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Holidays! [Oct. 11th, 2014|10:53 pm]
My lovely, restorative trip to Munich went terribly well. Especially considering that it was a spur of the moment trip resulting from me having a pretty crappy few weeks and being drunk in charge of a credit card.

Well, it's perhaps a bit much to call it restorative as I got back a week ago and immediately keeled over for, like, three days. I think it's partly because a direct flight from Munich to Glasgow takes not quite an hour and a half, and on the day that I came home it took me in excess of twelve hours. There's also the fact that the entire time I was there I subsisted wholly on beer, bread, and red meat; I think I fell into some sort of vitamin deficiency induced coma.

But I did the whole Oktoberfest thing, which was awesome. Packed tents, beer in massive steins, meat being roasted on spits, drinking songs; at one point I was one drink away from building a longship and invading the low countries. I hung out with a French family (I think I speak French; French people disagree) a Scottish stag party who had misplaced their stag somewhere in Bavaria, and a couple of boys from Catalonia who were very keen to tell me that Scotland had voted wrong in the referendum.

So I did that for two days, at which point my entire system went into open rebellion. I mean, I'm from Scotland, a nation of people who like a drink and would deep fry a cat if we could get one to stay still long enough, so when I start thinking "hey, maybe this isn't good for me", well, it's time to leave.

Also, I didn't want to travel all the way to another country just to get drunk in a tent for five days. Not that I wouldn't have enjoyed that, but I could have erected a pup tent in my back garden, got in a case of Becks, and saved myself the price of the plane tickets. I was there during what I was assured was unseasonably pleasant weather, so I spent hours wandering the city. I love doing that in new cities. Munich is beautiful. Of course, one of the few upshots of being from Glasgow is that when you go almost anywhere else your reaction is: well, this is nice.

Um, what else? I got lost in the Englischer Garten for most of an afternoon. I'd read that it was bigger that Central Park, but as I've never been to New York that really wasn't much of a frame of reference. I walked in, got turned around, and couldn't find the exit. I spent several hours following people who looked like they might be leaving like I was a particularly benign stalker.

I kept accidentally ordering apple strudel. My previous trips to Germany have been to Berlin, which is full of idiots who've fetched up knowing no German; Munich, not so much. I kept being handed menus I couldn't read and didn't know how to say I didn't want, and I recognised the word apfelstrudel. But as I like strudel, and as it was the closest I got to a vitamin all week, it was probably for the best.

Then [personal profile] fallingtowers very kindly took me out for a lovely evening of Thai food and talking about, among other things, fandom and those kids who're on our lawn. I have great luck meeting people from fandom; seriously, if one of you doesn't turn out to be an axe-murderer soon then I'm going to think that it was just my elders trying to scare me. One of the reasons I love meeting fandom people is that none of my friends are really geeky types, at least not in the fandom sense, and I get an illicit little thrill from saying words like fanfiction out loud.

Anyway, I'm calling the trip a success.

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a small favour [Oct. 10th, 2014|11:41 pm]
I do have a couple of different posts to make about my tremendous holiday in Munich, and about the books I've been reading (highlight: currently loving Courtney Milan's Brothers Sinister series), but first I have a small favour to ask.

I have accidentally written 9k of Sansa/Margaery fic. I think it is quite good; it is a pairing I have many feelings about. And I would like another pair of eyes to look it over, at least to catch any missing or transposed words and my egregious misuse of the semi-colon. I'd need it back in, jeepers, a week. Any takers?

Your reward would be my lasting gratitude and this mostly imaginary cake.

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All Dogs Go To Heaven (less importantly, the fate of nations) [Sep. 18th, 2014|10:02 pm]

After chopping and changing almost hourly for the last fortnight I made up my mind in the voting booth. My head said vote No; you've made your point, and they're offering Devo Max, which is what you would have voted for had it been on the ballot. My heart said what the hell; fortune favours the bold.

So Yes it was.

Then again, in the last general election I voted for the Lib Dems, so I've got form for voting for people who talk the good talk then turn out to be lying liars who lie.

Not unlike Jon Snow, I know nothing.

Although I'm not sure I should really be allowed a vote. Last night I drank two huge bottles of 7% Belgian beer on an empty stomach and strong antibiotics, and accidentally bought three hundred quid's worth of non-refundable flights to Munich.

This was because my beloved dog Eustace was put down yesterday because of a brain tumour. Eustance was -- I want to say he was a good dog, but he really wasn't. I've had dogs all my life and Eustace was genuinely the worst dog I have ever owned. I'd rescued him, and he was a menace from the day I brought him home and he tried to eat next door's prize winning pomeranian to last week when he decided he'd like to live in the car. Despite this, or maybe because of it (I was the only one who loved him, so I had to love him all the harder) this has really, properly devastated me in a way that no other pet I've lost has.

I know it's boring looking at pictures of other people's dead pets, so I'll put it under the cut, but it's a cute picture of him and there's a mug on his head, so...

Read more...Collapse )

So I'm off to try to cheer myself up in Munich. Whether I want to or not, really. Did I mention these tickets are non-refundable? Anyone know the city? Things I should see/do/drink?

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Ten Fics Meme [Sep. 12th, 2014|01:48 pm]

it's that meme where you post 10 fics that have stuck in your brain for whatever reason. So without further ado...

- Love Like a Djelibeybian by [ profile] gehayi (Discworld; Ptraci/ofc)

Perfect Pratchett-y tone, delightful use of footnotes, and the best thing to come from Pyramids which is far from my favourite Discworld novel.

- Ladies Who Organise by [ profile] reckonedrightly (Discworld; female!Vetinari)

Genderswap is hit and miss for me. I only like it when it swaps male characters to female (otherwise what's the point?), generally don't care for it when it's one of the juggernaut slash pairings, and am fussy as heck about what characters are swapped. But female!Vetinari's rise to power with the reluctant yet hyper competent aid of Sybil Ramkin. SIGN ME UP.

- Footsteps In The Sand by [ profile] entanglednow (Doctor Who; Donna Noble, Dalek Caan)

I spent an entire summer comfort reading every variation of "Donna gets her memories back" I could find. And this one, where Donna gets her memories, the Doctor's knowledge, a sort of a TARDIS, and a companion of her own in the form of a demented Dalek, was like nothing else going.

- Before the Morning Watch: One Vision and Five Futures by [ profile] deastar (Merlin; Morgana/various)

Basically, five different but brilliantly drawn AUs (I love the five things format) containing some of of my biggest squicks, including pregnancy, childbirth, kidfic, and sexual violence; but so well done that despite all these things I still think it's one of the best things I've ever read.

- Pair Dadeni by [ profile] afterandalasia (Merlin; Morgana/Vivian)

You know that fic that you have in your head? Your perfect fic? Well, somebody wrote mine, and this is it. Two parts Morgana character study/redemption, to one part Morgana lifting the love spell from Vivian, something I'd been longing for for literally years. The fic of my heart.

- all we have of wings by [ profile] honey_wheeler (A Song of Ice and Fire; Sansa Stark)

Probably the only wing!fic in anywhere in fandom that's ever worked for me. Possibly because there's so many bird metaphors in Sansa's story, or possibly because the idea of Sansa Stark growing wings and just flying away is so appealing.

- Crossing the River by [ profile] smirnoffmule (A Song of Ice and Fire; Catelyn Stark/Walder Frey)

A fic I almost didn't read because the pairing is just a world of no. But it's not really about that, it's a brilliant Cat fic and a study in what you can do with a well worked canon divergence AU; in this case, what if Walder Frey asked a different price for letting the Starks cross the river.

- Wicked Blood by [ profile] xylodemon (A Song of Ice and Fire; Rickon Stark)

150 years post canon a Stark tells a story of the villain Rickon Bloodhands. Stories within stories, man, I eat those up with a spoon. Heroes inadvertently becoming villains can so easily veer into character bashing, but when they're done right, I love 'em too.

- Sixteen by [ profile] quigonejinn (Temeraire; oc)

There's a throwaway line in one of the books, about how the first longwing was harnessed by one of Elizabeth I's handmaidens, and I thought, somebody should write a fic about that, and behold, someone did!

- Second Son by [ profile] jmtorres (Vorkosigan Saga; Kareen Vorbarra)

This answered a plot hole I hadn't even noticed when I was reading the books; to whit, if all first sons on Barrayar are named after their father's father, why is Gregor called Gregor and not Ezar? I love Kareen here; I love stories about the powerless taking power in whatever small ways they can.

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This is a Post [Sep. 8th, 2014|11:17 am]
1. Sky News have autotuned the Scottish referendum. Professional journalism at its finest, folks!

2. I continue to really enjoy this series of Doctor Who, without having much to say about it beyond that I'm enjoying it again, and that's good.

Wait, I do have one thing to talk about, About Missy's identityCollapse )

3. I got my [community profile] femslashex assignment, and it's pretty fucking awesome, and I'm excited to get started on it. While sign-ups were going on I was playing a prompt game on tumblr, so I've ended up writing a bunch of little femslash ficlets

About As Helpful As You Can Be (without being any help at all) (Merlin; Gwen/Morgana)
Freedom and Safety in Madness (Merlin; Morgana/Freya)
Home To A Place You Have Never Been (GoT; Sansa & Shae, Starks)
Teenage Kicks (GoT; Sansa/Margaery, modern AU)
Gymnophoria (ASOIAF; Sansa/Margaery)
Snakes in the Grass (ASOIAF; Arianne/Tyene, Sand Snakes)
Not All Those Who Wander Are Lost (some are taking an extended walking holiday) (Discworld; Susan/Angua)
Taste Your Words (Kushiel's Legacy; Phedre/Ysandre)

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Dear Femslashex Person [Aug. 31st, 2014|11:31 pm]
Dear Author (ASOIAF, OUaT, Kushiel's Legacy, DS9, Vikings, RPF)Collapse )

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August Booklog [Aug. 31st, 2014|12:40 am]

Feet of Clay - Terry Pratchett (reread)
Parasite - Mira Grant
The Brides of Rollrock Island - Margo Lanagan
Fever - Megan Abbott
Two Serpents Rise - Max Gladstone

Kind of a slow month, book wise, partly because of one or two books that I found kind of hard going, but also because I did something a bit silly. I'd been hanging onto my old Kindle Keyboard in the hope that it might loop past obsolete to really quite retro and neat; but I saw a good deal on a refurbished Kindle Fire and got one of those instead. It is nice to have a wee tablet; but it's slightly too big, slightly too heavy, slightly too breakable feeling, and slightly too "hey, tumblr's right there; who's for a quick game of Angry Birds" to use as a dedicated e-reader.

Feet of Clay is, interesting enough, the first book I've reread this year. I used to reread books a lot, and now I hardly ever do. Partly it's because I feel my age, and realise that there are more interesting books in the world than I could possibly read even if I did nothing else. But it's also, and more honestly, because I used to have no money, live in a rubbish public library system, and own twelve books that I just reread on a loop. But it's always a good time for Discworld and the City Watch.

I think this is the point where I accept that, although she butters many parsnips, Mira Grant's fiction does nothing for me. Parasite is set in a near future where people are implanted with their own personal intestinal parasites which regulate their health, and it was just a roll call of meh for me. For one thing, although it was meant to be 2027, apart from the intestinal worm thing, it's indistinguishable from 2014. For another, the "plot twist" is so obvious and telegraphed from so early on that it barely qualifies for the name. The body horror angle that should be there in a story about personalised body-controlling tapeworms was so tepid as to be nonexistent. Oh! And Our Protagonist suffers from memory loss; she is either an adult woman with amnesia, or an entirely new person who is six years old; there's an entire subplot about whether her parents should have guardianship of her or not, and it keeps coming up that she's still relearning the English language, and yet no one questions her being a sexual relationship!? Bah!

I had read Tender Morsels last year and been utterly traumatised by the contents; two in the morning, ugly crying traumatised. But at the same time I'd thought that Margo Lanagan's writing was completely gorgeous. The Brides of Rollrock Island is about selkies, and is quietly, completely, desperately heartbreaking; but very lovely. I'd definitely recommend reading this one first.

Fever was one of those books that was so very Not For Me, that it's hard to tell if it's objectively any good. That's one of the things I don't like about the Kindle Fire: it's a bugger to sideload, and impossible to organise once you've got things on there; so unless something's absolutely awful I'll probably just plug on to the end. It's about a small town where teenage girls start coming down with a mysterious illness; and is it mass hysteria, is there foul play afoot, is it the polluted lake at the centre of town, or the HPV vaccine the girls have recently had..? Who knows, and by the end of the book, I really didn't care very much.

If I haven't already made a ringing endorsement of Max Gladstone's Craft Sequence books, then you should consider this a ringing endorsement of the Craft Sequence books. They're set in a fantasy, some sort of magic-punk, world where people have used magic to overthrow their gods, and are trying to figure out what happens next. They remind me in a way of China Mieville's Bas-Lag trilogy , although these are a little easier on the brain.

Two Serpents Rise is set in the same world as Three Parts Dead, but in a different city with a completely new set of characters, which I love. I have recently discovered that I have very strong feelings that books in a series should have a self contained story. I am particularly biased against series that are just one long story split into parts. I mean, Lord of the Rings has been hugely influential on the fantasy genre and on me as wee thing, but it turns out that, damn, I hate a lot of its tropes.

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Super Quick Doctor Who Reaction Post [Aug. 23rd, 2014|10:54 pm]
[Tags|, ]

Well, that was the first Doctor Who episode I have really enjoyed in, gosh, simply ages.

Deep BreathCollapse )

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Book Meme [Aug. 12th, 2014|11:56 pm]

I've seen this meme as a pick a letter and I'll answer whack-a-doodle, but I am contrary and like talking about books, so I'm going to answer them all.

books a go-goCollapse )

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4 [Aug. 8th, 2014|11:10 pm]
1. [community profile] femslashex is running again! Hurrah! Especially as I have been feeling a little blech on the fandom front recently, but nothing can get me excited and engaged again like femslash.

You want to hear something alarming yet awesome? The femslash exchange started in 2004 (like, three sets of mods ago) and I have done it every year since that first one. My fandoms, the embarrassment factor of my writing, and my level of engagement in fandom have all varied, but I always make time for this one exchange; it's like my Yuletide. And I think that's... sad brilliant!

I must give some thought to which pairings I want to nominate; at least, on some level beyond listing all the named female characters on Vikings that I could possibly ship Lagertha with. I have a weird craving for Lagertha/Princess Kwenthrith after finishing S2 the other night.

2. Speaking of awesome fannish things: I know there are a thousand and one different versions of The Rains of Castamere, and this one guy wrote and recorded a bunch of additional verses (link goes to youtube).

3. Relatedly (if only because the guy in that link is Scottish) we're coming up fast on the date for the Scottish independence referendum, and I still have no idea how I'm going to vote. It's a toss up between girding my loins and voting Yes, or holding my nose and voting No; which is exactly where I was six months ago.

To be fair, both the Yes and No campaigns have been shit. Better Together have totally neglected to mention anything about why we may, indeed, be "better together", in favour of going: you're too wee, and frightened, and poor, and you won't cope. Which has been lovely, and not at all patronising. Whereas Yes Scotland have been playing the Mindless Optimism card so heavily that one could almost believe that they don't actually have another card.

Seriously, chaps, I'm here to be convinced. Convince me.

4. I got an anon ask on tumblr a few days ago asking me to talk a little about my hatred for the character of Merlin. It was interesting because, 1) I get anon asks now, apparently, and 2) I didn't think I'd made my distaste for Merlin obvious over there; I try to be good about using my tumblr for the things I love, and scrolling by those I... don't.

Anyway, because in my head the platonic ideal is that tumblr is for pictures and here is for words (although, like all platonic ideals, that fell apart pretty quickly) I'm going to repost what I replied there. It's not particularly long or insightful, because... tumblr. All the same--

Merlin— it’s mostly a lizard brain thing. I find Merlin (mostly in the latter series; if he hadn’t been endearing in S1 I wouldn’t have started watching the show) viscerally creepy and unpleasant, in a totally illogical and nonsensical way.

It’s also that as the protagonist with the lion’s share of the screentime Merlin got the worst of the belt from the show’s structural problems. So a lot of my hatred for the character is reflected hatred for the showrunners.

Anyway, under the cut, and in no particular order, a list of things that bother me about Merlin (the character, and by extension the show)

Read more...Collapse )

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