January 10th, 2018


Good News

Good news includes all the things which make us happy or otherwise feel good. It can be personal or public. We never know when something wonderful will happen, and when it does, most people want to share it with someone. It's disappointing when nobody is there to appreciate it. Happily, blogging allows us to share our joys and pat each other on the back.

What good news have you had recently? Are you anticipating any more?

Fandom Snowflake Challenge Day 10: "Tropes"

Day 10
In your own space, share your love for a trope, cliché, kink, motif, or theme. (Or a few!) Tell us what makes it work for you, and why it appeals to you so much. Talk about what you like to see in fanworks featuring that theme most. Feel free to include recs and examples! Leave a comment in this post saying you did it. Include a link to your post if you feel comfortable doing so.

I love just the concept  of tropes.  I was into the Aarne-Thompson index of fairytale motifs long before TV Tropes was a twinkle in some programmer's eye.  I look at those things the way Tony Stark looks at his workshop: Tools.  Tools everywhere!  :D

Trope: Fish Out of Water.  A character gets dumped into a totally unfamiliar, perhaps hostile environment; for example, thawing Captain America into the modern era.  From that look on his face in Times Square to "I understood that reference!" I sympathize with the poor spud.  Love Is For Children is my paean to Fish Out of Water, but most of you have read that by now, or are planning to.  Check out Schrodinger's Hulk for my idea of how to get Bruce-and-Hulk out of Thunderbolt's reach.  I love this trope in combination with all the other things.

Cliché: "My best friend is a ..." I love friendships, I love oddball friendships, and I especially love when people are stuck together who don't perfectly suit but won't let go.  Over in Schrodinger's Heroes again, racism is an issue because Texas. In canon, Pat is black and Chris is a good ol' boy; their friendship develops over time.  This lays the groundwork for the series Don't Try This at Home, in which a bullying incident gone horribly wrong turns into a tight friendship between Chris' nephew Eric and a black boy named TeJay.  Jaunt over to Terramagne, and I've tilted this a bit: Ansel has a black brother-in-law rather than best friend, although his BASH team leader is also black.

Kink: I have a huge competence kink.  Huuuuuge.  My competence kink is hung like the Hulk.  So #coulsonlives and Love Is For Children, and Frankenstein's Family.  In my original work, notably competent characters appear in Fiorenza the Wisewoman, Officer PinkP.I.E., and The Steamsmith.  For a wider variety of kink, I recommend Schrodinger's Heroes, since I did Kink Bingo once and many of the fills wound up in that project.

Motif: A motif is basically a running gag in its Sunday clothes, something that keeps reappearing.  For me, symbols are a percussion instrument; I like them for beating clues into the head of a clueless character.  Tarot is a favorite.  Often characters will have their own recurring mofit; Shiv is fixated on food and sharp things.  Because I often take titles from old sayings, I'm prone to repeating a phrase several times in different contexts.

Theme: This gets a little tricky, because lots of lists conflate theme (a universal topic) with message (what you have to say about it).  So for instance, the theme of Love Is For Children is "love" but the message is sankofa: "If you forgot it, go back and get it."  The people who love you will help fill in the gaps of what you missed growing up.  Over in my original work, the same theme and message repeat -- with very different details -- across CassandraOfficer Pink, and Shiv.

And I can't resist naming one the moderators didn't list: archtypes or stock characters.

Archetype: The Unsullied Hero.  This is the character whose inner goodness makes it possible to overcome seemingly insurmountable obstacles.  Captain America in "I'm with you to the end of the line."  Superman in "Superman and the Jumper."  This is why I HATE the modern trend of destroying heroes, of making them all anti-heroes.  The idea that heroes are too perfect to be relatable is baloney; people have related to them throughout history.  The idea that they're too powerful is hogwash; just see the two examples I cited.  Do you think Cap and Supes feel powerful in those scenes?  No.  That's how you gut someone who's physically durable: give them a problem that can't be solved by hitting.  So my answer to that is creating characters like Stalwart Stan and Officer Pink.  They make mistakes; they can be wrong, or overpowered; but they don't make mistakes of virtue.  I feel that's important.  And of course, here's Captain America in "Against His Own Shield."

What are some of your favorites?

Fandom Snowflake Challenge banner 2018

Candied Buddha's Hand

I have chopped up the Buddha's hand to candy it, less the two fingers from the previous cookie batch and two reserved for another later.  I don't have enough butter left to make more shortbread today, drat it.  The ones I froze to test thawed out with no discernible change in taste or texture, so that's a win.  Anyhow, I wound up with about 2 2/3 cups of chunks, which are now simmering.  They need to blanch until tender.  Then I'll drain that water and mix up roughly equal portions of water, sugar, and Buddha's hand, which will need to cook for a while.

So much oil poured off this thing that my fingers stuck together and the whole dining room reeks of it.  :D  The stuff smells like heaven, I keep looking around to see if there's a crack in reality.  Handling it just makes me happy.  The scent is so uplifting.

EDIT 1/10/17: After simmering for 20-30 minutes, the chunks are now tender.  Some recipes say to use the same water, some say to throw it out and add fresh.  I tasted it, and there's a bitter note in the water that wasn't so noticeable in the fruit itself.  So I poured out that water, put in 2 2/3 cup fresh, and 2 2/3 cup sugar.  Back on the heat to simmer a while.

EDIT: The sugar syrup hasn't cooked down much, even after I added another 2/3 cups sugar.  But the chunks are completely soft and translucent, starting to stick together.  I've moved the pot off the heat and will later bail out the candy to dry.

EDIT: I have successfully bailed out the chunks from the syrup.  They are supposed to dry for 24 hours, before rolling in sugar.  If there are any left  by then.  Right now, I have a tray full of delicious, sunshine-flavored gummies, and I love gummy candy.  O.O  I also have a tub full of approximately 2 cups of Buddha's hand syrup.  The first taste is pure sugar, but then the bittertart notes hit.  :D 3q3q3q!!!  What can you do with simple syrup?  Make soda.  Make sorbet.  Pour it over fruit salad.  Possibly there is some way to mix in gelatin to make jello. There's a kind of very thin crispy miniature waffle that this would probably be good poured over too.  Since Trevor is coming down this weekend and he makes handcrafted sodas, I plan to share this and see what he can do with it.

That was $9.99 very well spent.

Review: Milk Chocolate Cinnamon Crisp

A friend sent me a box of chocolate, so I want to review at least some of it.  The first is Trader Joe's Milk Chocolate Cinnamon Crisp (32% cocoa).  Whole ingredients, no garbage.  The flavor is creamy and chocolatey, the crisps crunchy but not too hard.  The cinnamon is a subtle, dusty note -- they must have used powder instead of oil or extract.  So it's more like cinnamon roll flavor than redhot candy flavor.  Very nice overall, highly recommended.