Angelic Paranoia

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I’ve Never Seen Star Wars November wrap-up and December
Saturday 2nd December 2017 7:24 pm

I'm putting both of these in one post, as they're pretty short (and late).

In November I ate avocado. I'm very glad I chose something that was quick to do and I got it done towards the beginning of the month. I had a teaspon-full, in case I didn't like it. Close up, I wasn't convinced about the colour or the look of the texture - it didn't really look natural. But the taste wasn't at all what I was expecting. I was expecting it to taste strong, but in fact it didn't taste of anything. I wasn't keen on the feel of the texture either, but thought maybe I could get used to it.

And then the aftertaste hit. I thought about writing this post at the time and perhaps I should have done because all I can remember is that it was strong and awful. I ate something else to take the aftertaste away and it didn't work. So I concluded that a teaspoon of avocado was all I needed to eat and I really don't get the appeal.

I'll give it a 3 out of 10, because parts of it weren't too bad.

In December I'm going to watch The Night Manager. It was on TV ages ago and all I know about it is that it's good and it has Tom Hiddleston in it (because anywhere his name is mentioned it has The Night Manager in brackets after it). I did go to watch it after it was on, but all the episodes except for the first were on iPlayer and I got the impression this was something best watched in order.


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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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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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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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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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Never Seen Star Wars and Not Prime Time
Saturday 15th July 2017 11:44 am

For the past nearly-two weeks my life has been all about the tennis. And I could write loads about it here, but I won't, because I have a couple of other things to write about, and because most people probably don't want to know quite that much detail. But I am writing this while watching the wheelchair men's doubles final.

I've Never Seen Star Wars
Last week I worked out what I was doing for July, since I could fit it around the tennis, I just hadn't got around to posting it, for tennis reasons. I am re-learning French, using Duolingo and other apps. I did five years of it at school and I was generally not that great, I was in the bottom set (of two) for GCSE and then somehow I came out with an A and wanted to do more of it. So I did French for Scientists at uni, which was two hours a week for 25 weeks.

I know an awful lot of people use/have used Duolingo, but I also have Memrise and Lingvist on my iPod, that have been sitting there doing nothing. So I am using all three and at the end of the month I will report back.

Not Prime Time
I'm glad I didn't sign up for this, as it went live earlier this week and authors have been revealed and I haven't fitted in reading any of it in between. But I did write for it:
Leading Lady (1621 words) by paranoidangel
Fandom: Star Trek: The Next Generation
Rating: General Audiences
Relationships: Beverly Crusher/William Riker
Characters: Beverly Crusher, William Riker, Deanna Troi
Additional Tags: Acting, Theatre, Kissing
Summary: Beverly is having regrets about playing the leading role opposite Will.

When browsing through the requests I came across the Riker/Crusher one and I didn't care much for it. But I read the prompt because I was curious and resistate made a great case for them deserving friends with benefits. So much so that I really wanted to write it. I was going to write it for a treat, but wasn't sure how to make me do it - but then it came up as a pinch hit right after assignments going out and I snapped it up. I really enjoyed writing these two so much that I want to write them again (along with all the other things I want to write, and Unconventional Courtship that I need to write after Wimbledon and the Para-athletics are over).


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I’ve Never Seen Star Wars June wrap-up
Sunday 25th June 2017 7:50 pm

This month I listened to Ed Sheeran's album, Divide. In fact, I listened to it last week when it was too hot to do anything else.

I liked that it had different styles on it. I was put off by the first one being rap, because I don't like rap - I like music to have a tune. But then there were two rap songs, there were a couple of slower ones, and generally a variety. Which was unexpected - a lot of artists have songs that all sound the same.

Otherwise, though, it was nothing special. I knew one of the songs and quite liked that. But there was nothing exciting in it - nothing that really grabbed me as having particularly interesting lyrics or a really nice tune. It was just blah and non-offensive.

I suppose being middle-of-the-road is why he's popular. But otherwise I wouldn't mind either way if I listened to him again or didn't. It's like most of the music I listen to on the radio - it's not something I love or something I hate, it's just there and it's all right, but nothing special.

I'd give it a 7/10.


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I’ve Never Seen Star Wars – June
Thursday 1st June 2017 9:11 pm

Since this month is looking a bit busy, I thought I'd do something that wouldn't take too much time. So I decided to listen to a (music) album. Which is something that's been done on the radio/TV series. But also, I tend to listen to random songs that I hear on the radio and don't always find out who they're by. I loved Pandora, because it gave me new things to listen to, but then they made it US-only. I've listened to very few whole albums.

Which gave me a vast list to choose from. So I picked the current top album, which is apparently Divide by Ed Sheeran. Which I'm interested to listen to, so that works out well.

I have heard an Ed Sheeran song once and I quite liked it. Other than that, all I know about him is that he's really popular, not a cricketer and looks like Ron Weasley. So it'll be interesting to hear an album of his.


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I’ve Never Seen Star Wars May wrap-up (Rogue One spoilers)
Sunday 21st May 2017 4:20 pm

In May I was watching Rogue One. Since I saw it this afternoon I thought I might as well talk about it.

In summary, I found it dull and give it 2/10. The 2 is mainly for the last two minutes. More detail about what I thought, with spoilers are below: Read more...


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I’ve Never Seen Star Wars – May
Monday 1st May 2017 12:10 pm

This month I'm going to watch a film. There are a few I have on my list to watch, but given the title of the original radio series I am borrowing, it seems fitting to watch Rogue One.

I didn't see it at the cinema because my main interest in Star Wars is lightsabers, lego and Ewan McGregor, and it didn't look like this film would include any of those things. So I saw Fantastic Beasts on Rogue One opening weekend instead.

But, watching from home means I don't have to sit through the whole thing at once (or even the whole thing if I don't want to) and I can crochet or cross stitch while watching it.


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I’ve Never Seen Star Wars April wrap-up
Sunday 30th April 2017 12:08 pm

This month I went to Rock Choir. It was fun, but it was different to the choir I'd more used to.

Rock Choir say that they don't ask you to read music, which I was fearing meant that they would only give you words and no music. Turned out I was right. At choir, whenever we've had words and no music it's made it so hard to learn anything.

Although having music doesn't necessarily make it easier to sing - I can tell you what the note's called and I can play it, but not sing it. However, at Rock Choir, because no one is expected to know it, it's all learnt by repetition - a lot of repetition. Which did mean that we sung far fewer songs: we learnt most of one and sung through one they'd previously done. Which did make it a bit samey.

It is all pop songs, which is a change from choir, where we never do anything that recent. So it was nice to sing something a bit different.

The most different thing were the parts. In choir women sing soprano or alto, men sing tenor or bass. In Rock Choir there are three parts, which are called soprano, alto and bass, but are really just top, middle and bottom because anyone can sing any part. Which was just as well because at my local one there weren't any men.

Once you join you get to download your part - as an mp3 - you never get the music. But that does at least mean you can practise in the car or wherever, you don't also need to be able to play it (which got tricky for things with seven flats).

I am definitely not going back this term because it will mean going out three nights a week (in a row) all term and I will keel over. I may go back at some later date, but it depends on a whole load of other things. I am glad I tried it, because now I actually know what it's like, since all that anyone was prepared to tell me was that it was fun and/or expensive, which is not that helpful.

Overall I give it 8/10, those two off are mainly because of the (necessary) repetitiveness.


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I’ve Never Seen Star Wars – April
Tuesday 4th April 2017 8:00 pm

This month I'm going to go to Rock Choir.

I've been a member of a local community choir for a few years (I've completely lost track of how many), but it's recently shut down. For now I'm going to enjoy having an extra evening in, and hopefully therefore have the energy to get some more swimming in. And do all those million other things that always seem to need doing.

All sorts of people are very keen to tell me how terrible Rock Choir is, and I have a whole load of other things I could do on that evening, so I am very unlikely to join. However, you can go once for free. So I am going to go on their first rehearsal back after Easter, and then I can see for myself what it's like. Because I'm curious what other adult choirs are like.


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I’ve Never Seen Star Wars March wrap up
Monday 3rd April 2017 7:48 pm

In March I went to Aldi. It ended up being towards the end of the month, as that's when I had the most time, but I knew that when I set it.

I purposely went on my way to somewhere else, so I could justify seeing what the car park is like. The minute you turn off the main road, half of this side of the road is a cycle lane. Except that the road is narrow and only fits two cars (one in either direction). So who thought putting a cycle lane that couldn't possibly ever by a cycle lane is a good idea, I don't know.

Whenever I go anywhere I generally park as far away as possible so I can drive straight through two spaces and therefore don't have to reverse. The car park was tiny and didn't have any spaces you could drive straight through. Which came as a bit of a shock.

The actual shop smelt of something I couldn't put my finger on - it wasn't food. Which might be something to do with half the shop selling non-food items. Which would be fine, except that it's only a small shop. It's also the third supermarket of four in this town (and it's not a big town) and most of the rest of the shops are cheap ones. Some of the non-food things were strange (paint, children's shoes, backpacks, car things) so I'm not quite sure what market they're trying to capture here. I didn't see anything you couldn't get elsewhere.

What with food only in half the shop there were only a few half-aisles of it. The only one I found at all interesting was the chocolate aisle, where I found some ridiculously dark chocolate for my sister (she likes it dark) and some (dairy free) minty thins for me and Mum. Otherwise there were a few things I could probably get cheaper than elsewhere, but the amount it would cost me to drive there would negate the cost saving. There was no free from section, so I definitely couldn't do my normal grocery shop in there.

It was interesting that they had a shelf at the back where you could go and finish packing, which I thought was a good idea. But the tills were odd - they were designed for trolleys and meant there was no where for the checkout person to put stuff after they scanned it. There might have been basket only tills, but it was busy and I just went to the shortest queue.

I also have big problems with where they built it - I'm pretty sure it's not helping the traffic problems when I'm trying to get home after work. So I am feeling justified in never needing to go there again.

As an experience I give it 5 out of 10 - it was interesting, but not one I need to repeat.


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I’ve Never Seen Star Wars – March
Saturday 4th March 2017 5:32 pm

This month for I've Never Seen Star Wars I'm going to Aldi. I've never been to an Aldi or Lidl, because I've never lived near one. Until recently (where recently is a couple of years ago now...) when an Aldi opened up nearby. We're already fully stocked with a range of supermarkets and cheap shops, so I wasn't exactly desperate for another one. And it's in a really annoying place that's made the traffic jams worse.

But having never been, but learnt a bit about what sort of things they sell, I'm intrigued to know what's it like. I know the search on their website is crap because I looked for chocolate spread and it returned over 100 items, most of which had nothing to do with either chocolate or spread.


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I’ve Never Seen Star Wars Feb wrap-up
Tuesday 28th February 2017 4:31 pm

This month I was reading The Martian by Andy Weir. And by this month I mean I started it on the train on Friday and finished it on Saturday. Which is partly because it was a long train journey, so I got a lot read and partly because I liked it.

If there is anyone left in the world who hasn't read it or seen the film, it's about a man (Mark Watney) who is left behind on a mission to Mars. It starts off with his log entries about what happened and what he does in order to stay alive.

I struggled with it a little at first because through the log entries it really felt as if I was all alone, despite being on a train full of people. And then just as it's looking like it's going to be one thing, other problems get thrown in, so rescuing him/him getting rescued is never quite sure. Until the book ended, I wasn't sure whether he was going to be rescued or he'd die (and I am not going to spoil it here).

It did feel a bit convenient that he was a botanist and engineer and consequently had all the skills needed to survive. But I can forgive that because if he hadn't had those skills he'd have died early on and it would be a much shorter, less interesting, book.

There were a few things that never really came up: how he dealt with being on his own, and how he and the rest of the crew dealt with all the radiation from being in space for so long. The second one was just never mentioned, despite a lot of detail about how supplies got to Mars and how they had some Mars gravity on the spaceship. The first one was vaguely mentioned, but only vaguely because the only stuff we got from Mark Watney's point of view were his log entries and he didn't really discuss it.

I'd quite like a companion book that went more into the emotional side of everything, than the practical side.

But aside from that, I liked it. I'll give it 8/10 - that 2 off is because of those bits above that weren't mentioned and because I think it ended too early (I understand why it ended where it did, but I still wanted some of the aftermath).

I'd like to see the film, mainly because I want to know how they dramatised it, but I will save watching that until I've forgotten the book a bit. Otherwise I'll just get annoyed with changes and bored with what's the same.


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I’ve Never Seen Star Wars – February
Saturday 4th February 2017 11:50 am

This post is a bit later than intended due to being dead of work.

This month I'm going to read The Martian by Andy Weir. I first heard about this book on an unrelated forum where someone was asking for SF book suggestions. Amazon had the read inside bit on this, so I read it, thought it sounded good and intended to read it sometime.

And then the film came out.

I have trouble reading anything or watching anything that everyone is into. I am so bad with it that after I'd read A Long Way to a Small Angry Planet and it felt like everyone had read it, I wished I hadn't. Even though I'd liked it. And intend to read the sequel (once it's out in paperback).

So with The Martian it felt like everyone had seen the film, so I lost all desire to read the book. Or see the film. So I am using I've Never Seen Star Wars to actually read it, given that I wanted to once. It's handily available as an ebook from my library, so I will be reading it later this month when I have a long train journey.


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