Welcome Gentle Readers

This blog tends to wander from its main purpose -- updates on my fiction. I do have updates and excerpts of my work. But I also write about my obsessions -- food, friends and pop culture and my weird life in Los Angeles. Enjoy!

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Kitchens, Bromances and Other Picture Postcards

My baking supplies arrived on Friday. Right now (late Saturday afternoon), I'm roasting bones for the first batch of turkey stock I'll be making for Thanksgiving. I'm saying it's the first, because I'll make another big pot full with the carcass of the turkey after the holiday. The first batch is for the gravy and the stuffing (or dressing). I like a fair bit of gravy to make sure there is enough for the leftovers! I'll make the pie crust dough on Monday. I may make some cooking videos for my gentle readers to follow along with me. No promises though. Sometimes – often times – I look a might rough around the edges while cooking. There may be some colorful language as well. I am not good enough a special FX editor to make up for all of that. I don't want to frighten people!

I roast turkey wings for the first batch of stock. The smell of turkey roasting with herbs makes me very hungry for the real holiday meal or at least a sandwich. This sort of aroma would drive my gray tabby, Mischief, crazy. She really didn't want to hear about the aromas weren't actual meat to eat but for stock. I'd have to pick meat off the wings to share with her or she would drive us all crazy. Ah, fun times... I seem to be making more and more of the meal from scratch as I get older though I started on that path a long time ago. After both parents became hypertensive, everyone had to watch their sodium intake. The boxed or bagged stuffing or the other ready made stuff was full of sodium. The funny thing is that my Mom used to make most of the meal from scratch when we were younger. She drifted toward the ready made products as we got older and she went to working nights. I began reversing the trend when I got into cooking during my college years. Cooking from scratch is cheaper, and I really have to watch what I'm eating.

The Baker's Rack of Insanity
Though I must say that say that I am way, way better physically than I was last year. This time last year I was doing chemo every other week. I'm far more mobile and much less miserable. However, I have had to deal with being more easily fatigued. I used to be able to pull off a holiday meal for a dozen people while working a full time job. These days, I have to choose a few chores to do per day, and that is it. This is why we've taken to making cookie dough on one day and baking it on another day. Packing and shipping are broken up as well. It's a little disheartening to not be as active as I once was, but I'm getting things done. Jon often points out that my full time job is recovering from the past two years. That makes sense, but the limitations still take me aback occasionally. I'm still not sure if I'll ever be able to do a 17 hour shooting day. Then again, I'm not sure if those were ever a good idea. I used hallucinate after doing those. I'm okay with the state of things most days, especially considering where I was two years ago or even at the beginning of this year.

By the way, to the left is the crazy big bakers rack that takes up a large percentage of the common area in our apartment. As you can see, there are Jon's stacking skills in evidence on the top row. The rest of the shelves contain the majority of my pantry items and almost all of my cook and bake ware. I know some of you will be trying to read the products. I dare you to try!

This past week has been interesting. I sold a short story! It's not a genre of fiction I typically write. It's a lot edgier and disturbing, and the sex is very sexy but it has extreme consequences. It was very, very nice to be recruited for the project. I'm actually going to write something closer to my usual fare – also at the behest of the editor. On the heels of being recruited as a manga editor and being included in another anthology, it's been a really good year creatively! Mind, I'm behind on many things that I need to be working on, but it isn't often I get requests from periodicals. My plan is to get back on track with the things I need to tick off my long list this week. We'll see. I'll also be going through the next round of diagnostic tests. It's more likely that I'll be taking the path of least resistance.


Most of this blog has been an update. I can't really add anything more right now.

The following is a blog I did for one of the pop culture sites I write for occasionally. It was to be a panel topic at an upcoming convention, but one of the main people who was going to participate had to cancel due to a scheduling conflict. Still, it's a fun and highly geeky topic involving some inappropriate depictions of TV characters that are moving ever slowly into the mainstream. And before anyone gets into an uproar with anyone I mention, I can either back up what I'm saying through independent sources, or I have permission to mention names and characters. So, those who continue – you've been warned. And enjoy!

For everyone else, stay tuned.

From Slash to Bromance -- Moving Beyond Subtext

Recently, I've had the good fortune of having one of my hobbies turn into a freelance job. I'll be editing translated manga into casual English for a major distributor of yaoi titles. In Japan, these homoerotic stories are sold in magazines that can be purchased almost everywhere. There are even anime versions running on TV. That there is enough of a market here for more than one distributor making money importing and translating them is pretty amazing. But times are changing for those of us who have long read and written slash fiction based on TV shows.

Despite popular opinion amongst critics, slash in fanfiction usually doesn't spring from a vacuum. [Yes, I said usually. I am well aware of pairings that would make a stomach turn like Legolas/Sauron or even Jean-Luc Picard/Elrod the Elf guy, and I am reminded that there exists Icabod/Horseman slash. Heck, I once did quite a rant on a panel about bizarre pairings that ended with me suggesting that even Opie/Barney Fife was fair game in some Slashers' eyes]. Thankfully, this strangeness is a minor part of Slash Fanfiction. Typically, there is smoke that inspires that fire in the writers.

They call them Bromances now, but 
 the phenomena has been around for a long, long time. It's a combination of writers writing much stronger parts for male characters than female characters in a series and a very strong personal chemistry between the pair of male actors. For Slashers, this phenomena begins with Star Trek's Kirk and Spock. No matter how many broads were thrown at Captain Kirk or the few that were thrown at Spock, there was never anyone closer to them than each other. Heck, Kirk more or less chose Spock over his own son. But these Bromances were not confined to Sci-fi in the 70s. Starsky and Hutch had an even hotter Bromance. Executive Producer, Aaron Spelling, called them 'prime time homos' [you should Google that, it's hilarious]. However, by and large, the actors told the media at the time that Dave Starsky and Ken Hutchinson loved each other – like brothers. And that era being a simpler time in mainstream America, few saw the subtext that was percolating between the characters. It was simply beyond the grasp of any regular viewer's imagination. There was no way such subtext would move anywhere past making out after flub takes that would go on the crew gag reel.

Things got interesting in the 90s for Slashers as it seemed that subtext was inching toward the surface at the same time that the pleas for openly gay characters (who weren't some sort of freaky serial killers) were starting to be heard. In my orbit, there was even the first signs of fan service  from media in North America from one show and vehement denial in the face of the obvious from another. Sometime between the original run and 1997 season of due South , series lead and by then Executive Producer and staff writer, Paul Gross, was shown some of the slash fiction about the lead characters in the show during an interview. He was very amused by this development. That following season featured a lot of the subtext peaking through into text on the show. It even ended with the leading men literally riding off into the sunset together. Oh, here is one of those aforementioned gag reels. But that's Canada. They actually have Gay marriage up there.

South of the border in the US during roughly that same time, there was UPN's action adventure series, The Sentinel. The first review I read of that series talked about how inordinately close the lead characters were. Of course, hag that I am, that meant I was totally there. I was not disappointed. Not since Starsky and Hutch had I seen characters with that much subtext between them. It was so obvious that our normally oblivious, stand up comedian neighbor thought those guys were doing all sorts of things he didn't want to think about – and he never noticed that Mulder and Scully were having a romance. Between season one and two, series lead Richard Burgi joked that he wouldn't mind if his character, Jim Ellison's, series sidekick, Blair Sandburg, played by Garett Maggart, moved upstairs into his room and they got on with things. That didn't go over well with either UPN or its affiliates who were already unhappy about the network's weak performance. The next season featured a parade of female characters to insert between the male leads. It didn't really affect the chemistry between the characters, but it did muddle the show enough that it fizzled out.

Nearly fifteen years later, it is a brand new world for slashers. Though subtext remains subtext in the shows itself, the showrunners don't try to run away from it. In fact, they really give it some fan service. The most accommodating of the shows is Supernatural. Frankly, that slash makes me queasy as the characters are brothers. In the parlance of the genre, I'm beyond squicked. Somehow, the show has acknowledged the fans without actually supporting their fetish or alienating them. They've even found a clever and humorous way to write the fans' obsessions into the series. I give you episodes entitled The Real Ghost Busters  ; The Monster at the end of This Book ; and The French Mistake .

I find that development an inconceivable leap from the days where the slash was hidden from all but trusted insiders of the fandom. Even non sci-fi shows like Hawaii Five-0 are acknowledging the chemistry of their leading men by doing things like a video  that rivals anything a panting fangirl could dream up. And then, I am reminded there were those Lord of the Rings ads on TBS.

I have to think that the day is soon coming that the passion between a pair of male leads on a TV show will be subtext no longer. And then what are we fangirls going to write about??

1 comment:

Kimberly Hunter said...

"Bromance", brilliant! Of course, with Torchwood sweeping across the nation like a tidalwave, I hope more shows like it will pop up. But I think fanfic will never die out. Not as long as we have characters that inspire us and make us think beyond what they represent, it will continue. Which can only be a good thing. Look how many great writers have begun with fanfic and then gone on to write such compelling novels. And with the manga and anime out there adding to the mix, well, plenty of fodder for fertile imaginations. One of my own stories was inspired by a manga turned anime and I've read plenty of others that if not inspired by such, then the writer had the main characters in mind while writing it.
Good luck with the cooking and glad you're feeling better.


Kimberly Hunter