Comment to this post, and I will list five things I associate with you. They might make sense or they might be totally random. Then post that list, with your commentary, to your LJ (or just add a reply back to me). Other people can get lists from you, and the meme merrily perpetuates itself.

1. Prompts

Okay so full disclosure: I give out prompts because I'm lazy. I have all these plot bunnies in my head that I wish I could see and so I foist it off on other people instead of writing them myself. Well that and because I think they can do it better. I am terrible at dialogue.

Also I have all these really interesting thoughts in my head, too many to count, and because they haven't quite crystallized in my head about what is bothering me or nagging in my mind, I send out prompts to people whose brains I want to pick. Fic is sort of a form of conversion and persuasion, because you have to believe in what you are writing for it to be good, so it's my way of seeing how some people's minds tick. It's actually quite fascinating to get to know people through the fic they write.

I like to think the prompts make other people think, and I continue to throw them at people since I don't want to be alone in my thinky thoughts. I'd much rather you guys share my pain. Thankfully people don't yell at me when I throw prompts at them like candy. They could very well tell me that I'm a very demanding jerk and a troll. Which, you know, they do because I am. But thankfully they also usually end up writing anyway. I think it's because secretly they want to write more too, and I'm just enabling them really well to do what they wanted to do in the first place.

2. Thinky thoughts

Right. So, here's the thing. I've always been a bit of a multi-tasker who likes opposites. I'd classify myself as a dreamer but I also value logic. I love words and the freedom of imagination to create pictures in the mind, but I also like computers and puzzles and visual mediums. I like sports and art. And I think that makes me a better thinker than if I were otherwise focused on one interest or thing, because I always had one eye on the main thing and another eye on something else, and so my mind makes really weird connections. I can't forget what my teacher once told me in high school, that I was a sideways thinker. There's a reason for things, but never quite what you'd expect.

The same thing happens in TV. I really wish I could show you how my brain works whenever I'm watching shows because on one level, I am frolicking in the shallow end of the pretty, going "God that sounded/looked shiny" and laughing at the silly, but at the same time, I'm thinking "What a gorgeously constructed shot" and "where is this story going, what is the character/show trying to say, and how does this fit in the context of greater mainstream society?"

It happens so quickly and simultaneously, I can barely keep up sometimes, but I can't help it. To me, story is king and the entire process of how a story is crafted, constructed in word or visual form, is fascinating to me. The relationship between art (in the form of the medium of the masses) and society will always be important for me to understand because of the messages that are reinforced and challenged.

So when I can't get fic writers to unpack all those thoughts for me in the form of prompts, I word vomit with thinky thoughts. One could ask why bother doing all that, when it's just a TV show and usually not even a really good one at that. To that I say, visual mediums matter; so-called low brow art is still important and it's important to pay attention what goes into it. People are more likely to watch an episode of Survivor than CNN, listen to a Glee cover or a Katy Perry song than NPR, and read tweets than the newspaper. Why wouldn't you pay attention to that and question what goes into those things? Turning off your brain isn't an option. Doing so only creates a society that doesn't question why, and that can be really dangerous when it matters. One should always think critically about everything, even when it's in the back of your head.

3. Broken heart induced by W13 finale

Oh Warehouse 13. Even knowing who was gonna die going in, it still sort of broke my heart. Because I knew what was going to happen, but it didn't really register until I saw it unfold in front of me, and I totally was not prepared for the little squishy faces that Pete, Claudia, Myka and HG were make for an hour and half. This was supposed to be my happy, light show, ala Leverage; the show wasn't supposed to make me hurt in all the best and worst ways possible- and yet...hearts exploding, feelings gushing everywhere at the longest goodbye ever.

Because that's the thing, right? As much as they killed off some people, there's still a mechanism to bring them back and fix it all; and yet would you want to, when their deaths were so emotionally satisfying and/or powerful because they serviced the story so well and were so in character? It's sort of like the end of S5 of Buffy. You knew it was going to go off to live on in UPN, but the ending was so perfect, should you just leave it be, on a high note? Or do you risk bringing back those characters and potentially watch them decline in quality? And where do you even go then, with HG and Mrs. F? Cuz Jinksy and Claudia have an apparent season arc trajectory, but HG was such a perfect circle, redemption arc and the only reason I'd want her back is because of Myka- and is that really enough? IDK.

And on some level, it also makes me hate the fact that yes, they killed off the major black character (Leena is not enough of a player on that show) and the two canon queer characters, which is kinda bothersome. Because those characters were AWESOME and even though they died in ways that were rooted in character development and packed a wallop of a punch, it did bring into sharp relief that the core (and therefore safe) cast remains white and straight. The show still wins points for me for having so many strong female characters, but it's sort of like, MAN. Did they have to kill those characters? We have so few good representations as is.

All in all, it hurt my heart in more good ways than bad, and I'm still not over it over a month later, which is a sign of a good story. I look forward to the next season, and but if they don't bring back HG and Steve at least, I am going to be even more heartbroken even though I can take comfort in the fact that they gave the characters a hell of a send off.

4. Farscape

Oh man. I could write small dissertations on this show. In fact, I'm sure I have a couple, floating around the Interwebs. This is a show that I had been told I would love. Because it was beautifully shot, it had strong female characters, it explored non-humanoid aliens in science fiction for once thanks to the Creature shop, and above all, it was the one show that treated its main ship correctly, surprisingly, satisfyingly from beginning to end. It premiered in 1999 and only lasted 4 seasons, and yet I waited. The show ended, and yet I waited still. Maybe I was waiting for a block of time to devote to mainlining it properly. Maybe I was waiting for the DVD set prices to go down. Mostly, though, I think I was saving it for when there was a dip in quality in TV and I was unsatisfied with all my shows.

Then 2008 arrived and the Writers' Strike happened. Eleven days later, I had mainlined the entire series, including the mini-series.

To say that it skyrocketed to the top 5 shows of all time for me is an understatement. The show had been off the air for quite a while and the pilot had aired almost 10 years ago, and yet the show didn't feel old. It was surprising. Even if I didn't like the storyline, it always surprised me and I value that a lot. And although the first season eps were kinda rough as they found their footing, once you hit mid-S1, you could tell that they knew what they were doing and you trusted them. The Muppets took a while to get used to, but it's a testimony to their skill that Pilot/Aeryn became one of the most interesting friendships on the show. The villains were *fantastic,* and well developed, mostly because they were aimed at each other with John and the crew of Moya caught in the middle. I loved that everyone had an agenda, and there were so many gray characters, and that in the end, it was all about creating a family and isolated people finding each other in the black of space amidst a war between two factions. And my god, the ship. John/Aeryn are the golden standard I hold all ships to when it comes to character and couple development. Everything just hurt so good.

Farscape is everything I want out of science fiction and storytelling in general: compelling philosophical questions, mature and insightful explorations that delve deep into nuances of all kinds of personal relationships, gorgeous shots of space and thoughtful use of camera angles, set dressing and staging, and hot people kissing with lots of tongue and leather. You could really tell that everyone involved loved the project and put so much thought from the big picture to the tiny details. Even their flawed episodes were amusing, mostly because in commentaries, they owned it and you understood why they did what they did, even though they acknowledged that they should have done something else. (Jeremiah Critchton remains the ~worst episode in the series and the ~BEST cast/writer commentary in the bunch for that reason alone).

It may not be for everyone; in fact it's quite polarizing. People love it or they hate it. But to me, it is probably my favorite series of all time. So much so that even though I have the entire series on DVD and don't actually *own* a Blu-Ray player, I'm still contemplating getting the Blu-Rays.

5. Gen!fic

I adore it and it saddens me that there's such little out there.

I finally figured out why it is that romantic ships in shows are never enough for me, but it's been true for me since as far as I can remember. I love exploring created families vs blood families, friendships vs enemies and how closely the two actually lie, divided by such fine lines. My favorite couples are never co-dependent; they have their own storylines that are fascinating in their own right. I like delving into individual motivations, trying to see what makes that character tick and finding stories and possibilities that I never considered myself. More often than not, I love characters, not couples.

It's so much romantic fic, and I'm not complaining about that, because I love me some fluff. But I will always seek depth beyond the solitary track of romance, because we as people are not defined by just one relationship - and it can get frustrating when romantic fic is all anyone ever wants to write about.

1. Filipino stick fighting

I have always loved martial arts. I took them as a kid and continued through to college; to date I have taken classes in: tae kwon do, shotokan, capoeira, kickboxing, thai kickboxing, regular boxing, and some self defense classes and judo. But I really, really enjoy fighting with weapons, particularly sticks, and Filipino stick fighting is the one I've done longest. I started it because my uncle was complaining that I took all these art forms and never took one that belonged to my own heritage, so I decided to learn and it turns out that I had a knack for it. Every MWF for every summer for 7 years, my uncle's friend, who still is a grandmaster, would come in and teach us how to fight and defend ourselves, and I sort of fell in love with it. It's just really cool to spar and fun see how fast you can react to someone throwing a stick at your head, and when I'm super-stressed, doing stick drills is a nice tension release.

I taught a bunch of kids in college so I could spar with someone, but mostly it was on and off. I picked it up again when I was living in Cebu, but I really need to find someone to spar with here. I miss it so.

2. Thinky thoughts
See above.

3. Beta Master of Doom

Okay I am not a master of doom for anything. Really. I'm really not. There are people that are much scarier than I am at doing beta, people who will be savage betas for your own good but will also kinda make you want to curl up into a ball and cry until you get over it and fix things. So unless you are talking about the fact that I throw a lot of angst prompts- which okay, yeah that's true- the Doom part is simply not true.

I will say, however, that I do enjoy being a beta because I like see things come together and because I am a total enabler and like to see my friends do well. If it helps other people that I remind them of big picture stuff and not having hanging questions or plot holes in their stories AND they write things that I would be interested in reading, well that's just a bonus. I like spitballing and brainstorming with people on ideas and looking at word choice and making every word count. It reminds me of college when I would help edit people's papers for fun, because they're sort of like puzzles. And most of the time I offer to beta because I feel guilty for throwing so many prompts out at people, that doing a simple grammar check is the least I could offer.

Plus anything I say as a beta, I assume will be taken as a suggestion, because at the end of the day, it's your story. You can take it or choose to ignore what I say and go in another direction completely. But I like to think that even if you don't take it, just asking the question and pointing something out gets you to think about your story more, and so the writing becomes stronger for it.

In conclusion: Not a Beta Master of Doom. Just a regular beta.

4. Fringe

Oh god, another show I could write small dissertations on. It's funny because I normally would except for the fact that I mainlined S1 and only started watching it live in S2, so I guess I never got into the habit of doing my normal episode reaction posts. But my goodness, this show. It hits so many of my kinks: strong female characters, complex family dynamics, continuity and callbacks to past seasons that make it feel like a full-formed universe on both sides. And the plots have only gotten more interesting to me as they've delved into the multi-universes. Like Farscape, they put tons of thought into the set dressing, the tiny details and the continuity builds over the series, not just seasons. In fact, I've never seen a show that relies so much on its continuity and the fans' knowledge of it, because as we see each new incarnation of the characters, the show expects us to keep up and notice the differences. The show is smart, the writing is smart, and it expects its fans to be smart - and that is so lacking in primetime broadcast shows these days. Plus the acting is fantastic.

Olivia Dunham, in all her incarnations but especially original flavor Olivia, is just so damn refreshing and fascinating. She's so strong and takes on typically masculine character traits without ever ignoring her femininity. It's almost as if they intended for this character to be a male actor and then decided that it would be so much cooler if she was a female, because she wasn't bogged down with things that are typically given to "soften" female law enforcement characters. Anna Torv plays her so well, and it's not until you see her play the other Olivias that you realize how specific her choices were to play Olivia 1.0 as restrained.

I love the Bishop boys so much, and it makes me so sad that John Noble has never gotten an acting nod, because Walter could have been such a problematic character. Yet he sells it perfectly, with just the right balance of endearing and horrifying when you consider what he's done (experimenting on children, WHAT). He is Dr. Frankenstein, as Shelley originally wrote him: sympathetic but not blameless, a man whose hubris ended in disastrous results but whom you also feel pity for because you can still understand him and his motivations. And Peter who as the Catalyst for everything, the Big Event in everyone's lives who is always stuck in the middle- and yet you have to love him for how he still tries to find his place and build strong relationships with people. Plus he brings the hot and the funny, which has really been lacking on Our Side this season. Red!Lincoln fills that role on the Other side, but the snark and fun banter on Our side usually comes from Peter, and I've missed that.

The secondary and tertiary characters are interesting and compelling as well. Nina, Broyles, Astrid, Charlie, Lincoln, Ella, Rachel are all fascinating characters that compliment the storyline and the core cast. Even the one-off characters from the MotW or the reoccurring characters like Brandon or Henry are fully-realized characters. If I have any complaints, it's that they haven't given Astrid enough to do and explore her personal life enough (after 4 seasons, I still don't even know if she's single, taken, gay, straight, has a family, lives by herself, has any pets or anything), but Jasika Nicole just tweeted/posted on tumblr that she's getting an actual storyline, so I'm totally psyched.

I look forward to see how it ends, and I hope that we get at least one more season to resolve all the hanging threads. I think that 5 seasons will be perfect to tell the story, because this season definitely feels like set-up for an awesome pay off. While it isn't a perfect show and there were some missteps in S3, Fringe is still one of my favorite shows and it's one of the strongest shows on broadcast TV right now in my opinion.

5. Brittana

Oh current OTP of my heart, but painfully so because it's on a show like Glee. I blame the fandom for letting them eat my brain.

Because here's the thing: S1 was perfect. They were a background couple that were given little to no direction by the writers and directors, so everything about their interactions was born out of Naya and Heather's actual friendship and their mutual decision to play the two as a couple just so they had some sort of backstory consistency. Every week, they gave us little touches that felt like gifts because the fandom took them and RAN with it. And the people running with it were really, ridiculously talented. Living in the fandom was fun because of all the possibilities that the writers/artists explored.

And then S2 happened, the writers realized that hey, Naya can act AND sing, Heather can dance and can be used for something other than one-liners, and they got promoted to regulars. Once the writers got their hooks into the characters, it was both a blessing and a curse because it gave them more screen time but generally speaking S2 was a HOT MESS OF DISASTROUS PROPORTIONS. They did a lot of things- in fact most stuff involving Brittany and Santana together- correctly, much to everyone's amazement, but it was really choppy to go from 2x04 to nothing to oh they're in love in 2x15. The fandom filled in the blanks, for which I'm grateful, but it was sloppy writing, and it pains me that the writers can never deliver consistent awesomeness because of the constant favoritism they show to certain characters. That Santana and Brittany emerged out of S2 with the most coherent, well executed storyline is something I chalk up more to Naya and Hemo, because it took long enough for Brad et al to pull their heads out of their asses and realize that they had a gold mine with those two and oh, maybe we should write to Naya's talents cuz she's awesome.

This season they've gotten a better build up, but I still find it lacking despite the good things they're giving me. It still bugs that a couple that we know has been having sex from as early as S1 and is now an official couple hasn't had a legit lips-to-lips kiss, chaste or otherwise. I know, it's Glee and expecting them give us a well developed anything is a pipe dream; asking them to have continuity within a single episode is a feat in and of itself. And Lynne does bring up a good point that the lack of sex between them is kinda nice because the restraint shows how it's different. But not even a peck? On the cheek? It just doesn't make any sense. It's early on in the season though, so you never know.

For now, I guess I am satisfied in that the writers have given us good things and treated the couple with respect, and I continue to rely on the fandom to fill in the gaps for me and give me what the writers won't show me, but they could stand to give us a least one kiss. I don't think it's asking much before they inevitably destroy everything I love and I'm forced to live in AU land. I want to be optimistic, but this is also Glee.

If you're still here and have read all this, congratulations. That was a motherload of word vomit and thinky thoughts I just dumped on you. Maybe I should have added pictures. Oh well.
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