LokiOfSassgaard

I have no idea what I'm doing

Ko-Fi: Downloadables and Original Art

Some of you may have noticed Ko-fi buttons at the bottom of certain pages already.  Lately, I’ve been expanding the way I use the site in lieu of deviantart going tits up.  In addition to the art section of the website, which will have more content just by dint of the internet being run by a bunch of ninny puritans, I’ve been putting lineart downloads up on Ko-fi.  Honestly, you’re better off getting those from the website, since there’s a donate button on the corner of every page on the art domain.  I’m not charging à la carte for lineart, but I do ask that you send a tip if you download anything.

This week, I also opened a store over there as well, and have been listing original artwork that’s just been taking up space in my art room.  I’ve only got a few up now, but will be uploading more periodically as I figure out what I want to keep, and what would be worth listing.  Honestly, I feel like some of this stuff should just be tossed out, but idk we’ll see.

I’ve also been working on reading lists more this week.  I’ve fallen a bit behind, because I stopped reading when I fell into a depression hole, but I hope to get more or less caught up by the end of the weekend.  I don’t think there’s much left, but we’ll see.  I’ve made a few lists for people, and really want to get on the Siege and War of the Realms lists soon.  But those are going to require the main list be complete first, and I know there’s still gaps I haven’t filled yet.

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Defenders: Beyond

Defenders: Beyond ended today.  I read it at 2:30 this morning, because that’s around the time new comics hit the Marvel app.  I actually waffled on whether or not to buy this one, or wait for it to hit Unlimited a few months from now, but ultimately decided that since it was the last issue of a five-part series, I might as well finish it today.

And the reason I waffled like this was because I wasn’t sure that I wanted to spend money on something I haven’t been enjoying.  The whole series has existed in this weird limbo for me, between wanting desperately to like it, and just not hitting a single note for me.  I’m not saying it was bad, necessarily.  Other people have reviewed this comic and gave it quite good reviews.  But something about it just hasn’t worked for me.  Normally I really like Al Ewing’s work, but this one felt frantic and rushed to the point that it almost read like a Silver Age comic.  Exposition was largely explained through monologue, and large chunks of the story was told through dialogue while the characters stood around in a technicolour void.  Very little actually happened overall, and the story had so many twists and turns it was at times difficult to remember what the stakes actually were for these people.

And I think it’s because this wasn’t a story about the ensemble.  It was a story about Loki.  And that feels like a waste to me.  I came to this series for Loki, but I also expect ensemble stories to have equal weight and stakes for the entire ensemble.  This didn’t feel like that happened.  It felt more like a Loki comic with a wider supporting cast.  And if you’re going to do that, put his name in the title.  I feel bad for anyone coming in for one of the other characters, only to get their fave as little more than set dressing.

This title did the same thing that Agent of Asgard did, where it actually started in another title first.  The scene in the Thor 60th Anniversary special set us up so we know that this is the Loki that walked through the door at the end of Agent of Asgard.  But that wound up being the entire premise in a weird way.  This wasn’t an ensemble comic.  It was a Loki comic with an ensemble he kidnapped and forced to go with him on a weird ride.  And in the end, everything returned to a status quo.  The climax of the story is Loki having a familiar debate with himself, whether to play the cosmic role he’s been assigned, or to break free and try something new.  Defenders: Beyond throws around a lot of heavy concepts, but it doesn’t really do anything with them.  Taaia learns that her son has become Galactus, but she’s not allowed to keep that knowledge.  Others, like America and Tigra, are given pithy promises that could have come from a fortune cookie.  The whole thing was a zero sum game in the end.  It’s five issues of flashy colours where nothing happens.  Nothing changes.

And nothing changes because it’s a flashback, bridging a gap that didn’t need to be bridged.  And if anything, it makes what came after Agent of Asgard even more bafflingly nonsensical, and to this day I refuse to acknowledge Vote Loki as canon because of how little it fits with his trajectory.  And that’s what comes next.  Defenders: Beyond is bridging that gap between Agent of Asgard and whatever comes next, whether that is Vote Loki, or War of the Realms.  Because it’s a flashback, it has to match up with everything that comes before and after, and for every character involved, that means basically fitting between two issues of their own comics, with a story that has already been resolved.  It’s bridging a gap that didn’t need to be bridged, because it wasn’t really a gap in the first place.  Even assuming Vote Loki is canon, it doesn’t make sense for Loki to decide that he needs to take his role as the god of stories, only to go and… do not that?

Ignoring Vote Loki, he still agrees to do this only to start shitlording around in other ways.  War of the Realms is where Loki finally grew up, and this series even acknowledges that.  The prelude during the 60th anniversary has this flashback Loki expecting King Loki to be, well, a fuckhead like he is, but is surprised to find that this is not the case.  Issue #5 of Defenders: Beyond has Loki once again bring this up, saying that the future version of himself is basically all right.  And then he decides to become that person himself, only to go what?  Clown on Dr Strange?  Fuck around with high schoolers?

It just doesn’t feel necessary.  The final few panels open up to something new, with Loki suddenly remembering all of this, which seems like it’s opening the door to something bigger.  But whatever it is, I’m not terribly invested at this point.  Right now, I’m more interested in whatever the hell is going on with him and Jane in Torunn Grønbekk’s series.  I’m more interested in Loki trying to rule Jotunheimr.  I’m more interested in the imminent fiasco that is Donald Blake.  Will this come back to be part of one of the above, or is it going to be something else to keep track of on top of the rest?

I wanted to love this one.  I really did.  But it ultimately brought nothing new to the table.  It answered questions that were better, narratively speaking, left unanswered, and in doing so only further complicated a story that new readers struggle to comprehend.  And that’s always been the crux of Marvel’s struggles.  Marvel as a whole gets so hung up on trying to keep existing readers engaged by throwing more twists and turns at them that they forget that someone coming into a new title has to contend with decades of backstory.  When I first started doing smaller reading lists on Tumblr, I would recommend starting with Disassembled or Siege.  At that point, Disassembled was ten years old.  Ten years is a good chunk, but it can be broken down pretty easily, especially considering the three year gap after Disassembled.

With everything going on, it’s either start now with Donny Cates’ Thor and throw a few paragraphs of backstory, or start all the way back at Disassembled/Siege.  There are no good starting points in between.  Even with the .1s and .NOW issues, those still throw you into the middle of a story.  I see so many people starting at Agent of Asgard and giving up, because it’s confusing.  The main character is a hipster cosplaying as a superhero.  Start with the Daniel Kibblesmith series?  Good god, I’ve read that thing six times and it’s still confusing.  That series got cancelled for a reason.

I have no idea what comes next, but whatever it is needs to slow all the way down and give readers a chance to breathe.  Not every comic needs to be some deep, philosophical essay on the concept of fate and determination, but lately that’s all Loki’s been doing in his own stories.  It’s an interesting concept, but I don’t have the energy to keep up with it.  With Agent of Asgard, there was time for side quests and slice of life dumbfuckery that gave your mind a chance to relax.  The Loki in Donny Cates’ series not only has a more rounded out cosmic role; his entire character is more rounded out.  He’s still a dickhead, and I wouldn’t want him any other way.  But he doesn’t have this weird, manic energy that makes it seem like he doesn’t understand the thoughts running through his own head.  He’s slowed way down.  When he stalls for time, he doesn’t do it in this grand way that lets everyone know he’s stalling for time.  Cates’ Loki still grapples with his role in the cosmos, but he’s not consumed by it, and that’s more interesting.  I joke about the ADHD magpie person Loki is sometimes, but goddamn.  Five issues straight without a break is exhausting.

I might go re-read everything in the current Thor title just to slow my own brain down a bit.

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sick + home alone

Been feeling real sick since yesterday, but I’m starting to wonder if it’s not just a manifestation of other anxieties.  I have a history of both back problems and kidney problems, so when I started feeling intermittent pain on one side of my back, I wasn’t sure which one it was.  Late last night, I noticed that it started up on the other side as well, and that’s when I started to get concerned.  But I do know what else to be mindful of, so I went to lie down and wait it out.  If I even felt like I was going to puke, I was gonna go to the ER.  Otherewise, if I woke up today and still felt nasty, urgent care it was.  But after ten hours of uninterrupted sleep, I feel marginally less nasty today, so I’m still playing the wait and see game.  At this point, I’m kind of convinced that it’s regular back pain and anxieties about being home alone since Friday all mixing together and manifesting as something else that lives in the back of my brain.

The reason I’m home alone is because my husband is out of town visiting friends.  A couple weeks ago, the home button on his phone collapsed, so when he went to Portland, he took my phone with him, so I’ve only had the landline all weekend.  For some reason, that’s really uncomfortable, especially since I’d need to take a Lyft to urgent care if I did decide to go.  While he’s in town, he’s got me a new phone, which I won’t have until he gets home tonight, and put his number on my old phone.  Of course, he had to do this in Portland, because the account holder lives in Portland.  But apparently I’ve been added as an account holder, so when I decide to upgrade my iPad later, I can just go to the location in town.  Even though I would have preferred a new iPad, I was looking at the specs of the phone he got me and the camera sensor is four times the size of the camera in the iPhone X.  A lot of my paintings, I’m not able to offer many print options because I’d never been able to get properly high-res images of them.  My scanner is 11×17″, but it’s not great for canvas paintings because of the impasto.  I still won’t be able to get the absolute biggest print sizes, but I can get up to poster-size now.  So that’s cool.

I’ve also completely changed up the navigation for the site.  I went over this in Saturday’s newsletter, but a series of frustrations have led me to deleting a few plugins that were causing problems.  It threw the fanfic area into complete disarray, but I’ll be moving it over to its own dedicated section over the coming weeks.  I need to get a few key plugins moved over, and then about 700 pages need to be manually moved over.  But I did this all because images stopped showing full size.  I don’t know why.  Research tells me it’s the PHP version the site runs on, but I can’t change it without changing the site.  So I decided to stop messing with it and set up a brand new instance on a subdomain that only uses a few absolutely necessary plugins.  Honestly, this is for the better with the fanfic, because the way I was organising everything was via plugin, and I don’t like relying on plugins for vital operations.  If it broke down, or became abandoned, I’d lose all those posts.  Instead, I’m going to use only the plugin that makes the sidebar work, and organise the rest with the default options available.  Having only fanfic on the site will actually make it safer, and if I need to, I can use other invisible tricks to make organisation easier.   For the time being, everything is going to be more or less a mess.

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Reinstated fics on AO3

Contrary to popular belief, I never deleted anything.  I had moved it all into an unrevealed collection, because I was sick of dealing with it all.  But this Twitter nonsense has got me thinking about where the internet is general is going in the future, and wherever it is, I want no part in it.  The announcement yesterday about people who don’t pay $8 a month being algorithmically suppressed is the least surprising thing I’ve ever heard.  At the risk of sounding callous, I don’t feel particularly torn up about it.  People complain that their work doesn’t get enough tweets and reblogs, and I can understand that on a fundamental level, but equally, blame the people who moved fandom to algorithmically-driven platforms.  Also, why the fuck don’t people use chronological view on Twitter?  It’s right there, and you don’t see so much bullshit.  But honestly, the answer to this is the same reason fandom moved to algorithm-driven platforms.  People like having random-ass strangers to fight with and blame their problems on, and twitter and tumblr both feed into this perfect.  You can’t curate an experience on either platform without completely destroying the core way both sites work.  Unless you only follow accounts with a dedicated theme (ie, not people), you’re never going to see the things you curated your feed for.  You can follow 20 people who have the same interest in the same things you do, but that overlap is very small, and most of what they post will be reblogged and retweeted posts you do not give a single fuck about.

The amount of new shows and movies I have watched because I was introduced to them from people posting about them on twitter or tumblr is a low number, and not one of those things wound up being what my feed had convinced me it was.  I’ve long since been at the point where the second something crosses my feed that I am not already interested in, I block every single key term relating to it.  I don’t want to see your pirates or your vampires or your TTRPG posts.  I don’t care about them, and every time I have to find new terms to block because nobody who retweets and reblogs anything uses hashtags, it usually comes along with muting the person who keeps posting it.

I know I seem really bitter and angry right now, but I am sick of doing this.  I am sick of migrating from one bad platform to another, only to lose track of my friends anyway because the new platform is something it takes me ages to even get used to, so I quit using it almost immediately.

This brings me back to AO3.  I’m not going to the next platform, which means I am going to effectively fall off the internet completely because people are too addicted to bullying random people on their algorithmically-generated feeds to even consider going to platforms that just show you things in the order in which they happened.  I’ve reinstated my fic on AO3 because I know nobody’s going to go to wordpress or deviantart, because the bullies on both sides would get their asses absolutely handed to them if they tried their same shit on some random person’s blog or status post.  And I think they know it.  So they’re going to go back to Tumblr with its opaque rules and anonymous asks, or over to Mastodon or Discord with their inconsistent rules and increasingly younger userbase.  To not completely disappear from the internet entirely as I retreat back to the sites I actually enjoy using, I’m going back to one that makes me mildly uncomfortable, but which still has enough user controls to avoid stress.  I’ve pulled all of my fics from the unrevealed collection and have put them under heavy moderation.  Comments are moderated, and everything is archive locked.  At the first whiff of fandom being on its bullshit, I’m turning off comments on everything.  I was considering updating the links in the end notes for everything, but I don’t think anyone ever follows them anyway.

In all honesty, I likely will not be responding to comments on AO3.  They’ll very likely stay in moderated limbo, because I’ve only reinstated everything just to have some sort of public presence going forward.  But equally download them if you like them, because my faith in AO3 right now is at rock bottom as well, for very different reasons, and I may well hide everything again.

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Newsletter is totally borked + Art

I mentioned in my last post that I’ve been writing again, and I decided to go ahead and post the thing I’ve been working on.  It’s somewhere between drawerfic and being posted, because I’ve not really been promoting it.  Though I did try to send out a newsletter about it, but my email seems to have been blocked for sending spam.  So even though I composed the email and sent it, it doesn’t seem like anyone received it.  The reasons I stopped using Revue was 1. I didn’t like where Twitter was heading as a platform, and 2. I wanted better control over how the newsletter looks and what can go into it.  I’m going to try to fix it, but for now I’m just kind of ignoring the problem because I haven’t the energy.

Though I am super annoyed, because I got to a point where I was ready to start sending stuff out again.  Mostly I think I’m annoyed because I spent several hours formatting the fic in question for upload, and then nobody saw it.  lol welp.

As well as writing, I’ve been drawing and painting more.  I spent pretty much this entire week organising my paints, markers, pencils, and everything else so they’d be easier to use.  I cannot possibly overstate how much paint and markers I have.  And pencils.  And everything else.  I’ve been getting really into watercolour the last few years, and bought a whole bunch of different varieties to see what I like best, and now, well.  I have probably close to 30 sets.  I’ve also been making my own paints.  I’ve made my own acrylics in the past, and have always loved the way they turned out.  Making watercolours has turned out to be very similar, so a few of those sets are paints that I’ve made by mixing gum arabic with pigments.

One of the projects I’ve been doing is filling a sketchbook and posting each page.  I’m very bad at posting my art in general, and will often find something I drew and realise months later it never got uploaded anywhere.  I’m still bad at it, but I’m trying to use this sketchbook to get into the habit of posting things after I finish them.  I don’t use sketchbooks as a place for fully-realised pieces, generally, but as a place to work out concepts or experiment with new tools and techniques.  This piece here was done twice: once in my sketchbook to get a feel for the idea, and then again on better paper with different paints.

Some of what I’ve drawn as been posted to Redbubble, though I don’t post fanart over there.  I want to find a way to offer art card prints, but so far I haven’t found anywhere that prints in this format.  I miss making and collecting art cards, and it makes me sad that they’ve largely vanished as a concept.

I’ve also set up my Deviantart account to behave sort of like a Patreon.  The reason I like Deviantart over Patreon is twofold: their adult content policy is very transparent, and disallows only a scant few subjects, and they have total anonymity for both the subscriber and the artists.  I never see any personal or identifying information for subscribers.  The username you use on the website is all that’s visible.

The subscriptions allow you to use a credit/debit card, or the in-site currency, and has multiple tiers like Patreon.  It also has a lot of the 18+ art I couldn’t figure out where to post otherwise.

That’s what’s going on today.  I’m not sure how much I’ll get done over the rest of the week, because I have non-stop stress until Saturday, and don’t want to do any of it.

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I’ve been writing again

I recently read Fire & Blood, and it kind of put the bug up my ass to start on a project I’ve been wanting to do for a long time, but couldn’t really figure out how to do it.  In a big part, it’s part of the Tales of Yggdrasil sections of God of Outcasts, but it goes beyond even that to basically discuss a lot of the history and why things are The Way They Are.  But like, that is a hell of a lot of narrative to cover.  But Fire & Blood gave me the idea I needed that will get this project done, and basically I am writing a history book.  I don’t know that I’m going to post it, and even if I do, I don’t expect anyone to want to read it.

Working on it is proving to be all kinds of hectic though, because I’ve had to once again redo my Aeon file for it, since you can’t edit a calendar once you start the project, and I didn’t figure out how to include the monkey wrench that is Øde into this story until after I’d already got going.  Between Øde showing up incredibly late game, and Odin fucking around on Midgard 1,000,000 years ago, this canon is a complete mess.  And that’s part of why I wanted to do this project; to make sense of canon in a way that remains faithful, but also gives me room to use as many parts of it as possible.  I’ve also got maps on my iPad which I keep open and add to as I go.

In a lot of ways, I’m writing this the way I write a rough draft, which is bizarrely freeing.  I’m able to just write down the bare fact, and do away with pesky details like emotion and acting and dialogue.  Just, here’s what happened, and here’s the result.

I’ve also finally figured out how to get that bitch Scrivener to calculate my daily goal based off of my deadline, which ought to have been obvious except it feels like it’s labelled backwards.  I’ve never clicked on that button because it never seemed like it was meant to do the thing I was trying to do.  I also noticed today that I hadn’t put down the correct word count goal, so my daily target has actually gone up by about 1,000 words.  It’s still doable, but oof.  Kind of a hit to the confidence.  6k is not a lot, and if I can outpace that more often than not, it’ll come back down slowly.  But only having two months and change to keep up that kind of momentum is a bit harrowing.  At the same time, this project has been going really quickly, so I don’t anticipate getting too stuck or bogged down on it, since it doesn’t have a lot of details.  I’m mostly just spitting out all these ideas that have lived in my head for years, and putting them on a page so I have something to refer to when I need to.

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Elon’s at it again

Following the news that Elon is not being allowed to back out of his Twitter deal, and that it must now move forward, I find myself once again glad that I’ve taken steps to set this site up, even if it is currently broken and half-built.  I have no idea where fandom plans on going next, but wherever it is, I have no intention of going with.  It is, in all reality, going to be to one of three places, and I kind of hate all of them.  I find discord servers loud and chaotic, and dislike how you’re forced to put up with people who go out of their way to be obnoxious because blocking works in a bizarre way.  TikTok is an absolute no-go for so many reasons, and I resent the fuck out of the uwu soft baby atmosphere of Pillowfort.  Also, Pillowfort works exactly like Tumblr, and I hate the entire concept of reblogs as well.

Though I’m half expecting the uneducated masses to “discover” this obscure site called LiveJournal or something.

Either way, I’m done with being social online, save for talking to a few people here or there.  I’m half-tempted to put a global password on the entire site, and just have it be a private little place for me to put my stuff.  It’s an idea I’m keeping in my pocket, since I have those tools enabled and have used the feature in another way in the past.

But I’ve noticed that more and more, privacy is being eroded online.  Platforms make it harder and harder to keep you and your posts locked down, allowing only certain people, or nobody at all to see your stuff.  Even AO3’s privacy is abysmal.  It blows my mind that YouTube is still one of the only major platforms out there that allows you to post “unlisted” stuff, where one needs a link to view the post.  I’ve turned off search engine indexing, but that won’t effect pages that have already been indexed.  But even with plugins, you can’t make pages unlisted on WordPress.  I mean, you can by just not putting them in a nav menu, but then that makes them difficult for me to access as well.

The longer I exist online, the less I want to be perceived online.  I don’t want to be found.  I don’t want to allow random people access.  I just want to do my own silly little thing, and then put it somewhere organised where I have the option to share it with someone if I want to.

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Halfway point

Well, that little white stripe between the two pink ones is technically the halfway point, but I spent so damn long on that second pink one I thought I was never going to finish.  But the nice thing about that enormous pink stripe is it was big enough and tedious enough that now I feel like each row is actually gaining a bit of speed.  I not only got the pink one finished, but got a good chunk of the way into the next white one, and anticipate finishing that one today.

Now that I’ve got to this point, and was able to lay everything on the bed for a photo, I’ve realised this blanket is much, much larger than I’d planned.  And it’s even two rows shorter than planned, because somewhere I miscounted the size of a stripe, and the totals on my chart come out to 248.  I wanted it to be 500 rows from corner to corner, but oh well.  I know now I can probably get away with 400 and still have a usable blanket for two grown adults.  Or the next one, I can just use a smaller hook, but I’m not sure if anything smaller than the 5mm would even be comfortable without also changing the yarn weight.  Though I have been wanting to do a blanket in wool, and then deliberately felt the hell out of it, but the thing that’s holding me back on that is the outrageous price it would surely be.  Especially since I have no idea how to pre-determine how much yarn I might need, and bought an excess of everything so I could improvise and write down my totals as I went.

I want to try to get this thing done as soon as possible though, so I’m going to laser focus on it so I can move on to the next project I want to do, which is also going to be heavily improvised and probably require me to buy more yarn despite being buried in it already.

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Site Updates

I did a little bit of fussing around today, trying to figure out how I want everything laid out and organised going forward.  The biggest change, as always, is one I think the average user is unlikely to see.  I’ve fussed around with how fiction is posted, so things will be a little less chaotic for me to operate.  The biggest problem was the system I was using didn’t scale very well, so as I sat down to add new areas for fiction to go, there was no way to integrate those new areas into the site’s organisation structure.  Things got very ugly and messy very quickly, so I’ve decided to err on the side of temporary chaos and broke everything so I can rebuild the structure from the ground up.

Nothing has been deleted, although finding certain things may prove difficult.  I’ve added a search bar to the main blog’s sidebar, so if you need to find something, you won’t be stuck combing through hundreds of pages.

Granted, you’ll still have to be a little creative with your queries, because searching for “Loki” will bring up more than 700 results.

The navigation has been slightly altered as well.  URLs have changed, since archives are no longer by category, but by type.  Again, bookmarks and permalinks out in the wild will break because of this, but this is going to make it easier to separate certain things out.  For instance, there’s a brand new photo feed, and coming soon is a section for original fiction.

This is a big project that I intend to poke at slowly.  The end goal is for th is site to be a log of everything I do, and I may even now be able to move my art here, without using clunky galleries that don’t work amazingly well.

Also, I bought a new lava lamp this week, which I’m mentioning only to explain my featured image on this post.

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New URL, who dis?

You may have noticed my site went away for a while today.  I did this because I wanted to change the url, from lokiofsassgaard.com/fanworks, to just lokiofsassgaard.com.  When I first set this place up last year, I put it under a weird path by accident, and by the time I realised I didn’t want that, it was too late.  I’d already bought a few plugins that were registered to that url, and I didn’t know how to change it.

But lately, I’ve been falling far away from fandom, and wanting to post other things here.  Especially since I put money into this place, I want to still use it, but posting random things to a “fandom” site felt weird.  So today I went on a hunt to see how to move the directory the site is in, to put it in the root (.com), instead of in a subfolder (/fanworks).  It turns out, the process was actually pretty easy, if time consuming. 

Mostly, I was still worried about my plugins though, since one of them is fairly integral to how this entire site works.  Luckily, that plugin immediately noticed something is very fishy, and threw a popup as soon as I found my way back into the dashboard.  It let me activate it on the new url with a single button click, so that’s that worry dealt with.  There are a few others that may cause some trouble down the line, but none of them are vital, and honestly if they lapse, it’s no big deal.  Most of the rest of the paid plugins I’m using, I’m on the fence about renewing anyway.

There are a few things that are still weirdly broken, but none of them affect anything on the user end.  The menu ought to work, since I’m pretty sure I’ve fixed all the busted links that were still pointing to the old domain, but I know pretty much everything in the fic section of the site is very broken.  Suddenly taking forever to organise that is a good thing, because I’d hate to have to do that all twice.  Bookmarks will also break, but in both cases, these links will not take you off-site.  You just get an embedded 404 page, so you’ll still have the menu and everything.  But know that the fanfic section of this site is 100% busted and will remain that way for a while.  It’s a lot to fix, and not a task I’m up to doing right now.

In fact, I very well may redo everything from the ground up at this point.  I’m not going to delete anything, but I do think I’m going to massively restructure everything.  The whole point of moving to a new url is so I can more or less strip the fandom identity from this site as much as possible (you know, while keeping my name attached to it), so I want to move the menu and sidebars around to highlight other things I do.

This is basically going to be a dumping ground for everything I do, and I want to make room for that.  So, for the time being, the site is going to be a bit of a mess, but it’ll be a mess I can use for more things.

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This pink stripe is going to be my death

It looks positively delicious and I want to eat it, but that’s not the problem.  The problem is how astonishingly large it is.  Like, I cannot, for the life of me, see an end to it.  It’s 30 rows, which is not insane.  Except because it’s right in the middle of a corner-to-corner, those 30 rows are close to 500 stitches each and aughghghghghg.

When I went to bed last night, I was on row 26.  Each row is getting shorter by two stitches, but still.  It’s so much.  Why do I do this to myself?

This blanket has also been a nightmare in other ways, because I put it down for almost a solid year.  Last year, I was using a notebook to keep track of my projects, and then all my projects got shoved into a closet, and then hauled out to the kitchen, and this specific one caused so much trouble, because it was the only one where I was actively keeping track of how much yarn I was using.  The problem started when I began entering all of my yarn into Ravelry, to figure out what I have and what I might need.  ha.  ha ha.  Oh god, I only did that a few weeks ago and it’s already out of date because I found so much other stuff I had no idea I had, and augh.  But the problem with this, specifically, is that it’s a rare project where I bought yarn specifically for it.  So when I input the yarn to Ravelry, I did it by going through my Amazon purchase history. 

It seemed like the easiest way to do it, except the other day I realised I’m missing a bunch of blue yarn.  I have no idea how I might have lost a bunch of blue yarn, but I went searching for it.  In searching, I found a bunch of other yarn I’d missed before, but not the blue stuff.  So now I’ve got a bunch of yarn that’s not tallied on Ravelry, but my plan is to not go through and update anything until I’ve used most of what’s in my bag, just to make it less of an ordeal.  But that still left the missing blue yarn.  I tore the house apart looking for it.  It was nowhere it ought to have been.

Then, I double checked my Amazon purchases.  But instead of just looking at my order history, I looked at the orders themselves.  I had two orders for a 3-skein pack of the blue, which ought to have meant six total skeins.  Except one of those orders never arrived and was refunded.  I only ever had three to begin with.

But then I had to go through and work out how much yarn was in the blanket itself, because there were four other colours.  The pink and violet were easy enough.  I bought those specific for this blanket too.  But the blank and white?  I already had some, and bought more.  So for those, I’m kind of having to trust my notes from a year ago, where it seems like I may have marked off skeins used as I started them, and not as I finished them?   I have no idea.  It’s driving me insane, and I think in the end I’m going to have to weigh the whole thing and do some math about it.  And the only reason I even care is because I want to release this one as a pattern, so I kinda need to know how much yarn has gone into it.  bluh.

In other news, I noticed that WordPress now has Snapchat-style stories.  I don’t think they’re a good fit for WordPress, necessarily, because of the way they don’t work outside the mobile app.  I don’t see myself using them very much, honestly.  But I do want a place where I can dump photos without much context.  I was trying Tumblr, but I hate Tumblr so much, and the fact that there aren’t default settings to keep your shit from getting reblogged kills me.  So instead I’m going to set up a new feed here, similar to my fic and recs.  Increasingly, the “fanworks” part of my url is growing inaccurate, but I did that by mistake and have no idea how to change it, so yolo or some shit idk.  Anyway, because I just want a dumping ground where I can easily track progress, and not necessarily a social media platform on which to do it, I’ll just put them here

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Fandom, tattoos, and a finished blanket

I haven’t really been posting much lately, which includes sending out newsletters.  Fandom in general has been leaving such a sour taste in my mouth that I’ve decided to go off and do other things for a while.  One of those other things is a Redbubble store, full of random designs that might appeal to one or two people idk.  I’ve got a bunch of stuff sitting in queue to be uploaded, including some space-themed stickers soon, once I get the whole set finished, and set sheets assembled.

I recently saw the newest Jurassic World, which has almost made me want to write a sequel to Isla Nublar, but I’m so astonishingly meh on all things fandom right now it’s not even funny.

One of the other things I’ve been doing lately is getting a new tattoo.  Right now, as I type this, it’s a sad, leaky mess that nobody wants to see, but that’s normal and expected.  I’m very pleased with how it’s turned out though, and I can’t wait to get this weird second skin bandage off, because it’s pulling my hair and feels weird.

My body thinks I’ve got flu, which is kind of funny and irritating at the same time.  It probably doesn’t help that I didn’t sleep well last night because every time the blanket touched it wrong, I woke up.  Honestly, I’m glad we’re on an opposite schedule right now, because the octopus I usually share a bed with would have made last night hell.

The other thing I’ve been working on, which most of you already know about, is my giant yarn project.  I forgot to post about it last-ish week when it happened, because again, I’ve just had no desire to do anything much at all lately, but I finished my big junk blanket.

I don’t know why this photo is such low quality.  I must have had my phone on a weird setting or something.  But I basically got sick of this thing and decided it was done, rather than working it to the size I’d originally intended.  I kind of regret that stripe early on, of a different weight that makes the whole thing bunch up awkwardly, but it’s way too late to do anything about that.  I have a bunch of other weird yarn like that which will be going into its own project, where being super ugly and inconsistent will be part of the charm.

Also, there are a few stripes of bright blue scattered throughout.  I’ve no idea where I got that yarn in particular, but every single row of that colour has split.  I need to go back and fix it all somehow, but it’s a low-priority project, since right now I just want to focus on getting more  yarn used up as quickly as possible.

The nice thing about this one though is it’s surprisingly light-weight, which makes it a great blanket for when it’s too hot to sleep even with the sad little AC in the window.

It’s every bit as ugly and messy as anticipated, and at some point I even gave up weaving ends in and just let the yarn stay tied together in knots, since that’s how I had it when I wound it into balls.  I think, just to save time on the next junk yarn blanket, I’m going to do the same, and not even bother with the ends because it’s a lot of hassle on something that’s already ugly and weird to begin with.

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Insane Yarn Project | Day 2

Listening to: Finished I’ll be Gone in the Dark, by Michelle McNamara; Started Fire & Blood, by George RR Martin
Project: Junk yarn blanket
Rows complete: 12

I don’t have a lot of fiction in my audiobook library as well, and what little I do have is very particular.  You’ll see that as a theme.  But I’ve been watching Fire & Blood on HBO, and figured I should go into this next, since it’s one that’s new to me.  I’ve tried listening to other ASOIAF books in the past, and hated the narrators, but if the guy who’s done this one has done others in the series, I may give him a go.

The problem, and it isn’t even a problem really, I have with this book in particular is that it’s not a narrative in the traditional sense of the word.  There’s a story in there, but it’s a story the same way a history book has a story.  I feel less like I’m listening to a wildly popular fantasy series, and more like I’m listening to a lecture from Ancient European History.  I’m into that kind of thing though, and do actually follow several college professors on YouTube so I can listen to their classes while I do other things.  Unfortunately, I was also fed a brownie last night, and very rapidly lost the ability to focus on a dryly-narrated geopolitical history of Westeros, so I went to watch Deadwood instead. 

Because of the brownie, I didn’t get much done here either.  I finished off a ball of yarn and moved onto another, which I’ve also decided to start cataloguing on Ravelry.  Another thing I did before the brownie was managed to set it up so these posts automatically get listed over there, but in a way that my fandom ramblings do not.

I also noticed that there is a particular shade of blue yarn that is apparently rotten.  There are now several long tears along those blue rows where the yarn just fell apart, but I’m not going to bother trying to fix those until after it’s done.  I’ve decided to make this blanket a full square, so I figure I’ve got maybe three or four more balls of yarn to go before it’s done, which is far less than I thought I’d need to finish it.  So my next project will also be a junk yarn project it seems, because that stuff is covering the top layer of my bag.

You can follow the progress of this one on Ravelry.

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Insane Yarn Project | Day 1

Listening to: I’ll be Gone in the Dark, by Michelle McNamara
Project: Junk yarn blanket
Rows complete: 17

I don’t actually have a whole lot of true crime in my library, for exactly the reason discussed in this book’s opening note.  Something about being a consumer of horrific, deliberate acts of violence makes me feel a bit icky (though I can’t exactly cast stones, because horrific, accidental acts of violence litter my library).  I picked this book up after watching the documentary of the same title, because McNamara’s story fascinated me.  I could take or leave the details of what this man did, but the obsessive story of how he was found, because a blogger couldn’t let it go is the sort of story I do find deeply compelling. 

As for the blanket, this is junk yarn in the truest sense of the word.  Whenever I finish a project and start organising what’s left, any single ball of yarn weighing less than 50g gets rolled up with all the other little scrappy odds and ends, to create cakes of a variety of colours.  You can see already in this blanket where yarn was taken from a specific frogged project, vs typical junk that had accumulated over time. 

There is no rhyme nor reason in which colours come next.  I work with a ball of yarn, use it up, and grab the next one.  As for why I’m starting with this one, I’m working from the top down, and this yarn was the last to go into the bag.  Whether I finish this blanket first will be another story, but I very well may run out of junk before then.

You can follow the progress of this one on Ravelry.

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Starting a new Yarn Project

If you follow me on Twitter, you’ve seen the beginnings of this already.  But let’s start from the very beginning to understand why I’ve been going slowly insane over yarn.

The story starts several years ago, when I already had a decent amount of yarn to begin with.  But one day I was at Goodwill, and they had a couple of large trash bags full of colours I did not have, in the brand and weight I prefer.  So naturally, I bought them and dragged them home.

A few weeks later, I was probably having a bad day or something.  I can’t exactly remember.  But my husband was at Goodwill, and saw more trash bags full of yarn.  Wanting to make me feel better, and not fully understanding why I’d bought the ones I did, he bought those ones and dragged them home.

Some time after that, my grandmother died, and I brought home all of her yarn.

Suffice to say, at this point I had half a bedroom full of yarn.  I started using as much as I could.  I made blankets and scarves and pot holders, which is basically the extent of the sort of things I like to make.  And still, I had a lot of goddamn yarn.  Last winter, I decided I was going to use it all.  I made a whole bunch of blankets, and gave them to my husband to give away.  I made a bunch of scarves and gave those away.  I made two rugs, because some of what I had was rug yarn.

I still have so much yarn.  At this point, it was all stuffed into the bedroom closet, and honestly, very ignorable.  So I pulled it out so we could get our closet back, and I put it in the kitchen.  The kitchen was the worst possible place for it, which is why I put it there.  If it was constantly annoying and in my way, it would put the bug up my ass to do something about it.  Unfortunately, the “something” was finding a container large enough to fit it all.  Yarn bags are comically small even at their largest, and I didn’t want to put it in easily stackable bins would could be shuffled into another closet somewhere.  I wanted a single solution that could still live in the way somewhere, but not right in the middle of the kitchen; somewhere still relatively annoying, but accessible so I could get to it and do something about it.

This week, I finally found it.  I’d joked on Twitter about needing a yarn bag large enough to hold a body.  I’d searched on all my usual sites endlessly for large, canvas bags without compartments inside.  Then, Amazon recommended me a bright purple hay bag.  I recognised it at once, because we had several of these when I was a kid, but they’d fallen out of my conscious memory because I haven’t had horses in over 20 years.  But this is a bag that is meant to hold an 80-pound bale of hay, and live in the bed of your truck so you don’t blow hay particles all over the person behind you on the road.  It’s 16 cubic feet of bag, with the same sort of eyelets yarn bags typically have.

I have filled this fucking bag to capacity.  I spent twelve hours yesterday making sure all of my yarn was neatly wound up so it wouldn’t become a tangled, un-usable mess.  Then I had to wait for my husband to get home because it was too heavy for tiny little noodle-arm me to lift.

But the yarn is no longer in the kitchen.  It’s in the living room, taking up a huge chunk of real estate near my chair.  This is an improvement.

While going a little insane over yarn bags, I also unrelatedly noticed that I have over 200 audiobooks, between Audible and iTunes.  Some of those books are my husband’s, but they’re on my account, so nyeh.  Whatever.  It’s still a lot of books, even discounting the 20 or so that are his.  So, I had an idea.  I am going to see which I can do first: use up all of my yarn, or get through all of my audiobooks.  I’ve already listened to most of them, many more than once, but this felt like a fun project to combine.  I’m gonna get myself a good pair of headphones to plug into my stereo out in the front room so I don’t have to juggle charging my phone and having headphones plugged in.  And I am going to use up as much of this yarn as possible so I can move on to other projects.  Especially since so much of this yarn is what I would classify as junk.  Just a bunch of tiny balls of a single colour, or weird weights or textures that I would never use otherwise, but don’t want to just throw away. 

I’m going to document it all here as well, so you can all watch me go slowly insane as I listen to books and fuck around with yarn until my fingers fall off.

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Ours to Keep #2 | The Beach

Ours to Keep (130,000 words) by LokiOfSassgaard

Chapters: 14
Fandom: Thor, Loki (TV)
Rating: Explicit
Warnings: Underage, Dubcon
Pairings: Loki/Sylvie
Characters: Loki, Sylvie, Thor, Angela, Odin, Frigga

Summary: After Bor’s death, the entire family manage to make it into town for the will reading. It’s only been a few months since Loki had a close call with a car accident he probably should not have survived, which only adds to the tension of having too many people in a house with not enough beds.

But the funny thing about death is it has a way of unveiling all sorts of secrets, whether or not they have anything to do with the deceased. And for Loki and Sylvie, this has the potential to be catastrophic.

eBook Download | Website

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State of the Things

Just wanted to give an update on all of the things I’ve been doing.  So, let’s go through all of it.

AO3

I’ve had a couple questions again lately about where my fic went, and why I deleted everything from AO3.  For one, I didn’t delete it.  It’s still there, unrevealed, possibly forever.  Or at least until I feel comfortable using it again, which at the very least won’t be until I can choose to unlist my fics, and make them so they can only be seen by people I allow to see them.  That’s probably never going to happen, because it’s antithetical to whatever all-or-nothing ethos AO3 works under, so they’re just hidden forever. 

But since moving to the system I’m using now, knowing that people can’t just randomly stumble upon them as easily, I’ve been having a lot more fun with it.  Statistics and numbers deadass ruined fandom in so many ways.  It’s all number-chasing, and I rather enjoy not having any real idea how many people have seen my fic.  The one exception is the newsletter, where I can see the single-digit numbers of people reading a given fic.  There’s something a little nicer about “nine people went out of their way to choose to get these alerts” than “1,000 random ghosts might have clicked this by accident.”

Newsletter

Speaking of the newsletter, I’ve got it in a good rhythm as well.  Tomorrow’s round-up issue is going to be enormous, because I’ve finally worked out my art situation, but it should go back to normal next week.  I’ve started working on my Stranger Things fic, and have begun sending out those issues.  But a lot of people have begun to fall off the list because they didn’t whitelist the email address, which means everything’s been going into their spam folder.  If you are one of the people who fell off, you can resubscribe without issue.  Just make sure you hunt down that welcome email and follow the steps in it to make sure you don’t get kicked off again.  The process which kicks people off is automated, and I’m not stepping in to stop it because I would like to get out of Gmail’s spam filter, quite frankly.

If you’re new to the newsletter, remember that fic doesn’t go out to it on any schedule.  It happens as it happens, and lately I’ve been stalled on updates on a lot of things for a lot of reasons.  Many of which stem from other fic reasons, oddly enough.  But the Saturday issue almost always goes out, unless I’ve just straight up done nothing all week.  Which won’t happen at least through November.

Fic & Art

Circling back to fic, I’ve begun posting the edited chapters of Ours to Keep to the site.  Those are getting posted every Monday, and will be included in the following Saturday’s roundups.  So far, not much has changed from the original version; mostly cleaning up some choppy bits, and making sure my continuity is solid.  I think there were a few details I flubbed the first time round, but nobody seemed to notice so they must not have been that bad.

I’ve been struggling since I started the site to figure out the best way to post and organise everything, because every time I land on something I think I like, it winds up not working out very well.  A big part of that is I write a hell of a lot more fic than I draw pictures, so I went for a layout that favours text over images.  The problem with this layout is that it really favours text, and finding a way to include images at all has been driving me nuts from day one.  I’ve tried various plugins and bodges to get it to work, and nothing has been both provided an effective layout and been easy to use.  It either looks nice, but is a pain in the ass to use, or is easy to use but looks like ass on the page.  I was kind of quietly ignoring this for a long time, and just not updating my galleries until I made the decision to start compiling my own eBooks and making those available.  I do have a system that lets me list them on my site, but again, it doesn’t have a gallery/landing page.  It just makes a new post for each entry, so the only way to browse them is by scrolling through pages the same way you do the blog.  And it’s, well.  It’s awful.  So I took that page down completely. 

Around the same time, I decided to go start nosing through deviantART again for the first time in ages.  And somehow, that has turned into exactly what I wanted.  So I removed all the galleries from my site and put my art up on dA instead.  There are a few exceptions, but I was able to upload way more than I expected after finding out that when I wasn’t looking, dA changed its policy on porn.  You have to put it behind a paywall, but you can post it.  So, I’ve done that.  I want to aim for at least two drawing a month in there to start, but for now it’s just got a few old doodles in it.

It’s also accidentally provided a really nice cover gallery for all my fic. 

So, that’s what I’m doing.  Most of them, I’ll be able to link directly to, but dA’s policies on literature and linking off-site are vague as fuck, so some of them are just kind of coyly letting people know there’s something new on the site.  But this is why I put so much effort into doing these covers in the first place.  I wanted a sort of digital bookshelf for all of them, using my own art so they didn’t get lost in the sea of identical covers you get from AO3.

And doing this has led to stumbling upon the final way I want to organise my fic.  It’s going to be an absolute meal, because there are almost 300 of the fuckers I need to change up, but it will look so much better on the user-end, and provide an additional layer of opt-in for some of the particularly deranged fics.  It’s also going to get rid of those big, ugly “read more” buttons, and just make a more streamlined browsing experience.

The dA page is mostly set up, except for a few areas that are waiting on me to finish the website.  And the website is going to be a nightmare, and probably take a few weeks.  But once I get both of them done, my focus is going to be on finishing the rest of the covers, and the compiling everything into eBook.

I’ve accepted that I’m very likely not going to hit my word count goal for GYWO this year, but so much has happened elsewhere that I think just focusing on busy work like adding tags to 300 posts is probably a healthier use of my time just so I don’t completely fry what’s left of my brain.  But I also do find it funny that compared to AO3, deviantART has much more robust options for allowing you to control who sees your art, and I have been making use of follower-only galleries over there.  I also like that deviantART isn’t a share-based site, meaning people can’t just spread my shit to their followers with the click of a button.  Honestly, that’s always made me uncomfortable, because as soon as someone retweets or reblogs your art, you have no way of knowing who’s going to see it or who they might show it to next. 

Anyway, that’s what I’ve been up to.  And I may not post again, outside of Ours to Keep, until I’ve finished up re-organising all my fic. 

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Ours to Keep #1 | The Tesla

Ours to Keep (130,000 words) by LokiOfSassgaard

Chapters: 14
Fandom: Thor, Loki (TV)
Rating: Explicit
Warnings: Underage, Dubcon
Pairings: Loki/Sylvie
Characters: Loki, Sylvie, Thor, Angela, Odin, Frigga

Summary: After Bor’s death, the entire family manage to make it into town for the will reading. It’s only been a few months since Loki had a close call with a car accident he probably should not have survived, which only adds to the tension of having too many people in a house with not enough beds.

But the funny thing about death is it has a way of unveiling all sorts of secrets, whether or not they have anything to do with the deceased. And for Loki and Sylvie, this has the potential to be catastrophic.

eBook Download | Website

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Newsletter Opt-Ins | Please check your spam

If you have signed up for the newsletter, but you never received an email that looks like the following, you may be at risk of getting removed.

If you have not seen this email (or any others), and you would like to stay on the list, please do the following:

  1. Check your spam folder for any messages coming from newsletter@lokiofsassgaard.com
  2. Whitelist newsletter@lokiofsassgaard.com
  3. Visit your profile, either by clicking the “your profile” link in the welcome message, or the “manage your subscription” link in any other email
  4. Opt-in to any relevant fic channels, OR select the “roundups only” checkbox
  5. Locate a roundup email and click any link in the main body.  It doesn’t matter which link, or whether you interact with the page.  The link just needs to be clicked, and the page loaded.

About 40 people are at risk of being deleted by the clean-up for being inactive, which will happen within the coming week or so.  The system automatically purges inactive accounts to keep emails from going directly to spam.  Unfortunately, it seems like enough people ignored the first opt-in message when I moved to this system that now mail clients automatically see these as spam and nobody sees them at all.

If you do not take these steps, you will be deleted.  I’m not going to step in to prevent people from being wrongly deleted, because that will only make the problem continue.  If you are amongst those who have already been deleted (and there have been a handful already), you can sign back up, but make sure you still whitelist the email address above and dig this welcome message from spam.

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Aeon Timeline | Six Months On

It has been six months since my first post about Aeon Timeline, and I wanted to revisit some of my early opinions on it.  I’ve got to know it a little bit better, and it is still broken as shit in the same areas I discussed previously.  But I still find myself wishing I’d had use of this tool years ago.  It still endlessly frustrates me that its inability to cope with a project is directly proportional to how much that project benefits from a tool like this, and after several attempts now at trying to optimise God of Outcasts on my end, it still crashes randomly on me.

For those smaller projects though, it has been a dream.  One thing it’s allowed me to do with Isla Nublar is track expenses scene by scene. 

 

On top of being able to keep up with the scene by scene actions, and the typical associations like locations and when it happens, etc, I’ve been able to keep a running tally every time Darcy spends money.  Since the money is both a catalyst and a red herring in this fic, I wanted to make sure I kept on top of exactly how much she was spending to build a false form of suspense.  And I really like the way this tool displays that.  I have to do the math manually, but it’s just a matter of subtracting the spend in the current scene from the previous scene’s total, and then inputting the data.  Not the most stressful thing in the world.

And that is one of the places where Aeon is overall very flexible.  It doesn’t come out of the box with settings for expenses or dinosaurs.  Setting those things up does come with a bit of a learning curve, and if I go long enough without doing it I forget how and wind up having to copy something I’ve already done.  But it’s also a simple enough process that once I’ve done it again, it sticks with me for a little bit.  It’s a weird, multi-step process wherein you have to set up data point, and then on a different screen set up associations for that data point, and doing it wrong can make it not work properly.

One of the screens I have pretty much only used in God of Outcasts has been the mind map, which is amazing except for the part where it is laggy as fuck.  And I can no longer get away with rationalising it as being my PC’s fault, because I’ve put it on a brand new laptop, wiped and upgraded my PC, and put it on my iPad, and it is a laggy bitch on all of them.

But it’s come in ridiculously handy in a project like God of Outcasts, where I’ve got whole dynasties to keep track of, and power structures, and who’s supposed to be married to who, etc.  So much of this information will never make it into the narrative in a tangible way, but it’s there.  Knowing where a given character fits on this page informs how other characters behave toward them.  Like dinosaurs and expenses, rank and class aren’t baked in, but it was easy enough to set up.

I’ve also started using the narrative view a lot more than the timeline view.  This is a lot closer to how I would do my beat sheets by hand, but they show all the tags and information assigned to them.  I really like the colour-coding you can add to it, and the ability to pick which information gets displayed here.  Though I have to say my favourite feature which is baked in is how it shows the characters’ ages on the side panel.

In my previous post about this tool, I  mentioned that my biggest problem was the made up calendar.  They still have not made that any easier to use, and I think it’s the biggest factor in the lag with this project.  I think the obvious solution would be to break up the file by project, but that kind of defeats the purpose of having it all in one place where I can see how something from 2,000 years ago affects the current story.  I did finally get it to show me multiple calendars stacked on top of one another with only a few small hitches (again, probably another source of lag), but the ages on the side panel only show in Asgardian years.  Which is… fine.  I guess.  I have some quick math I can do to convert those years to Jötunheimr or Midgard or whatever I need to convert them to. 

One thing you can’t do, which I really wish you could, is show a character or event or anything else on the main screen.  You can get all of the information in that side panel on the right, but for some items that means scrolling forever to see it all.  Since Loki is the main character, he has more relationship data fleshed out than anyone.  Because Aeon is endlessly flexible in the sort of information you can display, it shows not only the typical stuff like parents and spouses and birth date, but friends, and allies, and adoptive parents, and pets, and affairs, and all sorts of other stuff that needs to be kept track of.  I want to see that all on one screen, without having to scroll for three miles to get to the bottom.

I’ve got a Stranger Things project I’ve been picking at, and I’ve done that all in Aeon so far.  I used to do this early bit by hand, with a pen in a notebook, but there is infinitely more space on that mind map than on any sheet of paper.  But again, that mind map is so laggy that even a brand no project with no data points or metadata is still a pain in the ass to put together.  But I think once I get it worked out and put in narrative order, I can screenshot the map for reference and then delete it from the project to make it run more smoothly.

Overall, Aeon is still endlessly frustrating to use in the planning stages.  Every time you add a new data point, it gets that much more laggy and slow, and it’s a chore to remember to save and restart so you don’t lose progress (though it has been very good at reloading from cache so I might only lose the last one or two changes).  Once I get it planned, and Aeon’s job is to just sit idle on my second screen so I can refer to it, I don’t know how I ever wrote without it.  I will bitch and complain about this thing endlessly on Twitter, because I hate using it, and that might never change.  At least, not unless they can optimise it better so it uses PC resources more efficiently.  But having it?  Yes.  Very worth the frustration in the end.

I have six months left on my subscription, and I think I may wind up renewing it on the lifetime plan, which is a bit cheaper ($35/yr instead of $65/yr). 

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Resuming Isla Nublar | Sign up now!

If you were following Isla Nublar on AO3, I’ll be resuming that one later this week over on my newsletter.  I’m aiming for weekly releases, but we’ll see how that actually goes.  And since I know there will be questions, here are some answers:

Why am I not posting on AO3?

Because I no longer trust it or its userbase to behave.  I haven’t felt comfortable using it as a platform for a very long time, and have more control over who sees and interacts with me this way, as I can block and remove people with just a few clicks.

Will it be posted to my website as well?

Yes, after it’s finished.  Newsletters get somewhat “early” drafts, before I give the fic a final pass for small errors that didn’t get caught the first time around.  It will go up on the site once it’s been edited and fully formatted, and be uploaded both in plaintext and ePub format.

How often will chapters go out?

I don’t know.  Maybe weekly, if I’m able to keep on top of things.  They’re going out in plaintext and ePub, so chapters going out depends not only on whether I can get them written quickly, but also whether I can get them formatted and uploaded quickly.

When will the first (new) chapter go out?

Not sure.  Later this week.  You have a couple of days to sign up, and there is a system in place to make sure any missed chapters can still be read if you don’t sign up in time.

Are you allowed to share this fic with your friends?

Yes!  These newsletters can be shared and forwarded, and your friends can sign up if they want to.  However, and advantage to this system over AO3 is if someone acts up and decides to be horrible toward me or the fic, I can and will remove them and whoever invited them.  So please share these emails with care.

How to sign up

New subscribers

  1. Click this link to go to the sign up page
  2. Enter your email address and agree to the privacy policy
  3. Check your inbox for the welcome email, and click the link to your profile (this link is different for everyone, and based off your email address; I cannot provide a static link to it)
  4. Using the checkboxes on your profile, opt into any fics you would like to follow
  5. Bookmark this page to more easily access it in the future

Existing subscribers

  1. Open any previous newsletter issue (caveat: must have been sent after May 2022.  Anything earlier will be from the previous system and will not contain the right information)
  2. Scroll all the way to the bottom and click the “Manage your subscription” link
  3. Using the checkboxes on your profile, opt into any fics you would like to follow
  4. Bookmark this page to more easily access it in the future

If you have any questions in either case, please let me know.  If you cannot find this link, or have trouble signing up, I can add you manually. 

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Fic browsing temporarily going offline

Just a little heads up to let folks know that the page that usually shows all my fic is going to temporarily be empty.  I want to start over on my tag system because it’s grown messy and overly complicated.  I’ll be deleting the tags and categories from all posts while I work out a better system.

Because the current browse page operates by showing a category archive, rather than the entire fic archive, it won’t have any posts to point to for a while.  You can still get to fic by going to the default archive.  It’s not nearly as pretty, and you’ll see immediately why I don’t point to this page in the menu.

The eBook archive will still function normally.  I don’t anticipate doing anything to organise that one, honestly.  Instead, I’m going to use the main fic archive as a catch-all, and combine the two.  And I want to do that now, before I have to go back and edit almost 300 posts.

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Ours to Keep | Post Mortem

The timing of this fic was a bit unfortunate, since I got right to the climax just as life got unreasonable.  But it’s done.  Newsletter people will have seen it by now, or at least have it sitting in their inboxes.  I can’t say when I intend to go back and edit it up properly, which I am going to do because it does have some issues.  But I want to sit on it long enough to forget about it, so it might be a few months.  But the story is, more or less, exactly what I wanted it to be.  A few things went a bit differently than planned, but all of the changes wound up making it a better story I think.

And this story was… oof.  Closet skeletons all came out for a rave in this one.  There is so much going on in this fic, and it’s one where I’ve done an Edgar Wright and put the entire plot in the first chapter.  The conversation Thor and Loki have at the very beginning tells you exactly where this story is going without giving away anything specific.  That has always been one of my favourite narrative devices, and I have used it shamelessly so many times.  It’s delightfully effective because either the reader catches it and gets to have that satisfying moment of being able to “guess” the outcome, or they miss it completely until they read it a second time and it hits them like a truck.

It’s always one of those things as well, where as I’m writing it I worry that it’s going to light up like a neon sign, but I didn’t see anyone catch it at all this time around.  That said, there were a lot of good guesses for where it would go in the end.  Loki was given a lot of options throughout this entire story, and I wanted all of them to seem like they could be a logical conclusion.  Some of those endings may have been more satisfying than others, and I’m sure there are going to be a few people who don’t like this one in particular, but this was such a messy and destructive story that I felt like the best ending would be the one that gave Loki a chance to actually feel his emotions.  He spends so much of this story trying to please everyone else that he winds up neglecting himself more often than not.  He’s obviously very depressed and traumatised, and has likely never been given an opportunity to even consider this, much less deal with it.  And that trauma comes from more than one source, to the point that he starts dealing with one trauma by wilfully succumbing to another.  Originally this story was just going to be the interludes, and just a straight up kinkfest.  But the more I poked at that idea, that these two have been engaging in a sexual relationship since they were teens, the more I realised there was a bigger story to tell.  It was always framed as Sylvie being the one initiating things, but at one point I rewrote what had turned into the first three or four interludes to make Loki somewhat less of a willing participant, and putting him more into a role where he’s unable to say no until he thinks that he wants whatever this is just as much as she does.

And I specifically went in that direction, putting Loki in this victim role for the very basic reason that you don’t often see a female aggressor in this sort of story.  It’s almost expected that it would be the boy who’s acting up and getting his sister to do things she shouldn’t be doing, which opens up a whole plot unto itself.  Which of course leads to the question of what the fuck is Sylvie’s damage, and I still don’t know.  I had about three ideas I was kicking around, one of which was tired and dull and a little insulting, and another which would require a lot of explanation I couldn’t find an easy way to include.  This idea, that I toyed with and then shoved aside was that she saw something she shouldn’t have, probably on the internet.  Between being a confused, hormonal teenager, and growing up in a household that clearly has a sex ed problem to begin with, she acted on a curiosity with the one person she knew she could trust to keep his mouth shut.  But at the same time, there is clearly some real damage there.  I framed that first chapter the way I did, with Loki creeping in on her after everyone else had gone to bed, as a bit of a deliberate bait and switch.  At that point, almost a decade into whatever this is between them, Loki has come to link sex with approval.  Thor tattled on him and made Sylvie mad, so he goes to Sylvie to regain her approval.  By using his penis.

In the interludes, by the time they start having sex, she’s already got into his brain and scrambled things up a bit.  He knows that as long as she remains happy, she won’t tell anyone.  But he’s also an awkward, introverted teenage boy who can’t seem to figure out how to talk to girls (probably because he’s not entirely straight, and doesn’t really understand that).  Being able to have sex and skip all the complicated relationship stuff is a best-case scenario in his mind.  When he says that he wants to fuck her, it’s not necessarily him taking the reins, but more voicing a frustration. 

And as this whatever it is between them continues and evolves, so does Sylvie.  She eventually realises that it’s not enough for her that Loki does what she asks, because in the end, she winds up being the one always having to ask.  He doesn’t really initiate in a way that excites her.  She wants to be in charge, but not necessarily making all the decisions.  When she pushes him to the point of snapping, it’s exactly what she wants, right up until the very end.  Meanwhile, she also knows two things to be true: Loki will obstinately refuse to use a condom unless she makes him, and there are backup plans if she lets him have his way and things go wrong.  According to Loki, Sylvie’s had two abortions.  But that’s according to Loki, the clueless idiot who has no idea what goes on around him.  Who knows what the real number is?

All of this is a very convoluted way for Sylvie to keep Loki obedient.  He’s apparently tried to end this multiple times before the story starts, but lacks the resolve to follow through.  Ultimately all it takes is for Sylvie to get through a crack in his armour so she can fuck him without protection, and suddenly all of his decisions are made by his dick again.  I think there is some level of sex addiction, with Sylvie especially, and Loki is very rarely going to turn her down and won’t say anything even if she doesn’t listen.  Angela is very likely right in that there will be other guys she does this to, but at the same time I think Sylvie’s aware that it will get her into trouble if she tries this with too many other men. 

I also don’t think she did ever try anything like this with Hermod.  He’s just yolo’ed out because fuck this entire family, and now he has an excuse.

But going back to the family, everything about the way she grew up definitely plays into who she is now as a person.  Growing up, she was the only girl in the house, surrounded by brothers.  Angela’s a full eleven years older than she is, so she was gone by the time Sylvie was in middle school.  Hela was gone a few years later.  She’s shown to be manipulative and willing to throw herself under the bus if it means someone else will get into more trouble.  The problem she encounters here is that it works on the parents a hell of a lot better than it works on Thor and Angela, who both fell victim to this shit growing up.  Loki’s also wised up and knows when it’s safe to misbehave and when he needs to sit still and say nothing.  And he’s had a lot of practise with this, both in dealing with Sylvie, and in getting Odin to tactically ignore him.  As Angela says, Odin and Frigga have clearly not been happy for a very long time.  I don’t think children were ever in Odin’s plans before he got Frigga pregnant.  And what Loki said was also true.  Frigga likes having babies a hell of a lot more than she likes having children.  Babies need to be taken care of, and doted on, and can’t do anything for themselves, and gee, doesn’t that sound like someone familiar?

Loki starts off life with the trauma of being adopted, and even if we do throw out the whole plotline where these assholes kept it a secret his entire life, it’s gonna fuck someone up at least a little bit, knowing that of your ten siblings, only one of them is truly your own.  Add on to this that if Odin is going to have children, he’s going to insist they maintain a certain image of perfection lest they face his wrath, and then getting molested by the only sibling that is truly his, no fucking wonder he’s just permanently six years old.  Where Sylvie responded to this by needing to always be in control, Loki responded to it by needing someone else to take control, and then we have this match made in hell.  I also really don’t think that the first interlude is the first time Sylvie got weird with him.  I think it’s just the first time it was overtly sexual to the point that Loki knew it was wrong.  She had clearly pushed him to do things he was uncomfortable with before, because he didn’t react to that in a very normal way.

And now, nine years later, Loki has so much internalised shame and self-disgust about himself in nearly every way that he can’t even face reality.  He argues against being disabled, despite being barely able to function some days.  Thor accidentally stumbles onto a scene he eventually manages to read correctly, and Loki denies it even happened.  But if Loki admits that what Thor saw was rape, then what about all those other times he said no and it still happened?  It’s much easier to just assume he’s incapable of saying no and meaning it than to admit that these things have been happening for years.

Because of all of this, it was very important for me to get Thor and Angela on side very quickly.  Despite having an almost criminally large family, Loki has been isolated this entire time.  He’s not exactly wrong either.  What was he supposed to say?  We live in a world where boys who get molested by older women are mocked for not being able to realise a good thing when they’ve got it.  There’s also the assumption that Thor immediately had, and which the first chapter deliberately sets the reader up to believe, that Loki is the one instigating this.  Odin would fucking murder him if Loki tried to tell anyone.  If he tells anyone else, he’s the gross weirdo who’s fucking his sister, or the stupid idiot who wasn’t smart enough to keep his mouth shut.  So he does just that, and never says anything to anyone, and convinces himself that he’s into it.  He needed people he could trust, not only to push him into getting out of this situation to begin with, but so he could have social support after he burnt all his bridges.  And he’s in a uniquely fortunate position where he has the money and the means to burn his bridges because he’d regressed so far he never figured out how to spend what he had in the first place.  Sylvie, meanwhile, seems to have spent most of what was available to her.  I think Sylvie is in a position where she doesn’t actually have the full amount of her trust available to her, because she didn’t meet some of the requirements set, and now she’s apparently bleeding cash because she’s too busy fucking every guy in New York to hold down a job.  Finding out that Loki not only has money, but has a job that has an obscene revenue stream was the thing that pushed her over the edge into full crazy.  If she can get his dick and his money, she’d never have to worry again.

I’m not sure where Loki goes after this, whether he does go on to finish law school or stay on with Thor, or just fuck off again and do something else entirely.  Whoever this guy from the library is, he’s going to regret asking Loki out so hard, which is probably the only guarantee in this.  Loki knows he’s all kinds of fucked up, but he hasn’t at all got the tools or strategies to deal with that yet.  He’ll learn eventually.  Or he won’t, and will just spend the rest of his life having doomed relationships because good god coming back from all of this is not going to be easy.

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FIC: Is This What You Want?

Is This What You Want? (7,639 words) by LokiOfSassgaard

Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: Thor
Rating: Explicit
Warnings: Rape/Non-Con
Relationships: Loki/Thor
Characters: Loki, Thor
Additional Tags: intersex!Loki, dubcon, revoked consent

Summary: Loki has grown resigned to Thor’s nightly habits. That doesn’t mean he likes it.

Read Here | Download eBook

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Stranger Things Thinky Thoughts

I finally watched this thing, all four seasons over a few days, and I have thoughts.  I knew going in that this show would never live up to the massive mountain of hype or expectations put upon it, so that kind of tempered the disappointment when it lost my interest in season 3.

Right off the bat, this show did not need to continue beyond season 1.  As a self-contained miniseries, it works really well.  Then it seemed like Netflix wanted more beyond its original concept, and that’s where it fell apart.

Season 1 was charming, with stakes just high enough to justify the “parents are useless” trope inherent to this genre.  I think on Twitter, I said it was like Stand By Me, Flight of the Navigator, ET, and Nightmare on Elm Street had all been lumped into one thing.  There was a vibe throughout everything that played off of a bunch of the feral 80s children tropes really well.  It wasn’t trying to be anything else, but at the same time was very much a love letter to a lot of what I grew up watching and doing.  There were a few moments that felt a bit cheap or rushed, but overall season 1 was very solid.  There was a good mystery, and several threads that tangled and twisted together, and it ended with a very nice balance of resolution and questions. 

And then season 2 was frankly a mess.  Several people I’ve talked to said that’s where they dipped, and I can truly see why. I have a lot of problems with the narrative choices in this show, and they all started in season 2.  The biggest one is El herself.  Her entire character exists to be the deus ex machina and the MacGuffin all in one.  And in a show where everyone is an archetype by design, that works really well.  Season 1, if viewed as a standalone miniseries, is less about the spooky story and more about the nostalgia bender it takes you on.  Everything, from the ages of the kids in both groups, to the set design was constructed around this visceral evocation that makes you feel like you’re ten years old again; deeply familiar like that movie the VCR ate because you watched it 300 times, but somehow brand new and fresh the way that movie was the very first time you saw it. 

Which made season 2 feel weird right out of the gate.  The story was resolved in a satisfying way, with just enough “what happens next?” hanging in the air to not feel too enclosed.  The big bad has been covered up, and somehow a bunch of 12 year olds were trusted to keep this secret, while none of their parents were brought in on it, because we have to keep that “parents are useless” trope alive somehow.  I mean, Ted goes above and beyond on being fucking useless, and Karen flanderises pretty strongly, but somehow that just made it feel more awkward to me.  And somehow, even after season 4, the adults all have their heads so deep in the sand Ted’s scoffing at the news calling the gate to hell a gate to hell.  By the end of season 4, there are three whole adults who aren’t in the government who know what’s going on.  And I don’t count Steve in this, because I’m going to get to why he’s weird later.

But on top of the adults continuing to not have a clue, we all know El can beat this thing, whatever it is.  There’s no tension there; no suspense.  So they have to get rid of her somehow I guess, and they do it by literally putting her on a bus.  That plot was so  out of place, and aside from one throw-away mention in season 4, Eight never gets mentioned again.  The whole road trip goes completely forgotten.  It really felt like they wanted to get away from the small town aesthetic for a bit, and get more into the counter-culture aspect of the 80s but couldn’t figure out how to do it.  So we get this ragtag group of street punks who walked this bizarre line between benign and ultra-violent in a way that just did not work for me.  Again, they were all archetypes to fill a specific role, but this wasn’t the story for them. 

And the whole of season 2, from El’s road trip, to Eight, and Will getting just wholeass possessed, was the start of the biggest problem I have with the whole series.  From season 2 onward, I never once got the feeling that the show was continuing because there was more story to tell.  Instead, it felt like story kept getting tacked on so the show could continue.  Like I said, season 1 felt very self-contained.  Eight episodes and it’s done.  The bits of season 2 that stayed in Hawkins did a decent enough job of feeling like the logical fallout, but that fell apart in season 3.  Season 3 felt like it had nothing to do with the Upside Down.  And then by season 4, it was like they were trying so hard to tie it all together and make it all connected, but those threads weren’t there from the beginning.  It went from vague hell monsters, to the Mind Flayer, to the Mind Flayer’s weird goo monster that managed to possess people, to some goopy-looking Grinch creature who has apparently been the big bad this entire time? 

Also, while I’m on the subject of Vecna, or whatever we’re calling him, they showed his ugly ass way too early.  The reason Alien is still one of the greatest horror movies ever made is because it practically codified the rule that you do not show the monster.  Not right away, and definitely not in full light in the very first episode.  I complained about this on twitter, and I was right.  He’d lost all impact by the climax.  He wasn’t scary anymore, and then my husband pointed out that he looked like the fucking Grinch, and that was all I saw for the last two hours.  Come on, there are rules for horror, and season 4 broke nearly all of them.

But the progression of big bads isn’t the only weird inconsistency that got under my skin.  Hawkins lab, and how it operated, was constantly in flux.  And they did something else that they really should not have done with it: they answered questions.  The lab worked so well as this unknown element.  But they answered questions about it, and the more questions they answered, the more obvious it became that they had never known the answers from the beginning.  They were making it up as they went.  And Eight is the giveaway.  She’s introduced as having similar but distinctly different powers from El.  She’s more on the telepathic side of the spectrum, to El’s telekinesis.  Which is fine, I guess, apart from how I didn’t like that subplot to begin with.  But then we get to season 4, and all of the kids have what very much seems to be an identical power set, making Eight this bizarre outlier.  It was obvious from the outset that El was not the only kid in the program (the clue is in her name, after all), but the way the program was operated also seemed to be constantly in flux.  And the fact that the kids are socialised at all breaks a fundamental part of El’s character, in that she has no idea how to talk to another human being.  None of the other kids spoke like she does.  Are we therefore left to conclude that El is different on top of all of the other ways she’s different?

It just answered way too many questions and broke its own fundamental concepts.

I also really did not like the entire two-season plot with the Russians.  Yeah, you gotta get your Red Dawn reference in there, but season 3 was so goddamn cartoony it barely felt like the same show.  But then they did the same thing with Hop and Joyce that they did with El in season 2: had to get them out of Hawkins because the second Hop was called to a murder scene that looked like that, the plot falls apart.  He’d take one look at it and be like, well fuck here we go again.  Eddie would not have even been a suspect; at least not in the same way.  Similarly, Lucas suffered some bizarre character assassination through the entire first half of season 4.  For three seasons, Lucas was consistently a voice of reason, and now he’s suddenly obsessed with becoming popular to the point he actively makes things worse.

But this was a thread that continued through the entire show, honestly.  Not just with Lucas, but with so many other characters.  Bereft of context, I came into season 1 thinking the younger kids were freshmen in high school, or maybe eighth grade at the lowest, and the older kids were seniors.  I didn’t even ping Jonathan as being in school until he was caught in the dark room.  I thought he’d already graduated, with the first words out of his mouth being about picking up a shift at work.  Presumably Barb and Nancy were in the same grade, and there’s no fucking way Barb was a sophomore.  Though I did wonder why Hopper (I think?) called her a little girl.  Even then, 15 is pushing it for “little girl.”  And I know some rural areas even today are a bit lax on younger kids driving before they’re 16, but that’s usually reserved for like, farm shit.  And season 1 takes place in November, meaning school has been in session for like, three months.  The ages are so weird.  Every single context clue pointed to them being so much older than they apparently are.  So now we’ve got Nancy, who is supposed to be 15? during season one, dating Steve who is apparently a junior?  All of them really had senior energy to me for some reason, but apparently that just wasn’t the case.

And obviously season 2 took place a year-ish later, since that was a big part of the plot.  And that was confusing because I had thought they would have already graduated, but they’re still going to parties and stuff.  It’s no wonder that by season 3, they started setting them during breaks between classes because they’d already kind of forgotten to send these kids to school half the time as it was.  By the time season 4 comes around, I have no idea how old any of these people are supposed to be.  The fact that Nancy and Jonathan are still in school was a shock, because surely they’ve graduated by now?  No?  Apparently not? 

It’s one of those things where being vague is fine when you don’t have a running continuity to keep track of, but whoops.  And now we’ve got Steve, who is apparently a grown-ass adult at this point. hanging out with literal children and nobody seems to think that’s weird?  People are concerned with Eddie and Chrissy, but let’s ask what the fuck Steve is doing hanging out with kids who still have set bed times.  I’m more concerned about that than what an alleged senior and her super-senior drug dealer are getting up to.

Also, holy shit Mr Munson got off lucky.  All those cops crawling all over that trailer, and none of them found Eddie’s ketamine stash?  Bullshit lmao

Another problem I increasingly had with this show are the stakes involved.  Yes, yes, the world is ending.  But we have a girl with superpowers and she’s saved the world before.  It gets lampshaded so hard so many times, because nothing is ever permanent.  Yes, there’s this ever-pervasive threat, but for the vast majority of this show, nobody who dies has actually mattered.  Characters get introduced to die.  The core group has plot armour so dense it has its own gravitational field.  Billy is the first exception, in that he sticks around for two seasons before he eats it.  But he was also conceived to be wholly unlikable.  He’s not a pleasant character, and he was already a villain when he was introduced.  His death doesn’t hit particularly hard because he’s a thing to be defeated by that point.  The entire plot of season 1 is that Will isn’t really dead at all.  Hopper apparently evaporates, except he doesn’t, and spends the whole of season 4 in a Russian gulag instead for Reasons.  And they couldn’t even follow through with Max.  Yes, yes.  She’s in a coma, very tragic.  It won’t stick.  In season 5, they’ll somehow close the gate for good, and that’ll miraculously restore Max.  Even Eddie is introduced to die, but it took the show four seasons to finally pull the rug out from under you and kill off a character in an emotionally meaningful way.  His death wasn’t a plot device like most of the deaths in this show.  His death was there solely to kick you in the balls and spit in your face.  And I know this is not a sentiment that everyone is going to share, but goddamn it’s about time this show did that.  Inject a bit of tragedy into a story that has killed a lot of people very meaninglessly.

The sheer size of the group is becoming detrimental too.  It was split three ways in season 4, because there are just too goddamn many characters to use effectively.  Every season introduces new people who get to be in on the secret, and now seventeen people, at least, know about the thing that was supposedly covered up and buried.  I’ve counted three times and the number gets bigger every time, so I’ve probably still missed somebody.  It has now got to a point where the group has to be broken up into cliques, which means some characters went the whole of season 4 without ever being in the same room as one another. 

The show has just suffered from massive diminishing returns in so many areas as the plot sprawls out and tries to catch its own tail.  I can only assume that 5 is going to be the final one, because idk a portal to hell masquerading as a 7.whatever intraplate earthquake seems pretty series-ending to me.  But I pretty much checked out during season 3, and only stuck through to see where they were taking it.  It stopped making sense at “secret Russian base several miles under Indiana” and never really came back from that.  It really did become a show to stick with if you like the characters, but wow it’s kind of a mess.  It was fun, and I bet it’s great to watch while high.  But it lives in this category for me where it’s not good, but I’m not going to call it bad either.  And watching it all at once probably made the flaws stick out more, because I didn’t have several years in between to forget about strange details that stuck out like a neon sign.

I have a lot more thoughts about it, but nothing terribly coherent at this point, and I think most of them just boil down to “why was this a choice that was made?”  But man, some of the choices that were made were… they were choices.  Just not the ones I would have made.

But I’ve finally seen it.  I can’t see myself getting into the fandom beyond finally having context to the wank I rubberneck at as it crosses my TL.

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