skew_whiff: (ding ding twang)
So I really should be packing and cleaning, but I'm not, because packing and cleaning suck. It's typical - for the past six months at least I've been longing for the day I can move out of this house, but now it comes round, it's just too much like hard work. I've already strained a muscle in my back heaving boxes full of books downstairs, and there's still so much more to put away. And then I've got to move to the new place and unpack and set up all my utilities and get a new internet provider - so it's gonna be radio silence from 1st of July to whenever the heck that gets set up.

Hopefully it won't be too long, and anyway, everywhere seems quieter these days. It'll be a good chance to work on some fic, too. I can't believe I haven't posted anything since February; some of which is due to having spent months working on a long story, and some due to lack of motivation when I come home from the working day. And I dunno, maybe I'm growing out of fandom a little. Then again, as I recall, I felt like that a couple of years ago and then The Pacific came along and hit me like a freight train full of emotions.


ANYWAY.

Best thing about moving, so far, is that I've taken some time off work - which, oh god, is so good for my state of mind, the atmosphere in that place is soul-destroying and I just can't seem to get even an interview anywhere else - and TODAY I WENT TO SEE ABRAHAM LINCOLN: VAMPIRE HUNTER.

Which is exactly what the title says it is, and great fun, if you like kitschy horror and crack historical RPF. It takes a bit of time to get going. I wasn't sold on it for quite a while, and I felt the first half moved along without really developing any of the characters or giving me adequate explanations for why friendships were formed or people did what they did, but by the end I had a massive smile on my face. There's some great action set pieces - I was quite amused by how much it borrowed from the Matrix, and one scene was basically that fight on the trucks from Matrix Reloaded except with horses - and all the Gettysburg stuff just gladdened my war nerd heart. It's far from perfect, and (very pretty 3D asides) you won't miss much if you wait 'til it comes out on DVD, but the concept and the charm of the actors manage to carry it through.

Plus I do love the 'verse, and I do want all the cracky historical RPF spin-off fic. I want other presidents learning to carry on the tradition - Teddy Roosevelt would be a natural, as would Eisenhower, and I could go for Richard Nixon and Elvis Presley teaming up to take on vampires in Vegas. I want the further adventures of Harriet Tubman in that 'verse, with or without Mary Lincoln in tow. I've just finished reading The Killer Angels for the second time, and I could seriously go for Gettysburg-with-vampires from an on-the-ground perspective. Except I rather suspect hardly anyone would read any of it. Ah well.
skew_whiff: (keep calm and carry on)
(I think I've been reading Cracked too much lately; I seem to be conceiving of everything in itemised lists, whether that's really the most appropriate way of presenting it or not.)


Three Things That Boggle My Mind

1.
Wedding Ugg boots.

2. Ozombie: The Axis of Evil Dead, a film about zombie Osama Bin Laden. (It took me a while to realise that the pun in the title does work, just about, just not if you speak in an English accent.) I saw the DVD on sale in a branch of Asda, and it was all I could do to not break into hysterical, appalled laughter.

3. Samuel L. Jackson's Twitter feed. I think this is possibly 2012's answer to Donnie Wahlberg's Twitter feed in terms of celebrities who love capslock and borderline incoherency; the difference is, though, Donnie likes hugs and motivational phrases, whereas Samuel L. just has an apparently infinite number of ways of spelling his favourite word, 'motherfucker'.

Obviously, it is my headcanon that if Nick Fury had a Twitter feed, he would tweet exactly like this. Somebody's probably already written the fic.



Two Mildly Interesting Things That Happened Recently

1.
Last Friday, I went to a lindy hop class, and it was awesome. Lindy hop's a particularly energetic and flamboyant form of swing dance - at its best, it's pretty spectacular.

Anyway, after much grumbling about not having anything to do with my time other than work and sleep, I finally realised I need to get out and get a hobby, and I've always sorta secretly wished I knew how to dance. Plus it's active and sociable whilst being a great deal more entertaining and less competitive than sports (ymmv on that, of course, but I've never taken well to team games.)

And I Googled around, and found pretty much the perfect group; it's very beginner-friendly, you pay for every lesson individually rather than subscribing, and there's a nice range of people there in terms of ages and abilities. They were mostly around my age, as it turned out, but with some older and younger, and pretty even numbers of guys and girls. And quite a lot of the guys were damn hot.

I have precisely no natural talent for it - honestly, I was pretty baffled just by the basics - but my experience of playing music means I've at least got a familiarity with following rhythm. And anyway, nobody's good after just one lesson of anything.

So yeah, early days, but I'm pretty stoked about having found a sociable hobby that I actually enjoy. (And knowing how to dance will no doubt come in handy if I ever find a way to travel back in time and pay a visit to the 40s. Some people plan for the end of the world; I plan for time travel.)


2. I got a PM the other day from [livejournal.com profile] shanghai_jim saying he was mainly based on Tumblr now, so he'd made me a moderator of [livejournal.com profile] aldbournewhores in his stead. Seeing as [livejournal.com profile] hiyacynth isn't really active these days, I think that basically means it's my responsibility.

I haven't a clue why people think I'm a safe pair of hands.

Anyway, unlike when I sort of fell into being a mod at [livejournal.com profile] camp_toccoa, I'm not quite sure what to do. AW is an old comm, and I'm fond of it, but it's not very active these days, and with fandom changing, I'm not sure it will be again.

I don't want to delete it, mind you - I'm just wondering whether to just leave it as it is, tidy it up and try and encourage more traffic, or close it/put it on hiatus in some way and open up c_t to gen and het (seeing as there's always been a fair bit of gen on c_t anyway). Or maybe some fourth option I haven't yet thought of.

Put it like this - if you were me, what would you do?
skew_whiff: (you have confused gregory peck)
Well, it's been a while since I did once of those.

Short version? I'm bored, frustrated, a little bit lonely and increasingly desperate to just get out of here, but in the meantime, at least the weather's getting nicer and I can always lose myself in a good book.

The long version beneath the cut, including: work-related griping, bad advice, good reading, and some other things I haven't thought of yet. )
skew_whiff: (come into the factories)
So, when I came out to my family round about the middle of last year, it had exactly the opposite effect to what I'd expected, in that it actually brought us all closer together. Obviously, this is great - after a good few years mentally preparing myself for disownment, it's nice that everyone's chilled and I can actually be open around my folks now, and even my mother (whose atrocious reaction when I told her was what made me so doubtful) has now calmed down and accepted things.

In particular, coming out led to me discovering that one of my cousins, whom I hadn't talked to in years, is in fact even gayer and even nerdier than I am. I've visited her and her side of the family a few times, and a couple of weeks ago we went to see The Avengers together - and all of this is a roundabout way of explaining how and why I received this through the post this afternoon:




FUCKING LOOK AT THEM. THEY'RE SO LITTLE AND ROUND AND WHOLESOME. They're my late birthday present, and every time I look at them, Cap's little blond caterpillar eyebrows make me crack up anew.

They're just the most ridiculous and adorable things I've ever seen. Apparently there's also Spider-Man and Hulk models in the same range, which I'll have to look out for; I wish I knew how to whittle so I could make myself a little wooden Thor.

Being from a family of nerds is pretty much the best. Of course, now I'll have to repay her in kind, seeing as it was her birthday a few weeks back. I'm thinking maybe a knitted Loki. (God, I love Etsy.)
skew_whiff: (keep calm and carry on)
You know, I think I'm losing my touch as a fanboy.

Maybe it's that I'm getting old (er, relatively) or that fandom's changing in terms of where it's based and how it worked, and it's definitely got something to do with my long-standing utter uselessness when it comes to large fandoms - but okay, I haven't a clue where to start with Avengers fandom. It's making me all confused and uncharacteristically shy (online, I mean; I know all about RL shyness, but it doesn't usually affect me here).

Is it all on Tumblr and AO3 these days, or are there comms? I know there's got to be the inevitable kink meme - always a good place to anonymously try one's hand at fic - but despite having tried various iterations of 'avengers kink' I don't appear to have found it yet (and Livejournal's search function is about as user-friendly as an iron maiden), and no doubt other things, but it all seems a bit scattered. So, er, people who are better at this shit at me, where do I start?


That said, one thing I have come across is [livejournal.com profile] avengers_rbb, which I reckon I'd like to take part in - if I can just think of what to draw, that is. For any of you who've taken part in the writing side of a Reverse Big Bang, what kind of thing do you look for in an artwork that you claim? Any suggestions? (Actually, I just had a doozy of an idea involving Cap and the Howling Commandos in North Africa. TANKS! SHORTS! SOME KIND OF ROBOT SPHINX! Aww yeah.)


At least this one Pacific AU I've been working on for months on end is starting to finally come together; I'm about 6k through the third draft (it'll probably be about 30-40k in the end), and I reckon once that's done it'll only need someone else to look at it and a final vigorous polishing before it's actually good to go. Given that I've been beset by writer's block for a large portion of this year, it's nice to feel I've made a breakthrough.

And FFV's started posting, so I'm looking forward to a couple of weeks of good reading.

How about you guys? Working on anything good?
skew_whiff: (star spangled man)
So, I went to see the Avengers this weekend! And it was very good, and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

My non-spoilery thoughts are as follows: It was good, solid fun, which did a good job of carrying on the continuity from previous instalments in the shared universe while making it (reasonably) accessible to those who might not have seen all of it. The script does a really, really good job of fleshing out minor characters and making ones that might not be the easiest sell likable and compelling - I couldn't give the tiniest of fucks about any of the previous Hulk films, or really the character in general (at least in the comics), but everything about the set-up and the way Mark Ruffalo plays Bruce Banner works perfectly. Black Widow and Hawkeye are both excellent, and the script implies a lot of backstory between them without info-dumping all over the place. Agent Coulson, after having been in the background for years, unexpectedly gets a chance to shine.

The actual plot is not anything ground-breaking, but I've felt the same way about all the Marvel movieverse films that I've seen so far - they get away with it by being strong on character and doing a good job of actually making it feel like a comic brought to life without it being campy. I couldn't see a single weak point in the cast, but Tom Hiddleston does effortlessly out-do everyone else as usual.

Also, props to the costume designers for making Cap's suit cling to Chris Evans' backside like peanut butter to the roof of your mouth. It was slightly distracting, but certainly not in a bad way.


Okay, that's the stuff I can safely say. If you've seen it - or just don't mind spoilers - other thoughts and flailing around are under the cut. Read more... )
skew_whiff: (raising hell)
So, I'm back. Been back since Friday, and returning to work has made me really appreciate how much I needed the break - I won't call it a rest, since most days I walked so far that my feet felt like numb hooves by about five in the afternoon, but a change of scene and pace was fantastic, and I really enjoyed myself.

Berlin is a beautiful city, for the record. It's cleaner and calmer than London and Paris, and the city centre is dotted with breathtaking architecture from a variety of time periods. It's the perfect place for a fan of 20th-century history, because there's so much of significance, and the city's tourism trades pretty heavily on the legacy of the Cold War and the Wall. Beer is cheap, the urban rail system is speedy and convenient, there are countless excellent museums on all sorts of subjects, and you are never more than about 100m from a branch of Dunkin' Donuts. Which I found mildly confusing until I remembered, of course, Germans love coffee and baked goods. (And who can blame 'em?)

So, yeah, I loved it, and I'd recommend it to anyone.


That's the short version. I pondered various ways to write it up in more detail, and in the end, I think the simplest way is to write up the sort-of diary of notes I kept while I was there, written down pretty much as they came to mind - with links, photographs, and more extensive explanations, because otherwise it wouldn't make much sense.

Read more... )
skew_whiff: (raising hell)
Caught the train back to my parents' house today. The journey was fairly smooth and the train stations less busy than I was expecting, though the combo of an early start, a long walk to the station and no caffeine did cause me to have a nap of Odinsleep-like proportions after lunch.

Still, I'm awake now, and looking forward to a well-deserved break. I'm down here in the sticks over the weekend, and then off to Berlin on Monday. If you'd like a postcard, now's the time to say so - if I sent you a card at Christmas, I'll already have your address; otherwise, PM me with your info. No doubt I'll probably be back by the time the cards actually arrive, but it's the thought that counts, right?


In the meantime, it's April already and I've only finished one fic in this entire year, so I'm intending to get seriously stuck into some writing this weekend. With that in mind, prompt me!

It's been forever since I did a ficlet post, but you know the drill - give me a fandom and/or some characters, and some kind of starting point, and I'll do the rest. Any genre, any rating, any 'verse. Fandoms: Band of Brothers, The Pacific, Changi, M*A*S*H, Captain America, Horrible Histories (actually, cracky historical RPF in general), anything else you can talk me into.
skew_whiff: (raising hell)
Did my GRE today!

Which, actually, was not half as hard as I'd been expecting. Some of the maths was completely baffling and I had to guess at quite a few of the questions, but the vocabulary stuff was much easier than the things I'd been revising. My hard work memorising the definitions of pompous words like 'exigence', 'alacrity' and 'lugubrious' was not needed, it turned out.

According to the scores provided at the end of the test, I got 164 on the verbal reasoning and 155 on the quantitative reasoning, which I believe are 'quite good' and 'not brilliant but not bad for someone who could barely remember how to multiply six weeks ago', respectively. (For those going 'holy crap, those are a bit low!', the scoring system's been revised recently. I've been doing my best to look up comparisons to check out my averages, and feeling fairly confident.)

So that's that. Now I've just got to figure out an essay topic for my writing sample, write a personal statement, go around begging old tutors for letters of recommendation, and it would probably help to figure out some ideas for my thesis. ...dammit, US universities, why does your admissions process have to be so complicated? You'd better make this shit worth my while.

Again - suggestions are welcome. Very welcome.



Also, in the end, I went to see 21 Jump Street, which I thoroughly recommend. I wasn't quite sure what to expect, at first, but I ended up laughing out loud with surprising regularity.

The quickest way to describe it is that it's very reminiscent of Hot Fuzz, being a fish-out-of-water buddy cop comedy, but with a more American style of humour. That's not a criticism, btw, it's just a little different in tone. I thought the cast were all excellent - including the kids, not that most of them actually looked like kids (asides from the nerds, who I loved; I'm now waiting for the chemical-compound-themed hoodie craze to sweep America) - and the writing did a nice job of balancing utter ridiculousness with being aware of how ridiculous it was (without tipping over into actual parody).

I should note I've not seen the original TV series so I can't compare it to that - I'd be interested to know if it's any good - but the script does a good job of tying it to the past while establishing it as a standalone movie that's completely enjoyable on its own terms.

I should also note that, inevitably, I want ALL THE AUS - quite a few of my fandoms could very easily fit into that (war fandoms are obvious, though also I think the 'nerd and jock go back to school' thing would lend itself weirdly well to Steve and Bucky - throw in Tony Stark as the hipster kid up to no good and Bruce Banner as one of the nerds, and it almost writes itself) - but I'm going to be good and restrain myself. Just sayin' though, f-list, if you're running short of ideas...
skew_whiff: (fresh peaches)
Happy Monday, everybody!

And for once it is a pretty happy Monday, as spring has arrived with a bout of unusually sunny weather, and in their charmingly excitable way, the Great British public have responded by immediately flinging off their clothes and going to buy disposable barbecues.

I realise I haven't posted on my own DW/LJ for ages now, but that's half due to very little happening, and half because for the past few weeks I've been desperately trying to get ready for my GRE. It's taking place tomorrow morning. I'm reasonably confident I can do okay, as long as I read all the questions thoroughly and don't rush it; I'm fairly resigned to the fact I'll be lucky to get over 33% on the maths side of things, but I doubt it'll count against me too heavily as a prospective Humanities student. Still, any last-minute advice, always welcome.

I'm thinking of going to see a film that afternoon, and I'm currently torn between The Hunger Games, 21 Jump Street and The Muppets. Which one I end up seeing probably depends on which one's showing times fit best into the day, but again, if you have recommendations/criticism, I'm all ears.


Asides from that, what else have I been up to? ...not much, is the short answer. Very slowly working on various fics, none of which will probably see the light in the next month. My writing pace has been terrible this year, and I keep getting distracted by other things.


Like Round The Twist, for example. You can blame that one on [personal profile] sapper.

For those not familiar with it, it's an Australian children's TV show from the late 80s/early 90s (well, there were two series in the 00s... it's kind of confusing, it ran over about a decade, but with a very big gap between seasons 2 and 3). It was on British TV when I was a kid, but I never watched it, although I was a fan of the Paul Jennings short stories that most of the episodes are based on. Pacific fans may find it worth noting that a wee Tom Budge is in seasons 3 and 4.

Anyway - I don't quite know how it happened, I checked out a few episodes on Youtube and first wasn't sure, then slowly got drawn in. It's pretty good at balancing thoroughly ridiculous plotlines (mostly involving restless ghosts and mysterious magical items) with good characterisation and teenagers who actually act like teenagers - the kids in this remind me so much of the actual sort of people I went to school with, and the terrible outfits and special effects are giving me all kinds of warm fuzzy memories of the TV shows I did get round to watching when I was that age. (Oh man, I wonder if you can get Sabrina the Teenage Witch on DVD? That show was awesome.)

If you're in Regions 2 or 4 it's easily available on DVD - I can't speak for Region 1, but there's quite a bit on Youtube, though not full series. I would recommend giving it a shot if you've any time to kill; it might not grab you at first, but stick with it, it grows on you.


The other other thing I've been distracted with over the past month was finally finishing The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay, which I was reading in fits and starts for about six months - if you can find a copy, get it, because it's possibly my idea of a perfect novel. That might just be me, as it encompasses most of my pet subjects (comic books, the 1940s, World War Two, even a smidge of gay romance), but it's a damn good read, incredibly densely detailed without being pretentious or hard to read (I honestly can't stomach much 'literary' fiction), and I enjoyed it immensely. I'd ramble on more but I don't want to give any of it away.

Next up? Well, I'm saving it so I have something to read on the flight to Berlin, but my parents got me the first three books in the Temeraire series for Christmas, so I'm looking forward to getting stuck into them.



...I've got to stop going so long between posts, that all came out in a jumble. Anyhow, f-list, how are you lot? Seen or read anything good lately?
skew_whiff: (Default)
Apologies for spamming anyone's reading list/f-list, but with fandom being so all over the place these days, I'm posting things to various places at once. Which is all the more complicated when there's not a specific main fandom comm, or in the case of this fic (which only one of you is likely to read anyway), no real fandom at all.

Anyway, on the off-chance -

Let Me Follow You Down - Frank Dunne/Archy Hamilton, R
aka, the fic I'd basically wanted to write ever since watching Gallipoli for the first time, and which got somewhat out of hand, as is usually the case with my writing)

Frank had followed Archy, and Archy had followed him, and this was where that path had led them.

(on lj ¦ on ao3)
skew_whiff: (consider the pineapple)
So, I managed to negotiate some time off work in April for my birthday. Originally I'd just intended to go visit the folks, but then I thought to myself, "Hey, with the Easter bank holidays as well, I've got a fair bit of time to play with - why don't I go on holiday for my birthday?"

It's been literally years since I've been out of the country, due to a) lack of money and b) lack of anyone to go on holiday with. But I earn a regular wage and I consider myself old enough and just about confident enough to travel by myself. So now the only question left to answer is where to go, and I've narrowed it down to two options:


1. Berlin

Arguments for: I've always wanted to go there but never got round to it; the past two times I've been to Germany, I've loved it. Loads of history to geek out about. German beer. German confectionery (some people rave over Belgian chocolate, I personally love that the Germans are great at making gummi bears). Haven't been to mainland Europe in aaages.

Arguments against: Only a limited number of flights from the airport I'd likely go from. I don't speak German.


2. Dublin

Arguments for: I've been once before but I was really knackered from the journey, so for all I remember it might as well be like I'm completely new to the place. Much cheaper flights and greater variety of days to choose from. No language barrier. Guinness and whiskey. IRISH BOYS.

Arguments against: Apparently more expensive in terms of accommodation. Not sure it's got as much to offer in terms of ways to occupy myself alone as Berlin might have.


If I knew how to do a poll on Dreamwidth, I'd put one here, but since I don't (or possibly don't have the ability to on a free account), I'll just ask for your opinions in the comments: should I spend my 23rd birthday in Berlin, Dublin, or somewhere else in Western Europe that's even more awesome which you're about to inform me about. (I'm willing to be persuaded on Amsterdam. Not sure about anywhere else.)
skew_whiff: (you have confused gregory peck)
At the start of the year, I posted a picture of the new boots I'd bought.

It's little more than a month later and I've already worn off the treads and broken the heels of said boots, and since the weather's turned icy I've been back to wearing my battered old jump boots. This is both a lesson to me that cheap footwear doesn't save money in the long term, and also a rather apt metaphor for how things are going so far.

So here's where I am at the moment: )
skew_whiff: (consider the pineapple)
Okay, so the only explanation I have is this - a couple of days ago, I stumbled across this picture, and made the remark "HBO, if you are running out of subjects for epic historical miniseries, could I possibly suggest The Adventures of Sgt. Handsome and His Pet Kangaroo?"

48 hours later, HBO hadn't called me back, so I went ahead and did it myself.


The rest of the exciting saga follows beneath the cut. )
skew_whiff: (Default)


These are my new boots. I bought them yesterday. I'm starting the year off with a picture of them because I intend to use them to KICK 2012 IN THE ASS. (Also because I'm kind of in love with them at the moment. The pic doesn't show it very well, but they've got this fleecy lining that is super comfy and makes me feel like a World War One flying ace.)

I always make the same resolutions at the start of every year: to work harder, and to be braver. I make the same ones not because I always fail (though fair's fair, I've yet to actually successfully become what I would consider hard-working or courageous), but just to remind myself to keep on at it.

I've got to knuckle down this year. This autumn, I'll be applying to grad school, so I've got approximately nine months to save more money, do the GRE, work on a personal statement, figure out who to ask for references, research and write an essay to submit as a writing sample, and generally try not to freak out. Any recommendations from those of you who've been through the process would be welcome.

I could also do with getting a job that pays a little more and doesn't bore me senseless. Doing some volunteering would be a great way to boost my university application (and also be a good thing in itself). I always intend to write more fic and draw more art than I ever get round to, and I've got lots of big plans I really should make good on. It'd be kinda nice to have a relationship, too, though I don't have any illusions about the likelihood of that coming around.

I've got a big job ahead of me. But I'm feeling up to it. I'm energised. I'm optimistic. I'm going to eat more vegetables, do more exercise, take my vitamins and try and tidy the kitchen more often. (Maybe not that last one. No amount of resolve could stop me from despising cleaning.) COME AT ME, 2012. I'M READY.


Okay, and that aside, some other things -

Yuletide reveals are out! For the record, I wrote The More Things Change for [archiveofourown.org profile] shell - it's Captain America, Steve/Bucky, and I had a blast writing it, even if I did at first rather regret volunteering to write for a massively popular canon that I'd only actually seen once.

This is my first post using DW; I kinda like it, though right now everything feels quiet and I think it'll take some getting used to. Still, it seems to be picking up momentum. Recs for comms I should be paying attention to, guys?

Meanwhile, if you're back on LJ, rest assured, I'm still hanging around there and crossposting for as long as fandom sticks around there. I do feel like things are starting to fragment, though. Much as I would like fandom to all be concentrated on one nice, familiar, preferably well-run and functional journal site, times are changing and sadly, we've got to move with them.

Which is a convoluted way of saying I'm giving Tumblr a go. You can find me at [tumblr.com profile] oneyardatatime - I would've been skew-whiff, of course, but someone got there before me. (How dare they!) It'll probably be the usual combination of fannish faffing around and historical geekery, but in bite-sized portions for short attention spans. Again, drop me a line if you want me to add you or you know of a blog that I ought to be following.


I think that's it for now. And jeez, that's more than enough. F-list/reading circle, what have you been up to? Any plans for the coming year?

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