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Shortfic: Hope Like Ash Like Memory

Disclaimer: I don't own Avatar: the Last Airbender. If I did, it would never make a Y7 rating.

Summary: The first rule of the Spirit World is that Jet doesn't belong.

Author's Note: Written for [archiveofourown.org profile] lilpocketninja in the [community profile] trickortreatex Halloween Exchange.

Hope Like Ash Like MemoryCollapse )

Ficlet: Queen of Gears and Sorrow

Written for the tumblr meme prompt, Mai, Steampunk.

Queen of Gears and Sorrow

Ty Lee cocked her head and looked at her sideways. Mai wondered if that made it easier or harder for Ty Lee to orient herself when looking at something, given that she was currently hanging upside down from a very ugly, very heavily reinforced iron chandelier. “What’s wrong?”

Even more disconcerting than hanging from assorted bits of architecture was Ty Lee’s gift for always knowing what Mai was feeling. In fact, Mai was tempted to go so far as to say it was the most disconcerting thing of all about Ty Lee, though it had remarkably stiff competition. Anyway, it meant there was no real point in denying it. “Some academy kid told me to tell my designer she’s amazed how realistic I am. Again.”

“That’s probably just because of where they saw you leaving from.” With a swing and a leap, Ty Lee descended to the floor, her feet alighting on the tile with flawless grace. “Don’t worry about it.”

That’s what Mai had told herself last time. They had probably seen her leaving her ancestral home, for a given value of ancestral, since families that had won their land in the conquest two generations back, and had only gained a title one generation ago, didn’t have ancestral anything no matter how grand. They had seen her leaving her ancestral home and now the home of the greatest clockwork inventor in the world. Yes, that was probably it, except: “I was leaving the tea shop.”

“Oh,” Ty Lee hummed, sympathetically. “Well if it helps, I’m pretty sure you’re real.” She wrapped her arms around Mai. “You feel real.” She squeezed. “Yep, I can feel your ribs.”

Mai squirmed. “You can feel my ribs crack.”

“Don’t be silly Mai,” Ty Lee chirped. “I’m not hugging you nearly hard enough to crack any bone in your body, including your ribs.”

Mai was pretty sure Ty Lee could tell her exactly how many pounds of pressure per square inch she was exerting, too. The six identical copies of Ty Lee in storage downstairs probably could too, and Mai had a sudden horrible vision of all of them hugging her.

Letting go, Ty Lee stepped back. “They’re idiots. You look perfectly human to me.”

“Thanks, Ty Lee.” She almost managed to keep the sarcasm out of her voice. Maybe next time she would succeed.

Ty Lee smiled as if she hadn’t noticed. “Like I said, don’t worry about it. Now, can you wind me up? I’m kind of at the end of my rope.”

Mai nodded as Ty Lee came forward and lifted up her braid. Deftly, Mai unbuttoned the little flap on Ty Lee’s jacket and pressed the key into the warm, living skin between her shoulder blades and turned. A shudder ran through Ty Lee’s body, her limbs curling tight into her body as if she really were made of the gears and springs she so skillfully manipulated. Her head bowed, and her braid flicked Mai’s arm, and when Mai was done, Ty Lee waited for her to button up her jacket flap before planting a quick peck on Mai’s cheek and darting away down toward her favorite workshop. Ty Lee was the greatest clockwork inventor in the world, and if she needed to pretend she was one of her own inventions sometimes, who was Mai to argue?

Shortfic: The Spirit of the Thing

Disclaimer: I do not own Avatar: the Last Airbender, which is why that show is actually quality.

Zuko's pretty sure he has a ghost of a chance of escaping Azula's trap.

Author's Note: This was written for a tumblr meme, for which the prompt I was given was Zuko, modern fantasy/sci fi/horror.

The Spirit of the ThingCollapse )

The Three Pillars Theory Of Azula

So during an *ahem* discussion of Azula and her abusiveness, I realized I have never sat down and written a comprehensive version of my particular theory of Azula's breakdown. I've talked about it in comment threads a lot, but I have never dedicated a post to it. So in response to a user on Tumblr who blogs under the name fireroyals, I wrote it up. I figured I should probably post it here The discussion this post is in reply to can be found at my tumblr [link].

The Three Pillars Theory of Azula, or Ozai is Horrible, Azula is Scary (but also Scared), and I Will Hurt Anybody Who Claims Mai and Ty Lee Betrayed AzulaCollapse )
For those of you who wanted to know, the Holocaust menorah remained safely hidden away.  Mom seems to have forgotten about it, probably because I cut off the tip of my finger (not as bad as it sounds but there will be a scar) mom set fire to the oven, and I had a seizure, and then word came in that my dad's good friend, who has been a good friend to the whole family finally succumbed to his lung disease and passed away on the 26th.  My mom and dad drove to Albuquerque so my dad could give the eulogy.  So on the plus side, I tossed the horrible menorah in the trash, on the minus... everything else.


Once upon a time, back when my mother had newly converted, and we were still attempting to accumulate all the judaica we needed to set up a ceremonially functioning Jewish household, my mother bought this beautiful menorah. No, seriously, it was gorgeous, very aesthetically pleasing, unfortunately. Each candle is held by a replica of a synagogue destroyed by the Nazis.

Now the last thing I want to think about during one of the few almost unshadowed holidays Judaism has is the Shoah. Really, no. This menorah became legendary among my Jewish friends in high school, in a sort of "Oh how was your Hanukkah?" "Well, my mom brought out the Holocaust menorah again," kind of way. The sociologist in me wants to say that I bonded with my fellow Jewish kids, and affirmed my Jewishness by talking anout having the kind of quirky Jewish mother who had a Holocaust menorah. I'll leave it to you to decide if that's what I'm doing now.

Anyway, ever since my mother bought the thing, I've been plotting its demise. First I tried to reason with Mom, by explaining to her just how horrifying it is, but sadly, she has remained intractable. In addition, each year, I have attempted to replace the Holocaust menorah, including one year when I made a confection of copper and brass wire that I still consider the single best example of my wirework. [link] That thing nearly killed me, literally, as I developed an asthmatic reaction to copper while making it, and really, that should have been enough right? No. Mom loves it. She says it's too pretty to use, she doesn't want to ruin it.

So at that point, grinding my teeth, I was almost ready to conceed defeat. But not quite. Sadly my grandmother caught me trying to lose it during the move, but I have other similarly ethically dubious tricks up my sleeve. This year I may or may not have hidden the Holocaust menorah in an undisclosed location, and while my mother is out of town visiting her father, put up every single other menorah we have, which given that I tried for ten years to replace my mother's inexplicably beloved Holocaust menorah, is kind of a lot of menorahs. I think I've done it this time. We'll find out when Mom comes home Friday. Wish me luck.


No Indictment

Darren Wilson murdered a young man, and the fine citizans of this country can't even get their heads out of their backsides long enough to indict?  Why do things like this keep surprising me?  Michael Brown's family deserves some measure of justice, and the prospect of them getting any has become just that much more remote.


Minor Family News

My cousin, specifically my father's sister's daughter, got her mitochondrial DNA tested for heritage markers, and it came back that she was of German Jewish extraction, through her mother's mother's mother, etc., which makes me of German Jewish descent through my father's mother as well.  This doesn't surprise me in the least, since I have certain genetic issues much more common among Ashkenazi Jews that don't show up on my mom's side, but I thought it was through my father's mother's father, not her mother.

I'm delighted to have proof however, not because I'm glad to know I have more Jewish heritage (being Jewish isn't exactly something I feel insecure about), but because my paternal grandmother was a horrible, abusive woman who gave her children and grandchildren deep, lifelong emotional scars, and the only reason I was spared the same was because my dad cut off contact with her after she went after my sister.  Anyway, she was also deeply anti-Semitic, and it gives me a rush of spiteful pleasure to know she's of Jewish descent, and I only wish she could have known before she died.  I hope she's rolling in her grave.


Now if I could just stop coughing

I am officially out of voluntary quarantine and no longer contagious!  Yay for antibiotics!


They make things like this:

My mom"s dog Suzy with a goblet on her but in a shallow parody of a certain Kardashian.

Explains a lot about me, really.


So I probably have whooping cough

I just did field experience in an elementary school that had it going around (thank you anti-vaxxers) and I had never completed my vaccination schedule for it since I reacted so badly to the first shot, and I have all the right symptoms.  I feel miserable and gross, and have an appointment with my NP this afternoon for final diagnosis.  I'm coughing until I can't breathe, and I think everybody should pamper me and write me fic, you know, to keep my spirits up.

Also, I'm probably never going to get to see my baby niece again.  Damn it.  Good thing is, I've been staying away from her because I was worried I'd pick something up during field experiece. Turns out I did.

EDIT: Diagnosis confirmed.  I have whooping cough.  Big whoop.


Shortfic: On the Wings of a Boar

Disclaimer: I don't own Avatar: the Last Airbender. If I did, I would never have time for my quest to write the Great American Novel.

Summary: Toph has always had people trying to help her and hold her back. Or, the story of a little girl in a great big household.

Author's Note: Written for [archiveofourown.org profile] Bonpri in the [community profile] trickortreatex Halloween Exchange.

On the Wings of a BoarCollapse )

Vid: Mai/Zuko - As I Am

Disclaimer: The music for this vid is "As I Am" by Heather Dale" and belongs to her and her authorized distributors. The footage in this vid comes from Avatar: the Last Airbender, which belongs to Nickelodeon, as well as to Michael Dante DiMartino and Bryan Konietzko.

Summary: Zuko asks Mai to see him as he is and love him anyway. She does.

Creator Commentary: It's my birthday, and if I want to make sweet, romantic vids about Mai and Zuko, well by golly, I'm going to do it.

Mai/Zuko: As I Am
Trauma in modern American media is a tricky thing. On one hand, the backstories of nearly everyone, heroes and villains alike are full of it. On the other, trauma is heavily shamed, and leaves characters open to accusations of weakness, or of being whiny. This means that while we want characters who go through traumatic experiences, we are extremely uncomfortable with expressions of trauma. Also, we are much more comfortable with some expressions of trauma than with others. Only certain kinds of traumatic expression are allowed, and like so much about culture, who and what a character is determines what kind of traumatic expression we as a society will allow them to have. Straight white men are given the most freedom to be traumatized, and stereotypically masculine trauma is the most widely viewed as legitimate within fandom in my experience. A character who was in battle and suffers symptoms of PTSD for example is much less likely to be called weak than a character recovering from an abusive relationship who has the same symptoms. A character who lashes out is much less likely to be considered weak than one who breaks down crying. A character who reacts with anger is seen as stronger than one who reacts with fear. There are very few roles for the traumatized woman or girl in American media. Traumatized women can be broken damsels in need of rescuing, but then once the danger is past, the damsel either recovers quickly, or disappears. They can be villains, who use their trauma as an excuse to hurt others, or they can... well. This isn't to say that portrayals of men coping with trauma are all that great either. For all there are so many more of them, they are usually not especially nuanced, though of course some are.

This is why I was so amazed and grateful when I saw Avatar: the Last Airbender for the first time, and why Frozen struck such a chord with me as a woman dealing with childhood trauma. Now, in Book Four of Legend of Korra, the narrative is once again giving a female character, this time its heroine, Korra, the space and the right to be traumatized.Collapse )

To my Jewish Followers

I am not fasting for Yom Kippur due to my chronic illness (funny story, I mentioned the possibility of Yom Kippur fasting once to my doctor, and she started muttering about obviously suicidal patients), and this year, Mom’s joining me in not-fasting for the first time due to recuperating from the lung disease, and I would love it if anyone has any thoughts as to other ways the two of us can observe Yom Kippur without fasting, aside from the contemplation and seeking to right wrongs, and donating to the food bank, especially since Mom is still too ill to attend the longer service.

Also, I hope all of you who are fasting have a quick and easy fast.


Temple Threat Update

For anyone concerned after I mentioned the threat against my synagogue, the FBI figured  out who made  it, and it turns out it wasn't a threat.  The person who made it has a mental illness that features hallucinations, and they had a vision of the temple being attacked, and called to warn us.  Since this person is well meaning, and severely mentally ill, no charges are being filed, and hopefully, the person involved will be able to get the treatment they need.  Anyway, this means I will be going to Erev Yom Kippur services this year, though the full Yom Kippur service is still too much for Mom's health. She's  doing very well, by the way, and recovering from the lung disease with very little scarring, but she still thought it  best we pick the shorter service.


L'Shana Tova

I know I should have made a Rosh Hashana post earlier, but first services were canceled Wednesday because an  anonymous someone made threats against the temple, and the FBI had to be called, so I went to class instead,which was canceled because my teacher's husband was in the hospital, and the school email was down, so I didn't find out until I showed up.   Then I got home and sprained my ankle taking the dogs out.  At that point, I was kind of feeling like "And happy blankity blank new year to you too, universe!"  Thursday, I had a  bunch of appointments and a sick dog, and Friday I had a seizure, which I spent  yesterday recovering from.

But anyway, L'Shana Tova, everyone, may the new year be sweet, and to those of you who aren't Jewish, Nyah nyah, no new year for you.


Trick or Treat Exchange 2014 Letter

Dear Trick or Treat Writer,


I love politics.  I am one class away from a bachelors in Political Science, and I am a political junky.  I love fics that explore the politics and political wranglings of their settings, and all three of the fandoms I requested have lots and lots of room for thatkind of storytelling.  If this interests you, please feel free to write a political procedural.   You will not turn me off.

However, this doesn't mean that politics is  essential for my enjoyment, and I understand that a lot of writers don't go for it.  Other things I really enjoy are Alternate Timeline fics/Canon Divergence AUs, gen darkfic, gen more generally,  pushing characters past the point of desperation, fics where my favorite characters are held prisoner, disabled characters both in stories  discussing their disabilities, and in stories that don't, characters who belong to a gender/sexual minority, family strife, and families of choice. Also angst. I  eat angst up with a spoon.

DO NOT WANT - Rape, incest, character death, allegories to real world political situations, or "total AUs" like high school AUs or coffee shop AUs.  I am however A-okay with brutal psychological torture.

Avatar: the Last Airbender

It's not exactly secret that I enjoy torturing my favorite characters, especially Zuko, and making non-disabled characters disabled.  This is also my very favorite fandom for Alternate Timeline/Canon Divergence AUs.

Also, I'm kind of bummed by the fact that I found out about this too late to nominate characters, but Mai and Ty Lee are my babies and if you can find a way to include them, that would be amazing.

DO NOT WANT - Shipping Azula with anybody. She reminds too much of my first stalker, and it hits way too close to home.
Queen's Thief

Anything at all, but take special note about what I said about loving politics.
Old Kingdom Series

Anything, really, any wonderful thing you can come up with.



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