Angelic Paranoia

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Fifteen characters meme

It feels like everyone is doing it, and it looks like fun, so why not do it too. I’ll answer these next weekend.

1) Make a list of fifteen characters first, and keep it to yourself for the moment.

2) Ask your f-list to post questions in the comments. For example: “One, nine, and fifteen are chosen by a prophecy to save the world from four. Do they succeed?”, “Under what circumstances might five and fourteen fall in love?”, “Which character on the list would you most want on your side in a zombie invasion?”

3) After your f-list has stopped asking questions, round them up and answer them using the fifteen characters you selected beforehand, then post them.

Things

1. I am too tired for this clock change. My computer says it’s just past 10am, my clock says it’s just past 9am and my body is saying “More sleep please”. On Friday more than one person at work talked to me about the project I’m on needing to be done in a month and how there’s a lot to do and asking if I’m stressed. I wasn’t before they asked (I was practising the head-in-sand strategy). But then I got no sleep because I was then worried about it. On the plus side, since then I’ve been too tired to care. Also I am new and slow and whenever I’ve given people the choice of ‘wrong, but now’ or ‘right, but later’ they’ve always picked the ‘right, but later’ option.

2. We have our first dance out in a month. I am not ready. No one ever feels ready for the first one, but this year it’s more so given that we haven’t danced out since 2019, although last summer we did do a flash mob dance at the pub which another side had invited us to. But since we weren’t in kit or wearing clogs and borrowed sticks from the other side, it felt very low pressure. It will be fun and I am looking forward to wearing the clogs I bought in 2019 ready for summer 2020 and have only worn in the garden (much to the interest of next door’s cat).

3. I have nearly finished my [info]space-swap fic and a treat – they’re sitting around for a week so I can see the terrible bits without getting sick of reading the thing. And went back to a fic I started a few years ago. So I thought I could do [info]fandom5k since I seem to be writing long things at the moment and it has bags of time. But between [info]unconventionalcourtship and the aforementioned busy time at work coming up, I think perhaps not giving myself more things with deadlines is a good idea. I am tempted to do [info]seasonsofdrabbles because it turns out I haven’t written a drabble since 2014 and obviously the pressure of writing one for someone else on a deadline is the best way to see if I still can.

4. Speaking of [info]unconventionalcourtship, I spent a few days looking at my saved summaries and trying to decide what to write. I went for (Spooks) Harry/Ruth, for which I have one summary I don’t like. After a lot of refreshing the Unconventional Courtship Pairing Generator I’ve found one that would work – and isn’t at all shippy. Which suits me fine, as I liked the stage of their relationship when you wondered if it was just the actors or whether it was actually in the script.

5. Speaking of fannish things, after two goes, I found the name of my Tumblr. And then had to go through the forgotten password thing because I have no idea what it is. After spending some time reading some Tumblrs I discovered that I really can’t deal with Tumblr – due to reblogs. I get completely confused as to who is saying what. I have the same problem on Twitter, but on there you can turn off retweets (that the person retweeting them hasn’t commented on). So no Tumblr for me, but I have one that I now have the password to that I could use for ficathons where you have to have a Tumblr to sign up for.

My new car

… which is three years old at this point because that’s how long I’ve been meaning to write about it.

Three years ago when I needed a new car, I had a Toyota Yaris. I went with a Toyota Yaris (which they’d since ‘improved’) hybrid version. Electric wasn’t an option because I can’t get it close enough to my house to charge it there and there weren’t any charging points in my town (there’s now one – which is in a car park you don’t want to be spending a lot of time in). Continue reading

What I am reading Wednesday

I took a break from my fanfic reading when a couple of library holds came in.

What I Just Finished Reading
A Class Act by Rob Beckett. This is kind of an autobiography, but told in the comparisons between working class and middle class people. He grew up working class and became middle class – and married a middle class woman. I found it really interesting. Some of the working class stuff I related to, some of the middle class stuff I related to, and some of it was just the drinking culture.

What I’m Currently Reading
41-Love by Scarlett Thomas. This is by an author I’ve never heard of, but has written quite a few books, has a definite fan base, but also a day job. I got this on a whim because it sounded interesting. And it is. It’s about her year spent playing tennis. She’d played as a teenager, before giving it up, then tried going back to it aged 41. It’s really interesting all the injuries she plays through, and the weather she plays in, and the mental things she goes through during matches – which mostly lead her to lose. You see it in professional tennis that as soon as someone thinks they’re going to win, they lose. And she tends to win when she thinks she’d lost and loses when she thinks she’s going to win. It’s also interesting seeing the whole culture of the adult amateur tennis playing world.

What I’m Reading Next
The Galaxy and the Ground Within by Becky Chambers. It finally came out in paperback and I used my gift voucher from work to buy it. I was looking forward to it but I’m almost feeling like I can’t be bothered with it. I’ll be fine once I start and I’ll enjoy it, but all I could think was that the first book, The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet, was not the same book the title suggested it would be. Also, the book smells weird.

What I am writing

What I am reading at the moment is fanfic. I had whole collections bookmarked and some fics on my marked to read later list at AO3 that I was avoiding because they’ve been on there for so long. I am finally getting through them, so I’ll have cleared the back log.

I am writing my [info]space-swap fic. When I first got my assignment I was disappointed because it didn’t include all of the many really interesting requests. But as soon as I started canon review I was excited that out of all the really interesting requests I got this one. And if I finish it, then I’m allowed to chose another to write a treat for (if I can narrow it down).

I spent a week thinking about and came up with some sort of plot in my head. Then in a few minute chunks here and there I wrote the plot in my notebook (where incidentally I found a plot for a Persuaders cake!fic set in the episode Roger Delgado is in).

And then I came to write the first draft. I worried it was too long and when I came to write it I didn’t have enough detail for it, so I shortened it. I told myself as I wrote it that it doesn’t matter, I don’t have to think about all the things I was thinking about when I finished my last fic, it just need some words even if they’re terrible.

And when I read it through I found they were really terrible. I’d leached all of the emotion out of it and the plot made no sense.

After some more thinking about it, panicking about whether I could write anything at all, and a lot of notes, I managed to write another first draft this weekend. And when I read it through it wasn’t terrible! The plot finally makes sense. It needs more details but that’s what the editing is for.

Although it’s not filling a square on my [info]genprompt-bingo card. I initially got the idea from a square on it, but even as I wrote my first first draft I realised the scene didn’t belong. So I won’t be getting another two rows with three squares filled from this fic.

But it has a title! It had a title before I’d even written anything down. That never happens.

I keep getting excited about ficathons and wanting to do them all, but I haven’t even finished this one yet. And there are other things I have started that I’d like to finish (I have a first draft of a Randall and Hopkirk cake!fic hanging around).

Fandom

I’ve been thinking about fandom recently and how I don’t feel like I’m in it any more, besides writing and reading fic. And until recently I haven’t done much of either of those. Part of the trouble is that it’s all going on on platforms I don’t like.

There’s Twitter, which I use. Well, I read mainly. I consider it a platform for hearing the tennis news and comedians telling me when they’re on TV or on tour. I know that Twitter is used for other things, but for me, it’s all about the tennis and comedians. Plus it feels like if you don’t reply within a day it’s all late.

There’s Tumblr which I do not understand. It won’t tell you when anything is posted, unless you put /mobile at the end. Most of the time I can’t read anything unless I zoom in loads or put /mobile at the end. And then when I’ve gone to one post there are others below it and I get confused. And it’s impossible to follow conversations.

And then there’s Discord. Which makes it impossible to find places, you can’t read anything to see if you’d like to join without joining, which then announces it to the whole group. And if you do find something you like it’s all in real time, which doesn’t work if you’re not in an American time zone and don’t do computers after 9pm. And can’t do all that on mobile/while I’m at work.

So there are no platforms I like to be doing fandom on. But in the process of looking I was reminded why I don’t want to do it in the first place. I remembered, years ago, people complaining that Steven Moffatt didn’t know how to write a good female character. I wanted to shout at people “WHAT ABOUT LYNDA DAY?” Except I’d just be arguing with someone who is wrong on the internet and that never ends well.

I also remember attempting to read some stuff years ago about Doctor Who. But whenever I disliked an episode it would just be people singing its praises. And whenever I liked an episode they’d be pointing out the flaws so I’d end up hating it. It was lose-lose.

It was looking back through old blog entries that made me remember good times in fandom. But maybe you just need to find the right venue/people. I think I’ll end up sticking to reading and writing fic.

A finished fic

I finished a fic! I started it in June 2019, so it hasn’t quite taken three years. Which is pretty good as it’s long (for me). I decided last weekend, to make me sit down and finish it, that my deadline was this weekend. Also, I signed up for [info]space-swap and sign ups for that close tomorrow, so then I’ll need to be thinking about something else.

A Sense of Peace and Joy (8332 words)
Fandom: Star Trek: Discovery
Rating: General Audiences
Warnings: Major Character Death
Relationships: Christopher Pike/Vina
Characters: Christopher Pike, Vina (Star Trek), Spock (Star Trek), Katrina Cornwell
Additional Tags: Minor Character Death, Alternate Universe – Canon Divergence, Romance, Angst
Summary: Vina makes a decision, one that will have ramifications for the whole galaxy. AU from the end of If Memory Serves.

What I am reading Wednesday

What I Just Finished Reading
Coming Up for Air by Tom Daley. I was browsing through the library’s ebooks and found this (the library is good for biography on ebook, but not much else). It was really interesting. Each chapter was themed, so there was one about how a camera flash at the 2012 Olympics gave him panic attacks about one of his dives, and one about his dad dying etc. It was really interesting.

Star Trek: Discovery: The Enterprise War by John Jackson Miller. I was ill last week and just well enough to do some reading. I wanted something that didn’t require much effort, didn’t have tiny text and wasn’t heavy. Since I’m currently writing a Pike fic, this fit nicely. I enjoyed it again, and it turned out to be handy for my fic, so a bonus.

What I’m Currently Reading
Before & Laughter by Jimmy Carr. I say currently reading, but in fact I’m avoiding reading it and therefore not reading much at all. It’s a self-help book with a few bits of his life experience. Those are interesting, the self help not so much (really not at all when you’re ill). Plus I think Jimmy Carr is best in small doses. I’m halfway through and am not sure I can face the other half

What I’ve Definitely Abandoned
By Sight by Kay Lyons. Ages ago I was looking for books and found that Kobo has some for free. So I downloaded some. When I was ill I thought I’d give one a go. It being free turned out to be a good indication of the quality… It’s a romance, goodness knows why I thought I might like it. I only needed to read a couple of chapters to know how it ends. But there was an excellent typo when someone described a wounded dog as ‘viscous’, which made me laugh

What I’m Reading Next
I had a library hold come in just after I took out the Tom Daley book, so I let the next person in the queue have it. So hopefully that will come in soon.

DW and fanfic

I’ve finished my DW layout! Well, I say finished, there may be some details I’ve missed that I’ll find as I use it. It matches my blog as much as I can, given that there are differences and I don’t have as much control over things in DW. I like it much better than the old design.

I’ve even found time to work on some fanfic! Of course I decided to start on the longest one. Although the first draft was 11,000 words, the second is 7000 because there were elements that didn’t work and I needed to change the plot. I’m also considering going ficathons again. It’s nice to have free time!

I’ve Never Seen Star Wars – tap dancing

It’s the return of I’ve Never Seen Star Wars. I’m still not doing it every month, but will hopefully do more than last year, where I managed it twice (and the year before when it was three times).

Back at the beginning of the first lockdown I thought I’d like to try tap dancing. There was a tap class before ballet and it looked fun. Although I thought it also looked like something I wouldn’t be good at. Which is why I put it off for nearly two years.

But I came back to it this year. I found some tutorials to short, simple dances. The teacher’s assumption was that you knew nothing, so you got to learn the steps as you went. So that was good – just learning steps is a bit dull. I know it’s essential, but the point of learning any sort of dance is to dance.

It was hard work, but mentally, trying to remember where you’re going. I always had trouble remembering sequences in ballet – when we’d do a short dance at the end of the class I’d manage the first step and the last and flail about in between. The good thing about doing tutorials online is that you can rewind and practise it as many times as you like. And change the speed.

Although I found a problem with changing the speed. Because tap dancing is all about what you’re doing with your feet, you often have your weight on one part of a foot and then to have transfer it to another part or another food. Although 0.75x speed gives me more time to think, 1x speed is much easier because I’m constantly shifting your weight rather than needing to hold it.

A week and a half ago, while looking for something different I came across a video about the time step. This is the typical bit of tap dancing you often see in clips. The video was really good about teaching it and I took a screenshot of a page that was really clear about what you were doing with each foot and when. But it’s a really short sequence of steps that you repeat on each side, as many times as you like. It was handy to do in a five minute break from work. I started off really slowly thinking carefully about where my weight is. It’s easier to say the steps as you do them. But now I can’t say them that quickly! I do still have to concentrate – as soon as I think that I’m doing it, I then find that I’m not doing it.

I will carry on with it, getting quicker. And then trying the double and triple time steps. I videoed me doing the time step earlier and since I’m too lazy to post it here, you can see it on Instagram.

I’ll give it 8/10. I’m glad I tried tap dancing because now I know that it’s not for me. But I will keep doing the time step.