vanessarama: (bearded colin)
We have a long weekend, meaning today is a holiday for Australia Day (although the day itself was actually on Saturday). Yay holiday!

Alas, most of this weekend has been spent waging the War On Ants. The dry weather is bringing them up. They appeared in the bathroom on Thursday, the toilet on Friday, the kitchen on Friday and Saturday, and the laundry on Sunday. I have persuaded Rohan that his usual method of "nuke them all with Mortein" clearly isn't working, and so we have resorted to the Ant-Rid. Hopefully that will get rid of them for good.

And meanwhile, as we whinge about the dry weather, Queensland is flooding. Ahh, Australia.

Here is one of the most haunting things I've read in a long time: The Hunt for the Death Valley Germans.

This guy is a search-and-rescue volunteer who, on his own time and dollar, goes looking for long-lost missing people in various types of wilderness. He became interested in the case of a German family who had gone missing in Death Valley in 1996; their car was found but no searches turned them up. Based on what he knew about the family, and on how he thought a European might react in those circumstances (for instance, they might make for a nearby military installation, believing its borders would be patrolled as they are in Europe), he went out looking in 2009; and he found them. Or he found the parents, at least. It's a long read, and it's not easy; but he doesn't post any pictures of anything upsetting. And he remains a very sympathetic guy, even in the face of unsympathetic authorities and what certainly seems like foolhardy behaviour from the people he was looking for.

On to more pleasant things. We've done very little this long weekend. But I baked! Here is my first attempt: a cheese pull-apart!



Unfortunately its structural integrity wasn't the best and it rapidly became a cheese fall-apart. But Rohan says it tastes like a real pull-apart like Baker's Delight used to make. Yay! Now I'm hoping the cinnamon and sugar scrolls I have proving at the moment will be just as successful. They haven't swelled up as much as the bread dough did, and we don't have that amazing yeasty smell throughout the house, but they're definitely getting plumper.

I've also got around to posting some of the photos we took when we visited Maldon a few weeks ago. Maldon is an old gold-mining town that's notable for having the most untouched streetscape in Australia... allegedly. Rohan's Irish ancestors spent the 1860s/70s in Creswick, a town quite close to Maldon and also a goldmining town, and I like to think of them walking these scenes. Even though I don't know what any of them looked like :)

Maldon under the cut )

Oh, and one last thing:



THIS STILL MAKES ME SMILE.



AS DOES THIS.

(both images stolen from tumblr, omg how does anyone ever work out who was the first person to create anything on that thing? it's impossible! tubmlr is frightening)
vanessarama: (merlin: happy merlin)

(courtesy Merlin's Keep)

AGFGSHSGFHVKJ HE IS SO ADORBS EVEN WITH THE NEW HAIRCUT AND BRADLEY CUDDLED HIM AND THE CAST GAVE HIM A STANDING OVATION.

Ben emailed me at work to tell me he had won and I smiled for the rest of the day! Colin winning for the win!

I wish so many good things for him.

Book meme

Jan. 14th, 2013 07:07 pm
vanessarama: (geoffrey)
Book meme wot I have gacked from [personal profile] loreley_se

The BBC thinks you will have read 6 of the books on this list. It is such a strange list, I can't begin to guess why they think that. Copy and paste your bolded books read, italicized books not completed, and then sum up with a head count, so to speak.
under the cut )

Read in entirety: 50.
Read in part: 9.
You can really see my dislike of Dickens :D

It *is* a weird list. The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe is effectively on there twice (once as itself, and once as part of the Chronicles of Narnia) and so is Hamlet (once as part of Shakespeare's complete works). There are a few on there I've never heard of, but it's either a US- or UK- centric list and here you could probably substitute one of the Australian classics (or Australian high school forced reads!) like My Brilliant Career or Tirra Lirra by the River or Monkey Grip or Seven Little Australians or... etc etc.
vanessarama: (merlin: i drink poison)
I have lately been reading Up and Down Stairs by Jeremy Musson, which is a history of servants. This is because I have a number of ancestors who were in service and some who had servants, and I was interested in knowing more. It's been fascinating not just from the personal point of view but from a Merlin fan perspective, because it's clear that in pre-Tudor times the manner of living ensured a higher degree of intimacy and virtually no privacy between family members and indeed master and servant; shame and embarrassment had far less hold on the medieval psyche than on ours. A friendship between an Arthur and a Merlin was actually far more likely than at many later times in history.

Musson's book has led me to the charming Book of Nurture, a late medieval text written by one John Russell in the 1460s, which consists of instructions written to a young manservant about how to carry out all sorts of duties in the service of his lord. If you wanted evidence for your canon fic in which Merlin dresses, undresses and bathes Arthur, it's here in spades. Here's how to dress your lord in the morning:

"First hold out to him his tunic, then his doublet while he puts in his arms... then draw on his socks and hose by the fire, lace or buckle his shoes, draw his hosen on well and truss them up to the height that suits him, lace his doublet in every hole, and put round his neck and on his shoulders a kerchief; and then gently brush his head with an ivory comb, and give him water wherewith to wash his hands and face. Then kneel down on your knee and say thus: "Sir, what robe or gown doth it please you to wear today?" Then get him such as he asks for, and hold it out for him to put on, and do his girdle, if he wear one, tight or loose, arrange his robe in the proper fashion..."

And here's bathing:

"If your lord wishes to bathe and wash his body clean... have a basin full of hot fresh herbs and wash his body with a soft sponge, rinse him with warm fair rose-water and throw it over him; then let him go to bed; but see that the bed be sweet and nice; and first put on his socks and slippers that he may go near the fire and stand on his foot-sheet, wipe him dry with a clean cloth, and take him to bed to cure his troubles."

No, I am not making this up, this is what it says :)

You can read the Book of Nurture on Gutenberg here, or the version I used which is "translated" into modern English as part of the Babees' Book, Medieval Manners for the Young here.
vanessarama: (pic#)
... because I've just returned from family Christmas and we literally finished watching the episode about ten minutes before we had to dash out the door so I haven't had time to digest it properly, but in the meantime, I spoil you in here! )
vanessarama: (cat!colin)
Review of latest Merlin to come, but in the meantime, Colin in shorts and pink legwarmers doing a Flashdance moment on a chair? What would I give to see that? A LOT. Seriously, a lot.

And secondly, the interview with Whedonopolis and Katie talking about how awesome Colin was on her last day. This is why everyone loves him.

I have no actor, I have no nothing, I’m with all these people I don’t know, it’s my last day of 5 years, and I start to get really upset. I don’t realize that Colin is on the other set and has – we had talked about it earlier on in the day, he was gonna come over and do my clapper board – and he discovers that he is not going to be allowed to come over to do my final scene with me, not even read in for me. So he organizes with the AD to give him the nod, and what we did was, on the second unit we would wait for Colin to do a take on the main unit, Colin would run over, he’d do my lines, then he’d run back. So he’s running back and forth between the two. Second unit’s standing down and waiting for him. He comes to my last take, and he does the clapper board and I’m waiting for the golden wrap, which is where everybody goes around and gives you a goodbye and a well done, and nothing happens. Colin’s just standing there. What I don’t realize is that Colin has refused to go back to the main unit until everyone from that unit comes over, everybody comes down from production, about 150 people, came down, waited 5 minutes – he refused to go back! – ‘til I got my proper golden wrap. I wouldn’t have gotten that had he not been so stubborn. So my final day, instead of being me with a load of people I didn’t know who didn’t really care, I got the entire crew and Colin Morgan – giving me a round of applause. The man’s a legend, is my short story.


(RL is pretty onerous at the moment, and so I give thanks to Colin Morgan for existing).
vanessarama: (cat!colin)
We took Oliver to the vet last week because he's been a bit off, weeing and drinking more than usual. The verdict is that he has hyperthyroidism and also the beginnings of kidney disease :(

He is elderly - at least 15, maybe older, we don't know for sure - and so I suppose he's done well to get this far. But still. He's on medication for the thyroid, started on Saturday and it's disagreeing with him; he's eaten nothing tonight and thrown up a few times. My poor little boy :(
vanessarama: (silly boys)
... that this is the final series of Merlin. I am sad but not as sad as I expected.

I am sad I won't have more episodes, and I am sad because there was some potential there which I think was just missed. But I do think it's better for the show to go out on a relative high. I know plenty of people disagree with me but I think seasons four and five have been pretty bloody good. I know people are upset we haven't had a revelation of Merlin's magic, but to me that was not an essential (although admittedly it was on the wish list). I had thought they might do a "Wicked Day" on us and give us the revelation in ep 3 or 4 this season, but alas no.

For me, this is the first fandom I've been in where I haven't either lost interest or had things turn sour before the end.

More previous fandom reminiscing )

The thing about all those fandoms (well, most of them) is that even going back to the first one, I made many friends who are still dear friends to this day. Sometimes your fandom friends are like ships who pass in the night. Others are people who stay with you and who you care about even if you don't have much in common any more. I hope you who are my Merlin friends stick around. I have only friended you if I think you're pretty awesome in other ways, not just because we share a fandom for a while.

I do feel it is a natural thing for Merlin to stop while it's still going strong. I have a feeling that if it went for one more season I might begin to lose interest and I don't want that to happen. Merlin came to me at a high point in my life (in fact when I first saw it I was exuberantly loving being in London with my dearest friends) and it has distracted and comforted me through some tough times as well. I had some happy fandom experiences, including seeing the premiere of season 3 with [livejournal.com profile] loreley_se and [livejournal.com profile] rodneyscat who have been LJ friends since the LOTR days. I even started writing fic again, and although I haven't produced much I am happy with what I did produce, and I enjoyed doing it.

And for the first time ever, I had a meet-your-actor experience that was absolutely perfect. Meeting Colin Morgan at Supanova was the only experience of its type I've had where I got exactly what I wanted out of the experience, and I was still in love enough with the show to appreciate it. I'll always treasure that I had that moment.

And Merlin introduced me to Colin Morgan and Bradley James. Thank you for that, show.

Now give us an awesome ending.
vanessarama: (merlin: happy merlin)
America, you did very well indeed. Thank you, thank you!

Quickie

Oct. 22nd, 2012 06:54 pm
vanessarama: (Default)
1. Back to work today. I cautiously think I will get on OK with New CEO. New Deputy CEO may be another matter.

2. Dad is getting a bigger room at the aged care place within the next few days! Yayes! Also, the new room is in part of the hostel that will be trialling the Green House model of aged care, which apparently has been very successful in the US and is particularly good for people with dementia.

3. Stresssssss! I feel as if I have no consciousness outside worrying about work and worrying about/doing stuff for my Dad at the moment. I AM SO BORING. But I know, I *know*, that if I had not brought my Dad down from Queensland when I did, he would be dead now. I know that he has had some months with family members close and caring. That is a good thing.

4. But also, whipped cream flavoured vodka. It exists.

5. As does Colin Morgan.

6. And it's Spring. There are freesias in the air.

7. I am going to paint my toenails in defiance of all the SRS BZNS I have to deal with at the mo.

WOO

Oct. 2nd, 2012 10:09 pm
vanessarama: (destiny)
You guys, Channel 10 played a 'First Look' at ep 1 of s5 of Merlin tonight, and it showed a fair bit more than the BBC promo did. Including some things that looked fairly spoilery!

Unfortunately I wasn't quick enough to record it - the machine was otherwise occupied - but keep an eye out for anyone who did manage it. I'll have a look in case they play it tomorrow night as well.

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