Angelic Paranoia

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The end of NaBloPoMo
Tuesday 30th April 2013 8:05 pm

Wohoo, it's the end of April! This month of NaBloPoMo has felt much harder than in November, even though I've had more time to write. I don't know why. Maybe it's because it's so close to the last one that I used up my store of things I wanted to talk about. Or something. But this time I will try and be better about updating. I have noticed that while I do NaBloPoMo I do talk to people on LJ/DW more - not just on my posts.

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Monday 29th April 2013 8:54 pm

I am terrible under pressure. It took me a while to work it out - I was always convinced I was fine under pressure until I realised that I could go from fine to feeling like I'd been hit by a truck in the space of two hours at work.

I think about everything that needs doing, how much time there is to do it in, how long it's likely to take, how it's all going to come at once, try to do it all at once and in advance and end up tired, dizzy, stressed and hating everyone. And anxiety is one of the things that can make dizziness worse. Especially anxiety about being anxious about being dizzy...

But I am trying to be better. I am trying to be more relaxed about things. I don't exactly have the most important job in the world. If something doesn't get done no one's going to die and the world is not going to end. I'm pretty good at separating work and home, most of the time, so all the destressing things I do at home make no difference at 4.30pm when there's a 5pm deadline and it's all going wrong.

The way things are looking this week I might be putting it into practise - it being a bank holiday weekend means that everything needs launching before the weekend. So then it'll end up being a nice weekend* and no one does surveys on a sunny bank holiday weekend and it'll all be for nothing...

*It's my birthday this weekend, therefore I have ordered the weather.

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Various things
Sunday 28th April 2013 5:54 pm

There are a few things I thought about talking about, but none of them really merit a whole post, so this is a post of little bits.

Diana Rigg is on Doctor Who next week! I am very excited. I might have to get my Avengers DVDs out and work out which episodes I haven't seen. Edit: Her daughter Rachael Stirling is also in it. Which meant nothing to me until Dad pointed out that she was the girl in Boy Meets Girl, and she was really good in that.

After thinking about giving up on Blockbuster they finally sent me The Bill series 2. Of the four episodes on it, it was the end of episode 3 that made me think I'd seen it before and halfway through episode four when I knew I'd seen it before. But I have no idea if I've seen the rest of series 2, so I'll just carry on (if they'll send it to me).

It's really annoying that it was so nice in the week and then the weather's been so crap this weekend.

I have my assignment for Not Prime Time. Not sure what I'm going to write yet, but I'm spending the week percolating it in my brain before I start. I have until Wimbledon to finish, which seems like it's a long way away, but it's really not that far.

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Saturday 27th April 2013 3:50 pm

I've been reading The Time Traveller's Guide to Elizabethan England and yesterday I came to a section about language. It's interesting to see how words have changed their meaning, such as cheap, which meant market and several which meant separate.

Language is changing all the time, but it doesn't mean we have to like it.

For instance, my parents hate "bored of", but I feel that if you can be sick of or tired of something, you should be able to be bored of it on the basis that it all means the same thing. On the other hand, I think that anyone who uses "could of" comes across as uneducated. It all depends on your perspective.

My particular dislikes at the moment are excite and disappoint when people actually mean excited and disappointed. To me it just makes people sound like an idiot and/or sixteen year old valley girl who will only pass exams if they're about fashion or make-up or celebrities.

The word that amused me was one I saw when I was roleplaying on LJ, which was enable used to mean encourage. I always wondered why people didn't therefore use disable to mean discourage. It's just such an obvious next step... (I never got the courage to try and use it myself though, not least because online no one would be able to tell my tongue was in my cheek).

I like the subtle differences we have in words, to end on a more positive note. Such as arse and bottom meaning the same thing, but kicking arse and kicking bottom don't come across the same way. Also how Americans talk about the Doctor wearing suspenders, which leads to much more interesting mental images for anyone from this country.

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Friday 26th April 2013 8:11 pm

Names are interesting. Not least because I found top 100 baby name lists for various years from 1890-1984 and 2010-2011 on the British Baby Name blog. I love the concept of knowing someone's name gives you power over them. You do get an idea about someone from their name, whether it's the right impression or not.

These lists tell us why nearly everyone my age has a mother called Sue. Susan was top of the list in 1954, 1964 and in the top 10 in 1944. It still makes the top 20 in 1974 and top 100 in 1984. At which point half the women in the country are called Susan and its popularity drops a bit and it's fallen out of the top 100 by 2010.

My parents tried to give me and my sister less common names. My name isn't on the top 100 list at all for the lists either side of when I was born. It is in 2010, though, and I suspect reached a peak in the 1990s when it felt like all the three year olds had my name. My sister's name, on the other hand, was in the top 10 of the lists either side of when she was born, so they failed there.

It reminds me of one of the Chalet School books, which had two new girls, one called Samantha and one called Sameris. Since they had similar first names everyone was surprised they weren't related. Because of course you give twins/sisters etc similar names. But they also spent a lot of time exclaiming over how unusual Samantha was. By the time I was born it was in the top 10, so it's really popular, but doesn't make the top 100 for 1954 or 1964, around when the book was written. So they were right, it was unusual at the time!

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Thursday 25th April 2013 6:40 pm

We have some local elections next Thursday, and since it'll be May by then and no longer my NaBloPoMoing month today seemed like a good day to talk about it.

So far I know which council it's for. I've had things through the door from the Conservatives, Labour and an Independent candidate. On my to do list for this weekend (or it would be if I'd got round to writing it down) is to look up all the candidates, find out how many I get to choose and decide which ones to vote for.

I don't trust any of the party's policies any more, so it's no use even looking at them. So I am going to vote based on people, which makes me sense. In the past in council elections the number of people I get to vote for is the same as the number of people who actually live in the ward I am voting in, which makes the decision easy. If you don't live here how can you know what it's like to live here?

This time I don't even know where they live (although the Labour candidate included a photo of him meeting a local resident, which was just hilarious. I know the point he was trying to make but it just failed utterly).

So next week I'll know who I'm voting for, I just don't know yet.

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Wednesday 24th April 2013 9:50 pm

At work I have a whole load of browsers on my computer because we have to test things in a variety of browsers. At home I use Firefox and get out Chrome/Chromium if something doesn't work in Firefox or if I want to log into two Gmail accounts at once, for example.

At work I use Internet Explorer because the software we use used to only work with IE. Now it works with most browsers, but I've got used to think of IE as a work program. If I had to upgrade to IE9 then I might reconsider. There aren't many keyboard shortcuts in the software, but Ctrl+s to save is one. However, in IE9 that does nothing. Which is quite annoying, but not nearly as annoying as Chrome which refreshes the page to put it back to where it was when you last saved. Annoying is putting it mildly.

Back when Chrome was new I disliked it for its minimalism. I once spent a while on it trying to work out how to bookmark a page (without using the keyboard shortcut). I gave up when I realised I also didn't know how to see my bookmarks. I could have looked it up, but if something so basic isn't obvious then it's not a piece of software I am going to use.

So I really dislike that IE, Firefox and Opera all think that looking like Chrome is a good thing. It's not. If I wanted a browser that looked like Chrome, I'd use Chrome. Since I don't want a browser that looks like Chrome, I use Firefox. So making Firefox like Chrome is not a help. The only way I can cope is that at least IE and Firefox give you an option to put the menu back. In fact there's something weird going on with my Firefox on my laptop because I still have all the buttons I had on 3.6. So I don't touch any of that in case they go away.

I'd go on to talk about Firefox's release schedule and Chrome updating when you check your version (which is really unhelpful when trying to check things in old versions of Chrome), but that feels like enough of a rant for one post.

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Red Kites
Tuesday 23rd April 2013 8:28 pm

We often get Red Kites round where I live. They stand out, what with the redness. But often I'll be outside or look outside and see one fly over or circling the area.

Tonight though I saw one on my way home. There was a dead thing in the middle of the road and it probably wanted that but rush hour wasn't the best time to try. And then I got home and there were four or five circling round! I've never seen as many in one go. One of them came nearly as low as the roof top and that was a big bird. That particular one was screeching and I realised I'd heard that sound before, just never thought about what made it, beyond some sort of bird. So now I know.

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Back to reality
Monday 22nd April 2013 8:11 pm

Today was back to reality and back to work. The work part wasn't too bad - I think my week off helped. It was feeling dizzy that frustrated me. All last week even when I was spring cleaning I didn't feel dizzy at all. But this morning I did and that was before I went to work.

The trouble is that I get up, get dressed, have breakfast, clean my teeth, pack my stuff and then sit down for 20 minutes or so - which I need because by the time I've finished breakfast I'm dizzy. Whereas on days when I don't have to be anywhere I read for a bit when I've woken up, then I get up and have breakfast, then sit down for a bit, then get dressed, then sit down for a bit longer, then I actually do something. The worst I feel is a bit iffy.

Sadly, though, there's nothing I can really do about the mornings. Getting up earlier will just mean I don't get enough sleep and going in later's not an option either.

Hopefully it's just my brain getting used to dealing with a lot of activity first thing before it's worked out which way is up, and after a few days back at work it'll sort itself out again.

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Sunday 21st April 2013 2:05 pm

Today was the London Marathon, which I watched while doing other things. I enjoy watching it, but it's not quite enough to hold my whole attention. It amazes me that people can run that far in the first place, never mind how many of them do it and how fast the elite athletes do it.

It got me thinking about running and reminded me of all these 5km races that go on over the summer. One day, when I am well enough, I will do one. Just one though - I don't like running, I just find it boring. Someone said once that they liked running because they got to see interesting scenery as they went, but you can do that walking. I much prefer swimming - at least you can do different strokes.

I could do a 5km race walking quite happily now - I'd probably feel crap the next day, but I could do it. Which is why I want to run, because a 5km walk isn't a challenge. If I'm going to ask people to sponsor me to do something, it ought to be something that's a challenge.

But at the moment, the only way I could train for it is if I didn't have to do anything else for at least the day I trained and the day after. Which would basically mean doing nothing for a few months. Which isn't really practical. So it will have to wait until I'm less dizzy and have more energy. Four years ago I thought it would be a year away, so I don't make predictions any more. So we'll see and one day I'll do it.

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Saturday 20th April 2013 3:21 pm

A couple of photos of the slightly unusual Daleks I have around the house - they're even clean (Daleks are a bugger to dust). Read more...

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Dear Not Prime Time Writer
Friday 19th April 2013 5:45 pm

I am totally counting this for today's NaBloPoMo entry. Aside from the prompts it is a copy of my last Dear Yuletide Writer letter and is for Not Prime Time ([info]npt-admin) which is a Yuletide-like ficathon for fandoms too big for Yuletide, but not massive.

Dear Not Prime Time Writer,

Thank you for writing a story for me. The optional details are optional. I've just tried to give you some ideas of what I might like to see, but if none of them are your thing feel free to disregard them. I am sure I will love anything you write with the character(s) I've requested. Feel free to use any other characters you'd like - there are none that I dislike in any of these fandoms.

What I like:
- Stories that explore the relationships between characters
- Stories that explore characters
- Scenes/fic that is like it could be (part of) an episode

What I dislike:
- Sex scenes, so nothing over PG-13 please
- British people using Americanisms and American people using Briticisms
- Relationships other than those in canon (and the exceptions noted in my optional details) - but you can never go wrong with gen

I know there are two Doctor Who-related fandoms on this list. Don't think that I'd like one of those more than the other two - I want each of these requests equally. Same goes for the amount I've written for the optional details - writing more doesn't mean that I want it more.

Below are my prompts:

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The end of the spring cleaning
Thursday 18th April 2013 6:34 pm

I have now finished my spring cleaning! Which is earlier than I thought I would - I started on Sunday and had Tuesday off to do the shopping.

I found I have a zip drive and a floppy drive - but no zip disks or floppy disks (or need for them, obviously). And about 1000 (approximately) TV aerial cables.

Bits of the bathroom where the dirt annoyed me when I was sitting on the toilet looking at it (but not once I'd got up) are now shiny and white.

I ended up with two bin bags of rubbish, two bin bags of recycling and a shopping bag of to charity. This is what comes of not really spring cleaned for a while.

Now I have three days to do whatever I want, plus a few things from my to do list and a hen night on Saturday night.

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Livejournal or Dreamwidth
Wednesday 17th April 2013 9:45 pm

I have asked this before, I think, but a long time ago, so it's about time to ask again. I read everything on my LJ/DW friends/reading list using an RSS Reader. So it makes no odds to me which one I follow (the one I follow will be the one I comment on). So does anyone have a particular preference for the one I'm not currently following them on?

The only stipulation with Dreamwidth, is that you have to either:
a) never or rarely use cut tags
or b) never or rarely say anything I want to read in cut tags
or c) set your feed to show the whole feed
Otherwise I reserve the right to consider my preferences above yours.

Dreamwidth defaults to show only the bits outside the cut tag, which is a massive pain because it means to read the rest I have to log in and click on it, as opposed to just reading where I am (similarly if you have your feed set to just show the first couple of sentences or just show the subject - there is a way round it, but it doesn't work on protected or adult entries and it looks rubbish using Dreamwidth).

To change/check what you have it set to go to the Privacy tab of your account settings, the Syndication level is the fourth one down. There are four options and I think they're relatively self-explanatory, but I have a picture:

Dreamwidth RSS settings

Dreamwidth RSS settings

For the record, I don't care whether you comment on WordPress, Livejournal or Dreamwidth, although I have a slight preference for the first two as they give more useful subject lines in the email notifications.

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Today is a day for cat pictures
Tuesday 16th April 2013 6:18 pm

Plus it's been ages since I posted any photos of my parent's cat. Read more...

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Lego Wii games
Monday 15th April 2013 9:26 pm

I was introduced to the Lego games by watching my sister play. They looked fun, so once she'd finished Harry Potter Years 1-4 I borrowed it. It was fun, aside from me discovering that if you use Snape to open the Slytherin common room door you can never get into the Slytherin common room and therefore never reach 100%. So I effectively completed the whole game twice. The end is quite fun because you play as Voldermort and just have to get a certain number of studs, which I did mostly by driving the Knight Bus into things.

As my sister was taking a while to get through her other Lego games, I bought Lego Star Wars (as she only has that for the PS2). It being the first one they did, it's definitely not as good - Lego Harry Potter showed you what you could shoot if you waved the remote around, whereas the remote does nothing in Lego Star Wars. Also, there's something trying to kill you in every single level. And one level per episode in a ship, which I hate because it's impossible to steer.

But despite all that I have finished all the levels once (some more than once) - it's designed so you have to do them at least three times if you want to get to 100%. Not that I will because the bonuses at the end of each episode are to do all the levels in that episode straight after each other. As some of them take an hour to get through I tend to play for about an hour at the time I am not doing that.

There are extras you can get to make things easier and the more (useful) ones I get the more fun it is. Or in other words, I no longer die when people kill me, which makes it a whole lot easier.

What makes the games good in general is that they are slightly silly. The cut scenes re-enact relevant scenes from the films, just sillier. And there are silly extras, such as turning all your wands into carrots in Lego Harry Potter (they still work the same, they just look like you're wandering around carrying a giant carrot).

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It’s spring, time to clean
Sunday 14th April 2013 8:34 pm

I've taken this week off work to get a break from work, which I clearly need given that I woke up at 5.30am yesterday thinking about it and couldn't get back to sleep. And also so I can spring clean, because I never seem to get time at the weekends.

Yesterday was a rest day, then today I did the kitchen, hall and half the landing. Spring cleaning's not just about cleaning, it's about getting rid of stuff. My measures of success on that front is that I must get rid of at least a bin bag's worth. I've already done that in just the one room, so in that respect it was a success.

But there were several things that made it a trial. First was my mp3 player. I charged it yesterday and put some audios on it to listen to to make the spring cleaning better. I was on the second track when it died. And it has completely died - not only can I not turn it on, when I plug it in the computer doesn't recognise it. So now I'll be transferring everything to my netbook and doing the lounge tomorrow, then buying a new mp3 player when I go shopping on Tuesday.

Then I dropped a tin of cocoa powder. The lid is designed to fly off at the first opportunity, so I ended up with cocoa powder down the cupboard doors, on the floor, on my jeans and on my slippers (which were new a few weeks ago and really comfortable). After hoovering it up (because there was so much of it) my hoover is now full of cocoa powder and smells of it whenever I hoover anything.

And the white tack I've used to put my pictures on the walls has made marks that I can't get off. I tried a few suggestions from the internet and they either had no effect or made it worse. The only things I have left that I dare try are sugar soap and nail varnish followed by painting over it. And finding something else to stick my posters up with (suggestions I've seen so far have been masking tape and gripping stuff). On the plus side, I think all the walls are painted the same colour. On the minus side, there is no inconspicuous place to try anything when the house will be empty when I move out.

The nice, wide windowsills also go yellow when you put anything on them, which is really helpful. There's a limit to what you can try on those, so I'll be repainting them when I move out.

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B2Mem recs
Saturday 13th April 2013 6:24 pm

These are the ones I liked the most. In no particular order, other than the order I went through the comment replies in my inbox.

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Friday 12th April 2013 8:28 pm

I have actually written a fic this year! It's for [info]unconventionalcourtship the idea of which is to take a Mills & Boon summary and rewrite it. I chose Tarrant/Servalan, which strayed a little from the original summary and also managed to incorporate a bit of Tarrant/Servalan/Avon. You can read it at Livejournal or Dreamwidth (for some reason it seemed like you weren't allowed to post fic directly to the comm - I might upload it to A03 if I can be bothered/have the energy). Edit: It's now also at A03.

I started on it all excitedly in February, albeit with no idea how it was going to end (usually I know what's going to happen before I write). I did come up with an ending but didn't have the energy to write for a month. So it ended up being more last minute than I intended. But it ended up being 2700 words, which is over my goal of writing at least 2000 words for everything this year.

It's only the second Blake's fic I've written that's longer than a double drabble and the previous one was under 1000 words. I like writing dialogue at the best of times and the characters do tend to come out with sarcasm and one-liners. And I enjoyed writing it, which feels more important than whether it's good or not. Plus [info]lost_spook didn't hate it when she betaed it, which always a good thing ๐Ÿ™‚

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Nothing to say today
Thursday 11th April 2013 8:58 pm

At some point I will make a meaningful post that's not just a meandering thing about my life. Today is not the day because straight after work I went out to dinner with our suppliers and as a consequence I have no energy left.

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