selenay: (yuletide)
Dear Yuletide Writer,

First of all, an early "Thank you!" for writing a fic in one of my fandoms. That alone has made me happy. If you've already got the perfect idea, please, go ahead and write it! If you want to know more about what I love about these pairings and prompts I've been mulling, I've thrown some thoughts together below.

I'm happy with any rating you're comfortable writing for.

General likes: I am a total sucker for tropes: accidental marriage, fake dating, stuck in a cabin, baby on the doorstep, cheesy AUs, the works. Throw them at me! I adore competent women kicking ass, women bonding, get together fics and figuring out how to stay together fics. I read fic to get the happy endings that are often missing in real life and in canon.

Dislikes: Death fic, sad endings, BDSM and heavy kink, graphic violence, dub-con/non-con, character bashing, cheating/adultery.

Holby City (Serena Campbell, Bernie Wolfe) )

Custard Protocol - Gail Carriger (Primrose Tunstall, Tasherit) )

Ghostbusters (2016) (Jillian Holtzmann, Erin Gilbert) )

Cornetto 40 - love Commercial (Debbie, Maria Fernandez) )

Persuasion - Jane Austen (Frederick Wentworth, Anne Elliot) )
selenay: (Christmas Doctor Who 3 (Happy Christmas))
I'm choosing not to look at how many days it is until Christmas, but it is starting to feel a bit Christmassy now. We've decorated at my office. I've started my advent calendar.

I'm trying to figure out how many Christmas-themed books I can read in three weeks. I'm feeling a need for a Dark is Rising reread and I've got a stack of cozy comfort books with Christmas in the title. I'm trying to resist the temptation to add The Domesday Book to the stack because I read it last year and it's not exactly cheerful.

And I'm halfway through the annual Box of Delights rewatch, which always makes me feel festive.

At church, we're embracing the advent season and it's lovely. I hadn't realised how much I missed the Anglican traditions around seasons until I spent a few years in a Baptist church that did its best to ignore all of the festivals except for Christmas Day and Easter Sunday. It's such a relief to be back in a congregation where I feel like I fit--all of me, not just the Baptist-appropriate parts.

Yuletide is starting to come together, too. My main fic is in its second draft and I'm well into writing a treat, which is most unusual for December 6th! Over the last few years, I've been doing NaNo and ending up feeling totally burnt out in December, so Yuletide has been a struggle. This year I'm excited about Yuletide again!

I chose not to do NaNo due to the horrific work deadlines and trying to get my Marvel Bang fic edited on time, but it's turned out to be a blessing in disguise. By the time I was through the worst of the post-work-and-Marvel-Bang burn out and starting to itch to write something, I still had loads of time until the Yuletide deadline. Maybe this is a signal that NaNo just isn't the right timing for me.

Provided this week doesn't go to hell, I'm on vacation on Friday until December 19th, which will be fantastic. Lots of time to finish recovering, to read books, to do Christmas baking, to veg out with the telly...I'm excited to have a vacation, even though we're forecasted to get out first big snow on Monday!
selenay: (Default)
Today I got told that I'm in the wrong field and I should go and open a cheesecake shop. Or maybe just a bakery with a lot of cheesecake.

That's possibly the nicest compliment anyone has given me :-D

I made myself a chocolate cheesecake as a birthday treat (it may be the best one I've ever made) and I brought in a slice for a coworker on the Great Upgrade Project who has been having a bad week. A little while later, I got a hug and the outraged declaration that I'm in the wrong field and need to go pro with my baking, because it's the best cheesecake he's ever tasted.

:-DDDD

You see, cheesecake is one of those things that most people I know seem to find intimidating--it's a thing they buy, not make--and on the surface, I can't understand why. The base is easy. Crushed biscuits and butter are so easy, children can do it! The batter is pretty damn easy, too. It's hard to go wrong with eggs, sugar, cream cheese and other flavourings, unless you try to use low-fat cream cheese and that shit is evil for cheesecake making purposes. The only total fail I've ever had was the time I tried to go low-fat. The batter turned ridiculously thin and refused to set no matter what I did to it. Low-fat cream cheese is an abomination unto cheesecake.

So, if the base and batter are easy, why is it so intimidating? Why am I so damn pleased with this one?

It's the baking. You have to get it just right. You have to have the courage of your conviction to take it out of the oven and trust that it's done and it will set properly, even though it feels terrifyingly soft in the middle. This is particularly true with chocolate, because you can't see that the edges have hit the perfect level of slightly gold the way you can with vanilla. I have no objection to a cheesecake ending up slightly cracked on top, although it's more aesthetically pleasing if it isn't, as long as it's not over-baked. Finding the perfect degree of bakedness? That's probably what makes it so intimidating.

Then there's the whole to bain-marie or not to bain-marie question. I'm pretty sure some cheesecakes really need it, and it's probably easier to get it evenly baked. I've done my chocolate one in a bain-marie and without, and I can honestly say it hasn't made much difference. I didn't use one this time, and it's perfect: no cracking, just set in the centre, not overbaked on the edges. If it was a less familiar recipe, I'd probably use one, as a security blanket if nothing else.

So, yeah, I can see why cheesecake intimidates and why my coworker was so impressed. I have to admit, it felt really good to be complimented like that on something that felt properly skillful. I mean, I'm good at my job and it's not easy to write code and manage a massive data warehouse, but baking feels different somehow. It's something that's partially following directions, and partially following instincts from much practice.

Maybe if I ever won the lottery, I could think about opening that bakery/bookshop I've dreamed of.

For now, I'll just bake for fun and maybe write that comfort food romance with lesbians I talked about on Twitter yesterday :-D
selenay: (Default)
Stone of the North (58915 words) by Selenay
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: The Avengers (Marvel Movies)
Rating: Mature
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Relationships: Clint Barton/Phil Coulson
Characters: Clint Barton, Phil Coulson, Natasha Romanov, Darcy Lewis, Tony Stark, Pepper Potts, Nick Fury, Jane Foster (Marvel), Thor (Marvel)
Additional Tags: Alternate Universe - Steampunk, Alternate Universe - Edwardian, Valet Clint Barton, BAMF Phil Coulson, Mystery, Action/Adventure, Comic Book Science, Blimps & Dirigibles, Background Relationships, Minor Bucky Barnes/Steve Rogers, Minor Darcy Lewis/Natasha Romanov, Minor Pepper Potts/Tony Stark, Minor Jane Foster/Thor
Series: Part 5 of Dangerous Instruments
Summary:

Sequel to Clockwork Murders. The happily ever after isn't always easy, but Coulson and Barton are determined to figure out how to make it work. After all, how difficult can it be to pretend to the world they're still just a gentleman and his valet, settling into a quiet life with no excitement or adventure at all?

More difficult than they anticipated, it turns out. And that's before Stark asks for their help tracking down a missing gem, people start disappearing around London, and Natasha resurfaces with a mission of her own for them. Their quiet life together may feature more dirigibles and explosions than they'd ever counted on.

The amazing accompanying artwork is also on AO3 (as well as embedded in the fic).
selenay: (Default)
I know I said that I can't imagine time existing after my Big Deploy weekend, but I lied. Not that I can make plans or even consider the possibility that specific dates exist, but...

I am so very, very tired. And stressed. And TIRED. This weekend I've got a bunch of stuff that I need to get done, none of them relaxing things. Next weekend, I'm theoretically at my local convention (unless I have to work and then I'm working), which will hopefully be fun but will definitely be exhausting. Then it's Deploy Weekend. The 11th should be a holiday, but we're working it. And the Saturday. And the Sunday. And then we spend the following week putting out fires and possibly working part of the weekend due to another team's big Thing that my upgrade team may need to support.

So there's going to be this period of time where I have absolutely no time off and no rest and I've somehow got to write the last chapter of my Big Bang fic and get the whole thing edited for November 15th, so I've started fantasising about this:

Having an entire day, maybe two, where I have nothing I have to do. Where I am free to read or watch TV and do not need to think about working or writing. It sounds like heaven.

Hopefully all the time in lieu I'll be accruing will enable me to make that happen at some stage. For now, it's just a fantasy. I really, really want it to happen, though.
selenay: (Default)
I need to write a proper post about them, but for now I'll just say "Eeeeeeeeeeeeee! I loved them! Why is Saturday so far away?"

Feel free to get real spoilery in comments :-)
selenay: (Default)
I have reached the stage in my current work project where I cannot fathom the concept of a world existing after November 12th. I'm sure it will, but that idea seems impossible. Someone asked me about plans for my birthday and I just can't cope with that because it's after November 12th and that time does not exist yet.

November 11th is when everything hits the fan. At the moment, I know I'm working that day (it's a holiday here), working the 12th, and I may have to work the 13th if things don't go to plan. And let's face it, huge upgrades never go to plan, so I will honestly be shocked if I'm not working the 13th.

We're also anticipating there will be fires to put out all week afterwards and, quite possibly, over the following weekend when a big code release is due to happen on our newly upgraded data warehouse. So in that sense, I can acknowledge a world where things happen after November 12th. It's just that I can only envision work-related things and I can't even think about plans that don't involve work because argh.

This is why anyone who asks me about plans after the middle of November is likely to get either a blank look or a hysterical amount of laughter. Life might exist after that, but really cannot imagine it right now, and I definitely can't plan anything.
selenay: (ace 2 (with gun))
Dear Femslashex Writer,

First of all, an early "Thank you!" for writing a fic in one of my fandoms. That alone has made me happy. If you've already got the perfect idea, please, go ahead and write it! If you want to know more about what I love about these pairings and prompts I've been mulling, I've thrown some thoughts together below.

I'm happy with any rating you're comfortable writing for.

General likes: I am a total sucker for tropes: accidental marriage, fake dating, stuck in a cabin, baby on the doorstep, cheesy AUs, the works. Throw them at me! I adore competent women kicking ass, women bonding, get together fics and figuring out how to stay together fics. I read fic to get the happy endings that are often missing in real life and in canon.

Dislikes: Death fic, sad endings, BDSM and heavy kink, graphic violence, dub-con/non-con, character bashing, cheating/adultery.

Cut for length - fandom specific thoughts )
selenay: (Default)
I've been seeing bits and bobs floating past on Twitter over the last few days about a wankery situation happening on Tumblr around AO3 (and the existence of "olds" in fandom, heh). It's...a little rage inducing.

If you want to get some good discussion and a bit of background, this post by [personal profile] cereta has some fantastic discussion in the comments about all the issues. From what I can gather we have:

1) Horror at olds in fandom. ie. those of us over thirty. Just...yeah.

2) Fury that AO3 won't let people report fics and get them deleted for abuse/homophobia/whatever. I.e. AO3 will not let them censor content of fics. And by abuse, they mean anything with non con/rape. Fics where canonically gay characters are in mixed-gender pairings. Fics with underage content, which they often define in...interesting ways. They'd be horrified by the Buffy/Giles fic of my youth, that's all I'll say.

3) Some of those young fans apparently thinking Strikethrough was a good thing, because it got the ball rolling on kicking out abusive fic.

I'll wait for you to all stop face palming and hitting your heads on desks.

*muzac plays*

*ticky clock appears*

*refreshments are distributed*

So.

AO3 was built in response to Strikethrough, as a place where fic couldn't be censored in that way. It was built as a place where fandom could own the servers and we weren't beholden to the whims of advertisers and private site owners. Where fics couldn't be deleted at the behest of one person, or one company, because something in it wasn't to their taste. Where the rule "don't like, don't read" would reign supreme.

(One of the specific things I've seen on some of the Tumblr posts is a complaint that "don't like, don't read" might be great for the olds, but waarghbl it's not good enough for me! It exists! It hurts my soul! I might read it despite the warnings and tags and that's not fair! *sigh*)

As long as appropriate warnings (or "choose not to warn") are used--and violating that can get a fic reported and the abuse team will take action--then AO3 won't censor. They won't censor for bad grammar and spelling, no matter how much we wish they would, and they definitely won't make anyone take down their Derek/Stiles fic, or their Ianto/Gwen fic, or their sex pollen non-con Doctor/Missy fic. It was set up that way, because today's "icky non-con, ban it!" fic is tomorrow's "omg teh gays, make it go away!" fic.

Us olds remember the old days. The days when you had to label all slash--even when it was just hand-holding--as NC17 and plaster it with warnings. The days when only certain archives accepted slash at all, and you could get your FFN account or LJ suspended if someone objected to your boy kissing fics, so everything was locked down under f-lock or posted to the adult slash-friendly archives with a thousand warning pop-ups. The days when RPF was never to be spoken of because almost no archive accepted it. The days when we all danced around carefully because at any moment, our favourite fics could be deleted and never seen again if a site advertiser threatened to withdraw funding.

Trust me, that was not a good time. Everyone freaked out about Strikethrough because it was the start of a slippery slope. Nothing deleted was illegal, even though it wasn't to many people's taste, and it was only matter of time before they came after the less problematic stuff.

I may not like what you say, but I'll defend your right to say it (or read/write/art it) to the death.

I think there's a multi-layered problem. Fandom has splintered since the Strikethrough days, and we've all wandered off to different places. Back when I entered fandom, we all lived on the same mailing lists and LJs. Us babies (I was a mere twenty...which wasn't that young, actually) and the "olds" together. We all inhabited the same spaces and the newbies to fandom learned about the old ways, the old history, from the more experienced fandom people. And the newbies opened the eyes of the older fans to some things, too, which caused ructions but enabled us all to learn and change.

Current fandom has splintered and seems to have broken into generational buckets. The youngest part of fandom is on Tumblr and Snapchat. The older part of fandom is on Tumblr a bit, but not much, and many of us have stepped a long way back from it because we're made so unwelcome. We're still here on LJ, DW, Twitter, and Imzy, where the youngs aren't so much. Due to those divides, there isn't that interaction and mutual learning, so the younger fanfolk don't know the history. They don't know why AO3 exists and why we're so passionate about not censoring it. They've never had to creep around on the edges of fandom because they were slashers, or RPF-ers, or wrote explicit fics after FFN banned them.

The divide is also contributing to the feeling that anyone over thirty shouldn't be fannish anymore, and I suspect that's part of the AO3 wankery. There aren't many people from that very young end of the fandom involved with the OTW or AO3, so it feels like the olds run it. We created it, we fundraised for it, we continue to work on it and we're old, by their standards. We should have shuffled off to our graveyards or our adult lives or something.

Except we haven't, because when we were the fandom babies, there were all these fans older than us who were still active and we learned we'll never be too old for fandom. With the divide getting so sharp between the youngest and everyone else, they're not getting that part of the fannish experience, either. They can't imagine being thirty (or forty, or fifty), never mind being that age and still being in fandom.

You've also got the problem that Tumblr-style activism is very different from what we were doing five or ten years ago. It's all about protecting young eyes not just from the content, but from knowing the content is even there. About removing it so it doesn't need to be thought of. For them, "don't like, don't read" isn't enough. They don't want anyone to read it or see it or write it.

When AO3 was first being set up, there were huge arguments over whether warnings should be mandatory. A lot of people are still annoyed that major warnings are mandatory and that their only option, if they don't like warnings and have warnable content in the work, is to use a tag that's basically a buyer beware notice. The kids screaming about AO3's refusal to remove works because they don't like the content would hate a version of AO3 without those warnings.

Hint: it's what fanfic was like for most of us and it's why we still hold to the "don't like, don't read" principle. Hell, AO3 makes that one doable now! I haven't read surprise!rape in years because I don't read anything with "choose not to warn" on. The existence of fic that contains stuff I don't like does not harm me because I don't have to read it. The existence of stuff that's triggery for some people doesn't harm them as long as warnings are used, because they don't have to read it. Having warnings and tags enables people to avoid those fics and even filter them out of searches so they don't have to see them. It's the beauty of AO3.

In the end, the people screaming on Tumblr about AO3 unfairly refusing to censor its content aren't going to get anywhere (hopefully). The worst they can do is refuse to donate to the OTW and boycott the archive. I doubt they donate anyway, and boycotting seems like a "cutting off their noses to spite their faces" move, although I imagine a few will. I doubt that a few dozen people boycotting will change AO3s policy, though. AO3 isn't in danger, but the shouting on Tumblr is alternately rage-inducing, face-palm worthy, and ridiculous, because it's so unnecessary.

If they get really mad, though, they could go away and set up an archive of their own. One where they own the servers and get like-minded fans to help them run and fund the project. Hmm, I wonder what they could call it...
selenay: (Default)
Cut for spoilers )
selenay: (Default)
I haven't seen the first episode of the new season of Supergirl yet (don't spoil me!), but a coworker was talking to me about it today, and he explained why he didn't like it and doesn't really like the series in general: it's too happy.

(Don't get me started on people watching shows they don't like and ragging on them. It won't go well.)

The part that got me was that his entire reason for not liking Supergirl and being unimpressed with the season opener is...it's too happy. Not thing else concrete. Just...TOO HAPPY.

He particularly disliked the Flash cross-over last season because it was unicorns and puppies and pure joy distilled into an hour of telly. In other words, he disliked it for all the reasons I loved it.

I tried to explain that, for me, Supergirl's joy and fun is why I love it. In contrast to most current fiction, it's unicorns and spring flowers and I need that. He wasn't buying.

Surely I can't be the only person who needs an occasional dose of puppies and rainbows and happiness to counteract the dystopian horror that surrounds me in both the real world and most fiction right now. Can I?
selenay: (oh noes!)
My annual eye exam happened yesterday and the upshot is that I need new glasses. I mean, I'd sort of decided that I might *look* at some, but there was always the option to nope out of the whole thing and run away.

Except my prescription has changed, and it's definitely enough to make new glasses a necessity. I'd been trying to convince myself the blurring in my right eye was just my imagination and all the headaches I'd been having was just stress. Argh. Why is it only ever one eye that manages to have almost an entire diopter of change happen?

So, the possible glasses became definite glasses, and then we entered the hell of Choosing Frames (TM). Due to my prescription, I have to have fairly small lenses (or they become so thick the weight is unwearable) and all rimless/half rims are out. My head is very narrow, so I have to stick to the petite ranges. And my nose is incredibly narrow, so I have to have nose-pieces that can be adjusted to get the glasses to sit properly.

Which meant the chunky funky plastic frames everyone is wearing that look really cool...are impossible for me to have. DAMN IT. What's the use in having glasses if you can't wear fun cool glasses?

At least the petite range exists. I've regularly ended up wearing children's glasses in the past. My current glasses date from before my optician started getting petite frames. The were literally the only pair in the whole shop that fitted me (and didn't look like they belonged to a six year-old) and the arms have always been too long, because we reached the limit of how much the arms could be adjusted. So they constantly slip down my nose, which isn't exactly comfortable. And even if they're in the right position, the top is approximately level with my pupil, so I have a massive amount no-glasses space where I need to see. As they slip down all the time, I'm basically looking over them most of the time, so I end up holding my head uncomfortably and constantly pushing them up just to see through them.

I guess new glasses were inevitable, actually.

It's why I thought I was imagining the vision change, though. I've been readjusting and pushing these things up ever since I got them (6.5 years ago) so I assumed the blurring in one eye was just because I could never get my glasses to sit right.

Thank goodness for petite ranges, because this time, I got to pick from four frames after all the ones I really liked were eliminated due to lens side, lack of bridge pieces, and still being too damn big for my head. The pair I've gone for have a lot more pink than I'm happy with, but they fit me and the arms aren't worryingly fragile. I'll live with them.

It'll take two weeks for to make them. Thank you, awful eyes that require lenses made in Japan.

Now that I know I need them, I'm impatient. And noticing my daily headache more than normal!

This weekend will hopefully be the quiet kind where I get lots done. I have a fic to beta. I need to do a final polish on my femslashex fic. And I need to get my Marvel Bang fic done.

It might also be nice to sleep and read and relax a bit, too :-) I got sucked into playing Forge of Empires on my iPad, which ate way too much reading time this week. Must stop playing games. They're not going to get anything useful done!
selenay: (yuletide)
Yuletide assignments are out!

Catching many of us off-guard, because we're used to having a few days grace between sign-ups closing and assignments going out to polish our letters and catch our breath. Guess their algorithms are working really, really smoothly these days.

I'd been hoping for those couple of days to get my letter written. I was ill for a few days last week, so my sign-up was done on Sunday afternoon when I knew which fandoms I wanted but hadn't had time to properly write a letter yet. It was a near-thing actually getting that far, even though I nominated fandoms this year so I really, really wanted to take part.

(OMG, apparently I'm not the only person asking for and requesting Holby City! Woo hoo!)

So my letter had a placeholder until a few minutes ago. Oops. Hopefully my assignee didn't take one look last night and wander off in a huff, never to check back!

(For anyone interested, my letter is here.)

That whole illness thing was...not good, but at least I'm mostly better now. The timing couldn't have been worse, though. Work stuff, fic deadlines, Yuletide...of all the times I could be ill, why just then?

I have got so much to catch up on this week *trudges off*
selenay: (writing)
When I signed up for Marvel Bang this year, I did it knowing that it will probably be my last one. I didn't know how busy this year would get (if I had, maybe I would have chosen differently), but I know I've got busy and unpredictable summers coming up in 2017 and 2018 that will make committing to a Big Bang difficult. I didn't want to just fade and fizzle and flake out on one, so I figured I'd do this one last Marvel Bang knowing it's my last and put everything into it.

This is the story I've been itching to write since I wrote Clockwork Murders in 2013. I still can't believe it's been three years since I wrote that! I wanted my last Marvel Bang to round out the story I started then, and I've enjoyed doing that.

But as I sat down yesterday to do some non-Bang writing work, I realised that this is probably going to be my last big MCU fic. I still enjoy the universe, enjoy reading stories, but my stories have all been told. All the big ideas I have right now are for original novels and I'm having to work really hard to keep myself motivated on this sequel.

Last night, I had to do some homework for the critique group I've joined and then I started working on my femslashex fic. The words flowed better for that than a lot of my Marvel Bang story has. It's a different fandom, different characters, and it felt fresh and fun. It's also something where I'll hit the minimum word count easily, and not having the pressure to make this fic novel-length has been really freeing.

I guess what's happening is that I'm reaching the end of my time of major contribution to a fandom. I've got the Bang to finish, two fics that have been waiting to be published for ages and I really, really will get them edited and published this year, and then...I don't know. I might write the occasional short MCU fic.

I might not.

I'll sign up for Yuletide, because that's always fun, and I'll see what happens next for me in fanfic. It's very likely that I'll be writing short things for different fandoms here and there until the next time a fandom catches my heart and pulls all the big stories out of me. The next fandom might not happen: I might be writing short fics here and there forever more. I don't know.

In the meantime, I'm really excited to get back to my current original WIP when Marvel Bang ends. And then I've got a huge list of ideas for original novels that I want to play with. That seems like a good indicator of where my passions lie right now.

Look at me, fandom butterfly preparing to flutter again!
selenay: (Default)
For the first time in ages, possibly months, I had time to do all my regular chores without skipping things or drafting in help from Mum. It was glorious. I never though I'd get excited about having time to clean my bathroom, until even getting laundry done required help from the mothership.

As much as I've loved my summer of family visiting me and going travelling, it's really taken a toll on my ability to get anything done.

The best part was that I had time to do my chores *and* spend a lovely afternoon on Saturday walking by the canal and drinking delicious hot chocolate. Our original plan was for that to be a Sunday activity, but we looked at the weather forecast on Friday evening and changed that plan. Good thing, too, because I had a migraine on Sunday night and slept through it for long enough to miss the window where my really good pills would work. So I had to take the less good ones, which resulted in the migraine taking ages to go and then me feeling hungover and miserable even after it went. Quality Sunday, that one :-(

Thanksgiving is coming up. This has been a bit problematic in the past, with my aunt being unwilling to commit to a plan until almost the day and other shenanigans. Not to mention, she is incapable of cooking anything even remotely resembling a "small" turkey, and always sends me home with a massive quantity of leftovers so I feel like I've been eating turkey forever by the time we get to Christmas and there's EVEN MOAR TURKEY OMG.

(I am not the biggest turkey fan. Sorry.)

Last year, due to my aunt's planning shenanigans and my dad's visit overlapping with T-day, we opted to do our own thing. We had a cashew roast instead of turkey, all the trimmings, and it was lovely. Best of all, when Christmas arrived, I actually enjoyed the turkey fest because I hadn't been turkeyed out already.

(It helped that my cousin guarded my leftovers plate and didn't let my aunt add half the turkey after I selected quantity I was happy to take home with me. She always tries to sneak a ton of extras onto me, even though she's been told many times not to. I did end up with half an apple pie and a quarter of a huge lemon meringue pie, but there's no escaping my aunt's inability to understand that it's not my thing at Christmas and I'd much rather eat Christmas pud and mince pies. If she can't supply two types of pie, she's failed in her Christmas hostess duties. Even though only me and one cousin can actually *eat* pie without being very ill. Diabetics and Coeliacs rah.)

In view of that, Mum and I made a radical suggestion: how about we not have turkey? And, you know, make a plan a number of days in advance instead of the day before?

So this year, we're having lamb and many trimmings. Mum and I are hosting, so we can selected the size of lamb joint and avoid my aunt's massive over-catering issues. It's all quite stress-free and lovely so far. Hopefully it will continue that way.

(She'll bring us a pumpkin pie and an apple pie, won't she? And two extra dishes of stuffing. And some sweet potatoes and a dish of mash. Just in case. She's done it before.)
selenay: (Default)
Non-spoilery verdict: I loved this series!

Spoilery verdict: Cut for spoilers )
selenay: (Default)
I know, it's Thursday, and I'm only just updating with weekend shenanigans. In my defense, Dad has been here and it's been hard finding the time to do much of anything. He went home late last night (so very late, I am so very tired from taking him to the airport) so now life should go back to my usual routine.

It's was the weekend of my bi-weekly Friday off, so we decided to take advantage of the time and go up to the north of the province to visit my cousin and spend the weekend at his cottage. It's beautiful up there. Isolated, spectacular, quiet. Although his cottage isn't exactly a rustic cabin - they've improved it so much over the years, and it's super-comfortable. I haven't seen my cousin for years (he's Mum's first cousin - we give up on calculating cousin-ship past that) so it was great to see him and Mum loved having the chance to catch up with him and his wife.

Dad even came out of his shell and talked a fair bit, which was a pleasant surprise!

We ate food, had a couple of lovely walks, read a bit, talked a great deal...it was relaxing and wonderful, and exactly what I needed after a few stressful work weeks.

Mum and I are hoping to find the time for another trip up there before she goes back to England, but it depends a lot on how busy we all get. Hopefully we'll do it.
selenay: (Default)
As noted previously, I ordered a Fitbit Charge 2 (thank you, lovely work fitness credit) and it arrived on Tuesday. Which means I've now had a couple of days to play with it and assess it.

I have to say, it's a very nice, stylish item. The band I ordered it with is a nice shade of purple and feels very sturdy. It's a rubbery material that's sweat resistant, so great for everyday wear and working out. If I feel fancy, there's a leather strap I can order to make it look a bit posher for other times. The actual watch/tracker part is a nice size--not oversize on my wrist, but big enough to allow a fair bit of information to show up, and it looks rather less industrial than a lot of fitness tracker/smartwatches I've seen.

You can customise the readout on it, to do anything from showing a dial clock only to displaying time, date, steps, and heartbeat, and several combos in between. Tapping it allows you to view other stats, like floors climbed, calories burned, and how many times you've met a 250+ step minimum in the hours you track that. I rather like being able to see all that without whipping out my phone!

It's possible to set it to remind you to get off your ass and walk around a bit, if it gets to 10 minutes to the end of the hour and you haven't met your 250 minutes. Very handy, particularly if (like me) you're liable to get absorbed in a task for three hours and forget to move. It only does it for the hours you're tracking minimum steps (I have it set for 8 til 8) so you don't get reminded at night. I'm very impressed with the interface, I must say.

The Fitbit also gives me quick links to tracking certain types of exercise as I do them, and you can customise which exercises you have shortcuts for. When you're in an exercise mode, it will show you how long you've been exercising, calories burned, heartrate etc., which is all rather useful. It even tells you whether your heartrate is in a particular zones, which is incredibly helpful.

One of the reasons I wanted to get the Charge was for the heart rate data. I knew that, lately, the exercise I was doing wasn't working for me as well as it had been and I was pretty sure that being able to see my HR and know where I needed to push it to would help. I'm also a terrible nerd, so I was incredibly curious about my resting heart rate and those kinds of details.

(I like data. I like being able to see my stats improve over time. It motivates me to do more.)

I've done two exercise bike workouts since getting the Charge, and having that "Hey, I need to push my HR up to here, maybe some more resistance will do it" guide has already pushed me to work harder. Both times, I got my HR up into my target heart rate zone and it felt a lot more like I'd had a workout than when I was just pootling along maintaining the speed/resistance that I'd been using as my guide for the last six months.

It's interesting to me to see that my resting heart rate is lower than I expected and, overall, I seem to be fitter than I'd realised. I know that I've been doing the whole "getting fitter" thing for a couple of years, but I didn't have much data to show it was actually working.

Overall, I'm pretty pleased with the device, and I'm fascinated to see what new and cool data I'll be able to collect and get motivated by :-D Watch this space?
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I've just started listening to a new podcast, Buffering the Vampire Slayer, which is going through Buffy one episode at a time and discussing them. It's rather good :-)

While listening to the first episode, though, I realised that I'd forgotten so many details about Welcome to the Hellmouth. It's been ages since I last watched it! So yesterday, while on my exercise bike, I did a rewatch and remembered all over again why I loved the show so much.

It's little things, really. Willow is still so sweet, so untainted by everything that happens later. I remember loving how hopeful and optimistic she was, even though it's clear she's been picked on most of her life. It's why she was always one of my favourites: I recognised a lot of myself in her, but Willow was a better version of it.

The other thing that really struck me was Buffy herself. In my head, S1 Buffy is the pre-trauma Buffy. Everything is much brighter, she's happier, nothing bad has happened yet. But that's so far from the truth! The Buffy we meet in the first episode is already traumatised, already trying to process things no sixteen year-old should, already experiencing her life falling apart due to her calling. Somehow, I blocked that out. We never get to see happy care-free Buffy, not really, because she's been through a lot before she even sets foot in Sunnydale. My impression of Buffy in S1 being so much less burdened is only because I'm comparing her to S6/S7 Buffy. She isn't as dark as she becomes, but the Buffy we see in S1 is traumatised and fits a lot of the symptoms for PTSD.

BtVS was my first participatory fandom and it has so many good memories for me. I think that I'll be doing a rewatch to keep up with the podcast, re-experiencing how it felt to wait for new episodes. This week's podcast is on The Harvest, so I'll watch that tonight, and then it's weekly Buffy for me for a while :-)

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