Partly Friends Only: Comment to Be Added

Nature: Cityscapes
Journal entries that deal with that annoying thing called real life will be locked, while selected other posts shall remain open to the public. Believe me, you will not miss out on much if I haven't friended you.

However, if you would like to be added to my f-list, please tell me whether we already "know" each other from somewhere or why you think we would get along. Yes, I know that friends list is a misleading term, and reading list is infinitely preferable; nonetheless it would be lovely if we had something in common. (You don't have to approve of boxing-champions-turned-Romulan-warrior-women making inappropriate gestures, though.)




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Here are ten things I assume you know about me when you are reading this journal.

What you might want to know about me...Collapse )

***


And now for something completely different:

This journal is usually as pure as the driven snow. (Yes, I'm boring. I know.) Hence, I have chosen the "no inappropriate content" setting. If I should ever post or link to something that appears to be "not appropriate for minors" or "adults only" content, I think it'll be easiest to mark the LJ-cut or link clearly as such (i.e. as not suitable for younger teens/NWS/NSFW/R/NC-17 or what have you).

Don't approve; don't click. Full stop.

I don't really do "trigger warnings", either, but if you have a question about something specific (like the content of a fanfic I've recommended), please message me or comment, and I'll try to get back to you.

Multi-Fandom Meme

Fandom: General Fangirling
As spotted on my f-list.

Give me a character and I will tell you...

* How I feel about this character
* All the people I ship romantically with this character
* My non-romantic OTP for this character
* My unpopular opinion about this character
* One thing I wish would happen / had happened with this character in canon.
* Something about them I consider true, even though it's only my head canon/fanon
Fandom: ASOIAF 4
Damn it, Kind of spoilerish?Collapse ) Tywin Lannister.

I know that he is a thoroughly awful person, who...

... is an abusive, toxic-as-hell parent and has put quite a number on all his three kids. (Yes, I think that even Jaime, as the perfect heir and favourite son, was exposed to Tywin Lannister's extra special brand of mindfuckery to some extent.)
... has no qualms about ordering a gangrape.
... will happily gives orders to slaughter little children as well.
... thinks that sacking a city or exterminating an entire family is just deserts.
... rules the Seven Kingdoms with an iron fist.
... has very peculiar notions about wedding events.

And yet. I'll go and feel suitably ashamed right now.

Okay - on with the show.

TV: My Mat Fat Diary

Fandom: Huge (1)
I think I have been crying for about 50 minutes straight now. I can't remember the last time I've been so affected by a TV episode. The show in question was - you've guessed it - My Mad Fat Diary, a relatively short British series from 2013, which I've marathoned today. (The first season is six episodes à 45-50 minutes each, so you'll be done in about five hours.)

Now, the subject matter sounds kind of off-putting - potentially either depressing and dreary, or moralizing and patronizing. It's all about Rae, a 16-year-old girl living in a Lincolnshire small town, way back in 1996. Rae has just been released from a psychiatric ward, after struggling with depression, binge-eating, and serious self-harm. She's physically obese and psychologically unstable, or, well, mad and fat. She's also boy-crazy, horny, funny, rude, and a passionate Britpop fan. Most of all, she's going through the teenage Sturm and Drang years and trying to find her place in life.

For all the serious issues the show is dealing with, it's not a Serious Issues lecture, thank goodness. It's actually a sweet coming-of-age story that can be at turns hilarious and heart-breaking, sarcastic and sentimental. I think it finds the right balance between family, friends, and romance, while acknowledging that none of it will magically make a person better, though it can definitely help.

I like that it features an important mother-daughter relationship, and that Rae's relationships with her old childhood friend Chloe and her new clinic friend Tix are both significant parts of her life. But I also loved the fact that Rae -- played by the marvellous Sharon Rooney, who is actually fat, not Hollywood Fat -- is very much a sexual and romantic person, your average teenage girl who secretly lusts after hot guys and nurses secret crushes. Oh, and she does get her hot guy (who's a pretty decent bloke as well). To the soundtrack of Oasis' "Champagne Supernova". Without a run-of-the-mill weight loss story. How's that for a happy ending?

I wholeheartedly recommend the show, though you might want to skip it if you have to tread really carefully around stuff related to mental health, self-injury, suicide, body issues, or eating disorders (both binge-eating and anorexia). On a lighter note, it might also not be your thing if you have a very strong embarassment squick. I'm almost twice as old as the protagonist, and some scenes with Rae's more spectaular mishaps had me cringing and whimpering because, shit, I've been there, and it really wasn't fun when you're in your teens or even your early 20s. (Erm, obviously, I wasn't in a psychiatric ward, but I can relate to public humiliation involving, for example, bleached denim skirts and a "mega-period"...)

Doubtful Achievements

Fandom: Hunger Games
Literally the only thing I got done this weekend was dusting off a WIP (originally a part of a 5 things AU for The Hunger Games) and tweaking it slightly to post it as a stand-alone ficlet on AO3.

I just received a (complimentary) comment that called it "sad, morbid, and absolutely horrible", so mission accomplished, I suppose.

(I should probably lay off the grimdark canon sources when I'm feeling kind of poorly in real life.)

Potentially interested readers can find the fic here:

hostages to fortune

You might want to heed the notes, though.
Mood: Critical
I am really grateful that one of the big movie theatres in town has happily joined the trend of broadcasting live performances from the RSC and the National Theatre. Even if I can’t afford jaunting over to London just to see a play, I can afford investing 18.00 euros for a showing at a place that’s only one underground stop from my office! I watched the RSC Richard II with David Tennant last winter, and enjoyed it a whole lot, but never got around to writing about it. So I am at least going to redress this for the NT version of Coriolanus that I saw last night.

To the Marketplace!Collapse )

In conclusion: A+, would watch again!
Reading 2
Strictly speaking, I am rather talking to you, and there's more of moving the hands and agitating the fingers involved, but the general point still stands. I'm going to talk about my latest choice in reading material, which has consumed the first few weeks of 2014 so far. (Not for the first time in my life, it is all reginaspina's fault - not that I blame her for anything.)

I finally picked up a stack of historical novels that had been gathering dust on my shelves for about three or four years, and I'm now stuck right in the middle of Pawn in Frankincense, the fourth volume of Dorothy Dunnett's Lymond Chronicles. (Don't spoil me for the rest!) They are proving to be quite terribly addictive. For this, as for various other reasons, "crack" is a fairly reasonable description.

Since I know next to nothing about Scottish history (if you are Scottish, please don't defriend me now), I wrongly assumed that the nobleman Sir Walter "Wat" Scott of Buccleuch, who is a minor character in the first and third book, was not an actual historical figure, but a homage to the Sir Walter Scott, one of the godfathers of historical fiction in the romantic vein. The Game of Kings, the first book in the series, has a convoluted plot with numerous twists and turns, a setting in the 16th-century English-Scottish border wars, a surfeit of literary quotes and allusions, and an improbably skilled, sophisticated, handsome, and gifted protagonist with more than a whiff of the Byronic under all that Scottish heather and French perfume.

Then, two books later, I took back my initial judgement: These books are not "kind of like Walter Scott" (or rather, kind of like what I dimly remember from my childhood re-reads of Ivanhoe and Rob Roy). They are the strange love-child of a historical novelist and a writer of romance, or maybe of campy telenovelas, possibly conceived on hallucinogenic drugs and then decked out in an opulent Baroque style that more than verges on lurid Mannerism.

To fully enjoy them, I think, you should have at least some residual fondness for swashbuckling adventures and the kind of awe-inspiring, tortured hero in whom Special Snowflake Syndrome is to be regarded as a feature rather than a bug. Half the time, I am amused by Lymond dancing rings around his opponents while snarking at them; during the other half, I want to pelt him with cow-dung from a prime specimen of Angus cattle, or camel droppings - a sentiment that the narrative very obviously does not want me to share.

It's rather regrettable that I never came across a German translation when I was in my teens. I would have loved him much better then. Or maybe that's a good thing, considering that the novels have some conspicuous flaws of the *ist persuasion.

I find the descriptions of Northern Africa, the Levant, Greece, Turkey, and the Middle East so orientalist that I'm fully expecting the ghost of Edward Said to yell "boo!" over my shoulder at any given moment. Dunnett is very gifted at writing lush descriptions of scenery and customs, and some characters deliver explicit statements to defend Islam from an alleged inferiority to Christianity, or point out that the Ottoman Empire is neither better nor worse than the European powers. However, most of the memorable characters who matter are all from Scotland, England, Ireland, etc., people interacting with two-dimensial stock characters in front of an exoticized background. Which is a pity, as Dunnett has definitely done her research, no matter the setting.

Also, the fate of Lymond's love interests is more than a little dodgy. Major spoilers for the Lymond ChroniclesCollapse )

Reminding myself that the books were written back in the 1960s makes such elements a bit more palatable, but they do distract somewhat from the experience.

And yet, and yet. I keep wondering why there is not more of a fandom and so little fanfiction. The novels are sweeping in scope, and they also sweep their readers along, tumbling headlong into adventure and intrigue. We've had outlaw bands and mercenary armies, cattle raids and hijinks with elephants, royal assassinations and rooftop chases, duels and sacred oaths.

Moreover, the series delivers exactly the overwrought emotions and ridiculous tropes that fandom often loves - and I say this with the utmost affection. More spoilersCollapse )

I still haven't quite made up my mind on Dunnett, and yet I want ALL THE FIC that doesn't exist. Eheu, eheu. And I do find myself utterly charmed by Philippa and Kate, the intrepid and sensible Somerville women. They do have the author's full sympathy, too, and it would be tempting to say that they obtain it because they are plain and practical, interested in neither sexual seduction nor political power.

However, I can't resist the disarming, ridiculous, wry sweetness of Pippa, One more spoiler alert!Collapse )
Fandom: Sherlock Holmes (3)
And they all include current adaptations of Sherlock Holmes. I didn't care much for the season opener of Sherlock, as I've mentioned in passing before.

The plot was underdeveloped, and it had so many holes that you could drive an entire tube train through it. I do wish they'd made better use of London's unfinished or abandoned underground stations as a setting - "ghost stations" are great, but they wasted most of that potential in The Empty Hearse. Moreover, Sherlock was a gigantic jerk towards John, and I don't know why Mary warmed to him so quickly in this episode. If the dude that my fiancé had been (wrongly) grieving for two years returned from the dead and then behaved towards his alleged best friend in a similar fashion, I'd be tempted to bludgeon Sherlock to death with my handbag as the oft-cited "blunt object".

The Sign of Three, however, was an all-around lovely interlude. It foregrounded the emotional aspects and comic bits instead of the mystery plot, yes, but at least, there was a mystery plot coming nicely together in the course of John and Mary's wedding. Also, a wedding episode should indeed be funny and sweet and sentimental, if you ask me, so I absolutely had no problem with that! While Sherlock's characterization is inconsistent, I much prefer him like he was at the wedding. His best man's speech actually made me tear up a little, and I'd never have expected this from the show.

I just hope that they won't fridge Mary in the season finale or in season four. I rather like her, and it would be horribly cheap in general. It's not as though there are plenty of women with decent roles on the show anyway.

As for the other Holmes show, i.e. the one set in New York: Spoilers for Elementary 2x12Collapse )
Mood: Cranky
I am honestly planning to be around on Livejournal/Dreamwidth more often as long as there is still some life in this place. However, I now find myself facing an unfamiliar problem: I consume much fewer fannish media than I used to, and I'm afraid I'm not feeling enthusiastic about anything these days. (I did not even want to do any Yuletide reading, for the first time in years. D:)

There was a short break in November when I watched Catching Fire (twice, even) and loved the movie, but the spark sputtered and died fast. I've also suffered from writer's block for most of the past year. I have quite a few ideas, but when I try to write them down, I simply cannot be bothered to crank out more than a couple of clumsy sentences.

In short, I have started to consume books and films and TV shows much like most "normal" people do, I suppose, without the urge to dissect them and discuss them to death and live with a fictional universe inside my head. I have often wondered what this would be like. The answer is: a bit dull and rather unsatisfying. I hope this will change at some point, and I'll get my fangirl mojo back.

Obviously, this also means that I haven't got many topics for posting around here. These days, an entry of mine would read like that: "Saw the latest episode of Sherlock. Thought it was mediocre and in dire need of a plot. The end." You see the problem? :)

So, I feel as though I ought to warn you: Until ye mystical day when my fannish joy returneth, I may need to post updates about my actual life. Which will also read a bit dull and rather unsatisfying. "Finally cleaned my room. Why was there a chocolate éclair wrapper between the folders on the shelf? The end."

Was there a point to this entry? Oh well. Look, a meme! (Nicked from likeadeuce.)

Comment with a character + a thing if you want to know my headcanon for them in regards to that thing.

e.g. Gregor Clegane + ducklings

Well, here we are again, old lovely...

Fandom: Heroes (1)
Happy New Year to all of you!

I'll spare you the end-of-year memes, since they wouldn't yield very interesting results in my case. Instead, let's have some music appropriate for the occasion.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3D2jQkBygtQ

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