Angelic Paranoia

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Sunday 31st May 2020 12:30 pm

I tried morris dancing as part of I've Never Seen Star Wars. As I documented at the time, I thought it would be easy, so I wouldn't enjoy it. But it was just the right amount of hard and so I did.

The way it works, in normal years, is that we practise from September to April, then from May to July we dance out one evening at week at a local pub, along with another morris side. We also dance at weekends at festivals - generally one a month from April and September (and sometimes in October and January!). Inevitably we'll end up dancing on the hottest day of the year - least year that was the day it was in the high 30sC and by the time we danced in the evening it had gone down to 31C.

What I didn't know until I started is about all the different types of morris dancing. The one that most people in this country know about, and would describe if you said morris dancing, is with people in white with sticks and hankies. They have a lot of bells going on. That's called Cotswold, because it was historically danced in the Cotswold region.

The type I dance is North West. You'll never guess what part of England it comes from... It was danced by mill workers. They wore clogs in the mills, so we wear clogs to dance. You do not have cold feet in clogs... They are great, though, because they make lots of noise. We do have sticks, but we don't tend to do a lot of hitting other sticks. Our sticks have bells and ribbons, and we also have bells on the clogs. But no bells on us.

In my first dance out season I was watching a border morris team. That's from the England/Wales border. They traditionally didn't want to be recognised, so they painted their faces. They also dance with long sticks that they clash. Watching them hit sticks I thought I'd quite fancy the stick hitting part. But less so the face painting part because I have sensitive skin and everything makes it itch. So finding something to paint my face with would be more effort. You also find at morris events a load of border morris people around the sinks painting their faces.

What made me decide that North West was the type for me was one day when we were discussing the surface we'd just danced on. It was nice and flat, but not great for the sound - it absorbed a lot. People discussed how they like to make noise with their clogs and I could get behind that idea. It was reinforced a few months later when we danced on a wooden stage. We had twelve of us doing a dance that involves a bit of stamping. Since it was loud, we all obviously stamped as loud as we could. When we came off all the dancers said how great it had been; all the musicians complained they couldn't hear a thing.

Recently, my neighbours have had the pleasure of enjoying the noise from my clogs (minus the bells). On our practise nights we've been dancing and imagining the other people dancing around us. Which is really hard. Sometimes you have to go around other people until you get to a certain spot. When there are no people there it's a lot harder to work out how many you've gone round.

I am missing dancing properly, although I am not missing dancing in the weather - there's a very narrow window in which it's the right weather to dance in. No wind, no rain, not too hot.

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What I am reading Wednesday
Wednesday 20th May 2020 8:23 pm

What I Just Finished Reading
Dear Fatty by Dawn French. This is Dawn French's autobiography, which she's written as letters to people in her life. It took me a while to work out that 'Fatty' was Jennifer Saunders. I don't know when it was published - it wasn't at the start of the ebook at all. But it was a bit weird to read about how amazing she thought Lenny Henry was when they've been divorced for a while. Overall, although it was interesting, I just found it quite hard to read. I think it was the snippest of silly letters in there that were a bit hard going.

What I'm Currently Reading
Or rather what I've decided I'm not reading any more. Which is Star Trek: Collateral Damage by David Mack. I got it because it is literally the only Star Trek fiction ebook in the library. I'm 100 pages in and I still couldn't summarise the plot for you because there are lots and I don't care about any of them. The final straw came during Picard's trial for something (I don't know what, presumably it's in a previous book) and there were two pages of lawyers talking about Space Corps Directives. OK, so not literally, but it was as dry as that. I have officially given up on it.

It's Not Me, it's You! By Jon Richardson. I bought this because it was 99p. It's something he wrote a while ago about his search for perfection. So far I'm stuck in the very long introduction and am hoping the book improves.

What I'm Reading Next
The Demon Headmaster by Gillian Cross. I discovered recently that there had been another TV series of this late last year, and I watched it on the iPlayer. It was a while through it before I discovered it wasn't just a remake with different people and a lot more technology, but a sequel (not like the other sequels). After watching it I wanted to re-read the book, since the series referenced some things from it and I don't remember it that well. Of course it's too old for the library to have it, but it was 83p. I would have read it next, but library books got in the way.

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I’ve Never Seen Star Wars: The Good Place
Friday 8th May 2020 2:19 pm

I'd heard of The Good Place, but really all I knew about it was that it was an American TV series. Then, on the Hitchhiker's 42nd anniversary evening they mentioned that The Good Place owes a lot to The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. So I thought I'd see what it was all about.

It turns out to be a sitcom - although more in the manner of The Thick of It in that it's amusing but not laugh out loud funny (and with no studio audience). It's about Eleanor Shellstrop who dies, ends up in the good place, but there's been a mistake and she's not the Eleanor Shellstrop they think she is. So she tries to make sure no one finds out, while learning how to be good in order to stop everything falling apart.

At least, that's how it starts. Each series is different, which took a little getting used to at the start of the second series.

Generally, I liked it. It was 22 minutes of unimportant, amusing entertainment where nothing that bad really happens. It's also a bit silly. The demons (who run the bad place) and angels (who run the good place) all have human names. The angels' response to pretty much anything is to write a strongly worded letter. The favourite torture method of the demons' is penis flattening. In one episode there's a clam chowder fountain.

There's an AI/robot in the shape of a woman who comes in good, bad (always on her phone), neutral and disco (on roller skates) versions.

The only thing I didn't like about it was the last episode, which was really sappy and a lot less funny. I would say that the penultimate episode is probably a better place to stop.

I'm going to give it 9/10 - it would have been 10/10 had it not been for the last episode.

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WIP meme
Sunday 3rd May 2020 11:05 am

When you see this, share 3 lines from each of 3 WIPs.

Because I've actually been doing some writing. And it's entirely possible I might finish something sometime...

Doctor Who/SJA, Sarah Jane and Kate go on a date to the ballet, with aliens
There were plenty of pubs in the vicinity, so they didn't have to go far for that drink. Except they hadn't even made it inside when Kate's phone rang. She had to check who it was and gave Sarah Jane an apologetic look once she'd seen the screen.

"Kate Stewart," she said into the phone, hoping it wasn't going to be something else to derail their date.

"We've had a message," the soldier at the other end reported. "Someone from a planet called [planet name]. Said their daughter is being held hostage here and said she'll start shooting if she doesn't speak to someone in charge."

Kate sighed. Why couldn't anyone ever come just for a peaceful discussion?

This was supposed to be shippy fic with some aliens, because these are two people who can't go anywhere without aliens being involved. And then it got plotty and will be over 5000 words if I finish it, and how can I not write short any more?

Quantum Leap post-Mirror Image
Al opened the door to the waiting room, to see who Sam had leaped into this time. His eyes widened at the person he saw in there.

The young woman inside was equally wide-eyed. "Dad?"

I started this one in December and once I've written the first draft I realised there were major problems with it. I have notes about changes to fix it, so we'll see.

Star Trek Original Series/Discovery fic
"Admiral Cornwell is on her way," Pike said, once the doors closed and they were on their way. "She'll want to speak with you."

Spock nodded. "She believes I am guilty of murdering the medical staff."

Pike couldn't hold back a small smile at the calm way Spock said it. He had missed Spock these past few months. "She's a fair person, don't worry."

"I am not." There was a note of amusement in his voice. "I am innocent, therefore I have nothing to fear."

Pike opened his mouth, then changed his mind and closed it again. But Spock did know much of Earth's history and had surely learned enough to know that wasn't always the case. He let it go. "You're probably safest staying on Discovery for now." Enterprise was too stationary for hiding on right now.

"I concur." They exited the lift and stood outside it, before they went in different directions. "I do not believe you will allow any harm to come to anyone on board this ship."

Pike watched Spock go and blew out a breath.

This is an AU where Vina leaves Talos with Michael and Spock. It was supposed to be Pike/Vina, but it's complicated. And then Spock got involved and because I love Spock and the Pike-Spock friendship it's involved a whole lot of that. In some respects this is the closest to being finished because I am partway through v2. But it's also already over 10,000 words, so it's going to take a while. And looking through it, will also involve some more research as I've forgotten all the rest of the characters since I last touched it last summer...

And a fourth, because this is on v2 and is short, so might actually be possible to finish.
Randall & Hopkirk cake!fic
Jeff somehow managed not to groan out loud. This was all he needed. Marty would completely misread the situation and get into a flap, and Jeff wouldn't be able to talk him down, even if they were alone. Which they were not likely to be at any time soon.

"Jeff! What's this?" Marty gestured at the scene in front of him.

It was, Jeff had to admit, pretty damning if it didn't have an innocent explanation. Which, of course, it did. Jeff was sitting on a bed, legs rapidly going to sleep, but not daring to move them because the only item of clothing he had on was his right sock. Although he was covered in Christmas cake it merely made him feel sticky while leaving everything exposed. And it was cold in here.

No prizes for guessing that Jeff's handcuffed to Jeannie.

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