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How to Have More Fun and Less Aggravation in Fandom - Mo's Journal
April 18th, 2006
01:56 pm

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How to Have More Fun and Less Aggravation in Fandom
That sounds a little more prescriptive than I mean. I don't think I'm an expert at fun or fandom, but I'm a pretty happy fan most of the time. I guess what I really want to communicate is what I do to make fandom more fun and less aggravating to me. I’d love it if folks would tell me their strategies as well.

I felt moved to write this after reading discussions in a few places where people have seemed to suggest that fandom isn’t much fun for them anymore, due to issues ranging from too much ill-mannered controversy to not enough feedback. I’ve said some of the things below in comments elsewhere, but it’s the first time I’m putting it all together.

Basically, I try to enjoy fandom by doing two things:

Thing 1: Participating in ways that are fun for me and avoiding participation in ways that upset, annoy or bore me

Thing 2: Participating in ways that help others; trying to be a good citizen of fandom.

These may sound contradictory, but I don’t think they are. There are lots of different ways to participate in fandom, and lots of them help other fans. So, I think I can do plenty of things that are totally self-indulgent and some others that are helpful, all while choosing only from activities I find fun. With some thought (and some trial and error) I’ve found what works for me. Here are some of them:

- My interests and talents lead me mostly to writing fanfic and participating in meta-discussion, so that’s most of what I do.

- I enjoy as a spectator other parts of fandom that I don’t have a talent for, like vids and icon-making.

- I voice my appreciation for those who can do things I can’t, like vids and icon-making.

- I friend people who write things I find interesting to me and don’t worry about whether or not they friend me back.

- I don't finish any story or post that I don't like at the start. I can be kind of persnickety (like, if there's a spelling or grammar error in the beginning, I probably won't read the story), but it works for me.

- I mostly stay out of flamewars and other kinds of interaction that bore me. When I slip up, I exit as gracefully as I can, including apologies for offending.

- I only feedback stories I have something positive to say about (since I don't finish the ones I don't like, that's easy). I always lead with the positive comment. If I have constructive criticism, I try to gauge the author's receptivity before offering it.

- I don't feedback as much as I should, but I'm working on it. When I do say something negative, I try to frame it in a way that makes it more palatable to read.

- I answer every letter of feedback I get. I try to engage the person who wrote to me, at least a little.

- I read little_details regularly and offer info if I've got it.

- I beta for a few people. If I can manage to (in terms of time available) and if I feel competent to do so (i.e. if I know the source material well enough and have any necessary specialized skills or knowledge), I beta for anyone who asks me to.

- I offer help with the NYC details that X-Men writers often need.

- I am very grateful to fans who help me, and I express that gratitude. I thank my betas, website designers, helpers of all kinds, both privately and in my series summaries.

- I try to be open to fannish experiences and POVs that aren't my own. I try reading in genres other than slash and in fandoms other than my primary one. I sometimes find a new enthusiasm that way.

- I have a number of things I just can't stand and don't read (e.g. romance, chan, mpreg, BTVS). I make clear if asked that it's just a case of different strokes for different folks, not a judgment on the fans who do like them.

- I don’t have any OTPs and I don’t have any pairings I think people shouldn’t write. If a couple doesn’t seem plausible in a story, that’s all it means to me – the couple doesn’t seem plausible. I don’t even really understand why someone would care what couples others write about.

- I concentrate on getting what I can out of fandom and not on the negatives.

- I do some challenges and such, but not many. I follow through on any of them I commit to doing. I read and feedback a number of other stories in any challenge I do.

- I write for me, primarily. Don't get me wrong - I love the fan letters and I think I've been really lucky to get what, by my lights, is a lot of them. But I don't write according to what gets more of them. I do things that I think nobody cares about but me, like the lit guides and all the research I do for the stories. I write long series when I've seen that short stories tend to get more response, at least in the short term. I do the occasional short piece and it’s very gratifying to dash something off in an hour, spend a day or two on beta and revisions and get feedback almost instantly. Still, it’s not where my major interest lies. So, I mostly stick to what I want to write.

- I don't really care if people get lots of positive feedback for something I think is crap. A lot of fannish resentment seems to go into that. I don't think much about who's getting positive feedback for stuff I think is crap. If I think it's crap I don't finish it, so I don't notice the positive feedback.

- I write. I have just gotten back to a series I was kind of stuck on for a while, and I notice how much more I enjoy reading fanfic and reading/participating in meta when I’m writing. I think it is much for fun when it’s not a spectator sport. Writing makes me feel all warm and fuzzy about fandom.

- I get a lot out of fandom, but I don’t expect it to be more than a hobby. I think it’s a wonderful hobby: fun, creative, sociable. It also costs nothing or next to nothing (at least how I do it – I know cons can get expensive) and can be done in 20 minute increments whenever one has time. It’s absolutely the best hobby I’ve ever had, but I find I enjoy it more when I’m enjoying the rest of my life more. If I’m feeling unhappy with fandom, I look to what else in my life might need fixing.

So, do any of those resonate with any of you? Any others you can suggest?

(49 comments | Leave a comment)

Comments
 
From:inathunderstorm
Date:April 18th, 2006 06:22 pm (UTC)
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I really, really like this. To point where I would love to link to it, if that's okay.

I have found so much enjoyment in fandom--esp. X-Men--and I think everything you've said above is absolutely true. I have my OTP, but I think it's really OPP (*resists urge to sing rap song*) because I'll read anything if it's good. I also try and always respond to my feedback as well as leave feedback for stories I like (like you, I don't finish reading ones I don't. And I hate MPREG, too!), and try to encourage people to write and post if I can.

I love fandom and have made some *great* friends, but one thing about HP fandom that makes me sad are the hate memes and the cliques and the silly wank that exists. Seriously, it's a hobby, and a fun one. If you're not having fun, go away. I don't understand ship wars or elitism or snobbery or any of it. I like to discuss differences in canon or in the way I see a character because I *love* how people can take the same characters, or 'verse, and find such different and varied ideas within it, while still staying true to the original.

I am much more fond of people who find fandom to be a fun and exciting place to play in. I try not to take myself, fandom, whatever too seriously.

But yes, all of what you've said is spot-on. Esp. the feedback. I write a fairly rare pairing in X-Men and don't mind in the least that it makes most people go O.o, because a few people besides me like it, so yay! I'm still posting it anyway. Also, I don't like to think "That person's story got 382934239 reviews and was CRAP," because that's just not very productive IMHO.

Yay! Enjoyed reading this, lots :)
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From:mofic
Date:April 18th, 2006 07:03 pm (UTC)
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Glad it resonated. And sure you can link. I'd love to get more people's ideas on how to have fun!
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From:silverweave
Date:May 5th, 2006 04:34 pm (UTC)
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A friend directed me here, as she really liked what you said. You've put into words in a very kind, friendly and respectful fashion what has been driving me up the wall about some of the fandom antics I've been surrounded by of late.

So for a voice of sanity in the insanity of the internet, I thank you from the bottom of my geeky little heart!
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From:mofic
Date:May 5th, 2006 04:48 pm (UTC)
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I live to serve! I'm glad you liked it.
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From:marag
Date:April 18th, 2006 06:32 pm (UTC)
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Yup, that's pretty much what I do :D
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From:mofic
Date:April 18th, 2006 07:04 pm (UTC)
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And you are fun personified, so I must be doing something right.
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From:marag
Date:April 18th, 2006 07:12 pm (UTC)
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::snicker:: Somewhere, blue_braces just started to laugh hysterically, and she doesn't know why!
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From:blue_braces
Date:April 18th, 2006 09:29 pm (UTC)
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What am I laughing about? *looks innocent*
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From:marag
Date:April 19th, 2006 02:49 am (UTC)
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::grin:: I don't know. After all, I am the most fun person ever ;)
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From:schmoo999
Date:April 18th, 2006 07:29 pm (UTC)
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Darling!! Great post. I am here via the darling sionnain:) I like to write and beta in the fandoms I love. I don't, DON'T write for feedback. I think you will lead yourself into a trap of angst and self pity for yourself.

Right now I am enjoying writing for fanfic100 and prisonbreak100. My goal is to fill in the tables and if someone gives me a piece of feedback then that is just a cherry on top for me. But in the end I am doing it for me.

I also enjoy couples but in the end it always comes down to single characters for me. I guess years of watching soaps have taught me no couple is forever and it is better to stay attached to a character.

:)Great post!!
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From:mofic
Date:April 18th, 2006 07:53 pm (UTC)
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I guess years of watching soaps have taught me no couple is forever and it is better to stay attached to a character.

That's an interesting perspective. I do find that there are certain characters I can't get enough of, both in reading and writing.

Glad you liked the post. What fandoms are you interested in? What is Prison Break, btw? A TV show?
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From:schmoo999
Date:April 18th, 2006 07:59 pm (UTC)
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I have been watching soaps for over 20 years...One Life to Live and General Hospital...and I find it so amusing when people in the online fandoms get so invested in a couple and so upset when they break up. But they always do. Good soap is not about happy couples, that would be boring. lol.

I love and am involved in the Harry Potter fandom, my fave character is Luna Lovegood. Though I do adore Hermione too.

Prison Break is a TV show on Fox. I am really enjoying it and just recently started writing fanfic for it.

I also am a 20 year plus collector and reader of comic books. Mostly X-Men. I have a whole room filled with my comic books:)
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From:mofic
Date:April 18th, 2006 10:18 pm (UTC)
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I've never been into soap operas. I do love the X-Men, though :-).
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From:schmoo999
Date:April 18th, 2006 10:21 pm (UTC)
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I have always said when asked why I like the X-Men and comics in general so much. Really they are just like soaps except with Superpowers:)
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From:mofic
Date:April 18th, 2006 10:36 pm (UTC)
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And I always liked them because they were really just like queer people except with superpowers, as explained here: http://mofic.livejournal.com/9756.html.

It's just amazing how all roads lead to the X-Men: coming out, watching soaps :-).
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From:schmoo999
Date:April 18th, 2006 11:46 pm (UTC)
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Wonderful article darling...just wonderful. Also it is so neat to share in this fandom with your son. I can only hope I can find something similar to bond with with my horde when they are old enough:) Though we find chocolate a good thing right now. lol.

The X-Men appeals to anyone who feels different or outside the norm....one reason they have endured AND one of the few mainstream comics that has a fairly large female fanbase..for the very reason imo they are flawed trying to muddle through their lives and do the right thing while being hated for what they are.
From:anoneknewmoose
Date:April 18th, 2006 07:39 pm (UTC)
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Also here via sionnain, and totally agree with this. I'm really lucky in that the corner of HP fandom I happened to get active in has some really great people, so I spend almost as much time chatting and comment spamming their journals as I do reading fic.

One of the biggest ways to have fun is ignore the bullshit. People are good at bullshit, and when they get on the Internet it grows exponentially. I never read hate memes (or love memes, for that matter) and don't follow fandom_wank for that reason. 95% of the time wank is just...lame.

Thank you for linking little_details! This is the type of thing I love to do, for I have all sorts of useless trivia in my head. :)
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From:mofic
Date:April 18th, 2006 07:57 pm (UTC)
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95% of the time wank is just...lame.

I agree. It's just tiresome. I did look up one thread at fanficrants when I saw a bunch of people coming to my website from it. I kind of shuddered when I saw the rant was about unrealistic treatment of coming out issues in slash, since I do think it's something I write well. But then I saw that I got mentioned and linked as someone who's doing it right. I'd like to think I wouldn't care if it had been ranting about me, but I'm not sure I'm that secure.


Thank you for linking little_details! This is the type of thing I love to do, for I have all sorts of useless trivia in my head. :)


Fun Facts to Know and Tell are my life. Or at least part of it :-).

Thanks for dropping in and commenting. I love your username, btw.
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From:partly_bouncy
Date:April 18th, 2006 07:41 pm (UTC)
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A number of them resonate for me. ;-)

For me, fandom has become defined by meta type discussion pertaining to my obsession. I look around, poke around, occassionally e-mail random people related to that (at the moment, random e-mails going out to punk zine people), beg for calls, etc. There are some people who I know might have things to say but also have a tendency to annoy me. I avoid them. I've realized that for the most part, the more long winded I am, the better the chance of saying what I need to say, the more accurate I feel I am and the happier I am. Lack of feedback doesn't bother me as I get what I need out of that and I get the feedback in the writing process on things like AIM and the phone. ;-)

Fandom has been a hobby for me since 1995 or so. I've written a lot on the topic in my Masters program. It is fun. When it isn't fun, I step back and then step back in later.
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From:mofic
Date:April 18th, 2006 07:58 pm (UTC)
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When it isn't fun, I step back and then step back in later.

A very good idea.
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From:virginia_bell
Date:April 18th, 2006 07:45 pm (UTC)
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Here via sionnain.

I completely agree with what you wrote here. When I first started writing fanfiction, I was - like many, I guess - a starry-eyed newbie looking at all the Popular Authors, wishing I could be just as loved as they were, and degernating into a mess of self-pity when I didn't get many reviews for something I had written.

Now? I still love receiving reviews, of course, but if I don't get any, it no longer bothers me. I'd love for my writing to be well-known, but hell, if it isn't, I would still write because it makes me happy like few other things do.
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From:mofic
Date:April 18th, 2006 09:53 pm (UTC)
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And it's such fun talking about writing with other people who love to write!
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From:roxymissrose
Date:April 18th, 2006 08:26 pm (UTC)
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I agree with what you said here. It's supposed to be fun. I avoid dust-ups because I could have that in RL, this is supposed to be my playground.
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From:mofic
Date:April 18th, 2006 09:52 pm (UTC)
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I avoid dust-ups because I could have that in RL,

LOL! Hey, what does your icon mean?
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From:roxymissrose
Date:April 18th, 2006 10:27 pm (UTC)
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My icon means that Michael Rosenbaum is sex on a stick! *g*
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From:mofic
Date:April 18th, 2006 10:34 pm (UTC)
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Whose stick? And what do the letters stand for?

I don't have a MR icon, so I'll give you a different bald guy.
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From:roxymissrose
Date:April 18th, 2006 11:13 pm (UTC)
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An equally sexy bald guy, to be sure!

The icon was made by my beloved little aurora_bee, from a promo pic for Pool Hall Junkies, an independent film he co-starred in. And the letters are just 'heat'. No mysterious message. Though now, I'm thinking I need to make something up...*grin*
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From:mofic
Date:April 18th, 2006 11:20 pm (UTC)
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Ah HEAT! I'm reading HFAT and trying to figure out what it stands for.
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From:roxymissrose
Date:April 18th, 2006 11:27 pm (UTC)
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OH!
LOL!!!
Well, yes, that would be confusing, wouldn't it? *snorfle* It does look like HFAT.
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From:worblehat
Date:April 18th, 2006 08:45 pm (UTC)
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All good points. I think it's good to be aware of when things begin to feel like more of an obligation than a hobby. Since finding X-Men, I've been a lot happier. It's smaller and friendlier - that's been my experience, anyway. A lot of what you write resonates but I figure why dwell, I've moved on and things are much more fun. Plus, there's Pyro. :D
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From:worblehat
Date:April 18th, 2006 11:24 pm (UTC)
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It is friendly! Makes it easy to get giddy about stuff. Which I've missed. :)

Ah, brain eating. Yes, that is good times indeed. X-Men as a genre is eating mine, and I couldn't be happier about the development. I was never much on Cedric, but Robert Pattinson is something I could totally let take over a few brain cells with no complaints on my end whatsoever.

Thanks for the interest! Whenever you read 'em, I hope they meet with your tastes, as it were.
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From:mofic
Date:April 18th, 2006 09:46 pm (UTC)
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I do think X-Men is a particularly friendly and cooperative fandom. Maybe we need to be, to navigate all the different versions :-).

What was/were your previous fandom(s)?
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From:worblehat
Date:April 18th, 2006 11:29 pm (UTC)
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Hah! Yeah, I'm only started on Ultimate X-Men and I've no idea if I'll be able to keep things straight once I finish that in a few weeks (the expense of the books is the only thing slowing me down, currently).

Um, Harry Potter mostly, and LOTR before that. Neither are ones I care to revisit in depth. HP in paticular made me feel like shit. So I left and now I'm squeeing again. Works out for everyone, but especially for me. :D
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From:mofic
Date:April 19th, 2006 02:47 am (UTC)
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I like Ultimate (I've actually only read the first year of it) because the whole starting from scratch thing avoids all the inconsistencies and discontinuity.

I'm a HP fan in the sense that I love the books and have read them since there was only one and it wasn't yet published in this country. My kids and I read them together. I've enjoyed the movies, too. But I've never really gotten into the fanfic. I've read a piece here and there that I've enjoyed a lot, but the fandom is just so huge that I kind of haven't known how to break in.

X-Men is my main fandom, but I read avidly in Star Wars, as well. And a bit in a bunch of other fandoms, including some where I really don't know the source text.
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From:mofic
Date:April 18th, 2006 09:57 pm (UTC)
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I think it's worth admiring icons even if you don't take them.
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From:eveningblue
Date:April 19th, 2006 02:25 am (UTC)
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This is a really good post. I will have to bookmark it and come back to it whenever I'm feeling aggravated about fandom.

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From:mofic
Date:April 19th, 2006 02:43 am (UTC)
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Glad you liked it. What is that a picture of in your icon?

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From:eveningblue
Date:April 19th, 2006 02:58 am (UTC)
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It's an UglyDoll! I was given it for Chanukah from a good friend. His name is Cinko, and he's afraid of water. http://www.firebox.com/?dir=firebox&action=product&pid=731

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From:eveningblue
Date:April 19th, 2006 02:59 am (UTC)
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Those prepositions were wrong. I was given it for Chanukah *by* a good friend. Phew. My brain is fried.

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From:mofic
Date:April 19th, 2006 03:01 am (UTC)
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Is fried brain kosher le pesach?
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From:eveningblue
Date:April 19th, 2006 01:20 pm (UTC)
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Hahahahaha.

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From:ringthebells
Date:April 19th, 2006 04:44 am (UTC)
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I haven't read your entry (and probably won't tonight, as it's late) but I just wanted to tell you that I went to the movies the other day and saw the trailer for X3, and the first thing I thought was "Awesome, I wonder what Mo's going to do with this?" *g*
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From:mofic
Date:April 19th, 2006 11:08 am (UTC)
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LOL! Thanks for the confidence. I've got to finish my X2 series first.
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From:jalabert
Date:May 5th, 2006 07:01 pm (UTC)

Get Out of My Head!

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This reads so much like my point of view, it's eerie. And you're right, it's the sane way to enjoy fandom. I'm glad there are others who have adopted this healthy approach. I have seen too many people lose perspective and it takes all the joy out of soemthing that was meant to be fun.
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From:mofic
Date:May 5th, 2006 07:09 pm (UTC)

Re: Get Out of My Head!

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Ah well. We telepaths are often in other people's heads. We just don't always let on.

Thanks for dropping in.
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From:ithildyn
Date:May 22nd, 2006 11:15 pm (UTC)
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Well said. Like you, I stop reading if I don't like something. If I finish I really do try and send some sort of feedback.

Speaking of X Men, that's how I met my now best friend/roommate of 10 years, by offering to beta read her X Men fanfic, even though I had no clue about XM :) I know much more now!
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From:mofic
Date:May 23rd, 2006 02:01 am (UTC)
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How very cool about meeting your best friend through the X-Men. I'm glad you liked the post!
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From:st_crispins
Date:February 23rd, 2010 02:15 am (UTC)
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Yeah, I pretty much where you are.
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