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Fic Archive Post

Jan. 2nd, 2020 | 10:54 pm

Since site signatures and profiles offer limited space for links and summaries, I thought I'd create a list at the top of the LJ that I can update when fics are posted.

I'm a complete review junkie, so most of these stories have been posted in more than one place, and indeed some of them appear in many different archives -- a list of which stories appear in which archives is given at the foot of the page. All of them however are posted to my fic journal.

They tend to be gen with or without a secondary shippy plot, although about a quarter are basically shipfic. Quite a number are challenge stories of one kind or another, although in many cases those are ones that I had in mind anyway and just adapted slightly for the challenge. :) The most common rating is PG-13, although there are a few that are R/NC-17.

List of ficsCollapse )

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Trump's First Year at Hogwarts

Jan. 20th, 2018 | 02:15 am

Just in case you haven't seen it ...


Not sure what's funnier, the genuine responses or the butthurt ones from assorted conservatives who seem to think it's all a Liberal Plot to stop their hashtag trending.

Expecto impeachment!

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Five Moments that Allude to Dumbledore's Relationship with Grindelwald

Aug. 15th, 2017 | 04:50 pm

Hm, I never did get around to that "17 posts in '17" thing, so this is the first of the year ... Oh well. Anyway, I happened to see a link to this post on MuggleNet and thought it was well worth highlighting:

Five Moments that Allude to Dumbledore's Relationship with Grindelwald

Two of those are from PS/SS, two from OotP, and one from CoS. Not entirely sure all of them were meant to be a reference to Grindelwald, but they fit and could very well be, and if you're like me, will probably give you some facepalm-y "of course" moments (especially number 5).

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WTF, America?

Nov. 9th, 2016 | 08:42 pm

... look, when we said we wanted you to elect Trump so Brexit!UK would no longer be thought of as the stupidest, most xenophobic nation around, it was a joke.

There are various scenarios around in which Trump being full of shit means it's not as bad as it could be, but they involve him not actually doing anything of importance -- either because he treats the job as a gigantic ego-wank and lets his subordinates do all the actual governing, or because he does something which gives the Republican party the excuse to apply a swift impeachment backstab and install Pence (although it would have to be something spectacularly bad for them to brave the wroth of their base and do that).

And of course even in those best case scenarios, the Republicans still have a triple lock giving them a free hand to do what they want as far as policy goes. I assume it's going to be goodbye Obamacare, hello all sorts of ghastly ideas. Sucks to be American either way, but as for the rest of the world's point of view -- you voted for that, you deal with it, just don't start a fucking nuclear war.

Of course, it offers a yoooge boost to right-wing triumphalism world wide, so the next round of elections in Europe are going to be fun too (if you enjoy seeing just how fucked up things can get). The quote that struck me was from Marine Le Pen’s "most senior strategist, Florian Philippot", who tweeted: "Their world is collapsing. Ours is being built." He might as well have added "Tomorrow belongs to us!", just to get the full vibe.

It's easy to draw comparisons with the 1930s. The problem with that is that it feels like an overreaction, and probably -- hopefully -- is, but presumably in the 1930s it was an overreaction too right up to the point at which it wasn't, and it's hard to tell the difference without the benefit of hindsight. However, if you're looking for analogies ... well, after Brexit, I tried to think of some other case in which a nation had deliberately chosen long-term self-harm for really dumb reasons, but the best I could think of was the cattle-killing movement in the 1850s Cape. As for this ... well, how about the same part of the world a century later, the 1948 South African general election which has a number of wince-inducing parallels? That one worked out well, didn't it?

The older I get, the more I feel like "people are shits" acts as a necessary and sufficient explanation for many things.

My sympathies for my flisters in the US, most of whom I assume had sense enough to vote Clinton.

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Nine Worlds 2016

Mar. 29th, 2016 | 12:17 am

Is anyone planning to attend "Nine Worlds Geekfest 2016" in London this August? I haven't been to the earlier ones, but this time the venue is within a few minutes walk of my flat, so I feel I should probably make an effort if others are. :)

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The Belated Christmas Card Post

Dec. 8th, 2015 | 07:48 pm

As always, late off the mark, but hey ... if you'd like a card from me, please comment here with your address etc. In the way of these things it may end up being a "holidays" card depending on the post, but that probably isn't a surprise. :)

Comments screened, but feel free to PM instead if you prefer.

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Sep. 28th, 2015 | 06:14 pm

I just received a spammish email via FF.net pointing me to a German fanfic site (in English) called Inkitt, and inviting me to submit a fic (NTLJ as it happens) to some sort of contest they're running:


Anyone know anything about them? Is this legit or are we looking at the latest Fandom Kerfuffle? The site looks like it might be run on a commercial or at least semi-commercial basis, and I get suspicious about what agenda there might be with this sort of thing!

(Also -- blimey, it's been a long time since I posted anything here.)

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ASOIAF Notes and Theories

Feb. 3rd, 2015 | 12:28 am

These notes have been sitting on my hard drive for ages, but this recent post on Reddit from someone who inspected the original manuscript of A Dance with Dragons, and which seemed to support one of my pet theories (or at any rate nix a popular alternative), reminded me of it. So here are some comments about various mysterious identities and so on in the series -- I dare say most or all have been brought up elsewhere before now, but I only occasionally go looking for ASOIAF meta. Spoilers abound, comments invited!

Coldhands, a couple of dwarfs, dragonsteel, Aegon etcCollapse )

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One for the cat lovers

Jan. 22nd, 2015 | 08:57 pm

At the moment, there's some sort of new construction taking place on Victoria Street opposite the tube exit from Victoria Station, which is hidden behind a sort of hoarding arrangement. As you get to the top of the stairs and come out onto ground level, you are confronted with a giant arty piece of a brooding feline, thus:

OK, the text isn't there, but it seemed appropriate. :)

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Holiday Cards

Dec. 1st, 2014 | 10:27 pm

It's that time of year to start thinking about seasonal cards again (well, actually it was that time of year a few weeks ago, but hey). So if you'd like to get a card from me, you know the drill -- post the name and address you'd like on the card/envelope, and any Christmas/holiday theme preferences below. As always, comments are screened, and no need to reciprocate.

(Given my, er, legendary efficiency and the vagaries of December overseas post, it's sadly possible it might not arrive until the New Year, of course, in which case my apologies.)

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An unexpected crossover of philately and fandom

Apr. 16th, 2014 | 10:25 pm

Other than the assorted HP/LotR/whatever tie-ins, that is. Anyway, I think these new Finnish stamps (scroll down to the foot of the page) might be popular with slash fans:


I mention this as a public service. :)

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New preview chapter from The Winds of Winter

Mar. 26th, 2014 | 10:29 pm

In case you haven't seen this, there's a new chapter up:


POV is "Mercy". No spoilers from me, except the very minor one that GRRM seems to be enjoying himself by getting in a riff on Richard III. :)

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Christmas Wishes

Dec. 23rd, 2013 | 08:39 pm

I never seem to have got the hang of this "organisation" thing, and therefore didn't manage to make a cards post this year. :( So may I simply wish you all a Happy Christmas (or Happy Holidays if you prefer) and all the very best for the New Year.

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Thank you Steven Moffat ...

Nov. 23rd, 2013 | 09:27 pm

... for coming up with a 50th anniversary episode that worked, one that managed to do homage to the history of Doctor Who without becoming bogged down in it, one that resolved old plotlines and then headed off in a new direction, one that managed to both work within the parameters set by the show's previous canon and also reconstruct them to produce something unexpected but fitting.

In short, thank you for producing a beautifully fannish piece of work.

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Harry Potter Casting

Jul. 8th, 2013 | 08:08 pm

Belatedly, a quick comment on David Cameron's reply to a question asked him in Kazakhstan that he would want to be Harry Potter. In your dreams, Dave. It was widely reported that he then said people in Britain would cast him as Voldemort. Powerful evil wizard? In your dreams, Dave.

What he actually said, apparently, was ""I suspect people in Britain might want to paint me in a different role but I'll let them do that". Well, since you suggest it ... how would Dodgy Dave and his chum Georgie fit into the HP world?

Well, we have a career politician who seemed affable enough when not faced with any serious problems, but turns nasty when criticised, and has shown an unprincipled tendency to operate solely on the basis of what he thinks will keep him in the top job. He has a sidekick who seems to take a smirking relish in devising spiteful ways to kick those who are already down, especially when they're not his own "sort" -- a group who consider themselves a natural elite.

Yes, I think we're looking at Fudge and Umbridge here, aren't we?

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Queen of the Universe

May. 12th, 2013 | 04:24 pm

This has been bugging me and I clearly haven't been Googling the right things to find the answer: in last night's Doctor Who, one of the kids says to Clara "When someone offers to make you Queen of the Universe, you say yes!" I'm pretty sure that's a reference to a line in something else I've heard or seen fairly recently, but I can't remember what, dammit. Can anyone help me out here?

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Fic post

Apr. 8th, 2013 | 11:00 pm

Updates to snorkfics -- the McG-Percy-Beedle-goblins fic The Sacrifice of Right, and this one from melusinahp's "one prompt, many writers" challenge:

Title: Automatic Reactions
Rating: PG-13
Length: 500 words

Summary: "To burn with desire and keep quiet about it is the greatest punishment we can bring on ourselves."― Federico García Lorca, Blood Wedding and Yerma

The idea was that everyone participating wrote a ficlet to that same prompt, with a contest afterwards to guess who wrote what. Congratulations to writcraft who made the only correct guess on this one, even though I tried to adopt a different style. :)

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Have some reconditioned Shakespeare

Apr. 8th, 2013 | 08:18 pm

The evil that women do lives after them. The good is oft interred with their bones. So let it be with Thatcher.

Since I'm a mean person, I wonder how many extra hits this is getting?


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Fifty Shades of Grey fic

Apr. 1st, 2013 | 01:56 pm

I thought you might like to see a couple of short extracts from the latest fic I'm working on. Since I do seem to write a lot of stuff that's basically Harry Potter genfic, this time I've gone for source material that's quite definitely NC-17 -- namely the E.L.James bonkbuster Fifty Shades of Grey.

The fic itself is basically a good old fashioned High School AU (with Twists which will become apparent as the story unfolds ...) -- this extract is based on the scene in the original where Ana finds herself in Christian Grey's arms for the first time, after he rescues her from nearly being run over:

Extract from new fic (suggestions for a good title welcome)Collapse )

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Fic: The Sacrifice of Right

Jan. 5th, 2013 | 07:08 pm

Written for hp_holidaygen (will appear on snorkfics in due course):

Title: The Sacrifice of Right
Rating: PG-13
Length: 14,500
Characters: Minerva McGonagall, Percy Weasley, Kingsley Shacklebolt, assorted supporting cast of portraits, goblins etc

Summary: When Minerva McGonagall discovers a cryptic note among Dumbledore's old papers, she finds herself investigating a mystery involving goblins, ancient runes, and Beedle the Bard, with the invaluable assistance of Percy Weasley.

Notes: Makes use of bits of secondary canon from Pottermore, but no prior knowledge of them is required to understand the story. For the avoidance of confusion: a 'CV' (curriculum vitae) in British usage is the same as a 'resumé' in US usage -- a list of accomplishments submitted in support of a job application.

Link: here

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The Lair of the Unicorn

Dec. 4th, 2012 | 12:14 am

Unicorn lair 'discovered' in North Korea
In what appears to be a genuine world exclusive, the inimitable Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) has now broken the incredible news that archaeologists in Pyongyang have discovered a unicorn's lair.

Or rather, the report says that they have "recently reconfirmed" the lair of one of the unicorns ridden by the ancient Korean King Tongmyong, founder of a kingdom which ruled parts of China and the Korean peninsula from the the 3rd century BC to 7th century AD.

The KCNA goes on to state that the location happens to be 200 metres from a temple in the North Korean capital, adding: "A rectangular rock carved with words "Unicorn Lair" stands in front of the lair."
The KCNA also go on to state that "the discovery ... proves that Pyongyang was a capital city of Ancient Korea as well as Koguryo Kingdom," which is handy. I think we can all agree that this is an awesome and completely credible story. After all, if you can't trust the official news agency of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea to report things accurately, who can you trust, eh?

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This has got to be of use in a fic somehow ...

Nov. 24th, 2012 | 11:55 pm

Pacific's Sandy Island found not to exist

"Geologists from the University of Sydney have discovered that a 26km-wide land mass called Sandy Island that can be seen on charts and maps – including Google Maps - does not in fact exist. An island was thought to exist between Australia and the French territory of New Caledonia, but there is no satellite image of it. Geologist Sabin Zahirovic says it is possible that human error during the process of digitising maps created Sandy Island."

ETA: Hm, from a bit of curious Googling it seems like relatively old news then? Still a good story ...

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Christmas Cards

Nov. 15th, 2012 | 07:45 pm

Working on the theory that if I start early I might get everything done on time this year -- if anyone would like a card from me this Christmas, simply let me know where to send it with a comment to this post! Also, please mention if you have any strong preferences pro or con regarding subject matter (I'll avoid the cons, and try to do the pros if possible). Comments are screened.

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Dear Yuletide Author

Oct. 31st, 2012 | 09:14 pm

I'll just say what I like best and then mention a few things for the specific fandoms, I guess -- hope this isn't too picky! Basically, what follows is my general take on things, but write something you feel comfortable with.

By fandomCollapse )

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Sarah Jane Adventures: Amazon seem to think the Shopkeeper is the Nth Doctor

Sep. 28th, 2012 | 07:47 pm

When looking at the Amazon (UK) site, I happened to notice the following in the blurb for The Sarah Jane Adventures: Series 1-5 Box Set:

The Fifth Series:

The bubbly Sky – the Starchild placed in Sarah Jane’s care by The Doctor – settles into Bannerman Road and discovers she has telekinetic powers.

I presume this blurb comes from Amazon or some clueless BBC marketroid rather than being something official, but I must admit, I always did rather like the idea that the "Shopkeeper" in Lost in Time and Sky was actually a future incarnation of the Doctor. (Although I'm not sure where Captain the parrot comes in -- I'd be inclined to say it was to make you think of Jack and then the Time Agency.) It would be awesome if the next Doctor had in fact first turned up in the spin-off, though.

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Yuletide nominations

Sep. 25th, 2012 | 09:42 pm

The Yuletide fandom nominations are open -- that's the stage where you specify fandoms and characters you'd like for the mods to check that they qualify -- or more often things you'd like to see written about that never are outside of Yuletide, of course. (Fandoms and characters that have already been accepted show up with ticks when you enter them so that you can avoid duplication, I believe.)

My three nominations were Mordant's Need by Stephen Donaldson, The Mote in God's Eye/The Gripping Hand by Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle (which I re-read recently, wondered if there was any fic out there and couldn't find any, except for the authorised one Pournelle's daughter wrote), and The New Avengers TV series. So if anyone would like to offer any of those when it comes the time, please do. :)

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Sebastian Vettel, Time Agent

Sep. 9th, 2012 | 07:00 pm

At least, to judge from the helmet he was wearing at today's Grand Prix at Monza, which clearly marks him out as a member of the Silence Task Force:


Oh, of course they had a cover story, but who's gonna believe that, eh?

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The writer Steven Moffat reminds me of

Sep. 5th, 2012 | 12:37 am

At least in regard to style and plot sleight-of-hand -- keeping the rabbits he's about to pull out of the hat not so much up his sleeve, as out on the table munching lettuce in full view, so you don't think they're important?

John Sullivan. :)

Thoughts anyone?

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Fandom meme

Aug. 29th, 2012 | 11:46 am

This one from all over the place, but c&p'd from melusinahp:

Pick a number and I'll answer the question.

1 - Your current OTP
2 - A pairing you initially didn’t consider but someone changed your mind
3 - A pairing you have never liked and probably never will
4 - A pairing you wish you liked but just can’t
5 - Have you added anything stupid/cracky/hilarious to your fandom, if so, what
6 - What’s the longest you’ve ever been in a fandom
7 - Do you remember your first OTP, if so who was in it
8 - Do you prefer characters from real action series or anime series
9 - Has the internet caused you to stop liking any fandoms, if so, which and why
10 - Name a fandom you didn’t care/think about until you saw it all over tumblr [let's substitute LJ here for a more meaningful question in my case]
11 - How do you feel about the other people in your current fandom
12 - Your favorite fanartist/author gives you one request, what do you ask for
13 - Your favorite fanart or fanartist
14 - Your favorite fanfiction or fanauthor
15 - Choose a song at random, which OTP does it remind you of
16 - Invent a random AU for any fandom (we always need more ideas)
17 - A ship you’ve abandoned and why
18 - A pairing you ship that you don’t think anyone else ships
19 - Show us an example of your personal headcanon
20 - Do you remember what your first fanwork was?
21 - Self-rec: What's your favorite fanwork you've created?
22 - Are you one of those fans who can’t watch anything without shipping
23 - 5 favorite characters from 5 different fandoms
24 - 3 OTPs from 3 different fandoms
25 - A fandom you’re in but have no ships from
26 - Just ramble about something fan-related, go go go

I must be nostalgic for fandom things, obviously!

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More Olymplogging

Jul. 30th, 2012 | 07:49 pm

Oddly, it's actually more frustrating to watch events on TV when all sorts of things are going on very close at hand and in principle it would have been possible to attend, rather than when they're half a world away and it wouldn't have been possible anyway. Doubtless that will wear off over the next few days.

Mind you, the ticketing thing is pretty annoying too -- I'm just watching Wickmayer v Wozniacki, on live feed from the bloody Centre Court at Wimbledon (as I type, in a final set game that's gone to a dozen or more deuces), and the place has the kind of pathetically sparse crowd normally associated with modern County Championship cricket. Did everybody who had tickets bugger off after watching Roger Federer?

OK, not everyone turned up for the first half of the double header at Wembley last night to see Senegal v Uruguay, but they missed a good match -- Senegal looked very impressive, and won 2-0 even after having a player sent off for scything down Luis Suarez in a manner that would have had the (thoroughly misnamed) Claudio Gentile nodding in approval. Mind you, it was Suarez, who was booed all night, so the player who clattered him got a round of applause as he walked off. :)

The GB v UAE match was also worth seeing -- the scratch GB team are playing together better now, with Craig Bellamy in particular clearly enjoying himself immensely marauding down the flanks. Still, we missed a lot of chances and for about ten minutes it looked as if it was about to go horribly wrong -- the roar when Sturridge got the third was as much relief as anything.

The men's team gymnastics was amazing -- China never looked like getting anything but gold, but GB ended up with THE BRONZE MEDAL, DAMMIT (but for a successful appeal by Japan it could have been silver). I can remember the days when British gymnastics was basically crap -- muscular Russians were doing one-finger pull-ups on the high bar, fourteen year old Romanian waifs were doing triple back somersaults on the beam while singing the national anthem, and our lot could barely manage a handstand. (OK, I exaggerate slightly.) We've had individual apparatus wins in recent times, but getting a team medal represents massive progress. Well done lads.

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Nice work so far GB, well, except for the competitors anyway

Jul. 28th, 2012 | 10:00 pm

I have to admit, that opening ceremony was actually quite fun and not the cringefest I was expecting. Then again, it was very, very British -- whether it made any sense at all to anyone else is another matter. :) But there was no point in trying to out-spectacle Beijing, so why not go for eccentricity rather than high seriousness? Maybe Rio can also play to their own country's stereotypes now and just go "2016? GIGANTIC BEACH PARTY".

Also, you have to love an opening that sticks two fingers up to David Cameron's NHS policies and features the Jam, the Pistols, and Born Slippy. Heavy use of Britmusic throughout in fact -- which seemed like a pretty good idea, as that was playing to a recognised strength. So take a well-deserved bow Mr Boyle.

The actual Team GB haven't done anything so far -- I had an uncomfortable feeling that the cycling road race was going to go wrong, and so it proved. It didn't help that the Murrays got knocked out of the doubles either, although the women's football team are looking like they could finally challenge for a medal, at least. Hoping for better luck tomorrow!

The REALLY good thing about the BBC coverage is the live video feed that lets you view anything going on ad lib regardless of what's on the TV highlights. Great for me as my Freeview box is on the blink anyway and I haven't got a replacement TV yet. It isn't available outside the UK though (unless using technical tricks) -- are other broadcasters doing the same thing?

I'm aiming to watch at least a bit of all 26 sports over the course of the Olympics, and by feed-hopping I've already seen about a dozen(!), including things I wouldn't normally have seen -- the first gold of the Games awarded in shooting, a tense women's foil final settled on a tie-breaker, the key semi-final in the men's team archery, a couple of judo finals -- along with odds and ends of preliminary round team sports and the swimming finals.

Off to Wembley tomorrow for the football ...

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Time off, feet up

Jul. 27th, 2012 | 07:57 pm

Finally taking some extended time off work -- a couple of weeks, starting now.

So, is there going to be anything good on the telly? :)

Oh, as for the flame-lighting thing -- obviously the meta answer would be to have the torch brought into the stadium by David Tennant, kitted out in the old overcoat and trainers. :D

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Ye Olde Traditional Olympic Torch Relay Poste

Jul. 26th, 2012 | 09:29 pm

The Olympic Torch passed by West Kensington Tube station this afternoon, which is only a short walk from where I live, so I went over to watch (along with quite a number of other people who had the same idea, of course). I haven't been following it on TV, so I hadn't realised it would actually be a small procession with floats from the sponsors and so on, the Flame itself was blink-and-you-miss-it! Anyway, here's the picspam traditional on these occasions:

A dozen photosCollapse )

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Musical Interlude

Jun. 26th, 2012 | 11:02 pm

RL post: Sunday was mostly spent on Hackney Marshes at the BBC's Hackney Weekend event -- lots and lots of artists on half a dozen different stages.

Arrived a bit late, but for a lot of the time I was wandering between the different stages taking in a few songs from a variety of acts -- as I recall Ben Howard, Sub Focus, Maverick Sabre, Jessie J, Enter Shikari, Tinie Tempah, B.o.B and Chase & Status. On the main stage the "Special Guest" turned out to be Dizzee Rascal (who I'd pretty much fingered as the likely candidate), although it ended up that the only two sets I stayed for throughout were Florence + the Machine and of course Rihanna's closer (with the expected guest spot from Jay-Z) -- both excellent.

And since it's traditional to plug someone in this sort of post, I can but mention one of the acts I randomly stumbled across on the "BBC Introducing" stage -- Arthur Beatrice, which is a band not a soloist! They're an indie-pop outfit and have both a female and a male lead singer, the former especially good with one of those clear high haunting voices. Here's their set.

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Rain makes everything better

Jun. 8th, 2012 | 12:16 am


Oddly soothing as background, and guaranteed 100% dry. :)

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Unexpected gift

May. 27th, 2012 | 09:36 pm

A very nice Yuletide New Year's Resolution story in the Mordant's Need fandom, gifted to me out of the blue:

A Sound of Distant Horns (1772 words)
by mithen
Fandom: Mordant's Need - Stephen R. Donaldson
Summary: Three years after the events of Mordant's Need, Myste travels with Terisa and Geraden to visit her sister in distant Carmag.

Nicely done -- gets the feel and characters well and much appreciated. Mordant, dammit! I'd more or less given up hope of anyone writing that. :)

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May. 26th, 2012 | 07:51 pm

Can anyone think of any occasions when people normally use first person simple present tense in ordinary conversation? This sort of thing:
I swing my legs off the bed and slide into my hunting boots ... I pull on trousers, a shirt, tuck my long dark braid up into a cap, and grab my forage bag ... I put the cheese carefully into my pocket as I slip outside ... I can feel the muscles in my face relaxing, my pace quickening as I climb the hills to our place ... The sight of him waiting there brings on a smile.
Why yes, this post is indeed prompted by reading The Hunger Games (but not yet Catching Fire or Mockingjay, so no spoilers plz).

This use of present tense seems ubiquitous in fanfic, but unusual elsewhere. I'm not sure even Mike Doonesbury narrates his life in present tense! The reason I ask is that I found it rather distracting, and thinking about that, I wonder if that's because in any normal situation, you'd just use simple past tense to describe what happened? I gather it may be a common usage in other languages, but that doesn't necessarily mean it works in English.

The only uses that spring to mind other than literary ones are "Footballer's Tense" while watching a replay -- e.g. "I take the ball up the left wing and cross it and he heads it in" (although more usually "I've taken the ball up the left wing and crossed it and he's headed it in" -- present perfect?) -- and "RPGer's Tense" while describing something their character is doing -- e.g. "I climb up the rope and take the jewel from the plinth". Other than that, I got nothing.

Possibly because of such uses, for me it creates a sense more of abstraction or distance or (when written) of affectation rather than one of immediacy. Does anyone else have this reaction?

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The Ticketmaster Olympics

May. 23rd, 2012 | 08:29 pm

Is anyone on my flist in possession of (a) the current location of the Ticketmaster interaction designers and (b) the control codes for a cruise missile?

Just a small one would do?



This post brought to you by total failure to get any response other than "Sorry, no exact matches were found" from the Olympic ticketing site. Would it have been too hard to stagger the release of the sessions by expected desirability? Or simply queue applications? Or at least manage to keep the front end and back end of the system matched up so as not to advertise unavailable tickets?

Apparently so. I refer you to my previous post on a similar fiasco and in particular to the comment about thirty seconds and the back of an envelope.

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Not Going There meme

Apr. 20th, 2012 | 10:51 pm

From plaid_slytherin, out of interest:

Not Going There meme: Everyone has things they write about. Everyone has things they don't write about. Challenge me out of my comfort zone by telling me something I don't write about, but you'd like to read.

And yes, there are some obvious general ones here, so specifics are good. Given my Things To Do backlog it's very likely I won't end up actually writing it, but you never know. :)

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Radio 1 Hackney Weekend - part yay, part rant

Mar. 26th, 2012 | 09:39 pm

I finally managed to make it through the signup process and get a ticket for the Radio 1 Hackney Weekend 2012 on the Sunday!

(OK, I'd have slightly preferred the Saturday, but by the time I got in they'd all gone. Still, for a lineup headlined by Rihanna and featuring a stack of other big names, that'll do fine, especially as it was essentially free.)

That actually made it worth the signup process, which resembled repeatedly slamming your head against a brick wall, except for being slightly less fun. It was a classic shambles out of the Olympic Tickets Reallocation stable -- well, different company, same basic failure to have enough server capacity to cope. Really, guys, what are people paying you for? Surely you must be expecting a mad scramble for popular tickets now? I mean, due to the fact it happens every single time?

At least today they'd apparently managed to tweak the system to serve up an actual holding page with auto-resubmission rather than yesterday's broken effort that usually came up with a cryptic back-end error message saying "your IP is not allowed access", but it still took well over an hour. I just left a browser window open to the page on one screen while working on the other.

And this sort of thing is, of course, completely unnecessary. Get people to pre-register with all necessary details and then allocate the tickets by some random process, and you wouldn't need a big server farm capable of handling a massive peak load; you could run the whole thing from a bog standard webserver. In fact, you could probably do the actual allocation from an iPhone, just to be flash. No need to put a premium on being a fast typist, or on being able to get to a computer at the key time, and no worries about automated signup hacks. I mean, if someone can come up with a more workable idea in thirty seconds on the back of an envelope ... you suck.

Oh well, (semi-)professional rant over. :) So, is anyone else going to this?

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Recent fics

Jan. 3rd, 2012 | 11:48 pm

A couple of fics for recent fests which the reveal has now been done:

Title: For The Greater Good
Fandom: Harry Potter
Rating: PG-13
Word Count: 8,600
Characters: Elphias Doge, Albus Dumbledore, a few OCs
Summary: "Don't believe a word of it! Not a word, Harry! Let nothing tarnish your memories of Albus Dumbledore!" Our own weaknesses are always those we criticise most harshly in others.
Notes: For hp_holidaygen

Title: Need To Know
Fandom: James Bond (Movies)
Rating: PG-13
Word Count: 5,500
Characters: Bond, Moneypenny, M's, a few more OCs
Summary: Even a 00 agent isn't told all the things MI5 has up its sleeve. Of course, things can get interesting when they find out anyway.
Notes: For Yuletide. Setting for the record: post-Cold War, say early/mid 1990s. Somewhat crack-AU as requested, although given the generally crackish nature of Bond films and how often they're reboots or retcons in effect anyway, I'm not sure that matters. :)

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Dec. 23rd, 2011 | 12:47 am

Amazingly, I have actually finished and posted a decent length Yuletide story with a whole half an hour to spare, despite scrambling to get it written in the few days since scrambling to get my hp_holidaygen story written. It's not exactly polished, admittedly, but at least it's got most of the characters the giftee requested and stuff happens in something closely resembling a plot.

Remind me not to do this again next year ...!

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Beta requests

Dec. 16th, 2011 | 02:31 pm

If anyone's in a position to do a bit of betaing, I could do with one for a couple of stories?

(1) a HP medium-length oneshot, usual sort of style for me, as much as anything to say whether the characters and storyline seem halfway plausible

(2) (by Wednesday, probably deliverable Sunday/Monday) a shortish Yuletide oneshot, cracky AU of a well-known but little-ficced fandom -- can't specify which unfortunately, but it's one you probably know enough about to comment on!

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Christmas Card Last Minute Post

Dec. 13th, 2011 | 07:51 pm

Christmas card post is here at this link, comments screened.

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Christmas Card Post

Dec. 4th, 2011 | 12:13 am

It's that time of year again ... if you'd like a card from me, comment to this post (they're screened) with your name & address and any design preferences. Actually, given my usual awesome efficiency in such things I should probably have posted this sometime in mid-August to give myself time to get things organised, but there you go. :)

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Dear Yuletide Author letter

Nov. 20th, 2011 | 08:47 pm

I'll just ruin Yuletide say what I like best and then mention a few things for the specific fandoms, I guess -- hope this isn't too picky! Basically, what follows is my general take on things, but you have to write something you feel comfortable with.

DetailsCollapse )

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Lyrics meme answers

Nov. 15th, 2011 | 11:13 pm

Answers to the music lyrics -- and yes, I would be pleased to have all of these on my iPod if I ever get one! Congrats to atdelphi and ozma_katiebell with seven each, which is more than I usually get in these things. :) YouTube links added for many (I'm amazed that people have actually done videos for some of these).

1. All that I possess is my existence, vagrant more or less -- Joe, Inspiral Carpets
2. You ain't been blue, no, no, no, you ain't been blue -- Mood Indigo, Duke Ellington (answered by ozma_katiebell)
3. I stand in the distance I view from afar -- Confide in Me, Kylie Minogue
4. She's got a smile that it seems to me -- Sweet Child o' Mine, Guns 'n' Roses (answered by atdelphi)
5. I was born in a cross-fire hurricane -- Jumpin' Jack Flash, the Stones (answered by a_t_rain)
6. For a while we must part, but remember me sweetheart -- Till the Lights of London Shine Again, Joe Loss and his Band
7. Whenever I need you, you give me such a run around -- The Harder I Try, Brother Beyond
8. If I could make a wish I think I'd pass -- The Air That I Breathe, Hollies (answered by lucie_p)
9. First I was afraid I was petrified -- I Will Survive, Gloria Gaynor (answered by atdelphi, nineveh_uk, ozma_katiebelland lucie_p)
10. Well the kids are all hopped up and ready to go -- Sheena Is A Punk Rocker, Ramones
11. We got married in a fever, hotter than a pepper sprout [recentish version] -- Jackson, Joaquin Phoenix/Reese Witherspoon version from Walk the Line (answered by atdelphi and lucie_p)
12. Um, I've noticed you around. I find you very attractive -- Would You?, Touch & Go
13. There's something wrong with the world today, I don't know what it is -- Livin' on the Edge, Aerosmith (answered by atdelphi and ozma_katiebell)
14. The way she walks, the way she talks -- Girl of My Best Friend, Elvis version
15. Doesn't take much to make me happy and make me smile -- Best Of My Love, Emotions
16. You got a nasty reputation, we're in a sticky situation -- Raise Your Hands, Bon Jovi
17. Over and over, I try to prove my love to you -- Personality, original Lloyd Price version
18. Wait until the clock hits midnight, minute past I'm out the door -- Jumpin', Liberty X
19. I wasn't jealous before we met, now every woman I see is a potential threat -- Lay All Your Love On Me, Abba (answered by ozma_katiebell and lucie_p)
20. I want you to know that I'm happy for you -- You Oughta Know, Alanis Morissette
21. Cut my life into pieces -- Last Resort, Papa Roach (answered by atdelphi and ozma_katiebell)
22. Where it began, I can't begin to know when -- Sweet Caroline, Neil Diamond (answered by atdelphi and ozma_katiebell)
23. Downtown, we'll drown, we're in our never splender -- I'll Tumble 4 Ya, Culture Club
24. Help comes when you need it most, I'm cured by laughter -- Waltzing Along, James
25. Close my mind shut out the world, walk into my private Harlem -- Memories Don't Leave Like People Do, Tom Jones
26. I was alone I took a ride I didn't know what I would find there -- Got To Get You Into My Life, Cliff Bennett & the Rebel Rousers version (answered by a_t_rain)
27. Boul ma sene, boul ma guiss madi re nga fokni mane -- 7 Seconds, Yousou N'Dour and Neneh Cherry (the language is Wolof apparently, and no I'm not claiming I knew that)
28. Here's the thing, we started out friends, it was cool but it was all pretend -- Since U Been Gone, Kelly Clarkson (answered by virginia_bell and ozma_katiebell)
29. You're sailing softly through the sun, in a broken stone age dawn -- Strange Magic, ELO
30. Outside another yellow moon punched a hole in the nighttime -- Downtown Train, Tom Waits (answered by atdelphi)

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Lyrics meme

Nov. 11th, 2011 | 10:45 pm

Latest(?) lyric meme variant:

1. Open up your music player. Hit shuffle.
2. Record the first few lines of the first thirty songs that come up that do not give away the name of the song. Skip instrumentals, but don't skip the embarrassing ones.
3. Make hapless LJ denizens guess the song names and artists. Google is cheating. For musical songs, the name of the musical is acceptable in place of the artist.
4. Least hapless LJ denizen wins admiration. That's right, just like a lobbyist in budget season, the points don't matter.

Since I don't actually have an iPod or similar, this is what you get from a random selection from all the ripped tracks on my laptop (so very little from the last couple of years or so). Since that includes a lot of stuff acquired mainly for pub quiz setting purposes back when I set pub quizzes, I omitted songs I couldn't remember a damn thing about and/or ones that I wouldn't have put on an iPod if I had one. Date range: 1940s up to relatively recent. Actually, Windows Media Player hit on a surprisingly high proportion of well-known songs including a number of absolute gimmes, so have at it. :)

1. All that I possess is my existence, vagrant more or less
2. You ain't been blue, no, no, no, you ain't been blue
3. I stand in the distance I view from afar
4. She's got a smile that it seems to me
5. I was born in a cross-fire hurricane
6. For a while we must part, but remember me sweetheart
7. Whenever I need you, you give me such a run around
8. If I could make a wish I think I'd pass
9. First I was afraid I was petrified
10. Well the kids are all hopped up and ready to go
11. We got married in a fever, hotter than a pepper sprout [recentish version]
12. Um, I've noticed you around. I find you very attractive
13. There's something wrong with the world today, I don't know what it is
14. The way she walks, the way she talks
15. Doesn't take much to make me happy and make me smile
16. You got a nasty reputation, we're in a sticky situation
17. Over and over, I try to prove my love to you
18. Wait until the clock hits midnight, minute past I'm out the door
19. I wasn't jealous before we met, now every woman I see is a potential threat
20. I want you to know that I'm happy for you
21. Cut my life into pieces
22. Where it began, I can't begin to know when
23. Downtown, we'll drown, we're in our never splender
24. Help comes when you need it most, I'm cured by laughter
25. Close my mind shut out the world, walk into my private Harlem
26. I was alone I took a ride I didn't know what I would find there [not the original]
27. Boul ma sene, boul ma guiss madi re nga fokni mane
28. Here's the thing, we started out friends, it was cool but it was all pretend
29. You're sailing softly through the sun, in a broken stone age dawn
30. Outside another yellow moon punched a hole in the nighttime

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Beta request time again

Oct. 5th, 2011 | 12:00 am

Would anyone be prepared to do the usual high-speed-turnaround, basically sanity-check-only beta of a femgenficathon story? Always assuming I finish it of course, which is not at all guaranteed. The fandom is Doctor Who and the main character is Liz 10.

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Need a bit of help reading handwritten French here

Sep. 27th, 2011 | 12:08 am

Because my French is ... well, let's say very weak! Online or printed text with a dictionary at hand, maybe I can get the gist. Scruffy pencil handwriting on an old postcard? Nah.

The card(s) in question, picked up on eBay recently, were posted in Folkestone during World War 1:

(Larger and probably more readable version here)

Now the circular handstamp on the lower one reading "Cercle Militaire/(Albert)/Folkestone" was something I'd heard of: it referred to a club for Belgian soldiers passing through the town, set up by the Belgian Refugee Committee in the Parish Church of St Michael on the East Cliff. They seem to have collected mail from the men for later posting in the local post office. I've no chance of reading that one though, as it appears to be in Flemish.

Interestingly though, the other one looks as if it might have come from the same source before they started marking the cards, as it's written in French (I can at least pick out a few phrases!) and like the later card was only charged a halfpenny postage due despite being posted unpaid. (Normally at this date the charge on delivery was twice the deficiency -- so a penny here, since the inland postcard rate was a halfpenny up to June 1918 -- but if posted unpaid by a soldier on active service the addressee was only charged the single rate. Quite a scarce usage.)

Why yes, this is the sort of thing postal historians like. I'm sure the people I know in the philatelic world would be equally bemused by fandom. :)

Anyway, after all that, can anyone make out the full message on the card in French? I'd like to know if it gives any indication of being posted at the Cercle.

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