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Stuff I love: Jeremy Hardy
Friday 1st February 2019 7:31 pm

A meme for the month:

Stuff I love

I was going to post about this already, but it fits nicely into the meme. What with the snow today I worked from home, which meant I could check Twitter from time to time. I half-joke that my Twitter is basically just comedians and tennis. The tennis twitters are pretty quiet this week, recovering from the Australian Open and us with a bye in the Davis Cup. So my entire twitter feed this morning were people talking about Jeremy Hardy, how funny he was and what a nice guy he was.

For those who don't know, he was a stand-up comedian, well-known these days for being a panellist on The News Quiz and I'm Sorry I Haven't a Clue. There was a page about ISIHAC I saw years ago about the singing rounds as being funny because the panellists can't really sing and in Jeremy's case, really can't sing. Which just makes his singing funnier - and the audience cheer louder. ISIHAC have a tribute of his best One Song to the Tune of Another and Pick Up Sung rounds at http://isihac.net/jeremy-hardy/

I saw him in stand-up years ago and he was funny. But I particularly enjoyed him on ISIHAC, for his jokes as well his singing. I particularly remember one Christmas special where he did a duet with Andy Hamilton, who really could sing. It was hilarious.


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Books
Wednesday 30th January 2019 8:16 pm

Reading Wednesday and I've Never Seen Star Wars in one post again.

What I Just Finished Reading
Fanfic. I've had so much marked to read for a while and then in December there were about ~30 SGA Santa fics. And SGA Santa fics tend towards the long. So I've put a load on my ebook reader and am reading through them in alphabetical order.

What I'm Currently Reading
Along with the fanfic, Dune and a Jeeves and Wooster book I can't be bothered to look up the title of, but the cover is green. For Dune I struggled to make it to page 50 - my copy has 561 pages, so I thought I should at least make it a tenth of the way through. But I heard it improves and I wanted to give it a go, but when I'm tired the fanfic and Jeeves & Wooster is so much easier. They have finally made it to Arrakis and it is picking up, so I haven't given up on it yet. Although I think I may have done it the wrong way round and should have watched the film first.

What I'm Reading Next
Rivers of London. Because it's come up a few times recently in different places and it sounds interesting.

I've Never Seen Star Wars January: this was Dune. I might update the score once I've read it some more, but for now it's 4/10.

I've Never Seen Star Wars February: I am going to read Rivers of London for this. Since I'm getting an actual book (rather than an ebook) from the library, I will therefore have to finish it or give up on it three weeks after I get it!

In other book news, I signed up to [info]ljbookbingo. It'll be a little while before I get a line because Dune, assuming I finish it, would qualify for six squares: sci fi, ebook, one word title, made into a movie, a new-to-you author, and a book that is part of a series.


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Car
Sunday 27th January 2019 7:50 pm

I now have my new car and I have driven it. I want to say that I like that it starts when I turn the key, except that it's a button, not a key, and because it's a hybrid when I press the button it's silent. It starts up the petrol engine when it needs to, which it did when stationary the first day I had it, because I couldn't work out how to turn the heating off (after pressing all the buttons I discovered it was the one marked 'off'). At one point it frightened the life out of me when I got out to check that the lights were on and not the fog lights or anything else and it started up just after I got out of the car.

I like that you can move the seat up. So I can now sit up straight enough to get the sun behind the sun visor in the mornings. And the lights of cars coming towards me aren't so blinding. I feel like I'm driving a 4x4. And have a tendency to hit my head on the sun visor.

It has a lot of gadgets, most of which I haven't used yet because I'm still getting to grips with the driving and the heating. The driving especially, because it's an automatic. I was fine the first day, but ever since whenever I want to put it in any gear I end up in neutral. I'm very glad the screen tells me what gear I'm in because I keep wondering why I'm not moving. And my instinct after putting it in reverse is to go upwards (for first gear) and then end up in park (which also means the car doesn't move).

When they redesigned the car they made it 20cm longer, which is in the boot. Although given that there's less space between the front and back seats, I don't know where the rest of the length went. I have, however, managed to make the boot smaller. In my old car there was a part of the boot that lived above the main boot that meant it was all flat if you put the seats down. Since the new car was the same width, and the old car was only going to be recycled, I took it out of the new car. It does fit, but not quite as well, so you have to be a bit careful about where you put stuff. Which ends up in having less space overall.

But I have less in the car. I found a lot of stuff in there I didn't know I had. I remember what the sellotape was for (making sure the headlights stayed attached after a pheasant flew out in front of me) but I have no idea why there was blu tack in the car. I don't remember ever needing to blu tack anything in either of my previous cars.

After buying a new car for the first time, I am going back to second hand after this. It's just such a lot of faff, whereas buying second hand is so much easier. And I feel like it's a bit posh for me. I miss having a bottom of the range, doesn't do anything fancy car (as much as I liked listening to the tennis on 5 Live Sports Extra on the way to work this week).


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What I’m Reading Wednesday on a Thursday and I’ve Never Seen Star Wars – January
Thursday 17th January 2019 4:05 pm

What I Just Finished Reading
The Book of the Year 2018 by No Such Thing as a Fish. Having read The Book of the Year 2017 I knew what to expect with this one and it was just as I expected. Interesting, informative and a bit silly. Only trouble is that I've forgotten all the facts I read.

The End of Eternity by Isaac Asimov. This was a re-read for Redemption, where I volunteered to be on a time travel panel. I knew this one was interesting, but couldn't remember the ending. The first time I read this I wanted to go back and read it again because everything that happens is a clue to the ending. But I didn't. This time I read it carefully and the ending still came as a surprise. It's a good book and throws up some interesting morals about messing with history.

What I'm Currently Reading
Nothing because I just finished those two.

What I'm Reading Next
Dune by Frank Herbert - for I've Never Seen Star Wars. Because I've never read it. I have the film on DVD - it was free - and I've kept it thinking I'll watch it one day. So now I'm going to read the book. Depending on how it goes, I'll try the film once it's been long enough for me to have forgotten the book. Getting hold of this is the reason this post is on a Thursday, rather than a Wednesday.


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Andy Murray
Monday 14th January 2019 8:26 pm

So Friday was a bit of an unexpectedly big news day. To the point where I wasn't at all surprised at the end of an item on 5 Live with kids paying tribute that they clarified he wasn't dead. As sad as it is that he's having to retire rather than deciding to, I still prefer his brother. And there are plenty of other British players around - it's looking a lot better than it has for years. And I realised last year that although I'll miss the Big 4 and the ones below them, I'm ready for the next batch to come through.

I have two Andy Murray memories that are not at all like anyone else's that have been retweeted on Twitter.

The first time I saw him play was at an exhibition. They were trying to do things to pep the sport up a bit. This was to have just one set - an idea that didn't catch on. We saw a few matches and Tim Henman was due to play in one. But he was injured, so he commentated and a 17 year old Brit who I had never heard of called Andy played John McEnroe. He lost 6-1.

Afterwards McEnroe said that Andy was going to be good one day. I didn't believe him, partly due to losing 6-1 (although in retrospect a 17 year old losing 6-1 was not a surprise) but mostly because he was British. And British players never do well.

Then there was the 2012 Olympics where I didn't see him win a gold medal. I was in Court 1 watching the bronze medal match between Del Potro and Djokovic. We were sitting at the back where there was a gap between the side and the roof and it was freezing cold. It says something about how long ago it was that the crowd were all supporting Djokovic. We were supporting Del Potro, partly to be contrary. At Wimbledon, during the sit downs, they show you the scores from other courts. But not at the Olympics. We were following the progress of Murray vs Federer via the live scores on my sister's phone. And updating the crowd in our vicinity, mostly due to our surprise at the scoreline.

The bronze medal match finished and unlike at Wimbledon we couldn't get on Henman Hill (it was manned and ticketed) and there were no screens around anywhere else. We ended up stood watching a scoreboard while my sister ate ice cream (it had warmed up a lot). I've been to Wimbledon before on the final Sunday, sat on Court 1 and had no idea who had won the men's final. There was clearly no point in bothering this time, as God Save the Queen was a bit of a dead giveaway.

Speaking of not knowing results: when Andy won the US Open I had no idea until I finished listening to the match the following evening. I'd gone to bed after the first set. At the time the only way of following it was on the radio and it's really hard to listen to that and not fall asleep. As I remember from listening to Greg Rusedski in the US Open final. People were amazed that I managed to have no idea he'd won (I avoided all internet, TV, radio, shop and told people at work I didn't want to know).


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Car
Monday 7th January 2019 10:20 pm

I have solved all my car problems (and I realised I have four things about it that aren't quite right) by buying a new car. It's the same as my old car, only newer and a model up. And still red, of course (I have found that it's not just me who finds having a red car makes me invisible on the roads, but how can I have a car that's not red?). Which is about the only thing I didn't compromise on when I bought it.

Toyota seem to have decided, in updating their cars, to make them 20 cm longer. That 20cm is in the boot, which is fine. But then to make up for that they made it so the back seats don't go forwards. And I think they made it so there's less leg room in the back, but it's hard to tell because I test drove a car where you could raise the front seat, so then I had to have it further back. I really wanted a car where I have to move the seat all the way forward, but it seems that the only way to do that is to buy a car for tall people, in which case I can't reach the pedals. Or chop my legs off, but that seems a bit drastic.

They have removed a lot of storage from inside the car. According to the salesman this is to accommodate air bags. A comparison of the car I sat in and my car tells me this is completely and total rubbish. The trouble is that I have a lot of stuff in the car. On the other hand, I might not need it all in there. I opened a compartment I hadn't opened for ages and found, among other things, an ice scraper. I own four ice scrapers, in various sizes. Last winter I used one once to remove snow off my car. I think it's safe to say I don't need four of them. Especially as the new car will have heated wing mirrors. Although I have no way of knowing if they ever work because I haven't seen my wing mirrors with ice on them since before I moved to a house with a garage.

I have got a hybrid. They are more expensive, but you save on petrol. I reckon by the time it dies I should break even on that... Annoyingly hybrids only come in automatic (which are completely unintuitive to drive - and since the left foot isn't doing anything, why not have some controls down there? It would be the perfect place for the radio volume controls). The only thing that reconciled me to the automatic is some research that tells me that's how hybrid/electric cars are going, so by the time I need another new car manual won't be an option any more, so it won't matter that I've forgotten how to drive it.

And it's a 1.5. I currently have a 1.0 which is enough power 99% of the time. It's possible I won't notice the extra power because I've never had a car which can pass a lorry while going up a hill on the dual carriageway, so I'll probably forget that it's a possibility with the new one. Although in the new car I won't be able to go down to fourth gear to try it. (The more I think about it the more crazy it is that there's nothing for my left foot to do)

The hardest thing to figure out will be the lack of CD player. I had to compromise on that to get a digital radio (for 5 Live Sports Extra tennis listening purposes) and more important a digital speedometer (and not to end up with a car that felt like a downgrade from my last one. I tend to listen to all the Big Finish CDs (and sometimes some music CDs) in the car. The new car does have a USB port, so I can always put whatever I want to listen to on my mp3 player, if it doesn't work with my iPod. But I have a load of CDs hanging around and I like the CDs. Even if they take up space, I still like them. But when I get round to getting rid of my old computer I'll only have two CD players in the house (and I did look into plugging a CD player into the USB port of the car and it can't be done due to lack of power).

(I know I need to do a Never Seen Star Wars post for this month, but I'm still deciding what it should be - and have spent a lot of my free time lately researching cars).


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2018 fic roundup
Wednesday 2nd January 2019 8:00 pm

Summary: The year of the long (for me) fic.

Read more...


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Yuletide 2018
Tuesday 1st January 2019 12:05 pm

When coming up with what I wanted for Yuletide I hesitated to put The Avengers on it, despite having rewatched some recently and wanting it. My first Yuletide I got an Avengers fic and it was perfectly tailored to what I asked for. I thought what are the chances of getting something like that again? Turns out, the answer is 100%.
Must Be Tuesday (2959 words) by rabidsamfan
Fandom: The Avengers (TV)
Rating: General Audiences
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Characters: Emma Peel, John Steed
Summary: Steed Takes a Fall
Mrs Peel Rises to the Occasion

Then despite being busy I somehow managed to write three fics. The first was Galaxy Quest, which I saw in the tag set, thought maybe I'd like to write that, rewatched it during sign ups, then decided I would like to write it, so offered it. And ended up being assigned it. For some reason it ended up taking four drafts before it got to what I was trying to do with it, but I still really enjoyed writing it. And doing a lot of rewatching.
Willing to Walk Away (4610 words) by paranoidangel
Fandom: Galaxy Quest (1999)
Rating: General Audiences
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Relationships: Gwen DeMarco/Jason Nesmith
Characters: Gwen DeMarco, Alexander Dane
Summary: Life on the new Galaxy Quest series is better than on the original series. But it's still not good enough for Alexander.

And then I really liked dbskyler's Randall & Hopkirk prompt. I had the beginning in mind for a while, and once I'd written my assignment and had a lot more time at home than I was expecting due to my car not starting, I ended up writing the rest.
More Trouble Than They're Worth (3436 words) by paranoidangel
Fandom: Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased) (1969)
Rating: General Audiences
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Characters: Marty Hopkirk, Jeff Randall
Summary: It's just a simple divorce case, until it isn't. As usual for Randall and Hopkirk.

I wanted to write Belinda Blinked and I had an idea as to how to start the story. Then we finished book 4 and I realised I could use my start to take it in a slightly different direction. And then it turns out to be harder to write like Rocky than I expected and I just couldn't work in any semi-colons. But I did manage to have Giselle blinking.
Giselle's Honeymoon (585 words) by paranoidangel
Fandom: Belinda Blinked Series - Rocky Flintstone
Rating: Explicit
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Relationships: Giselle Maarschalkerweerd de Klotz/Tony Sylvester, Tony Sylvester/Original Female Character, Giselle Maarschalkerweerd de Klotz/Tony Sylvester/Original Female Character
Characters: Giselle Maarschalkerweerd de Klotz, Tony Sylvester
Additional Tags: badly written sex, No semi-colons
Summary: Giselle's on her honeymoon with Tony, but she's not satisfied yet. Spoilers for book 4.


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