Angelic Paranoia

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I’ve Never Seen Star Wars – November
Wednesday 1st November 2017 7:34 pm

This month is always a busy month: work is busy, all the things I do regularly in the evenings are on every week, there's loads on telly to keep up with, and there's Yuletide to write. So this month I'm going to do something quick and easy.

I'm going to try avocado.

Someone on the radio series tried coffee, so there is precedent for just trying a food or drink. But it's something in the news as a lot of people (specially younger people) are eating. I keep seeing people eating it at work and I wonder what it tastes like. Also, some time ago I tried different fruits to try and increase my fruit eating repertoire, but I never did get round to trying avocado.


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I’ve Never Seen Star Wars October wrap-up
Tuesday 31st October 2017 9:46 pm

This month I've been using Netflix. Although it hasn't been for the whole month. The idea was to watch all of this set of Discovery episodes during the free month. Which meant that I've only actually had it for a week and a half.

So far I've watched Discovery and scrolled through some other stuff to see what was on there. It seemed to be mainly American stuff (didn't look to see if it was new episodes or all a series behind because it wasn't anything I was interested in), and old stuff. And some films, which surprised me - I thought Netflix only did TV. So for £6 (or more) it's pretty disappointing. I had to make an effort to find something else to watch because I felt that just watching Discovery wasn't enough of a test.

I half-like and half-dislike the fast forwarding. As you go it shows you screenshots, but there's no way of telling how far apart those screenshots are. I think fast forwarding and rewinding are at the same rate, which makes it hard to go back when you overshoot. But I can't tell. I'm used to my PVR where I can just press buttons to go forwards 1 minute and backwards 10 seconds.

It does keep track of what you've watched and how far into it you are. So you can get partway through something and then come back where you left off another time. And if you stopped at the end of an episode then when you go back it offers you the next one. It even works out that you've finished something if you stop at the beginning of the credits, which I was quite impressed by.

I set it up on my computer, added Discovery to "My list" so when I went into it on the TV, all I had to do is to select it, so that was easy.

So my experience was ok - it wasn't an amazing thing I have to have. It's useful that it's there for things that are only on Netflix (eg Discovery). I can understand why some people only have it and not a TV licence, given that they're very similar prices. But I definitely couldn't forego watching all the things I am currently watching on TV, the ease of watching from my PVR rather than Netflix, not to mention that you can't watch sport on Netflix!

I hate that I have to get it in order to watch Discovery. But at least it's available to watch - I don't have to have Sky for example, which is a lot more work and a lot more expensive.

All in all, I'd rate it a 5 out of 10.


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The saga of the bathroom light
Sunday 29th October 2017 5:50 pm

Because nothing can ever be simple.

A while ago I changed all the lamp shades in the house. This is because everything was non-coloured (ie beige) and I wanted to add some colour. The bathroom had a beige that was pointed at the bottom and then tapered out, so as to collect the maximum amount of dust. At least I assume that's the only possible reason for having one of those. I climbed up on the bath, had a look at it, established there was so much dust that it looked like there was a normal bulb under it. And then decided I wasn't going near all that dust.

Thursday morning I turned the bathroom light on and it flickered. I thought "maybe if I turn it off, when I turn it on it'll have got over it and the bulb won't have gone." Unsurprisingly that didn't happen. Although it didn't trip the switch, which was something. It was dark at the time and there was not enough ambient light coming in from the landing.

But it was fine, I had a solution. I got the spare desk lamp from the spare room, took it out of the box and then there was plastic all over the floor. It turns out it didn't like being folded up in a box and the plastic covering the bendy bit had fallen off and fallen apart.

After I picked that all up I plugged it in to the plug socket handily just outside the bathroom door. I then had mood lighting in the bathroom. You really don't need mood lighting for going to the toilet.

Although it got light before I left for work, I didn't try changing the bulb. Because I'd woken up an hour and a quarter before my alarm went off, and I'd been going to bed late due to Missy playing late, I was tired and therefore dizzy. I can't climb ladders when dizzy. So I left it until I got home - except I left late and it was cloudy and it was surprisingly dark in the bathroom when I got home. Friday was no better, but I thought it was ok, I could last until the weekend.

Saturday morning I went for a flu jab. Which doesn't hurt going in, but afterwards it feels like someone's punched you in the arm. It hurts to touch it and it hurts to raise your arm. Which was perfect for changing light bulbs.

The lamp shade just required me to unscrew the pointy bit. I say just, but it took a good five minutes. So I was glad I didn't try that before or after work when I didn't have much time/light. There was about an inch thick of dust on the lamp shade, and some dead things. The bulb was so dusty it was a job to find its wattage (60W).

I went to my drawer of light bulbs, intending to stick something in temporarily. At which point I found that I have a lot of 100W bulbs (most of which I got free). I did manage to find a 60W bulb. I put that in and turned the light on and my bathroom is now so incredibly bright. All of a sudden it doesn't look dull and colourless, it looks bright and clean.

The saga doesn't end, of course. It has what looks like a normal light fitting, albeit much closer to the ceiling than in other rooms. I thought it would be easy to find something to go over it. But all the bathroom light shades seem to fit to the wall. I think I will be taking a photo of it to B&Q/Homebase to see if they have anything, and inevitably ending up buying something that I'll need to pay an electrician to fit.

Nothing is ever simple.


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Femslash fic (and not posting)
Sunday 22nd October 2017 2:10 pm

I haven't posted for a while. This was mainly because Dreamwidth changing to https broke all the crossposting plugins. So it meant that I had to manually copy the posts from LJ, which was too much of a pain to be bothered with.

There are two plugins which are both based off an old one and haven't been updated for years. They still don't work with DW, but I am still using the same one to crosspost to LJ, so if you read there, you won't notice any difference. For DW I have a new plugin that crossposts to hundreds of places, but doesn't do any LJ/DW specific stuff. So if you're reading this on DW you'll see extra spaces between paragraphs. And if I use a more tag at any point you'll get even more spacing, rather than a cut tag.

I tried looking at both plugins to see if I could edit some things from one into another, but the new one is so long, because it does so much that Kate (KDE Linux equivalent of Notepad++) complained about it, and I decided I had better things to do with my time. For now, this is better than manually crossposting.

I wrote a fic for [info]femslashex:
Military Interference (2630 words) by paranoidangel
Fandom: Doctor Who (2005), Sarah Jane Adventures
Relationships: Kate Lethbridge-Stewart/Sarah Jane Smith
Summary: Sarah Jane and Kate have to save themselves from aliens and settle a score.

One of the things [info]selenay talked about was Sarah disliking military interference. So I decided the best place for Sarah and Kate to talk about it was in a cell on an alien spaceship heading away from Earth. And then I went "Shit! How do I get them out of this?" Which is generally how I write plot: get them into a mess and have no idea how to get them out of it.


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Dear Yuletide Writer
Monday 2nd October 2017 10:47 am

Dear Yuletide Writer,

This letter is to give you some ideas, but if none of them are your thing feel free to disregard any of my prompts. I've put down some things I'd love to see, but there is so little fic in any of these fandoms that I'd be so happy to see anything at all in any of them.

For these fandoms my requested characters are Any. That's because I like all of the nominated characters and can't decide which of them and in which combinations I'd rather have. Feel free to write other characters in these fandoms too - there's none that I don't like.

Likes
- Stories that feel like a piece of canon
- Stories that make me laugh
- Stories that make me cry
- Stories that give me warm, fuzzy feelings
- Banter
- Friendship
- What If AUs
- Time travel/playing around with time
- Unusual formats (eg epistolary, IF, five things, etc) as well as the usual formats too
- For shippy things: meaningful touches

Dislikes
- Non-canonical (permanent) character death
- Anything that requires an adult rating (aside from language, if it's appropriate to the canon)
- Bodily fluids (unless it's for laughs)
- Any relationships not mentioned below
- AUs that change the setting
- For shippy things: power imbalance

The prompts: Read more...


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I’ve Never Seen Star Wars – October
Sunday 1st October 2017 5:35 pm

As mentioned in an earlier post, this month I will be trying Netflix. It's a busy month to suddenly have access to a whole load of TV (potentially - obviously it's impossible to say how much until I actually sign up). So unless I get ill (which I'd really rather not), the only thing I'm likely to watch on it is Discovery.

I realised the good thing about there being a few episodes up before I start, is that I can then watch those in any order I like.


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I’ve Never Seen Star Wars September wrap-up
Saturday 30th September 2017 7:43 pm

This month I tried morris dancing. I chose clog morris, partly because I liked the way it looked, partly because I liked the red in their outfits and partly because it was on a convenient evening. I really enjoyed it.

They only actually had two practices this month and I made it to one of them. Right at the start we learnt the polka step. Which looks easy when you see it, and I thought it was just a case of tapping one foot on the other side of the other (ie your right foot on the left of your left foot). But it turns out there's also two hops per step. And you're supposed to be getting your knees up. Which I found really hard when my legs already ached from ballet the night before. But I did manage to polka at a reasonable speed on the spot and going forwards. But completely failed to do it in any other direction - and we learnt a dance where you had to do it in every other direction (except sideways).

But I liked that it was hard. I had been thinking it might not stand up in the comparison to ballet, which is hard because there is so much to think about all at once. If all you have to remember is where you're going it's really easy in comparison. But I was thinking about where I was going and what I was doing with my feet and what I was doing with my arms.

I learnt one dance with sticks - they have two small sticks. The real ones have bells and ribbons on the ends and if I had one of those I'd have definitely hit myself in the head. On the plus side, holding those up was fine because it was never for as long as I've had to hold my arms out in ballet. I say I learnt a dance, I did have to be reminded of what I was doing, and my polkaing involved extra effort because I felt like I needed to add hops in order to move in the direction I should be moving in. But no one hit each other (with our bodies or our sticks).

I did also start another dance with what's called a sling. For practice these are basically just lengths of rope. That you then hit yourself with. Partly on purpose: at one point you have to put them over your shoulder and the only way to do that is to hit yourself in the back with them. And partly because I wasn't holding them high enough above my head to avoid hitting myself in the head. But I usually accidentally hit myself with things on a regular basis, so it all felt normal.

At least as a beginner we'd do a bit of a dance, then watch the non-beginners run through a dance, while we got a rest. Which we really needed by then. While watching one, someone told me she goes to the gym in order to be fit enough to dance, which I can believe. Especially when I watched one that involved polkaing all the way through.

The other thing that surprised me was all the general club stuff that went on. It's just the same as any club, and reminded me of fencing, which is the most recent place I've seen it. I realised I've missed that a bit, because ballet is classes and choir is set up a different way. The AGM notes reminded me more of Rotary and the sort of politics that goes on in any club.

I intend to go back. I'm not sure how well it will fit in going out three nights a week and when work gets busy in November/December. But at least it's something where it doesn't matter if you don't go every week. I just need to sort myself out a decent pair of trainers, because it turns out I've got really used to a sprung dance floor, and a school hard is really solid in comparison.

I'm going to give it 10 out of 10.


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What fic I procrastinated on over my summer holiday
Sunday 24th September 2017 3:28 pm

I wrote some stuff over the summer. Or to be more accurately, right at the end of summer when the deadlines were suddenly looming.

for [info]unconventionalcourtship I wrote:
Night of the Undead Science Project (1809 words) by paranoidangel
Fandom: Blake's 7
Relationships: Dayna Mellanby/Del Tarrant
Summary: Dayna Mellanby and Del Tarrant's evening turns deadly when some uninvited guests show up at a party - a horde of hungry zombies. The pair is in a fight for their lives when a new, heroic side of Dayna emerges, and she vows to protect Tarrant no matter the cost....

While I was researching this, I found this on Fanlore:

Danya/Tarrant is also usually upbeat, with the two joking with and insulting each other. It may involve an action-adventure plot, or some other excuse for Dayna to make something explode.

Which perfectly describes everything I like about the pairing.

I struggled with what to write for this, despite the summary being perfect. I'm not a fan of zombies, but I couldn't think of an alternative, except maybe for rebels, who don't know who Tarrant and Dayna are. But then Big Finish did that. And then I realised that zombies could be blown up, they stayed.

Originally the second sentence said: a new, heroic side of Dayna emerges. But I just couldn't manage that level of crack. And then I realised I can swap the names, and the fic practically wrote itself after that.

For [info]remixrevival I was assigned to someone who'd written a lot of canons I know, and has a completely different style to me, so I was spoilt for choice. I thought I wasn't going to be able to choose but then I'd read a Harry Potter fic and the next day it occurred to me that maybe Remus's reaction to Sirius announcing he's gay could be different, and therefore change the immediate aftermath.

Coming Out (The Non-Binary Remix) (1206 words) by paranoidangel
Fandom: Harry Potter - J. K. Rowling
Relationships: Sirius Black/Remus Lupin
Summary: Sirius and Remus have very different methods of announcing their sexuality.

And then it turns out that [info]lost_spook unexepectedly (although it was probably her turn) got me and cleverly remixed Tea and Biscuits into
Coffee and Crumbs (The Idiot in the Attic Remix) (2145 words) by lost_spook
Fandom: Doctor Who (2005), Sarah Jane Adventures
Characters: Sky Smith, Twelfth Doctor, Sarah Jane Smith, Mr Smith (Sarah Jane Adventures)
Summary: The Doctor always returns to Bannerman Road at the important moments. It's the timing that's so hard to get right...


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Popular things
Saturday 23rd September 2017 12:17 pm

I'm really not good with popular things.

I am sorting out avoiding Star Trek Discovery spoilers at the moment. This is because it's only on Netflix and I plan to only have Netflix for the one free month. So I need to start late in order to get all the episodes into one month. I am only having Netflix for one month because I don't like Netflix because:

  1. It refuses to tell you what's on there until you sign up - what if you signed up and then found there was nothing you wanted to watch? You've then wasted your free month.
  2. Everyone has it.

I've also got annoyed with the amount of Discovery stuff I've been seeing on Twitter and RSS, not that I've been reading it. It makes me feel like everyone is going to watch it, which makes me not want to.

I had the same thing earlier with Strictly, when I saw a stat for how many people watched it two weeks ago. I made me feel like if all those people were watching it, I don't want to be one of them.

It's one of the reasons why I can't stand Converse shoes and you couldn't pay me to wear them. I dislike the way they look anyway, and I wouldn't wear branded clothes or shoes (except DMs if they were cheaper and I wore skirts). But everyone wearing them just makes them that little bit worse.

It's not everything. I wear jeans, I watch Doctor Who, I love Wimbledon. I don't know what the difference is. It's not just coming late to the party - I read A Long Way to a Small Angry Planet and only after that did it seem like everyone was reading/had read it. At which point I wished I hadn't, even though I liked it. It's very irrational. But at least it gives me plenty of thing to try for I've Never Seen Star Wars.


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Stuff and nonsense
Sunday 17th September 2017 3:19 pm

September seems to be shit month at work at the moment. It's just all been going down at once and involving everything going wrong, leaving late and working at weekends. Yesterday I worked from 9am to 3pm with just a short break for lunch and draping the washing.

I did then use Facetime for the first time yesterday. It turns out to be a bit crap and Skype is better.

Missy is definitely an old lady (she's two next month): she's like herself, only more so. Also, when hamsters get old they drink more and therefore wee more (hamster wee smells, but the poo doesn't). This is definitely currently true of Missy. The worst thing is her tendency to wee where her food store is, so I keep throwing away wet food.

Missy on the sofa

She did turn actually use her brain the other day. A couple of weeks ago when I was cleaning her out, she pouched her food store and left it in her secret food store under my desk drawers that she doesn't think I know about. After I threw away some wet food and she didn't have much left, she went and fetched some from under my desk and put it in her cage.

Aside from attempting (and failing) to keep up with the week's TV and podcasts, I've also been writing. I'm not doing any other ficathons this year aside from Yuletide, so I've been trying to keep writing, because it's hard to start again, once you stop. Also, I had an idea for a long (for me) fic. I currently have 4500 first draft words, some ideas for the next few scenes and only a vague idea of how it's going to end. I am enjoying writing it, so I almost don't care if I actually finish it.


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Strictly
Monday 11th September 2017 7:43 pm

I watched Strictly at the weekend. Well, judging by how long it took me to get through the episode, I actually watched less than a third of it. I can't watch all the celebrities, the same way you get to know the comedians on Taskmaster. But I'm permanently behind on TV and can't watch that much dancing without getting dizzy and/or bored. So I just watched Susan Calman, Richard Coles and Jonnie Peacock.

I found the part where they were drawing out who their partner was quite dull, because the only Pro dancer on there I've heard of is Anton Du Bec. I liked Richard Coles introducing himself because he was hilarious. Does not take himself seriously in the slightest, which I loved. I didn't intend to watch him at all, but him and Susan have been hilarious on Twitter.

I watched the Footloose dance and it ruined my night by making me dizzy. I didn't remember it being that bad, when I tried watching a dance a few years ago. I tried the dance again in the morning on my iPod and I was fine... but I looked away when they spun the camera round. I'd got complacent and forgotten I needed to do that. In future I will watch the dances on my iPod and then skip through the rest of the episode on my PVR.

But of the dance itself, I liked Richard Coles. He looked like he was enjoying himself really hamming it up. And Susan looked like she was just having a really good time. So I am really looking forward to seeing them dance.

On YouTube I found that Claudia Fragapane had been on it. Which I knew at the time and had forgotten. So I watched some of her dances. They did really use her flexibility and she did lots of lifts, because of course she has the balance* to do it. Her dancing generally was pretty good, which is what you'd expect from a gymnast. And yet I preferred Judy Murray's dancing - she might not have done much, but the dances were more fun.

The last one I watched was to Shut Up and Dance - which was the first song I did at Rock Choir. It was a great, fun song and we all loved it. We'd sing it in the breaks. At the end of term we sang through all the songs we'd done that term, and started and ended with that song.

*One of my ballet teachers once told us that lifts weren't about strength they were about balance, and as long as you have that anyone can lift anyone else.


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What a week + Yuletide
Saturday 9th September 2017 7:39 pm

I thought this week I'd get more done than I have. Especially as more things start back after summer next week and I won't be as quiet again until half term. And then it was just a ridiculous week at work. On paper it wasn't busy, but there was just shit going down all over the place and I spent the week cleaning it up. I got to the point on Friday where I couldn't see properly looking at the screen.

Today, though, was a day off, so I cleaned the house, watched people running about in Newcastle and am watching live scores at the US Open (I'm interested in Jamie Murray and Martina Hingis winning the mixed doubles, and Alfie Hewett vs Gordon Reid, but the BBC and Eurosport aren't).

Tomorrow there are more people running about in Newcastle, followed by some more work. I was thinking this would be a quiet weekend, with the US Open finals being on so late, so I'd watch the latest series of Game of Thrones. But it turns out there was other sport, so it will have to wait.

I did, though, think about my Yuletide nominations. I had a not-very short list of 11 fandoms. I narrowed it down by thinking about what I really wanted for them and ended up with The Last Leg, Taskmaster and 40-Love. The latter was at the bottom of the short list because I got it last year but a) you can't have too much of a good thing and b) the US Open is currently on, so I'm feeling all tennisy.

SJA was just pipped at the post when I realised I'm mostly interested in Gita, thanks to Mina Anwar at the SJA Reunion. Which isn't a bad thing, but I went for fandoms where I'd be happy to write any of the characters. Everything else was mostly just there on a whim. And a couple of them where Twitter things that I found I only liked in small doses. 1000 words is a lot more than 140...


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I’ve Never Seen Star Wars – September
Sunday 3rd September 2017 12:57 pm

This month I am going to be trying morris dancing. [info]watervole found me a few local sides ages ago and the one I chose I remembered seeing at the local folk festival last year. I like that they have clogs. They handily meets on a day when I used to have choir, but don't any more. Although that's also the night after ballet, so the state of my legs will influence when in the month I get there - the first couple of weeks of term are always the worst as your legs get used to being in positions they haven't been in since the previous term.


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I’ve Never Seen Star Wars August wrap-up
Saturday 2nd September 2017 9:33 pm

This month I was trying yoga.

I have now found out what it's all about, which is one of the reasons I wanted to try it. It's about flexibility and stretching and relaxing. I have never been flexible and am perfectly happy with that so doing things to improve my flexibility doesn't interest me. Stretching I get, but since I'm used to the idea that you do it before or after something else, getting to the end of yoga made me feel like I was ready to do some exercise, but I'd just done it (sort of).

I don't find it relaxing. At all. In fact I find it the opposite. It's partly because there was so little going on - yes, there was a voice and music and something to look at and something to do, but none of it was that interesting. The other reason was when Adrienne waiting until we were in a pose and then telling me to pay attention to my body. The bits that hurt, hurt more when you think about it, so that's really not helpful. And one of them (I forget which) telling me to move a limb into a pose 'mindfully' which is the most meaningless phrase I've ever heard in my life.

But the biggest problem I had with it is that it made me dizzy. And it's hard to explain, but it's not a normal sort of dizzy either. It's dizziness with a side of that horrible feeling you get in your head when a plane you're on takes off. And it lasts all evening (I only ever tried yoga in the evenings). I thought I'd be ok because although some of it involved putting my head upside down, I'd done that at ballet - in fact I'd done that exact stretch at ballet. But I found it wasn't just putting my head upside down, it was putting it horizontally as well. Which I never really do in real life.

I ended up just doing poses that involved standing up. Which was better for my head, but they were a combination of ballet but with a whole foot on floor, and fencing. Literally a lunge in yoga is a fencing lunge. And there is some actual ballet in there - what was apparently a goddess pose is actually a plie in second position.

I did discover, through a conversation about yoga with [info]selenay that I'm really good at balancing. Which is interesting, given that I have a problem with my balance. It shows how useful ballet has been with that - I've had so much practise at balancing on tiptoes that having one whole foot on the floor is easy in comparison.

I'm going to give this 2/10, because it satisfied my curiosity, but it's just dull.


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What I am reading Wednesday
Wednesday 30th August 2017 8:34 pm

What I Just Finished Reading
Knowing the Score: My Family and Our Tennis Story by Judy Murray. Which is all [info]selenay's fault. We were in Foyles, she was looking at cookbooks, the sports section was next to the cookery section, I started reading this book and then decided I couldn't wait for it to come out in paperback. I then read it in a day. It's partly what made me watch her Strictly dances, given that she has a chapter on it. It was really interesting to read how she (and then Jamie & Andy) got into tennis. And how much time and money their training took.

I was really interested to read about the gender divide in tennis. Things are starting to improve, but there are very few female coaches and girl players aren't taken as seriously as boy players. No male players were coached by women, and not many female players were either. I thought nothing of Andy taking on Amelie Mauresmo as his coach, but the reaction in the sport was really awful. A lot of people thought that a woman couldn't coach a man, even though it's the same sport. It was eye-opening.

What got me reading was the first chapter when she talked about Wimbledon when she was a girl. Her parents had it on all the time, the channel only got changed when play had finished, her dad was always home from work on time to watch it, and no food was cooked. Sounds just right to me!

Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell. I saw this in Foyles, was intrigued by the title and [info]selenay said it was good, so I got it from the library. And then I spent the long weekend reading it. I really enjoyed it. The author said at the end that she'd read a lot of Harry Potter fanfic and it showed. What amuses me is that during the book the main character is writing a fanfic called "Carry On, Simon", generally abbreviated to "Carry On." So then Rainbow Rowell has written Carry On - it's an actual book. Which I will get round to reading at some point, but before then there are some other books by her that are in my library (rather than the county).

What I'm Currently Reading
The Wave by Morton Rhue. I've been wanting to re-read this for a while, but hadn't got round to looking up the author until I spotted it on a shelf in Foyles or Waterstones. We read it in secondary school - the only book I can remember reading that wasn't a book we were doing for English Lit. My memory of it is that it's about understanding how the Nazis sucked people in and got them to do horrible things. Although my main memory of it is that we had to write another chapter at the end (although I remember thinking it ended at a good point). It was one of only two things I did that my English teacher liked (the other was a ballad we had to write - I wrote it about tennis).

Enigma Tales by Una McCormack. Technically I'm currently reading it, although I only got a few pages in before being distracted by Judy Murray and library books.

What I'm Reading Next
I finally made it to the top of the reserve list for the library ebook of The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood. It's just annoying that I have to turn my old, slow Windows computer on to download it. And given that I couldn't watch the TV series too late in the evening, I won't even try reading this before bed.

Cheer Up Love by Susan Calman. Because she mentioned it on Twitter and now I have the paperback on reserve from the library (I don't like hardbacks: too big and heavy and hard to read in bed).


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Various things
Monday 28th August 2017 11:52 am

I've been meaning to post all week and keep getting distracted by other things. Sadly not sport (mostly). Although the US Open tennis starts this afternoon.

I had a busy week and a half - I pretty much did all my summer socialising in that time. Most of it was Rock Choir, who did some summer workshops. It was fun to be doing some singing when usually everything stops for the summer. There were a lot fewer people than during term time, but it didn't feel like it when we were singing. I wondered why until the ceiling was pointed out. The room we rehearse in has really good acoustics. I will miss that about Rock Choir - the hall my other choir rehearses in is terrible for sound.

I discovered I'll be watching (some of) Strictly this year. I meant to watch when Judy Murray was on, but never quite got round to it. People have told me I'd like the dances, but the camera constantly moving around is so distracting that I can't concentrate on the dancing. And it makes me dizzy. But then I found all of Judy Murray's dances on YouTube and watched them on my iPod and using such a small screen was such an improvement. (I really should try watching Class on there) I did enjoy the dances - I like how they got tennis in it and other stories. I don't know why people thought she was terrible because they seemed fine to me - although I don't have anything to compare it with.

Although I will this autumn. Susan Calman announced on Twitter she was on it. It sounds like she'll be a laugh. And Jonnie Peacock is on as well. And what with them on Twitter (mostly Susan Calman) I've ended up following Rev Richard Coles (after a brief moment of wondering if it's wrong to follow a vicar on Twitter if you're not Christan). Although he tweets quite a lot and I started following him at the same time as the US Open draw and Andy Murray withdrawal and that end of TweetDeck got a bit crazy.

What I've seen most of, Strictly-wise, is the back stage stuff. When I was lodging my landlady would be watching It Takes Two while I was cooking dinner and watching rehearsals was much more interesting than watching the final dances. I will probably tell my PVR to tape it all and then sift through it sometime.

Otherwise I have been getting some jobs done. I now have new curtains in all the rooms (blinds for the kitchen and bathroom are next). Although in order to get something I liked for the lounge and would keep the heat in in the winter and heat out in the summer, I ended up with black out curtains. Since the lounge is south facing and it is hot and sunny out today I'm therefore sitting in quite a dark room. Although it is getting lighter, the closer the sun gets to shining directly at it.

After owning my new computer for three and a half months I finally got tired of turning the old one on to print and decided to install it on my new one. And then I discovered it doesn't work on Linux Mint over 17. And possibly doesn't work on Windows 10 either. It is an old printer. So now I have a new one. At least they're cheap. Of course installing it and getting all the functions working wasn't easy, but it wouldn't be Linux if it all worked out of the box (and who wants something that just works and doesn't let you tinker with it - where would the fun be in that?).


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SJA Reunion
Monday 14th August 2017 9:23 pm

A couple of weekends ago I went to the SJA Reunion one-day convention in Cardiff. I wasn't too sure about it, I had a bit of "who are these people, how do I know they know what they're doing" as if I know everyone in the world. But Katy Manning (Jo) was going to be there and I've never met her, so I went. If I'd been the sort of person who'd go up to her on the street (or train station platform) I'd have met her at Cardiff station where we were waiting for the train to the tiny little station that was just round the corner from the con. But I wasn't, so I didn't. But since I'd already planned to be a bit late (given that I got up at 6am!) and the train was late, I felt better knowing that at least I wouldn't be later than one of the guests. Incidentally, I ended up getting the same train back as John Leeson. Read more...


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I’ve Never Seen Star Wars – August
Tuesday 1st August 2017 7:53 pm

This month I'm going to be trying yoga. It's something I've seen cropping up all over the place (or at any rate, being mentioned by all sorts of people). So I was interested to see what it's like. [info]just_ann_now has given me links to videos so I can try it out at home.


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I’ve Never Seen Star Wars July wrap-up
Monday 31st July 2017 9:41 pm

This month I've been using Duolingo, Memrise and Lingvist to re-learn French.

I'm level 9 in Memrise French 1. I'm level 5 in Lingvist, where I know 418 words. Between the three of them those are the only useful stats I can find.

Duolingo is probably the one people know best, on the basis that I've seen various people talk about it and not the others. It gamifies the whole thing, which some people love and I can't stand. This is partly because it's been a big thing at work for ages and partly because I perversely want to not do what it wants me to. So it'll get all excited that I have a 6 day streak, I'll purposely break it. And I really dislike that if you get too many things wrong you can't do any more.

I dislike that it has so many screens and button presses in comparison to the others. When you've got an answer right the other two carry on to the next one, this one requires you to press to say that you want to carry on. Although it also doesn't let you go back. It does tell you in advance what you're going to learn and allow you to test out of it.

When I started it it would teach me some words, then do some things to help me learn them. Then it would teach me some words and test me on some others. Now it just goes straight to the testing. Which just seems bizarre to me.

I also take exception to it giving me a picture of a pair of trousers and telling me the French for trousers is pantalons, which I already knew, and then telling me that an alternative translation is pants. Er, no it's not. And one I had today where the English translation was "Letters, which ones" and I got it wrong because I translated it into proper English.

It also has a thing where you can speak the answer on certain screens. Which is fine an good, and as it says you need to learn to speak French. However, there are two problems with this:
1. It's asking me to speak English
2. It doesn't understand what I say in English

Memrise is the one I hated at the start. It was teaching me really basic stuff I already knew (like please and thank you) and I couldn't understand how it was all structured. I still find the structure a bit unintuitive, but I like that each session it starts with a review of the previous one before introducing new words. And I like that it has different ways of reminding me of the new words before I'm asked to type them.

The biggest problem with it is that I find some of it simple and then keep getting it wrong because I don't read it all carefully enough. So tonight, for example, it was teaching me fish (poisson) which I already knew, but it thinks I don't know it at all because I kept selecting poison as the French for fish.

So far it has just been words, not sentences (I'm sorry is the closest it's come). It's possible it's coming - I did start with French 1 after all, but I do feel a bit like I'm not learning anything useful.

Lingvist is the most restricted, but it acknowledges that it's only there to teach words and that it only has a few (European) languages. But I love the stats it gives you. It tells you how many screens you've done that session, how many you got right, how many new words you learnt. For every word you've seen it tells you how many times you saw it. When you learn a verb it gives you the verb tables.

It's much better than the other two at learning what I knew. If I keep getting something wrong it will show it to me more often, if I get it right, then it doesn't bother.

None of them are ever going to be as good as learning in a classroom with a teacher. In my first year of learning French, when I was 11, I knew a lot of parts of the body because we used to play Simon Says. Although after that year parts of the body never really came up and I forgot most of them.

I don't really know if I'm getting anywhere with any of them, but I have only been doing it for a month, which comes to about 9 hours in total (3 in each app). Which is nothing really, considering I last did French over 15 years ago.

Having said that, I have enjoyed it, in varying amounts and I will carry on, although not necessarily with all three apps. So I'm going to give it 7/10 for the experience.


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Sport and writing
Friday 28th July 2017 8:12 pm

It took me a little while to get used to the change from athletics from swimming, but now I'm loving the swimming. I still record it, partly because it starts before I finish work, but also because I'm not that interested in all the chat. Mostly I just like the swimming. And they repeat bits that they showed earlier/the previous day and I don't need to see it that many times. It's just a shame there's only two days of it left. Then I have to get used to athletics again, at the end of next week.

I had forgotten the Winter Olympics and the Commonwealth Games are both next year. Annoyingly, both on the other side of the world, although it does at least give me the evenings to catch up on the curling and other sports. The Winter Olympics is in February, Paralympics in March and Commonwealth Games in April. And then in May the tennis on TV season starts and before I know it it'll be summer and I won't have had time to watch any non-sports on TV for months.

It did occur to me that this year I haven't been to any live sports whatsoever. I haven't even been to the theatre or to see comedians. I thought about going to the last Saturday of Wimbledon, but the weather was crap. So that was probably a good decision, although there were spaces on court 3, where the wheelchair men's doubles was played. I thought about going to the Para-athletics last Saturday, but the weather forecast was for rain and I've done sitting watching sport in the rain and cold before and it's not fun. And as it happened I had to clean the house anyway. But London is bidding to have the World Para-athletics championships back in two years, so I can go then. And the Commonwealth Games is bound to come back to this country sooner or later.

I did manage to squeeze some fic writing in. After a Twitter conversation about ships with the Thirteenth Doctor, I wrote a Thirteen/Missy (very short) fic:
The Love of an Enemy (334 words) by paranoidangel
Fandom: Doctor Who (2005)
Rating: General Audiences
Relationships: Thirteenth Doctor/Missy
Summary: Missy needs a friend. Spoilers for The Doctor Falls.

And last week's Last Leg made me want to write more Josh/Jonnie, so I did:
Bromance, Showmance (594 words) by paranoidangel
Fandom: The Last Leg RPF
Rating: General Audiences
Relationships: Josh Widdicombe/Jonnie Peacock
Summary: Jonnie confronts Josh about his bromances.

This is going to be one of my Yuletide fandoms this year (again). But when I posted this the Josh/Jonnie relationship tag didn't come up. So I found one of my Yuletide fics and discovered that's because there were only three fics with that relationship and I wrote all of them for Yuletide last year.


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