nineveh_uk: Illustration that looks like Harriet Vane (Default)
After going home sick at lunchtime*, my day has been greatly improved by the first photo of David Tennant and Michael Sheen as Crowley and Aziraphale in the forthcoming TV adaptation of Good Omens.



I definitely approve. Crowley's a bit different from the book, but the faint miasma of desperation exuding from the aging would-be rocker works for me. As for Aziraphale, for the people complaining that it looks exaggerated, that's mild compared to some of the horrors you get round Oxford**. The appalling cut of the trousers is a particularly fine touch, and I like the 'cherub gone to seed' of the fluffy blond hair.

*To the tune of Bohemian Rhapsody: Is this the real flu? Is it just virus-y? Crap immune system, no escape from things disease-y.

**The pale mustard broad wale corduroy suit remains a low point.
nineveh_uk: Illustration that looks like Harriet Vane (Default)
First day of the holiday, no milk, run out of bread. I could throw some clothes on and dash to the supermarket. Or, I could have cake for breakfast. Cake it is!

I am going on holiday on Monday, and as packing inevitably expands to take up all the time available, I am not packing until tomorrow. I am also hoping that the weather will get better, because I am supposed to be going hiking in western Austria and today it is pouring with rain and 9C. Apparently my run of summer holidays with guaranteed good weather is at an end... Naturally last week it was mid-20s temperatures and sunny. But at least I have some new walking trousers as well as a new hat and there will be fresh air and mountains, even if the fresh air might be a bit damp. I shall read books and eat food cooked by other people, and inevitably not do any writing.

But now I had better get up and re-apply the waterproofing to my jacket.
nineveh_uk: Illustration that looks like Harriet Vane (Default)
I have a new time-sink, and its name is Geoguessr. This ' web-based geographic discovery game' (Wikipedia) involves being plonked down anywhere in the world that Google Street View has been* and having to guess where you are and mark you location on a map of the world. You can (usually) navigate along the streets**, you can read (most) road signs, but not things that Google has blurred (occasionally road signs), and most of all you can look about you and wonder where you might be.

It's a lot of fun, and depending on how much you care about finding where exactly you are in any given round of five places, potentially a major waste of time. Playing alone, I am inclined to set a max of 5 minutes per location, sometimes less when I think "This is the middle of a desert/forest with nothing for several hundred miles, I feel strangely confident that I know which continent we're on, so I'm just going to click somewhere plausible in Australia/Russia", a technique that can get you surprisingly close at times for not just random reasons. It's fascinating to see the places that you go, but I also find the process of guessing is itself interesting. The combination of personal experience of a place, general knowledge, random osmosis, and the kind of hunch that has you going 'That looks like Hungary' despite having a decidedly limited acquaintance with Hungary. Place names on road signs are great - well, major place names, the ones for tiny villages in Siberia are less useful - but nothing beats the screen opening and just somehow knowing that you're in Norway.*** And if you don't know where you are, there are vast numbers of clues, natural and artificial. Skies, clouds, vegetation, season, the local people, crops, domestic architecture, economic situation, anything being advertised, things not being advertised. Sometimes you can just tell, thanks to that one school geography lesson that taught you about Brasilia, sometimes you haven't got a clue. It is often infuriating, and still a lot of fun.

*South America would have a lot more competition in the 'Where on earth is this beyond South America?' stakes if they had done more of Africa or any of China yet.

**Except when you find yourself plonked down in a random field, and Indian temple, or a German kitchen shop.

*** Except for being on a street you used to walk down between the pub and the Cambridge railway station.
nineveh_uk: Illustration that looks like Harriet Vane (Default)
I would have paid a chauffeur to drive me the hundred miles to Chichester to see Fiddler on the Roof yesterday*. As I'm not, I had to do it myself. Fortunately the strong reviews of the production didn't let me down and it was excellent. Omid Djalili was terrific as Tevye, Tracy-Ann Oberman moved Golde beyond cliché, and the younger generation could all sing, act, and dance, the first of which is regrettably not always guaranteed in musicals. The production/direction did an excellent job of conveying not only entertaining song and dance, but a story of some weight, and I ended up finding it very moving. I have seen it before, but about 25 years ago so I couldn't say which I thought was better. But I remember scenes from that West Yorkshire Playhouse that struck me then, and I'm sure I'll continue to remember this. I'm tempted to read the original stories it's based on for a comparison.

Have the trailer:



*I am aware that there are countries, indeed parts of the UK, where I'd be lucky to drive only 100 miles to the theatre, but this involved the M3 on a summer school holiday Saturday.
nineveh_uk: Picture of fabric with a peacock feather print. (peacock)
Has anyone ever handwashed Liberty Burwood wool/silk? I am very, very tempted by some for a top - I saw the print a few years ago in a Brora dress, but had never seen it for sale as fabric and now I've found it - but it would be pointless if it had to be dry cleaned. I'm willing to wash quite a lot of allegedly 'dry clean only' wool and silk, but there are limits.

I might just buy it anyway, wash the leftovers to see what happens, and put up with dry cleaning if it's the only option. But I'd like not to have to.
nineveh_uk: Illustration that looks like Harriet Vane (Default)
The Good Omens TV adaptation cast has been announced. It's not Youngest Sister and my fancast of David Thewlis and Paul Bettany, but we'll take it: Michael Sheen as Aziraphale and David Tennant as Crowley. Roll on 2018 (but not the Apocalypse).
nineveh_uk: Illustration that looks like Harriet Vane (Default)
My parents arrive at some point this afternoon, exactly when dependent on whether the weather in Harrogate this morning is nice enough for them to want to hang around for a few hours before heading south. I hope so, as in three days I have done a lot of things, but little of the things I needed (housework) or wanted (writing and sewing) to do before their arrival. It's very good that I've finally started clearing out the chest of drawers and that I've purchased a shower curtain, but perhaps they might have waited until next weekend. I see a morning of shoving paper haphazardly in drawers (undoing the work of the weekend) while listening to Radio 3 ahead.

ETA: And that other question for the ages, where on earth is my Oystercard? And why is the underground so eye-wateringly expensive without one?
nineveh_uk: Illustration that looks like Harriet Vane (Harriet)
As is my wont I am looking obsessively at the weather forecast for where I shall be going on holiday in a month's time, in this case St Anton am Arlberg and St Gallen. www.yr.no, the Norwegian weather service which appears to have weather forecasts for everywhere in the world, accurately (at least when I've been there) and in English*, is forecasting 4C max next Thursday and Friday. I think that on this occasion I'm going to assume they're very, very wrong**.

Anyway, it won't be my problem because for once I have booked myself a week off in Oxford and on Wednesday I am going to be in London for the athletics.

*Also Bokmål (Norwegian), Nynorsk (Norwegian with even more terrifying spelling), Kvääni (Kven), and Davvisámegiella (Northern Sami).

**That said, Bergfex has 12/11C listed, so not as wrong as I'd hope if it were my holiday next week.
nineveh_uk: Illustration that looks like Harriet Vane (Default)
I appear to have committed fic.

The Edinburgh MA and his Rampant Highland Warrior
Chapters: 2
Fandom: The Comfortable Courtesan
Rating: T
Warnings: CNTW
Characters: Mr MacD-, Lord G- R-
Summary: ...an expression that suggested that the serious, civilised, free-thinking Edinburgh MA had long dreamed of being forced to serve the carnal lusts of a wild Highlander.

Following the discovery of Lady Bexbury's memoirs, scholars are forced to revise their interpretation of Alexander MacDonald's "Highland fragment".

***

Readers of Madame C-'s memoirs may recognise the inspiration of this scene.
nineveh_uk: Picture of fabric with a peacock feather print. (peacock)
A walking holiday type of hat for my forthcoming (September) walking holiday*. After years of not really adequate hats and failing to find anything in the outdoor shops of Edinburgh last week, I watched the BBC's Spingwatch-with-bears on Sunday and realised that one of the hats worn by a presenter would be perfect for me, and now I have this hat in khaki, as far as I can see the last size M in the country. It fits! It is functional! It actually suits me!

This is particular pleasing as the only other hat I'd found so far that looked as if it might suit me was ruled out on account of (a) being in Women's Mountain Fuchsia colour, and (b) having a swastika on it... I don't think it's just me. In those colours the logo really does give that impression, at least enough for me not to want to wear it.

*Switzerland and "eastern Switzerland" i.e. western Austria, because sterling is even worse against the Swiss Franc than the Euro and it's not far from Zurich airport.
nineveh_uk: Illustration that looks like Harriet Vane (Harriet)
It was in the year 2509 of the Third Age, in the region of ----shire, that the party of Lady Celebrían, making a long overdue visit to her parents, was waylaid by orcs.

It was not fear of such an encounter that was responsible for the delay in paying this most natural duty. Orcs had not been known in the neighbourhood for many years, and had their return to the region been known the party would have elected to travel by the Pass of Rohan, no matter the greater distance. Rather the lady's children had reached the difficult age of the late second millenium when an elf is most in need of guidance from a mother. The presence in Rivendell of their distant cousins the Dunedain had made this guidance particularly essential. None knew more than the daughter of the Lady Galadriel the importance of harmonious relations between kin, and Celebrían had sincerely welcomed the many greats grandchildren of her brother-in-law to her home. But there were limits to how close a connection should be considered, and no count of generations could undo the fact that the children of Elrond and the Line of Elendil were first cousins. It would not do.
nineveh_uk: Picture of fabric with a peacock feather print. (peacock)
That when going into a fabric shop for Thing A, they won't have it, but you will leave with two patterns and some fabric for one of them? In my defence I already have the fabric for the other as well, and hopefully it will be quicker to use a pattern than the one that I had had a go at drafting myself...

ETA: Oops. Skirt pattern turns out to be culottes. Should be convertible into a skirt, but slightly annoying!
nineveh_uk: Illustration that looks like Harriet Vane (Harriet)
The kid looked at me with big eyes, the way kids do.

'I don't think Mummy's very well.'

Smart kid, that. I've seen healthier people than Mummy laid out on a slab, often because of Mummy. I picked her up. She was light as a feather, all skin and bone, too young to have done anything yet. Maybe with re-education she never would.

She turned her face into my shoulder like any other kid and I thanked the department for my regulation leather coat with its high collar. Maybe I could find her teddy bear before we torched the place.
nineveh_uk: Picture of fabric with a peacock feather print. (peacock)
I really didn't mean to spend time today writing metafic on the Law of Conservation of Cock Size in some nebulous historical period of badly-spelled English,* but I did. I blame [personal profile] lilliburlero for the inspiration, and [personal profile] antisoppist for hosting the original commentfic. And of course the anonymous member of fandom who formulated the concept in the first place. I am calling it a writing exercise.

You may find is on AO3 here.

*Or badlie-spelt Englishe. It takes a surprising amount of time to insert it.
nineveh_uk: Picture of fabric with a peacock feather print. (peacock)
I have a skirt pattern than requires 1.6m of 45" fabric. I have 1m of 1.36m Liberty Tana lawn with a one-way print. I have spent the evening cutting out duplicate pattern pieces and arranging them in every single possible way. I could do it with 1.1m by cutting the single back skirt into two, and doing the facing in a different fabric, which I would do anyway because a self yoke wouldn't work with the print. Unfortunately I don't that 10cm. Without it I think that I can do it with 1m by cutting the single back skirt into two, doing some natty little extra pieces on the front, and splitting the back yoke. That does not sound the quick and easy alternative to the top I originally intended to make, and there is a lot more potential for it to go wrong.

Alternatively, I could remember that Shaukat exists, and happily they aren't sold out. On the downside, this does turn what was a cheap top to a skirt costing twice as much. I shall decide in the morning.
nineveh_uk: Cover illustration for "Strong Poison" in pulp fiction style with vampish Harriet. (Strong Poison)
Some recent media viewing

Versailles

It's absolute tosh, but it's fun tosh. There's a 10 minute section after each episode in which they tell you which bits are actually vaguely connected to reality, and which aren't. For someone with very little knowledge of the history of the period it manages to be quite educational. I certainly had no idea that in 1672 the Dutch Prime Minister was set upon by a mob in The Hague who not only killed, but possibly ate parts of him.

On another note, Wikipedia led me to this portrait of Louis XIV showing an early example of the contorted breasts and bum figure so beloved of bad film posters and novel covers.

My Cousin Rachel

Did Daphne de Maurier have an ill-advised affair with someone she met at a continental holiday resort? It would explain a lot. I enjoyed this very much, and finally found out the ending having somehow managed to avoid spoilers for about 20 years since I heard the first half as a radio play. I should like to read the book; the film maintained the ambiguity well, but I wonder how much the story relies for its depth on a certain interiority that is hard to maintain on film, but I can imagine being there in a novel.

Doctor Who

I've enjoyed this series very much in a low-key kind of way. I've really enjoyed Capaldi, and Peal Mackie is excellent as Bill. It's been nice to have a companion with no particular mystery or backstory to her, just someone going round the galaxy having adventures with the Doctor, and Mackie portrays a combination of cheerful friendliness and curiosity that works very well. Not to mention added fun from Michelle Gomez as the Master.

Read more... )
nineveh_uk: picture of an elk (elk)
Too good not to share widely: Mainer attacked by rabid raccoon drowns it in puddle.

HOPE, Maine — While jogging on a familiar, overgrown, wooded trail near her home on a recent warm afternoon, Rachel Borch thought to herself, “what a beautiful day.”

Little did she know she was about to be attacked by a rabid raccoon she would end up killing with her bare hands.


Seriously, this has to be read.
nineveh_uk: Illustration that looks like Harriet Vane (Harriet)
This needs one of those webpages that just says "No".

All week I have been meaning to do a politics post and getting distracted by watching the news all evening. Tonight I managed to switch it off for a bit, but only to make a cake for work tomorrow*. Politics post will have to wait until tomorrow. We probably won't have a government yet, Theresa May will be continuing to demonstrate why she was, on their terms, a success as Conservative Home Secretary**, did OK to start with as PM as long as she didn't have to answer questions, and then failed so much in an election campaign, the DUP [insert rant here] will continue to demonstrate how much the LibDems failed in coalition negotiations, and more awful news will continue to come out about the catastrophic fire at Glenfell Tower. The details of that will also need another post. On the political front, when the Daily Mail has telephoto lens images of May not meeting the public and video of Corbyn doing a walkabout and hugging people, you know that the optics, as they say, are not good for the PM.

*Lemon drizzle. It needs to cook another 10 minutes and then I need to put the blasted drizzle on it and then I need to wait for it to cool so I can take it out. I am out of practice at baking. It doesn't help that I was doing it by the light of an anglepoise lamp on the other side of the room because the lighting circuit fuse blew yesterday evening. The electician is supposed to be turning up tomorrow. At least it is nearly midsummer.

**Being constitutionally incapable of recognising that something is a bad idea and changing tack, overseeing catastrophe by pretending there is no problem, and and being unable to communicate with people as human beings is a really good combination if you're a Tory Home Sec with the goal of survival.
nineveh_uk: Photo of Rondvassbu in winter (rondvassbu)
Edinburgh is going to host a ski race! Not until February 2020, but nonetheless, Edinburgh is going to host a cross-country world cup ski race. This aforementioned bid has been successful, and it's hosting the first stage of a tour that will then to go Sweden and Norway. As you can imagine, I am quite excited.

Unsurprisingly, there's not a lot of news on it in English, but I'm amused that translated press release includes my anticipated virtuous comment about getting more countries involved. It should be brilliant, I just hope it doesn't pour with rain. It wouldn't be a problem for the snow, but it would make spectating a lot less fun.
nineveh_uk: Illustration that looks like Harriet Vane (Harriet)
The silver lining of having a cold is that I have finally managed to start watching this series of Doctor Who (haven't seen the last two episodes, no spoilers please). I'm enjoying it quite a lot, but I did spend the first episode imagining what it would be like to be the Head of Department in a department with the Doctor in it...

------

'We're supposed to have an agreement. I give you an office, a lecture slot, and an admittedly modest salary. In return, you teach what you like with no questions asked, and give me four REF-able articles. Four 4* REF-able outputs that I can actually submit, unlike the ones you emailed me last week.'

'What's wrong with them?'

'They're on medieval Armenian poetry and we're the philosophy department.'

'Where's your imagination? I'm sure you can find a use for them. They're very good articles.'

'I know , I had them read by someone who can actually read Armenian. She said that they were the best work she'd seen in her career, and incidentally wherever did you find that new manuscript?

'I know that you don't like the REF, Doctor. Most of your colleagues don't like it either. As the person who has to deal with everybody else not liking it, I inevitably hate it. But until you give me four articles in a subject relevant to an existing University department or, if you prefer, invent time travel and stop it happening in the first place, I shall continue to nag you to ensure that you adhere to the terms of our agreement. Here's a list of departments. Four outputs, or time travel, Doctor, it's up to you.'

[worp worp]

'Of course we can add medieval Armenian poetry to the lecture list next year. Now if you could just remember that I will need your entry for the Great University Bake-Off Biscuit Challenge by Friday that would be great.'

-----

Meanwhile in the real-life department of Be Careful What You Wish For Studies, this gem from the Wikipedia article on the RAE:

The committee received submissions of research statements from 37 subject areas ("cost centres") within Universities, along with five selected research outputs.

[...]

A subsequent research assessment was conducted in 1989 under the name "research selectivity exercise" by the Universities Funding Council. Responding to the complaint of the Universities that they weren't allowed submit their "full strength," Swinnerton-Dyer allowed the submission of two research outputs per every member of staff.


And so the madness began.

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