Angelic Paranoia

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Friday 30th November 2012 9:28 pm

It's the end of November, which means that it's pay day. And the end of National Blog Posting Month. I've been wanting to sum it up for about a week and now I'm tired and would much rather not post at all. Which partly sums the whole thing up.

November is the busiest time at work and this year just felt so much worse than last year. There were days when I only stopped to eat. Unsurprisingly I was tired as well (still am - we're just all at the point where we're run-down and need a week off). So it was the worst month of the year to be posting every day. But I had to do it and so I did. And now I feel a sense of achievement for having posted every day and for finding something to say.

I enjoyed the experience as a whole, if not some of the individual times I posted. I don't know if I'd do it again, but if I did it definitely wouldn't be during November. The one thing I can say with any certainty is: I'm not posting anything tomorrow.

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Yuletide progress
Thursday 29th November 2012 10:17 pm

I've failed at visiting [info]picowrimo after the first week of the month, but I did manage to finish my Yuletide fic and it's in beta now.

I am contemplating Treats, which means I'm researching them. It really want to talk about the fandoms, but I can't in case I end up writing Treats for them.

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The cold
Wednesday 28th November 2012 9:39 pm

I don't like the cold. Or rather, I don't mind it (and certainly prefer it to the heat) when I can go out in it for brief periods and then come back to a warm house. It's the house being cold I don't like.

The trouble is that the boiler is really loud and I can't sleep through it (even with ear plugs in). So I have it set to come on at the same time as my alarm goes off, which means that, depending on the temperature outside, it can be really cold inside. It helps to put my clothes on the radiator and eat porridge for breakfast, but I still don't like it.

It especially annoys me at the weekend when I have to drag myself out of bed and downstairs to turn it on. I can go back to bed for a bit, while I wait for the house to warm up, but by the time I've been awake that long I'm really hungry, so have to get up to eat breakfast (even if I go back to bed again afterwards). It's harder to get going in the morning when it's too cold to be out in it (or contemplate taking off any clothes).

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I want either a teleport or a driverless car
Tuesday 27th November 2012 7:01 pm

Or a chauffeur, I'm not fussy. Anything that means I don't have to be the one driving.

This morning spent 35 minutes in a queue on my way to work. From the point where I hit the queue I could have walked to work and got there at the same time. It was all caused by the river flooding and people slowing down (on a 60mph road!) to look at it. There are quite a few roundabouts around and people feeding in from elsewhere and going off elsewhere, so it caused chaos.

When I crossed the river I got excited about making it into second gear. I got a good look at it while I was stationary and I can tell you that all the news reports are correct - it's flooded. As it does nearly every year around here.

I can't not drive to work because rather than my 20 minute drive I'd have to do a 15 minute walk, a 20 minute bus journey, then a 30 minute walk. The bus would cost me more than it costs in petrol. And with the bus only going once an hour, in reverse, if I left on time I would miss it by about 10 minutes. This is all because I work in a village.

This evening I'm off to Rotary in a pub in a village (so no buses there either). I'm not looking forward to the journey because it's somewhere I haven't been before (which I don't like), down narrow roads (which I hate) and in the dark (there's no street lights). I am taking Tpm Baker (my sat nav) with me for comfort, maps and pointing out when I'm near to the pub.

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Monday 26th November 2012 8:58 pm

Back in January 2007 was just after I moved house (and SJA showed their first episode - I only remember that because it was just when I'd moved house). Someone had posted a fic and I had been browsing and followed some links and discovered the murky world of roleplaying on LJ.

I'd done it in the past on Yahoo Groups, but back then you couldn't play a canon character. On LJ you could. I started off playing an AU Harry Sullivan and it went downhill from there (but there was a lot of canon Harry going on too). Last week I ended up ending it after nearly six years. I had a lot of fun during that time, but for a while it hadn't been fun.

Along the way I wrote a lot of Harry short un-betaed fic, met some great people (none of whom I'm still in contact with), ended up in charge of a prompt community (until prompts fell out of favour) and had my own game too (until I closed it last week).

The whole thing was a lot like collaborative fiction - writing a story with someone else, but you could never write what their character did and you could never be sure exactly what they were going to do. It certainly made writing banter more interesting (not to mention harder).

But because you were writing with someone else there was a part of it that always felt like an obligation - if I didn't do my part then they couldn't do theirs. I always put myself under pressure to do my part and I am terrible under pressure - especially when it's pressure I put myself under.

So now I've stopped doing it, I feel great! No pressure and a lot more things I just don't care about. I haven't ended up with much more time because I wasn't doing a lot anyway.

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Sunday 25th November 2012 3:39 pm


Originally uploaded by paranoidangel

These are all the granny squares I've done so far. They're made with a bag of various colours of wool that Mum gave me. Quite a few of the colour choices were based solely on how much wool was left!

This pretty much represents all the crochet I've done. I started because I wanted to do something useful that was similar to cross stitch and I could do while watching TV (I get bored if I just watch and don't do something else at the same time). Although cross stitch was useful when I made my friends a wedding sampler for their wedding present.

Granny squares are fairly easy to do because they only involve two types of stitches: chaining and treble crochet. The tricky part comes in because the terminology is completely different in America and Britain and they call treble crochet double crochet. So the first thing you do when you look at a pattern is establish which language it's in and what they therefore mean. It's not immediately obvious because there's also a British stitch called double crochet... I use British terms, not least because treble crochet makes sense because you pull the wool over the hook three times.

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Saturday 24th November 2012 9:05 pm

I am so tired and dizzy, the last thing I want to do is post to my blog, but I have to for NaBloPoMo. So you're getting a post about how tired I am.

It's partly work and going out to ballet and choir and not being 100% better from my sore throat thing coupled with not getting enough sleep on Wednesday night and waking up at the time when my alarm would usually go off today.

I kept hoping I would improve today. Perhaps it didn't help that I went up the road, which wears me out at the best of times. But then I haven't done anything for the rest of the day aside from lie around on the sofa.

I'm really hoping that I sleep late tomorrow and am less tired. I intend to post about crochet tomorrow, with a photo of all the granny squares I've done so far.

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Card making and Christmas cards
Friday 23rd November 2012 8:56 pm

I've been making some Christmas cards this evening, although they say "Happy New Year" on them since they were the only non-Christmas stickers I could find last year (and now that I've used up more than half it means I'm going to have to go to the card making shop sometime).

I got into card making because Mum did it and it annoyed me that cards were getting more and more expensive and useless. It was especially hard to find cards for Dad for Father's Day because he's not into sport or drinking and there are only so many cards I can give him that are about how great I am. It's much easier, not to mention cheaper, to find a maths or computer joke on the internet, print it out and stick it on a piece of card.

I only started making Christmas cards last year, largely because I tend to buy mine in January when you can get 10 for £1 and therefore always have plenty. In fact I still do. But I have a problem with Christmas cards, which is who do you give them to?

You don't give them to your close friends because you see/speak to them often (often being a relative term), so it seems a bit pointless to me. Although it doesn't help that me and my best friend decided we were too shit to manage presents and if you can manage a birthday card you're doing well.

I hate giving them to people I've not spoken to all year because it also seems pointless just to exchange a Christmas card. All the people in between are the sort of people who aren't close enough to you for cards anyway. It doesn't leave anyone.

So I just do cards for people who give me cards. Which is a problem because it involves them sending/giving me a card in order for me to give one back to them. Which is fine for most of the time, but can fall down horribly. So, for example, we're having a Rotary Christmas dinner the week before Christmas. I'm only going to be a member from next Tuesday. Are people going to do Christmas cards? Is it going to be expected that I give everyone there a Christmas card? If I don't take any the answer will be yes, if I do the answer will be no.

At Rotaract I did evolve an answer for that - I took a stack and wrote on them there. Although people did think that was odd, so it's not the best answer either.

You may ask why I've been making Christmas cards tonight, after all that. But the CA regulars all (ish) do Christmas presents, and if I'm sending a present then including a card seems reasonable. But that's it. Everyone else can wait until they give me a card and I decide whether to give them one back or decide I'm too shit to manage it.

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Work dreams
Thursday 22nd November 2012 8:10 am

Despite the ballet last night I still dreamt about work last night. Twice. One of those times, in my dream I had an email from someone at work (who doesn't exist in reality) who complained at me for asking for clarification on their email wanting changes on the survey. They thought I should just use my initiative. And I also told them there was something I couldn't do and their reply was "I have friends who are engineers and they tell me nothing is impossible". And the email ended by him saying that he was going to give me good feedback, but wasn't any more.

That was the first dream. The second is harder to explain, but is why I was awake at 6am and decided that thinking about work wasn't helping me get back to sleep so I might as well get up.

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Wednesday 21st November 2012 9:57 pm

Today was, technically speaking, a good day. It just didn't feel like it. It's been two weeks since I've been ill and it was half term before that and aside from the tennis I basically haven't been anywhere - I've either been at home or working or both. I desperately needed to get out of the house and do something fun, so it was just as well tonight was ballet night. And I do feel much better for going.

I missed the last lesson of last term, we had two weeks for half term and then I missed the first lesson of this term, so I had forgotten everything as per usual. Despite having doing it for two years I am definitely still a beginner - I pick things up slowly. But I enjoy it and when you're learning as an adult that's all that matters.

It's also helping my balance and posture, which is also good.

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Forums and LJ
Tuesday 20th November 2012 8:42 pm

A few weeks ago I went through my RSS feeds and trimmed down ones that hadn't been updated for ages. Which also meant taking people/comms off my LJ and DW friends. I now have a whole load less on there. When I did it I realised I haven't had many conversations on there for ages. There used to be loads in comms etc, but not any more.

I'm obviously not in the right places. It doesn't help that the main comm I spent time in was [info]sarahjane_fic. I got spoiled there with the idea that you post fic and people comment on it. I keep seeing people complain that Yuletide is a low comment ficathon, well, not for me - I generally get at least two comments.

I know lots of people have Tumblrs because everyone was announcing them a while ago. But I'm not a visual person, so I have no interest in a blogging site for posting pictures.

The trouble is, I miss forums. So I tried to rectify that. I joined Ravelry, because it's something [info]selenay936 and [info]hhertzof talk about and I found it does crochet as well as knitting. I haven't quite worked out what to do with it yet. I tried to join the Red Dwarf forum. I got as far as creating an account and then to do anything else you have to confirm your email address once it's sent you an email. Which never arrives. I tried emailing the address it says to email if the confirmation email doesn't arrive and no one replies. I can't even change my email address because in order to change it I need to log in and to log in I need the confirmation email! So that was a bit of a dead loss.

I am trying to comment more to people's posts, if I have something to say. Which I don't always. Or I actually turn my laptop on because it's impossible to remember what I want to reply to just going by my friends list and not being able to read in whatever order I chose and mark things as unread.

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Blogs and interesting RSS Feeds
Monday 19th November 2012 8:56 pm

I thought I'd list some of the interesting/funny blogs and other feeds I follow. Read more...

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Not quite so ill
Sunday 18th November 2012 9:43 pm

I haven't posted for a while about the lurgy I had. After nearly two weeks it's nearly gone. My voice is back, my throat's nearly better and my asthma is getting better.

Plus I worked out that there's only five more weeks until Christmas, which means that there's only four more weeks of being busy possible and it should calm down a bit after two. And I only have another three five day weeks left anyway...

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More fun with the car
Saturday 17th November 2012 6:25 pm

Although this is with the dealership this time. I had to take it in because it was being recalled - the driver's side mirror switch could become sticky, and if you clean it it could melt. Apparently this has happened to someone in Europe, but none of the cars they'd checked at my local dealership have that fault. Of course I say local, but they're actually 35 minutes drive away, so despite their insistence that this is free, it actually cost me quite a bit in petrol. And the whole of my morning sitting around while they did it.

A while ago, my cover of my wing mirror fell off. You'd think they'd be easy to find on places like ebay, but they're not. So I resorted to ringing the dealership, who said they'd order one in and were very insistent that I had to come and collect it within 14 days of it being in and they'd ring me when it was in. That was about three months ago.

So when they rang me to book in this recall, I mentioned the wing mirror cover. I intended to ring them last weekend to check they were definitely getting it, but I didn't have a voice to ring with. But when I got there I noticed they had a note of it, so I was confident that when I got my car back it would have a wing mirror cover on it.

After they did the recall they also did a general spot check and pointed out to me that the wing mirror was missing a cover...

They promised they'd get it and I could just 'pop in' to pick it up. A 35 minute drive is not a 'popping in' distance. The receptionist wasn't too keen on the idea of posting it to me, but fortunately there was a man in the back who said it was fine. So now I am waiting to see if if it's third time lucky and they actually order it this time.

Amusingly (if you're not me) when I went to go home I found the man who had parked my car had put the hand brake on so hard I had to use two hands to take it off. It was on a very slight slope, but I can guarantee it didn't need to be on that hard.

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An expensive lesson
Friday 16th November 2012 8:24 pm

On Monday evening when I came back from the shops I turned on the inside light in my car so I could see to take the CD out. I thought to myself, "I must remember to turn the light off". Then, when I was shutting the garage door I thought I could see a light in there, but decided I was imagining it. On Thursday evening I went to get the car out and there are no prizes for guessing what happened next.

The long(er) story of what happened next was that I called the RAC this morning and they sent someone, who got the car started and the battery charging. And checked the oil - it's apparently a standard thing they do that they offer to check it. Except that after a while of charging the battery and him staring at it with a torch he announced that the battery was looking weak.

He said that their life is typically five to seven years, but not driving much lessens that and draining it twice doesn't do it much good. My car is five and a half years old. He said that it would be ok for a bit, but might go later. And then said the RAC could sell me one.

Now, this all could be a load of rubbish in order to sell me a battery. But so far the RAC have seemed trustworthy, I'd much rather not have my battery randomly die one day, but ultimately I thought handing over £80 I wasn't expecting to spend might teach me not to do it a third time. So my car now has a shiny new battery in it.

I've now called the RAC out five times. Twice to my old car where it was actually broken and three times to my new car where I'd broken it. At least I've justified paying them!

Also, they currently have a deal where if I invite someone to join them they give me and them £25 M&S vouchers. So in the unlikely even that you want to change your breakdown cover to RAC, let me know.

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Thursday 15th November 2012 8:19 pm

The prompts on the BlogHer NaBloPoMo site mentioned quite a bit about voting. So today I will talk about voting, since I voted!

These were elections for people to be in charge of the administrative side of the police force. Which isn't something that has ever been voted for before. Nor was it well-publicised. I got my voting card through before I got the booklet about it. And then, when going through one of the candidate's blog I found there was a hustings in my town, but before I knew anything about this election. So it's not a surprise that they're only expecting a 10% turn out.

Nor was I that excited about the candidates. Which is par for the course for an election really, but it made a nice change to be voting for people rather than parties. But I was disappointed by the Independents' statements - I didn't see how they were qualified to do the job at all.

The most exciting thing is that it wasn't just putting a cross in a box - I got to put two crosses in two boxes! - there was a first and a second choice. Handily, I actually had a first and second choice, out of the available candidates. And I got to vote somewhere new, as I've moved since I last voted. But November is a very odd time to be voting, I much prefer it to be on my birthday.

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Wednesday 14th November 2012 7:42 pm

Since [info]just_ann_now did this yesterday, I'll copy her and do it today. Only I can go one better and show you the desktop from two of my computers. Read more...

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Tuesday 13th November 2012 9:24 pm

Twitter for me is mostly for following comedians and people who will tell me when the programme they're in is on TV. Here are some interesting people/accounts I follow: Read more...

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DW femslash
Monday 12th November 2012 8:06 pm

For this year's Doctor Who Femslash ficathon I wrote The Bridge at Sunset (Sarah Jane Smith/Kate Stewart).

[info]purple_bug wanted something not set on present day Earth, so my original idea involved them finding some sort of alien device that would then send them somewhere else. I couldn't work out how they were going to get back, so I started writing and thought I'd see where it went. They ended up on the TARDIS going to an alien planet and I realised the ending was far more interesting, so I cut all the rubbish about how they'd got there down to one paragraph.

With this ficathon when people sign up they say what characters they'd like to see and suggest pairings and some ideas of what they want to see, but it's pretty open. As I was trying to decide what to write I realised I'd like to see Kate and Sarah having an adventure together. At the same time Yuletide nominations/sign-ups were going on and [info]hhertzof mentioned that they'd met in Downtime. And that gave me the shippy element.

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ATP Tour Final tennis
Sunday 11th November 2012 5:28 pm

Yesterday I went to the tennis at the O2 and took 44 photos. They keep it dark in there, with the court lit when they're playing and spotlights when they're not. So my photos are a bit variable because sometimes they came out better with flash, sometimes they came out better without flash, and when I did turn flash off they come out blurry if I move the camera. But I didn't upload the blurriest ones.

We got there in plenty of time and found that Federer was practising on the court, rather than on the practise courts. Our seats were not only close to the action, they were close to where the players come out. Which meant that it filled up with children wanting autographs at the end of the match. But it was still the closest we've sat to a tennis match, which was exciting.

The first match was Bryan/Bryan vs Paes/Stepanek. The Bryan brothers always wear the same kit anyway, but Paes and Stepanek were colour coordinated with blue shirts and black shorts. Every time we see the Bryan brothers play they lose. So we supported Paes/Stepanek (who won).

The umpire was amusing in this match. He shouted a correction to the line judge at one point that was really loud. I think he just wanted to get it in quick and got a bit overexcited. When he read the score out after that he did it very quietly. There was a point early on when one of the Bryans thought that a serve had touched the net, but the machine said it hadn't. So he spoke to the umpire about that. Then when they next served they had a let called and Bryan was gesturing "Thank you!".

They managed to finish just in time for the singles to start on time. Before they come out they get to stand in a whole load of smoke/dry ice. Del Potro came out first and while Federer waited he practically disappeared behind it all. Federer had a nice colour purple shirt and matching wristband and purple shoes. Del Potro had a luminous yellow shirt with some yellow on his shoes. Seriously, his shirt was brighter than the balls, and if you haven't seen one close-up, let me tell you that they're brighter than you'd think.

Most of the crowd was supporting Federer, we were supporting Del Potro. I'm not sure how we always end up supporting the opposite of who the crowd is, but we picked the winners yesterday!

Interestingly, on one of the hawkeye challenges Federer pointed to where the ball had landed and he was right. Another time Del Potro was challenging an 'out' call. Federer looked at the mark and nodded, to say it was on the line and he was right.

On the whole I really enjoyed the tennis - both matches were really good. And exciting as to who was going to qualify for the semi-finals. The other good news was that the tournament is going to be in London until 2015. Next year we're going to go to the semi-final afternoon match and definitely sitting near the front again, if we can, or else in the bottom section. I am starting to learn from experience that more expensive tickets really are better seats.

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