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Dreamwidth just lost an entire draft post.  :(  Bother.  To be fair, it may be related to the internet being out of commission for half the day, and not DW's fault at all.  (Is anyone on Dreamwidth reading this, by the way?) 

As best I can remember it included talk of:

Doctor Who, Season 18, State of Decay.  I thought the plot was too much of a rehash of the old Sevateem idea (which was a good idea in itself), the acting was particularly bad, especially in the main cast (K9 excepted), and the Doctor's strategy for overcoming the resident evil (whose very name I've forgotten) looked awfully haphazard - the writers missed an opportunity for Adric to do ultra-high maths with K9, to ensure accuracy of execution.  As it was, Adric was looking more like a liability than an alert and useful companion.  I'd feel sorry for the  Doctor, except he was a bit annoying, too.

Shakespeare.  I'm gradually dragging the words out of my brain for the Stageoffools exchange, though with (of course) many qualms that this isn't what my recipient wants.  But I'll finish a first draft and then think again.

Tam Cam, the Untold Story - which was a movie based on a Vietnamese fairy-tale with lots of similarities to Cinderella.  (Tam is the "Cinderella"; Cam is the "Ugly Stepsister").  The untold part of the story included lots of fighting - the one-on-one martial arts kind, and the big CGI battles kind - and not one, but two CGI monsters - the bad scorpionesque one and the good leonine one.  What startled me most was the final, mid-credits scene of Tam and her wicked stepmother - Tam bringing to the stepmother a brimming bowl of some mixed stew, and saying "Eat, mother."  I thought - "oh - noble Tam - even after all the cruelty and wrong she's suffered, she displays filial piety to her father's wife."  But it wasn't that at all.   Oh dear.

Pulses:  this weekend just gone - the good old standby Chilli Beans, with red kidney beans, tomato and chilli and much else.

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The weekend was crammed full of things, so I didn't get around to reading or posting much - and the week is also looking pretty full-on - but yes! there's still time for self-indulgence and various cultural excitements.  Not the terrific free lecture with excerpts and explanations of the puppetry of Bao Ha village, though - it was crammed full by the time we got there.  But never mind, there was a very nice indeed new (to me) patisserie nearby (cue: tarte framboise and iced coffee) and I was also able to spend some time in a bookshop buying delayed birthday presents for a quasi-godchild plus bonus treat of a new big Vietnamese-English dictionary for me.

and later that night culture reigned! in that I continued the Season Eighteen Old Who project,and saw the story titled "Full Circle", with the introduction of the mysterious adric  Read more... )

There's a Shakespeare story exchange happening! on both LJ and DW - I'm pondering it as a possible way to help rejig my story-writing zest.  :)  I'd have to find four plays (excluding histories) that I'd feel capable of writing a thousand words on, to an unknown prompt, sometime in September.   Hhhmmm... 

and as mentioned previously, an ongoing salute to International Year of Pulses - this time, courtesy of [personal profile] asakiyume , Spicy Roasted Chickpeas, a pleasingly spicy snack, involving cayenne pepper and chickpeas. Thank you, [personal profile] asakiyume !  I snacked on them through the weekend, and ate them all up!

Of interest mostly to australians: about the census. )

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Something I read: I finished the book The Just City  - I've already tipped my main reactions to the book, but in sum, I do feel positively about it - I found myself putting off finishing it because I was enjoying the ride -  but not stunningly so.  I liked the idea of it more than the execution, I guess.  Minor point:  behind a cut, in case spoilery. )

Something I began to read: I saw on [personal profile] oursin 's blog a mention of The Last Man, a story by Mary Shelley set in 2073 (there's so much around that I've never heard of!) and dashed off to find it, because fascinating thought, the view of 2073, from1826.  Read more... )

Something I won't get to see:  I like the sound of this exhibition in Cambridge about illuminated manuscripts. 

Something I did actually see: I saw another episode in the eighteenth season of <i>Doctor Who</i>!  I'm seeing them in order, very slowly, as life permits.  This was the one about Meglos, Read more... )

On Sunday, there were signs of great weariness from my laptop - it's been just about two years since I was told it could go at any minuteNot exciting, really... ) So - a happy ending.  :)

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So... stopping to think of some mildly cheerful things happening.

For one thing, some old (fifteenth century) wooden panels which had been stolen from a church in Devon, have been recovered and restored and returned to their home church.
I hold no brief for Margaret of antioch, or Victor of Marseilles, (I know nothing at all about either of them) but I hate it when something which is out in the world, publicly visible, being part of our general human heritage, is ripped away from all of us, whether from theft or destructiveness - so I was glad to see this one loss undone.

and it's good news that in the US there's been an overhaul and extension of the regulation of toxic substances. US readers will understand the political implication of this better than I would, but it's meant co-operation between Democrats and Republicans and commercial interests and the Environmental Protection agency, which all sounds good - and the safer environment at ordinary-citizen level is definitely good. :)

I think it's even good news that a man in australia can have fun making silly hats. I would actually wear the pancakes one, in the unlikely circumstance of the artist giving it to me. :)

Three mildly cheerful things closer to home:

The commitment to honouring the Year of the Pulse with a weekly meal continues: this week, a simple carrot and lentil dhal, with cumin and plum accents. :)

I managed another Sunday evening Old Who catch-up, this time going back to the beginning of the season I last week saw the end of, with "The Leisure Hive". Read more... )

The white bougainvillea in the front yard is in flower. :)
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As promised, I've posted the next in the Atrementus series, Nymphs and their Ways, here, on AO3. (Maybe later on ffnet.). I'm really pleased that I managed to do it, and feel more confident that I'll actually buckle down to writing the whole series. Maybe I can manage the third by the end of next week. (It should be quickish, since that one won't be illustrated.)

[identity profile] adaese.livejournal.com has suggested a reread of Prince Caspian, over here. I don't know when, but I suppose starting pretty soon. :)

On Sunday evening in between cooking up a storm I watched a whole story's worth of 1980s Doctor Who episodes. (I said tenuously! They're both popular fantasy series. :D) It was 'Logopolis', with the Fourth Doctor, Read more... )

I was with a friend in a bookshop on the weekend - one which theoretically specialised in architecture books, but it also had some art books - and was having a sale! The friend I was with bought this beautiful book at a knock-down price. (Tenuous connection: lots of the pictures look very Narnian, which is to say very Pauline Baynes.
Medieval battle scene, King Louis Bible, c.1250
Though that's a good deal more violent than hers. Still, if I do have to attempt art again, I'll know where to turn for inspiration. :)
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1. I spent several days avoiding spoilers for Doctor Who; now that I've seen the most recent episode I'm not sure it was all that worth waiting for.  Capaldi acted brilliantly again; the writers gave almost an overdose of clever, effective internal and external cultural refs and nudges; there was a seriously engaging look at the bitterness of the loss of the memory of a beloved as well as of the living presence*; there was an upbeat ending.  But I don't think it worked as a whole, or as a culmination of a  season; it conspicuously ducked the hard work of constructing logical, working coherence, in either plot or world-building, and I think it really undercut the main emotional impact of 'Face the Raven'. 
In toto - disappointing, given the serious talent involved
*The last shot of the Doctor's Tardis, with the ashes of the past blowing away - that was punchy.

2. There' a three-sentence fiction going on on LJ right now - I'm lagging badly in it - partly because I'm a bit short of energy right now, but also because I am so not in touch with most of the fandoms.  :(  I should at least steep myself in Greek myth before the next one of these events.  I looked at one or two classical mythology prompts, but ...no, I know too little.  I didn't know, for example,  (and was delighted to find out) that there's a genuine (late-)classical mythology about a naiad from the River Ganges.  Her name is Anaxibia, and all I can see on the internet about her is that she had to hide, with Artemis' help, to get away from Helios' hot (I suppose) pursuit 

3. This article, which I saw linked on someone else's DW journal, but I've doltishly lost whose, is an interesting attempt (in the Chinese movie sphere) to tap fan writers via a 'come-all-ye' competition, as  a cheap source to replace professional writers.

“I don’t want you to write screenplays, but stories,” Mr. Xu said, adding that contestants “will be kicked out as if it was a game of elimination.” He said the final winner would be awarded a large sum of money as well, according to a transcript of the seminar confirmed by the company.

Of course, that model would be simultaneously be a way to market research what fans wanted as well - two birds with one handy stone - and I suppose entry to the competition would involve ceding the intellectual property rights to each entry, so there's a useful other side-benefit for the movie company.

4. I really, really liked the story of "You ain't no Muslim, bruv".  (video, a bit more than a minute and a half, with some violence and arrest of attacker - the relevant bit's at 1:29ish)
I like it bec
ause it's the real East London voice; I like it because it cuts down the attacker to being nothing more than an aggro wannabeI like it whether the man who shouted it is Muslim or not; if he's Muslim, he's refusing to let the attacker use his faith to wedge him out of the surrounding (very strong) culture; if he's not, he's beautifully acknowledging the best of Islam as a religion of peace and compassion.


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This city never stops changing;this morning I found that the buses no longer run along the pleasant garden-nursery-lined road close to home, but instead are a good (not-so-good) long walk away, and...there has been much foot-slogging and only minor getting things done today.  The fair trade shop has vanished, too, despite their website saying they're still there, grump, grump.  I was hoping to make more progress in getting and sending presents today.

So I got home tired, and revived myself in watching the latest episode of Doctor Who.  Here are some thoughts on that, and on the last few episodes, cut because they're long, and so that non-Who followers can skip them.

Read more... )

I saw a local production of Hamlet recently, too.  My, but that play's a knockout.  always, always something new to shine out. This time what hit me was the pity of Polonius' story. How much love and desire to protect and foster up his children there was (the scene of the three of them together was terrific) , and how hopelessly inadequate he is for the task of making any sort of safety for any of them (himself, his children) in the stinking quagmire that Denmark has become, thanks to the brutally reckless crashing about of the powerful. 

and two Russianish links to finish with:

In the Pirmosky Safari Park,
a tiger has unexpectedly struck up a friendship with a goat offered him as food.  (Youtube video, about a minute.)

In australia's Northern Territory, Boxing Nick, the last of the Romanovs in my country (I expect) has diedIt's such an NT story: the long trip going nowhere much, the car breaking down, and five years in Katherine, and spending his time teaching his dog to balance a can of beer on his head.  :)  Not a sad story, really.  The Russian representative in the NT called his death a "tragic end", but there are worse ways to die than of a heart attack, under a tree, with your dog alongside. 

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Links first!

The Royal Society has been publishing in science matters for 350 years, and is celebrating by flinging all their online archives open free until the end of November. 

Here's an interesting and fun interview with a Tourette's Syndrome activist. (about ten minutes, you tube.)

Here are some great photos of Kazakh eagle hunters - like falconers, except they ride out with eagles on their wrists.  There's a recording of an interview with someone who's just written a book, too, but I haven't listened to that, just looked at the pictures. (Do I hear cries of "shame!" out there?)

Late addition!  News from the Melbourne Cup!  I love that it was an outsider who won,that it was a female jockey, that her brother (with Down's Syndrome) is working right alongside her as a strapper

Full Moon!

Oct. 27th, 2015 03:52 pm
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There was a most glorious nearly-full moon last night.  I'm looking forward to the really full one tonight - though of course it might by then have slipped into just-past-full-moon; the pleasure of knowing which is still to come.  :)   

(It looks like there's some lovely conjunctions coming up, too - but they'll be early morning… I'm not too sure I can manage that.)


There's absolutely no exciting news in my life; 


dull news follows - )



May. 4th, 2015 04:00 pm
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I was planning to write a calm analytical thing about the episodes I've seen of the Seventh Doctor so far (in order: appalling; better; terrible, apart from Rachel, and: not  up to much), but then came last night's story:  Remembrance of the Daleks   -  and, wow!  Is that a stunner! 

Writing, special effects, plot, themes, possibilities, acting, references.... far and away the best so far, and one of the best Classic Whos I've seen.

It started with a huge plus, though - no more screaming Mel!  But actual real live Ace,  strong, open-hearted, clear-eyed, zesty, her own woman.  I like her very much indeed! 
I like her off-handed setting aside of the Doctor's name for himself, which wonderfully (and unconsciously) undercuts his smugness. 
I like her be-prepared back-pack  (and wondered if she was in that line a development from Rachel in 'Delta and the Bannermen').
I like her desire to be where the action is. 
I like her total rejection of racism (even if the story itself tends to suggest optimistically that racism is something simply outgrown by 1987), and most of all
I like her questioning, and recognition of moral complexity -"we did good?" she queries, at the end of the story- and it's not at all clear that they have.   (I think this is the first time the Doctor is written as recognising such a possibility.  Have I got that right?)

The Doctor's character has been wonderfully and intelligently developed from the earlier episodes.   The pantomime/clown aspects remain (the running while clutching wildly at his hat and umbrella, and skidding around corners, the kicking wildly when hanging from a rope) but there's a whole underlying darkness coming into focus.  He's unpleasantly  patronising, contemptuous of humanity, angry at power-hunger and murderousness, but willing to kill in pursuit of what might be a greater future good.  There was so much here that I recognise from earlier Doctors, and also so much which returns later in the 2005 series.  (The undertaker!  The enigmatic child!)  I'm wondering now why something so good faltered and died later in this Doctor's doctorship.  Puzzle still to be unravelled.

There's lots of fun reference to earlier Doctors, too, and they're cleverly done - very cleverly done - including unmissable references to the Brigadier and to Mike Yates. 
But not the Brigadier (or Mike Yates)  as we have known them;  as I read it, the story's in an alternate universe.  (Elementary googling shows up that there's several novels written which have this Brigadier-figure in the same universe as the other Brigadier-figure; but for me canon is what's televised - all the rest is fanfic). 
I'm betting that an alternate universe's what the writer first had in mind, anyway.  The Doctor calls him "Brigadier", recognises him as the Brigadier; ergo, that man really is the Brigadier, even if with a name change -- and that is Mike Yates -- but in that 1963, not in the timeline in which the Second Doctor will meet an alternate Brigadier in 1968.  and that being so, interesting questions are raised - both Mike Yateses fracture under stress; is the propensity to fracturing inbuilt, therefore?  Does what  anyone does, make any difference?   How can we know the consequences of action, or of inaction? (These questions are raised more than once during the episode.)

Oh dear, this is getting long.  But it was a terrific story - so much thinking in it!  and strong women, intelligent women (including a Liz Shaw-like scientific advisor, whose name, Rachel, made me wonder at first if she was the earlier Rachel  - but no, there was only a four-year gap - not long enough for that Ray to reinvent herself as mature scientist).  There was an actual speaking black character, discussing slavery and alternate universes (obliquely) with the Doctor, and there was reiterated consideration of racism and its effects (including a quick survey of Dalek racial purity activism). 

I thought it was beautifully balanced as a story for children that didn't treat them as a class to be either lectured (see: 'Time and the Rani'), or soothed with pap (see: 'Delta and the Bannerman", which had good points, but skated right past some horrors and some serious sadness in favour of a very questionable happy-families ending.) 
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Not in total review - but in terms of fannishness and writing. 

From January to May, more or less, I wrote the last seven chapters of The Ivory Merchants - that took about 36,000 words.Then I wrote two Narnia Fic Exchange 2014 stories - a "real" one, "the marks of that which once hath been", which was about quasi-sisterly relationships, and the possibility of redemption (or of a fresh start, rather) and the damage good people can do -
and a pinch-hit, To hold back the night ,which was an Everybody Lives, Last Battle AU. They were about 19,000 words between them,
and I later added a chapter to a pre-existing Doctor Whoish story, Give and Take, which was about the relationship which Donna Noble and Mercy Hartigan build for themselves - that added a further  couple of thousand words... so all up, I posted about 57,000 words through the year.
Oh, and I posted a poem!  A Narnian re-imagining of an Horatian ode about how the return of Spring implies the inevitability of death.

I very much missed the NarniaFanFictionRevolution community on Livejournal, which melted away somewhere around the end of 2013.  I miss the sense of community there, and the fun of the weekly challenges.  Songsmith valiantly opened up a separate forum to fill the gap left by the NFFR's passing, and I've enjoyed the discussion there so far, especially the meta,and the mutual support about writing - and it's pushed me to consider what things I might possibly tackle in 2015, which is cheerful! 

And I've tried to expand the base from which I can write fanfiction.  (Lots of the stories I know well don't feel like they lend themselves to fanfic, for various reasons.)  So I've been watching Classic Who (very enjoyable!) and Farscape (possible) and Firefly (too many unbending archetypes) and reading Vorkosigan (great worldbuilding and premises; loved Ethan of Athos, especially, so far; was deeply startled and saddened by [redacted]'s death). Oh, and I'm looking forward to some deep Tolkiening early in the year, sitting at the feet of more learned others!  :)


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