netgirl_y2k: (cersei fuck)
Quite a short December talking meme today because while logically I know it's December 17th I can't quite bring myself to accept it because 1) it was only January five minutes ago, and 2) I don't feel at all seasonal. I was never going to have a tree this year, because I can't possibly open up another front with the puppy in the ongoing war over what is or is not a chew toy; I meant to get some tinsel and fairy lights and put some decorations up out of reach, but somehow never got around to it. My parents leave on the 21st, and nobody seems to have decided whether we're having Christmas at the weekend or in January when they get back. And you try getting organised for Christmas when you don't know when Christmas is.

[personal profile] finisterre gave me lady detectives of your choosing.

The ultimate lady detective, and I will brook no argument on this front, is Miss Marple, catching murderers with the power of being a little old lady. I trace my fondness for characters who just get on with being quietly competent and brilliant while everyone around them underestimates them back to Miss Marple.

I read a lot of The No.1 Ladies' Detective Agency books at one time, and although they're twee and kind of patronising at times, every time Precious Ramotswe described herself as woman of traditional build my inner fat girl did a cartwheel - my outer fat girl can't do cartwheels without hurting herself.

I never watched the final series of Fringe, and I'd been drifting away for a while before that, but I remember the exact moment I fell in love with Olivia Dunham. It was in the pilot where she was chasing a suspect across rooftops and up and down fire escapes, and we saw her wearing sensible flat sturdy looking shoes, exactly the sort of shoes that you would wear if your job involved chasing people across icy rooftops.

I like the supernatural detectives brand of urban fantasy, but I wish there were more lady protagonists. I wish that Lesley were the main character of Rivers of London; the most interested I've been in The Dresden Files in years was when Harry was temporarily dead and Molly had to try to fill in the Harry shaped hole; as much as I love Felix Castor I feel like there is a slightly more interesting series of books about Juliet in there. To this end I was delighted by the Kate Kane books earlier this year; all the usual tropes of the supernatural detective with 400% more lesbians. Okay, I have the odd issue with them; I wish that Kate's signature item of clothing could have been anything other than a fedora, and I think Kate should end up with the witch queen of London rather than her current vampire lady love - but that's when you know you're really into something, when you start having shipping opinions about it.
netgirl_y2k: (fire cannot kill a dragon)
[ profile] sageofthesky asked me to talk about Dorne.

First, a fact that might get me run out of ASOIAF fandom on a rail, the first time I read the books I didn't care for Oberyn Martell as a character. I wasn't actually interested in Dorne at all, really. But I think a lot of that was that by AFFC... you know how at this time of year if you're going to a lot of parties, and drinks, and Christmas whatevers, there comes a point where you're going: No, George, I can't possibly meet any more new people... Well, it was like that.

But then I wasn't interested in Sansa either during my first read of the books. Clearly I didn't know my own mind.

Oberyn I didn't really connect with until season four of the show, and the casting of Pedro Pascal, which was basically the only thing the show did right this year, and they're lucky that they got it so, so right. It's actually bought them more good will from me than they frankly deserve at this point. This is why I'm not too perturbed by the spoilers that Jaime's heading for Dorne in S5; Oberyn made you want to see more Martells, to visit Dorne. Was there anything about the show's take on the Tullys and Riverrun that made anyone want a season of Jaime wandering around the Riverlands?

This actually brings us neatly to the elephant in the room when it comes to S5, which is the show's writing out of Arianne. I'm... miffed, but perhaps not as miffed as you might expect me to be. I think because I'm not at all surprised; I remember thinking, ages ago, before we even knew that Dorne was going to appear in S5, certainly before any casting announcements happened, I thought, I bet the show will leave out Arianne and make Trystane the heir to Dorne.

Actually, the thing that annoyed me more than the omission of Arianne - and on some level I've accepted that Arianne was the sacrifice I had to make in exchange for never having to see a Greyjoy nuncle on my screen - was a tiny little thing. There's a scene in Tyrion's cell when Oberyn says that his father took him and Elia to visit Casterly Rock. It was his mother! His mother who was the ruling princess of Dorne! And why change that? It's such a tiny little thing; it'll mean nothing to non-book readers, and a lot to me some people. I mean, if you're writing out Arianne anyway the fact that Dorne has equal primogeniture isn't really going to be a plot point, but why not just let it exist quietly in the background?

Actually, when I want to annoy myself, I indulge my suspicion that one of the reasons Arianne was written out (another, I think, and a not totally invalid one, was to make the Trystane/Myrcella romance more prominent) was that with the Sand Snakes there too, they didn't want that storyline to be too female heavy.

I will concede that Arianne is not immediately the easiest character to like or sympathise with, but then look at the wonders the show has worked with Cersei Lannister and thwarted avenues of female power.

I'll also say that I adore that huge swathes of tumblr have mentally fancast Ayisha Hart as Arianne and just carried on like the show isn't ass-backwards stupid. I also adore that literally the only time I see Atlantis on my dash is when people have chopped up footage of Ariadne scenes to recreate the Arianne ones. I was especially impressed with this one.

Back to the books, obviously I love that Dorne practices equal preference primogeniture. For all the canonical parallels between the North and Dorne I wish this was another one. I want Sansa Stark, reluctant and kind of rubbish heiress to Winterfell. I mean, I like the Queen in the North stuff as never gonna happen wish fulfillment, though I can see her as regent/castellan for one of her younger siblings; but I think Sansa has to go south to realise how much she wants the North.

I love how many great female characters Dorne gives us. The Dornish/Rhoynar stuff was worth the price of AWOIAF to me; I was a little surprised that Nymeria of the Rhoynar wasn't the warrior queen a lot of fandom had cast her as, but ultimately I really liked what we saw of her; I could completely see how she'd be Arianne's hero. As an aside, I love that Arya names her direwolf Nymeria; I love that Arya knows about Princess Nymeria, and Visenya Targaryen, and Wenda the White Faun. I think the fact that Arya, and Brienne and Asha too, essentially like and respect other women is one of those awesome little details that sometimes gets lost in translation.

I love Meria Martell, a fat old woman, whose response to people trying to conquer her country with dragonfire was basically, no, you fuck off. I love that, ultimately, she won. I like to think of her as the logical predecessor to Genna Lannister and Olenna Tyrell.

I want all the fics about Elia Martell that make her the protagonist of her own life. The ones where she survives on a wave of righteous, impotent fury; the ones where Lyanna survives too, and well, this is awkward. As an aside, I sometimes get into fannish arguments about Sansa or Dany and whether it was normal for girls in Westeros to be married in their early teens; and my argument is that a) as far as my layman's knowledge will take me, that wasn't even true in medieval Europe, and b) doesn't even seem to be true in Westeros; girls (and boys) are betrothed at an early age, but unless there's some sort of immediate land grab happening the actual marriage takes place much later. Catelyn and Cersei were both wed in their late teens; Elia in her early twenties. Although, I have a headcanon that the reason Elia's marriage was so comparatively late was that up until Arianne was born she was Doran's heir and couldn't be married outside of Dorne. Actually, not that I harbor any ill-will towards Doran, but what I wouldn't give for ruling princess of Dorne!Elia and her biggest supporter Oberyn fic.

Actually, I've always wondered how marriages work with equal opportunity primogeniture. Not so much inside Dorne, where you arrange the marriage of your heiress to somebody else's second born son and vice versa, but when an heiress marries outside Dorne-- Like, we know Arianne harbored hopes of marrying both Edmure Tully and Willas Tyrell. How would that have worked. I mean, time share? Would Arianne have given up Sunspear (seems unlikely), did she think either Edmure or Willas would have given up their claims and ruled as her consort?

To be fair, all that really tells us is that teenaged Arianne was a hormonal idiot who thought she could have her cake and eat it, which only makes me like her more, really.
netgirl_y2k: (gwen beer)
Yesterday's scheduled post about alcohol was postponed due to my Christmas party related hangover. There's a moral in there, probably.

So [personal profile] kmo said: Beer/alcohol preferences and recommendations. I have the feeling you could drink me under the table, so I will take them quite seriously. :)

I-- I can't possibly imagine what gave you that impression! Why, I--

The affronted innocence act isn't going to fly, is it? So, let's start with beer.

If I'm just just going to the pub for a quick drink with a mate I'll have a pint of Tennant's, which is just the standard beer here, what you'll get if walk up to a bar and ask for a pint of lager without getting more specific. It's fine, it's sort of idiot proof, I don't think I've ever had a bad pint of it. At the same time, it's nothing special, and there's the nostalgia factor that it's what I've been drinking since we used to stuff our school ties into our bags, take off our blazers, and hope the bar staff in the local wouldn't notice we were schoolkids. They noticed, of course, they just didn't care so long as we didn't make a nuisance of ourselves and that one kid who had started school at a wonky time and was eighteen months before the rest of us did the ordering for everyone.

The best Scottish beer, by the by, is Innis & Gunn.

I do tend to drink lager/pilsner type beers more than stouts or real ales. The exception to this was when I went to a friend's birthday drinks, and there was a guy there who I hadn't met before; he was a member of his uni's real ale society, and quickly told me that he didn't like to see women drinking ale, and certainly not by the pint. Well, after that I'd be damned if I wasn't going to spend the evening quaffing Hobgoblin out of a tankard.

I went to Oktoberfest earlier this year, and though I had a whale of a time, the beer was more notable for its quantity than being especially brilliant. The best beer I've ever had, actually, was in Prague. My favourite, favourite beer is Pilsner Urquell, but I don't think you can really go wrong with anything Czech; I really like Staropramen, Gambrinus, and Budvar too.

I like the odd occasional Leffe blonde, although as that is 7% and comes in 700 ml bottles, it's a feel-no-pain type of a beer.

There are all sorts of mad beers, though. I once tried a seaweed beer out of a sort of masochistic I have to know type thing (0/10, would not recommend). There's such a thing as banana bread beer, which is something I know to my lasting sorrow.

I like the occasional Gin & Tonic (Gordon's, please, or Hendrick's; I will not be fobbed off with any of this Bombay Sapphire nonsense), but as I already feel like I'm slowly turning into my mother at the best of times I don't partake often. Actually, funny story, I was going on holiday last year, and I don't fly well, and my mum filled my coat pocket with little miniatures of gin in case I got scared on the plane.

Wine I only really drink with food, so unless it's absolute vinegar I'll happily drink whatever I'm given. Vodka, even the really swish stuff, has only ever tasted of vague burning sensation to me.

I do like a wee dram of scotch from time to time. At a wedding I once got talking to a bloke who was a whisky taster/reviewer, which is the very definition of nice work if you can get it. Although there's a whisky pub in Edinburgh where they have a menu with all their different whiskies on it, and under each one it has a little description of what it tastes like. Now for one of them it said "has flavours of seaweed and iodine" and 1) yuck, and 2) how would you even know? Now I love a pub that has a good selection of scotch, but that set of my pretentious wankery alarm.

I could probably run a Glenfiddich only bar out of my kitchen; people give me bottles of it for birthdays/Christmases and the like because they know I like it, and it's certainly a present you can't go wrong with. My best friend - the fellow I have to blame for turning me into a whisky drinker - treated me to a dram of the thirty year old Glenfiddich when I turned thirty. He's joking that he's already started saving up to buy me a glass of the forty year old for that birthday. Although he's the one that started me on scotch, I like smokier whiskies than he does. He's a highland malt boy. Me, I like something with a bit of peat to it - not Laphroaig, which I find smoky to the point of being undrinkable, but Talisker and Bowmore are both excellent.

And now I should end this post before I really sound like a complete lush.
netgirl_y2k: (sansa wolf girl)
Today, at the request of an anon mouse, I shall be rambling about my favourite asoiaf minor characters.

Obviously there's Genna Lannister and Olenna Tyrell, who both leave huge impressions despite having comparatively little page time. Now Westeros is not a world that's being secretly run by little old ladies, and we know this because they'd be doing a damn sight better job of it. Someday fandom is going to decide that it loves me after all, and provide me with a fic where Genna and Olenna hang out, and snark, and bitch about how they're surrounded by idiots.

The thing about asoiaf is that there are so many characters that my favourites really depend on what fics I've read lately, what chapters I've been rereading for fic writing purposes, and, like, the phases of the moon. Recently I have been thinking a lot about the Mormont women.

I mean, there's the obvious reason that they're like a little matriarchy there on Bear Island, except I don't really think that's true, because it's easy to forget that two generations does not a dynasty make, and that Lady Maege only came to power through the unlikely confluence of events that led to Jeor being at the Wall, and Jorah fleeing into exile without issue. Mostly, actually, I forget that Jorah and the Mormont women are members of the same family; really, because I do think of them as this little matriarchy, but also because Jorah is so very much a member of Team Dany that it's hard to remember that he has any other loyalties (even though, hello, traitor). Actually, if Dany takes the Iron Throne, Bear Island is probably being handed straight back to Jorah, that's a thought.

And who inherits Bear Island now anyway? Alysane, of course, now Dacey's dead, but does it revert back to male preference primogeniture after her, even though her son's younger than her daughter? And are Alysane's children even her heirs given that she claims not to have a husband, that her children were fathered by a bear? Relatedly, as Maege is Jeor's sister, how come her daughters are Mormonts at all? Did she marry a cousin with the same last name as her, if she married at all? If you unexpectedly become lord/lady of somewhere do you get to adopt the name of the ruling family (for example, if Harry Hardyng becomes lord of the Eyrie does he become Lord Arryn...)? Is there an exception made for old families that have reached a dead end in the male line; or, more likely I think, are there exceptions for old families who rule some small forgotten part of Westeros, provided you carry on as normal and don't tell anyone?

These are the the things I think about.

Also I think there's sometimes a tendency in fandom to use the Bear Island ladies as an example of how things are different for women in the North, and I don't think that's true either. There are lots of very strong women in the North, to be sure, but apart from the Mormonts, not really in the martial sense.

Well, there's Arya Stark, and maybe Lyanna Stark, depending on where you fall on the Knight of the Laughing Tree thing. My position on that, by the way, is that I want Lyanna to have been the knight of the laughing tree, but while I buy that Lyanna would have been a warrior if she could, and while I buy that she might have known how to swordfight, having browbeat Brandon and Benjen into teaching her in the godswood in secret, Ned being in the Vale and not part of Operation Stark Boys Teach Lyanna How to Duel; but I'm not sure how you could learn to joust well enough to beat even middling knights without it becoming common knowledge, no matter how good a horsewoman you were.

My other opinion on that is that Robert's Rebellion is built out of so many conflicting stories that it doesn't really matter whether Lyanna Stark was the Knight of the Laughing Tree or not.

Fic about the Mormonts that I would like:

-Fic about Dacey Mormont that isn't Robb/Dacey; not that I don't think that there aren't interesting things you could do with this, especially using the king and his knight trope, especially considering that Robb is a boy-king who's chosen to surround himself in battle with warriors more skilled than himself, one of whom is Dacey-- there's a whole puppy love thing. It's more that a lot of the fic that I've tried for this pairing seems to come at it from the angle of giving Robb a more suitably "kickass" love interest than Jeyne Westerling, in ways that I find distasteful.

-Alysane Mormont/Asha Greyjoy, femslash or friendship or anything; I was rereading the Asha chapters of ADWD recently, and how quickly Asha goes from thinking of Alysane as the she-bear who is her jailer, to Aly who is her companion in adversity is delightful to me.

-The one where Arya Stark is fostered on Bear Island.

-The one where the North is an actual historical matriarchy, dating since before the days of Aegon's conquest. Okay, it's not really about the Mormonts, but I want it anyway.
netgirl_y2k: (nina she wolf)
[personal profile] glinda asked about Music you love (or hate, whichever you can get most impassioned about). I haven't the faintest clue what your music taste is like and I'd like to hear about it.

Which, actually, I don't think I've ever talked about music here, and I'm not really sure why, so let's start. My favourite band is Biffy Clyro ('mon the biff!) who I have followed for years since the days when they played King Tut's Wah Wah Hut. For any of you unfamiliar with the joys of hairy, shirtless Scottish men, guitars, and largely inexplicable lyrics, I shall include an embed.

Who's Got a Match )

When Scotland play home rugby matches in Edinburgh, whenever we score, they blast a little bit of The Fratellis to celebrate, which probably explains my lasting fondness for this song...

Chelsea Dagger )

When I was a student I had a social psychology tutor who taught that music was a really important way of bonding, especially among young people. That at our age (like, 18/19) shared taste in music could seem more important than anything else we might or might not have in common. I mention it because at the time I was shying pretty hard away from the gay society at uni and all the gay pubs/clubs in Glasgow because I felt like they catered pretty exclusively to a specific sort of camp gay male sexuality. Not that there's anything wrong with that, but when that's all there is-- it felt more alienating and unwelcoming to me than being the only lesbian in my crowd of straight friends. I ended up part of a crowd who all liked the same sort of rock/metal music as I did at the time. Because making friends based on a shared sexuality would have been silly, making them based on a shared belief that Slipknot wasn't just noise was of course the height of sense.

Not that I didn't have great times with my uni mates; we all used to hang around this pub called the Solid Rock Cafe where they did £1 bottles of Carlsberg and played mused loud enough to perforate your eardrums. I remember wearing a lot of black, midriff tops, and one of those metal studded dog collars. The default chat up line I used to get at the time, almost invariably from much older women, was that they could just put a leash on me and take me home.

There was an episode of Criminal Minds, back when I still watched that show, where the killer staged a romantic meal, then killed his victims to the strains of their favourite romantic song, which he discovered by seeing which was the most played track on their ipod was. Back then I would have been murdered to the soothing strains of Rage Against the Machine.

Killing in the Name )

Now iTunes tells me that I would be murdered to The Kinks.

Sunny Afternoon )

Ho hum. Could be worse. I have in recent years regressed back to my childhood and the stuff my parents played in the house. The Kinks. The Doors. The Beatles. One of the things I do like about being in my thirties now is that I have aged out of all music snobbery, and I'll listen to everything, and probably sing along too. As a teenager I wouldn't have been caught dead listening to pop music, but last year I went to the Commonwealth Games closing ceremony and was up singing and dancing to Kylie Minogue right beside everyone else.

Can't Get You Out of My Head )
netgirl_y2k: (winter is coming)
[ profile] lareinenoire asked Following the massive influx of new canon from The World of Ice and Fire, which story do you want to write the most?

Huh. There were things about awoiaf that delighted me (that there are about three generations of Tullys named after muppets; there's a Ser Kermit who is succeeded by his son Ser Elmo. This, I assume, was a prime example of the thing where you get stuck, write something obviously silly - I favour a string of swear words - to remind yourself to come back later and fix it, only they forgot.) Things that interested me (I have adopted the headcanon that the Dornish bought peace and continuing independence by promising to put Rhaenys Targaryen, who they'd been holding in some dungeon somewhere for years, out of her misery), but nothing that really made me sit up and go I must have fic about this at once.

I don't know, very little of my fic features the historical characters, I tend to focus on the characters who're kids now and their lives post civil wars/apocalypse a la dragons and ice zombies. And if I do write more historical fic it'll probably be something about the league of dead mothers (something where Elia survives on a wave of righteous, impotent fury; something where Joanna lives and it changes nothing in the bigger picture because Tywin isn't a jerk because his wife's dead, and he doesn't hate Tyrion because his birth killed Joanna, he's a jerk because he's a jerk, and he hates Tyrion because his pride can't cope with having fathered a dwarf)

By the way, if you are at all interested in historical asoiaf fic check out [ profile] lareinenoire's AO3 page at once. Start with the Within the Hollow Crown series.

I am interested in historical Targaryen women. I want a fic about Visenya and Rhaenys Targaryen and what their relationship was like independent of Aegon. I want to know more about Rhaenys Targaryen, the queen who never was. The tales of the Dragonknight and his love for his sister are great romantic stories in canon, and I sort of want to deconstruct that to give Queen Naerys, trapped between a brother who was actively trying to kill her with childbirth, and another who was too devoted to his own vows to actively help her, a voice.

As an aside, I wrote my all female Night's Watch AU before The Princess and the Queen came out, and the set up was that years ago Rhaenyra Targaryen had been lady commander after the Dance of the Dragons; I'd had Rhaenyra in mind as a sort of Visenya Targaryen type character. It still works with what we know of her in canon if you assume that having fought a war and sat in on her father's councils since girlhood she could be a pretty decent general without being herself a warrior, and more so if you handwave that she was allowed to take her dragon with her when she was exiled to the Wall. Still, you have to squint, and to this day it irks me.

One of the things that really pleased me about awoiaf was the amount of homosexuality there was in the world. I like how the assertions that Rhaenyra's sons were bastards were as much that her husband's preferences were well known as it was character assassination. And I liked the canon confirmation that in Dorne nobody cares. And I loved the description of Sabitha Vypren as "enjoying killing men and kissing women." Fic about this lady pls.

The asoiaf I really want to write, and this has nothing to do with awoiaf, is the one where Sansa Stark is a lesbian, and her attraction to knights is aesthetic, but not romantic (at least, not after she meets a few of them up close) or physical, and how you would possibly navigate that in a world that has no language for it.
netgirl_y2k: (cersei fuck)
[personal profile] ambyr asked What's your process, when it comes to fanfiction? Do you start with a character arc, or a what-if question, or an image, or a snippit of dialogue? Do you outline, and if so, do you always reach the end you expect?

I apologise in advance for how self-indulgent I'm going to be in my answer.

Mostly I write from prompts, sometimes more successfully than others. I do a lot of exchanges and begging-for-prompts type memes; I sometimes scour kink memes and the like for ideas, but I find it much harder to get motivated without someone specific to write for, even though I feel like that's stupid, especially because increasingly I just use the prompt as a jumping off point to go off on a tangent of my own.

At their best exchanges can force you to write some really innovative fic. I think the best fic I wrote this year was probably Kiss The Boys And Make Them Cry (Dany/Jon, Dany/Aegon) which is a fic I never would have written if I hadn't received the prompt in an exchange. I'm endlessly fascinated by Dany; I might be one of the few people in the fandom who're actually really into the fact that she's a rubbish queen at the moment and that her massive messiah complex has hugely backfired on her, without using it as an excuse to character bash. But while I think her story and Jon's are running on parallel tracks, and doubtlessly destined converge, the idea of them as a ship leaves me less than cold. And as for Aegon - I tend not even to include him in my future fics, assuming that he died offscreen like the giant and obvious red herring that he is; on the other hand, if it's a plot twist, and he's not "the mummer's dragon" then I will be genuinely and lastingly cross at the narrative choices that have led to that. So not a fic that I would have written on my own, but one I'm ultimately rather proud of.

The fic I had the most fun writing this year was Keep the Bouquets, Throw Away the Grooms (Sansa/Margery). Okay, the surprisingly delightful arranged marriage of Sansa Stark and Margaery Tyrell is the stuff of my id, and something I might have told myself to amuse me on a long walk or lull myself off to the land of nod. But I never would have written and posted it if I didn't have a prompt giving me implicit permission, or I don't know, validation, to write it. Stupid, I know.

Of the things I've written that didn't come directly from some kind of prompt: there's The Sisters Black (the Night's Watch) and while I would love to take credit for the idea of an all female Night's Watch AU, it's actually the result of my becoming obsessed with this graphic and not being able to believe that nobody had written it yet.

There's also This Is What You Will Wear To The End Of The World (Gwen, Morgana). To give you some context, the tagline for Merlin in my head is, Merlin: the show and fandom so toxic and sexist it makes Game of Thrones look like the feminist utopia. And that was something I wrote mostly to work through my residual feelings on that fandom and give myself some closure; silly as an may seem to need closure on an excessively stupid teatime beeb show.

The main difference between those two and the stuff I write for exchanges is how long they took. They were both, not in progress, because I wasn't actually writing them, but I was thinking about writing then, and working them through in my head, for more than a year apiece. In the absence of a deadline it takes me a long, long time to write anything, and mostly I'll write nothing. There's a sequel to The Sisters Black that I've been thinking about writing since March, so you know, expect it next July, maybe.

I outline a lot in my head, which is fantastic, right up until the point where you come to write anything down, where you might as well not have bothered.

Many years ago I had a crack at being a standup comedian, and I never wrote my routines down in their entirety; I had a list of beats I wanted to hit, where the laughter should be if I was doing it right. I don't know why, because I was a terrible comic, but I use the same approach for writing. I approach a story as a series of vignettes. If it works it should go like... section one reveals this about the characters and packs this emotional punch, the next section reveals this other thing and packs this different emotional punch. When it doesn't work, and it often doesn't, it looks like you've got the skeleton of a story rather than an actual story.

By the way, the last time I think I did this well was The Quiet Ones (Sansa/Myrcella).

The other thing, I think, that can make my writing look a bit barebones is that when I work out scenes in my head I do it dialogue only; I think, I hope, I'm getting better at remembering to colour inside the lines when it comes to actually writing.

This is why a lot of my fics have numbered sections, and even the ones that don't were probably written that way and just had the numbers edited out later. When I first started writing fanfiction the five things format was a huge thing, and I think I found it formative. Also, it's good for motivation, I think, to break things down; tonight I will write section ii, which consists of scenes a,b, and c, makes point y, and includes line z, which I've been proud of since I thought it up and should write down before I forget.

Endings suck, especially my endings. I tend to have the first two thirds of a fic reasonably well worked out before I start writing it. Not coincidentally, the two thirds mark is often where it all falls apart. That's not always the case, sometimes I come up with the ending first. Everything in The Game of Courtship (Sansa/Margaery) from Sansa's crush at first sight on Margaery, to their sweet romance at Highgarden, to Margaery's declaration of love, was written to spiral towards the last scene where Margaery gives Sansa the purple amethysts. My whole thing with Margaery is that she might genuinely care for Sansa but she'll never shy away from using her.

Sometimes an obvious ending presents itself. Abu el Banat (Oberyn Martell) was written for a prompt about Oberyn and his daughters, Oberyn has eight daughters, but in the writing it morphed into a fic as much about Oberyn's relationship with his sister Elia as anything else. I'm really fascinated by sibling dynamics, is the thing. So it seemed obvious to end it after Elia's death with Oberyn naming his fifth daughter after her.

More often I don't end fics so much as just... stop.

Speaking of just stopping.
netgirl_y2k: (fire cannot kill a dragon)
[ profile] drizzlesofcastamere asked my favourite childhood cartoon/cartoon heroine? Which is a question I can't actually answer first hand.

Fun thing about me, before I started secondary school, about twelve, I don't actually remember very much at all of my childhood. Not because it was awful or anything; I was a much loved and well looked after kid, I was also for a long time a pretty sick kid. A lot of my early years have just disappeared into a blur of surgeries, and physiotherapy, and wheelchairs (which I didn't mind so much), and leg braces (which I really, really did).

And the reason I know I was a loved and well looked after kid was that I am now a much loved and well looked after thirty-something. Actually my mum told me to stop by on my way home the other day so that I could pick up some soup she'd made for me, which gave me the opportunity to say: Hey, mum, do you remember what cartoons I liked when I was little?

Apparently, I was obsessed with, and I quote, a cartoon version of The Three Musketeers, except that they were all dogs. The internet informs me that this was doubtless Dogtanian and the Three Muskehounds. I've just found the theme tune on youtube.

One for all, and all for one! )

Proof positive, if any were needed, that my childhood could not have been all that bad.

I also apparently liked the Ewoks cartoon, which doesn't seem to have had nearly so catchy a tune, He-Man and She-Ra.

So, yeah, my mum makes me soup specially and remembers my favourite cartoons twenty years later; whatever it is that I don't remember, it's probably not that I was being beaten with lengths of rubber hose.

Actually, I do remember-- it's not properly a cartoon, but I remember being confined to my bed after dislocating my hip for, well, not the first time, and watching our VHS tape of The Phantom Tollbooth just over and over again endlessly. It's possible that I internalised this song for use in later life.

Don't say there's nothing to do in the doldrums )
netgirl_y2k: (Default)
[ profile] lycoris asked tell me about your favourite film?

This is a difficult question, not because I don't have a favourite film, I do and it's Monty Python and the Holy Grail.

I just don't go to see films that often. I fell out of the habit when I was a carer and the very notion of being able to get out for an entire afternoon/evening, somewhere where I'd have to have my phone off no less, was unthinkable. Then after some semblance of normality was restored the first film I remember going to see was Star Trek: Into Darkness, and the friend who I went with bought both our tickets and I was to reimburse him when we met at the cinema. I remember just staring agog at the price on the ticket going... how much!? Okay, my friend had bought tickets to a 3D showing where you sit in those seats that vibrate; both of which are tricks, I think, to fool gullible people out of some more money.

Well, now I've succeeding in making myself sound like an old biddy. I'm a very youthful thirty-one, honest.

I've seen a grand total of two films this year. The first was the last Hobbit film, The Desolation of Smaug, I think? I saw it on a Friday night, and I remember that specifically because my best friend was getting married on the following Tuesday, and I was in the wedding party, and I remember sitting there what couldn't have been more than two hours but felt like thirty-seven years into the film thinking: Tom's wedding is on Tuesday, God, I hope this film is over by then.

My genuine and lasting rage about The Hobbit films is a source of great amusement to my friends; the very worst thing about it though, the very worst, is that I know I'm going to go and see the third film. I won't feel good about myself, though.

I did like Tauriel, I remember that. I agree with that thing Evangeline Lily said about how it would be irresponsible in this day and age to send little girls into a cinema for nine hours of entertainment without a single significant female presence on-screen. That however does not change the fact that in no sane universe should The frickin' Hobbit have been made into three films.

The other film I saw this year was Maleficent, which I really loved a lot; half because as anyone who's known me in fandom for more than three minutes could tell you, vaguely feminist retellings of existing stories are pretty much my jam, and half because it was a sensible length and not part one of anything.

I would have gone to see the first half of Mockingjay, except I still haven't managed to watch Catching Fire. I have seen shots of Natalie Dormer in costume, though, and it looks like every lesbian in the world joined hands and wished really hard.

Before that the last film I remember really enjoying was Skyfall, and before that-- what was that Maggie Gyllenhaal film about the invention of the vibrator? Hysteria, that was it. Fun story, I saw that with my sister and the only other person in the cinema was a lad (that's a descriptor - think 'bro' - not me just being extra Scottish) in his late teens or early twenties there by himself. Now he may have been a big Maggie Gyllenhaal fan, or it may just have been what was starting when he wanted to get out of the rain, but at the time all we could think was that he'd probably expected it to be a very different kind of film.

Sort of related, remember when Brokeback Mountain first came out and everyone and their dog was referring to it as the gay cowboy movie. Well, me and friend from work had the dubious joy of sitting behind a couple who'd taken their teenaged son to see it (it was rated 15 in the UK) all of whom got up and stormed out at the first sex scene; well, the parents stormed, the boy was sort of... hoiked. It gets better, about half an hour later my friend goes to the lobby to get refills on our drinks, and they're still there, remonstrating with the manager about how they could have been allowed to see such a film unwarned...

I have a weird relationship with films, especially as related to TV. I haven't watched any of this season of Once Upon a Time because of the Frozen storyline. Now I'd always intended to see Frozen, and not having seen it probably wouldn't interfere with my enjoyment of the show, but I resent OUaT assuming I've seen Frozen. Similarly I'd only been half following the first series of Agents of SHIELD, but I gave up at the HYDRA stuff just when everyone said it was getting good because I resented the show for, in the first instance, treading water for two thirds of season waiting for The Winter Soldier to come out, and in the second instance, assuming I'd see The Winter Soldier and see it opening weekend. Note: this may not actually be what happened, but it's what it looked like from my non MCU person perspective.

To answer the original question, my favourite film is Monty Python and the Holy Grail, which I think is the best of the Python films. The Meaning of Life has that one scene in the restaurant which grosses me out, and The Life of Brian is great and all, but having been brought up in the total absence of religion satire of it goes a little over my head.

In addition to being hilarious it may also be responsible for making me a small-r-republican.

Ah! Now we see the violence inherent in the system! )
netgirl_y2k: (winter is coming)
For today [personal profile] selenay said Okay, I just have to: Any day, life-related pizza preferences :-D

Okay, see, I know what I did there I missed a comma (in my defense, whoever I copied and pasted this from missed the comma, I just didn't catch it) and you mean life-related pizza preferences as opposed to, like, virtual pizza preferences.

Um, if you ever come to Scotland you will be presented with the option of having haggis as a pizza topping. I beg of you, I beg of you, do not avail yourself of this option. There are times and places where eating haggis is appropriate; at a Burns Supper, for instance, or at two o'clock in the morning when it's been deep-fried and served alongside chips (additionally I suggest having spent several hours in a nearby tavern before embarking on your haggis eating adventure), but on top of a pizza is not one of them. All of this also applies to black pudding.

There is also a thing called a pizza crunch. Which is one quarter of an onion pizza, deep fried, and served with chips and a can of Irn Bru.

As an aside, when I was a student I had a drinking buddy who used to drink vodka and diet Irn Bru, because she thought that the sugar in Irn Bru was really bad for you; the vodka aside, forget the sugar, it's whatever makes it glow-in-the-dark orange that's going to kill you. Oh, for those of you not familiar with Irn Bru, here enjoy!

You used to be able to get pizza-crunch for lunch when I was at school. We were all shocked, shocked, I say, to grow up and discover there was a public health crisis in Scotland. I ordered one a few months ago in a fit of nostalgia; nostalgia for the days when I could eat deep fried pizza without spending the rest of the evening lying on the floor feeling nauseated, perhaps. Which just goes to show you that nostalgia is a lying liar who lies.

My favourite pizza topping is Florentine; the one with the spinach and poached eggs. By the way, if you make people a Florentine pizza they'll be really impressed; you run out of time, present the same thing on top of bread and call it Florentine Toast they'll look at you strangely. Maybe if I'd gotten some nicer bread?

Any non-pizza questions can go here :-)
netgirl_y2k: (Default)
[ profile] drizzlesofcastamere asked What do you think of Elementary?

I don't know that I think much about Elementary; it's one of those shows that I watch without examining my feelings too much, but those feelings are generally positive.

Like many people I loved season one. The developing relationship between Sherlock and Joan was a thing of beauty to behold. Sherlock's fundamental decency and default position of compassion for the powerless was refreshing. The Moriarty reveal was inspired; I didn't quite go into it unprepared, I'd seen people speculating that Irene might be Moriarty, but then I remember seeing some Sherlock folks speculating that Molly might be that show's version of Moriarty, so I didn't actually expect it to happen. There were parts of S1 - not the mystery plots, obviously - but Sherlock's I am better with you, Watson speech, those last few episodes with Moriarty, that were some of the best television of that year.

S2 wobbled, and wobbled quite severely. There were a couple of reasons for this; not least of which was that Elementary being a CBS procedural I think a lot of us expected Holmes and Watson to become partners, then spend eleven seasons solving crimes of the week in an unchanging time-proof brownstone. Instead their relationship hit the rocks, they wanted different things out of their partnership, and the season culminated with Joan moving out of the brownstone and Sherlock leaving for London.

Of course a bigger problem with S2 was that there were huge parts of it that weren't very good. First of all there was the egregious miscasting of Rhys Ifans as Mycroft, a character they had no idea what to do with, and his 'romance' with Joan, a relationship utterly devoid of chemistry or indeed narrative continuity.

The S2 episode with Moriarty was also a complete bust. And I say this with all the affection for Natalie Dormer that my little lesbian heart can muster, but that was a terrible episode. I'm always leery of bringing villains like Moriarty back, because they can quickly become a sort of joke character who exist only to be more evil than thou and have their dastardly plans foiled. Morgana of Merlin infamy is a prime example of this, the Master in Doctor who is saved only by the years that pass between appearances and being reinvigorated by being portrayed by different actors.

Moriarty had been the crowning glory of S1, and in one episode S2 kind of ruined her. For one thing it overpowered her; she was no longer a woman who was as clever as Sherlock, but without his compassion, she was practically the empress of evil. Plus it gave her a secret kid.

This is only tangentially related to Elementary-- but I recently caught an episode of Gilmore Girls, the one where Lane discovers she's pregnant, and it always struck me as a pretty glaring omission that an abortion was never even discussed as an option. Like, in the case of Lane Kim I can imagine her discussing it, and deciding that like sex before marriage it's one of those things from her religious upbringing that she's internalised without unpacking but nonetheless believes, so no thanks. With Jaime Moriarty I kind of have to assume that she spent most of her pregnancy tied to a chair in a shack somewhere.

So season 2 wasn't great. There was a great thing I read recently that said a sophomore slump is one thing, but if you still don't like season 3 then it's time to quit, because there's a good chance this is the way the wind is blowing now, and it's never going to go back to being the show you first liked. Good advice, that... *cough*Merlin*cough*

Luckily I'm enjoying S3 of Elementary so far. I like that Sherlock and Joan's relationship continues to evolve, I love that he's maturing in some ways (respecting Joan's need to have her own space, respecting her relationship with Andrew - who is lovely, although I'm half expecting him to turn out to be a criminal mastermind any episode now, though maybe he'll be Joan's damsel in distress?) and utterly immature in others (Joan! I have returned to New York to repair our relationship! And I've adopted this baby detective that we can raise together alongside Clyde!) Kitty grows on me with each episode, and although I'm only passingly familiar with ACD canon I was somehow reassured to discover that she is in fact a character from one of the original stories.

Mostly I like that the show is always changing and challenging the relationships between the characters, even if it sometimes leads to season 2 shaped missteps, rather than let them stagnate. Because the strength of the show is in those relationships, not in the mysteries.

As a quick afterthought, I remember talking with some of you before Elementary started and saying that I wished they'd genderswapped both Holmes and Watson, I've rather changed my tune on that, besotted as I am with JLM's take on the character, but if they had done that I'd have liked it to look somewhat like this gifset.

Oh! And if I had one wish for the future of Elementary it would be not to genderswap Mary Morstan and have canon bisexual Joan, but that might be a little too much to ask...
netgirl_y2k: (brand new day)
My first post for the December meme comes from [personal profile] escritoireazul, favourite things about dogs and why you love them.

Let me begin my answer with a picture of my puppy.

Look at her little face! Although, it is important to remember that behind that innocent expression is a mind that's going: MISCHIEF MANAGED!

No, we've always had dogs in my family. My parents thought that it was a good way for kids to learn responsibility. This had the effect of making me a very responsible dog owner (all my dogs are trained, and neutered, and vaccinated, etc.) but otherwise had little to no measurable impact on the rest of my life. I take the well, nobody's yelling... approach to adulthood.

For example, earlier this week I succeeded in accidentally de-worming myself. It was time for the puppy's worming medication, which is a sort of spot-on that you put on the back of her neck, so I did that, went to do something else and forgot all about it; half an hour later I came back and picked the puppy up for a wee bit of a cuddle. Now the first thing Freya does when you interact with her is to launch herself full force at your face like the face huggers from the Alien films - I am, to her mind, a giant chew toy - and she managed to smear her spot-on stuff all over my face. So I'm sitting there going: my lips and tongue are tingling and going numb, that's weird... which is when I remember about the puppy worming stuff; now this is stuff that even the dog isn't meant to take internally. Anyway, long story short, I am not dead and probably free of parasites.

I love the ridiculous things that we do for our dogs. Like, my old dog Cooper was very fond of rolling in fox shit, which has a repugnant smell, and the only thing, the only thing which gets it out is tomato ketchup. So you find yourself standing on your back steps in the rain applying condiments to a medium sized omnivore and being annoyed that no-one is around to hear your frankly brilliant hot dog joke.

My last dog Eustace-- you know how if you have dogs all your life there's one that will always hold a special place in your heart? Well, mine was Eustace. He was the dog against which all future dogs will be measured. He also once ate a bar of soap and puked bubbles for three days.

I temped for a while, then I gave up work for a few years to be a full time carer, after that I was a nervous wreck for a while, and even now I work strange and irregular shifts. I also have a terrible tendency to hermit. On the days that I'm not working I can quite easily not leave my house or speak to a single non-internet person, and worse I don't even notice that I'm doing it. Dogs enforce routine, is what I'm getting it. Much as I might like to not get out of bed one morning, I can't because the dog needs to be walked. My sleep cycle, which is otherwise wracked by insomnia and panic attacks, is kept semi-regular by the first and last times the dog needs out. They get me out every day - rain, wind, or brain weasels be damned. I've always been a person of a nervous disposition, as they say in the films, but earlier in the year it got a bit out of hand and I was referred for some counselling. Had I ever thought about harming myself? they asked. No, I replied, I wouldn't. What makes you so sure? they asked - I'm assuming that was a compulsory question. Now of course there's family and friends and work, but when put on the spot, the two reasons on the tip of my tongue for why life was worth living were 1) there's a new Doctor Who in the autumn, and 2) but who'd look after the dog? I like to think of this as my taking joy in the small things and not just being really sad.

Some people get an endorphin rush from exercise, I just get sweaty and cross. My point is that you think without a dog I'm going to spent my Sundays traipsing up and down the East Ayrshire coast for four hours? No, I'm going to spend it sitting still eating and drinking things, probably in a pub.

I love dog people. Dog people are a bit mad anyway. These are people who when offered the opportunity to own a creature who will destroy your possessions, cost you a small fortune, at times massively inconvenience you, whose crap you will have to pick up for ten years, after which it will die and break your heart - these are people who go: where do I sign up?

I have always thought that dog-walkers and fandom are very similar little subcultures. Just as you wouldn't dream of discussing fanfiction or shipping with your non-fandom friends, dog walkers can have a cheerful and lengthy discussion about all the weird things that their dogs have eaten which later had to pulled out of the other end of them, as though this is a perfectly normal thing to be discussing. There's also the thing where we don't always know each other's real names; there are people I've known for years, who I see virtually every day, who I have spent many an hour chatting with, and who I know only as, like, Bailey's owner.

My mum likes it when I have a dog. She feels like I'm safer. Yeah, me and my vicious attack puppy. Mothers, eh?

Dogs are always pleased to see you. Whatever is happening in your life, however bad your day has been, there is one creature in all the world who is simply happy you've come home.

I love how many different types of dog there are, and how it's sometimes hard to believe that they're members of the same species. Like, the people next door have a teacup Yorkie who is already dwarved by my three month old Lab puppy. The people across the street have a Staffie who before they rescued her had been used as a bait dog for dog fighting, and she's the nicest dog in the world and what was done to her could make you weep. Border Collies are ubiquitous around here; brilliant dogs, but I've never met one who wasn't as mad as an eel. My mum has a Spaniel who's a failed sniffer dog, and boy am I glad that she didn't have him when I was a teenager, failed or not.

Me, I've always favoured Labs, Retrievers, Setters - big, good-natured, stupid dogs. You know that scene in 101 Dalmations where Pongo is trying to find a girlfriend for Roger and all the women are exactly like their dogs? It's like that.
netgirl_y2k: (Default)
I got a lot of mileage out of this meme last year, and in case you'd like me to talk about something other than my new puppy, or possibly to talk more about my new puppy...

Pick a date below and give me a topic, and I'll ramble on. I'm good at talking. It can be anything from fandom-related (specific characters, actors, storylines, episodes, etc.) to life-related to pizza preferences to whatever you want.

They will probably be brief, or not, depending on the subject. Also, I reserve the right to decline prompts that I don't feel equipped to meet.

This is the stuff I blethered on about last year.

Dates )
netgirl_y2k: (panic)
The Doctor Who special was... well, it was trying to be a Christmas episode, a rousing send off for Matt Smith, and to round up all the dangling plot threads from the last four years, and as a result it didn't do any of these things particularly well. Which is exactly the same problems as Tennant's final episode had. So.

That said, I wept at the regeneration, and I say that as somebody who never more than intermittently warmed to Eleven. I am desperately looking forward to Capaldi.

Today's meme post comes in the form of a response to a question: The female doctor. who would you cast? how would you write her? etc etc. And you shall be pleased to know that I will not be answering this one in the form of poetry, and probably not at great length, as I am dreadfully hungover (damn 7% Belgian beer) and really ought to be in my pyjamas, watching The Deathly Hallows under a duvet.

I have at different times said that Lena Headey, Miranda Richardson, Miranda Hart, Indira Varma, Sheridan Smith, or Sophie Okonedo would be interesting choices to play the Doctor. But I think my first choice would be Olivia Colman. Her name came up a lot when people were discussing the possibility of a female Doctor last time, and with good reason, I think.

As an aside, if the possibility of a female Doctor wasn't at least discussed at the BBC, then playing the pronoun game prior to the announcement of Peter Capaldi was a dick move.

Anyway, Olivia Colman, great actress, can do comedy and drama and darkness, which you need to play the Doctor. She's interesting looking, which I say with the very best will in the world, in a very Doctor-ish way. She's old enough to do it; because I don't think you could have an actress in her twenties playing the Doctor, not only because she'd be judged that much more harshly than anyone else, but partly to keep the Doctor distinct from the recent run of companions, and partly for the same reason I don't want another bloke in his twenties, there's a sense of age and gravitas that the Doctor needs, I think.

The other thing about Colman is that she's extremely well liked by the public, at least in the UK. You know how when people are talking about their fantasy female Doctors, and the conversation quickly turns to the likes of Maggie Smith or Judi Dench? And I don't think that's pure wish fulfilment, I think people know that there would be a lot of shit talked about any actress in the role, but that it would be less, and more quickly shouted down if it was someone considered a national treasure, you know?

That said, I don't think the objections to a female Doctor would be as strong as a lot of people think they would. At least, not among casual viewers. Fandom... well, fandom will always be fandom, god love it. Almost every time I get to talking about the possibility of a female Doctor somebody brings up that story about Steven Moffat asking a room full of fans at a convention if they'd stop watching if the Doctor was a woman and they all said yes. And I don't really see the relevance. It was a self selecting audience, a bunch of people invested enough in the show to go to a convention, asked a leading question by a man they presumably admire. It's the inmates running the asylum. I mean, imagine prior to Elementary asking a roomful of people at a Holmes convention how they felt about Lucy Liu playing Watson, and look at how that turned out.

I would write the female Doctor as the Doctor. I've been thinking about the reasons I never really got Eleven, and yeah, a lot of it is related to the writing, but also Eleven is, to me, the first Doctor whose maleness was ever more than notional, if that makes sense? Where he was an alien, and unimaginably old, but also unquestionably male. I feel like with any of the others you could have cast a woman, changed the pronouns and carried on much the same, you'd still have the Doctor. Eleven, with his I like bad girls and I don't understand women, was not only the first Doctor that felt specifically male to me, but he felt male in a way that drove me away from the character.

I'd also never mention the fact that the Doctor was a woman. I mean, I'd mention it once in the regeneration episode, in a I'm a woman! New teeth! New kidneys, I don't like them! type way. But never after that. I'd think I'd give her a boy companion, or at least a boy and a girl. My first choice for a boy companion to a female Doctor would be Clyde off SJA.
netgirl_y2k: (fire cannot kill a dragon)
Actually today's post comes in response to a prompt by [personal profile] ravurian: You're asked to provide a written description of yourself for an artist (who doesn't know what you look like and has never met you) to turn into a portrait. What description would you send to the artist, and would you be telling the truth? and comes in the form of a weird half-poem thing.

Firstly, I would say that I'm funny and have a nice personality; why that matters in a discussion of my physical attributes I don't know, but god knows it always does

I would say I'm of average height; because that's a safe place to start

I'd say I have curves that belong in a renaissance painting; at least, I like to think so
I don't look at a lot of renaissance paintings, and I haven't looked in a full length mirror in about five years

I'd say I have a gap between two of my bottom teeth, and that the most beautiful girl I know once told me I had a gorgeous smile

I'd say I have black hair with a grey streak coming down from my right temple; I'd say no, I haven't done it on purpose to look like Rogue off of X-Men, why do people keep asking me that?

I wouldn't say that the reason I don't wear skirts or dresses is because I can still half-hear the taunts of thunder thighs
Or if I did I might say that thunder thighs sounds like a fucking superpower, because sometimes all you can do to stay sane is pretend to be in on the joke

And if I said that, I might say that after you've been in a wheelchair you don't care what shape your legs are so long as they work; this is a lie, but it's one I keep telling because I want it to be true

I'd say that I have a smattering of freckles across my nose and cheeks
I wouldn't say that I know precisely how many, because admitting that you count your freckles leads to awkward questions about skin cancer, and hypochondria, and have you talked to anyone about these feelings...?

I'd say that I have blue eyes, with a bit of squint in my left one, and my friends say that you can tell if I've been drinking by it
I wouldn't say, it's Christmas, I'm alone, I shy away from my reflection like a fucking vampire, and I feel like crying at every bit of mistletoe I see, and you need the squint to tell if I've been drinking?

I'd say, I hope this portrait is going to be a caricature, or an abstract, or one of those ones done entirely in cubes...

I wouldn't say any of that; I'd lie and say I look like Eva Green
Because who wouldn't want to look like Eva Green
netgirl_y2k: (annie strong)
I've talked before about how my family tend to go abroad for the holidays, all except me; and the wealth of little orphan annie jokes that I could, and have, spun from this.

This year, everyone's at home. Guys, it's awful. Spending the holidays with your family only works if you aren't together the rest of the year. I mean, my family are pretty close, and we rub along together very civilly, generally speaking. But these last few days, it's the sense of confinement, and enforced jollity, and the atmosphere of passive aggression so thick I'm surprised it hasn't set the smoke detector off. We're all stuck in, having an unofficial competition to see whose stress induced ulcer will gnaw through their stomach lining first. And making tea, passive-aggresively.

Which makes this the perfect day to talk about my favourite places to go alone.

I go lots of places alone, not a in weird, anti-social, trainee serial killer type way, but in comfortable with my own company, I have different interests and keep different hours from many of my friends type way.

Like, I don't understand people who won't go to the cinema alone. You'll be sitting in the dark, not talking. It's the very definition of Company Not Required. Actually, I really want to go to the pictures soon, just to get me out of this house, I'm probably the only person in the world who looked at the runtime for Desolation of Smaug and went: Well, that's just not long enough! I go to see bands by myself too, for similar reasons, it'll be dark and you'll be watching what's going on on stage anyway. This does require a sense of timing, so that you get there just as the music starts, and don't have all that standing around the Glasgow Barrowlands drinking by yourself awkwardness.

I do go to the pub by myself, not in a creepy daytime drinker way, or on Friday or Saturday nights because that's what my friends are for. But if you find yourself with an unexpected free hour on, say, a Sunday afternoon, and you've got a newspaper or a book, there's nothing nicer than an empty bar.

I could spend hours by myself in a bookshop or library. I'm that visitor who comes round your house and makes a beeline for your books; I'm not judging you, I'm coveting your possessions, slightly less creepy. Somebody once managed to seduce me using just a room of books; and it was a rented house, they weren't even her books.

One of my dogs is a bit anti-social, loves people, a bit unpredictable around other dogs, the first week I had him he tried to eat next door's prize winning pomeranian, I don't want to talk about. So I spend lots of my dog-walking time traipsing around bizarre places, up hills and down dales, where I hope not to run into other dog walkers. One of my favourites is walking up by the windfarm out of town, which lots of people say is an eyesore, but I think is strangely beautiful. Clears the mind marvellously, me, the dogs, and nobody else in sight. Of course, given the way the weather's been these last few weeks, I'm starting to think that I'm not a dog person after all, I'm a cat person who's made a huge mistake.
netgirl_y2k: (sansa wolf girl)
First, I would like to say that I object to this question in the strongest possible terms, because how do you even begin to answer it--

Actually, I remember being asked in a job interview once what my most influential book was, which was a bit of a wtf question. Admittedly, I was interviewing for a job as a bookseller, so it wasn't just like I had a particularly opaque interviewer, although I've had my share of those too. I once had somebody ask me which historical figure I identified with the most strongly, and I was just sitting there desperately thinking: don't say Doctor Who, don't say Doctor Who, don't say Doctor Who.

I've talked before about how I find Tolkien the next thing to unreadable, but at the same time being exposed to The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings as a wee thing set my imagination on fire, and I directly credit it for my lifelong love of reading, and stories, and genre fiction. The other thing I remember my dad reading to me when I was tiny was White Fang; my dad, best dad in the world, but totally unprepared for fatherhood, hence the slightly esoteric choice of bedtime story material.

There's Crime and Punishment which took me an entire summer to read but taught me that some "difficult" books are well worth the effort -- this was as opposed to Moby Dick, which taught me that some really aren't.

My best friend, actually, only reads, like, five books a year, but they're all classics; I read more like fifty, but a lot of them are about spaceships or dragons. And both of those are excellent ways to read; it's like those people who judged adults for reading Harry Potter, anyone who judges you for not reaching some imaginary heights of literary merit is a tosser of the highest order.

There are those books that I'll recommend to anyone who'll stand still and listen long enough to let me. Death and the Penguin, yeah, it's a metaphorical penguin, but the best bit is that it's also a real penguin! Tooth & Claw, see, you don't understand, there are dragons wearing top hats, regency dragons!

There's High Fidelity, which I read so many times when I was working retail that I probably could have recited it from memory; although no one in High Fidelity ever got punched in the throat by a middle aged customer the week before Christmas because she couldn't find the Best of Rod Stewart.

There's Attack of the Unsinkable Rubber Ducks, which I'd love for the title alone, even if it wasn't set in Glasgow at a thinly disguised version of where I went to university, and wasn't about what a crock of shit so-called psychics are; as such it delights me on multiple levels.

There are any number of the Discworld books - of the top of my head Guards! Guards! the very first Discworld book I ever read; Monstrous Regiment femslash! Girls disguised as boys!; anything featuring the witches - which I can dip into any time I'm feeling down, and know that they'll pick me up.

Yes, this is mostly a whistle-stop tour of books I have loved through my life for various reasons, but--

In conclusion: books!
netgirl_y2k: (gwen beer)
And comes, once again, in list format.

-Rugby Union is the sport I follow the closest. I mean, I watch a little bit of football, mostly the international tournaments, and a little bit of the English Premier League. Watching the Scottish Premiership is genuinely like following a Sunday pub league; also supporting the Glasgow teams-- a lot of it is just idiocy and casual sectarianism with a thin veneer of football thrown over it as an excuse. I watch a little bit of cricket in the summer sometimes, but as the friend who introduced me to the game said, you have to think of it less as a sport, and more as an excuse to get drunk in a field in the sunshine.

-The Scottish rugby team are pretty shit. But that's okay, because 1) the Scottish everything team are shit, 2) they're less shit that they used to be, and 3) it's possible I'm overstating here (we're, like, 9th in the world) because nobody is as underwhelmed by the Scottish rugby team as Scottish rugby fans.

-Then again, being 9th in the world isn't much use when you play in a tournament of six.The team who comes last in the Six Nations gets a thing called the wooden spoon; and I was once at a Scotland - Italy game where they were handing out actual wooden spoons to the spectators, with the Italian flag painted on one side, and the Scottish flag painted on the other.

-My favourite Scottish rugby player is a chap called Richie Gray; partly because he's an excellent player, but largely because he's like eleven feet tall and looks like Thor.

-The warm up act at home internationals are something called The Red Hot Chilli Pipers, who are, you guessed it, bag-pipers; I'm not sure what the logic behind this is, except that after a bit of piping nothing that happens on field can possibly seem that bad.

-The last time I went to a live rugby match I had a pint of beer and a venison burger; the last time I went to a live football match I had an (unidentified) meat pie and a mug of bovril; and for any of you who didn't have the pleasure growing up, bovril is beef tea. No contest, really.

-I have a friend who every time Scotland play England, he puts a fiver on Scotland to win; I love an optimist, I really do, but if he's looking to give away fivers I'd be happy to oblige him.

-The last match I went to, our tickets were for the cheap seats, the last row all the way up in the gods; me, and not a few other people, had to stop halfway up to catch our collective breath. I am not blind to the irony of attending the a sporting event and being too desperately unfit to reach your seat on the first attempt, I don't plan on doing much about it, but I am not blind to it.

-I once broke my wrist at a rugby match; I wasn't playing, I was rolling down the grassy hill outside the stadium like a six year old.

-For the record, I think Wales will win the Six Nations next year, Scotland will beat Italy and come fifth, and I will take to wearing a false moustache and affect a Welsh accent.
netgirl_y2k: (doctordonna)
I remember not so long ago there was a suggestion going around that the Doctor should have a male companion - and not in a Rory Williams, Harry Sullivan type way, who were really more Amy and Sarah Jane's respective companions; but a dude as his only, or at least his main companion - and I had a visceral Do Not Want reaction to this. One of the things I have always loved about DW, before I was even able to articulate it properly, was that by its very nature it's a show where 50% of the leads have to be women, and changing that would do more to make it not the show that I love than anything Steven Moffat could dream of.

Basically, you can have a male companion when I get a female Doctor... if then.

I feel like I've talked a lot about my childhood memories this month (having Lord of the Rings read to me as I snuggled under a My Little Pony bedspread, watching The Next Generation on Saturday mornings while eating cereals made exclusively out of sugar and e numbers; seriously, there's a reason I'm like this) but here's another one... I am a child of the eighties, and while I know I watched Doctor Who, partly because my dad tells me I did, and partly because if you showed six year old me anything with a quarry and a bubble-wrap alien I was there, I don't really remember watching it. Except on this one occasion, where my mum was busy with my wee sister - I don't recall why, maybe it was the time I made her drink bleach - and I'd been left in the living room propped up in front of the telly, watching Remembrance of the Daleks, and I know that's what it was because I have a distinct memory of the scene where Ace beats up a Dalek with a baseball bat. Ace. Beat up. A Dalek. With. A. Baseball bat. Hearts in my little six year old eyes. My ultimate fate as a science fiction fan and as a lesbian was probably sealed in that moment.

So, I always had fond memories of Ace, but in the back of my mind I assumed she must have been the exception to the rule, that the rest of the Classic Who ladies really were the screaming ankle twisters they'd been popularised as. Then I got into New Who via Nine and later Ten, and finished up at university (man, I'm dating myself with this post) and decided that a good use of all this new free time would be to watch all of Classic Doctor Who.

I discovered Barbara Wright, schoolteacher and companion to the first Doctor, who ran over a Dalek with a truck, and who I genuinely believe is the reason the Doctor always wants to travel with a human woman. I discovered the incomparable Sarah Jane Smith, who was describing herself as a feminist on BBC primetime in the 1970s. I discovered Romana, a Time Lady, who got better marks than the Doctor had at university and had her own sonic screwdriver, and whose failure to appear in the new series saddens my heart.

I discovered companions who weren't quite so universally beloved, but who I nonetheless fell hard for. Peri, whose story had problems, not the least of which being why insist on her being an American after it became obvious that the actress couldn't do the accent, but how could I fail to love a character whose reaction to attempted hypnosis by the Master was I'm Perpugillian Brown, and I can shout just as loud as you. Leela, whose proto-warrior princess costume was a bit something-for-the-dads, yes, but didn't stop her being a brilliant character, and whose second life as bodyguard to Time Lord president Romana in the Gallifrey audios is one of the few things that's ever gotten me to push through my difficulty processing audio only stimuli, because Leela and Romana. Tegan Jovanka, air hostess and Charleston aficionado, early Donna Noble type, my love for her is unsurprising.

Lots of people watch Doctor Who for the Doctor, which is probably the more sensible way of going about it, I watch it for the companions; it's why I'm looking forward to Christmas, and Clara hopefully being the focal point during the Smith-Capaldi regeneration.

On the off chance you have been enjoying my inability to shut the fuck up this December, I still have like five dates at the end of the month that I'd quite like to fill up, even if you've already asked me something, and then you probably won't hear from me for all of January.
netgirl_y2k: (Default)
[personal profile] havocthecat wanted me to make a bit of a sales pitch for the Kushiel's Legacy books, since we like a lot of the same media, and since I've talked so much about my affection for them this year.

A few things first, I'm pretty sure the marketing for these books was borked in some way, because prior to them being recommended by a trusted source this year I had picked them up numerous times only to quickly put them down again, going yeah, no. I read the first three books over the course of a month in, I think, February this year, which was when I was still knee-deep in grief and loss of purpose, and was failing to deal with being the owner of an exciting new anxiety disorder; I mention this because sometimes the right books find you at the right time, and I think this was one of those times.

Finally, I am not always good at explaining why I like something, as opposed to why it irks me, but... here is an incomplete list of things I like about the Kushielverse, things you might like too if you are of similar tastes and sensibilities.

Kushiel's Legacy )


netgirl_y2k: (Default)

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