skew_whiff: (bombers overhead)
I've acquired a few new people on my f-list in the past few weeks, so I thought it was probably round about time I actually posted again. Hello there! You are probably already entirely aware of who I am and what I post (or else why would you have added me?), but still - hi, pleased to meet, you, I'm Skew. These days this journal is mostly sporadic updates about my life, what I've been watching/reading/writing lately and the occasional meme, but you never know, I may one day become interesting again.

- It's been snowing a fair bit lately, which I wouldn't mind, particularly, other than this is of course the exact time at which my boots choose to spring a leak. Having to dry one's feet out on an electric heater every evening is a pretty small inconvenience compared to, say, working out childcare plans when the schools are shut or getting to work when the buses can't get through snow, but there's a small paranoid part of me that keeps checking for early signs of trench foot.

- Most of you have probably heard this already, but there's going to be another Spielberg/Hanks WWII miniseries! AND IT'S GOT PLANES. And, er, guys who fly in them, obviously. I'm a little dismayed that they've passed up the chance to focus on a theatre of the war or group of people that doesn't get much attention (eg. North Africa, the Philippines, Burma, and anything other than another bunch of white guys), but I'm still terribly excited and particularly delighted by the fact that after dealing with two branches of the armed forces I previously didn't care much about (and convincing me to love them anyway), they're now going for my beloved flyboys. Although knowing what the casualty rates were like for bomber crews, I'm already despairing in the absolute certainty that yet again, I'm going to fall head over heels for someone who'll die a horrible unjust death. Probably in episode 7.

- Went to see Django Unchained last Friday. Really enjoyed it, although it could do with being half an hour shorter. It doesn't do all that much that he hasn't done before - honestly, Kill Bill and Inglourious Basterds have almost the same plot, although given the film's subject, this is a fair bit more thought-provoking (at least for me; not knowing as much as I should about slavery in 19th-century America, I'd like to go read up and find out what of the movie was true) - but he does do his ridiculous blood-soaked revenge epics pretty darn well, and the cast were great, especially Samuel L Jackson and Christoph Waltz.

- Been job-hunting lately. It hasn't gone well. Two years of working in a shitty entry-level admin job and all my experience qualifies me to do is, well, work in shitty entry-level admin jobs. All employers want is somebody who already knows what to do, which is fine, but how does one ever learn?

At least I'll be getting a change of scene soon - my employers have hired a permanent member of staff to fill my post, so even if I don't get a job some place else, the temp agency'll send me off somewhere new. I don't entirely understand the reasons given for why I couldn't be hired for this permanent post, especially given they all felt I was doing perfectly well, but if there's one thing I've learned from temping, it's that agency workers are considered basically worthless. Fingers crossed I'll be hearing back from grad school soon and none of this will matter much anyway, but in the meantime, I just hope that wherever I go next is nice.

- And finally! The other day someone posted some pictures of RL Harry Welsh I'd never seen before. It's a shame - although absolutely typical of Tumblr - that there's no source given or links to full-size versions of the originals, but still, new pictures! Including one in which he looks more astonishingly like the television version of himself than he does in any other photograph I've seen of him; it can never be said enough just how good a job the casting people did.
skew_whiff: (that's why i came to france)
So somehow it's six days into the holidays already (I'm counting weekends), and it's just flown by in a vague haze of relatives and cake. So many relatives. So much cake.

The day itself turned out to be a bit underwhelming, which was entirely my own fault for spending so long getting all hyped up and also for never getting round to telling anyone what I might like, so present-wise all I really got was chocolate and money. Not that I'm complaining about either, mind you. It wasn't unbearably awkward and Christmas dinner was delicious, and that's the main thing. (At least as far as I'm concerned.)

Asides from that...

- Yuletide! I've barely even got started on reading and commenting on the bulk of what was posted, but I got really lucky and received three lovely stories this year - two for the Thin Man, one with zombies and one with Time Lords, both with all the wit and charm and sparky dialogue you'd expect, and also a wonderful, subtle, thought-provoking character piece involving Faiza Hussain, my favourite character from Captain Britain and MI:13 (plus some cameos from the Avengers!). All well worth your time, if you've not seen them yet.

- Christmas TV! Doctor Who was good fun (especially the Sontaran) and I'm intrigued by what's going on with this new companion, though bits of it very much seemed like things we'd seen before. Victorian London, check. Much-loved secular Christmassy thing turns bad, check. Unusually attractive, intelligent and fearless woman leaves Doctor bemused, check. Not that this last one is pre-emptive character bashing, I'm sure Clara/Oswin/whatever her name turns out to be will have facets that distinguish her from Amy, River and, indeed, Irene Adler (there's the souffles, for a start) - it's just Moffat certainly has a type, doesn't he?

Downton was, well, the usual mixture of nostalgia, charm, wry humour and shaking one's fist at the television that it usually is. WHY WILL YOU NEVER LET ANYONE BE HAPPY, FELLOWES. At least there was Thomas's continuing progress towards being a decent human being and Molesley's drunk dancing to make up for things.

And other than that, I don't think I've caught much TV, though I did watch The Nightmare Before Christmas and How To Train Your Dragon. Underwhelmed by the former, I think because I know so many people who love it and so went in with unduly high expectations; really liked the latter, though I was unnecessarily distracted by the fact the kids have American accents and the adults have Scottish accents. And they're meant to be Vikings. Okay, Hollywood...

- Hobbits! So I've seen the Hobbit. Twice, due to different friends wanting to see it with me. And, well... it's not LOTR (and what could be), but despite its silliness and CGI-heaviness and the fact it could really do with being half an hour shorter, I really did love it, and along with the LOTR rewatch I did in the weeks leading up to the release, it's rekindled my love for Tolkien and fantasy fiction in general in a big way. I'll no doubt talk about this more later, because right now I'm mostly still in a 'cheerfully incoherent flailing' sort of mood about the whole thing. (It's also nice that for once my mood appears to be falling pretty much in line with that of fandom, in that I loved Fili and Kili to bits, and Bofur kind of came out of nowhere and stole all the scenes he was in with his snark and ridiculous Derek Smalls-esque facial hair. Loved Thorin, too, although thanks to Robin Hood, I just can't quite ever take Richard Armitage seriously in anything.)

I'd like to write some fic, some time in the nearish future, but nothing's come to mind as yet, other than a faintly ridiculous WWII AU, and a few casual doodles I have of warrior dwarf Harry Welsh and elven bard Hillbilly Jones. But give it time, we'll see how it goes.

...right, that's about it for now, I think. And how have you all been?
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.


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: (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: (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)
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)

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