Norður

Jul. 22nd, 2017 09:24 pm
naraht: (Default)
[personal profile] naraht
It's that time in the summer when I start to dream about being somewhere far to the north, with a view of the sea. To be fair, I also dream about the north in the depths of winter. To be even fairer, the weather here has been cool and rainy, so maybe that's made me think about northern climes.

If I were for some reason forced to spend a ridiculous amount of money on a hotel, I would go to the Fogo Island Inn, off the northern coast of Newfoundland.

Or maybe a less ridiculously posh place with bonus icebergs, the Hotel Arctic in Ilulissat, Greenland.

I remind myself that I've already got a weekend booked in Iceland on my way home to the States in December. And I can sit and enjoy views of the cold sea from a lovely steaming hotpot at any number of municipal pools. And my room probably has a view of the harbor!

But that's a long ways off. I'm pondering whether to plan an August long weekend somewhere in the UK, and whether it would be worth the faff to travel somewhere more northerly, as opposed to just going to Brighton or something. I'm very fond of Scarborough. I also have this weird desire to see the Isle of Man after watching the national road race championships a few weeks ago.

Also worth pointing out that I'm going to Saint Petersburg at the end of August, and perhaps that counts as northerly if not quite with an unobstructed ocean view? I'm rather tempted by Kronstadt...

not what I expected to do this week

Jul. 21st, 2017 09:30 pm
mrkinch: Treize and Zechs clasping white-gloved hands (treize)
[personal profile] mrkinch
So I just finished a surprise re-watch of Mobile Suit Gundam Wing, my first all-in fandom about fifteen years ago. For all it's philosophically incomprehensible, I was still completely engaged, and the end is INTENSE. I mean, I remembered more or less what happens but gosh. Anyway, now I want all my old fav fics. Of course. Dacia's site is still up, though she says she's going to shut it down, and Gundam Wing Addiction, and Mel and Christy's, too! This could be great, or I may find my taste in fic has changed too much. We shall see!

(no subject)

Jul. 21st, 2017 03:19 pm
tree_and_leaf: Isolated tree in leaf, against blue sky. (Default)
[personal profile] tree_and_leaf
Happy birthday, [personal profile] coughingbear!

Sappho Prompts

Jul. 20th, 2017 10:26 pm
hhimring: (Default)
[personal profile] hhimring
Tolkien Femslash week is doing a challenge which invites you to make prompts from a list of Sappho quotations (or fragments).
The current SWG challenge suggests combining the song prompts with the Femslash challenge, if it works for you.

I like Sappho so I thought this  was a lovely idea. I made up some prompts, in case anyone is interested, i.e. I picked quotations and added a f/f pairing from the Legendarium that came to mind.(I'm afraid some of the more popular pairings are not included.)

They are posted to Tumblr but I'll also copy them in below.

Read more... )

Reading: Every Heart A Doorway

Jul. 20th, 2017 07:40 pm
white_hart: (Default)
[personal profile] white_hart
Seanan McGuire's Hugo-nominated novella Every Heart a Doorway is a school story with a twist: it's set in a boarding school specifically catering to young people who have visited the kind of other worlds familiar to readers of portal fantasy novels and who are struggling to adapt to real life on their return (most of the students at the school in this book long to return to their fantasy worlds, though we are told that there is a sister institution catering for those who need help to forget their more traumatic travels). Disbelieving parents send their children to the school hoping that they will receive therapy and recover from their breakdowns, but instead the school supports its students in understanding and integrating their experiences while still allowing them to hope that they will find their doors again one day.

The story mainly follows Nancy, who has returned from a sojourn in the Halls of the Dead with a preternaturally developed ability to stand still and a penchant for dressing in gauzy black and white clothing, to the distress of her parents who want their old daughter back. Shortly after Nancy's arrival at the school the first in a series of gruesome murders occurs; suspicion falls on Nancy, as a new girl and one whose world was a underworld, and she and a small group of other students have to work together to discover who the real murderer is. The murder mystery plot is really only a Macguffin, though (and I thought it was quite obvious from very early on who the murderer was); the book is really an exploration of identity and belonging, as the students try to deal with having found and lost worlds where they felt that they belonged much more than they ever had at home (each student went to a different world, uniquely suited to that individual). It's easy to see Nancy's parents' rejection of the changes in their daughter as parallelling more conventional rejections by parents' of their children's developing tastes and views. Identity politics writ larger also feature; Nancy explicitly identifies as asexual, while one of the friends she makes is a trans boy who was expelled from the fairyland he travelled to when he was discovered to be a prince and not the princess they thought he was.

Some of the reviews I'd read online had made me worry that this was going to be preachy, or at least a bit cringily identity-politics-by-numbers, but in fact I didn't find it that way at all; it was interesting, sensitive and thoughtful. I wasn't completely convinced by the way the murder plot was resolved, which seemed to owe rather more to the conventions of the students' fantasy worlds than to the real world in which the story takes place, but generally I really enjoyed the book and can absolutely see why it has won and been nominated for so many awards.
emperor: (Default)
[personal profile] emperor
Fans of the coffee stall on the Cambridge market (link to my previous post on opening hours) may be interested to know that he doesn't seem to be open on Thursdays any more - AFAICT he's now Mon-Wed, Fri, Sat.

Not entirely co-incidentally, my coffee supplies are now rather low :(

Reading: The Saltmarsh Murders

Jul. 19th, 2017 07:41 pm
white_hart: (Default)
[personal profile] white_hart
I picked up Gladys Mitchell's The Saltmarsh Murders in the Oxfam bookshop, because I'm always interested to try new-to-me 1930s detective stories, and grabbed it off the top of my to-read pile last week when I was looking for an easy read to follow To Lie With Lions.

The Saltmarsh Murders is the fourth of 66 detective novels featuring Mrs Beatrice Lestrange Bradley, psychiatrist and amateur sleuth. In this novel, she turns her attention to the death of a young woman who has recently given birth to an illegitimate baby (and the disappearance of the baby) in the South Coast village of Saltmarsh, where she was paying a visit when the murder was discovered. She is aided in this by Noel Wells, the slightly dim curate of the village. Noel also narrates the novel in a first-person style which clearly owes a lot to Wodehouse, who he mentions being a fan of.

I wasn't sure the Bertie Wooster-esque narrative was a natural choice for a detective novel, and Noel is a very sloppy narrator, with events coming out of sequence in a way that made it quite hard to follow the plot at times. The book also features a black character and contains the kind of period-typical attitudes to and language about race that are pretty hard for a modern reader to stomach, as well as some period-typical attitudes to class and a couple of incidences of painfully rendered yokel accents. Most of the characters felt very two-dimensional, with the only one who really took on any life at all being the village madwoman, Mrs Gatty, and I didn't actually find the mystery plot particularly compelling. I don't think I'll be seeking out any more of Mitchell's books (although I think I might have at least one more that I bought as a Kindle bargain years ago...).

Remix...and looking ahead?

Jul. 17th, 2017 12:47 am
gramarye1971: Old Ways (TDIR: Old Ways)
[personal profile] gramarye1971
Signed up for [community profile] remixrevival, because Parallels doesn't seem to be running this year and I'm in need of a midsummer fic exchange to boost creativity levels. More people should sign up (especially if you're nominating anime/manga, because I am happy to adjust my own offerings if people do)!

Writing that first sentence, though, made me stop and ponder: it's a bit past the time for it this year, but would people participate in an AO3-coordinated Dark Is Rising fic exchange next May/June? Perhaps with reveals timed for Midsummer's Day? I may post about it on [community profile] thedarkisrising, but since a significant body of that community overlaps with my flist, it's worth doing a straw poll for it here.

Planet of the Spiders revisited

Jul. 17th, 2017 01:12 am
sir_guinglain: (Pertwee_TVAction)
[personal profile] sir_guinglain
Dialogue for the old and new fans...

From Planet of the Spiders part one, as it might be re-edited:

LUPTON: Not only a Doctor, but a woman Doctor. We do not want her here.
CHO-JE: We cannot shut out the world entirely, my brother.
LUPTON: Why not? You used to, in Tibet.
CHO-JE: All things pass away, as you will learn in your meditation. This world of samsara, the world of appearance, is the world of change.
LUPTON: Yes, but I came here to get away from the world. So did the others. We came here to find solitude.
CHO-JE: One day you will learn to walk in solitude amidst the traffic of the world.
LUPTON: It's still not too late to stop her coming.
CHO-JE: But it is. Mister Chibnall has already gone to the station to fetch her.

**

CHO-JE: We can but point a finger along the way. A man must go inside and face his fears and hopes, his hates and his loves, and watch them wither away. Then he will find his true self, which is no self. He will see his true mind, which is no mind.
SARAH: And that's what meditation's all about?
CHO-JE: Yes! The old man must die and the new woman will discover to her inexpressible joy that he has never existed.
SARAH: Well, good luck, mate.

From Chrissie's Transcripts Site, with alterations.

7/16/2017 Richmond Shoreline

Jul. 16th, 2017 02:43 pm
mrkinch: Erik holding fieldglasses in "Russia" (binocs)
[personal profile] mrkinch
Two hours at the shoreline in mid-July? Still pretty damned boring. Shorebird migration is supposed to be happening by now, but you wouldn't know it where I was. Could have have been the hour (noon is late for land birds) or the tide (bracketing low tide is bad planning, but see below), but while I saw a hundred or so willets moving about there were only small numbers of the other large shorebirds, a few dowitchers, and no smaller peeps. When the most surprising bird is a black-crowned night heron it is not an exciting day. Still, the large waders were out in force; aside from the night-heron there were a number of snowy egrets, two or maybe three great blue herons, and a great egret. Other fun sightings were as many as three black oystercatchers inside Richmond Harbor and six brown pelicans surface feeding just off shore. Pretty damned boring: )

Also saw a spectacular anise swallowtail.

Despite the lack of thrilling birds I can't regret getting out, only that it took me til noon Sunday to manage it, and so I went out at a crappy time because it was then or never. I know that if I don't get out by sunrise I'm probably not going anywhere that day because I've missed the crowd-free window. But it's looking like if I don't get out Friday I'm doomed to inactivity all weekend. Absolutely have to get myself out Friday morning.

Fic: Shining Armour (Yuri!!! on Ice)

Jul. 16th, 2017 10:04 pm
el_staplador: Yuri Plisetsky from 'Yuri!!! on Ice' sticking his tongue out; caption 'makes me wanna barf' (yuri on ice)
[personal profile] el_staplador
I posted a fic. It's not at all the sort of thing I usually write...

Shining Armour (1900 words) by El Staplador
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: Yuri!!! on Ice (Anime)
Rating: General Audiences
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Relationships: Michele Crispino/Emil Nekola, Michele Crispino & Sara Crispino
Characters: Michele Crispino, Emil Nekola, Sara Crispino, Yuri!!! on Ice Ensemble, Original Characters
Additional Tags: Alternate Universe, Alternate Universe - toyshop, Fluff and Angst, Angst with a Happy Ending, Experimental Style
Summary:

They came out of the factory on the same day. They were packed in the same box, sent to the same shop, displayed on the same shelf. But now somebody's bought the lady and left the knight behind. Nobody understands what a disaster this is, except maybe the robot on the shelf above...




I have also managed to post my assignment for Rare Ships!!! on Ice, a whole day before the deadline. This, by contrast, has my grubby fingerprints all over it. (At least, I think it does. I shall be interested to see if anyone guesses.)

(no subject)

Jul. 16th, 2017 11:41 am
white_hart: (Default)
[personal profile] white_hart
I am assuming, from the amount of anxiety I'm currently feeling about who the new Doctor will be, that I am generally not as OK as I would like to think I am.

Wibbleage )
hhimring: (Default)
[personal profile] hhimring
I quite thought I was about to fail this SWG challenge as well, but managed to get this written, right on the day of the deadline.

Of Voronwe's Parents (1146 words) by Himring
Chapters: 2/2
Fandom: The Silmarillion and other histories of Middle-Earth - J. R. R. Tolkien, TOLKIEN J. R. R. - Works & Related Fandoms
Rating: Teen And Up Audiences
Warnings: Major Character Death
Relationships: Aranwe/Voronwe's mother
Characters: Voronwë (Tolkien), Aranwë (Tolkien), Voronwe's mother, Turgon of Gondolin
Additional Tags: Textual Ghost, House of Fingolfin, Fall of Gondolin, The Sindar, The Noldor, Challenge Response
Summary:

Vignettes featuring the parents of Voronwe.
Inspired by Oshun's character bio of Aranwe on the Silmarillion Writers' Guild Archive.

Reading: To Lie With Lions

Jul. 15th, 2017 11:09 am
white_hart: (Default)
[personal profile] white_hart
The sixth of Dorothy Dunnett's House of Niccolò books brings to a conclusion the phase of Nicholas's life sparked by the devastating events of the ending of Scales of Gold. In many ways it felt as though this and The Unicorn Hunt were two halves of one very long book rather than two separate instalments of the series, which I think probably partly explains why I felt that The Unicorn Hunt's plot seemed to meander rather if it was mainly setup for the next book. I feel similarly about The Disorderly Knights and Pawn in Frankincense in the Lymond series, and although the ending of To Lie With Lions isn't quite as cataclysmic as the end of Pawn in Frankincense, or indeed Scales of Gold, it leaves Nicholas in a similar place to Lymond at the end of that book; isolated, friendless and being taken to an unknown destination.

The centrepiece of this book is Nicholas's voyage to Iceland, culminating in a haunting, nightmarish winter journey across country in the face of an imminent volcanic eruption, and a subsequent description of the eruption itself, which are definitely up with the Sahara journey in Scales of Gold and the winter journey in Russia in The Ringed Castle among the most amazing of Dunnett's descriptive passages. The novel then gathers pace and ramps up the tension towards the dénouement, which does the typical Dunnett thing of shining a new light on so many things and radically changing the reader's understanding of both Nicholas's and other characters' natures and motivations, and even if I had guessed the identity of "Egidius", the third Vatachino partner (mostly because Pat McIntosh's Gilbert Cunningham mysteries include a character with the same first name and nickname as the "Egidius" in Dunnett's books, almost certainly as a tribute to Dunnett) there were still plenty of surprises among the revelations.

Only two more to go, although then I'm sure that both the Lymond and Niccolò books would benefit from a re-read; there's so much in them that only makes sense once you have got to the end. Also, I have just bought a secondhand copy of King Hereafter, as it isn't available for Kindle. Though right now I think I need to read something a lot less emotionally demanding for a while.

random non-spoilery TdF observations

Jul. 14th, 2017 09:51 pm
naraht: Chris Froome and Peter Sagan chatting (other-HelloFroomey)
[personal profile] naraht
I've been feeling inexplicably unwell so I finished work early this afternoon and spent it lying on the couch watching the Tour de France...

• One of Britain's top cyclists from the 80s, Philippa York, has just publicly come out as trans during the Tour. Apparently she had been avoiding public life for some years, but people in the know were aware that she'd transitioned. What's heartening is that the reception from the cycling world has, as far as I can tell, been extremely supportive. She's been guest commentating on ITV for a few stages now, and I haven't heard a single stumble over name or pronouns. Chapeau, Philippa. It must have taken a lot of courage.

• David Millar gets so into the tactics. You get the feeling that he doesn't care so much who wins (or does a good job of covering it up, unlike Carlton Kirby, who has his crushes), but he gets passionately angry if he disagrees with a team's choices: "why are they doing that??!? It's ridiculous! What are they trying to achieve???"

Yet when Ned Boulting asked, he heartily and believably denied having any desire to be out on the mountain himself: "no, no, a thousand times no."

• I've managed to get my parents into watching the Tour. They're both backing Froome. What did I do to deserve this?

• As always, a special thanks is due to whoever at ITV does the end-of-show montages. They are always superbly on point and they almost always choose great music. Today I owe them particular thanks for introducing me to the music of Jacqueline Taïeb, a French singer of Tunisian origin from the 60s.

Apart from being a great song, Bravo just makes me think of the "Carlien Daten?" saga. (Spoiler: after the date they "decided to just be friends.")

I don't get the feeling that Taïeb pities (or particularly respects) the hero, though perhaps I'm reading too much into it...

(French lyrics)



• ETA: What have I learned from the Orica Backstage Pass so far? That Esteban Chaves is reading a Danielle Steele novel and that (unrelatedly) Matt Hayman has had to explain to him what a "bromance" is.

7/12/2017 Volmer Peak & Seaview Trail

Jul. 12th, 2017 12:27 pm
mrkinch: Erik holding fieldglasses in "Russia" (binocs)
[personal profile] mrkinch
I went out with DW for a few hours this morning. A beautiful day, getting hot in the later morning but most of Seaview Trail is covered by a breeze from off-shore that makes it comfortable. July and August are quiet as far as unusual migrants and the only birds still singing are year-round residents such as wrens, towhees, and juncos. At least we made the twelve-bird minimum: )

Most of our sightings were families, nestlings heard and fledglings seen everywhere, especially juncos and nuthatches. Also a surprising number of juvenile spotted towhees, which always confuse me.
naraht: Chris Froome and Peter Sagan chatting (other-HelloFroomey)
[personal profile] naraht
I did actually laugh out loud at this one. I love these guys. Can they be a Yuletide fandom?

sir_guinglain: (MummyIcon)
[personal profile] sir_guinglain
I found myself double-booked for The Doctor Falls, and so over a week after broadcast have returned with a follow-up review for Time Lines, John Connors's blog which continues the ancient traditions of his earlier fanzines Top, Faze, This Way Up, Antenna and others. As I write, it's not quite a review...

Steven Moffat at his best is very good at treating characters and events as symbols whose interaction as principles not only shapes but often overtakes conventional narrative. Looking back after over a week of rewatches and reviews, the success of The Doctor Falls lies largely in how this coded writing works, laying emphasis on specific aspects of character and setting which sometimes confound expectations which World Enough and Time might have encouraged. What follows isn’t quite another review but a set of reactions considering some of the opinions I’ve come across since The Doctor Falls was broadcast. In case anyone is in any doubt, I greatly enjoyed the episode; there was a tense fatalism throughout, leavened by statements of optimistic principle. I realised while watching it that kindness was probably the factor that kept me watching Doctor Who in the first place. The Doctor has not always been kind, but he tries to be kind to the greatest possible conceivable number of people, all the time. This is his virtue and periodically, in limited ways, his downfall.

Read more...

I'd totally forgotten

Jul. 9th, 2017 05:36 pm
mrkinch: albatross soaring (Default)
[personal profile] mrkinch
The other day when I went to actually delete the lj I haven't use in a decade, it came to my attention that I own a community, [livejournal.com profile] tolkien100, and the last post is only two years ago! Amazing! Anyway, going back through my friends's page (which stops at 30? wtf?), there are no posts by personal journals save [livejournal.com profile] fileg. (I unfollowed anyone there that I follow here.) Wow. There were a lot more than that the last time I checked. I posted the announcement/query both to the comm and to my journal, but will anyone see it? Are folks monitoring lj even though they aren't posting? I'm offering the comm to anyone that wants it (after I import it and delete my posts from the original), but who even is there?

I'm giving it a month, then I'll do the thing, including moving that Sean icon over here. Yes!

Tour de France: the story so far

Jul. 9th, 2017 08:29 pm
naraht: Chris Froome and Peter Sagan chatting (other-HelloFroomey)
[personal profile] naraht
Is this Tour proving to be really interesting, really boring, or both? Possibly both. Mostly I wonder whether there's anyone actually left in the race at this point.

Spoilers through stage 9 )

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