December 28th, 2008

faith holiday lights

Summary of the Holidays

Now that the whirlwind of the holidays has died down (for the most part), I thought I'd check in and let you all know what's been going on. First of all, I hope all of you that celebrate had a wonderful, relaxing holiday (whichever one it may have been). I last left off talking about the impending office Christmas Party my company was throwing. It should be known that I rarely, if ever, cook or bake. I think that gene skipped over me along with the shoes/shopping gene. Despite any lack of inherent interest in whipping up kitchen concoctions, I decided to take a crack at making rum balls, a favorite holiday recipe of my late grandmother's. The recipe is pretty simple (I will post if anyone is interested), but fairly labor intensive, especially since I did all the mixing by hand (rather than a food processor), as well as the ball formation and decoration. In total, from start to finish, the project took me about 2.5 hours. I also ran out of Bacardi at one point and had to throw in some bourbon instead, but I doubt anyone was the wiser. They came out really well, so yay! and were enjoyed at the party. People actually thought that I had bought them, so I definately had a bushy-tailed moment. Also, because I live for dressing up (if you couldn't tell already from various other pic posts), I threw together an outfit that I thought was appropriately festive.  

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I also brought along this great Christmas mash-up CD, which included such fun mixes as Holla Back Girl (Gwen Stefani)/Hava Nagilah and You Shook Me All Night Long (AC/DC)/Mary, Mary. The holder Christmas jingles were starting to put people to sleep, and as suspected everyone chickened out of karaoka (except me, of course, and a co-worker involved in musical theater). Later that evening I headed out with James to set up his apartment for after-hours festivities. To get more space out of his modestly sized Hell's Kitchen apartment, we dismanteled his box spring and mattress, pushed it against his closet and wrapped it in Christmas wrapping paper so the effect was a huge present propped up. There was also tinsel, lights, bells and stockings hung on walls and ceiling. Gotta say, the place looked great. My friend Amanda came along for the fun, quite a few co-workers stopped by, and a number of friends-of-friends that I met for the first time. Lots of socializing, drinking and dancing. The seasonal cocktails that James whipped up were also fabu, especially the red pepper emulsion tequila drink. That was a surprise. Yummy and very fresh. Since the party was a bit more formal, a costume change was in order.

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Christmas proper also went off without much of a hitch. I invited Gus and another friend of mine over and my parents and I cooked dinner. I decided I wanted to try to other favorite holiday foods of grandma's, which were her spinach balls (spinach mixed with stuffing, essentially) and cranberry/walnut bread. Both of these also came out quite well, which I think is a good start to trying to be more involved with cooking. My other 2009 to-do - exercise - will also be aided by Gus' purchase of a treadmill for me, which I am very excited about. 

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buffy before the blood

A Rec, Voting, and Awards

Over Christmas,[info]only_passenger posted a really wonderful canon-based Buffy/Xander fic set between seasons 6 & 7 called Surfacing. I'll admit, it's not a pairing I really ship, but it's a pairing that has intrigued me for some time mostly because no one writes it. You'd think there'd be more, but I couldn't even point to one story I've seen that pairs the two of them. Lately, I've really been enjoying the idea of Xander and the more I write him, the more sympathetic I am to his character and his strengths, such as his loyalty. He can be an utter douche, judgemental and harsh, but he's also proven to be a true friend, heroic, protective and a stand-up sort of guy. Pass weaves together a scenario that does a lot explain how the rift between Buffy and Xander in S6 was closed by S7. It's beautifully written, true to character, and brings closure and healing to the two of them and their friendship that was never adequately explored on the show (without much angst!). Go, read, enjoy. It's wonderful and I only wish there were more thoughtful character explorations like this story out there.

Voting is now open at Spuffy Awards, so I encourage all the Spuffy fans on my flist to go over, check out the nominees, and cast your vote. Two of my Spuffy fics - The Cross/Burn Marks and Pre-Nuptial Bliss - are up, as well. I'll also throw in a reminder that Fang Fetish Awards can still use nominations for their current round, which closes in mid-January.

I've picked up a few pretties for a handful of recent fics at the rwsawards and the SunnyD Awards. Every time I receive an award at a fan voting site I'm always really shocked, so thank you so much to those of you that voted. It means a lot. And, of course, thanks to the judges, graphics people and fandom members that do the nominating. My hat's off to you guys. 

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I've been thinking about writing a meta/process post on sex scenes. I've thought about doing this before, but I wasn't sure what I wanted my focus to be. Simply going at it from the angle of "how to write a good sex scene" is a bit played out and a matter of opinion. Anything I say will be subjective, so I was wondering if my flist had any feelings or were particularly interested in a specific area of erotic writing. A few things that I think might be worth discussing are word usage (something I'm very careful about), tone, and pacing. All of these things, hand in hand with characterization and the other elements that contribute to an effective piece of writing, are on the table. Any thoughts?