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Sticky post: Hello, people

Hello, new people I have friended, or people who have come across me. Feel free to friend me back, or not.


Here are some things about me which may help you make up your mind whether to do soCollapse )

(very sparse) Masterlist of ficCollapse )

I knit a lot. Also, I write more stuff here about real-life than about Merlin.

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Testament of Youth

In news that has nothing to do with anything else going on in my life, I had the privilege of seeing 'Testament of Youth' yesterday.

Alicia Vikander was STUNNING. She totally made that film. Even better, she made Vera Brittain into someone relatable and understandable, whereas I didn't really like the Vera I met in the book. Alicia is so good that there isn't a moment where you spot her acting, if you know what I mean. The supporting cast were also superb. In fact the film's weak point, I think, was Kit Harington. He played a very good pretty young poet, but he didn't at all convey the charisma and the natural leadership which the real Roland must have had. He seems to have been almost worshipped by his friends, but that didn't really come across.

Some things were exaggerated for dramatic effect, but they didn't really detract that much - in fact I think most of the poetic license taken was quite acceptable because it helped get across the point they were trying to make. I know it wasn't entirely true to the bare facts of Vera's story but I think we mustn't forget either that Vera herself intended her story not just as a lament, or a memory of four young men she loved who were lost, but as testimony to the futility and utter waste of war. If a bit of dramatic exaggeration helps bring that home, it does its purpose. And I must say, it did.

Colin was, naturally, wonderful and lovely. He didn't have too many scenes but he made the most of what he had, especially managing to get across the mixed resignation and bitterness of Victor's wounding and the prospects of life blinded. Also, he was briefly topless and he has some damn fine muscles in his back :)

The film really did manage to convey the sadness and waste of war. We were in a theatre full of nattery people but you could have heard a pin drop during practically the entire film. It was a good job.

PEDM: still pretty faily

Hello! I am still faily. I have had a huge learning curve with new job which is keeping me busy; once April is over, I should have a little breathing space.

I have begun reading Vera Brittain's Testament of Youth, in readiness for seeing the film. It's so honest. I haven't got to the war yet but I'm struck by her readiness to examine her younger self and be critical. I have seen some discussion in fandom about the expectation, based on the description of the book, that it will be (paraphrasing) another uncritical privileged mourning of the changes that came as a result of WW1 and the world that was lost, but so far it seems very far from that. In fact, far from mourning the world of her girlhood, Brittain is pretty much saying that her upbringing, like that of millions of other young women of her day, was not fit for purpose - for *any* purpose really.

That's about all I have tonight :)

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PEDM: 5 April

I've been having some interesting feelings about all the fan reactions I've seen to this photo of Colin Morgan for the filming of Vera Brittain's 'Testament of Youth'. There have been lots of "OMG war injury! how can I bear it! I'm going to cry" etc etc comments. I find it tremendously funny. I've never had problems looking at Colin (or any other actor) in injury makeup or getting faux-hurt on screen (it's acting! acting!) and I suppose I find a lot of the reactions very melodramatic. Then again, most of them are probably teenagers, and so everything is infinitely more intense and dramatic. I hope they're teenagers. Otherwise, how do these people bear living in the real world?

One of the most pleasing things about this is that a whole lot of those fans say they're going to read 'Testament of Youth'; those who don't know much about the war's effect on Western society will learn some context. I was a bit shocked the other day when I saw someone asking on Reddit why everybody is obsessed with WW2 but nobody ever speaks about the First World War and got a shock. What do you mean nobody ever talks about the First World War? And then I realised they were probably American, and I don't think the US has such an emotional connection to WW1 as it does to WW2 where they had much greater involvement. Here, of course, WW1 is more in the national conscience because of Gallipoli and the ANZAC thing.

Speaking of the lovely Colin, I am still waiting to see Quirke properly; the downloads were fairly crap quality and while I have the DVD on order it hasn't shipped yet. I've read the Quirke books. I enjoyed them although they also irritated me, mainly because there seems to be utterly no reason why Quirke has so many women falling all over him. He doesn't say much, he's not charming or affectionate, we're given no indication that he's particularly attractive, so why does he get so much casual sex? In the 50s, no less? Hmph.

PEDM: 4 April

I've always had trouble with scheduling and time management. Recently I've found a really nifty little thing that helps with that: HabitRPG. It's a website and also comes as an app.

It's a nice concept, not especially original since it works in with the whole 'gamification' craze. But it works for me better than any other gamification app, because you can form a party with other people and venture forth to defeat monsters. The more of your daily tasks you accomplish, the harder you hit the monsters and the more protected you are; eventually you can buy better equipment and you get eggs which can be hatched into pets and stuff.

I've mainly found it handy because I don't want to let my party down - when you miss a daily task, your entire party takes a hit. So I'm actually managing to exercise and take my medicine and give Oliver his medicine and do the dishes every day, just so we don't all get slaughtered by a gryphon! It's working for me, which is great. Whatever works.

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PEDM: 3 April

I am sitting here with my beautiful Oliver on my lap, knowing that we may not have that much longer with him. He's quite old (at least 17) and has several things wrong with him; arthritis, hyperthyroidism and kidney disease. He's on medication for all of them, but last week we found out that the kidney disease has progressed further and he's now on borrowed time. He's lost half a kilo in two months - that's a lot for a cat. He's also deaf, and he's got kitty dementia, which makes him yowl a lot, forget what he was yowling about, and for some reason be totally obsessed with Knocking Over All the Things.

On the bright side, he has decent quality of life still; he eats his tucker with gusto, he purrs a lot, he likes sitting on his humans and he's interested in the outside world, although we don't let him out much any more since he's gone deaf.

He's our special little guy, part of our family for 16 years, and while I will miss him, I am also proud of the home we've given him. He knows he is loved and cared for. What more could a pussycat want?

Docos

I love documentaries. Love 'em. Recently I saw two - one American and one English - that really stuck in my mind. They were not about similar incidents but they're both about families, people trying to make sense of the inexplicable, and most of all about the illusion of perfection and the pressure to keep that appearance going at all costs.

The US documentary was 'There's Something Wrong With Aunt Diane' which you can watch here in its entirety (warning: it does contain two distressing images of Diane's dead body after she was pulled out of the wreck). It's about the Taconic State Parkway crash; Diane Schuler drove the wrong way down a highway for two miles and ended up smashing into another car, killing herself, her daughter, her three nieces and three people in the car she hit. Her autopsy showed that she'd drunk a large amount of alcohol and smoked marijuana just before the crash, but everyone who knew her insists she was a perfect mother, psychologically stable, and definitely not an alcoholic.

It"s not just Aunt Diane there was something wrong with.Collapse )

The English doco was 'We Need to Talk About Dad' which you can watch on the youtubes here. It's about a happy family - parents and two boys with a "perfect" life - until the father called the mum into the garden, blindfolded her telling her he had a surprise for her... and hit her in the head with an axe. Amazingly, she not only survived but did everything she could to prevent his prosecution. Originally charged with attempted murder he was eventually convicted of GBH and spent only five months in prison. He was deemed to have suffered a temporary psychotic episode, and his wife took him back into the family home.

This was both OK and not OK with their eldest sonCollapse )

So there you go; two haunting documentaries about two horrible events.

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January. Post every week month, maybe :D

My god, is it over a week into January already? How time flies.

Happiness is having a friend like gaminette who will go and see Mojo and buy me a programme and send it to me <3 <3
(I only wish we'd been able to see it together, as we did The Tempest... Damnit, London, why must you be so far away?)

We have been watching Coast Australia, which is the Australian edition of 'Coast' starring Neil Oliver of windswept long hair fame. When we did the Great Ocean Road last year, we saw the signs and trailers round by the Twelve Apostles saying they were filming Coast. I didn't catch a glimpse of Neil (or his hair) then but it's fun to watch it saying "We were there then!" :)

This brings up the notion of another holiday, although we don't know where or when, or how long for. Alas, the Aussie dollar has done a nosedive against the pound, meaning that the accommodation which cost us the equivalent of $140 a night in May would now set us back about $180. Ouch. We might have to delay London for a couple of years, and then I suspect it will be part of a Glorious European Holiday. London, I love you and miss you.

I have nothing to say and I am saying it and that is livejournal facebook tumblr all kinds of blogging, really.

Solving all the mysteries

This is clearly Solving All the Mysteries Month.

First they find the bodies of the McStay family, missing since 2010 in puzzling circumstances.

Then they (almost certainly) find the bodies of the Jamison family, also missing in mysterious circumstances since 2009.

And now the Somerton Man case is a step closer to being solved as the family of 'Jestyn' have come out and spoken in public. The Somerton Man case is one of Australia's most intriguing unsolved mysteries ever - an unidentified body, an unknown cause of death, a mysterious code, a beautiful secretive nurse, a book of love poetry, rumours of espionage, etc etc. You couldn't make this up.

FWIW, my theories: McStays; one of the parents was caught up in something dodgy, whether knowingly or unknowingly; they pissed someone off; they made plans to flee to Mexico to escape that person, hence the computer searches and language software; but that person caught up to them first.

Jamison family; there were clearly mental health issues with both parents, so it wouldn't surprise me if this was a murder-suicide.

Somerton Man; no freaking idea.

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Amused

OH COLIN. You silly boy. Everything about this photo, from the ridiculous outfit to the belly-skin to the expression on his face, is fabulous.

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andraste_oz
It's all socks and cats

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