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The Big Fandom Indexes:
(The newer ones are at the bottom.)
McDragon's Lair. (Marvel fic index)
(Except for: Surprise, a Ric/Shatterstar fic and The Real McCoy, Gen, movieverse, Jamie Maddrox.)
DC fic index
Naruto fic index
Star Trek: Reboot fic index
Leverage fic index
Avengers fic index
Fandoms I only wrote a couple of stories for:
The Curse of the Apple Pie
Gen, 500 words. Written on a prompt.
All archives have both my own and others' stories. Sadly, they've all been closed.
Naruto: Hidden Village.
Jamie Maddrox: Seeing Double
Other stuff I think you should see:
My An Archive Of Our Own page (AO3)
List o' Leverage fic recs
List o' Star Trek: Reboot fic recs
All recs ever
I would like to say I keep all my awesome recs I've found in one place... but I don't. At all. They're scattered throughout those links, rarely duplicated. Organization's not my strong suit.
*edit: It would help if I forward-set the date. >.> *grins*
Tango and his/her sibling, just 2 weeks old (I think: getting confirmation! They usually get pulled between 3-4 weeks at Bird Heaven Aviary, and this doesn't look like a nest box to me... *Edit: Justin at BHA thinks the babies are closer to 4 weeks, and were just being quiet so he didn't know they'd hatched!)
As my dad said: Welcome to the world, Tango!
Saw Iron Man 3 last night at the premiere showing! Holy crap, YES. It was fantastic. I'll stop there before I spoil everything. I went with a group of friends and Quin, who had never been to an opening night showing, and we had a blast. :D
In Other News...
I talked to the breeder of the Timneh African Greys yesterday! He called to let me know that the grey had TWO babies in the nest, and since I'm second on the waiting list, I HAVE A BABY GREY! I'd been under the impression this was likely, but from what he said yesterday ("I don't know what was up with the hen this year, but she actually had TWO babies!") I'm thinking it wasn't likely at all. I'm glad I didn't know that a week ago, or I'd have been a mess. >.<
My friend is coming to visit on Tuesday, and we're gonna make bird toys. :D My parents are hilariously excited to have a bird-grandbaby (as my mom calls it, or sometimes a "grandbirdie"). My dad has already informed me he wants to be called "granddad." *laughs* I also counted up weeks, and I should have the baby sometime between the beginning and middle of July, which is 4-6 weeks earlier than I'd roughly guesstimated. WOOT!
About a week ago Quin's ex-wife gave Quin a CD on parenting that had helped her. Quin listened to it, and agreed it was awesome. Since I'm practically a step-parent after being around for 3 years, I thought I'd listen to it, too!
It's a fantastic CD. ("The Gifts of Imperfect Parenting.") The woman doing the talk is a shame-researcher, from what I gather, doing research on -- you guessed it -- shame and how it affects people. I believe she segued from that into parenting with an eye toward knowing we, as parents, are VERY flawed, and we're trying to raise well-adjusted kids. There's stuff in there about how to guilt instead of shame a kid ("You are a good kid who made a bad choice" versus "you are a bad kid") and why it's REALLY IMPORTANT, how and why to model behaviors for coping with fear, stress, anxiety, anger, etc (instead of hiding them from your kids. Be appropriate, she says, but have conversations with your spouse in front of your kids that model good communication skills, and talk about the things that scare you and how you're dealing, and so on), and lots of other good stuff. It's 2 CDs, and I've only listened to 1 so far, but I'm looking forward to the second!
At the same time, I'm reading parrot books like crazy. I've read books on general African Grey care (The African Grey Parrot Handbook by Mattie Sue Athan, which I would NOT recommend unless you want to know all the ways you can wreck your bird and no solutions, Holistic Care for Birds by David McCluggage, DVM and Pamela Hidgon, which is great for nutrition, holistic care, general problems, but iffy about behavior, and I have another 3 books being shipped) and, more notably for these purposes, one book about how and what they studied with Alex, the famous, INCREDIBLY intelligent laboratory Grey they did all the intelligence tests on.
Here's the thing about that one (The Alex Studies by Irene Pepperberg). I've seen the videos on YouTube of Alex. He's pretty incredible. I'm halfway through the book, though, and the stuff you see on the videos is only a twentieth of what he was able to do. Reading this book gives me chills, because this bird is so intelligent. And it's not just him: after something like 18 years of study, they went and got another bird, Griffin, and found the same things. They also tested pet birds at various times, ones that hadn't spent years being taught stuff, and found that they understood levels of object permanence almost solely reserved for humans over the age of ... I think it was 5, one type of primate, and, IIRC, dolphins. The difference was that they spent lots of time specifically teaching Alex to communicate, whereas the other birds had to pick it up here and there as possible.
One of the things the bird books are all talking about in regards to Greys is how they are so intelligent, and they seem to be happier when they have some control over their environment. If they're this smart, no doubt!
So I've been learning parenting stuff, and I've been learning about how smart Greys are, and I realized the other day: I'm already planning on treating the bird like a small child, rather than a pet. This bird will be with me nearly the rest of my life, if not the rest of my life. (Timneh Grey lifespans in the wild are around approx 50 years; this is typical for the big parrots. Little parrots are usually 25. In captivity the average life span for a companion parrot is *5* years. Stunning.) I'm already planning on having communication training sessions, set up like they set up Alex's. There's plenty of things they tested with Alex that I don't care about, things like object permanence and that sort of intelligence testing. But I am going to put time in to making sure my brilliant bird can communicate and do other things Alex was highly successful at: labeling items, being able to ask for what he wanted or where he wanted to go, that sort of thing. I've already talked to my friends and neighbors, and they're game to help! (Wonderfully, sessions typically last 5-20 minutes 2-3 times a week, and I can do some work at home, too. I don't need daily, hour long help!) I may also pick up another book or two on Alex, to see if I can find one that talks about how they treated him in general, rather than what they were testing. Sometimes it's what he said that was "wrong" when they were testing that I find more illuminating!*
I'll also be adding travel to my bird's repertoire, and a VERY strong recall command. (I haven't decided yet whether to leave it fully flighted or clip the flight feathers. The biggest reason to clip flight feathers is so they can't fly away... but if a gust of wind comes along, and the flight feathers are clipped enough for them to glide to a safe landing, then the gust could give them the lift to -- you got it -- fly away. If they're clipped, they won't be able to get BACK. So I'm leaning toward leaving the wings long and having a STRONG recall, practiced inside and out -- on a leash -- so that if something happens the bird can come back.)
There's something else great, too. Quin isn't interested in more kids. I'm not either: we love hers, but I don't want kids coming from my body! She's also not a big fan of noise, and her place is little: adding another animal when I'm here on the weekends is a big deal. We had several discussions about it pre-bird, and talked about concerns and how to handle them. Now she's excited, too! She asked me the other day, "So... is this your bird or our bird? Because it feels like our bird, but... I don't want to presume. And it's still your bird."
I told her, "It's my bird to take care of, but it's our bird for emotional matters."
She seemed very happy at that, and I'm thrilled to have a supportive beau. :D
So, anyway. Clearly I'm quite excited about this. :D My mom said Quin should throw me a bird-shower. *grins* My mom also offered to pay for a parrot-sized travel cage, which would be AWESOME. I have one, but it's cockatiel-sized: the bars are smaller and breakable for a parrot, and the doors are easy to open. It might work just fine, but if not, I have an offer. ;)
*Example: they had taught him the concept of "none" when counting. "Alex, how many red squares?" and he would look and say, "None." This, in itself, was pretty incredible. Then they started seeing if he could grasp the concept of relative sizes. They would show two items of different sizes and colors and ask, "Alex, which color bigger?"
"...Red," Alex would say.
"Yes! Good parrot! Red is bigger!"
One day they decided to see if he could generalize the concept of 'none' to relative sizes, or if he only understood it in relation to numbers. Without any modeling or any chance for him to learn that none could apply here, they showed him two balls of the same size. They said, "Alex, which color bigger?" Alex looked at the balls for a while and responded with, "What same?" We don't know what, exactly, he was trying to say -- but clearly he understood that the question they were asking didn't make sense. He looked for an alternative that would make sense, or cued them for an appropriate question, or was trying to tell them they were the same. Something, but something communicatively appropriate!
They said, "No, first you tell us. Which color bigger?"
Alex looked again, and after a long while said, "None."
This seems simple for a human, but consider: small children can't do this, and Alex is doing it in an utterly alien language to boot.
So much excitement going on! :D
Some of you already heard this, but... I'm getting a baby Grey!
My friend Jane came down and we were talking about it, looking at Bobby's empty cage. I said I still wasn't sure I was ready, but something about that conversation made me think some more, and come to the conclusion that actually, I am! I did a TON of research on greys (good news! There are now ways to test for and treat PDD, the disease that Katie and Aliz died of) and learned all the new techniques in feeding, weaning, fledging and rearing, and found an aviary that's excellent. I also decided I want a Timneh Grey. They're slightly smaller than the typical Congo, with darker gray and red and a peach spot on their beaks. They don't imitate voices like the Congos do, but they still speak just as well and are just as intelligent. Better yet, they're more social with other people, and less likely to have feather plucking or other neurotic issues.
AND, the babies hatched Friday and Saturday! New weaning techniques mean it'll be 16 weeks at the earliest before I get my baby, but the trade off is that it's more likely to be mentally stable. We like mentally stable. ;) Right now, my grey looks a bit like this, so I'm happy to let him bake a little more. >.> (This is not my baby. My baby is in his nest, still, with a mom who won't let the breeder look inside!)
So, now I have to think of some names. Current contenders:
007 (7 for short)
Kal-El (c'mon, that'd be awesome.)
Blue (due to the very dark coloration on the gray feathers)
Anyone else have brilliant grey names? ;)
1. The African Grey update:
I talked to Quin, and we sorted out issues and concerns. Since then, I think she's actually starting to get excited (if a little cautious) at the thought. She really liked Bobby, so that helps, and I sent her some info and a video of a talking TAG (Timneh African Grey), so that was fun!
The same night I last posted, I also sent the following prayer that night:
Universe, if this is a good time, please let things happen easily, without me pushing it through. If it isn't the right time, please block my every move without harming any living creatures.
The next day I got up and checked out the half-dozen aviaries I'd found online. None had eggs. Two of them sent me to one or two more aviaries apiece. None of THEM had eggs. Most of them weren't even breeding TAGs this year/any more.
Feeling a little like, "Well, I guess that's my answer," I tried one last place. My first choice, in fact, for birds -- but their TAGs don't seem to have bred at all last year, and maybe not the year before. So you can imagine my surprise when I posted, "Hey, any chance of TAGs this year?" on their Facebook page and was answered with, "We think she might be sitting on eggs now, but she's keeping so close we can't tell for sure!"
I figure this is my answer: if she's sitting on eggs, a baby for me! If not, I'll bide my time and wait. In the meantime, I bought two books on Greys (one a book that comes highly recommended for owners who already know a goodly amount about birds, nutrition, behavior, etc and one that's about Irene Pepperberg's work with African Greys) and I'm setting aside money. When I'm sure there's a baby, I'll start buying toys here and there.
Lily is at the vet for x-rays today. >.< The outcome of these will also determine whether or not I'm getting a TAG, since if it's something really expensive or a major problem, that might put a kink in my plans.
I had such anxiety dropping her off. I mean, it's just sedation and x-rays: no surgery or anything. But MAN, I was a mess. My vet is awesome, though, and said that they'll try to send her home with me early, which would make me feel better, at least! I also bought them a bunch of coffee (hopefully enough for everyone) and half and half, so they love me. It always helps to make sure the people taking care of your loved ones love you extra!
I'm hoping the x-rays will come back saying she needs chiropractic work, an anti-inflammatory, and then we're good to go. It would also explain so much of her stiffness, lately. AND the vet said she'd do an extra test for Lily's hips that you can't do when the dogs are awake, to see how bad the dysplasia is.
The other hope is that it's just soft tissue damage, and rest will take care of it. (I find it likely there are back troubles, given her stiffness and the funny way her back rounds, which I'd thought was in the range of normal dog things but turns out isn't.)
I have stuff to get done today, but I've managed none of it. Too busy fretting, even though there's nothing I can do. I wanted to exercise, write the Leverage gift fic, go to the bank, do my bills, and maybe even do some editing. So far, I've played on the Internet. >.>
Oh, man. She'll be okay. It's just x-rays! *sighs* 4:30 can't come soon enough.
This is a Congo. This is what Katie was, and is the most common type of African Grey parrot. This was also the infamous Alex, the talking parrot. (Go ahead, youtube Alex the talking parrot. I'll wait.)
Congos are bigger than their counterparts, with brighter tails. Myth is that they're better talkers, smarter, and more gregarious. Truth is that they're one-person birds, and because of social/flock reasons, more likely to have behavioral problems. Rumor is that they're sometimes more likely to talk in a crowd.
These are Timneh African Greys. They're a little bit smaller, with much darker tails and a pale spot on their beaks. They're less likely to bond with just one person, and more likely to get along with kids, significant others, and animals. Due to a lot of research about their biology, physiology, and flock behavior that I won't bore you with here, I also happen to know they're less likely to be feather pluckers or otherwise stressed, depressed, or neurotic.
Rumor has it they might be slightly quieter than Congos. We'll see. Rumor also has it they're more clownish than Congos, hanging off the top and sides of their cage and whatnot. We'll see.
So. Pros and cons of a Grey:
-I think I'm ready for one. More and more I think about having one, rather than thinking about Katie and missing her (though I do that, too) but instead thinking about a new Grey. I've done tons of research, and... yeah.
-I won't be doing any travelling that I couldn't take a bird with me this summer. This is not always the case. >.<
-I have a built-in birdsitter. (A friend who LOVED Bobby and already made me promise to leave any new birds with her.)
-My dogs are getting older, and are MUCH more mellow. I could probably take on this new thing.
-I've also finally got my life in order, balancing work and life much better than before. I could probably take on this new thing better now than ever before. I feel stable, even when I'm stressed and/or overworked. (Which is happening much less these days.)
-This is the first time, I think, that I've wanted one and it's felt right. (That doesn't mean now is the right time. I still give myself permission to back out. If now is a good time, later will be, too. ;))
-I have lots of years left to live, and Quin's kids are at an impressionable, one-of-you-will-inherit-this-bird age. ;)
-Though I'm busy at work, for the first time thinking about the next months or year of mindful training to be sure the bird is raised properly, socialized, trained, etc during the crucial formative first year, is an almost pleasing thought instead of a dread-inducing one.
-I'm coming out of my busy season, and by the time any babies are ready (sometime between now and June, depending on where I go), I'll be in my slow season: able to spend time dealing with a baby.
-Even when I do have "emo-days" -- like today, actually -- I feel slightly down and definitely tired, instead of ready to curl into a ball and cry. This has been true for many months, now.
-Lily is having back trouble, and I may have my hands full, not to mention my accounts stretched. (The money shouldn't matter, but just in case...)
-I'll be moving, hopefully, sometime in the next year.
-I'd have to schlepp it back and forth to Quin's. This is probably the biggest con. Though I've gotten awfully good at schlepping the dogs.
-It means a birdcage at Quin's house. I don't think she'll be happy about. I need to talk to her.
-This is my busy season at work. (Though I've gotten damn good at keeping my writing days free; I've been MUCH less harried and hassled this year than any previous year. Occasionally I've had low days, but it's occasional instead of constant.)
-I want to start putting $30 per animal into the pet savings fund. I've been lax about this, and I need to get better. Now.
I'm stretching for the cons. Really, the biggest con is the bird cage at Quin's house. She was great about setting up for Bobby, but I know she wants to re-do her place and make it nicer. Maybe I could sell a bird cage on the entertainment system. ;) Heck, I'm not even worried about moving with a bird -- I've ALWAYS moved with a bird, and if I do the socialization right it won't fuss the bird, either -- I'm more worried about having a bird cage at Quin's until I find a house and move.
There are some things I need to wait for, before I get a bird. First, Lily. As I mentioned, she might have back troubles. It might also be soft tissue damage causing her random limping. (Really random: she goes from perfectly fine to unable-to-walk within a few hours, and by morning is perfectly fine again. This is indicative of back problems, and nerve issues.) We're hoping for soft tissue, but we're doing x-rays on Friday to make sure. Any decision has to wait until I have that information and know what the plan is.
If everything is fine, the second thing to wait for is money. I have $500 saved, because I've been saving it. They're anywhere from $750-900, depending on where you go. It won't be much of a problem to find $300, to be honest, not this time of year. Not the way business has been going. >.> Plus, I'm raising my prices in May. :D Plus, the babies are ready any time between now and June, so I may have until June to save the money.
Sometime in the weeks after that, I'll want to run some blood tests: specifically for ABV, which is the precursor to PDD (what Katie and Aliz died of). The theory currently says that if a bird is born with ABV, they're immune to it but can shed it. If they don't have it, I need to make sure it stays that way, or get them vaccinated when the vets manage to get the vaccine. Either way my behavior won't change much: little to no contact with other birds. There's a lot more known about the disease, now, so it's no longer a bogeyman, but I'd still be careful. It would, however, mean that if something happened down the line I'd know if PDD was a cause. ABV can also increase feather picking and that sort of thing, so it would just be good to know if that was/could be an issue. Figure another $200 for that. **EDIT: talking to a vet, who says that the "born with it = immune" theory is an untested theory with no evidence whatsoever to support or deny it. Also learned that there are 6 strands of ABV, 2 of which cause PDD, and there's no way to test and see which strand, specifically, your bird has. Also, you need at least 3 tests because of the high number of false negatives. Waiting on more information.
The third thing I'm waiting on is Quin. I need to talk to her before I do anything dramatic. I'd said before I was going to wait until I moved, but that was A. when I thought I'd be moving right away, and B. when I wasn't feeling ready, anyway. I think she was relieved to hear it, so she and I need to have a conversation. We're at that point in the relationship where something as major as a bird needs to be discussed. (Cats not so much. Unless they're dark-colored cats. But that hasn't happened. ;))
The fourth, and final, thing is me. Even if everything falls out well in the next couple of days, I'm still waiting two-three weeks. I need to know this isn't insanity talking, a flash-point urge brought on by discussing it with my friend Jane, or my ovaries screaming because it's That Time Of The Month. (It's not, but...)
But you know? I could see a bird in this household again. And though previous internet searches yielded almost no results (specifically, two shady results and one okay one), today I found half a dozen contacts and breeders within driving distance of me. I think that says something, too.
- Current Mood: bored
This is a repost of a completed fanfic that I posted Oct 2012. It's going to be taken DOWN in a month or so, so I'm re-posting it now so that anyone who wants a copy can save it. Feel free to distribute as you desire, with credit to me at jbmcdragon at gmail dot com!
This fic has been re-written as a non-Leverage novel and picked up for publication at about twice this length. I'm working on a sequel to the novel. If you're interested in more, you can watch for updates at my livejournal, or at jennabreen, my author LJ.
Queers, Freaks, and Weirdos
Word count: 43,000 total. Chapters vary.
Characters and pairings: Mostly Hardison, Parker and Eliot, with all canon pairings and eventual OT3.
Rating: NC-17. Oh my god, it's so NC-17.
Disclaimer: I do not own, nor am I making any money off of, Leverage and the characters. I wish I did.
Warnings and notes: There is so much sex in this story. Really. Don't read it if you don't want to read about sex. I mean, the story is about sex, kinks, overcoming issues, and sexual orientation. There's a lot of sex. Graphic sex. Furthermore, there's lots of (as healthy as my research could make it) lite dom/sub sex. There's no S&M, because I don't like pain, and there's lots of characters figuring out their issues and trying out this new thing.
Takes place during the mid-season 5 break, after Eliot heals from getting shot, and assuming they don't all scatter.
Eliot is absolutely positive that, no matter what Parker says, attempting to sub for her and Hardison is a really, really bad idea. Sex with friends is complicated, threesomes are complicated, and he's just not submissive. Hardison even agrees with him, seemingly on all points. Besides, Eliot knows that only queers, freaks, and weirdos have that kind of sex, and he's not any of those.
But he's safer than whoever they might meet online and bring home, and he does trust them, and it might be awkward as all hell, but he's willing to try at least once.
And maybe once more after that. Curiosity never hurt anyone, right?
To the master list!
So then I thought, "I should have a Leverage marathon!" But then I thought, "...it's not as much fun by myself with no one else to squeal with." And then I thought, "I NEED TO HAVE A LEVERAGE CONVENTION. IN MY HOME. WITH OTHER ZANY FANS AND WE'LL WATCH LEVERAGE ALL WEEKEND."
Who's with me? :D
Also, FYI, my Leverage gift fic KICKS ASS.