I'm revisiting Yuletide source, taking a lot of notes, & contemplating my reading challenge parameters for next year. This year I've focused on women authors again, but lately I've been thinking about literary awards. Maybe next year I'll try doing the Pulitzer lists or something.
Thanks for the good wishes re the cold. It's still lingering but I'm largely better. I'm still baffled that my body allowed a respiratory infection to happen at all. Maybe my allergic responses are relenting a little? *hopes*
dirt ( outside, inside )
neighbors ( squeaky wheels among so many other nice people )
healthcrap ( osteoarthritis + fibromyalgia )
Hope y'all are well! <3
I finished Whispers Under Ground by Ben Aaronovitch. It was good, but I'm not sure these books are quite my genre -- I want less focus on complicated cases and just a touch more on interpersonal relationships and the process of learning magic. Maybe I should just read the fanfic? Anyway, my TV died over the weekend, so now the boy and I are spending our evenings listening to the audiobook of Midnight Riot, the first Rivers of London book, which is wryly and excellently performed by Kobna Holdbrook-Smith, who does all the accents and makes me wish they'd stripped out the unnecessary speech tags.
Currently... I still have Cary Elwes waiting for me, but first I'm catching up on fanfic (primarily Les Mis E/R, and Star Wars Finn/Poe) and various internet posts that've been accumulating on my Kindle.
I've watched four episodes of Chicago Typewriter, and I'm soooo confuuuuused. Is it past-lives or time travel? Or a mix of both? Is Yoo a manifestation of the spirit of the typewriter (in which case, am I shipping Han Se Joo/the typewriter o.O)? And did they only name Yoo that so they could use that Platters song "Only You (and You Alone)" in the soundtrack -- hilariously, I might add? What is going onnnn? (Please don't tell me!)
Also, it's a little painful watching him struggle with writer's block, when I too am in a slump. I keep shouting advice at him that I am not taking myself. ;-P
I also watched the 2-episode time-travel/undercover-as-a-eunuch drama, Splash Splash Love, about a high school student who runs away from her SAT exams and jumps through a puddle into drought-stricken Jeoseon, where her identity is immediately mistaken because apparently "high school senior" is a homophone for "eunuch" in Korean. It was cute but felt like a school play compared to Moonlight Drawn by Clouds, by which I mean they didn't manage to sell me on the world-building, and the relationships felt very rushed. And the age difference between the pairing bothered me. And (on an extremely shallow note) the actors weren't as pretty.
J and I have given up on My Girl (I'll finish it on my own) and switched to Master's Sun instead, which is a re-watch for me. Ghosts! Humour! Complicated backstories! Oh, my!
Mystery Queen and Chief Kim are both on hold this week.
My TV turned into a radio over the weekend, so our Parks & Recreation re-watch has stalled (though we did watch the Halloween episode of Brooklyn Nine Nine last night on my teeny laptop). Since I failed to buy a replacement over the weekend, I decided to explore the possibility of having my TV repaired after all and yesterday drove half an hour up the motorway and into Lower Hutt to the repair place.
I realise that to many of you, half an hour's drive sounds like nothing, but Wellington is very compact, and when I gave the repair guy my address, he said, "You're a long way from home." Heh.
Anyway, we have the rest of Parks and The Expanse s2 on DVD waiting for us, and Pru comes over to watch dramas with me once a week, so I'm going to have to resolve the issue somehow. I'd rather not watch stuff on my desktop, because it would involve reconfiguring my living room.
Ha ha ha ha ha. *sigh*
I had my first language exchange over the weekend. We talked for over two hours, in a mix of Korean and English, and we're meeting again tomorrow. I'm a little concerned that we want different things, but I guess we'll see how we go.
I've also downloaded Duolingo, now they offer Korean, and I'm working my way through that. It's fun and addictive (game-ification!), but I'm not sure I'm learning a great deal. I need to knuckle down and actually memorise some vocab.
And my classes start up again this evening.
The guy who used to fix my computer finally emailed me back (\o/) and said he's super busy atm, so I'm hanging in here, waiting until his time frees up enough that he can look at it. Which is 100% better than not having a plan.
...is sunny and warming up. I have some errands to run, and I think I'm going to bike out and have lunch with the boy. And then, of course, Kclass.
Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo, which is the sequel to Six of Crows, but really it's the second half of the brick it would have been if published together. I loved the additional character revelations and development, but I think that unlike nearly everyone else, I liked the first book a bit more. This book felt as though there was too much shoved into it, particularly in the last third; I found myself getting bored and wanting it to just be over, already, which is not how you want to feel while reading something you otherwise enjoy a lot! Also, it seemed to me that the narrative depended, even more than the first, on holding back information from the reader (as opposed to from the characters), which is fine once or twice but gets tiresome when repeated constantly, especially when there's an air of "look how clever the characters are! Look how clever the author is!" and I got a bit annoyed with this device.
There are some interesting and appealing relationships, both m/f and m/m, but as I mentioned last week, I also ship the noncanonical but subtextual Nina/Inej. But in general I really liked all the main characters, and I liked all the canonical relationships to some degree. Also I am in need of a crossover with Gentleman Bastards or Old Theradane.
What I'm reading now:
The Ship of the Dead (Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard, #3) by Rick Riordan, YAY! And it's delightful. Though a little odd to be reading with my eyeballs, since I listened to the others as audiobook, especially with Norse terms that are spelled a bit differently than they are pronounced. I was pleased to see my favorite crackship finally making an appearance (skip) Riptide's a babe, apparently! And Jack, true to form, is smitten! Pen/Pendant is best sword ship!! Also, having a Norse name misheard as "Bigly" made me choke laughing.
I read another couple of chapters of Fly By Night but it's mostly on hold until I finish the Magnus Chase.
I'm still listening to Airborn by Kenneth Oppel while pool-running, and I think I might be getting close to the Thrilling Climax, though the waterproof mp3 player I have makes it impossible to tell how far I am into the book. It's very much Boys' Own Adventure (with plucky heroine friend) in Alternate Steampunkish World, a little silly, but entertaining.
What I'm reading next:
Might try to get hold of Provenance by Ann Leckie. I just looked at my to-read list and, gah. So much to read! I still haven't read the currently-last Expanse book.
What I'm watching now:
We have two episodes left of Westworld, which for Reasons we will likely watch tonight and tomorrow night. It's a weird and unsettling show, and I hope that the threads will start tying themselves together next season, because there are so many fascinating ideas and I will be disappointed if they don't GO somewhere.
What I'm watching next:
I am going to be on my own for up to 10 days beginning Friday afternoon, so maybe I should watch something that B wouldn't care for. If you've got a rec for something on Amazon Prime or Crunchyroll (or other free method) that I might get fannish about, I'm open to suggestions. Though...
What I'm playing now:
Still Dragon Age: Origins. I'm a bit put out because I apparently started my romance too late to trigger a necessary conversation in order to make it work right. Also I'm always too full up with inventory. I got bored for a while and only picked at the game. On the other hand, I really enjoyed the quest involving escaping prison, so I'm more excited now, and since as I said I'm going to have a lot of free time next week, I will probably play a lot.
What I'm playing next:
If I lose interest in DA and all the DLC quests I have available, I might fire up Witcher 2 and see how that goes. At least I'll finally be able to understand the half of the fandom that's based on characters from it!
Tuesday was gloriously bright and sunny, but I was stuck indoors in a meeting from 9am to 1:30pm. I had nobly agreed to do some work with the managers from the charity at which I used to be a trustee. They are both lovely, so it wasn't too much of a chore. It was draining though, performing and thinking out loud for two people for such a long time. Afterwards I went into town to the health food shop. I did need to buy stuff, but the shop is becoming a convenient way to treat myself. My loyalty card is rapidly filling up.
Today we're back to proper autumnal weather - gloomy, wet, and much colder - and I had to take Percy for a walk in it. He seemed quite cheerful about it all.
My gardener doesn't seem to mind the weather and has demolished most of the front garden today. It's great to see the beech trees without lots of grass and weeds choking them, and I'm looking forward to the gardener planting more of them to fill the gaps and make a decent beech hedge all round the front.
Today is the usual last day of my working week, and we're shortly fleeing the country for a fortnight. No more work for me until 6th November. Hurrah!
Love and Other Catastrophes (1996) - here's the trailer, but it's actually much more female-focused and f/f-friendly than the trailer suggests. Wikipedia's description starts:
The story revolves around University of Melbourne film studies students and roommates Mia (Frances O'Connor) and Alice (Alice Garner), each of whom is experiencing various upheavals. Mia and Alice have just moved into a trendy apartment but are in desperate need of a housemate. Mia's girlfriend Danni (Radha Mitchell) is keen to move in, but Mia fears commitment.This was Emma-Kate Croghan's first film out of film school at Melbourne University, and it has all the energy and indomitableness of a debut, plus an excellent cast.
Jalla! Jalla! (2000) - trailer (which I can only find dubbed into Italian, wtf?). This is the low-budget film of my heart.1
Wikipedia's plot outline:
Roro (Fares Fares) and Måns (Torkel Petersson), who are best friends, work at the park management and get to do all the shit jobs - clean up duck ponds and pick up dog poop. Roro's Swedish girlfriend Lisa (Tuva Novotny) wants to be introduced to his family but he refuses for a long time because of his Lebanese family traditions. When Roro finally decides to introduce Lisa to his family, he walks into the apartment full of relatives who are planning a marriage with the Lebanese girl Yasmine (Laleh Pourkarim).I ship Roro/Lisa, but also Roro/Måns, and I keep wanting to make a slash vid for it but haven't been able to find the right song. (Måns' storyline includes erectile dysfunction; at one point he makes Roro go into a sex shop and buy him a cock pump.)
The film is inventive and fun, and has oodles of driving energy and charm. Roro's family (played by the director's real family) is great, and it's all just really adorable.
Housebound (2014) - trailer. This is a brilliant local comedy horror movie directed by Gerard Johnstone (and it's another directorial debut, ha!). It has 97% on rottentomatoes. It's about a petty thief who's sentenced to six months' home detention in her mother's haunted house, and it's full of twists and creepy turns and hilarity and jumpscares. Tonally, it's along the lines of Shaun of the Dead and its ilk.
1 At post-get/together brunch, we each listed off the top of our heads five films that define us. Mine were:
- Out of Africa
- Captain America: The Winter Soldier
- Jalla! Jalla!
- Big Hero 6
- Unconditional Love (AKA Who Killed Victor Fox)
- Desperately Seeking Susan
In Crossovering, I want to mention that sovay said that my gift fic Frank & the Phoenix is perfectly readable without knowing David Blaize (it's a crossover with Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, Frank Maddox/Newt Scamander) and actually, I think that as long as you are familiar with the Harry Potter-verse, it should be fine. Other Crossovering stories I particularly liked:
And Bide the Danger (6764 words) by Anonymous
Fandom: Harry Potter - J. K. Rowling, Chronicles of Narnia - C. S. Lewis
Rating: Teen And Up Audiences
Warnings: Creator Chose Not To Use Archive Warnings
Relationships: Amelia Bones/Susan Pevensie, Amelia Bones & Edgar Bones, Aslan & Susan Pevensie, Amelia Bones & Alastor Moody, Edgar Bones/Original Female Character(s)
Additional Tags: Crossovers & Fandom Fusions, The Problem of Susan, Temporal Paradox, Department of Mysteries, Dark Character, Deus Ex Machina, Investigations
Summary: Susan Pevensie: former Unspeakable, legendary beauty, possible Dark witch. A young Amelia Bones, eager to make her mark on MLE, has just been assigned to track her down. But the further Amelia proceeds with her investigation, the more questions she uncovers - especially once she meets Susan herself.
The Start of a Long Summer (1676 words) by Anonymous
Fandom: Avatar: The Last Airbender, Chronicles of Narnia - C. S. Lewis
Rating: General Audiences
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Characters: Azula (Avatar), Tumnus
Additional Tags: Crossover, Attempted Kidnapping
Summary: Azula steps through a wardrobe to find a kidnapping faun and a wintry kingdom ripe for regime change.
There are also two lovely artworks for due South/Lost Girl, and although I'm not familiar with Lost Girl I certainly can recognize the dS characters in Bob Pays a Visit to the Travelers and Kenzi Meets Diefenbaker. ETA Lost Girl, not Lost! Shows how much I know about either canon...
In the Femslashex collection, I particularly liked these:
The Part of Her Hair (10596 words) by Anonymous
Fandom: Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen
Rating: Teen And Up Audiences
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Relationships: Mary Bennet/Original Female Character
Characters: Mary Bennet, Original Female Character, Lydia Bennet, Kitty Bennet
Additional Tags: Falling In Love, Family Bonding
Summary: Miss Gibson said, “In the spirit of truthful admission, Miss Bennet, I intend to spend some time devising the right question for you. If I may see you again?”
Why did that sound strange? But she always sounded strange to people herself. And it was a familiar kind of strangeness, as if it were something she had heard before, only not like this.
Mary, constrained by the principles of truth, could only admit that she would enjoy that very much.
A Golden Thread Between Hearts (1633 words) by Anonymous
Fandom: Seasons of Glass and Iron - Amal El-Mohtar
Rating: General Audiences
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Characters: Tabitha (Seasons of Glass and Iron), Amira (Seasons of Glass and Iron)
Additional Tags: Post-Canon, First Kiss
Summary: Tabitha and Amira travel, and grow, and love.
(The canon for the second is a freely-available short story I recced before: Seasons of Glass and Iron by Amal El-Mohtar, which is f/f fairytale fantasy with an edge of grimdark.)
There are actually many other excellent stories in both collections, and I encourage you to browse!
On Thursday I had a big day out with my dyebuddy, J. We rendezvoused on the first off-peak Chiltern line train to London and made our way (not by the most efficient route) to the Knitting & Stitching Show at Alexandra Palace. A free shuttle bus turned up just as we stepped out of the railway station, which was jolly good of it, and I loved the view we got on the short drive, especially the last, elevated section where you're looking down across London.
The first thing we needed to do when we arrived was to eat. And oh my, the catering at Ally Pally is like taking a step back to the 1970s. We could only find windowless, underground eating places -with black tablecloths adding to the gloom - where the options made little concession to people with allergies and a preference for not eating meat.
The show itself was disappointing. For ages we genuinely thought that we were wandering around the edges and failing to find the main event, but no, that was the main event. It was just vastly smaller than the Festival of Quilts at the NEC, and vastly less imaginative, passionate or cutting edge than the fabulous Fibre East.
The one thing that made show itself worthwhile was a substantial display of work by Diana Harrison. I've seen a little of her work before (at BMAG's Lost in Lace exhibition a few years ago) and found it interesting. Last week, seeing a lot of the work together, and with the benefit of having done rather more printing and stitching myself, it made a huge impact. J loved it too. We enthused at the artist, signed her comments book, and I bought her catalogue from a previous exhibition.
The great thing is, even though the show didn't live up to expectations, we had a lovely day. We don't often get chance to hang out like that, the sun was shining, everyone is friendly and comfortable at these events, and I was on my feet all day (walked about 8km) without trouble from the tendons.
On the way home, looking at the trainline app, I noticed that at Banbury the train behind us was going to overtake the train I was on, so I could switch and arrive 20 minutes earlier than expected. It all happened on adjacent platforms, with no rush, and I was so proud of myself because trains and platforms and timings all tend to induce stress and panic. I love living in the future where I have so many tools to make life easier and minimise the fear.
On Thursday my new gardener worked some more magic in the back garden and it's now looking like a place one might want to spend time, even though his work is very much at the beginning. (This week he has been attacking the front and letting in the light - very exciting.)
On Friday I discovered The Good Place and didn't really stop until Saturday evening when I had run out of episodes to inhale. It's lovely. And smart. And darkly charming. And contains many actors I was delighted to find on my screen. I am more than a little in love with Janet.
- fed chickens in a hailstorm
- discovered my tv has died1
- failed to make the necessary decisions to buy a new tv
- saw ducklings, kaka, toutouwhai (native robin) and tuatara at the Karori Sanctuary
- started listening to the first Rivers of London audiobook
- started reading an excellent Les Mis fic
- had my first language exchange (in person, for 2hr20)
- only watched 1 hour of Kdrama
ION, jamethiel_bane is doing a "post every day" meme, and I thought I'd do my own version, using her prompts, but maybe adapting some to suit me, and probably being far more erratic.
1. What do you prefer to be called by folks reading the entry? Who named you that and why? Where did it come from?
My fandom name is china shop, AKA china AKA Ms Shop. Even offline, in fannish circles I go by china.
It originates from an Ani DiFranco lyric (from the song "You Had Time"), via my pre-fandom blog, which was titled "you are a china shop, I am a bull". In 2007 I wrote on LJ:
Pre-fandom I was a different person online, and while I'm no less me now, well, livejournal is a slightly uncomfortable stage (in the performance sense) for me. The "push" of my entries appearing in your friends' list, as opposed to the "pull" of someone seeking them out. If I'm collected together, I'm more likely to cohere, but in general I suspect I'm a couple of tiles in a mosaic.The first paragraph of which seems adorably quaint now, in the face of tumblr and reblogging and posts running wild.
I first chose this name as a disclaimer -- you are a china shop, i am a bull -- and then accidentally claimed the fragile part as my identity. Possibly prescient.
Anyway, yes, I am china. I named myself. I like it.
제 팬덤 이름은 차이나인데 진짜 세상에서도 잰 사람와 이야기하면 저는 차이나이라고 합니다. 아니 디 프랑코의 노래에게서 제 이름이 왔는데 "너는 도예를 파는 가게인데 나는 황소예요"라고 합니다. 도예를 파는 가게는 차이나 쇼프입니다.
Frank & the Phoenix (6874 words) by Anonymous
Fandom: David Blaize - E. F. Benson, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (Movies)
Rating: Teen And Up Audiences
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Relationships: Frank Maddox/Newt Scamander
Characters: Frank Maddox, Newt Scamander
Additional Tags: Greek Mythology - Freeform, Crossover Pairings
Summary: Frank stumbles across a dangerous--and impossible--beast during one of his trips to Greece.
This story is everything I never knew I wanted from this crossover! The author does an amazing job of fitting the two canons together in a logical way, and pulling in all sorts of delicious details from both to build the story. It's from Frank's POV, which I loved because I'm a real sucker for the wizarding world seen through a muggle's eyes.
Illustrious the Return (1562 words) by Anonymous
Fandom: Alpennia Series - Heather Rose Jones
Rating: General Audiences
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Relationships: Barbara Lumbiert/Margerit Sovitre
Summary: Their second arrival to Saveze was very different from their first. Instead of arriving riding double on a horse, fleeing with no more than they could carry; now they arrived in a carriage emblazoned with the Saveze crest with servants and carts loaded with trunks full of books and clothes.
The very first Alpennia story on AO3, and it was written for me, hooray! It really feels in tune with their canonical relationship, with great characterization. It's also very grounded in the wonderful details of canon, the mysteries that connect the land and its people.
I also wrote one fic for each of these fests, which I'm sure you can identify as my work FROM SPAAAACE. But I need to go read more in both of them!
Milton Keynes didn't exist when I was born - there was a village of that name, but a new town was designated at the beginning of 1967. It was built to a careful plan, based on a grid. Each 1km square on the grid was separately planned and designed and exists as an independent community. The earth dug out of each grid as part of the building process, has been placed around the edges to form green banks along the road, so that as you drive around the buildings are invisible. With that and the grid plan, there are no distinguishing features as you drive around and, as a navigationally challenged person, I refuse to drive there.
The grid ethos permeated the whole development plan, so the paving slabs in the centre are a uniform 60cm square, and there is a rigorous rectilinear character to all the central buildings.
It has a reputation for being dull, boring, and unattractive. We knew it wasn't that, but the Twentieth Century Society Tour revealed far more than we expected.
We started with the old Bus Station, which was a big hit.
( no longer a bus station; no longer a nightclub )
( there's a lot of green space built into the plan )
There was a lot of investment in Council owned residential areas, including some really interesting and thoughtful designs. I liked these Edward Cullinan houses with their irregular rooflines.
In the area that was built as the Homeworld 1981 Exhibition, a couple of the homeowners had agreed to show us their unique houses and tell us about them. We first saw the Ideal Home Solar House, which has no windows on the north elevation, and a huge glass wall sloping at 15 degrees on the south. The solar panels heat water, and there's a heat storage mechanism built into the system. The glass panels are too large for anyone to be prepared to act as window cleaner, but are washed naturally by rain. They are also both too large and too small to find anyone willing to replace them - too large for a fabricator of domestic doubleglazing, and too small a job to interest a firm dealing with commercial glazing.
The engineer who lives there was passionate about his home.
The next house we were scheduled to visit provided tea and cake, a welcome sit down, and lots of historical drawings, plans and articles on the exhibition.
In between we had an unscheduled encounter with the owner of the Greenwood (Pyramid) House, which is built with a glass 'dome' on top, exterior steps, and a nuclear bunker underneath. Yes, a nuclear bunker. Surprisingly the house was on the market for months without a single a viewing before the current owner discovered it and fell in love.
( more exhibition houses )
After a hurried lunch in the shopping centre, which is pretty impressive as such things go, being full of natural light and high quality finishes, we got on a coach to take us out of the centre and around different squares on the grid. We saw a huge variety of buildings, and heard interesting details from the tour leader and the MKDC planner, but I made no notes at all. (Sometimes it's a real pleasure to just listen and enjoy the moment, even knowing the detail won't stick in my memory.)
One of the last stops by coach was an area with Advanced Factory Units, which were amazing. They were designed for flexible usage, and were built in fabulously bright colours. The colours have faded, but they still look like fun things, closely related to Lego or Meccano. We had more tea and cake inside one of the units operating as a community resource for collecting, reselling, and redistributing...stuff. Furniture, white goods, kitchenware, knickknacks, clothes, everything.
There are loads more photos in a Flickr album where I've added details, including architect names and build dates as tags.
It was a tremendously enjoyable day, though really exhausting. But I considered it a relief to be exhausted for good reason, rather than because evil medication.