So I'm having one of those days where I once again want to register Drivethroughgeology.com/org and collect pictures of highway cut-throughs from all 50 states with interesting notes on the kind of rock and earth formations that are revealed.
Usually this urge takes a more rediculously ambitious "I should do a coffee table book even though I'm not a photographer or geologist" form, and started the moment I saw a lava tube in a cut through in Hawaii. (I'd already mused on the differences between the granite and winter ice waterfalls in Mass and the sedimentary features I grew up seeing in Kansas.) A web site might actually be doable, maybe after the hell of holiday retail is done I'll get myself a domain name as a present and solicit pics.
Another idea in this genre is "A Breed Rescue's Guide to Dog Breeds" in which the dogs and the appropriate type of family for them are ruthlessly evaluated by people who love the breed but know exactly what can go wrong with an impulse buy of one.
I really don't like it when fics start with the assumption that the African Demon Trials guy screwed Spike over and he really wanted the chip out. What's wrong with that idea, Kahuna? I'm glad you asked, rhetorical narrator to my random early morning rant.
First, the concept that Spike wanted a soul in order to be a more deserving person, or simply to control his demonic instincts so he could act the way he wanted to seems like such a major part of the evolution of the character, that reducing it to an Angel-lite involuntary curse just cheapens things too much for me. So much happened TO Spike over the course of his character, that however badly it turned out in the short term, having chosen and worked for this change seems a vital victory for him. If he got tricked instead, it goes into a level of protagonist passivity that makes me want to throttle authors.
Second, Spike is not, canonically, a blithering idiot. Low impulse control, sure, but he guided the search for and carried out Dru's cure and found the Gem of Amara. If he was stupid enough to go to a wish granting demon without a proven track record of NOT screwing people over, he'd just seen Hallie a few days before. It makes no sense for him to have traveled all the way to Africa and risked dusting only to then find out that - wah WAH Waaaahhhh - it's a trickster genie! Like he couldn't have found a ritual to summon one of those in 5 minutes research in the Magic Box.
Finally, he could already hurt Buffy! Unless he had a sudden personality transplant from Angelus and wanted to torture her friends in front of her, he didn't need the chip out to commit violence on her. He could have killed her a half dozen times that spring alone. Getting the chip out would make sense as a goal if he was giving up on anything to do with Buffy, but that would make the "her" he wanted to give what she deserved out to be Dru, and that's a reach.
So, Kahuna has spoken. He wanted the soul. If he'd wanted something else, he'd have gotten it. (And why don't any of the 'African Demon gives Spike something else' fics just have him ASK for something else? Geesh.) He is not a passive blithering idiot with no research skills who forgot he could hurt Buffy all he wanted.