped into the Standard plan, any remaining balance of your student loans is forgiven. You're quits, the loan holder can't screw any more out of you. And, since they will very likely have made back at least one and a half times your loan by that point, you need feel absolutely, positively no guilt whatsoever.

Me? My retirement present to myself is going to be being able to tell Direct Loans to kiss my ass, they're never getting another cent from me. I wish I'd known about this program ten years ago, I would be able to stop paying this absolutely usurious rate a lot sooner.

If you are on the Extended repayment plan, that's a really good sign that you should apply for IBR. The Extended plan has no cap on the repayment period, and if all you can afford is to pay off the interest... well that's some pretty easy math too, if a lot more depressing.
branchandroot: white chrysanthemum on black (chrysanthemum-stark)
So, here's a question: What is the most demanding kind of scene for you to write/draw/vid?

Up until today, I would have said, for me, it's a fight/game/sex scene, and yes they really are all three the same thing in my writing. You have to figure out the point of the scene, and figure out the action, and make it interesting and fresh. Tab A Slot B is no more interesting in a sports match or a sword fight than it is in a bedroom. I often find myself blocked or hanging on this kind of scene, especially if it's pivotal or has to advance the character development (which is the only reason to be writing it, in my opinion).


After today? I say that a medical emergency or touchy operation scene is even harder. I feel wrung out like a rag. Even when I'm writing good, hot smut, I don't identify with my POV character to quite this extent. I mean, some, so I have a good echo for when it's hot, but not like this.

*rueful* My Sakura has decided that she's never, ever, ever going into medicine after this, and I can't say as I blame her.
branchandroot: oak against sky (Default)
Actually I totally wanted to talk about my icon, because I'm hugely proud of it.

That was my own photography and Photoshop work! And it started life as an oak tree by the side of the highway, next to a John Deer signboard. Which is why it now has that odd sort of cloudy, mist-like stuff at the bottom. Yay for the smudge tool!

It's also actually two shots of the same tree, one in full summer leaf, and one with just winter branches, superimposed and 'shopped to hell and gone. You can see a larger version of it on white here. It's really kind of my signature for my own sites. I've always been much about trees.

After that, of course, it was the easiest thing in the world to put my name down the side, select that strip, and Inverse it. And there we go!
branchandroot: pen with burning ink (ink burns)
I was given the prompt "writing", and since I appear to have actually written Naruto fic, somewhat to my surprise, this seems like a good time to talk about it.

Writing is something that my brain seems to do almost on its own. Alarmingly so sometimes, especially when I'm dreaming! My dreaming mind seems to have zero care for whether something is scary or horrifying, just so long as it makes a good story of its genre. Every now and then I'm aware enough to actually observe that logic in action; my dreaming brain is really very particular about abiding by genre and narrative conventions. I could write some terrifying slasher films if I could do that while awake.

I'm distracted by other things during daily life, of course, which means most of my bunnies scuffle among themselves and pick a bloody winner when I'm falling asleep and waking up. The story puts itself together, piece by piece like dominoes or a jigsaw puzzle, and if, by the time I reach coffee, I still remember it, well there's what I'm writing that day. And I have to strike while the iron is hot, or the bunny may just bugger off into the underbrush never to be seen again. Or, as in this case, to leap upon me unawares two years later.

Not infrequently it's frustration that drives the strongest bunnies, and thus the Naruto fic. I just couldn't take it, any more, that the second half went in such annoying and implausible directions. Sasuke's sudden psychotic break, Itachi's sudden apotheosis, the disappearance of Inner Sakura, none of them ever made sense to me. And I've long wondered how hard it really would have been to change all that. Maybe if Kakashi, who's a war veteran and an ANBU veteran both for pity's sake, had just recognized where Sasuke's head was instead of approaching him like a normal teenager... And wouldn't it be fun to mix up the three "types" among students and tutors... I bet Sakura could totally handle an infiltration mission on Orochimaru... zzzzzz....

And, well, then I was waking up with the story kicking down the door.
branchandroot: abstract squares in primary colors (primary abstract)
I like this one.

Day 8: What is your philosophy on journal layouts?

I have a couple different ones for different purposes.

1) You can have as eye burning a layout as you like, just as long as I am not required to read in it! I will even make layouts in colors I would never, ever use myself, because it's only fair really, but I don't want it inflicted on my retina when I go to read your stuff. This is a big reason I less-than-three Dreamwidth forever. That setting that lets me view all cuts and links in my own style? Brilliant.

2) The geometry of layouts I design will always be fairly simple and have a fair bit of elbow room between components. This is just me, that's what triggers my "yes, that looks good" response, so that's what I create.

3) What I, personally, like includes: black on white reading space! I am really not good with even lightly tinted reading backgrounds or text. This is a text journal, not a photo journal, I want to be able to read walls o' text easily. This does not, however, mean that the frames and backgrounds and sidebars can't be colored, because I actually prefer that; it sets off the text space nicely and makes the whole thing pretty.

If you infer by all this design-thought that I am currently in the middle of a bout of design-madness, you would be right. It's /way/ more fun than grading the stack of papers that's due to land on my desk tonight.
branchandroot: leafy forest path with mist (forest path with mist)
6. What do you wish people who read your journal knew about you?

Now this one is a pretty interesting question. *thinks* I suppose information I'd want people to have going in, as it were, includes "pieces of my identity that may or may not be a good fit, or that I would wish people to be mindful of".

That includes being a voracious anime/manga fan given to outbursts of both fic and meta, both of which will be pretty concentrated when they happen.

Being a natural introvert (drained rather than energized by company, even if I'm having fun), and therefore given to disappearing sometimes when my available energy is taken up by things other than my journal.

Being a survivor, and thus inclined to incandescent explosions of rage when one of my buttons is stepped on. *thoughtful* I suspect this is also where my occasional weaponization of disclosure comes from; like the days I make a point of informing people I'm multiple just to get a shot of schadenfreude out of their cognitive dissonance.

Being a queer feminist and politically liberal, and therefore having zero patience with people attempting to legislate insularity and xenophobia, or to impose their "I'm doing just fine so the rest of the world must just not be working hard enough/smart enough/elect enough/me enough" views on everyone else.

I suppose I might include having been a chronic patient for too many years, and therefore deeply mistrustful of all doctors and anything they attempt to feed me, be it a drug or a diagnosis. If I've had to deal with a doctor recently that tends to come out, often under the "incandescent explosions of rage" heading. I try not to do that to people without some kind of warning, and it's hard to show the usual cues over the net.

Just for context, I'm a homeowning, cis-gendered woman in her late thirties who has lived in the US midwest all her life, and loves the land and sometimes hates the people, and keeps cats and a spouse.
branchandroot: oak against sky (Default)
I love how we all cram these in whenever there's actually time.

03. Do you crosspost? Why or why not?

I actually do not. I started out doing so, but... I'm really bad at paying attention to more than one site at a time. I have one internet home, and that's really kind of it, so I just thank my stars that DW is a good home. The only reason I succeed in crossposting my /fic/ is that I wholly automated it from my archive to DW, and AO3 has that import function.

04. What do you do online when you're not on DW?

...not on DW? Um. How does one do this? I have two tabs constantly open on any computer; one is my email and one is DW. I kind of go into withdrawal and panic when deprived of either for more than ten minutes. Other places I go /at the same time/ I'm on DW, however, include Wikipedia, TV Tropes, Pandora, and anywhere I can locate good fic. Or my stash of e-format books, which I keep on my own server under a password, the better to read online wherever I am.

05. How about when you're not on the computer?

That usually means I'm a) teaching b) reading c) gardening or d) asleep. With occasional bouts of procrasticleaning thrown in.
branchandroot: oak against sky (Default)
Most recently from [personal profile] jennaria. This is about the speed my brain feels today.

Leave the name of a character/person from a fandom you know I'm in, and I will tell you--

* How I FEEEEEL about this character
* All the people I ship romantically with this character
* My non-romantic OTP for this character -
* My unpopular opinion about this character
* One thing I wish would happen / had happened with this character in canon.

Good fandoms for drawing characters from: KHR, Bleach, PoT, FMA, Getbackers, most of CLAMP's work, Utena, Kuroshitsuji, Meine Liebe, Sailor Moon, Trinity Blood, Trigun, Petshop of Horrors, ES21, Digimon (all seasons), HnG, Naruto, HxH, YYH, Angel Sanctuary, Monochrome Factor, YnM, Gundam Wing, Saiyuki, YGO, DN Angel, FF VII

Multiple prompts perfectly welcome.
branchandroot: Ed giving a thumbs up (Ed thumbs up)
Have you ever gone back to an essay or a story or a picture and thought "Yeah; I totally nailed it"? Re-read something and decided that, yes indeed, you got the idea or tone or characterization or line just right?

I propose a meme: What was that thing? Let everyone know.

Mine, at the moment, is the story At A Cost, an FMA fic that came out of me wondering what would happen if the first anime ended with everyone getting exactly what they said they wanted. Roy-centric, though later stories in this arc are mostly Ed pov. And I nailed Roy and Hughes, here. *satisfied smile*
branchandroot: oak against sky (Default)
Why did you choose your journal name?

That's... kind of a long story, actually. I've been through three now. The first was my legal surname, under which I wrote a lot of porny fanfic. I was young and naive, okay?

(And my legal surname is actually one that I chose myself and shelled out the money and not inconsiderable trouble to have legally changed. You only get one freebe, in the US, and that's if you're getting married. I didn't change my name when I got married, because I'd already done that and it was /my/ name.)

So then I thought I wanted something less instantly google-able. And I settled on the name I'd chosen for my personal website. After a while and some further thought, though, I realized that I had a lot of material on that site that had to do with my 3-d life, and that was still a little closer than I wanted.

So finally I settled on "branch". As in, a branch in the path. Branching out. Besides, most of my personal symbolism involves trees. But that was already taken! So I wound up underscoring it, which was a pain in the butt.

When I moved to IJ, I thought, you know, I want a name I can type all in one go, no underscores. But "branch" still being taken, I needed something related but different. Eventually I settled on "branchandroot", which had a nicely inclusive ring to it and could be said and typed easily. I still use "Branch" as my given name, but I like my journal name quite a lot. In fact, I wound up creating a separate domain of that name for all my fandom stuff, leaving the original domain for the 3-d stuff with no direct overlap at all, which is kind of necessary.
branchandroot: dark clouds over a sunlit field (sunlit and dark clouds)
People moving to the Great Lakes basin from elsewhere often fret about tornadoes. I figure this is pretty much the same way I'd fret over earthquakes if I moved to the west coast. And whereas a long-time resident would blithely play guess-the-Richter, long-timers here just kind of shrug about tornadoes. They happen. Eh.

But you do get to recognize the signs.

When the sky is low and fast. When it's strangely warm and then abruptly cold. When the clouds have a greenish tinge and the light gets dusty looking and amber. When there are little dervishes kicking up persistently. These are the times one eyes up the sky and maybe wanders over to turn on the radio to listen for any warnings. One casually checks the location of the pets or the kids, just to know. One tries to recall, in the back of one's mind, where the battery powered radio is (or, these days, how much charge the iPod has).

Sharp response won't hit unless the siren actually goes off. That's when all the little, thoughtless preparations snap into gear, the adrenaline pumps, and it's Pets/Kids, Radio, Basement, Now. Breathe. Wait.

Waiting, predictably, is the hardest part.
branchandroot: one tree in an open field (calm solitary tree)
This one is easy enough even for the braindead, which is me right now. So!

Why did you join Dreamwidth?

Oh, let me count the ways. See, I'd already jumped ship to Insanejournal due to LJ's increasingly queer-unfriendly moves and the alarming ham handedness of them. But frankly I'd been eying the door since 6A sailed into sight and I espied the Jolly Roger. I'd actually been mildly hopeful for a little while, when SUP showed up, but that went down the drain fast. And IJ was a nice place, but I could already see that it was not in the best situation to absorb a serious exodus or expand smoothly. So I was in search of a home anyway, and deeply fed up with the BS I was finding in places like Wordpress development. So when word went out that DW was going forward after all, I jumped on it and did the mailing list and volunteered to sit on wet paint for closed beta and, um, kind of went a little bit nuts with the site schemes and journal layouts. ^_^; I do this every so often. It was a friendly, lively sort of place, and wonderfully low pressure, which was very important to me given the huge variability in my spoon drawer.

And, as things grew and got up and running, I kept finding cool people. New cool people, and some old cool people, and it was a really nice virtual place to be. Not without the occasional kerfuffle or stumbling block, but that's life. And I really like it, here.
branchandroot: rainbow D (DW rainbow)
So, Three Weeks for Dreamwidth is arriving. It's the end of the term and I'm brain-fried. Taking these two things together, it seems like a good time to ask for prompts.

What would it interest you to see me talk about?
branchandroot: an opening rose (opening rose)
So, I was re-reading and re-watching the first arc of Yami no Matsuei, and I have to say the differences are interesting.

For one thing, the manga actually has a totally different introduction: the pilot issue before the first arc. That introduces Tsuzuki in a considerably more serious and responsible light than the anime does. It doesn't play up his sweets-craving nearly as much, and it's made clear that it isn't just that no one wants to partner with a slacker like Tsuzuki--he's also the training wheels and counselor of the division, and all the new or unsteady transfers get sent to him.

It's also made clear that Tsuzuki, not Hisoka, is the one who's most willing to bend rules, to break into locked archives, to save people who should be dying, even if this involves lying through his teeth. And the division chief knows this good and well and condones it. Hisoka himself is presented in a businesslike and competent light from the start. The manga also did without the silly maneuvering the anime had to go through to make him drink one glass of alcohol by accident; the original drinking contest makes his resultant passing out and hangover far more reasonable.

The things that most caught my attention, though, were the differences in Muraki, and Hisoka in relation to him. The anime implies very strongly, right from the start, that a) Muraki wants to seduce Tsuzuki and b) Muraki raped Hisoka. The manga, by contrast, does not have any seduce-Tsuzuki moments in the first arc and states particularly that Muraki chose to use a wasting curse on Hisoka instead of "merely" killing him right then and raping him to make it look like a garden variety sex crime.

I actually have to wonder whether Muraki was intended to be a one-time-appearance villain. His madness is certainly presented in a straightforward fashion, far more simply than the eventual concatenation of his obsessions becomes; he is simply a doctor who despairs in the face of death and cracks. The mechanism by which he becomes able to absorb the spiritual energy and abilities of those he kills is never addressed, and there are no suggestions of the past he eventually acquires or that Hisoka has any particular fixation on his killer. Indeed, the manga presents Hisoka as already knowing he was murdered and fairly calm about knowing the one who did it.

All of which simply reinforces what I've always thought about the anime, which is that it's pretty and colorful, and the voices are nice, but it really isn't a patch on the manga.
branchandroot: Havoc totally blitzed (Havoc apathy)
Three Weeks: Qem mentioned I haven't gone off on Clamp recently, and I've certainly been saving up for it.

Anyone who follows Clamp knows that they really cannot end a story to save their souls. This does not just extend to "eternally on hiatus" but to "we don't actually know what to do now" as well. First witness: Tsubasa: Reservoir Chronicle.

Endings, Women, and other things Clamp frequently fails at. )

All in all, TRC and Holic together managed to showcase almost every failing Clamp has. I really don't wonder that they've reverted, for their next try, to the proven formula of girl-power fluff with mouthy stuffed animals. Maybe they'll actually manage to finish that one.
branchandroot: Ginji grinning (Ginji grin)
Three Weeks for Dreamwidth: I've noticed you've been posting about Getbackers recently- maybe some meta about that? I know nothing about that series, so if you could explain it a little & talk about why it excites you, I'd appreciate it.

It occurs to me that I never actually wrote up a review post for Getbackers, so this seems like a good opportunity to attend to that.

The pretty, the silly, and the annoying )
branchandroot: butterfly on a desk with a world in a bottle (butterfly glass desk)
Another Three Weeks post.

This is an interesting topic, for me, because I tend to watch the debates over it from more than one viewpoint at once. On the one hand, I'll enter cheerfully into the vociferous debates over what effect different types and amounts of other languages in English fic has. On the other, I have observed that the amount and type are both, functionally, beside the fandom point.

In fandom function terms, Japanese in an English language fic serves as a shibboleth and a sign-post. It says "this is a fic from the anime/manga fandom family" and gives notice thereby what the author's likely target audience is--and also what tropes may be showing up in the story. To be sure, those tropes are often very unexpected to fans from the domestic fandom family, so the marker function is actually a pretty important one.

In marker terms, what I think of as first generation fan usage may actually serve the purpose best. This type of usage is characterized by using such Japanese as can be easily parsed out of a subtitled show by those with no previous knowledge of the language: demo, hai, nani, etc. There's no pressing translational quandary attached to these; indeed, they're some of the simplest words to translate directly. By that token, they are easily understood from the context of the English sentence they're embedded in and don't require any linguistic acumen at all. They serve the shibboleth function purely and without impeding reading comprehension.

I can't actually stand reading stories written with this in them, but I nevertheless recognize that it has a valid function and serves it very well.

Second generation usage is what most of us argue over these days. )

Bottom line: it isn't going away, and there exists no actual standard by which any of us can justifiably demand that everyone do it our way. Deal with it.

February 2017

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