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Crossposted from DW, where there are comment count unavailable comments; comment here or there.

Skyfall fic

So, I'm not dead, just really, really quiet these days.

However! I actually have something fannish to report. I saw Skyfall and loved the Bond and M dynamic - so much so, that I find myself writing fic for the first time in about a year. Which is a lovely feeling, even if I am horribly out of practice. Have a missing scene from Skyfall, wherein Bond and M make a brief stop during the drive from London to Scotland which takes place in the film, and Bond sees a side of M he didn't know about. No content warnings.

Until My Dying Day
Skyfall (2012)
2430 words

Crossposted from DW, where there are comment count unavailable comments; comment here or there.


Still not paid

My bank account has stuttered into life, with bills and payments appearing in little clumps, weeks late. This would be great, apart from the fact that I still haven't been paid.

My salary, due in my account on June 22, is still somewhere in the transactions backlog, over two weeks later. Ulster Bank have promised that pretty much everything should be up to date by July 16 (a mere month after all this started, on June 19), so I don't really have an option except to wait until then. I've tried calling the bank a couple of times, but the standard message is just that they're still working through the issues.

Yesterday I opened a new bank account somewhere else, and the plan is to wait until the dust finally settles and then quietly switch over to using it, probably in September. The thing is, even though I know it's unlikely something like this will happen again at Ulster, staying there after this feels like I'm saying that this is all right, and this is not all right, dammit. I shouldn't have to worry that my bank will lose my money, and I shouldn't have to make contingency plans about what to do if they lose it again.

The official line, incidentally, is that Ulster Bank has taken so long to sort out because it's at the end of the chain of IT integrations: they couldn't fix the Ulster Bank problems until they sorted the NatWest problems, which couldn't be addressed until the RBS issues were resolved. Whether this is true or not, it doesn't go a long way to making me feel like a valued customer.

Crossposted from DW, where there are comment count unavailable comments; comment here or there.


Well. I went to see Prometheus on Saturday night, and I have Thoughts. The unspoilery, short version is that I'm glad I watched it but found aspects of it frustrating. The spoilery version is longer and will probably be very rambly, but here goes.

Spoilery trigger warning, both for the movie and my thoughts on itCollapse )

Prometheus - very very spoilery reactionCollapse )

Crossposted from DW, where there are comment count unavailable comments; comment here or there.

Driveby posting from work to say...

I saw the Avengers yesterday afternoon and it is my new shiny thing. I love all the characters and want to smoosh them all. I have new fandom love.

I also really, really want to talk about it, but must be good and wait until after the US release date. For now: SO MUCH SQUEE. SO MUCH.

Crossposted from DW, where there are comment count unavailable comments; comment here or there.


Apr. 22nd, 2012

Once again, it's been ages since I last posted. Bad me.

First off, over on tumblr, rah made this amazing fan art for my SGA fic, The Hard Prayer. The creativity and talent of people never ceases to amaze me.

Keeping with the subject of art, I spent a couple of days last week reading the webcomic Digger by Ursula Vernon (I'm pretty sure I found it originally via a rec on [ profile] cofax7's journal). I highly recommend it: the story is complete, and it's an absorbing and very satisfying one. Digger, a practical-minded wombat, hits a pocket of bad magic and finds her tunnel unexpectedly emerges in a temple where a statue of the god Ganesh has a mission for her. All Digger really wants is to go home, but she's a moral soul, and so she finds herself drawn into what the author accurately describes as a 'very peculiar epic'. Along the way, she meets a bunch of richly drawn (in both senses) characters: a demon-child, matriarchal hyenas, a troubled young human woman with a Destiny, and a prophesying snail. There's a really nice vein of humour running through the story which reminded me a bit of Terry Pratchett, especially where Digger's attitudes towards gods are concerned.

Secondly, DW fans might be interested in The Minister of Chance, a audio play set (I think) in the DW universe, and with a cast that includes Sylvester McCoy, Jenny Agutter and Paul McGann. There seem to be 2 episodes so far, of about 30 mins each. I listened the first one at the gym this afternoon, and it's nicely done.

Apart from reading and listening to things, my life continues to be very quiet. I went walking in Sligo over the Easter weekend with my walking club and had a lot of fun, although that was more to do with the rather excellent pubs than with the walking, which was curtailed by pretty bad weather. The weather last week made up for it, though: I was in the Mournes and, for the first time since about last November, it was actually clear enough to see where we were going.

Fannishly, I am in the doldrums, like a ship in becalmed waters, without a good strong wind to push me along. I'm starting to think I'm slowly drifting out of fandom, but I've thought that before and have been wrong, so, we'll see. I've been reading a bit of Avengers fic (mostly Steve/Tony) and am greatly looking forward to the movie.

I bought a slow cooker and a book of slow cooker recipes, and so far everything I've tried has been delicious. Particular successes have been a chorizo, chickpea and sweet potato soup, and tarka dahl. I've always been a bit sceptical of kitchen gadgets which are supposed to CHANGE THE WAY YOU COOK, but in this case, I think it might actually do that. Certainly I can see myself preparing and eating a lot more pulse and vegetable based dishes.

Crossposted from DW, where there are comment count unavailable comments; comment here or there.

John Carter

Maybe I was just in the right frame of mind for a big, silly effects-heavy adventure, but I have to admit, I enjoyed the heck out of that. I haven't read the original John Carter of Mars books, but I could tell the writers were making an effort to capture the spirit of them while excising the parts which would today be considered, to put it politely, anachronistic. I'm a bit sorry they didn't just call the movie 'John Carter of Mars' or even 'A Princess of Mars', but I guess the latter wouldn't be possible since movie execs don't want to market anything to a female audience which isn't a romcom.

Spoilery ramblings under the cutCollapse )

Crossposted from DW, where there are comment count unavailable comments; comment here or there.
The All-Party Parliamentary Gardening and Horticultural Group includes among its members Baroness Gardner of Parkes.

Crossposted from DW, where there are comment count unavailable comments; comment here or there.


I've had the Cold From Hell all week -- five days in, it actually seems to be getting worse, not better. My throat is incredibly sore this evening, so much so that in desperation I tried gargling with whiskey because someone in work told me that helps. (I hate whiskey, but years ago I briefly dated a guy who liked it, which is why I still have a bottle of the stuff.) Anyway, for the record, 40% proof alcohol doesn't help a sore throat, it just makes the inside of your mouth numb.

Last night, I dropped a chair on my foot while cleaning the kitchen floor, and today I have a limp and bruise.

And, naturally enough, this just has to be my time of the month, too.

The wise counteragent pointed out that I am the H part of an H/C fic, in which case, I want to know, where is the sympathetic and astonishingly attractive character who is supposed to be doing the C in this scenario? She also correctly identified that I'm in overwritten id fic that badly needs a beta reader to say things like, "Look, being perfectly honest, the chair-dropping part is OTT and you should cut it. Your main character is already suffering, you don't need to give her a painful bruise on her foot, too."

Pick up the nearest book to you. Turn to page 45.
The first sentence describes your sex life in 2012.

"Four years ago he was a big name. Now? Nothing."

...No further comment is required, I feel.

Crossposted from DW, where there are comment count unavailable comments; comment here or there.

PSA: Hiking filter

I've just made the first post to my "hiking and walking" filter, here. If you wanted to be on the filter and I've accidentally missed you off, drop me a comment and I'll add you. The filter is mostly a way for me to keep track of the walks I'm doing, with occasional photos of scenery (there will probably be more of those when the weather picks up a bit).

Crossposted from DW, where there are comment count unavailable comments; comment here or there.



I have to say, this Christmas is such an improvement on last year. This time last year, I'd just broken up with someone, it was -15C outside and I had no water supply in the house. This year, by comparison, it's a positively balmy 12C, the Doctor Who Christmas Special was excellent, I can have a bath, and I got a lovely fic for Yuletide: Melted Ice 'Cap', which is about Steve Rogers trying to figure out what to make of the world, and the world trying to figure out what to make of Steve Rogers.

Other things I've read today which have pleased me greatly:

With One Eye Open - Aliens movies, Ripley-focused gen. From now on, I'm adopting this fic as my personal post-Aliens canon. The start of Alien 3 didn't happen. Nope. Also, having read this story, I have suddenly come to realise that if Ellen Ripley and Sarah Connor got together, there would be literally nothing they could not accomplish.

Getting to Know You - Die Hard 4.0, John/Matt: a sweet dating-without-knowing-it story.

Owned - Michael Fassbender with Pugs Tumblr. Okay, speaking honestly, before today I would not have thought it was possible to write a 12k word story entirely based around the tumblr 'Michael Fassbender with Pugs'. Well, it not only IS possible, this story is awesome in the best and crackiest way possible. Pugs, you see, apparently don't like Tumblr, although they're very fond of Facebook. All this changes when Pugsley, adored pet of the human he knows as Lovely Owner, figures out how to use her laptop when she's at work. Michael Fassbender's life is about to get much more complicated.

Crossposted from DW, where there are comment count unavailable comments; comment here or there.

Dec. 24th, 2011

I'm at my parents' house -- not really an overly difficult journey for me, as they only live 10 minutes away. My Yuletide story is safely uploaded, and I can see that there's a story waiting for me under the Yuletide Fic Tree, which is pretty awesome. I want to do the virtual equivalent of picking it up and shaking it to try to guess what's in it, except there isn't really a virtual equivalent of that. Thank you, yuletide writer! You've already made me very happy.

Because apparently I've been very good this year, Santa -- actually nickelmountain -- has brought me a podfic of my Fringe Astrid-centric Yuletide fic from two years ago, Help Wanted. It's here and I listened to it yesterday while I was wrapping last minute presents, and it's lovely.

And now I'm off to see if there are any mince pies going.

Crossposted from DW, where there are comment count unavailable comments; comment here or there.


This is the Mission Impossible 4 blurb from IMDB:

"The IMF is shut down when it's implicated in the bombing of the Kremlin, causing Ethan Hunt and his new team to go rogue to clear their organization's name."

This was my (genuine) reaction when I read it:

The International Monetary Fund is accused of bombing the Kremlin? Really?

I know the Euro crisis is bad, but I don't think blowing up the Kremlin is going to help the sovereign debt problems of the Eurozone countries. As much as I love the idea of a team of black ops economists.

"Dammit, you fool, that's not pareto optimal!"

Crossposted from DW, where there are comment count unavailable comments; comment here or there.

"Where's the pandas, Colin?"

I feel like I have NO TIME at the minute; the days are slipping by and I keep looking at my December to-do list and shuddering.

[1] Merlin fen: I take it you all know about Colin Morgan's movie, Parked? It's an independent film in which Colm Meaney plays a man who loses his job and resorts to living in his car; Colin Morgan is the cannabis-using slacker Cathal who's also living out of HIS car next to him. I want to see it -- the premise sounds fun, even before you get to the part where Chief O'Brien and Merlin are hanging out together. Also, Irish actors FTW!

[2] As of three days ago, I am a Mac owner: a shiny 13" MacBook Pro, to be precise. I'm kind of nervous, in an OMG HOW much money did I just spend? kind of way, but if it turns out to be a reliable machine (touch wood), I'll be sticking with it for a long time. I'm just starting to get used to the different keyboard and shortcuts (It took me about ten minutes of puzzled prodding to figure out how to right-click, and my fingers keep heading for the Ctrl key, which is apparently mostly decorative on a Mac). If anyone has any advice for a Windows user moving to a Mac for the first time, feel free to share!

[3] Yuletide panic level: amber. I'm actually doing okay this year, although Yuletide has reminded me why I don't seem to get much writing done these days -- I have a bit of time to write at the weekends, and that's it. I made a lot of progress last Sunday, then abruptly realised that I could forget about even opening the file between Monday and Friday. But after a couple of false starts, my third attempt at a story is coming together, and I hope I'm successfully working in the elements my recipient particularly wants. My goal is to get my story finished by Monday -- I pretty much have to, because I have a bunch of things I need to do that I've been putting off until after that.

[4] My Hallowe'en ficlet The Last Post has got loads of kudos on AO3 in the last 24 hours, which is lovely, but baffling! I guess it's been recced somewhere?

[5] Post title nothing to do with Colin Morgan.

Crossposted from DW, where there are comment count unavailable comments; comment here or there.

Hellboy II: The Golden Army

Hellboy: The Golden Army was on TV over the weekend, and I happened to see it. I'm rather fond of the first Hellboy movie (I wrote it for Yuletide in 2005) but had somehow managed to miss the sequel. And, y'know, it's actually quite a lot of fun, in spite of the tragic lack of David Hyde Pierce as the voice of Abe Sapiens. Here's why:

(1) RON PERLMAN. Need I say more?

(2) It has Luke Goss as the chief bad guy, a vengeful elf. Now, here I have to digress for a moment about Luke Goss. You see, today's Luke Goss is an actor who seems to make a decent living playing bad guys in fantasy movies and guesting on TV shows like Fringe. But in 1988, when I was about 12, Luke Goss, his twin brother Matt, and another guy were in a band called Bros and they were huge with 12 year olds. How huge were they? Well, it's nearly 25 years later and I can still remember that the name of the guy who wasn't a Goss brother was Craig Logan. There are people who are several billion times more famous than that whose names I do not know and never will. Bros fans were called Brosettes and showed their devotion by tying watches on to their shoes (don't ask, I have no idea) and stencilling the Bros logo, a stylised picture of three figures, the middle one with arms raised, on to their schoolbags.

But fame, of course, is fleeting. I don't know what happened to the other two members of Bros, but Luke appears to have made a successful transition into a steady if not stellar acting career, and probably doesn't like to talk about Bros very much at all (or their one big hit which was titled, prophetically, 'When Will I Be Famous?'). But every time he pops up as a vengeful elf or an extra-dimensional killer on Fringe, I feel a little wash of joy, and have to suppress the urge to tie watches to my shoes.

(3) The movie does quite well by its two main female characters, pyrokinetic Liz Sherman and Princess Nuala. Liz has moved on from where she was in the first film: she's no longer terrified by her powers, and is shown as being much more in control of them, being able to burst into flame at will. And the plot thread about spoilerCollapse ) Nuala, meanwhile, comes across initially as rather passive, but gets a fair amount of agency in her decision to act against her brother. Which brings me neatly to:

(4) Nuala's existence means we get this wonderful quote (in the wikipedia article about the movie) from Luke Goss about the relationship between Evil Prince Nuada and his sister: "There is an incestuous relationship that's not maybe overly obvious to everybody, but some people hopefully will pick up on the fact, certainly from my direction towards her."

I'm sorry to tell you this, Luke, but it really is obvious. To everybody.

(5) And, finally, the best thing of all about this movie: the big action climax takes place on the North Antrim coast, at the Giant's Causeway. I'm just saying, I do not think we have enough Hollywood blockbusters where the hero announces that in order to prevent the destruction of the planet, everyone has to go to Antrim for the last twenty minutes and fight giant enchanted robots. Honestly, it's even better than when The Day After Tomorrow specifically namechecked the destruction of Banbridge.

Crossposted from DW, where there are comment count unavailable comments; comment here or there.

Walking: November 2011

I feel a bit awkward about these hiking posts. They're really mostly just for my benefit, so I can remember which hikes I've done, and how long they took, and any bits of useful information I might want to make a note of for myself (like how to get there and find the car park). So, to spare those of you who are not interested in my adventures walking up small mountains in Ireland, I'm going to make an opt-in filter. The filter will be no more than a couple of posts a month, and probably not even that many.

So, with that out of the way, here's the November hiking roundup. I was out three times this month, and I'm not quite sure how that happened. The weather has been wet but very mild for the time of year; I keep expecting it to turn cold any day now, and for as long as it doesn't, I find myself tempted to fit in just one last walk of the year.

November walksCollapse )

Crossposted from DW, where there are comment count unavailable comments; comment here or there.


Website help?

Quote from a meeting with a client last week: "Don't come to me with ideas you think are good and exciting, because I won't like them."

...Well, that's me told, then.

My elderly laptop has been due for replacement for a while, and after a lot of consideration, I'm making the change to a Mac, and am planning to get a MacBook Pro. I've had two Toshiba laptops and have been very pleased with them - no major issues with either - but I've been seduced by promises of a machine that doesn't slow to a grinding halt with age. The main complaint I've seen about Macs is a lack of configurability, but since my computer needs are fairly straightforward, that's a trade-off I'm willing to make.

Of course, having made the decision to switch, I'm now having worrying whether there are Mac versions of all the Windows software I've come to rely on. Calibre appears to be fine, thank goodness, but Digiguide -- which is a TV listings guide I've used for a number of years -- doesn't do a Mac version.

And then there's my website.

I've had a domain, goldenmaze, for years and years, which I got back before LJ existed and when automated archives were less common. I have a version of Dreamweaver which I must have bought in 2001 or 2002, and I use that, combined with Filezilla to maintain the site. It's the most basic, boring website in the world - no graphics, nothing even a little bit sophisticated - but it does the one thing I want it to, which is that it serves as an archive for everything I've written and podficced over the years, as well as hosting a few things for a couple of other people.

So here's my dilemma. My old version of Dreamweaver won't work on the Mac, and the current version is a design tool for professionals which is eyewateringly expensive and would be complete overkill for my needs even if I was prepared to spend that kind of money. I could just let the site lapse, because I don't really need it anymore: AO3 is a fannish hub and has a lot more functionality.

But on the other hand, I'm quite emotionally attached to my website. It's the one place where I've got absolutely everything I want to keep all together. If AO3 is a big public library open to all of fandom, then my website is the equivalent of the bookshelves in my study: it's a very limited range of stuff, but it's particular to me.

So what do people do these days when they want to maintain their own, simple website? Are there any decent free or relatively inexpensive WYSIWYG-type packages out there? Or should I be looking at something like Joomla?

Crossposted from DW, where there are comment count unavailable comments; comment here or there.

Fannish things

After last week's fabulous podfic of Fieldwork by susan_voight, I have received yet more bounty, this time in the form of a podfic of Lunch and Other Obscenities read by [ profile] sophinisba. I listened to it this week over the course of a couple of sessions at the gym, and I haven't treadmill running so much for a long time.

Also, I've written another ficlet over at sharp_teeth, the multifandom gen horror commentfic fest. This one's in response to the prompt "Is there anyone here?" (The prompt made fine use of creepy formatting, but I've never figured out much beyond bold and italics). Gentle reader, I have a confession to make: for the purpose of writing this ficlet, I had to create a sockpuppet journal for the first time ever. You'll see why when you read it.

"The Last Post" - 1700 words, no warnings and, erm, no fandom, either. I think this is what you'd call metafanfic, maybe?

Crossposted from DW, where there are comment count unavailable comments; comment here or there.


Oh, the irony

My Dad got an email attachment which somehow caused the spooler app on his computer to crash, and stay crashed, when he tried to print it. It wasn't a virus - it seemed to be something about that specific pdf document itself that the computer and printer didn't like. Anyway, since I am my father's IT support, I spent an hour or so googling things like "printer spooler app stopped working error" and eventually fixed it (in case you're interested: by stopping the spooler app, manually deleting the document, starting the spooler app again, and then reinstalling the printer).

I got a sheepish phone call from Dad yesterday; he was calling to say that he'd received another pdf email attachment from the same people, tried to print it... and exactly the same thing had happened as the first time. So I called round again last night and went through the same stop spooler/manually delete document/reinstall printer rigmarole as I had the first time. Then I did a quick check to make sure it wasn't *every* PDF that was breaking his printer (it wasn't). "Honestly," I said, feeling a bit frustrated, "who's sending you these things?"

The answer? The Dublin Institute of Technology.


Crossposted from DW, where there are comment count unavailable comments; comment here or there.

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