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Is there anything more dispiriting than seeing your name pop up on the three days before Xmas pinch-hitter list? Not right now. You work your butt off on your story and you realize someone couldn't be arsed to do one for you... yeah, I know, things happen. I'm trying not to be an ass about it, but right now that's just how I feel.

Christmas is just looking very crappy right now -- I'll be on planes for hours, all night long and all morning, assuming I even get on one, since they're shoveling all the people who couldn't get to the east coast this weekend due to the blizzard onto my previously relatively unpacked flight. And now there are new weather issues that will affect flying. My return flight is looking abysmal, as well. I HATE FLYING. I hate the whole thing around it -- the waiting and waiting and waiting, the miserable seats, the interminable security shit, and pretty much everything else connected with it, and then you throw in winter weather (there's a reason I don't fly at holidays!) and it makes my head explode.

So, um, yeah, feeling a little ranty today, and sorry for myself. I also just got jabbed with two big needles for my flu shots (seasonal and H1N1), since they finally made it available to the gen-pop and no way I'm flying without something in that regard. I should probably turn off comments because no doubt someone will tell me to stop being a whiner about Yuletide -- and you will be right!

Except I'm stealing a page from cereta and co-opting her grading hell theatre into my Flying Problems theatre: What would your character do about flying hell? Do they make a scene, know how to game the system, or maybe they get around it all by chartering a private jet? Myself, I totally think Rick Castle would never care, because he not only flies first class, if he gets stuck at the airport waiting for delayed or canceled flights, he just makes himself very, very comfy in the private airline lounge with some good drinks, his laptop, and then flirts shamelessly with the hostesses. And maybe, if his flight is delayed a lot, he heads over with one of them to the nearest airport hotel.


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Dec. 22nd, 2009 09:29 pm (UTC)
*hugs you randomly drive-by*

A couple of years ago I saw my name go by as a pinch hit...and I got such an awesome story I found it hard to believe it was written in only a couple of days! So do not despair. Have a happy holiday!

(and my character gets himself written into WINGFIC and he FLIES HIMSELF DAMN IT.)
Dec. 23rd, 2009 04:40 am (UTC)
It's good to know about the pinch hits. I tend to think of it, I guess, as like people throwing whatever sticks to the wall, but of course, I wrote one last year and it was the most popular story I wrote by far.

WINGFIC! OMG, that's awesome.
Dec. 22nd, 2009 09:36 pm (UTC)
The first time I showed up on the pinch list, I wound up with a LOT of stories. It was the best Yuletide, EVER!

May you wind up with every request filled and also awesome.
Dec. 23rd, 2009 04:41 am (UTC)
I will keep my fingers crossed, then, and maybe someone who doesn't think I smell bad will pick my request up. ;-)
Dec. 22nd, 2009 10:19 pm (UTC)
What would your character do about flying hell?

Alva Keel doesn't fly. He will take trains or buses, or will drive the Hoopty Mobile (Jeep Cherokee) across the country in two days.
Dec. 23rd, 2009 04:41 am (UTC)
Ah ha ha ha. Of course he doesn't fly!
Dec. 22nd, 2009 10:43 pm (UTC)
One of the perks of being Bruce Wayne/Batman is that he never has to deal with flying coach or with large crowds at airports.

Of course, if he were Superman or a Green Lantern, or one of the Flashes, he wouldn't need to have an airplane. Clark has actually done it a few times, gone through the motions of flying coach. Of course, that means he's trapped in there for the duration of the flight, unable to do anything but sit and wait for it to land before he can act. Bruce wonders if it's his version of a vacation.

Friday Night Lights

Tim Riggins flys only if he absolutely has to. Most times he'll drive there or take the bus. And if he's bringing Skeeter with, he drives, because the Skeet-Meister does not get crammed in a cargo hold or a pet-porter all day.

Jason Street knows his rights, knows what accommodations the airlines are legally required to make for him, and it's also taught him a few things about how the system works. And, if nothing else, the circumstances of his life have taught him how to sit patiently.


Tracy Lawless does not fly. Too many security checkpoints, too much checking. If he's got an out of town job to pull for Hyde, he takes a car, the train, or a bus.

Leo Patterson didn't do a lot of flying, but when he did have to sit through a long layover, he'd people watch and laugh inside at all the ways these people made themselves targets.

He wouldn't let himself pick a pocket, though, not at an airport. Too many cameras.

The Fast and The Furious
Dominic Toretto has no problems waiting in an airport gate filled with tired, cranky people, and/or tired, cranky children. It's a hell of a lot better than cooling your heels in Lompoc, and that screaming kid over there isn't a distraction so that somebody else can sneak up and shank you.

If there's someplace that Charlie Crews needs to fly, he charters a jet. But, really, he prefers to drive, to watch the miles and the scenery unfold in front of him. He wants to see it all, and the time saved by going in a plane means he misses the process of the journey.

Dec. 23rd, 2009 04:42 am (UTC)
Oh, these are all totally wonderful. Thank you!
Dec. 22nd, 2009 11:13 pm (UTC)
I am on the pinch-hit list this year as well, but I'm philosophical about it: in the past three yuletides, I've gotten some really damn amazing fic, so it's okay if this year is a miss. And as some people mentioned, the fact that the request went on the list means more eyeballs see it, so it could actually end up being a good thing.

(This is not to say that your feelings on the issue are not valid; I'm just trying to cheer you up!)
Dec. 23rd, 2009 04:45 am (UTC)
I saw your name go by and I was sad! But it sounds like you have a much better perspective than me. This is only my second Yuletide and coupled with the way a lot of people I thought were friends have treated me lately, it's seemed like being defaulted on was personal, which, logically, I know it isn't, it just feels bad at a bad time.

And it does sound like it's not the worst that could happen, so I'll hope that I get the luck others have had. And I picked up a pinch hit myself, just to try to make myself feel better.
Dec. 22nd, 2009 11:33 pm (UTC)
And just so you know, though I could not claim your prompt, the story I got the most comments on last year was the one I banged out the night before.

So really, cool and amazing fic does happen on the pinch hits.

(Speaking of which ... I've got to get back to mine.)
Dec. 23rd, 2009 04:47 am (UTC)
It's funny how that works, isn't it -- the pinch hit I wrote last year in 24 hours got way more comments than the original one I slaved for weeks on. Maybe it's just that we're freer or less harsh on ourselves or something. I picked up a pinch hit as an extra just to try to smooth out my karma for being a whiner.
Dec. 22nd, 2009 11:58 pm (UTC)
Prairie Dawn gets very, very agitated. She simply cannot handle things not going according to plan.

Chris Robinson just shrugs and takes more time to read, maybe have a beer in one the the airport bars (but don't tell anyone on Sesame Street that).

The Fairy Shoeperson rants for a good ten minutes about incompetent people, and then remembers he can just poof himself away.
Dec. 23rd, 2009 04:47 am (UTC)
Oh, these are GREAT. I promise I won't spill about Chris. Heeeee.
Dec. 23rd, 2009 12:46 am (UTC)
Consider that you would not want the person who couldn't be arsed writing your story. You'll get a better one, without a doubt.
Dec. 23rd, 2009 04:48 am (UTC)
That? Is a really good point. Thank you for the wisdom, sensei.
Dec. 23rd, 2009 02:14 am (UTC)
I'm sorry, that sucks :( I'm sure you'll get at least one story though if not more! And man, I experienced the torture of winter flying first hand and it sucks but you'll survive it! Just try to bring fun/interesting things to do. For me watching favorite TV episodes helps.
Dec. 23rd, 2009 04:49 am (UTC)
I hope so! But I picked up one myself just to try to make myself feel a bit better.
Dec. 23rd, 2009 02:21 am (UTC)
Dude, that sucks so much. *hugs you!* I'm actually a bit worried that my recipient has dropped out herself, which would suck a bit. But not nearly as much as being defaulted on.

I picked up a pinch hit, too, in a remarkable coincidence. But it's not for you. *g*
Dec. 23rd, 2009 04:51 am (UTC)
Oh, wow, what do they do if a recipient drops out? I guess I never thought of it coming from that direction, which would seem even weirder. I hope that's not the case! I picked up a pinch hit as an extra anyway, just to try to keep myself from being grumpy.
Dec. 23rd, 2009 02:23 am (UTC)
It is totally dispiriting to see your name go by as a pinch hit. (And, for me, it induces raging paranoia, mostly because I've been a pinch hit the last four Yuletides running - twice as a last-minute pinch hit, twice as a pinch-hit-with-notice.)

But I have a wealth of experience with this, and I promise you: it does not mean your story will be crappy. I obviously haven't seen the story my pinch-hitter wrote for me this year, but the last three years, I've gotten great stories, and one year I got eight of them. I try to comfort myself by saying, okay, my regular writer didn't want me (for the fourth year running OMG why do I smell? DO I?), but the person who picked up my pinch hit wanted not just me, but my fandoms and my prompts. She wanted to write my story.

I know it may not help, but if you can, try to think of it that way.


And flying hell: hmmm. Hikaru and Akira are notorious for getting into huge arguments on airplanes over Go games they play on a little magnetized set Hikaru carries everywhere; they tend to get seated all by themselves in first class these days. They are wholly unaware of how much time the Go Institute spends explaining and apologizing and making sure they can still fly.

Spock finds it more logical to beam everywhere he goes.

Rodney McKay flies military flights now. It's not a matter of choice, exactly - he just told the security check person the truth! He was being an obstructive idiot! And somehow that - and, okay, a few other incidents like that - means he's no longer welcome to fly on commercial aircraft in the U.S. and Canada. It's fine; he didn't want to, anyway. Have you seen how filthy the bathrooms are?
Dec. 23rd, 2009 04:57 am (UTC)
I KNOW! I was totally going through this "what's wrong with me" thing, especially because none of the things I asked for, save one, which no one volunteered to write for anyway, were unusual -- they were all fairly well known and popular. So I'm all, is it my breath?

But seriously, I cannot even imagine how it feels to see your name four years in a row. And I can't even understand that, because dude, if we shared the same fandoms, I would be so excited to write for you I wouldn't be able to contain myself!

You're right, though, that the person who picks it up at least wants it. I guess I should look at it like my adoption, which, whenever people give me this "oh, how sad" thing I go, "Why? I got raised by people who wanted me. I got *picked*." I always look at it as being given *to* someone, not being given away.

If only we had beaming technology. See, I dream of this all the time. More than probably anything else except a cure for cancer, I want transporters. I don't even care that they're basically killing you and reassembling you. That's the only way to travel, if you ask me.
Dec. 23rd, 2009 05:31 am (UTC)
It's really hard not to go down the "what's WRONG with me?" route. Seriously, every year norah has to talk me down from a ledge, and this year I was so close to making a (locked) post asking why, WHY no one wants me. I've worked on my prompts! I even get them beta-read! I try very hard to present myself as a good, sane Yuletide participant in my Dear Writer letter! And STILL.

I know it's crazy. But four years running! Something is very definitely wrong with me, and if I just knew, I could fix it!

See, this is how the brain works when you end up a pinch-hit. (And knowing this, I will do my level best to finish my story every year, and to default with notice if I have to; default with no notice feels worse, I find.) It's hard to force yourself into the "I was wanted and chosen" mindset, but it does help. (And it helps me not feel like an ass when I get a great story - or stories. One year astolat picked up my pinch hit, even! And wrote the story of my dreams, the story I originally signed up for Yuletide hoping to get!)

But I will say, after three years of this - this year, I included a prompt just for pinch-hitting purposes, so that I would be picked up for sure, because I think the really dispiriting thing would be to be one of the people who Elyn has to ask for again. ("Still seeking a pinch hitter for #xxx!") So I do my best to make sure that doesn't happen, anyway.

And, hey, I did not know you were adopted! It's interesting to me, how many fans of roughly your age I know who were adopted. (And just in general, adoption is very interesting to me, largely because I know that some kids who were conceived with donor sperm now identify themselves as sort of part-adopted, and of course the earthling was conceived with donor sperm, although he'll be able to find out who the donor was when he's 18. So I read a lot of adoptive parent and adoptee and birthmother blogs, trying to get a handle on how the earthling might feel about all this.)

I, too, dream of beaming technology. Frankly, there's not that much difference between temporary death and a long layover in Chicago, except that the temporary death is a lot shorter. And Bones would totally be much more relaxed about beaming if he'd once spent two days in the Boise airport with half the population of Idaho, I tell you what.
Dec. 24th, 2009 08:57 am (UTC)
There is NOTHING wrong with you! YOu are wonderful. And also, you write great dear author letters -- I wish I could write them half as well. God, I hope next year it doesn't happen to you. We've got to break the streak!

Yeah, you know, it's weird, I'm in that old skool adopted thing where we don't know anything about our parents and our records are sealed. I would like to know some of the history of my bio mom, but I have to actually sue the state to get them released, even if it's just to my doctor.

I never thought much of it except to use as a weapon when I was always fighting with my parents -- "you're not my real parents." I know how shitty that sounds but at the time there were a lot of problems with us. Kids used to find out and tease me, which irritated me only in the sense that they thought it was shameful. So I'd punch them out. ;-)

Once, I had this person call me to complain about an "adopt-a-park" initiative we reported on in my paper, and she whined about how her child was adopted and she just didn't think it was right that people used that word for parks and cats and whatnot, that it made it seem so lame and it was something important and she wanted her child to grow up content. And I told her, in the nicest way I knew how, that by complaining about casual use of the term and telling people they couldn't use the word for anything except raising a child, she *was* teaching her child that it's negative and probably making him overly sensitive to the issue.

No surprise that she didn't accept my argument. That kid's prolly grown up to feel like there's something he should be sensitive to about it.
Dec. 25th, 2009 08:49 am (UTC)
I do hope to break the streak next year, but I got INCREDIBLE stories this year, even if the archive isn't currently letting me finish one or comment on any. (Fandom: we kill servers with our awesome.)

My Dear Author letters are honed on desperation. Each year, I think I'll find the magic words that will make my assigned writer want to write for me. But the cool part is, each year I do find the words that make someone want to write for me: the Author letter works as a sort of pinch-hit launching ground, where if I explain how awesome the stories would be to write, someone might think, "I wish I'd gotten assigned that!" And then, when my pinch hit comes up, she'll claim it!

Well, it's worked so far.

I would like to know some of the history of my bio mom, but I have to actually sue the state to get them released, even if it's just to my doctor.

Holy shit. You can't even do that confidential intermediary thing? That sucks. For one thing, I have never until just this moment thought about how convenient it is that I know my parents' and grandparents' and aunts' and uncle's medical history. I really wish you could find out yours.

And I also wish your biomom could find you. I can't imagine giving birth to a baby, giving her up, and not always wanting to find her.

I never thought much of it except to use as a weapon when I was always fighting with my parents -- "you're not my real parents."

*snerk* My older sister is biologically my half sister, and she was adopted by our father. (Her biofather is an absolute ass, and does not deserve the name.) And when she was a teeanger, she would try that when she was fighting with him, and he would say, "You're right. I had to choose you, and I did." Which is kind of the inverse of what you said before, and somewhat slowed the juggernaut of my sister's teenage angst, which was legend.

Teenagers will say absolutely anything (unless they're like me; I smiled and did not argue and then went out and did absolutely every stupid, terrible thing there is to do - arguing is better, I think). It's their job. I take a million pictures of the earthling now, and I write about him a lot, partly because in about ten years I'm really going to need to remember how cute and loving and wonderful he was.

And I told her, in the nicest way I knew how, that by complaining about casual use of the term and telling people they couldn't use the word for anything except raising a child, she *was* teaching her child that it's negative and probably making him overly sensitive to the issue.

Oh my god. Um. Yes. You were right, and - well, I know people think about this stuff differently, and I also know that we're not supposed to say this, but some people are just WRONG. (True fact: we know, slightly, a lesbian couple who were careful to use totally anonymous, no-way-to-reveal sperm for their child because they didn't want him to think he'd come from anywhere but them. And I was like, well, you know, he's going to figure out the sexual reproduction thing sooner or later. I just don't think there's any way to stop that. *eyeroll*)
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