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Good times

I'm spending some time rereading old issues of Byte magazine, courtesy of the Internet Archive. It's triggering a lot of memories, which isn't unreasonable given how much of my time and attention was dedicated to computers. And it's not just the articles (when Windows 95 was still codenamed Chicago, and Win32 address space separation was a big thing), but also the ads. Ads for database systems, my god, all hyperbole, exclamation points, puns, comparison tables, enthusiasm about obscure things. I can distinctly remember knowing, at some point in my life, the pros and cons of different commercial C++ compilers, how SCSI worked, and the details of linking .OBJ files. Ads for PKzip as a product you paid for. The magic of fractal image compression formats.

Now, of course, the industry is infinitely larger and more influential, not just a hobby or a new business tool but rather the atmosphere in which society seems to move, but back then it was, I have to say, it was dorky, people still weren't convinced about it so there was no need to make it fit the "real world," the only billionaire was Bill Gates, who was Evil, you could look at Word and think "oh my god", and you would care about microprocessor architecture just for the sheer fannishness of it.

Just now I read, in a 1994 issue, a short article on this newfangled thing called Linux. Linux, then, was this weirdly free variant of UNIX; nowadays UNIX is mostly the prehistory of Linux. I remember reading that article, being enchanted by the UI screenshot and the idea of a UNIX I could get my hands on, and looking for somewhere in Corrientes where I could somehow get it (this was back when BBS' were still a thing, and "the Internet" was one of a handful of alternatives, most of them commercial). It turned out that the same small place where you could get pirated copies of games as stacks of 5'25 floppies would also sell you Slackware as a stack of 5'25 floppies.

I could say the same about pretty much any period in my life (and isn't that a wonderful thing to be able to say?) but it felt so good to have so much to learn and play with, new things every month in a Cambrian dazzle of useless, endlessly fascinating arcana. Computers were the best toy ever, and they still are.

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A case of miscommunication

Not too short, and covering my ears a bit, I told the hairdresser.

Let's go for the Ninth Doctor look, he heard.

*headdesk* I'm glad I didn't ask for a close cut, or he'd have performed brain surgery.
I've been spending some time going through old (in internet time, very old), fanfic archives, reading some of the first fics I ever read and loved. For example, The Shi'ar Coffee Story, which is still as silly and funny as I remember it being.

It was the late 20th century. Nostalgia doesn't prevent me from remembering how shitty it was in many ways (including for me), and yet.

I loved the X-Men animated series, with its continuity and its time travel and its perky music and overdramatic characters. And Buffy, with its sarcastic bravery and oh-so-human heroes and villains. And Star Trek TNG, which showed both an universe so much bigger and interesting than anybody else's, and a way of facing it with curiosity and goodwill that I still, as much as I find it, in retrospect, conservative, can feel energized by (pun not intended).

And then I found my first fics, stories that took this, and gave it new directions, adult relationships, complex characterization, infinite alternate universes, and more fun and more darkness than the source material was allowed to, and it was mind-blowing that it was even possible to do that. That we were allowed, or rather, that we didn't need anybody's permission.

The topologically impossible Summers Family Tree (multiple clones included).That epic where Gambit ended up being Professor X's son, and it completely made sense, really. Q's increasingly NC-17 infatuation with Jean-Luc Picard. The Borg, back when they were scary.

It changed my life in so many ways; half a lifetime later, I'm still ricocheting through the alternate timeline this set up for me, and I couldn't be more grateful for that.

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Not having a lot of emotional investment in the franchise, my evaluation of entertaining shouldn't be taken as an indictment.

For what it's worth, I don't think I need to go to AO3 to know a particular slash pairing is being written the hell of, nor what the dark "off panel" stories will be about. But that might say more about my fannish googles than about the movie itself.

ETA: I've posted in LJ/DW 702 fanfics and 639 original fics. Jeez. The total word count is probably along the lines of an Stephen King prologue, but still.

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Just spent some time poking at old fanfic archive sites like The Family Archives. Chicago... Smitty... Tim and Cass's shenanigans... Dinah and Bruce's constant assertions about not sleeping together...


"Batgirl around?" Robin asked, glancing around the room.

"Nope. Off playing Evil Creepy Night Thing with Bruce. Did you come to visit her?" Barbara laid the back of her hand across her forehead. "I'm just not exciting enough to warrant my own midnight superhero encounters anymore?" [offpanel.net]


Looking back, in some cases ten or more years later... They aren't perfect, of course. I think we got a better handle over time on the economy of epiphanies and the avoidance of character bashing, and there has a been a drive, it seems, for more complex and less self-deprecatingly humorous grammar (obviously, I'm not making a global statement in any sense; I'm just talking about the fics I read then, compared with the fics I read later — there have always been fanfic of every kind and style, and each person's reading history, in her or his own way, traces the development of a one-person culture).

Be that as it may. The sheer enthusiasm of those stories! I'm certainly prejudiced because I was younger when I first read them, and perhaps very much in need of something like them, but it was a world in which Tim Drake could despair for coffee and Barbara Gordon would use a traffic gridlock to try and win a bet. A world where crime-fighting was a passion but not a psychopathology, where an entire fic could be dedicated to a dinner date, and among a kid's first words could be BA'GIRL. It was also a world where a single one-line story could freeze your blood.

They were good, and good for me, and it was good to revisit them.

Also, I revisited some old (but later) Stargate Atlatis fanvids. Atlantis! and Stress, in particular, were just as good as I remembered. There was a time when Stress was one of the ways in which I described myself to myself, although, thankfully, that has changed a bit.

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A modest observation

I can easily resist pretty much any temptation, unless it's something I like.

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Atoms are for chocolate

After four months in my new apartment, I thought it'd be a good idea to take the piles of books stacked against the walls and re-order them alphabetically.

It wasn't. My 8pm self is a sadistic trickster, that's what he is.

Now there's a n-1 relationship between alphabet letters and book piles, by author, although each pile isn't sorted, and a topical order would be much more useful (and take a damn lot of time).

Objects without identification+location chips somewhere in them (so I could keep them unsorted, but find anything quickly anyway) are evil and wrong and part of the resistentialist conspiracy.

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