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06 February 2016 @ 05:43 pm
It is February. It is wet. It is windy. It is dark. Drastic action is required, and to this end I give you incredibly cute squirrels:

Squirrel with rucksack. Photographer Ida Johanne Nova.

(Photographer Ida Johanne Nova.)

More cute squirrels for a wet weekend here and here.

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03 February 2016 @ 07:36 pm
It is, however, in only 6 and a half-weeks time, which is terrifyingly close for the end of term and last week of March. I had better get to the gym.* It is skiing, Norway, and I shall be breaking exciting new ground in seeing the E6 road from the train, rather than the railway line from the E6, because I am getting myself to the hotel independently rather than having someone else do all the organising. This feels a lot more adventurous when it is 300km in Norway in winter than continental Europe in the summer even though it isn't in actual fact, despite the fact that I've been to the hotel itself before. I am even being sufficiently grown up that I am paying an extra £25 for the week to have a room with an Amazing View. With a view like this, it seems money worth spending.


Possibly I should put it on my work computer desktop as an incentive to survive the term.

*I won't get to the gym.

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01 February 2016 @ 09:44 pm
Again at AO3 as of minor interest in search of a specialist audience: Wilful and Unfemininely Determined.

I thank whoever it was who wrote an article pointing out that Daddy Long-Legs should be read at least as much as a Bildungsroman as a romance, which combined with my own conviction of it as a comedy of manners makes it 1000% less creepy. I much prefer Jervis Pendleton as a relatively young man who has got massively out of his depth than the idea that he is totally and inherently creepy. OK, there is an unavoidable element of creep-factor given the scenario, but really, Judy runs rings around him.

That said, I still greatly admire the author of this blog post, "A Highly Scientific Analysis Of Daddy-Long-Legs Adaptations". Four versions, rated by "fidelity", "awesomeness of Judy", "creepiness", and "overall watchability" with the sad conclusion Science has proven that the completely unwatchable Korean version is the winner by virtue of not having a negative score. It’s a sad day when the best adaptation of something is the one which in no way resembles the original plot. In the midst of one of my "must read all the things" new fandom discoveries I tracked down on the internet the playtext of the first DLL adaptation, by Jean Webster herself. It was very much of the drawing-room comedy variety. I fear that while it would do fine on the first three categories, it would suffer badly on watchability through being massively, Edwardianly, dull.

*Film really is a challenge for a novel that depends for its charm on its strong narrative voice.

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30 January 2016 @ 03:20 pm
You know how it goes. You gaze into the abyss and the abyss gazes back and asks you for a date. Before you know it you're married with two kids and it's claiming to be working late at the office again, and not one of its tentacles has ever done the washing up.


It has been a long week and I am feeling absolutely shattered, a combination I think of stress and a slight bug. Lunchtime's planned walk post-supermarket and collecting shoes from the cobbler* was cancelled when I got outside and discovered that the bright sunshine was accompanied by a cold wind and the walk across the car park was quite enough. Oh well, it looks nice. I have discovered that Ralph Fiennes is in The Master Builder at the Old Vic. I think that profitable use of the afternoon may yet be found in booking tickets.

*Nothing improves a day like the realisation that the reason your foot feels a bit damp and cold is that your sole has a hole in it.

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24 January 2016 @ 06:12 pm
I went into my bedroom to close the curtains, reached out my hands to grasp the fabric, and had a minor heart attack as reflected in the glass I saw a grey and shadowy, somewhat sinister figure.

It was, of course, me.

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21 January 2016 @ 08:21 am
A sort of resolution is that henceforth when I have ideas for stories I should note them down rather than try to keep them in my head for years before eventually deciding I have time to write them. I don't have to write them straight away, just make a note. Naturally therefore noting something down turned into writing it more or less straight away*. I'm not entirely sure that this ought to be 2016 as I mean it to go on, but productivity counts for something, right? Even if the contents are completely mad.

So yes, fic. At A03: Uneclipsed

As for the content, it is, er, Dorothy Parker RPF/Tanz der Vampire crossover. I can't help it, it's the way my mind works. One minute you're listening to Total Eclipse of the Heart with vampires, next you're putting an English degree to dangerous use to reflect that the scenario fits beautifully against a Dorothy Parker poem, and then a month later you remember that you thought that and decide that clearly a crossover is the way to go.

It is a jeu d'esprit that I can't honestly think that it is of any interest to those who don't know the canon, so as a reward for reading thus far here is Parker reading One Perfect Rose instead.

*I blame walking to work on Tuesday

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19 January 2016 @ 10:44 pm
Help me, I seem to have forgotten a word and inexplicably do not own a thesaurus.

I want a synonym for "evangelist" in the sense of "person attempting to persuade another of a religion" rather than "John the E- ". I feel sure there is a word that exists that I can't quite remember and that would be better for my purposes; possibly I am wrong, but suggestions as to what it might be will be very gratefully received!

I seem to have failed to have an early night again, but never mind. At least this time it was in pursuit of fic.

ETA: Americanisms especially welcome.

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18 January 2016 @ 08:25 pm
Cinderella, Scottish Ballet. So it turns out that what I really like in ballet is plot. There were fewer dance pyrotechnics in Scottish Ballet's production than in my recent cinematic Nutcracker, but I know very little about dance technicalities, and all I can say is that the choreography was charming, dancing looked very good to me, the orchestra was excellent, and Cinderella actually has a proper story*. As is the mark of a good ballet, I spent the next couple of days balancing on one leg and pirouetting around the place. The dancer playing the Prince had an extraordinarily young face that looked about 16, though the internet tells me he is about 26, which worked really well in terms of plot and characterisation.

All that plus the fantastic Edinburgh Festival Theatre, which has stalls the price of a London upper balcony containing comfy seats, ample legroom, good sightlines, and in the foyer a large bar and decent lavatories (the latter not actually in the foyer).

Carol, dir. Todd Haynes. I strategically skipped this in Oxford as it was on later in Edinburgh, which meant I got to go with my father and youngest sister (Mum being under the weather stayed at home). It was terrific, beautifully acted, and shot with enormous sympathy for the complex characters. While obviously the main focus of the film and its critical attention is the central love story, it also has quite a lot to say about class and how this relates to Carol and Therese's specific situations and options. I shall definitely be seeing it on DVD and will be going back to look again at Haynes' earlier Far from Heaven, to which it feels something of a companion piece.

Star Wars A good straightforward fun space adventure film, it does what it sets out to do, and it entertains the audience while doing it. Characters aren't deep, but they are deftly sketched by the story and feel plausible, and the plot moves at a good clip while remaining comprehensible, and it was blessedly free from stopping the action for pointless thumping. It looks good, the music is stirring, and it has Harriet Walter flirting with Chewbacca**. In short, it was a thoroughly enjoyable evening, and I look forwards to the next one.

And Then There Were None What with one thing and another we didn't end up watching a lot of Christmas TV, but this was terrific. Gripping throughout, growing more and more tense as it progressed, and though I've not read the book the fairly minor alterations seem to have been neatly done. Performances were strong all round, but Maeve Dermody should be particularly recognised as an utterly convincing Vera. Personally, I like to think that were I trapped on the island with a serial killer I'd consider setting fire to the house, but on the other hand I would not be hampered in my actions by worrying about being exposed as a murderer.

All Aboard! The Sleigh Ride Christmas Eve on BBC4 ventured into Slow TV territory with this delightful two-hour film of a couple of women driving reindeer sleighs through northern Norway. It looks very cold, and very snowy, and there is no soundtrack beyond the ambient noise, and we taped it and it was perfect to watch on Boxing Day morning.

*Though I note the Wikipedia summary "After travelling across the world and meeting princesses with no success, the Prince begins to search his own kingdom, trying the slipper on every maiden who attended the ball. Back at Cinderella's home, love has allowed the Prince to defy the laws of time and space; though it is only the morning after the ball, he has already travelled the world and back again in search of his love."

**I'm wondering how that casting conversation went.

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15 January 2016 @ 09:45 pm
Early December: purchase evening trousers. They are very long. I can't find an exact picture online*, but they are a bit like these only more sort of women's 'tuxedo' trousers with bits of satin gesturing at that round the waist, and slimmer calves.

Rest of December: fail to turn up new trousers.

Rest of December: thus do not wear new trousers.

Early January: fail to turn up new trousers.

15 January: must turn up new trousers today so they can be worn to party tomorrow evening, when have sworn to wear them. As tomorrow evening involves driving 90 miles earlier in the day and staying overnight, this must be done by the end of today.

15 January: pin up trousers to different lengths, unsatisfactorily. Come to conclusion that trousers look better slouchy round the ankle. Decide not to shorten them.

15 January: wonder whether I still have that pair of very high heels that I might have chucked because they were too tight, on account of my feet not stopping growing until I was about 26.

15 January: no, I chucked them. Mid-heeled court shoes with straps** look stupid. Also, bottom of trousers don't fit over them anyway, so trousers are either designed for woman 6' tall, or are supposed to be slouchy round ankles. Decide the latter, and resolve to wear flats and go for slightly louche Bohemian look.

15 January: start to reconsider tops. Oh sod it, I'll pack them all and decide when I get there. That's what cars are for. Ditto jewellry.

The moral of this story is that life should involve more occasions for dressing up, because then I'd have already sorted this out. It is also that I should really, really get better at prioritisation.

*These are a pair I didn't buy. They looked amazing on (I was in "try on anything by imagining you are with your sister" spirit), had I been auditioning for the Rocky Horror Show, but ultimately mine is not a life that calls for such an aesthetic.

**I just cannot use the term "Mary-Janes" for shoes. It makes me feel like I'm in a Ramona book.

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11 January 2016 @ 08:24 pm
I have achieved sloe jelly. It is very purple and my kitchen is not, which counts as a success. It also tastes nice, and thus is not a total waste of time, sugar, and electricity. As an added bonus, it forced me to hunt through my fridge for extra jam jars and chuck out stuff that ought to have been chucked out some time ago. No more does the jar of out-of-date grated horseradish haunt the fridge door! On the other hand, though the colour is lovely, the texture good, and the taste has just the right hint of the ability of sloes to suck every particle of moisture from your mouth, there's no denying that ultimately wild hedgerow fruits taste pretty similar once preserved. If I do it again, I think I'll look at adding some sort of spice for additional interest.

The process:

The product:

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