nineveh_uk: picture of holly in snow (holly)
I am back from a long weekend in Harrogate with my sisters in celebration of the fact that I have a significant birthday approaching.* I am feeling surprisingly less tired than I might have expected, probably helped by the fact that despite the time of year the trains were civilised so the journeys weren't tiring, even if last minute ticket purchase when I decided that driving wasn't a good idea made them expensive. There is something to be said for enforced sitting down and reading. Middle Sister had donated her work-flights-earned Air Miles to the cause so we had a very nice hotel and I had a bath this morning just because it was there. There was some delicious food, entertaining theatre, and large amounts of nostalgia.

Yesterday involved a walk to Harlow Carr, which we didn't actually go into because this is not really the time of year for a rather expensive garden, but spent much time in its excellent bookshop. My sisters bought various Christmas presents, I bought some lavender-flavoured white chocolate. We took it in terms to comment on the qualities of various cornus in the absence of our mother. Alas, we didn't eat at Betty's because it isn't the time of year you can do that without booking or lots of time, but I had a sausage roll and curd tart, and purchased biscuits of gratitude for a couple of colleagues who have been particularly helpful with big stressful project.**

The main event of the weekend was West Yorkshire Playhouse's production of Strictly Ballroom, which had opened on Wednesday and was enormous fun. Bring on the sequins! On the way back to the station we observed that the long-awaited John Lewis has finally arrived. Honestly, we'd been promised the bloody thing for decades, and then it turns up after my parents leave. The building is genuinely impressive, though; we even admired the car park. It looks like origami done in stone, and yet is strangely in keeping with the buildings around it. Also noted on the way to and from the theatre was the extraordinary extent to which the people of Leeds have embraced the Christmas jumper.

*According to my student self by this point in life I am supposed to have re-read Ulysses and have published a novel. I have decided that the former was a whim, not an obligation, and the second delayed by circumstances beyond my control.

**Technically they were just doing their jobs, but with an unfailing good humour and helpfulness that meant that at least I didn't also have to stress about the photocopying because I could fling it in someone's direction with ten minutes to spare. Material acknowledgement feels warranted.
nineveh_uk: Illustration that looks like Harriet Vane (Harriet)
I have written my most evil fic ever. More evil than Harriet and Peter furry roleplay. More evil than Peter with Alzeimher’s disease. I have written ... pet death.
nineveh_uk: Illustration that looks like Harriet Vane (Harriet)
Autumn leaves blaze bright –
I don’t care. Let me sleep ’til
Next millennium.
nineveh_uk: Picture of hollyhocks in bloom. Caption "WTF hollyhocks!" (hollyhocks)
I posted a fic last night. I'm not sure what time, maybe about 10:30 - 11pm. I was tired and ought to have gone to bed, but often when I have a cold I feel my best late evening, so I didn't. The fic is this one: In the Studio. It's about 500 words, outsider POV of a canon moment, namely the episode broadcast earlier yesterday, and inspired by a combination of an unlucky Eurosport commentator and Test Match Special.

Since then, I have been sitting back and watching the stats add up and for someone who is used to small book fandoms, the contrast is bizarre. At this point it has the most hits of everything I've ever posted on AO3, and it has achieved that in less than 24 hours. It has three times as many kudos as the next fic - which is also a short fic in the same fandom - and five times as many kudos as the third-ranked fic, which is the post-Gaudy Night Peter/Harriet one.

This is definitely not my best ever fic. There's nothing wrong with it, it's short and fun, it found a happy audience. But if you're in need of a quick ego-boost, get thee to an active slash-heavy fandom with new canon and tag with the main pairing!

Normal service will be resumed shortly when I decide to write a quiet character study for a minor character from something like Beware of Pity.
nineveh_uk: Illustration that looks like Harriet Vane (Harriet)
Deeply silly fic. I can only blame whatever germs are in the air at the moment or the week that I've had for giving me the urge to unwind on Friday night by writing figure-skating anime fic.

It is on AO3: Living the Dream.
nineveh_uk: Photo of Rondvassbu in winter (rondvassbu)
Or to be precise,Yuri!!! on Ice. I don’t know why the exclamation marks are there, but they are. I’m not an anime watcher, it’s a genre that hasn’t really crossed my path since the days of French-Japanese co-productions shown dubbed on children’s television.* But I saw this mentioned as an anime about figure skating, and since though I am no skating devotee I class it under “winter sports I like” and as no-one going to make a series about cross-country skiing, I thought I’d give it a go. It didn’t hurt that the link I clicked made the skating look gorgeous.

Yuri on Ice follows Katsuki Yuuri**, a Japanese figure skater who is very talented, but lacks confidence and who has reached the nadir of his career after bombing in a major competition last season. He is miserable, out of form, and doesn’t know where to go next, but his luck changes when a bunch of infant skater fangirls post a video of him skating to a routine on the internet and it goes viral.

Because the routine is the impossibly hard and artistic one of Viktor Nikiforov***, all round Russian skate god who at 27 is ancient in skater years and wondering what to do next as it gets harder and harder to surprise the audience. Answer? Get on a plane to Japan and coach Yuuri, to the great confusion of the skating world, and the fury of Russian junior champion, now fresh-faced senior,15 year old other Yuri, who was counting on Viktor training – or at least providing choreography for - him.

So yes, there is a lot of skating, and it looks absolutely wonderful, as it should since they got professional consultants to help with it, and it is also funny and charming with endearing characters. But of course that’s not the only reason that there are suddenly a lot of fics for a 4 week-old fandom and the current women's skating champion's twitter is full of pictures.

That reason is the fact that Yuri on Ice is like an old-fashioned UST slash fic come to life, pining and all. Because Yuuri is not just a casual fan of Victor, he appears to be in love with him. Hell, in the last episode he pretty much declared that he was. He's been a fan for 11 years. His bedroom is covered with Victor posters. He got into skating seriously out of a hope to meet and compete against him. He skated his new routine in an attempt to get his love of skating back. He even named his (deceased) dog after him. And then the skate god he fancies like mad turns up in his family’s hot spring resort naked but for a strategically placed fountain and announces he is his new coach, at which Yuuri turns into a gibbering wreck and the entire show to massive fanservice, with the subtext, as Rupert Giles once put it, rapidly becoming text.

It is funny, endearing, with engaging characters and good-looking animation (at least to me, who hasn't seen it all before) and just the ticket for weary autumn evenings. For all I know it is massively full of cliches, but they are new cliches to me. The fic is, predictably, appalling. "Silverette" and "ravenette" is the least of it.

YouTube is failing me badly on clips of the skating routines, which only goes to show that fandom has its priorities wrong, but have an official trailer and opening credits.

*All together now, 'Children of the sun, see your time has just begun'...

**There are two Yuris, both transliterated from different alphabets. Japanese!Yuri tends to end up getting spelt Yuuri.

**Or as he is known in real life, Evgeni Plushenko. Although Plushenko, enormously charismatic skater though he is, does not as far as I am aware cause room-fulls of journalists to faint when he smiles.
nineveh_uk: Illustration that looks like Harriet Vane (Harriet)
My parents have returned to points north after a weekend visit including a bird reserve, Stowe gardens (for autumn leaves), and Welsh National Opera's Kiss Me Kate. Obviously, I am now knackered, although in fairness to them I was knackered before they arrived. Tomorrow begins [community profile] picowrimo, in which I am determined to pick up some neglected fic*.

With the clocks back it is feeling even more decidedly autumnal than it was last week, when the trees decided that they had had enough of being green and were going to burst into various shades of flame. It is still two months until Christmas, and yet it feels like it is very soon.

Anyway, have some Shakespeare (song starts a minute in).



*And I certainly have a choice of it.
nineveh_uk: Illustration that looks like Harriet Vane (Harriet)
You can't, sorry. However while there is as yet no cure for the common cold, there is quite a lot that you can do in order to feel less dreadful while you have one, whether that is less dreadful as you groan in your bed with the cold from hell, pausing every five minutes to blow your nose, or less dreadful with the cold from purgatory, with which you still have to go to work. And since I have extensive experience in this area, I thought I might as well share it.

There are three options when you have a cold.

(1) Do nothing. I have done this in the past, in the "you're just treating the symptoms" mindset. I don't do that anymore. It probably won't harm you unless you are predisposed to secondary infections, or you decide to garnish it with things like going running in the cold. But if you've got a mild sniffle, time to rest, and like drinking tea, it's not a terrible idea.

(2) Do a bit. Probably what most people do, really. A combination of personal preference, need, and what you know about and can physically take.

(3) Hit it with everything that the pharmaceutical industry can throw at it. This is my way. It will not cure a cold, nor reduce the time you have it. But it makes me feel a lot better while I have it, and may reduce complications.

Option 3 got long... )

One is wan

Oct. 23rd, 2016 09:49 am
nineveh_uk: Illustration that looks like Harriet Vane (Harriet)
I have a cold, and an LJ poll on one, won, and wan.
nineveh_uk: Illustration that looks like Harriet Vane (Harriet)
While there may be disadvantages to the lack of any central body with responsibility for English As She Is Spoke*, there is a decided plus side, which is that no-one can come along and say "We've decided that [word] is spelt differently now" or "we've re-written all the rules about commas."** There is something to be said for the free and easy approach of owning a copy of Fowler in order to argue why you choose to ignore it against the alternative approach, which might be epitomised**** by the following extract from Wikipedia, brought to you by looking up further my German teacher's comments on whether to write du or Du:

In der Schriftsprache werden das Pronomen „Sie“ und die davon abgeleiteten Formen großgeschrieben. Bis zur Rechtschreibreform 1996 gab es auch eine Höflichkeitsform für „Du“ in der Schriftsprache, in der dieses Wort großgeschrieben wurde. Von 1996 bis 2006 wurde „du“ in neuer Rechtschreibung ausschließlich kleingeschrieben. Seit der neuesten, inzwischen vierten Revision der Rechtschreibreform kann „Du“ bei persönlicher Anrede wieder großgeschrieben werden.

Google translate does it for us. Only the culture that produced Nietzsche could produce a sentence like 'Since the latest, now the fourth revision of the spelling reform'. One can just hear the existential despair that rolls off it.

*Would that there had been a committee in 1400 or so to consider whether the Great Vowel Shift should be allowed. Also, I would vote for re-introducing "æ".

**Danish, which I see has since managed to change the comma rules that were new when I learnt*** them.

***Or should that be learned? I think I can choose.

**** The English version is epitomised by the fact that I can choose not to write epitomized. Of course, English is nothing in comparison to Norwegian, in which it would probably be entirely correct to write epyttomised as long as you came from the particular valley in which that was correct and all your other spelling matched it.
nineveh_uk: Illustration that looks like Harriet Vane (Harriet)
For the second time in my life I am doing homework making up German sentences in the conditional tense about how I want to study polar bears. Well, it saves imagining new scenarios, and I thought that "If I were a vampire, I would suck blood" might not be the best choice, even though it is one I can actually do without having to look up any words or how to decline the sodding articles.

It is, of course, impossible for me to think of the conditional without thinking of the Million Pound Radio Show pirates training day sketch.

nineveh_uk: Illustration that looks like Harriet Vane (Harriet)
I'm not sure who it was who linked me to this, but for anyone who is a fan of Cabin Pressure and hasn't seen it, it is worth watching.

nineveh_uk: Illustration that looks like Harriet Vane (Harriet)
Babette's Feast is on Film4 tomorrow night at 1:50 a.m. (i.e. very early on Wednesday morning).

A trailer.

Damn! Why didn't I nominate it for Yuletide?

There is one fic on AO3 - it's a Hannibal crossover.
nineveh_uk: Photo of Rondvassbu in winter (rondvassbu)
Edinburgh may host a ski race in 2020!

Ahem. Unfortunately, I can't find a news story in English*, but in short, the Norwegian and Swedish national cross-country ski bodies have submitted a bid to the International Ski Federation to host a multi-stage tour in February 2020. This would, unsurprisingly, be held in Sweden and Norway, with the rather more surprising exception of the opening race, to be held in Edinburgh!

This is not actually as daft as it sounds. Snow always has to be carted in for city races anyway, there will be stored snow available at that time of year, and the temperatures will be low enough to sustain it for a few days. As I have said before, it is a good deal less stupid than holding the Winter Olympics in Beijing. The Norwegian ski federation already works with the British ones on matters of mutual interest**, and the press release gets to say something virtuous about the importance of inviting more nations to be involved with world cup races. I'm not sure when decisions are made, but my fingers are going to be firmly crossed!

*In Norwegian.

**I.e. British access to snow and resources, Norwegian brownie points for working with a small nation in the sport.
nineveh_uk: Cover illustration for "Strong Poison" in pulp fiction style with vampish Harriet. (Strong Poison)
(1) I can't suggest that prompt! What if I want to write it one day?

(2) Obviously I should be writing and posting that fic now, but obviously I can't in case I should do it for Yuletide, when it could get more readers. /procrastinates
nineveh_uk: Illustration that looks like Harriet Vane (Harriet)
An impulse purchase, I picked this up in the bookshop on account of the cover, and bought it on account of the blurb and a look at the prose, which convinced me that I was definitely going to enjoy it. This is a more impressive feat than it sounds as I heartily disliked the only other Tremain I've read, Music and Silence.* The book's focus is the eponymous Gustav Perle and his friendship with Anton, a Jewish boy of his own age. It is set in a small and boring town in an undistinguished bit of Switzerland, but it is not in any way a novel about Switzerland. Switzerland is there to be a metaphor, a job it does very well, though I don't imagine that it would say a lot in that respect to a Swiss reader. It is a terrific novel, absolutely beautifully written in the sort of prose that, while not mannered or dramatic, is simply impossible to read without noticing how very, very good it is in its quietness. It is the sort of prose that makes me thing, 'if I could write something like that, I should be well satisfied.'

The blurb is as follows:

What is the difference between friendship and love? Or between neutrality and commitment? Gustav Perle grows up in a small town in 'neutral' Switzerland, where the horrors of the Second World War seem a distant echo. But Gustav's father has mysteriously died, and his adored mother Emilie is strangely cold and indifferent to him. Gustav's childhood is spent in lonely isolation, his only toy a tin train with painted passengers staring blankly from the carriage windows.

As time goes on, an intense friendship with a boy of his own age, Anton Zwiebel, begins to define Gustav's life. Jewish and mercurial, a talented pianist tortured by nerves when he has to play in public, Anton fails to understand how deeply and irrevocably his life and Gustav's are entwined.

Fierce, astringent, profoundly tender, Rose Tremain’s beautifully orchestrated novel asks the question, what does it do to a person, or to a country, to pursue an eternal quest for neutrality, and self-mastery, while all life's hopes and passions continually press upon the borders and beat upon the gate.


Got that? It is a very accurate description of the book.

There are going to be sort-of spoilers below (though not for the end). I do not imagine that they will come as a big shock to anyone in fandom, and they didn't to me on account of how I'd read the blurb, but they seems to have surprised the reviewers a lot.

Read more... )
nineveh_uk: Cover illustration for "Strong Poison" in pulp fiction style with vampish Harriet. (Strong Poison)
I appear to have committed Yuletide nominations. I'm not entirely certain that I'm going to sign up, but there's a couple of weeks yet to decide. If I do then I'm taking a different approach this year and instead of signing up for things that I really care about, will go for some new fandoms and try to take a more casual approach to it. Yes, I want to write a good fic, but I've never really loved any of the fics I've written for e.g. Wimsey fandom for Yuletide because they've never been for prompts that deeply inspired me. I suspect that I might find it easier and more fun to lower the stakes a bit.

On the other hand, one of the fandoms I'm considering writing for is Deutschland 83, which hardly represents an easier option, so possibly I'm just coming up with a new way to create stress for myself and RUIN YULETIDE.

Anyone else thinking of signing up this year?
nineveh_uk: Illustration that looks like Harriet Vane (Harriet)
En route to the supermarket, I drew up the car at the exit to my little cul-de-sac, where due to the configuration of the roads and where people park it is always wise to pause to make sure that nothing is coming. So I looked right and left etc. and was slightly surprised at what I saw on the grass verge a few yards away:

Me: What the fuck is a penguin doing there?

Penguin: Moves, reveals self to be cat.

In my defence, it was raining and the cat was black and white and standing at such an angle that it really did look as if a penguin were craning its beak up. And I looked twice before it moved! If I hadn't had my eyes tested last month I would definitely be thinking I needed new glasses. As it is, I think I'm a bit tired.
nineveh_uk: Illustration that looks like Harriet Vane (Harriet)
I am in Berlin. It is very hot. It is so hot that today I am joining the ranks of people who wear shorts in a city. Since this appears to be 50% of people I've been seeing, I shouldn't feel too conspicuous in my sartorial crime, and it is a small price to pay for hot weather.

Berlin is great. I can't remember much, and absolutely nothing has looked as I remember, which isn't surprising on any front since I was last here in 1993. There is far more history that is reasonable for one place, I knew I was only going to scratch the surface, but now I feel I won't even so much scratch as gently tickle, but there are worse fates than to have to come back. My feet hate me.

Tanz der Vampire was amazing. My decision to base a holiday around seeing a cheesy musical is one million percent vindicated. I'm going again tonight. I even stage-doored The shame! The shame!, which is probably the most nerdish thing I have ever done in my entire life. I have also found several prospective entrants to the Galactic Cape-Twirling Championships. So far the hot favourite is the dancer who twirled his cape while simultaneously twirling a woman above his head, but there were also strong entries in the dramatic and moody categories.

Naturally the fic I bought to write remains entirely unwritten, as indeed does my diary. Never mind, no doubt I will catch up during tomorrow's 8 1/2 hour train journey.
nineveh_uk: Illustration that looks like Harriet Vane (Harriet)
Not just a cuddly face...

Woman attacked by wombat thought she was going to die.

Should Sir Z- R- have any enemies, perhaps he could invoke its aid.

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nineveh_uk: Picture of a wild rabbit with text "I hope your rabbit dies" (Default)
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