vanessarama: (merlin: hands)
Hello, new people I have friended, or people who have come across me. Feel free to friend me back, or not.

Here are some things about me which may help you make up your mind whether to do so )

(very sparse) Masterlist of fic )

I knit a lot. Also, I write more stuff here about real-life than about Merlin.
vanessarama: (Default)
In news that has nothing to do with anything else going on in my life, I had the privilege of seeing 'Testament of Youth' yesterday.

Alicia Vikander was STUNNING. She totally made that film. Even better, she made Vera Brittain into someone relatable and understandable, whereas I didn't really like the Vera I met in the book. Alicia is so good that there isn't a moment where you spot her acting, if you know what I mean. The supporting cast were also superb. In fact the film's weak point, I think, was Kit Harington. He played a very good pretty young poet, but he didn't at all convey the charisma and the natural leadership which the real Roland must have had. He seems to have been almost worshipped by his friends, but that didn't really come across.

Some things were exaggerated for dramatic effect, but they didn't really detract that much - in fact I think most of the poetic license taken was quite acceptable because it helped get across the point they were trying to make. I know it wasn't entirely true to the bare facts of Vera's story but I think we mustn't forget either that Vera herself intended her story not just as a lament, or a memory of four young men she loved who were lost, but as testimony to the futility and utter waste of war. If a bit of dramatic exaggeration helps bring that home, it does its purpose. And I must say, it did.

Colin was, naturally, wonderful and lovely. He didn't have too many scenes but he made the most of what he had, especially managing to get across the mixed resignation and bitterness of Victor's wounding and the prospects of life blinded. Also, he was briefly topless and he has some damn fine muscles in his back :)

The film really did manage to convey the sadness and waste of war. We were in a theatre full of nattery people but you could have heard a pin drop during practically the entire film. It was a good job.
vanessarama: (Default)
Hello! I am still faily. I have had a huge learning curve with new job which is keeping me busy; once April is over, I should have a little breathing space.

I have begun reading Vera Brittain's Testament of Youth, in readiness for seeing the film. It's so honest. I haven't got to the war yet but I'm struck by her readiness to examine her younger self and be critical. I have seen some discussion in fandom about the expectation, based on the description of the book, that it will be (paraphrasing) another uncritical privileged mourning of the changes that came as a result of WW1 and the world that was lost, but so far it seems very far from that. In fact, far from mourning the world of her girlhood, Brittain is pretty much saying that her upbringing, like that of millions of other young women of her day, was not fit for purpose - for *any* purpose really.

That's about all I have tonight :)
vanessarama: (om nom cheekbones)
I've been having some interesting feelings about all the fan reactions I've seen to this photo of Colin Morgan for the filming of Vera Brittain's 'Testament of Youth'. There have been lots of "OMG war injury! how can I bear it! I'm going to cry" etc etc comments. I find it tremendously funny. I've never had problems looking at Colin (or any other actor) in injury makeup or getting faux-hurt on screen (it's acting! acting!) and I suppose I find a lot of the reactions very melodramatic. Then again, most of them are probably teenagers, and so everything is infinitely more intense and dramatic. I hope they're teenagers. Otherwise, how do these people bear living in the real world?

One of the most pleasing things about this is that a whole lot of those fans say they're going to read 'Testament of Youth'; those who don't know much about the war's effect on Western society will learn some context. I was a bit shocked the other day when I saw someone asking on Reddit why everybody is obsessed with WW2 but nobody ever speaks about the First World War and got a shock. What do you mean nobody ever talks about the First World War? And then I realised they were probably American, and I don't think the US has such an emotional connection to WW1 as it does to WW2 where they had much greater involvement. Here, of course, WW1 is more in the national conscience because of Gallipoli and the ANZAC thing.

Speaking of the lovely Colin, I am still waiting to see Quirke properly; the downloads were fairly crap quality and while I have the DVD on order it hasn't shipped yet. I've read the Quirke books. I enjoyed them although they also irritated me, mainly because there seems to be utterly no reason why Quirke has so many women falling all over him. He doesn't say much, he's not charming or affectionate, we're given no indication that he's particularly attractive, so why does he get so much casual sex? In the 50s, no less? Hmph.
vanessarama: (Default)
I've always had trouble with scheduling and time management. Recently I've found a really nifty little thing that helps with that: HabitRPG. It's a website and also comes as an app.

It's a nice concept, not especially original since it works in with the whole 'gamification' craze. But it works for me better than any other gamification app, because you can form a party with other people and venture forth to defeat monsters. The more of your daily tasks you accomplish, the harder you hit the monsters and the more protected you are; eventually you can buy better equipment and you get eggs which can be hatched into pets and stuff.

I've mainly found it handy because I don't want to let my party down - when you miss a daily task, your entire party takes a hit. So I'm actually managing to exercise and take my medicine and give Oliver his medicine and do the dishes every day, just so we don't all get slaughtered by a gryphon! It's working for me, which is great. Whatever works.
vanessarama: (bearded colin)
I am sitting here with my beautiful Oliver on my lap, knowing that we may not have that much longer with him. He's quite old (at least 17) and has several things wrong with him; arthritis, hyperthyroidism and kidney disease. He's on medication for all of them, but last week we found out that the kidney disease has progressed further and he's now on borrowed time. He's lost half a kilo in two months - that's a lot for a cat. He's also deaf, and he's got kitty dementia, which makes him yowl a lot, forget what he was yowling about, and for some reason be totally obsessed with Knocking Over All the Things.

On the bright side, he has decent quality of life still; he eats his tucker with gusto, he purrs a lot, he likes sitting on his humans and he's interested in the outside world, although we don't let him out much any more since he's gone deaf.

He's our special little guy, part of our family for 16 years, and while I will miss him, I am also proud of the home we've given him. He knows he is loved and cared for. What more could a pussycat want?


Jan. 10th, 2014 09:39 pm
vanessarama: photo by <lj user="yavannauk"> (boys with cheekbones)
I love documentaries. Love 'em. Recently I saw two - one American and one English - that really stuck in my mind. They were not about similar incidents but they're both about families, people trying to make sense of the inexplicable, and most of all about the illusion of perfection and the pressure to keep that appearance going at all costs.

The US documentary was 'There's Something Wrong With Aunt Diane' which you can watch here in its entirety (warning: it does contain two distressing images of Diane's dead body after she was pulled out of the wreck). It's about the Taconic State Parkway crash; Diane Schuler drove the wrong way down a highway for two miles and ended up smashing into another car, killing herself, her daughter, her three nieces and three people in the car she hit. Her autopsy showed that she'd drunk a large amount of alcohol and smoked marijuana just before the crash, but everyone who knew her insists she was a perfect mother, psychologically stable, and definitely not an alcoholic.

It's not just Aunt Diane there was something wrong with. )

The English doco was 'We Need to Talk About Dad' which you can watch on the youtubes here. It's about a happy family - parents and two boys with a "perfect" life - until the father called the mum into the garden, blindfolded her telling her he had a surprise for her... and hit her in the head with an axe. Amazingly, she not only survived but did everything she could to prevent his prosecution. Originally charged with attempted murder he was eventually convicted of GBH and spent only five months in prison. He was deemed to have suffered a temporary psychotic episode, and his wife took him back into the family home.

This was both OK and not OK with their eldest son )

So there you go; two haunting documentaries about two horrible events.
vanessarama: (colin colin colin)
My god, is it over a week into January already? How time flies.

Happiness is having a friend like [ profile] gaminette who will go and see Mojo and buy me a programme and send it to me <3 <3
(I only wish we'd been able to see it together, as we did The Tempest... Damnit, London, why must you be so far away?)

We have been watching Coast Australia, which is the Australian edition of 'Coast' starring Neil Oliver of windswept long hair fame. When we did the Great Ocean Road last year, we saw the signs and trailers round by the Twelve Apostles saying they were filming Coast. I didn't catch a glimpse of Neil (or his hair) then but it's fun to watch it saying "We were there then!" :)

This brings up the notion of another holiday, although we don't know where or when, or how long for. Alas, the Aussie dollar has done a nosedive against the pound, meaning that the accommodation which cost us the equivalent of $140 a night in May would now set us back about $180. Ouch. We might have to delay London for a couple of years, and then I suspect it will be part of a Glorious European Holiday. London, I love you and miss you.

I have nothing to say and I am saying it and that is livejournal facebook tumblr all kinds of blogging, really.
vanessarama: (Default)
This is clearly Solving All the Mysteries Month.

First they find the bodies of the McStay family, missing since 2010 in puzzling circumstances.

Then they (almost certainly) find the bodies of the Jamison family, also missing in mysterious circumstances since 2009.

And now the Somerton Man case is a step closer to being solved as the family of 'Jestyn' have come out and spoken in public. The Somerton Man case is one of Australia's most intriguing unsolved mysteries ever - an unidentified body, an unknown cause of death, a mysterious code, a beautiful secretive nurse, a book of love poetry, rumours of espionage, etc etc. You couldn't make this up.

FWIW, my theories: McStays; one of the parents was caught up in something dodgy, whether knowingly or unknowingly; they pissed someone off; they made plans to flee to Mexico to escape that person, hence the computer searches and language software; but that person caught up to them first.

Jamison family; there were clearly mental health issues with both parents, so it wouldn't surprise me if this was a murder-suicide.

Somerton Man; no freaking idea.


Nov. 26th, 2013 08:40 am
vanessarama: (colin colin colin)
OH COLIN. You silly boy. Everything about this photo, from the ridiculous outfit to the belly-skin to the expression on his face, is fabulous.
vanessarama: (Default)
From here:

"Colin Morgan in white underpants, tied to a jukebox, being bullied by Ben Whishaw is one that will stay with you. I won’t spoil the scene, but suffice to say they get up close and personal."


spoil the scene spoil the scene spoil the scene PLEASE spoil the scene


Sep. 5th, 2013 09:27 pm
vanessarama: photo by <lj user="yavannauk"> (boys with cheekbones)
Did I tell you that I've managed a fair bit of knitting lately?

Here is a lovely warm vest/short-sleeved jacket that I finished last month under the cut )

It's not lopsided... it's the way I am standing :)

The pattern is called Ardara, from a book called Contemporary Irish Knits. It's knitted in a lovely limited edition yarn by Bendigo Woollen Mills called 'Harvest' which contains wool, alpaca and bamboo. It really didn't take me long, and it's tremendously warm. I have developed quite a thing for cables lately - I've always liked them but lately I've become obsessed with them. The buttons are made from repurposed Tasmanian forest wood - I bought them while I was in Tassie last year.

I'm now working on a big ol' comfy sweater pattern with the charming name 'Tea with Jam and Bread'. Another lovely warm one, knit in one piece. I've finished the body and have just begun on a sleeve, and am delighted that the body fits perfectly.
vanessarama: (smiley colin)
OK, I missed the first few days, but I was sick and therefore have an excuse! Still sick actually, but not so badly. But i know I need to get back into the habit of writing and this is as good a way as any!

I am still busy, but it's good busy. Working from home, I'm able to work more at my own pace and in line with the way my natural cycles of attention go. This largely involves working from about 7:30am till about 11 am, having a big break in the middle of the day, and then doing a few more hours from about 2:30 till Rohan gets home. It seems to be the way my brain is set up to operate. Oooh, and I have a laptop now! It's slim and light. It makes it much easier for me to work throughout the day as I can move between locations, curl up on the couch, stretch out on the bed, etc. Am still getting used to Windows 8 and setting it all up to operate as I want it to, though.

The Australian federal election is on this Saturday and I am dreading the fact that we'll probably have a change of government. Mind you, IMHO both major parties are representatives of Teh Evil. Quite disgusted with the way the Labor Party has betrayed its roots.

And finally and most wonderfully, it's Spring! Spring has sprung! I had the house all open today and let the warm air in, and it was glorious.

I miss looking forward to new Merlin :(
vanessarama: (bearded colin)
Have just realised how long it is since I posted anything, apart from today's amusement.

I am busy! I now have two pieces of consulting work on the go. It's challenging and exciting! Also, the giving circle I am involved in is really taking off. It's a great concept - 100 people who each contribute $1000 and that means you can make one big grant to a small charity and feel like a big donor with a relatively small amount.

Colin Morgan missed the last few performances of The Tempest due to illness and rumour has it he's in the hospital on an antibiotic drip, poor lamb. I hope he gets properly better soon. Sad that he missed the last performances when the last night is usually fun, and it was so obviously something that gave him such joy. Cue happy Colin curtain call photos). Not to mention the rest of us.
(Thanks as always to [ profile] rodneyscat for always finding and posting the best Colin shots).

(I love curtain calls. There was a time when I got tearful at every single one I saw, just because everyone always seemed so happy and lovely. I do find myself caught up in big swirls of crowd emotion, sometimes).

In genealogy and history news, I went to the State Library's Family History Feast, which is a free one-day genealogy seminar series. This year's Feast concentrated on WW1 ancestry. The opening speaker was absolutely amazing - his grandmother had told him never to become a soldier, because her uncle had been a soldier and had gone missing after the Battle of Fromelles. He did become a soldier, and he got together with some friends and through diligent examination of aerial photographs before and after the battle, as well as German photographs taken of the mass burials, they identified the likely gravesite and went there to excavate. And they were right. One of the first objects they detected was a Good Luck medal given to a soldier by his local shire, and they worked out by a process of elimination that the only person that medal could have belonged to was his great-uncle. Eventually the Army got involved. They have now recovered 249 lost diggers, and identified 124 of them, one being his great-uncle, and his grandmother got to say goodbye to her beloved uncle a month before she died.

He showed us an aerial photo of the battleground, and where the different units were, and pointed out that one of them was a unit formed in the part of South Australia which had been mostly settled by German immigrants - so young men called Schmidt and Blücher were firing at other young men called Schmidt and Blücher, for such a pointless war. It was a story told so simply and with such down to earth humour, but so moving. I got tearful, and I bet others did too. You could have heard a pin drop in there.
vanessarama: (shirtless)
It's Family History Month in Australia, and I have just come across a family of distant Victorian/Edwardian cousins who I'm not sure whether to (metaphorically) applaud or slap. Their surname was Aris, and they named almost all their children with double-A names: Albert Alfred, Arthur Alexander, Amelia Adelaide, Agnes Alexandra, Augustus Archibald, Arnold Adolphus and Algernon Aubrey. The only exceptions were the eldest child (Annie Eliza) and the youngest (Francis John)

So nearly all their kids had the initials AAA. Monogrammed hankies must have been tough to sort out in that household :)

I have also discovered a baby who could not possibly be her father's biological child (he was fighting in WW1 and did not have any leave in the year she was conceived) and a family line who were nearly all Bad Lots - the entire family, at least the male contingent, was constantly in trouble for drunkenness, poaching and fighting. And then there's the man who barely three months after his wife was buried married his wife's much older sister. Family scandals au-go-go!


Jun. 23rd, 2013 12:04 pm
vanessarama: (smiley colin)

Peter Marks is the Washington Post's theatre critic. Via F Yeah Colin Morgan.

My Colin love still knows no bounds.

The Tempest

May. 8th, 2013 09:40 pm
vanessarama: (happy merlin)
Well, it was wonderful.

Let me begin at e beginning through - the first wonderful thing of the day was meeting the very lovely [ profile] mirabile_dictu, who has been a virtual friend for something like a decade now. She is so sweet and bright. So that was a lovely beginning.

We had tickets for the Talking Theatre after the play. Colin wasn't there, but Roger Allam and Jessie Buckley were and they were both awesome. Sadly, although the event was sold out there were a lot of empty seats - I suspect that some fans who had paid for it just didn't bother turning up when they realised Colin wasn't going. A shame, because it was really interesting. There was also a huge clutch of what I suspect were fangirls in the middle back of the room and they were bloody annoying, kept whispering loudly to each other while the actors were talking and one of them even kept yawning and pretending to sleep on her friend's shoulder. More fools them because the session was very good.

Now. The play, let me tell you about it )
vanessarama: (happy merlin)
And now for something completely different; Things I Like!

1. Opening night of The Tempest fan comments. YAY YAY YAY I AM GOING TO SEE THIS TWICE.

2. 17 Sundays. If you are a lady of curves living in Australia (or even overseas, they ship worldwide) check them out. Their clothes are extremely cool and extremely comfy, and not expensive for what they are. They've also got a range called 17 Sundays Basics, which is cheaper. You can also buy them at The Iconic, which sometimes has a bigger range. It's odd but they have completely revised the way I dress and the way I feel about my body, and how self-conscious I am. Today I am wearing their Snake Eyes wet-look leggings and the Mercy Belt, which is a big three-buckled waist belt, and I feel like a million dollars in them. I can also highly recommend their dresses and I just got this jacket in which I feel like another million dollars.

(This recent shopping frenzy is, unfortunately, mainly due to me thinking every couple of days "I've had such a crappy day, I deserve a present!")

3. Discarded Images - a tumblr full of awesome little images from mediaeval manuscripts. Did you know people were just as obsessed with pictures of cats in mediaeval times as they are now? I particularly love the many cats licking their bottoms which appear in margins of Gospels and the like. Not to mention the plethora of mediaeval fart jokes and surprisingly explicit nudity.
vanessarama: (merlin: fanfic)
I'm not going to make this much better by prodding at it.

Title: Be The Usual Selves That I Have Known
Author: andraste_oz/vanessarama
Fandom: Merlin
Genre: gen
Words: about 2500
Spoilers: up to the season 5 finale.
Summary: The sword is for Arthur, the staff for Merlin. She misses them both so much that her very bones ache for them.
Disclaimer: These characters don't belong to me in any incarnation, and I am making no money from them.

It was her mother who named her Guinevere. )
vanessarama: (omg)
Hello you lovely people! Rohan and I are ensconced in a motel in Hall's Gap in the Grampians National Park and a freaking enormous kangaroo just bounded past our back door. It's awesome.

Everything has gone smoothly for us so far. We headed down the Great Ocean Road, to Lorne (which is as far as I've been before) and then on to Apollo Bay where we spent the night, then onwards to see the Twelve Apostles and London Bridge and all the other groovy coastline sights. It was stinking hot - 38 degrees. I got sunburnt in the few short minutes I had my hat off (because the wind at the Twelve Apostles threatened to blow it away!) Then we went on to spend two nights in sweet sleepy Port Fairy, after cooling off in the ocean until we were all prunified. And there was drama! We had to call the ambulance for a poor old gent who tumbled over while crossing the road in Warrnambool - I don't think he was too badly hurt but he bumped his head and his knuckles were all bloody, and better be safe than sorry with a head bump in the elderly.

Also in Warrnambool, I bought a book about the immigrant experience on the voyage to Australia and - unbelievable but true - the book contains a diary kept by an English girl who emigrated on not just the same ship but the exact SAME VOYAGE as Rohan's great-great-grandmother Anastasia. So we now can find out a bit about her journey!

Now we are in Hall's Gap watching cockatoos and kangaroos from our back door. It's awesome. Sadly we are on mobile bandwidth and I can't upload everything yet, but here, have some pics of the first two days. Under the cut are many pretty places )


vanessarama: (Default)

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