Angelic Paranoia

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Wednesday 5th April 2006 10:15 pm

I'm feeling that I've achieved lots tonight. OK, so I haven't practised and haven't watched Doctor Who (in all fairness he's not in mortal peril and Jo isn't quite yet) but I've cleared up the mess of papers that were on my desk, my chair and my CD boxes, replied to various comments/reviews that I've been meaning to for ages, and updated the Rotaract blog and diary. I just reached the stage tonight where I thought about putting it off till the weekend then realised, given I've been putting it all off for ages, that there's no reason for me not to put it all off for ages.

I've also renewed my domain name - I've had it for nearly four years now, wow! Although Phil did decide to send the invoice to dad for some inexplicable reason.

Work is hideous. I thought today that I was actually doing quite well, so took my whole hour for lunch (rather than the half hour I'd taken the rest of the week). But over lunch someone decided to suddenly ask for a whole load of work. And by ask I mean tell. So now I'm ridiculously busy and am getting up early tomorrow to go in early.

I'm so looking forward to my holiday (no work for a week!). I'm quite enjoying that it's so much simpler, being in this country. I booked my B&B last week. At some point next week I ought to pack (which involves a mountaineering expedition under my bed to find my sandals for the black tie ball about the time Doctor Who debuts).

I have finally seen the last four episodes of Bugs. I signed up to one of those DVD rental things that give you a free trial for a month - so I must cancel it before Easter. I rang last week and they are happy to replace my non-working DVD, I just have to send the whole thing back to them. Unless the company that make them will send me a new DVD. I just have to remember to ring them. And the student loans company who don't quite seem to have managed to send one of my deferment letters.

I got quite excited in Bugs, when in the second-to-last episode we saw Windows 98! In 800x600 resolution! It looked so old - except for the white flatscreen monitors. There was a particularly surreal part where Adam asks Alex what a gizmo is. She tells him it's an EMP generator. Which is fine except it's quite obviously a sonic screwdriver. It looks like one, Adam uses it like one.

And now I really must go to bed and try to finish the fourth introduction in my book (it's a good book, except the introductions are really dryly written).

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Saturday 25th March 2006 5:29 pm

I'm so nearly done with watching Bugs, I'm down to the last DVD. Except that the last DVD won't play. But that's ok, because have a returns policy. So I emailed them and got an auto-reply that said they aim to reply within 24 hours. Four days later, I'm still waiting. I'm not impressed.

Also, I think I have flu. Obviously, having had it twice already, and a flu jab, and drinking lots of orange juice i no defense. My room's a mess and I have a whole load of things that need doing, and no energy to do them. And no Bugs to watch either.

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Thursday 16th March 2006 6:06 pm

As I had my computer backing up my entire hard drive this weekend, I sat down and managed to get from halfway through series 2 of Bugs to halfway through series 3. Somewhere early on in there were two more Bill guest stars. Clara Salaman (Claire Stanton) was a good guy with shorter hair. George Rossi (Duncan Lennox) I was amused to see was a bad guy with a beard. I think he was supposed to be Scandanavian, but obviously in the Sean Connery style (ie with a Scottish accent).

I'm really enjoying series 3, now they're letting the characters have lives in between foiling bad guys. Not that series 1 and 2 weren't bad, but they do get a bit samey, and making them semi-official (with an office that's not Ros's flat), introducing two new characters and giving them lives was a good way to do it. I think that now he's got something interesting to do, Jesse Birdsall's acting has improved. Either that or I've just watching so many I've got immune to it.

There's nothing quite like watching ~10 episodes in a weekend to show how samey a lot of it is, though. For Our Heroes(TM) the plan is:
1) bug it
2) blow it up

The bad guys have obviously never read the Evil Overlord handbook, so explain their evil plans to Get Rich Quick(TM) before trapping the good guys with a bomb of some description that they can either stop within 1 second of it blowing up, or manage to get just far enough away that they're thrown to the ground but not blown up. It's not surprising it got taken off when the Real IRA set bombs off.

I reckon that so far the Stephen Gallagher episodes are the best. Interestingly, the guys who created Smallville (Alfred Gough and Miles Millar) have written at least two episodes.

The technology has definitely moved on fast. In the first series everything was on floppy disks. By the second we're on the gold writeable CDs. Although no matter how far we get, their monitors still look ancient. The first episode of the third they all have mobiles, although they refer to them as cellphones - which is slightly less annoying than it was in The Avengers because Bugs is done in an American style: 50 mins long and opening credits five minutes in. It's quite cool to see those big mobiles - I wish they were still that size, I hate that they're small. And only partly because they don't fit into my rabbit.

I can tell winter 96/97 was a cold winter because not only have we seen snow in the third series, but not even their makeup has been enough to tell that they're really cold at times. I'm not surprised Craig McLachlan wanted to leave after that!

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Who I want to be when I grow up
Wednesday 15th March 2006 8:34 am

Recently, Nilmandra had a post about characterisation, and in the comments I talked about liking characters I want to grow up to be, or at least some aspect of their personalities I'd like to have. I've also talked with Sel on various occasions about characters we want to grow up to be. So I thought I'd list some.

Ros Henderson (Bugs) - Quite aside from the fact that she was played by Jaye Griffiths, who I loved in The Bill (which was the whole reason I started watching Bugs in the first place). Ros is really intelligent - there's nothing she can't do with computers and gizmos. If there's something electronic you need doing, she's made a gizmo to do it. She also knows a lot of science, which isn't a surprise. She's also good as a spy-type, not easily scared, can think on her feet, and can fight if she needs to (even if she's not quite as good as the boys).

Ace (Doctor Who) - Ace was the person I wanted to grow up to be when I was little. I'm still not sure I don't. She had that whole cool-thing going on where she didn't like school and was a bit of a rebel. But she was good at chemistry (especially when it came to explosions). She was also a useful person - she made friends easily (it seems to be a bit of a pre-requisite in a companion, or perhaps it's just spending all that time with only The Doctor for company), she could go and investigate stuff on her own and she wasn't easily frightened.

I've just recently listened to Big Finish's Live 34, in which Ace seems to be about my age. It's interesting that they've had her growing up, so she's less of a rebel, more independent when it comes to being someone The Doctor can rely on to go off on her own and do something useful (even if she hasn't quite lost her taste for explosions). Even if I'm not quite sure I want to be the Ace from the TV series when I grow up, I definitely want to be the Big Finish's version.

CJ Cregg (The West Wing) - She's the character everyone loves and it's not hard to see why. I'm finding hard to say why, though. She's good in a crisis, always has a witty put-down, has a good relationship with the press and other important people, is really intelligent about lots of things, especially political stuff. She also really cares about people both her friends and people that are affected by decisions the president makes. But she's also human - I really like the old days when she was still Press Secretary and she and Carol used to discuss how good-looking any man that had a meeting with her was.

Beth March (Little Women) - I think it was on the BBC's Big Read that I heard it said that everyone's favourite character from Little Women was Jo. That would be everyone except for me. As much as I loved Jo and her tomboyish ways, I liked Beth more. Beth was almost too-good-to-be-true perfect - she always put others before herself. Not that the other girls didn't, but sometimes they needed to be prodded into it. Beth always did it off her own bat.

Emma Peel (The Avengers) - I saw a quote on a website somewhere saying that one of the reasons The Avengers was so successful was that all the blokes wanted Peel and wanted to be Steed, and all the women wanted Steed and wanted to be Peel. Emma Peel kicks arse. She can hold her own in a fight and when it comes to brains she's really clever. She's always ready with a witty comeback and she's seriously not easily scared.

There are probably others that I've forgotten. But who do you want to be when you grow up*?

* Actual growing up not required

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What I’ve been doing with myself
Friday 10th March 2006 9:32 pm

I feel like I've done nothing this week and still not had any time left. And since I haven't written much in here this week, I thought I'd talk about what I've been up to this week.

Tuesday we had a film night, which I must write up for the Wallingford Rotaract blog. One of our members has a widescreen TV with surround sound, and as they got me 2001 on DVD at the end of my year as president, it seemed like a good place to watch it. The problem is convincing the rest of the members that! In the end we watched Galaxy Quest. Of the five of us there, one hadn't seen it, the rest of us had but were happy to watch it again. It just never gets less funny, and every time I watch it I spot more things that are based off other sci-fi and other things I've missed. It's such a good film.

I also wrote 25 drabbles in four days, which is a hard way to write 2500 words. Although it helped that work wasn't that busy at the start of this week. I also wrote 25 different characters, which wasn't how I planned it to start with, but I quite enjoyed writing characters I'd never written before. I also really enjoyed writing LOTR again. I'd forgotten how much canon I'd forgotten as well. I've actually been catching up on my LOTR reading now, and reading the Atlantis in between for a break. A lot of the stuff I've been catching up on is quite intense, so a bit of crack!fic is always good for a change. I'd also forgotten how much I liked writing drabbles, so I will have to make more of an effort to write some more - I have some ideas on that front.

I've been trying to get through my Bugs DVDs too. The one I watched last night was the first to feature a future The Bill regular as a guest star, in this case Terry, although he only had two lines.

On a similar note, this weeks The Avengers had Peter Cushing in it. Despite some really ridiculous plot holes it was still an enjoyable episode. The one thing that got me was Emma Peel referring to her bag as her purse. I know, from surfing round, that the only reason these got made was because they were able to sell them to America in advance. I still don't think that excuses the Americanisms though, especially when they go to so much trouble to make it very British.

I've been listening to the podcasts Wil Wheaton's been doing this week. They've been surprisingly listenable. I say surprisingly because often I can only take so much of constant American accents, depending on the accent. The ten minute ones I've barely noticed, but today's (technically yesterday's) was 73 minutes. I did have to stop near the end to watch My Family (just started watching it after only previously seeing bits - it's very funny) but I think it only got grating after that, and I had reminded myself what no accent at all sounds like (relatively speaking, of course.

At some point, when I get round to it, I want to write up the character-related post that's been going round my head. I also need to talk about LOTR for b2mem. But World Rotaract Week starts on Sunday, so I'll be blogging about what we're going to be up to, and talking lots about Rotaract. Really, you'll be sick of it. Unless you're 18-30, in which case you should be joining it. If I get to it between breakfasts on Sunday I'll tell you why, otherwise it'll probably be Monday.

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Peter Woodward
Wednesday 8th March 2006 11:34 pm

I put the next episode of Bugs on tonight and there was Peter Woodward! I'm sure he had less hair in Crusade and Atlantis, but he's bald in all three. I spent the episode thinking he really does have the voice to be playing an ordinary business man-type. And, oh, look, he's a bad guy. That came as a real shocker.

The strangest thing in it was their interpretation of internet and email, which is what you'd expect from a time when it's all a bit new. Which in 1996, it wasn't, not really. It was just a really, really weird email system that was sort of like instant messenger but using all the wrong words and just everything was wrong. They totally didn't anticipate spam though 🙂

I'm 4 episodes into series 2 at the moment, and while each episode is fine (although the one before last had lots of bugs in it and I really could have done with not being eating at the time) the overall arc is boring me already. Series 1 had tag scenes at the end that were just excruciating. Series 2 has a bad guy who is supposedly behind all the other bad guys this series. I can't remember the whos, whys or wherefores and really don't care.

Bring on series 3 - or more to the point series 4 as that's the one that got me into the fandom in the first place.

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Reading and Writing
Sunday 5th March 2006 8:33 pm

In the last few days I've read three books:

Zokutou word meterZokutou word meter
15.2 cm / 155 cm

Two of them were Cheerleaders ones - good for if you don't have a brain. One of them I think I've read before. It was still mostly about the love lifes, though, so pretty standard stuff. The other I quite enjoyed because it was a bit different - about the whole team and how they're affected by what's going on around them. It was a bit quickly solved, though, despite being a thicker book than the other one.

The third book I raced through too: Just a Geek by Wil Wheaton. I've been reading his blog for a while, so it was interesting to get all sorts of backstory into what was going on in his life. He is a good writer and very easy to read. His other book's on my amazon wishlist now!

Also, a writing update! One day before deadline, I have posted by entry to the Lost City Found Free Your Mind challenge: I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For and is a Jack/Elizabeth Atlantis non-AU fic. Yes, really.

Zokutou word meterZokutou word meter
8,402 / 20,000

In theory, I should manage 20,000 words by the end of the year, no problem. Specially as my Remix fic is now in beta.

I am working on something for Back to Middle-earth month, too. What I mainly meant to do was catch up on my LOTR-related reading, but got entirely sidetracked by The Avengers. Which is too full of Steed & Peel getting together for my liking. I have been inspired to write some LOTR though! So expect some later this month.

In entirely unrelated events, in the latest episode of Bugs they had a timer set on releasing what were essentially killer beetles. Given all the high-tech stuff they had in it (including their first CD-R), it was really strange that they were ordinary kitchen timers. Hmm.

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My height in books update
Friday 17th February 2006 8:08 pm

Reading my height in books: an update

Zokutou word meterZokutou word meter
6.2cm / 155cm

I've just finished British Science Fiction Television: A Hitchhiker's Guide. I couldn't remember why I'd put it on my Amazon wish list, but bought it anyway. I discovered why, when I read the chapter list, and discovered the Blakes 7 chapter author. There were some interesting ideas in it that I hadn't considered before.

Overall I enjoyed it. I really liked the historical aspects of the Quatermass chapter. The nuclear war one is really depressing, though. I'm not entirely convinced by the parallels in the Sapphire and Steel chapter. But as I've not seen it and know very little about the state of the country & politics around 1979 I can't really comment. The only chapter I really disagreed with was the Red Dwarf one. The author talked about how it relates to gender and race. I like it because it's funny, so am admittedly uninteresting in taking it any deeper. But she did go on about the Cat acting the way he does because it's alluding to black Americans. And there was me thinking it was a parody of a cat.

Easter: I had a surf round last night at the Lake District. Which looked vaguely interesting until there was a mention of Hadrian's Wall being not far away. So I'm so going. As my last holidays were in America and Australia I had entirely forgotten the whole point of holidays is castles and bookshops. Although I did get unreasonably excited at going to a Barnes and Noble in America. I've not booked for Conference yet, and my boss was off so I couldn't book any time off. I did establish that because he has holiday I can't do the Lake District and then recover(!) at Conference, so I'll be doing Conference, then the Lake District. I'm amazed it's only a couple of hours from Birmingham, though, because it's a long way North.

Bugs: I sat down to watch Bugs with dinner and all of a sudden there was Robbie! (as in DI Robbie Ross from Taggart). Sounding decidedly un-Scottish, but very cool anyway. Possibly some other stuff happened but frankly who cares. It's Robbie.

And thingy, whatshisname from Yes Minister was on The Avengers last night, looking pretty much exactly the same.

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Floppy disks!
Tuesday 14th February 2006 11:07 pm

I remember Bugs being really cutting edge at the time - it was the first time I'd seen a writeable CD. It was made in 1995-99 and set in the near future. So their various gadgets and gizmos still look pretty cool. It's the computers that really date it. One of the characters didn't know what a mouse was (at the time, it was funny but not so unusual). But one thing really got me with the third episode. A guy has written a top program for flying planes, that incidentally, can be controlled from elsewhere with a computer (and a mouse). It fits on a floppy. In fact he pulled a copy from a pile of floppies - I don't remember the last time I saw that many, never mind used one!

Tonight's Olympics were a bit boring, partly because they gave us a few results, showed us the men's skating, then showed some skiing, luge and curling - the results of which they'd previous told us! The commentators annoyed me a bit in the skating as well by continually repeating what their eight required elements are - despite having gone through it at the beginning. Even though it was just the short program it basically ended up being who had screwed up least.

I had a sudden fright when I looked at the calendar today and realised that the Jack/Liz fic is due in two weeks. And as I'm going to the Rotary District Conference in the middle of March, my Remix fic is actually going to be due in four weeks. Um. It has nine paragraphs. So now I'm off to force myself to write some more even though I'm still not entirely sure what I'm doing with it.

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A little bit of nostalgia
Saturday 11th February 2006 9:38 pm

I feel as if I've been good today because I've tidied and cleaned my room. I bought some more CD boxes and transferred some of my CDs into them from DVD boxes. And put some DVDs into those boxes. So now not only do I have space for all my DVDs, I even have room for more! I really don't have space for any more books, though.

I watched a bit of the Olympics today. It's the only time you can actually see any skating any more. They cut down so much on the BBC that it took a couple of years to notice they'd stopped showing it at all. It's also an opportunity to watch sports you don't usually see. Like Luge - otherwise known as throwing yourself down an icy track on a tea tray. It was interesting to see a view of it from the competitor - it looked scary. I'm looking forward to the Skeleton - throw yourself down an icy track on a tea tray with your chin just above the ground. I'm looking forward to seeing some skiing as well, which mum used to watch regularly when I was little. It was years before I found out the program was called Ski Sunday, though, because she called it Ski Splats.

I actually started on my Bugs DVDs last night. I bought myself a box set of all of them, which is 40 episodes. It was my first fandom and I remember watching it because Jaye Griffiths had just left The Bill when it started. I loved it at the time (although I wasn't entirely convinced by season 4) but I was a bit hesitant about rewatching in case it didn't live up to what I remembered (which is very little). I needn't have worried because I'm loving it just as much, ten years later.

Tomorrow I will do some writing. Although I found a Kakuro book, so I'm distracted with that and the Hanjie, now I've finished the last Sudoku in the Christmas G2 puzzles.

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