elspethdixon: (Schu)
( Jul. 4th, 2020 03:17 pm)
Elspethdixon's Big Damn Fanfic List

Being an index to every piece of extant-on-the-web fic by Elspethdixon since her freshman year of college, including the clichéd badfic, the abandoned WiPs, the one that turned up on McTabby’s Summary Executions, and the one with the word “orbs” in it. From Harry Potter to Pirates of the Caribbean, and beyond. Hopefully, the quality improves as ones moves down the page.

Big Damn List )

Forward-dated to go at the top of my journal. Warnings are present in the headers on all multichapter fics. Warnings for ficlets will be provided upon request. All multichapter fics contain some degree of hurt/comfort.
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( Jan. 30th, 2019 05:49 pm)
As I said last time, posting what I'm actually reading would involve mostly audiobooks about extremely Mary Sue-ish FBI agents catching serial killers and fanfic about Eddie Brock making sweet love to his beloved spouse a puddle of alien goo, so instead I'm posting themed rec lists. I'm linking to the Brooklyn Public Library's page for each book rather than Amazon because a) that's where I read them all, and b) fuck Jeff Bezos.

Today's Theme: Evolution & Paleontology, Dinosaur Edition
Last time I recced paleontology books I did it in hard mode (no dinosaurs). Now, I offer a rec list composed entirely of dinosaurs.

My Beloved Brontosaurus: On the Road with Old Bones, New Science, and Our Favorite Dinosaurs
by Brian Switek
Just great intro to dinosaurs in general, especially for those who fondly remember the dinosaur-themed picture books of their 80s/90s childhoods (or Jurassic Park, or the glorious 1999 BBC series Walking With Dinosaurs) but haven't really looked at the field since then.

House of Lost Worlds: Dinosaurs, Dynasties, and the Story of Life on Earth
by Richard Conniff
About the early days of paleontology at Yale, and the founding of Yale's Peabody museum, the history of which is tightly entangled with the story of one of the greatest (or at least most infamous) scientific rivalries of all time: the bitter, decades-long, incredibly petty feud between Edward Drinker Cope and Yale's O.C. Marsh. This is less about the fossils themselves and more a history of the people - professors, paleontologists, university administrators, federal officials, government survey teams, former prospectors/miners turned fossil hunters, etc. - who found, excavated, brought back, and put on display the first major public exhibition of dinosaur skeletons.

Dinosaurs Without Bones: Dinosaur Lives Revealed by their Trace Fossils
by Anthony J. Martin
On dinosaur trace fossils (trackways/footprints, burrows, etc.) and what paleontologists have learned from them, but it also functions as an interesting introduction to the world of trace fossils in general - footprints, burrows, claw and tooth marks, and all the other evidence animals leave behind other than their bodies.

The Sauropod Dinosaurs: Life in the Age of Giants
by Mark Hallett & Mathew J. Wedel
A detailed overview (with illustrations) of history's biggest herbivores, the sauropod dinosaurs (of brontosaurus fame - you know, the really giant ones with the long necks and tails). This was a fascinating look into a family of dinosaurs I had never read about in depth before (my personal favorites are the therapods), covering not just beloved North American species like Diplodocus but also South American titanosaurs and several Asian sauropod lineages. There's also a section covering theories about sauropod diets and their possible roles in the prehistoric ecosystem based on studies of things like fossilized plants and pollen.

And finally, if the book about paleontologists backstabbing one another at Yale didn't provide sufficient dinosaur-themed academic wank for you, there's always this book by one of the BNFs of 20th century dinosaur wank:

The Great Dinosaur Debate: New Theories Unlocking the Mystery of the Dinosaurs and Their Extinction
by Robert Bakker. (Originally published in 1986 as "The Dinosaur Heresies." I suspect it may be out of print - I found my copy in a thrift shop - but it's worth checking your local library for)
Travel back to the 1980s for a look at some of the biggest controversies in an earlier era of paleontology, written by one of the kings of dinosaur controversy, Bob Bakker. Beginning in the 1960s and 70s there was a major revolution in how paleontologists conceptualized dinosaurs (from cold-blooded plodding reptiles to warm-blooded ancestors of birds), and Bakker did more than almost anyone else to popular these new theories - the depictions of dinosaurs in the first Jurassic Park movie were heavily influenced by his work and the character of Dr. Alan Grant was partially based on him (well, a hotter, taller version of him who's distinctly lacking in Bakker's trademark mountain-man beard and possessed of better fashion sense - based on documentary footage, Bakker appears to have worn the same flannel shirt for the past 30 years). Reading Bakker's 1986 "Dinosaur Heresies" today, not all of his theories have stood the test of time (such is the way of science, especially in a field where so many major new discoveries have been made over the past three decades), but several of his key arguments, such as the close link between dinosaurs and modern birds, have stood the test of time and are now widely accepted.
elspethdixon: black and white diagram of X-15 experimental aircraft (X-15)
( Dec. 7th, 2018 11:20 am)
As part of my "Elspethdixon actually posts things" DW re-ignition project, I'm going to try and start posting recs semi-regularly. Because I may not be back into the swing of journaling or writing meta yet, but if there's one thing I've got plenty of after 17 years in fandom, it's a metric fuckton of fanfic bookmarked and/or saved to my ereader/tablet/harddrive.

Today's rec series: G1/IDW Transformers
(Largely Starscream centric, because I have a bias, and that bias is that I really like fighter planes)

"Excerpts from the Science Logs of the Planetary Exploration Team on X1342" by CasusFere. Gen.
"The Quintesson scientists find more than expected on a new planet." -- The Quintessons' discovery of Cybertron, told as traditional sci-fi/horror.

"Fractured Infinity" by Maunakea. Megatron/Optimus Prime, Megatron/Starscream, Prime/G1/Armada/IDW.
AKA "Starscream's adventures in interdimensional babysitting." Megatron's latest Weapon of the Week malfunctions, de-aging assorted 'Bots and 'Cons into sparklings. Then it malfunctions again, stranding G1!Starscream, his de-aged trine mates, and an equally de-aged Optimus Prime in a continuity far, far away. Thus begins a long and frustrating saga of universe-hopping, involving two Starscreams, two Skywarps, two Thundercrackers, far too many Megatrons, and a whole multiverse full of people who keep obstinately refusing to allow Starscream to abandon baby Optimus somewhere to die.

"Mission" by Spoon888. Megatron/Starscream, Skywarp/Thundercracker, warning for kid OC.
"Years after his treacherous Air Commander's disappearance, Megatron comes across a familiar looking sparkling with a familiarly bad attitude. The "I didn't know I was a dad" fic no one asked for." -- The Decepticons play Ransom of Red Chief with Starscream's bratty offspring, whom Megatron doesn't realize is also his bratty offspring. Megatron et al. are probably too nice in this, but I can shrug that off given that it's fluffy kidfic crack)

"Happiness is a Warm Gun" by herongale. Megatron/Starscream.
"Basically this story explores what it really means, what it really, really means, that Megatron's alt form is a gun. And why Megatron is the way he is. And why Starscream basically can't win against him, ever." -- The fic where Megatron has target fixation (also features a great scene where various autobots are watching Dukes of Hazard because they all have a crush on the General Lee). IMO, outside of Seeker-Sue with their special Seeker culture stuff, there aren't nearly enough stories exploring how and in what ways a Cybertronian's alt form influences their personality/instincts/programming.

Bibliotecaria's "Footnotes" series (Series link at AO3), especially "Swindle-Bolivia's Discount Emporium (and Petting Zoo)" (Swindle + Bobby Bolivia = a match made in buyer-beware heaven) and "Carol of the Decepticons" ("Baby Jesus won't make it out alive" - the Decepticons use human Christmas Eve radio hijinks as a smokescreen for their own attack. "Rudolph" the red-nosed Starscream and his seeker reindeer lead the assault on the Eastern Seaboard, and nobody on Teletran-1 figures out what "Santa and Sleigh are inbound" means until it's far, far too humiliatingly late.)
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( Dec. 5th, 2018 03:58 pm)
I'd post a Wednesday reading list, but then I'd have to admit to how many truly dreadful romance novels I read and how often I listen to the same handful of audiobooks over and over. Instead, I'll spare you the Lora Leigh (ever wanted to read badly written het A/B/O fic? She has a whole 20+ book series), murder mysteries, and Harlequin Historicals and give themed recs instead. I'm linking to the Brooklyn Public Library's page for each book rather than Amazon because a) that's where I read them all, and b) fuck Jeff Bezos.

Today's Theme: Evolution & Paleontology
HARD MODE: NO DINOSAURS OR FOSSIL HOMINIDS

Remarkable Creatures: Epic Adventures in the Search for the Origins of Species by Sean B. Carroll
Great overview of some of the biggest discoveries in evolutionary science & paleontology, with short biographical sketches of the people who made them. This is written for general audiences, so you don't need any previous knowledge about biology or evolutionary science to follow along.

Life Ascending - The Ten Great Inventions of Evolution by Nick Lane
Most of which took place long before dinosaurs, or even vertebrates, existed. Lane discusses a number of evolutionary leaps that were paradigm-changing (photosynthesis in plants, the origins of sensory organs, sexual reproduction, the transition from bacterial RNA to nuclear DNA), but which don't get nearly as much media attention as the origin of humans or the emergence of tetrapods onto land.

The Vital Question: Energy, Evolution, and the Origins of Complex Life by Nick Lane
If you enjoyed the previous book and want a more in-depth look at the biochemical theories surrounding the origin of complex life and the evolution of eukaryotes. This is all single-celled organisms and DNA-from-RNA and "let's speculate about what life was like back when we were all bacteria clustered around hydrothermal vents" kind of stuff.

Evolution: What the Fossils Say and Why it Matters by Donald R. Prothero
This book might as well be subtitled Evolution: Why Creationists are Really Freakin' Stupid, and I love it for that. The only part better than the author's constant dragging on creationists is the part on invertebrate paleontology where I learned that arthopods are descended from unsegmented worms while molluscs are descended from segmented one, which is pretty much the opposite of what you'd expect and therefore cool.

When Life Nearly Died by Michael J. Benton
Who doesn't love the End Permian Extinction Event? Usually over-looked in favor of it's more famous End-Cretaceous/K-T Boundary Event/Flaming Asteroid Death From Above younger sibling, this grand-daddy of all extinction events is fascinating in its own right. It's certainly my favorite time that life on earth nearly died (accompanying controversial opinion: the BBC's Walking With Monsters is better than Walking With Dinosaurs).

Resurrecting the Shark by Susan Ewing
Fossils sharks can get weird as fuck, and Helicoprion, or as I like to call it, the Whorl-Toothed Fossil Shark (or WTF Shark) was about as weird as they came. Generations of paleontologists have wondered why the hell its teeth grew in a giant spiral like that and WTF it used them for. Now, you can read the results of their headscratching and boggle/wonder as well.
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( Nov. 2nd, 2018 01:52 pm)
Apparently tumblr is slowly losing traffic as fandom moves to twitter (WTF, and I thought tumblr was a terrible platform), and give that I never really properly adopted tumblr to begin with despite trying, I'm not even going to make the attempt with twitter.

It's been over a year since I posted here, but frankly, it's been nearly that long since I made any attempt to properly engage on tumblr, either, partly because tumblr makes it too easy to just like and reblog stuff and never make any real posts of your own, and partly because now that I do most internet browsing on a tablet where I can't use a blacklist properly, there's a powerful disincentive to avoid tumblr. That blacklist isn't just there to keep me from having to see posts about my NOTPS and to stop my dash from being endlessly clogged with Sterek content - it's also designed to let me avoid having to encounter fellow fans' opinions about how various family members of mine totally deserve to die, and so I keep just avoiding tumblr most of the time.

I need to start posting here again, but I've gotten out of the habit of talking about myself online. Maybe I should start again?
Happy Wednesday!

Instead of writing about the actual Nazi-themed comics Marvel is currently putting out, I’m going to summarize/review the imaginary Captain America and/or Avengers-centric titles I wish existed.

So, this week is the second issue of The Falcon and Captain America, which debuted back in July and which so far seems to be about Sam and Redwing going on a cross-country roadtrip with their sidekick Bucky!Cap, supposedly so Sam can re-introduce Bucky to modern/twenty-first century America. The first issue ended with them driving off into the sunrise/sunset together to start their roadtrip. This one opens with them in costume together in a diner somewhere along the NJ Turnpike debating their route (Sam has a bunch of old-school road atlases, Bucky accuses him of having spent too much time with Steve) while a douchey-looking guy with a pro-Trump hat makes some comment to his buddies about how nice it is to see “the real” Captain America back. Bucky makes a comment to him on the way out about how “the real” Captain America would probably have stopped to teach him a lesson and he’s lucky Bucky’s only the understudy and he and Sam get into their little red hybrid and drive away. Then they fight Overdrive, who’s created a giant traffic jam by altering everyone’s cars into goofy-looking nonfunctional models to protest overconsumption of fossil fuel (power-creep alert – he apparently has “turbo-nanites” now that allow him to affect multiple vehicles at once now). Sam and Bucky eventually talk him down* and convince him that there are better ways to fight global warming than through traffic accidents and maaaybe this was a poor way to go about trying to turn himself into a good guy. It ends with them getting back in the Falcon-mobile and continue on their way. There was a brief flashback during the diner scene to Steve angsting at Bucky before they left (about having been brainwashed into thinking he was HYDRA, so now he knows how terrible Bucky must feel about having been The Winter Soldier), but hopefully that’s not going to be a major theme and we’ll mostly stick with Epic Roadtrip Adventures from here on out.

*This is when you find out that Sam’s car is a hybrid.

Next Week:
X-Women #3 (I still think this is a stupidly gimmicky title given that there have been multiple all-female X-men line-ups before and all of those runs had normal X-book titles, and that they should just make it X-Men: Red or something to go with the new Gold and Blue X-books, but it has Jubilee and X-23 in it, so I'm continuing to give it a chance)
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Well, the first scene of one, anyway. There are about 35,000 more words where this came from, but no title.* Our working title of "Captain America & Iron Man vs. the Nazi Mummies" had to be discarded, because there are no mummies nor indeed anything remotely resembling mummies anywhere in the fic.Click for Iron Man rescuing people during the Blitz and gratuitous WWII aircraft fangirling )

*Title needed. Beta probably also needed.
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As part of my attempt to resume using DW regularly, I'm going to be crossposting all the posts I've made to tumblr over the past year or so to this journal (only the handful with original content, not the reblogs). I'll be back-dating them, so they shouldn't be spamming anyone's friends/reading page.

From this point on, I will not be cross-posting anything to livejournal. For various reasons involving immediate family members and their choices of career, it's probably not the best idea for me to continue using LJ now that the servers are located in Russia. I already have all the posts I've made on LJ since 2003 backed up on Dreamwidth, and I will probably delete all the posts on my personal LJ soon and leave a placeholder post with a link to DW. I'm reluctant to actually delete my entire LJ account lest it take my cap_ironman and ship_manifesto posts and other posts and comments I've made in discussion comms with it, but from now on I won't be using actively using it anymore.

Not that anyone who still has me friended on LJ is likely to notice, considering how much of a lurker I've been for the past few years ^_~.
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( Jun. 29th, 2017 02:08 pm)
So... I haven't posted here in about, oh, nine months. I could theoretically have had a child in the meantime, if I were able to reproduce via parthenogenesis or if Seanchai and I were living in an A/B/O verse. (I haven't, of course).

My attempts to transition to tumblr over the past year or so have pretty much failed, and while Imzy actually seemed to be working out pretty well for cap_ironman fans, that's gone belly up now, so I'm back here.

Time to start using this account again. Back a decade or so ago, I used to treat LJ/DW as an actual journal. I should start trying to do so again. New goal: post something either in this journal or on a comm at least once a week.
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( Jun. 6th, 2017 01:57 am)
Question for the (616-fan) masses:

When a bullet/knife/rock/other weapon hits Steve’s shield (or any other vibranium object), what does it sound like? Does vibranium vibrate with a pure musical note like a tuning fork? Does it make a weirdly muffled, dead/flat “clunk” sound because all the energy of the impact is retained by the deflected bullet and none is transferred to the shield which therefore barely vibrates? Does Wakandan vibranium do one and Antartic vibranium the other? The traditional “shield hits something” impact sound in Gold/Silver Age comics is “CLANG” except for that one memorable panel when it was “WANK”, but what kind of/how musical a clang?

Obviously Tony can recognize the distinctive sound of a bullet hitting vibranium, but what *is* that sound?

I can’t believe that after a full decade’s worth of writing Steve/Tony fic, this vital question is only occurring to me now…
"You can tell it's a good Iron Man comic if Tony is naked and crying, possibly in the rain, because he thinks none of his friends love him." - Sineala

Other Signs of a good Iron Man comic )
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( Dec. 19th, 2016 09:41 pm)
Hang the Fool is finished now! On the one hand, joy! I have like three-four new chapters to read! On the other hand, woe! What fanfic am I going to stalk for updates and obsess about now?

I mean, other than all those other WiPs I’m following?


#so they barely interact in canon #see if I care #you will pry my Kurosawa/Sergio Leone-character-archetype-based shipper feels from my cold dead hands
elspethdixon: (Default)
( Oct. 20th, 2016 03:02 pm)
Going to check my public library's new ebooks this week was a sad adventure in disappointment. So many new books, almost all of them terrible.

Somehow, I forget every year that mid-October is when Harlequin's holiday glurge season begins. It'll be nothing but secret/surprise babies and Hallmark Special-esque Christmas-themed books from now until New Years.

When will you acquire the middle three books in the Sano Ichirou series that I requested months ago, public library? Or the Carol Berg fantasy novels, or Ian Rutledge series audiobooks, or the nonfiction about ancient Carthage? I grow impatient. (You were so good about adding all those WWI airship books and social/economic studies of Imperial Germany to your collection when I asked about them that now my expectations are probably unrealistically high).
elspethdixon: black and white diagram of X-15 experimental aircraft (X-15)
( Sep. 28th, 2016 06:12 pm)
Back from California. The SETP presentation is now over and done with. I have now co-presented a presentation on the X-2 program and the history of the Iven Kinchloe award to an audience of 500-some of my father’s professional colleagues.

I didn’t present nearly as well as the journalist who just wrote a book about the XPRIZE and private/commercial space flight, but I did talk more about actual facts/events and a lot less about feels. (Her presentation was at least 60% feels by volume, which is probably not the feels-to-data ratio a professional organization composed largely of engineers, pilots, and ex-military guys is looking for).

I now have a little metal propeller souvenir to put on my desk. It spins. Ask me about mid-century experimental rocket planes.
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( Mar. 31st, 2016 03:57 pm)
So, I haven't done too well on my New Year's Resolution to start interacting in fannish spaces again. But I have an excuse!

Behold my excuse:

Click for wedding photos! )
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Slowly catching up...

Day 03: In your own space, post a rec for at least three fanworks that you have created. It can be your favorite fanworks that you've created, or fanworks you feel no one ever saw, or fanworks you say would define you as a creator.

I haven't really created much in the way of fanworks over the past year - most of it's been spent working on unposted original stuff - so I'm going to link my list from the last time I did something like this.

Three fanwork recs from 2015's snowflake challenge.

And also offer six pieces of pseudo-fanart created this year on Doll Divine, the internet's answer for people like me who have zero artistic ability but want to create images of our OCs and genderflipped versions of canon characters anyway. I guess you could say they "define me as a creator" because five of them involve shipping (definitely a linchpin part of my fannishness given how hard I OTP) and one is a joke I made entirely because Seanchai told me to ("because it was Seanchai's idea" also being the source of a number of collaborative fics).

Hank and Jan!
Cassie & Kang!
Karolina & Xavin!
Rule!63 Steve & Tony
The greatest Metal Gear ship of all! (according to Seanchai, anyway)
In the grim darkness of the far future, there is only shipping!
More out-of-order Snowflake spam.

Day 2: In your own space, create a list of at least three fannish things you'd love to receive, something you've wanted but were afraid to ask for - a fannish wish-list of sorts.

Most of what I want out of fandom is impossible to ask for - for people to write tons of my narrative kinks and preferred ships instead of shipping things I dislike, for fandom to stop writing whump and h/c about their favorite woobies and start writing it about my favorite woobies instead, for fandom to latch on to the canons/portions of canon I like instead of the ones I loathe, for that one really good Dragon Age artist I follow on tumblr to stop being so relentlessly heteronormative in her shipping preferences, for people on my tumblr dash to stop changing their names repeatedly, for historical and SF/F fandoms to stop writing so many modern/coffeeshop/mundane/college AUs and start writing more actually-set-in-canon fics, for tumblr to bring back the goddamn reply feature, for tumblr to vanish from the face of the internet and fandom at large to return en mass to a platform that allows threaded comments...

Actual concrete things are harder to come up with. Um, let's see...

Give me a pony! )
Only 11 days late! I thought briefly about backdating this to January first so the posts would all line up nice and need, but then decided to just go ahead and do the daily challenges out of order as I complete them.

Day 01: In your own space, talk about why you are doing the Fandom Snowflake Challenge? What drew you to it as a participant? What do you hope to accomplish by doing these challenges?

click for long, rambly answer )
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