seventhe: Sev plays FFIII. (Oh. Okay.) (Refia: oh. okay.)
Heyyyooo, so let's talk about fic stuff. Today's post is a small-fandom extravaganza. We'll start with DOINK! 2013!

I got a really awesome gift this year:

Seeing The Bright (1875 words) by Estirose
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: Final Fantasy II, Final Fantasy III
Rating: General Audiences
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Characters: Princess Hilda, Gordon (Final Fantasy II), Leila (Final Fantasy II), Arc (Final Fantasy III)
Summary:

At camp, Hilda gets ready to retake Fynn. But there's a little time before that to rest, talk to her friends, and decide what to make of Leila.


Not only is this a crossover fic (!!!!!!!) that not only includes some of my favorite FFII characters but managed to work in Arc (and Arc/Alus!!!) – points for that alone, ladies and gentlemen; ways to make your Sev happy: surprise crossover references – but it's a beautiful look at Hilda's mindset in the game before they retake Fynn, the way she thinks of her people (not just the people of Fynn she needs to care for, but the people around her she chooses to trust) and her situation. It's gorgeous.

I also received an awesome piece of Chocobo Down:

Don't Talk to Mountains (They Talk Back) (2755 words) by flonnebonne
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: Final Fantasy IV, Final Fantasy IV: The After Years
Rating: General Audiences
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Relationships: Edge Geraldine/Rydia
Characters: Edge Geraldine, Kain Highwind, Rydia, Cecil Harvey, Rosa Joanna Farrell, Ceodore Harvey
Additional Tags: how can anyone spend seventeen years on a mountain, meta disguised as fic, ffiv: the after years makes no sense, edge is silly
Summary:

Edge tries to talk Kain off the mountain and gets an earful of nonsense. After which the story stops even trying to make sense.


I started giggling at the summary, then the first paragraph made me lose it, and I was hooting by the end. This is legitimately one of the funniest fics I've ever read.

I wrote two things for DOINK! this year. My gift was:

Sight (3461 words) by seventhe
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: Final Fantasy II
Rating: General Audiences
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Characters: Minwu, Hilda (Final Fantasy II)
Additional Tags: Hilda/Minwu (implied), gratuitous use of imagery, Backstory
Summary:

Minwu sees things; when he looks at one thing, he sees another, and he has his whole life. But when he looks at Fynn Castle, he sees only its stones; when he looks at Princess Hilda, he doesn't know what he sees.

The story of how Minwu came to serve Hilda, and how they came to trust one another.


I ended up really enjoying this prompt, and really enjoyed writing this fic. There's a lot to be said about the bond between Hilda and Minwu, and I really only approached Minwu's side here, but after [community profile] moogle_university I apparently had a lot to say, up to and including a lot of crossover meta fun to throw in there and play with. It is full of references to other FFs! It is a fun game: gotta catch 'em all! I am awful. However, I think I now ship Hilda/Minwu. I'm not sure I'm sorry.

I also wrote a piece of Chocobo Down:

a dancing game (1840 words) by seventhe
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: Final Fantasy XII
Rating: General Audiences
Warnings: Author Chose Not To Use Archive Warnings
Characters: Vaan (Ivalice Alliance), Penelo
Additional Tags: Sky Pirates, Treasure Hunting, effective (if quirky) friendships
Summary:

Penelo and Vaan find yet another trap in search of treasure. Lucky for them, they still dance a mean game.


…which reminded me how much I enjoyed FFXII's battle system, and I am looking forward to getting there in our replay.

And finally, unrelated to DOINK! at all, I also finished and posted another giant thing, for which I will somehow manage to blame [personal profile] lassarina (for moogle_university), [personal profile] auronlu (for encouraging me), my friend Phil (for beating FFIII while visiting), and myself (for being a horrible, incorrigible person who likes terrible ships):

Architecture (12208 words) by seventhe
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: Final Fantasy III
Rating: Teen And Up Audiences
Warnings: Author Chose Not To Use Archive Warnings
Relationships: Alus/Arc
Characters: Arc (Final Fantasy III), Alus Restor
Additional Tags: Period-Typical Underage, Aged-Up Character(s), aged up from canon, precocious boy-kings, shy trusted advisors, clumsy boy makeouts, Kissing
Series: Part 2 of precocious boy-kings and their shy trusted advisors
Summary:

(+5 years from the game; sequel to Calligraphy.) Arc finds new direction in Saronia, new understanding of himself, and new everything with Alus. (In which Arc builds a bridge, Alus hires an advisor, and Luneth, Refia, and Ingus write letters.)


…because I cannot stop writing Arc/Alus and I never will and I am not sorry, so here are 12000 words of it, that and FFIII worldbuilding and continued Refia/airships and Luneth/pranks and Ingus/Sara (who actually have the best sense of humor of all of them) and Arc and Alus and trust and friendship and horrible budget committee meetings and clandestine meetings in the library (except not) and falling asleep on couches, and I will never stop having things to say about shy, awkward, kids; about clever, brilliant precocious young boys who are strong in ways that aren't traditional; and the ways they can find confidence and belonging and also make out a lot. It is like my thing for Larsa only much much worse. /DEFRIENDED

It's a direct sequel to Calligraphy, but it seemed to need to stand on its own; I'm so happy with a lot of what I wrote this month, but I'm so so very happy about this one.

I ALSO have finally found the actual Rosa fic that I have been meaning to finish and edit and post - the third part of my polyamorous trifecta, Momentum / Content With This Winter / [All The Ghosts] - and so even though I haven't really had time yet to make educated comments on [personal profile] sathari's Rosa entry I am jazzed beyond belief that I didn't lose the fic entirely like I thought.

I GUESS I HAVE BROKEN THROUGH WRITER'S BLOCK, GUYS?
seventhe: (FFEX: Doink!)


HEY Y'ALL! DOINK! Final Fantasy Exchange 2013 is open!

It's been a hell of a couple weeks getting everything to this point (especially because I have excellent timing - sure, ACCIDENTALLY A HOUSE right as we are frantically getting all of our cats in a row to launch, clearly I am a professional!), but here we are! And this will mark the first round in years where all three mods are able and excited to participate -- that's awesome.

I pretty much welcome everybody who can to participate -- there are some new rules we're using on a trial period this year, just FYI -- DOINK time is one of my favorite fannish times of the year and I'd love for as many people to play as possible.

If you can't do the exchange bits - schedule, demand, etc - I also beg you to consider joining our pinch hit team. I honestly don't have the language to tell you how important our pinch hitters are to us every year -- so if exchanges aren't your thing, but you want to do something, that's an awesome way to help us out.

 


 


Every year I want to talk about the exchange more than I do; I'm a mod, and that means there's a weird line between stuff that I can talk about publicly and stuff I can't. This year has been no different; it turns out no matter how much discussion and communication and work you put into a thing, no matter how much effort you spend trying to be fair and decent to everyone involved, there will be people who think you are doing it wrong: strongly, vocally, happily. There will be people who blatantly disregard the spirit of the exchange so that they can do things the way that they want to, to get what they want. There are people who aren't malicious, but just lazy; there are people who don't care as much as we might think they should.

There were many years of this exchange where the mod team worked incredibly hard to make things fair for our participants -- forgetting (or not really forgetting; deliberately overlooking, maybe; making the choice to not prioritize) that we, too, are involved in this exchange, and the policies we choose need to be fair not only to our participants, but to us as well. There were many years of 3am email chains and desperate chats; years we endangered our sleep and health and our jobs to get things going because we had failed to consider ourselves as parts of our own exchange. "Fair and decent to everyone involved" has to also include the mod team - or the exchange becomes a miserable exhausting experience, and that means we fall short of our responsibilities to the fandom for offering it in the first place. Everyone loses!

But this is our exchange: I won't say we 'own' it, because we're doing it for fandom, not for us; but finally after years and years of doing this we're managing to strike a balance between making it awesome for others and decent for us as mods. I'm very proud of us for doing so; running an exchange this expansive, this diverse, with the amount of by-hand care that we take with everything - our matching is all done by hand with the help of some spreadsheet wizardry; all our assignments and communications and comment replies are done by us - is a lot of work, and I'm so very proud (and, selfishly, relieved) that we've come to a point where we can balance our own strengths and schedules and limitations with the way the exchange runs. Because every year when we gave it our all, there were still people who weren't happy -- this way we can make just as many people happy (if not happier!) and still save a little for ourselves.

This long rambling note isn't to call out any participants, though, or to complain about everyone. My point here is really to just re-announce, pretty blatantly, how much I absolutely adore my co-mods [personal profile] renay and [personal profile] justira and how much I love running DOINK!. It's hard as hell to get this started every year - I am not sure I could name two other friends with whom I would have as absolutely opposite of schedule/availability as I do with them *g* - but I am really glad we're all still working together and I'm excited as fireworks for this year. ♥

Anyway. Go play!

seventhe: (Rydia: reversed)
Lots of people have already posted up their "2012 in Review" and "2013 Resolutions" posts yet. Look, I am 7 days late! It is because I'm awesome. Or, it is because I am busy. Either way, I'm going to do mine now. Seven days into January seems a fine time for someone named Seventhe P. Dragomire to post up some summary lists of memories and goals.

2012 was the year when… )

and 2013 will be the year… )Resolutions are hard. And interesting; it's easy to throw out a bunch of things at the beginning of a new calendar year and let that changing number signify a lot of changes, but I still maintain these things could be done whenever somebody feels like they're important. I also feel like doing them in large swathes can be hard: small changes are also good. So I've picked a couple things to try for January. We'll see how I do.

Overall my goal for 2013 is to have more fun. I have a pretty fun life in general, but I also work really hard for it -- I just want to keep on keeping on and be more happy. :D

well

Dec. 15th, 2012 12:06 pm
seventhe: (Edge/Rydia: no return)
if anyone is left wondering where I went and/or why I fell off the face of the earth, I just got back from the plant (aka Midgar) -- I flew down on Monday, worked some 15-hour shifts, came back late on Thursday, and basically have slept since then, almost straight through.

I'm so behind on everything -- because of life, but this plant trip didn't help. it's fucking 10 days until Christmas, only one week until I head up to my parents' house, and the holidays are kind of like a ten pound load of stress in a five pound bag anyway: plus I still have to work (most of) this week, and I have a ton of shit to finish up before the year ends and the holidays kick in and all, and just: aaaaauuuuuuuuuuuuuggggghhhhhhhhhhh

If you've emailed me and I haven't replied, this is why. If you've commented and I'm ignoring you, this is why. If I don't get to it soon, well, uh, I'm the Avatar. Deal with it

Off to try to be productive~
seventhe: (FFEX: Doink!)
I think I've been too scatterbrained to mention this lately, but I am getting really excited, so I want to make this announcement:

This Friday I'm flying out to spend the weekend with [personal profile] justira, [personal profile] renay, and [personal profile] owlmoose.

Ira I know quite well; Nay and KJ I have never actually met in person, and I'm not even sure I have words to describe how excited I am. Nay has been my (creepy/creeper -- I'm not sure we've ever confirmed who was creeping on whom first, back in the days of Selphie/Irvine on ff.net; I still insist it was me) friend and co-fan and co-mod for years, and we've never met in person; KJ and I have had fandom- and friend- and cute-cat-story-overlap for a long time and kind of just rolled into a really neat friendship that way, and actually almost met up once already (sad truth: I was vomiting).

They are some of my favorite online people, some of the most interesting and awesome people I've met online, and I am beyond thrilled to be finally meeting up all together.

So if this corner of the internet implodes on itself on Friday, you'll know what happened. I definitely don't have words. I really just want to pour !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! and ASL;DK;LASDK;LASKD;LASKDSA and italics all over this entry.

OKAY THEN

Oct. 10th, 2012 04:20 pm
seventhe: (Burger King: In the butt!)
As of tonight, I am off to NYC/NYCC for a horrifying/fabulous weekend. (horrifabulous?) I'm going to a convention on ankles that can't walk or stand for more than 5-10 minutes without feeling like stabbing bruises, with a lingering cough that both sounds and feels like I'm hauling the grossest parts of my lungs up through my throat, on no less than 7 prescriptions (4 of which say, dude, don't drink alcohol)--

--and it's going to be awesome. Or, I might die, but hey.

See y'all.

PS: COMMENT HERE IF U WANT SOOPER CLASSEY POSTCRAD
seventhe: (Life: stress out and die)
1. I have figured out, through some intense reflection during a boring meeting I wasn't involved in but had no chance to escape, that the answers I actually need to manage my project are an entire layer underneath the questions that I have been asking. (WORKCEPTION????) I've been asking for targets; what I actually need is a more clear fundamental understanding of the way work is supposed to flow from conception into production, and the role my project plays in the entire process, where communication goes and where priorities are. There isn't a process, by the way, and that's why I always feel so goddamn lost, and why even asking for clear targets isn't going to fix the mess I'm wading through. I actually need to go deeper.

I've set an appointment with the visiting Overlords on Monday and I plan to basically bang heads against a table with my newfound understanding of the situation I am in until someone cries uncle and gives me what I want.

2. I just emailed my advisor. I am back in the game. Thesis complete and Masters Degree by spring semester 2013.

Because fuck everything.

3. I am super stressed at the moment. :(

4. Icon (DW) has never been more relevant.

my job

Sep. 5th, 2012 04:11 pm
seventhe: (Burger King: In the butt!)
I make some fucking good presentations. I complain a lot about making slides, mainly because a) it doesn't feel as ~productive~ as being out in the lab and making goop and b) I have to make a fuck ton of slides, often for things that seem worthless -- but honestly, I have to admit, not only do I make some fucking amazing slides, but there is actually something satisfying to putting together a good scientific presentation. Selecting which data to show and how to show it, aligning and arranging your slide to best explain your experiments with the most pictures and the least words, drawing out conclusions you may think are obvious but other people may not understand: there's a science and an art to it, and even though having the most badass presentation won't necessarily get me anywhere, I am actually finding some satisfaction in the normal bullshittery today.

It's strange, because this has become such a huge part of my job, and it has taken me until now to actually stop and breathe it in and find that communication of scientific data has just as much worth if not more than the generation of the data. You can't really have one without the other - my slides all tell you important things about my data, and if they don't, I delete them - but this is part of what moving up in the organization is: becoming a communicator rather than a generator. I quite like it, in a very strange sort of way. Or maybe it's just that my OCD really likes lining up all the text boxes and making sure every red is the same red and the fonts have stayed consistent between slides (not always the case when I am collecting drafts from 5 different people who should be using the same master template but aren't).

I am, however - disappointingly - starting to make slides like a Japanese businessman. AKA: CRAMMING 8000 THINGS ONTO ONE SLIDE COVERED WITH ARROWS AND AWFUL COLORS IN UR FONTS EVERYWHERE AND TONS OF FUCKING SEQUINS. I realize I am presenting to the Japanese so maybe this is a good thing, but I legit just had to step away from the computer because I tried to cram a series of text boxes into each other making them varying shades of (a very readable) blue. NO.

Seriously though, I wish I could show you guys these. But I can't, because I would get fired.
seventhe: (Sorceresses)
For the record, I'm trying to post more; I've got a lot on my mind recently, and I've got a journal for a reason. I'm also trying to reply to comments more, which is something I'm bad at - I mostly reply via phone-Gmail*, at work, and it can be hard to keep up with. But anyway, I'm trying to post more consistently. For fun. And profit.

One of the things that has been dwelling on my mind lately is ... Well. I work hard. For the past 5 years I've been working doubletime, putting in 40 hours a week of a job and then grad school on top of that, plus I fill up the rest of my time with shit: running, races, taking care of people, bands, practices, exchanges, writing, commitments, hobbies, cons, cosplay, and an exhausting social life. As much as I joke about being a lazy fuck I'm not really sure I know how to 'take it easy' for more than a day or two; I just do stuff, I tend to do stuff, and I end up being busy by default. My job is both hard and a lot of work (they aren't always the same thing), and grad school is the same -- and even if the other things aren't 'work' and aren't 'necessary', they're still commitments, and they aren't 'taking it easy' either.

Nobody should be surprised to hear that I still feel burnt out, this year; my constant chorus of I'm exhausted should be familiar by now. I've been burning this candle at every available end for years. But I have this awful dichotomy warring in my brain about "deserving a break", and it's getting confusing.

What do you have to do to 'deserve' a break? I'll look at my shit some days and be like, gurl, all you did today was work your usual 11 hour day. You don't deserve a night off. You still have to run, and then cook, and then clean up at least half of it, and fold the laundry. Or I'll look at my week and be like, All you did was work and run and the usual chores. You didn't do anything extraordinary. You don't deserve a break. You still have shit to do! And I'll fill up my hours and my days with that to-do list that doesn't end.

And then on other days I will get to the point where I am like christ in a chevy, I am exhausted and I deserve a break and I am taking one so fuck the world, and I'll do something like drink an entire bottle of wine alone in my apartment while drunk-texting everyone I know and reading horrible fanfiction, or I'll spend an entire day knitting while watching Buffy the Vampire Slayer, or I'll skip working out for an entire week and just lie on the floor instead. And I don't really feel all that much better or feel relaxed; I feel like a giant waste of space because that's what I was. It's a little better, but it's a useless better. Like I feel like I'm entitled to deliberately spend a day doing things that don't mean shit just to prove that I can, because I can, because I am stubborn and want to waste time like everybody else does and no one can tell me I can't, especially myself.

It's like I don't know how to moderate. It's either all or nothing. And thinking back I actually don't even think it's that bad in reality, but my perception of it is: in my head it feels like all or nothing, on or off. I don't know how to hit a happy medium and realize it; I don't know how to feel like I'm compromising. If it isn't all or nothing, my brain makes it so.

And underneath all of that is the fact that I've been working for basically over 15 years straight now, and yet I still feel like I don't 'deserve' a really big break until I finish my fucking graduate degree.

But I think about all the shit that I want to do - I would like to write some fucking novels; I would like to (re)learn to draw; I would like to take more pictures; I would like to actually travel - and first I go, okay, let's do(u) it and then I go, oh god, more things, when do I get a break?

So that's what's on my mind. I need a better system to deal with both relaxing and getting my shit done. Blah blah blah whine more.


*I'm only moderately content with Gmail's iPhone app. It's decent, but not ideal. And I moderately dislike Apple's/iPhone's default email interface. Any iPhone users who use a different mail app that they adore?
seventhe: (Rydia: reversed)
Thanks to everybody for their wise words on yesterday's entry -- this is a very thinky-time for me, and I appreciate all the kindness and the suggestions/advice.

Today I ended up - unplanned - talking to both my boss and his boss about the situation. And there's some tentative hope on the horizon.

I've been reassured, multiple times, that the amount of frustrating stress and overwhelming workload I've been facing on this project is not usual. This is a very new project, but carries stuff from some older projects which were divided out and shut down, so it's a really complicated place to be: I got caught in the middle of a really, really tough situation, combining super aggressive short-term timelines with vague and nebulous future roadmaps, which is why I feel so lost. It involves relationships with four internal branches of the company that don't usually all talk to each other, which is why there are so many meetings. Most of what I'm suffering from isn't indicative of "a project leader", but of being this project's leader in specific.

(Dear management: Thanks. You fucks. Love, Sev)

Even just hearing that this isn't normal was a little reassuring for me. If I'm crumbling under pressure, I like to know that it's super!!!amazeballs!~!!badass pressure, not Everyday Joe Baloney pressure. I feel better that way.

One of the things that has been so frustrating about my current project is that we are working on undefined things without any really clear targets. I'm going to do an analogy here, to try to explain: let's say you work in a kitchen and you have a cookie recipe that's problematic. It's a flavor a lot of your customers want, but you have trouble baking it just right. The Chef Overlords give you this project, and they say, "Develop and improve this cookie recipe." So, okay.

You start looking at your cookie recipe. But no one told you where exactly you are supposed to go improving it. Do you want the cookie to be healthier? To taste better? To be easier to make? To have less expensive ingredients? If you replace one ingredient with another and it improves the taste but is less healthy, is this an okay tradeoff, or no? If you can make the cookie easier to bake, but then it's more expensive, is that okay, or no?

But no one will answer that. You ask the people who sell the cookies, and they say, it has to taste good and be cheap. You ask the people who do maintenance, and they say, it has to be processable, if we can't bake it you don't have a product. You ask the customer, but each one says a different thing, and no one's sure who is actually buying these cookies anyway. You think, well, I'll try to improve all of the things. But first you are not actually made of time, and second there are some trade-offs -- like tastiness vs health, and you don't know how to decide what's a worthwhile balance there.

You ask your Chef Overlords, and they just say, "Improve the cookie." Then they say, "Oh, we want you to look at all our cookies." And there are some cookies made with vanilla, and some with chocolate, and some are gluten-free and some are low-fat and some are bargain cookies and some are designer cookies and some are really simple and some are super complex and they say, "Improve all the cookies."

So you're stuck fumbling around with 8 different directions to go in, and you can't focus your work forward, because any or all of those things could be target improvements - and maybe should - but no one will tell you what's a good range for acceptable trade-off and what's a target range for final product and maybe where you should start first.

That's my project, except that it's worse because there are no cookies here at all.

The first piece of good news: So right now, because I made a really good case / big stink about this at the meeting with the Japanese Overlords, the project is in somewhat of a holding pattern / waiting period, while the Overlords do some internal investigating and discussing and decide what our targets are on both short- and long-term. (I threw a very professional and polite fit and 'refused' to work on a lot of this stuff until we know where it's going, because I feel like we're wasting our time. We spent six months basically looking at a special baking soda until somebody (who wasn't the Overlords, even -- but since the Overlords were having fun with their thumbs up their asses, I decided that any guidance was better than joining the thumbs-up-asses club) decided what they really wanted was tastier chocolate chips, and then we spent six months looking for better chocolate chips before this somebody changed their minds again and said, fuck, we do still want the better baking soda, the chocolate chip taste may not be important and actually what we really want is not better tasting chocolate chips, but ones that don't melt.

Fuck. My. Life.)

The first bit of this decision is deliverable to me by September, according to our agreement. So for the next ~3 months, possibly longer, I get a bit of a break, because there is a lot of work that will be put "on hold" until we have some targets with which we can prioritize and determine direction.

The second piece of good news is, my boss has put things in motion for me to get a co-op of my own, hired by me, working specifically for me, in my lab. And not just a co-op, he is working to get a co-op position installed there, meaning when one co-op goes back to school I will have hired another to take his place, and I will basically always have a set of hands to support me, until I move on to other responsibilities.

The baddish news is that that won't be able to happen until January, because it's the end of the school year and most engineering students who want to co-op have already lined one up.

The goodish news is that if the workload actually decreases for the next couple months, I think I can survive until January. And if the workload ramps back up at the end of the year, by January I'll have a co-op to help me with some of it.

Sure, it isn't an immediate solution. And I need to have a more serious talk with my boss about my Masters degree and this workload in general. Before I continue to commit myself to this job, for example, I'd like to make sure I don't get handed a SURPRISE!!!!COOKIE!DISASTER project every two years, or there will be no vodka left in the world. But as for right now I really do feel like maybe there are some paths out I can take to help deal with all of this shit a little bit better.

One other thing I realized today is that I need to learn to delegate better. I need to stop looking at things other people have done and deciding that I could do them better and that that means I should just do them so that it's done right the first time. I need to stop claiming lots of work for myself because I want to do it my way. I need to learn to better trust people, and let them work on things in their own way -- and if I think they're fucking up, I need a better way to deal with it other than ripping it out of their hands and finishing it myself. (Sadly, sometimes this is the easiest way to do it, because I work with a lot of equally stubborn assholes who think they're right - this is Research - which means they don't listen to me; doubly so because I don't have a ~sacred PhD~.) Even if it takes more time, even if it seems like more work having to redirect and guide people, I need to learn how to do it. I need to learn to let go. I need to learn that even if someone else doesn't do something 100% perfectly, that maybe 85% is actually okay. I'm very invested in a lot of the things I do and I need to take a couple steps back.

The problem here is a) I am a control freak; b) I don't work well with others (despite the surprising trust of my management) and I don't like talking to people; and c) I actually legitimately don't trust about half of the people I work with, because they are either c1) idiots or c2) ambitious backstabbing assheads. But I need to find a system I can work with, and learn to delegate more.

But, yeah.

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