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This year I received a fic and a Madness story and I wrote a fic and a Madness story. Parallelism!

I received The Case of the Sunken Safe, a lovingly crafted Mathnet casefic as my main gift. I was also gifted Island, a Stella-centric drabble from The Fall. The drabble is really just so perfectly Stella. Please check them out and give them lots of kudos and comments!

I wrote Ouroboros as my main gift, which is based on the Wise Child Series by Monica Furlong, one of my favorite childhood book series. It’s a series I definitely recommend if you like YA, historical fantasy, and/or female mentor-apprentice stories.

I also wrote Love a Girl in Uniform as a treat. It is shameless Stella/Dani porn for the The Fall. Je ne regrette rien, yo.

[personal profile] silverflight8 asked me to talk about favorite childhood books.

Favorite Childhood Books )
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 I've gotten behind on these and I apologize. I ended up having more commitments over the holiday week than I expected, which I guess is a good thing? It was nice to catch up with friends and family. I have one more post to go and I also need to post about my two lovely Yuletide gifts and the fics I wrote. 

sorillia asked me to talk about places that i've lived and what i liked/disliked about them. i hope you're not too disappointed, because i don't think i've ever lived anywhere extremely exciting, but here goes. 

Oh the places I've been... )
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 Today's topic comes courtesy of [personal profile] aptasi  and should have technically come yesterday, but I have unfortunately been more busy than usual with holiday stuff, so I'm running a day behind on my december meme posts. 

I guess the first thing that springs to mind is under-appreciated by whom? There are lots of historical figures that are well known to professional scholars that even well educated people know very little about. But I will try to play to the middle for today. 

Ok, so gather round while I fangirl Dolley Madison, who is appreciated by the general public but for all the wrong reasons.If you know anything about Dolley Madison, you know she was James Madison's wife. She is often referred to as being the "first First Lady" because she was such an excellent hostess. Dolley Madison served ice cream at the white house and saved the Gilbert Stuart painting of George Washington when the British sailed up the Potomac and burned Washington DC during the War of 1812.

Now, you're probably reading this and thinking, "so what, she was a lady who gave parties, how on earth is that transgressive or innovative or cool Dr. Kmo?" But as historian Catherine Allgor demonstrates in her book Parlor Politics, which tells the story of how Dolley and other Washington women during the Early National Period (1789-1828) "built a city and a government." Dolley and these other women, including Louisa Catherine Adams, wife of president John Q. Adams, were politically savvy, sometimes even more so than their husbands. By hosting parties, and balls, and teas they created a third space between the public male sphere of politics and the private female domestic sphere where women could actually participate in politics at a time when they did not even have the right to vote. Dolley was a masterful politician, and her "squeezes" (so called because people were packed in so tightly) brought together politicians from both sides of the aisle. Even congressmen at the time remarked that she was a more skilled politician and far more charismatic than her brilliant but shy husband. An opponent of Madison's once said, "I could have defeated Mr. Madison alone, but not Mr. and Mrs. Madison together." Dolley shone so brightly people called her "Queen of Washington City" and loved her for it. She did so much more than make ice cream. Even saving the portrait of Washington was about preserving a symbol of a fledgling nation in crisis. Dolley understood symbols, pomp, and ceremony and how to use them effectively. I give her a lot of credit and it breaks my heart that her home was burnt after she spent so much effort into getting it to look like a place worthy of being the president's home. Thomas Jefferson essentially left the white house looking like a frat house after his term was over. Oh TJ what an inconsiderate jerk you are, but that's a topic for another day....

I highly recommend Parlor Politics and the American Experience documentary based on it if you'd like to learn more about Dolley and the other women of Washington City. It's a very accessible book (I teach it to undergraduates) and the documentary stars Eve Best, one of my fave actresses aka O'Hara from Nurse Jackie, as Dolley Madison. I totally adore and fangirl Dolley and yes  my AO3 icon is a painting of her. 

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Today's post also comes from [ profile] meneldur  . It's also a very special birthday post- happy birthday cousin!

You asked if friends could be family, to which my only response is HELL YES. Honestly, as someone who has never felt especially close to her biological family, I've often felt that my friends ARE my family. I know for some people family also can be friends, but I've never particularly felt this ever. I'm kind of jealous of people who have this and oddly curious in a Margaret Mead among the natives kind of way. I remember a college friend telling me that "My mom is my best friend." And you know, her mom really is her best friend. They talk about everything, they fangirl over books and tv together. But when she told me that, it was like something out of an alien culture. She could have been speaking Klingon. That's how foreign that concept feels to me. But good for her. 

I've always kind of felt like I have very good "Friendar." I can very often tell instantly whether or not someone is going to be a good friend or not. It's like "friendship at first sight" if you believe in that kind of thing. Because I have very clear memories of meeting my best friend (who is still my best friend) on the 1st day of 1st Grade and instantly thinking "She's going to be my friend." I felt the same way about my partner and my college best friend. At the same time, I also appreciate those times when friendship has grown over time with someone who I initially never thought I would be friends with. I felt this way about a woman I met on one of my research trips. I spent a month in an isolated (and haunted) scholars house on a rambling Victorian manor in rural Delaware in January with this woman. On the surface, she comes off as a brash, loud, aging goth. (um and she actually is, but that's why i love her) I thought our month together was going to be something out of the Odd Couple. By the end, I was like "please, please, don't leave me!" 

And I greatly value my online and internet friends. I'm sad that LJ culture is no longer all that lively and that tumblr makes it harder to have conversations. I know I get busy from time to time, but I always welcome fannish interaction, so please don't be shy. 

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 Today's post comes from [personal profile] fitz_y who asked me to talk about British Interwar lesbians but then let me expand it to include Americans because I know more about them as I am indeed a US historian--although one that happens to be a giant Anglophile, ahem, 

Why do we always have to learn about lesbians dr. kmo? )  

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 Today's post topic comes from [personal profile] netgirl_y2k who ask me to talk about particular books, movies, films, etc I've been into this year. 

Well first, I guess, my love of the tv show Hannibal has launched into full blown fannish obsession. The first season was great, the second season took that greatness and ran off to even crazier, dizzying heights. And I'd just like to take the opportunity to apologize right now to peeps who follow me on tumblr for reblogging so many pictures of Gillian Anderson. You probably are under the grossly mistaken impression that this show is about a flawless blonde khaleesi who spends a lot of time outsmarting everyone and drinking wine and not about a dude who eats people. But that's the show I'm watching. And it's new and different for me as a small fandomer to be in such a semi-largish fandom where people make gifs, and fanart, and there are lots of dumb fandom inside jokes. There is lots of fic, but unfortunately not about my sun and stars Bedelia. Yeah Bedelia fandom is approximately me and 8 other people. So THAT feels familiar. And the femslash is non-existant and I keep meaning to BE THE CHANGE I'd like to see in fandom, but so far I haven't really had time. Perhaps over winter break. 

I know murder tableaux and lack of femslash probably doesn't appeal to a lot of my followers, but IMO it's the best show on US tv right now. 

I've also deepened my love of The Fall, which yes has lead to more reblogging of Gillian Anderson on tumblr. In this show she plays an icy police superintendent instead of an icy psychiatrist. Stella Gibson, unlike Bedelia, is also pretty firmly on the side of the angels, so if you like shows with clear cut lady protagonists to root for, The Fall might be for you.  In this show GA fights crime and misogyny and looks effing sexy as hell while doing it. Stella is my ideal type of female character--outwardly strong with little nuggets of vulnerability that bubble up from deep inside. I was more on the fence about the first season. There were times I felt the show, with its story line about a misogynist serial killer, was trying to have its (sexist) cake and eat it too. Like they'd show Stella spouting something unapologetically brazen and feminist and in the next frame they'd have the killer committing some horrific act of violence against a woman. I re-watched it again and felt more confident that the show was actually trying to draw explicit connections between the casual misogyny directed at Stella by her male colleagues in the police department and the obvious villainy of the killer. I think this connection has become even more explicit in series 2 and there have also been less violent scenes. Highly, HIGHLY recommend. 

FYI- I had a hard time not showing this gif to my Intro to Gender Studies class when we talked about women in the media. That kind of restraint is what they teach you in PhD school. I did teach them about the Bechdel test though.

Ummmm we've also gotten into Bates Motel recently. So yes apparently I like shows with gorgeous middle-aged actresses based on horror films? Bates Motel is much less scary than either Hannibal or The Fall. It's kind of a weird mashup of a dark pay cable drama about a dysfunctional mother and son and a teen drama from the CW. Like half Whos Afraid of Virginia Woolf and half Veronica Mars, at least in the first season. That combo works for me.  

I sadly have no new book series to rave about. I've read most of Rivers of London this year, and they're fine, though I prefer Felix Castor as my paranormal London detective of choice. I'm reading Hild right now, which was slow going for me at first, but I have really grown to love. It is great to have something that is reminiscent of Game of Thrones and set in the early Middle Ages which is so female centric. I had read Nicola Griffith's Ammonite earlier this year, which is classic lesbian sci fi and wow she has come a long way with Hild. Her historical worldbuilding definitely trumps her sci fi worldbuilding IMO, but you can see how they might cross-pollinate each other. 
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I have done a real crap job of posting this year, I know. Let me humbly offer to engage in the December talky meme that's floating around journal space as a way of making up for it. Yes, I realize this the equivalent of a student attempting to raise her participation grade in the very last week of the semester.

December Meme )
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This meme entry is coming in just under the wire, as I was dragged off to a screening of The Hobbit: The Desolation of Sherlock by my best friend and her husband. It was fine, but indifferent as I am to Tolkien, I never saw the first movie and was under the mistaken impression that this was the final of two movies. Because, you know, it's a pretty effing short book. Imagine my surprise that 2.5 hours later, Smaug is still around and that dwarf-elf-Kate from Lost love triangle has yet to be resolved.

[personal profile] aptasi asked me to talk about things that put me in a good mood. this shall take the form of a random list, much like the R&H classic song "My Favorite Things."
  • While we're on the topic of favorite things, I guess Julie Andrews usually puts me in a good mood. Especially in Mary Poppins and Victor Victoria.

  • Books! And bookstores! Sometimes when I'm stressed, just walking into a bookstore for about 15 minutes makes my blood pressure drop. I don't even have to buy anything. The public library will also do in a pinch. Seriously, you could lock me in the reference section in a university library and I could entertain myself for hours.

  • New canons! Nothing makes me happier (especially when I am down) than diving head first into a new fictional universe, getting up to my neck in it, and finally realizing oh, so that's what everyone was talking about. Right now, I'm having a torrid love affair with the Felix Castor books (on book 4/5) That said, when I finally finish a canon, I do kind of get depressed. I mourned for days after finishing Breaking Bad and Battlestar Galactica.

  • I also get really excited when I get a notification that a favorite fic author has uploaded a new story. Sometimes it seriously turns my day right around.

  • A cuddle from V and hanging out with our kitty Max also makes everything better. On especially stressful days, I turn to one of those 30 cute animal lists on buzzfeed. I also recommend the Weather Whiskers app- it's the weather, except even better because there are cats!

  • Music! Thank heavens for pandora. Putting on the favorite tunes and getting to program different stations definitely puts me in a happier place.

  • Baking. Especially if I have the time and am not stressed. I get a lot of satisfaction in making something delicious with my own two hands and then getting to eat it later. Just kind of rote cooking doesn't really do it for me. But planning a special meal (especially if it's just the two of us) and getting to enjoy it together makes for a special day.

  • A chat with a good friend- whether on the phone, in person, over facebook. It's great to be able to connect with a person that really understands you.
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So, the problem when you start drinking mimosas at 11am on Christmas morning and then continue to drink all day means that you have a hangover by 6pm. You would think I would learn this after several years. Also that i probably shouldn't be mixing champagne cocktails and IPAs. But all of my drinks were lovely and je ne regrette rien. It was especially necessary as my cousin and his wife just announced that they are expecting and while I am genuinely happy for them there is only so much unbridled enthusiasm for heterosexual milestones and obvious disappointment that i have not (nor may I ever) achieve such milestones I can take sober. 


I was a Yuletide dropout this year and I'm really having defaulter's remorse today. Defaulting seemed like the responsible thing to do at the time and I am sure it made this past week a whole lot less stressful. But over the past 2 years, Yuletide has come to be the high point of my holiday season and not giving or receiving a story this year (my writer defaulted, too, and them's the breaks) was disappointing. But I am still having fun making my way through the archive and leaving comments and opening other people's presents. 

The Wheel of the Year in Terre d'Ange )
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Today's meme topic comes from [ profile] kith_koby It's a birthday request- happy birthday to a fellow ambitious Capricorn!

The Families We Make vs. The Ones We're Born Into )
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 Today's December meme comes from [personal profile] netgirl_y2k I feel like most people have heard my opinions on this on one platform or another (in fact I think it was part of the [ profile] kushielsorting questionnaire) but I will try to add some new insights to make it interesting. In my mind, this almost feels like 2 questions: what I would change to make the books objectively better from a literary standpoint vs what i would change to make them the story of my heart. I'll try to tackle both angles. And disclaimer, I don't claim to be the arbitrator of literary taste by any the end of the day, it's still an opinion. 

Minor spoilers for all 3 trilogies... )


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