Monday, 31 December 2012

Dawn of the Final Day

I've been messing around with this blog for a good few years, but lately I'm just done with all social networking - tumblr deleted, LJ inactive, Facebook only used to keep up with a handful of British friends and for the fine art page I follow - and I think I'm finally ready to use this thing.

This is actually part of a bigger trend that's been pretty steady all year of breaking away from internet crap, fandom crap, and so on. While I still enjoy anime and video games that have plots, I just can't make myself care as much as I used to. And I've been more and more interested in work, reading, history, food, culture... that kind of thing. Adult stuff, basically. I am actually maturing and finding genuine enjoyment in deeper, more important things. Not to say that's all I like - far from it - but it's quickly becoming all I love.

Anime and video games are fun for enjoyment, and a lot of the concepts (and ergo the characters) are very precious to me, but they don't really consume me the way they used to. Funny thing is, I've noticed basically the same thing happening with most of my friends and family too, at the exact same time as me. My best friend, who is better at procrastinating than I am, told me out of the blue today that she's staying away from the internet because it makes her less productive. Heh, maybe it's cause of me.

I've also been a lot more interested in history than I used to be, especially Ancient Greece. Books are kind of the name of my game (I'm keeping a list, people) and I'm really interested in Alexander the Great lately, as well as Arthurian Legend and the 100 years' war, but in general I'm thinking about books, history and food now instead of fandom, fanart, roleplay, etc.

I always used to look at the super hardore 30+ year old fans who'd been in it from the beginning and I would wonder if I was going to be the same way, and pour all of my attentions and effort into fandom for the rest of my life. Honestly, I'm incredibly relieved that I'm not that type. Indulgent fun is one thing, but I am so, so much more than the shows I enjoy.

My schedule has been off pretty bad because one of my husbands has had insomnia and I've been staying up with him, but tonight I'm preparing for a New Year's Eve dinner party that, if all goes well, will be quite an achievement. Five courses - soup; salad; main course; dessert; cake and champagne at midnight. The soup is a mix of a Texan custom that my other husband won't stop talking about of eating kale and black-eyed peas as a prosperity charm (cash and coins) on New Year's and an Italian kale soup recipe I love, along with some fresh-baked Italian bread; the salad is more of a light appetizer; the main course is chicken thighs with port and mushroom sauce and green bean casserole; dessert is pumpkin pie from scratch; and then at midnight, a torta di cioccolata e aranciata with orange 7-minute frosting and sparkling cider to bring in the New Year!

I spent tonight making the pumpkin pies - whole-wheat pie crust from scratch - and candying the orange peels for the torta (and also getting the orange syrup for the 7-minute frosting). Our friend Paul, who's staying the night for dinner tomorrow, brought me the port to make the sauce, and a bottle of something called cupcake wine which is kind of a sharp red, along with a bag of truffles. Tonight was mostly a wine/apple/chocolate party tbqh.

I'm going to be uploading the recipes pretty slowly, because let's face it, that's a lot of dishes. Besides, I don't think I'm going to be cooking anything quite this big again for a while. It's kind of a shame I wasn't blogging through Christmas and New Year's - a 6lb chicken and a 19lb turkey, respectively - but I'll have plenty of restaurants to blog about in the meantime, I'm sure.



  1. I can honestly say, IT AIN'T YOU BABE. It's Tumblr what makes me procrastinate like an ass; all I do is sit there refreshing crap and waiting for something new to happen. I've realized a lot of my so-called social networking is just...wanting people to like my crap, and then me not getting anyone liking my stuff, so I spend more time trying to make people like me, and just, that shit ain't cool. I'm going to be exhibiting at a con and I'm going to be adding another story to an anthology and I need to sit my arse down and work on that stuff (not like I really am, I'm mostly drawing Teller fanart, but whatever)

    But yeah seriously text me whenever you feel like it, I try to never leave anywhere without my phone. and I shall try to cowboy up and get on some sort of IMing service more often!

    1. I've realized a lot of my so-called social networking is just...wanting people to like my crap, and then me not getting anyone liking my stuff, so I spend more time trying to make people like me, and just, that shit ain't cool.

      DUDE, RIGHT?? For me I think getting this job has kind of kicked my ass into gear; I've realized that there are people who appreciate me and my skills, they just don't come from that festering high-school-simulator known as Tumblr.

      And tbqh it's okay if we just text and stuff for a bit, I think. I have a terrible habit of needing to do something, glancing at my IM window and IMing everyone who is online as a means of procrastinating more, haha. You wouldn't believe how productive I've been the last few days of work.

  2. I love your new blog background image!

    Just speaking as someone in fandom who is rapidly coming up on the big three-oh; I don't think that fandom runs against 'adult stuff' in any consistent way, not when I think about friends my age and older; there's an awful lot of immature, indulgent 30-year-olds who have nothing to do with fandom! Fandom diehards may even trend more serious, as continuing involvement at that age generally means that someone's putting serious refinement into a skillset. When it comes to writing, I was told by a panel at Dragoncon that most writers don't get published until after they turn 40; even if someone's not interested in getting published, older fic writers can have a very 'adult' approach to what they do, and a lot of life experience to bring in to their storytelling.

    I mostly quit fandom for over five years at one point, to focus on other things - university, at first, and then after I finished university I got seriously into reading and writing blogs instead, so I barely did anything in fandom between early 2003 and the end of 2008. And when I got a job in 2009 that took up most of my slack time, I had to jettison the things that I'd been doing that weren't vital to me...and I found that writing my serious, important thoughts on my blogspot and reading long articles about urbanism or politics or whathaveyou was actually a less important adult endeavour to me than reading & writing pornography about videogame characters. MGS in particular, many of the older fic writers I know are using the fandom as an excuse to research and explore 20th century history. I've also done some philosophy of science/technology fics in MGS fandom, and a lot of people have got serious about the pomo side of MGS. It's not all shallow, indulgent fun.

    That is the great thing about fandom, though - it is always going to still be there if it becomes vital to you again. Fandom isn't simply consuming but also saying something back to canon, and for some people getting older leads to having more to say and being better at saying it.

    Also, lbr fandom sometimes needs a few adults in the house. See, I hung up this calendar today that includes your beautiful July art. ;) The two printing projects that MGS fandom ran last year were able to go ahead because a solvent adult was able to throw down several hundred dollars up front for the printers and then get reimbursed by orders later. I had the honour of being that solvent adult.

    Sorry for rambling - I inevitably have feelings on this topic. XD

    1. Ooh, thank you!

      Okay, you actually make some really good points. The two projects I've participated in for MGS (the fanbook and the calendar) have been really fun and important to me. As it happens, MGS is actually the fandom that most escapes the criticisms I made above, and consistently always has been since I first discovered it 6 years ago.

      A lot of the other fandoms I've been exposed to - comics being a main one - have been basically time consuming, super-childish drama fests with very, very little actual content to them. There's another fandom that I won't even admit to having been a part of any more because I don't want to associate myself with those people, but there was a certain group of 30+s there who, so far as I could tell, had been doing basically the same thing since that fandom began decades ago. I don't understand the capacity to consistently do one thing without developing or changing in any significant way for more than about a year or so.

      This applies to things outside of fandom, too - I play the violin, but I couldn't be content playing just one piece for the next ten years, which, as I said, is something I've seen a lot of people in fandom do the equivalent of.

      While it's certainly true that you can explore a lot of really interesting ideas within fanfiction, it follows logically that you can explore more ideas without the constraints of writing a given set of characters. I write fanfiction for a number of fandoms, but while it's fun, I still have more scope for expression overall when I eventually break away from fanfiction.

      I mean, let me clarify - I love MGS. It comes up at least once a day in my house, usually more. I guess what I'm trying to say is that all fandoms are NOT created equal. A lot of them, especially the ones I've been exposed to in the last few years, are horse shit, and MGS isn't one of those, on its own merits. But even so, MGS for all its unusually good qualities usually ends up feeling limited for me and kind of acts as a proxy between me and the ideas I'm passionate about. I love it and I'm glad it's there, but I always need more in the end. The fandom draws me to the ideas; the ideas don't draw me to the fandom.

      And as a hobby, which is what fandom is becoming for me, I've gotta say that the printing projects are just INSANELY fun! They're the best part of the fandom for me.

      Obviously, each to their own - this is just how I feel, the stuff I've been dealing with and figuring out lately. I met all three of my husbands and all but one of my very closest friends through fandom - that's kind of an indication of how all-consuming it used to be for me. Mostly what I'm going through now is kind of a trend away from that, and finding stuff that isn't fandom to make friends with/explore/love. Also, as it happens, there are a lot of other immaturities that I've had to deal with lately in other who are close to me which have kind of been expressed through fandom stuff, and while I'm not going to go into those on the internet, they've been frustrating me pretty badly and kind of contribute to my general desire to break away from it. (The others, not MGS so much, since I was never that active of a participant in MGS anyway and tend to just do the collaborative projects that come up.)

      I hope this made my position a little clearer to you. And I'm so flattered you like my art! Thank you! :)

    2. /very belated

      Oh I agree - not all fandoms are created equal, and larger ones tend to be worse. Not all fandom social spaces are created equal either - panfandom roleplay jamjars seem horribly drama-prone and tending towards ephemera. I put this partly down to the way it divorces 'characters' from canon, which usually robs them of all that ever made them worth writing about; there's rarely anything to do but dialogue and sex, and a lot of people seem to find it HORRIBLY consuming even if they're not deriving enjoyment from it? Idk, it seems to get some people really bad.

      I hear you about trending away - variety builds strength, when it comes to any type of writing. Taking a long break from fanfic made me better at it, I'm pretty sure. I feel like writing is a ragbag of different skills and they all get honed at different rates. Like, I know you're amazing at self-editing, and I've known other people in fandom who are also very good at it; there's plenty of published writers who are bad at it. And you quite regularly see really good stylistic experiments in fandom, whereas commercial creative work is inherently more conservative due to the financial risk involved (although obv this is proportional to prospective return on investment, hence why big-budget movies and AAA videogames are mostly boring). But there's other skills that fandom doesn't hone well - the judgement people pass on original characters in fandom is very unhelpful imo. :/

      And hey, there's plenty of popular commercial writers who've been accused of playing the same piece for 10+ years, over and over for $10 per rinse-repeat. Definitely not just a fandom thing.

      I think a lot depends on what someone wants to get out of their creative side, too. Fandom can be a very fun, supportive environment for someone with a creative hobby, and my impression is that most adults who are involved in fandom explicitly do NOT want a creative career. We have some other professional vocation, or we're not interested in the marketing and self-employment side of things, or we're creatively drawn to types of work that isn't commercially marketable eg. short stories or metacommentary. Most of the adults I know in fandom do both original and fannish work; I know one lady in her 40s who publishes original Kindle novels and does fanfic both for fun and to promote her original work, and I've met several others who have sold original short stories but have no interest in making writing a significant source of household income. Even moderately successful novelists barely earn squat - they've put years of work into doing a very demanding job for relatively little money. I would rather have an easier, more lucrative professional life and just write whatevers for fun, lol.

      (Which isn't to say that professionalism and creative development necessarily go together when it comes to original work, but that's the common assumption. I've had several people assume that, because I've told them I write a bit, I must be trying to publish a novel. Hobbyist artists don't seem to get this reaction at ALL - no one assumes that if someone says they like drawing they must be trying to get a gallery exhibition. I knew a creative writing student at college whose first-year roommates always acted standoffish around her and eventually explained that they thought she wanted to be left alone 'to write her novel'; she was studying dramaturgy and doesn't even give a fuck about novels.

      also, I forgot to turn my calendar over until now :D