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Below are 20 journal entries, after skipping by the 20 most recent ones recorded in a_t_rain's LiveJournal:

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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.
Friday, July 24th, 2015
8:32 pm
fic roundup post
Misc. new and new-old stuff, posted at AO3 over the last month:

-- Chapters 2-6 of A Bit Too Much Good Work, in which most of the major plot strands are set up, and this story finally passes the Bechdel test. Damn, I'd forgotten how confusing and complicated longfic is to write.

-- A couple of spinoff ficlets set in the same general universe, The Fast-Penta Test (young!By, helps if you've read at least one of the others first) and Loyalty (even younger!Rish, stands alone). The latter, I note, is the first thing I've written in this fandom that doesn't have any Vorrutyers in it. I am one-track and predictable.

-- A revised version of Out of This House, my old Tonks-kills-Bellatrix fix-it fic, now tweaked a bit to be more or less Deathly Hallows-compliant (to the extent, obviously, that a "what if" AU can be anything of the sort).

Going to Chile with my dad for a couple of weeks, starting tomorrow. It will be my first time in South America. Should be fun!
Sunday, June 28th, 2015
3:41 pm
a ranking of selected Shakespeare plays ...
... according to how likely it is that the advice "Just have a threesome already" would solve everyone's problems.

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Saturday, June 20th, 2015
2:53 pm
"A Bit Too Much Good Work" OC list
So, I've finally started to post the plotty By / Rish casefic I've been hinting about for a while, a.k.a. the story that I went hunting for immediately after finishing Captain Vorpatril's Alliance, discovered that it didn't exist, and then had to write myself. There was no way to write this story without massive numbers of OCs, so this post is intended as a sort of cheat sheet for anyone having trouble keeping track of all the names.

I've thought it best to make this a sticky post and edit and update it as characters are introduced, and to organize the list chapter by chapter, in order not to give away too much up front. (If, say, the cast of characters included "Lord Vorvyctym," "Lord Vorvyctym's brother and heir," "Lord Vorvyctym's wife," "Lord Vorvyctym's wife's lover," and "Lord Vorvyctym's butler," it would be a dead giveaway that Lord Vorvyctym was going to be an important character, and readers could make certain inferences about his role in the plot.) Characters will be listed under the chapter in which they're first mentioned by name, even if they don't actually appear for a while.

Generally, my standard for including a character in this list is "are they going to be mentioned again in a later chapter?" If someone doesn't make the cut -- like the two call girls in Chapter 1 -- you can safely assume that they're not at all important to the plot, although not everyone who makes the list is going to be particularly important.

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Wednesday, June 10th, 2015
6:42 pm
meme, from pretty much everyone
Share seven sentences from page 7 of a current WIP:

“I liked it because it was true.”

Stephen was surprised. He had grave doubts about the accuracy of the tale of St. Cecilia, although he supposed he would have to repress them if he ever took holy orders.

“True to her, I mean,” Alison explained. “It wouldn’t have shown well if I had told it. We’re not all made to be saints, and it would be an uncomfortable world to live in if we were, just as much as if we were all sinners. But she believed every word of it, and that is what matters.”


And, on a lighter note, because it is jolly well time that I shared some of the By / Rish Epic That Has Eaten My Brain, here is some of Page 7 of that. (There is a Page 77 too, but it is very spoilery.) I ask you to accept that The Mousetrap will still be running in the thirty-first century or whenever it is, because obviously it will be.


"You’ll get there someday, and you’ll make far better use of the opportunity than I did. Think about it, Alain: all those glorious works of art, millennia-old castles and cathedrals, battlefields ... and I spent my time experimenting with old-Earth intoxicants. I could have gone to see Shakespeare in London. I didn’t even go to see The Mousetrap, because I was too busy trying to find out what happens if you combine absinthe and hashish.”

“What does happen if you combine absinthe and hashish?”

“Well ... you know how the Galactic Narcotics section of the training manual says THC is an anti-nausea drug? It isn’t a very effective one.”
Saturday, May 30th, 2015
10:11 pm
Misc. middle-European observations
- Is it just me, or did the Hapsburgs have the worst taste of any ruling family ever? Seriously, their entire approach to building design seems to be "hey, let's put some statues on, and also some eagles because eagles are cool, and some Corinthian columns even though there's nothing for them to hold up, and maybe a few fake hieroglyphs."

- One of the nice things about backpacker hostels is that nobody bats an eye if you fold your laundry in the bar.

- I do not speak German with any facility. But still less do I speak Slovak or Hungarian.

- I am never traveling without a smartphone again. How did I never know how useful these things are?
Monday, May 18th, 2015
9:02 pm
ficspam, and travel plans
Posted the last bit of the Vorrutyers-now-being-slightly-less-performative series to AO3: Dirty Angel, missing scene between Dono and By right after the Council of Counts vote.

Going to Budapest tomorrow, not really sure where after that. (The nice thing about Budapest is that there is basically no direction you can travel from there that will not be interesting.) If anybody has particular favorite destinations in the Hungary / Austria / Slovakia corner of the world, please tell me about them! (I have a bit less than three weeks to play with, which is not really long enough, but it was as much travel as I could squeeze in between conferences.)
Thursday, May 7th, 2015
2:34 pm
Somebody translated my Jane Austen fic into French! I am ridiculously flattered.
Wednesday, April 29th, 2015
9:42 pm
Vorkosigan fic: Cold Case
Part Four of the ever-growing Vorrutyers Doing Stuff During ACC series (I think I need a better title than that). In which Byerly decides to investigate the lightflyer crash that killed Pierre's third fiancee.

Blanket warning for Richars-related content, although "exactly how awful is Richars?" is kind of the crux of this one, and for Vaguely Exploitative Spy Sex.

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Sunday, April 19th, 2015
7:10 pm
fandom corrupts my brain
:: goes looking to see if anyone else is writing ImpSec casefic ::

:: types "Imp-" into the tag search box on AO3 ::

Impala sex? This is a thing that people write about? Often enough for it to pop up in a list of commonly used tags?

... Oh. Sex in an Impala. Not sex with impalas. Or, you know, some sort of "everyone's an impala" AU that happens to include sex.

:: ponders the fact that for half a minute, the other two possibilities actually sounded plausible ::

ETA: So I seem to have written "everyone's an impala" HP crackfic in the comments. I think I really, really don't want to grade papers tonight. If anybody feels like taking a shot at another fandom, have fun!
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