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Below are the 20 most recent journal entries recorded in a_t_rain's LiveJournal:

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Saturday, May 21st, 2016
10:55 am
more fun with auto-translation
So it appears that someone has been translating some of my Vorkosigan fics into Russian again, in this case A Brief History of Pornography in the Imperial Security Service (Simon, gen, implied sexual violence). As usual, I couldn't resist taking a look via my browser's automatic translator. I am greatly, greatly amused that "You can see a penis any old time" in the original has somehow been converted into "In the old days straight penises were everywhere"!

* It occurs to me that I have been remiss about linking to my Vorkosigan fic on LJ, so here's the rest of the roundup for the semester:

We That Are Young (young Piotr, King Lear, gen)
Give My Regards to Brodsky (Alys, By, gen)
Cargo (Shiv / Udine backstory)
On a Cold Planet (By / Rish, post-CVA but pre-epilogue)
Ordinary (Topaz, Pearl, gen)
Saturday, April 23rd, 2016
9:31 pm
Shakespeare's-deathday fic
So this was going to be part of one of those "five times Shakespeare's children saw one of his plays" fics, only then it started to have a sixth and seventh and eighth part, only they all remained irresolutely fragmentary, and I thought for a while I might write an actual novel about Shakespeare's family, only I don't have a plot. So. A bit of a project that may or may not go anywhere.

1616. Susanna watches Timon of Athens.

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Saturday, April 9th, 2016
3:21 pm
meme from nineveh_uk
Fic Work-In-Progress Guessing Game

Comment with a word, any word. If it’s in my WIP document(s) I’ll answer your comment with the sentence that it appears in.

With the caveat that I don't really have a WIP folder, and am not very good keeping track of files, so my answers may or may not be accurate.
Wednesday, April 6th, 2016
1:41 pm
The general weirdness going wild...
Apparently someone decided to translate my Vorkosigan fic Cold Case into Russian. This was a complete surprise, and I'm not sure why they picked that one, since it's neither the first nor the most popular in my series of behind-the-scenes-of-ACC fics, but it is the closest thing I've ever written to M/M slash (although it's very brief, incidental, and plot-driven), so I guess that might explain it. Anyway, I'm flattered.

But OMG, reading your own stuff translated into Russian and then converted back to English via Google Translate is surreal. A sampling of my favorite lines:

The combination of Vor gentleman with a tarnished reputation, very lovely commoner and semi-legal tavern remarkable in itself, but the general weirdness going wild when the two of them were taken to view the paper of the working file.

"No, I do not Sociopath Pierre and Pierre the Hermit. I'm just a nice-Pierre Small-and-sometimes-Libertine".

And, you know, I can usually do not start to get drunk right at dawn. Despite the fact that we are with you relatives.

Well, for example, chatting with him for a while, do not be tempted to cram yourself earplugs and loyalty still humming a little song to himself ...

Always fun to see the reaction of the interlocutor, you should talk to him about bisexuality in plain text.

Yet one thing was fucking unfair to rabies.
Friday, March 18th, 2016
8:33 pm
letter meme
OK, so I figure I should post something every now and again just to prove I'm not dead. nineveh_uk gave me the letter R.

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Comment if you want a letter!
Friday, January 22nd, 2016
2:05 pm
1902 Shakespeare quiz, Seventh and Lastly
Only seven questions in this final installment, alas, since the Numbering Genie seems to have struck again.

50) What do we know from the Plays about the private means and residence of the aunt of a young lover who came near having his head cut off?
51) Give six examples from the plays of nineteenth-twentieth century slang.
52) What character in the plays lost his head because he wrote correct Latin?
53) What character said that two potentates must be equally valiant, because they were both born by rivers in which salmon abounded?
54) What character was accused by his sister of preaching better than he practiced?
55) What character knelt before his blind father backward so as to pretend that he had grown a beard?
59) What King thrust into prison by his foes, receives a secret visit from one of his grooms, who breaks into sobs to think that the horse of which he had the care, is to be used in the triumph of former master's enemies, and what was the horse's name?

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Thanks for the quiz, B.W.H. It was fun, if occasionally frustrating. I bet you didn't think someone would be taking it 114 years in the future. I wonder who you were.
Wednesday, January 20th, 2016
7:53 pm
1902 Shakespeare quiz, part 6
40) What character in the plays uses the name of a popular seventeenth century author as an ejaculation?
41) What lady had for her maid the daughter of a celebrated witch?
42) On what day of the week, and at what hour did Romeo kill himself?
43) What character in the plays feared to cross the English channel for fear of seasickness.
44) Tell Cleopatra's fish story.
45) What character invited guests to a banquet and set them up for nothing but hot water?
46) What character in the plays was buried in the sand on a sea-beach?
47) What character was supposed to be possessed of a devil? What one talked Staffordshire dialect?
48) What character was hanged for stealing a crucifix from a cathedral?
49) Who arranged a play to be performed before a noble lord and wanted to play all the parts himself?

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Tuesday, January 19th, 2016
5:41 pm
1902 Shakespeare quiz, Part 5
30) Give the pleadings and arguments in the action of William Visor of Wincot, against Clement Perkes of the Hill?
31) What was the color of Orlando's hair? Who punned on his own name on his deathbed?
32) What dainties did Perdita provide for the sheep-shearing feast?
33) What was Shakespeare's favorite ballad judging from the fact that it is the one oftenest alluded to in the plays.
34) What six characters in the plays are palpably thumbnail sketches for six characters in the later ones?
35) What Scriptural story did Falstaff think fittest to be represented on tapestry?
36) What women in the plays had beards?
37) What character in the plays owed his life to his ability to write a clerky or engrossing hand?
38) What character in the plays was punished for his crimes by being buried breast deep in the earth and left to starve?
39) What character in the plays made a plume for his hat out of a pack of playing cards?

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Monday, January 18th, 2016
9:08 am
1902 Shakespeare quiz, Part 4
As before, I've transcribed the questions exactly as written, spelling errors and all.

20) How many years had Falstaff known Bardolph before he met Mrs. Quickly?
21) What was the name of Poins's sister? And who is alleged to have promised to have married her?
22) Where is breach of promise mentioned in the Play's?
23) What character was taken prisoner in joke by his friends disguised as enemies?
24) What character, who boasted of his knowledge of a certain language, was exposed by his companions who talked to him in gibberish which he mistook for that language?
25) What was Dull's riddle and what was the answer to it?
26) What are the names of the only four dogs in Shakespeare?
27) What noble lady refused to accept forgiveness from her leige if spoken in French and what Queen refused absolution if given in Latin?
28) Who was Casca's schoolmate?
29) Give all the instances of second marriages in the plays?

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Sunday, January 17th, 2016
10:49 am
1902 Shakespeare quiz, Part 3
In which the questions range from fairly normal trivia to "Guess what B.W.H. was thinking when he wrote this."

10) What lady in the Plays gave a critical opinion on her physical attractions? How many others are there of her name in the plays?
11) What Shakespearean characters played billiards?
12) What pair of lovers in the Plays played chess?
13) What was the maiden name of Petruchio's wife?
14) What Shakespearean characters mixed their metaphors?
15) What poetry did Falstaff propose to supply a theme for?
16) What character in the Plays gives a purely fanciful definition of a Latin noun to make a point in an argument?
17) Give three examples of Shakespeare's opinion of schoolmasters?
18) Two characters in the plays are said to have been born under the influence of certain planets; and one under a constellation. Name characters and influences?
19) What animal did Shakespeare hear of being hung for killing a human being?

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Friday, January 15th, 2016
9:00 am
1902 Shakespeare trivia quiz, Part 2
Now we are heading into true stump-the-Shakespeare-scholar territory, so help with the ones I haven't been able to figure out would be appreciated! I have reproduced the questions exactly as printed, numbering errors and all.

11) What was the name of Falstaff's tailor?
12) What was the name of Mrs. Quickly's spiritual advisor?
13) What was the tale that Imogen read in bed.
14) What did old Capulet think of people who would not dance?
4) What was to have been the menu at Juliet's marriage with the County Paris?
5) What four characters in the plays had blue eyes?
6) What one of Queen Victoria's Prime-ministers is mentioned by his popular name in the plays?
7) What character in the plays, on being accosted by three acquaintances, expresses in his greeting to each, the different degree of his intimacy with them?
8) Differentiate between the finger rings of three gentlemen, two of whom were lovers of noble ladies and the third a reprobate?
9) The wedding gown of a certain noble lady is given in detail in the Plays. Who was the lady, and give the items detailed?

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Thursday, January 14th, 2016
3:02 pm
A 1902 Shakespeare trivia quiz, part 1
So the university library is being renovated, and all kinds of interesting things are turning up. One of the librarians called me over, in great excitement, to show me her latest discovery: a stack of early-twentieth-century volumes of a journal called New Shakespeareana.

It seems that in those days, academic journals had trivia quizzes. The editor printed a list of 59 70 questions (for some reason, #14 is followed by a second #4), sent in by one B.W.H., who notes, "Of course every one of your readers can answer all the following questions without a Bartlett Concordance, as the answers are all in the Plays." (We had better be able to do that, as the answers are not in the journal.)

For fun, I'll be posting ten questions at a time, followed by my best stab at answers under the cut -- but I can't answer them all by any means, and I'm not sure all my guesses are correct, so everyone else should feel free to jump in.

1) What was Bully Bottom's remedy for a cut finger?
2) What credentials were required of bar-tenders (tapsters) in Shakespeare's time?
3) What was Falstaff's waist measurement?
4) How many children had Mr. Justice Shallow? Give their names.
5) Who was Parson Evans' favorite poet, and favorite poem? What was Falstaff's favorite tune?
6) How did Orsino's nephew lose his leg?
7) What was Holofernes's opinion as to the value of silent letters?
8) Who made Desdemona's handkerchief? and who, according to the arrangement of plays in the First Folios, was the first married woman jealous of her husband?
9) Who had a statue of pure gold after her death?
10) How long did Leontes take to woo and win his queen?

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Sunday, January 3rd, 2016
7:23 pm
Fic stuff
So, after more than a year and 200+ pages, A Bit Too Much Good Work is COMPLETE. Remind me never to attempt novel-length fic again, and especially not alternate-POV-of-a-canon-book fic, because that stuff is a bitch to plot and write. Bonus ficlet about Amiri Arqua here: Magnetism and Gravitation.

The rest of this post will be a very long and rambly discussion of That Shakespeare Scene, plus a few notes on the development of various OCs, since there were a few people at AO3 who asked for it. (Everything under the cut is extremely spoilery, and will make no sense if you haven't read ABTMGW anyway.)

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Thursday, December 10th, 2015
2:00 pm
so, I wrote fic...
... on the burning question of "What would have happened if Macbeth had access to Vorkosiverse reproductive technology?" As you do. (No, it isn't really a crossover. It may be shamelessly self-inserty.)

Mike Adams, Justina Vorrutyer, and Wyx Hargraves, Authors of Macbeth. Makes use of places and concepts from Gentleman Jole and the Red Queen, but totally OC-centric and not otherwise spoilery.
Monday, November 30th, 2015
7:02 pm
more dubious summaries of Shakespeare fic from ff.net
Because it's been ages since I've done one of these posts, and because hunting for amusing summaries is way more fun than doing actual work. As always, bizarre R&J AUs never go out of style...

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Saturday, November 21st, 2015
6:31 pm
super-short Duchess of Malfi fic
Dance of Death

I. In his last days, the Cardinal supposed death to be the end; he had long since lost faith in anything else. He is not ready for what comes after: his mistress, as pretty and lively and vain and covetous as she was in life.

For a moment, her face is reassuringly familiar. Then she bends to kiss him, and the poison on her lips burns like one material fire.

II. Antonio had hoped to see his wife face to face, in that other world; but when he sees Cariola first, he understands that it is fitting. They were good friends. They also, without meaning to, betrayed one another. He does not know what to say to her. You would have lived to marry, he thinks, if I had not. He is glad that she does not seem angry.

She takes him by the hand, and he rises. Come, I will bring you where your lady is.

III. Their small hands will not be still, even in death, and they will not let him lie still either. They grab and tug at him, importunate, in the way of children demanding to play with a favorite uncle.

I never meant to sin against you, Ferdinand thinks, I hated you only because you might have been mine. Why am I to be punished with you for eternity?

IV. He hoped, so many times, that Lord Ferdinand would not send him to her again. Now, after all, he would like to speak to her: Let me explain, I tried to give you justice, I meant to save your husband’s life, but it was all too late, too soon, all wrong, and I suppose this must be the road to hell because you know what they say about good intentions, but you must believe me when I say I tried to send you to heaven. But the dead do not, precisely, speak; and the only word that fills Bosola’s soul is Mercy?

She lays her hand upon the wound that Ferdinand gave him, and he is healed. Mercy.
Wednesday, October 21st, 2015
10:32 pm
Gentleman Jole & the Red Queen
OK, so I downloaded the eARC as soon as it became available, and then read the whole thing in a couple of hours, because apparently I have no will power. (Also, I didn't have any class prep or grading to do today, but I did have a two-hour "strategic-planning priorities conversation session" that consisted, seriously, of the upper administration making us write headlines about our university that we hoped might appear in the Chronicle of Higher Education in 2021. After that, I figured I deserved some shameless self-indulgence.)

Non-spoilery first impressions: This is definitely light romantic-comedy fluff, mostly a nostalgic visit with beloved characters rather than anything terribly high-stakes. (That is to say, the characters do make life choices that have a lot of weight for them, personally, but there aren't any wrenching moral dilemmas or catastrophic threats.) I, personally, have no problem whatsoever with this. If you are looking for a lot of plot, or a lot of angst, you will probably be disappointed.

Slightly-more-spoilery reactions under the cut, although no real giveaways about the main character arcs or plot.

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Friday, October 16th, 2015
1:54 pm
Canterbury Tales fic: Renaissance
OK, so this has literally been sitting on my hard drive for years, so I figured it was high time I posted it, even though I'm still not sure the ending is much of an ending. Also, I feel like I should apologize to all medievalists ever for the title, but it stubbornly refused to be called anything else.

I note that there is a 500+-year tradition of Canterbury Tales fic, including fanboy self-insertion, pairing canon characters with OCs, and femmeslash, but I'm pretty sure this is the only Clerk / Wife of Bath's Niece fic, like, ever.

In which the Clerk loses a bet and gets offered a new job, and we find out what sort of mother Alison of Bath would make...

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Saturday, September 12th, 2015
8:22 am
AAARGHH, No Fear Shakespeare
(First of all, I don't know why I do this to myself, but I was looking for the "most capricious poet" quote, and No Fear Shakespeare was the first site that popped up.)

Real Shakespeare:

Touchstone: I am here with thee and thy goats, as the most capricious poet, honest Ovid, was among the Goths.

Jaques: O knowledge ill-inhabited, worse than Jove in a thatched house!

Touchstone: When a man's verses cannot be understood, or a man's good wit seconded with the forward child, understanding, it strikes a man more dead than a great reckoning in a little room.

No Fear Shakespeare:

Touchstone: Well, I'm out here with you and your goats, in the same way that the witty poet Ovid was abandoned to the barbaric Goths.

Jaques: Oh, knowledge put to such bad use is worse than a god cooped up in a hut.

Touchstone: When a man's jokes fall that flat, it's as depressing as getting a large bill for a short stay in a little room.

Just NO NO NO. So many times no, for so many reasons, but especially because none of this, with the possible exception of the phrase "seconded with the forward child" and the single word "reckoning," actually requires a translation for a native speaker of modern English. What it requires is footnotes: explicating this passage in a way that makes sense means giving your students cultural knowledge, about Ovid, and about Jupiter and Baucis and Philemon*, and about Christopher Marlowe, and possibly even about the etymology of the word "capricious." None of which they are actually going to get from this "translation." And it drives me crazy when "study aids" actively conspire to hide this knowledge from students, instead of helping to uncover it.

(As a side note, why does No Fear Shakespeare automatically change "thou" to "you"? Are there seriously students, even at the high school level, who don't know that "thou" means "you"? As far as I can tell, they're simply assuming it's alienating because it's archaic. Never mind that 1) this is a distinction that encodes important information about characters and relationships in early modern English; and 2) it takes all of three minutes to teach, and students invariably think it's cool when they learn about it.)

* Which makes the whole play so much richer, seriously. Some of the other references may be throwaways, but this one isn't.
Friday, August 21st, 2015
10:31 pm
miscellaneously fannish
1) OK, so there is a new Guy Gavriel Kay book coming out ...

... set, more or less, in the early modern Eastern Mediterranean ...

... with a motif about "the lives of those not powerful"?

It's vaguely possible that this could somehow be more Relevant To My Interests, but I'm damned if I can see how.

2) I have my new exam copy of the Norton Shakespeare, third edition. Better and wiser minds than mine will probably have a lot to say about the merits of this text, but I will only say that the lines "Bear thou my hand, sweet wench, between thy teeth" and "Groping for trouts in a peculiar river" have been RESTORED -- no longer relegated to an appendix or edited into something more genteel. THANK YOU. (Also, thanks to gehayi and lareinenoire for talking me into teaching R2 this semester, because I had a student come up to me after our first class this morning and tell me it was her favorite play.)

3) Bujold Ficathon 2015 is open for sign-ups, prompts, and fills. Also, chapters 7-9 of A Bit Too Much Good Work are up at AO3. Now with 700% more people reciting Shakespeare while doped up on fast-penta than the canon! I should be getting chapter 10 up sometime this weekend.
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