Thursday, September 23, 2010

Shut up and let me see your jazz hands

Waiting for a download to finish and it's taking foreeeeever. Sigh. Slow internet is slow. Nearly all the internationals over for Worldcon complained about the Aussie internet. Oi government...wait do we have a government? I forget.

No new developments really. Hardly surprising since my life consists mainly of going to work. September is socially a lot quieter than some of the previous months, but I need some downtime too, so I'm enjoying it. Also I'm supposed to be doing uni assignments, so having free time to procrastinate work on it is definitely a plus.

I've got two presentations/essays when I go back. One is on postmodernism, I'm thinking of mainly making it about twitter. The other is on 'Interpretations of a theme' with the texts being All About Eve and Election. I haven't actually seen Election properly so I will have to rent that, but I figure I'll try to make mention of Sherlock *shrugs* Fandom serves me well.

My copy of David Tennant's Hamlet arrived yesterday so I'm expecting the Sherlock DVD to show up tomorrow. Friday night entertainment sorted. Well, and I still have to watch The Departed and an insane backlog of Lie to Me, Human Target and Fringe. There aren't enough hours in the day. I'm still working my way through season 3 of Buffy. It wasn't really doing much for me to be honest, but Wesley has showed up and things finally seem to be getting itneresting - six eps to go. Hm. At Aussiecon, Cory Doctorow said you're not going to look back at your life one day and wish you watched more television...I don't know, I think I might. There's a lot I want to watch.

None of this would be a problem if I didn't actually have to sleep, you know. Or work. That wastes a lot of valuable time too. Priorities - I don't have them.

Speaking of things arriving, got my Adam Lambert ticket today. I'm not going to lie, I am stupidly excited about this. I mean really excited. Hey, everyone deserves a little Glambert in their lives. What's not to love?

As I mentioned before, I've been neglecting music lately, very sad. But I'm going to You, Me, At Six on Sunday, and I'm contemplating the Against Me! gig the week after. Oh and Muse in December. Hmmm, Muse *happy place*....Wait, what was I talking about? Other than that I'm just desperately hoping The Gaslight Anthem will be doing a Soundwave sideshow because I've never seen them live and I do adore them so. There are a couple of bands I'd be keen to see do some sideshows - I just really don't want to go to the festival.

Well this download is apparently being carried along the phone line by a snail, so I think I might cut my losses and call it a night. Can fit some reading in before midnight!

Compartmentalise, that's the key!

PS: HARRY POTTER. Aaaaaah! It gives me chills. It means the end of my childhood is officially nigh, but still! Chills! I think I should blow off work and go to the midnight premiere. See the aforementioned lack of priorities.

Music: NaNaNa - My Chemical Romance
Mood: Bored Now

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

In a dream I had

A cherry bomb, you are a mystery
Exploded, sparkling quiet nights
My teenage heart packed all my misery
To fingertips that might ignite
And all along you knew my story, didn't you
And all night long I carried yours
Your blood was mixed wine and robbery
And left us always wanting more

So don't sing me your songs about the good times
Those days are gone and you should just let them go
And God help the man who says
'If you'd have known me when'
Old haunts are for forgotten ghosts

Cherry bomb, your love is surgery
Removing what you don't regard
And every breath felt like a funeral
While you were packing up your car
And with the window down
I hear your tired mouth
You borrowed everything
And wore all your old welcomes out
And shame on you, my love
You sold your youth away
Memories are sinking ships
That never would be saved

Music: Old Haunts - The Gaslight Anthem
Mood: Thoughtful

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

You can't go back, same way you came

Giving in is not an option. I can be so damn stubborn sometimes. It's like I commit to something and then I go through with it, come hell or high water. Hence why I will be dead by the end of this semester. Ah well.

Means to an end, means to an end.

I may have mentioned ages ago that I applied for an internship with Lonely Planet. I've finally heard back from them saying that sadly all their tertiary positions for next year, but that I should please register with their careers department for an actual job. Ah lulz. I'm kind of glad that they're booked out. As much as I'd love to see what it's like working in that environment, the head office is in Melbourne and I was not relishing the prospect of having to stay there for two weeks, or whatever. So yes, I'll keep an eye on their careers site all the same - they have offices in the UK after all (also BBC Worldwide, win.)

I had something else to say but have completely forgotten thanks to this:

OK Go own the random music vid market.

Music: Fringe
Mood: Thirsty

Monday, September 20, 2010

It comes back, but it's never the same

Currently listening to the new LCD Soundsystem....not entirely sure I like it. I'm so woefully behind on new releases, it's depressing. There simply just aren't enough hours in a day to keep track of everything. Le sigh. I still haven't managed to get hold of Arcade Fire's The Suburbs either - I know, shock horror.

I've had a very active weekend. That would explain why virtually every inch of me hurts. It's not too bad really, but it's definitely being felt whenever movement is required. Kicked off on Saturday with Judo and Jukado training with mum. This included practicing breakfalls (aka ukemi). As I had no room really to practice anywhere, I was doing so on the back patio with a flimsy collection of pillows to cushion my fall. Yeah, that didn't work so great. I have two fabulously blue shoulders to show for my trouble, the right one is particularly nasty. Mum's horrified, she's never seen someone bruise like this from practicing haha!

Still, one would think falling is a lot easier than it is. I can recognise that it's mental more than anything - I was doing a lot better going backwards than forwards since I didn't have the constant need to check where I was falling. With practice I hope to get better at it, and certainly beyond the merely falling over - it's all about balance and that's something I'd definitely like to improve. Overall, I think I'm doing better at the Jukado at the moment, it's much more practical and incorporates a lot of elements I enjoy.

I started Sunday nice and restful by having brunch with the girls. It was lovely to catch up and perplex waitstaff - it's always something with us! It was also fascinating to have a poke about the building site that is R's home at the moment. It's going to look great when the renovations are done. So exciting!

Following that, I had a horse riding lesson. Random, I know, but oh so very fabulous. I had the laziest horse in the stable (their words, not mine!) and he made me work extra hard for everything, but I just had so much fun. The trainer didn't mess about, and she taught me how to do the basics, including saddling, and trotting. We did a bit of cantering as well, but not much as Mr. Lazy Horse just wasn't keen on listening to me. The few seconds I managed ranks up there as one of the best things I've done this year.

The lesson lasted for an hour and my muscles were aching from the minute I dismounted. I am so not fit enough for this - by the end, my kicks were so feeble it's no wonder the horse didn't want to move haha. I nearly came off it twice thanks my useless balance. The trainer wanted to try jumps, but I totally chickened out. She was very nice though, said she very happy with how quickly I picked it up and that I was a natural. Huzzah!

Horse riding, I may point out, is completely counter-intuitive. Especially if you're a bike rider. My instinct in all situations is to lean into a turn - I do this all the time, even when driving my car. Big no-no on horseback. Also leaning forward when speeding up, not done. It takes a lot of focus. And I keep messing up my feet, but with practice it should all become easier. So yeah, even though it's quite a challenge, I really enjoyed it. Will give it another shot this weekend, methinks. It's a brilliant workout as well, I swear the muscles in my neck hurts.

Anyway, on mid-semester break for the next two weeks. Look forward to getting home before 10pm for a change. I'm trying to go for jogs in the evenings as well now, if I can build up my stamina everything else will be easier too.

On the other hand, work is atrocious - no surprises there. Major dramas this morning and it's just endlessly frustrating. 62 weeks to freedom.

Music: Drunk girls - LCD Soundsystem
Mood: Working

Sunday, September 19, 2010

It's about time

We've just been waiting forever.

Music: If I had you - Adam Lambert
Mood: Sore

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Don't let me hear you say life's taking you nowhere

Conversation from class -

Tutor: science fiction asks what if - what if we took this technology and did this. For example, what would it mean for our perception of existence if we were able to capture the essence of a person and duplicate it after death, like a projection.
Me: Like in Red Dwarf.
Class: ...
*crickets chirp*

Story of my life. Another conversation:

Tutor: It can exist on multiple planes, it doesn't have to be linear or historical accurate. So alternate universes, time travel, that sort of thing. You just have to be careful to keep track of where you're taking the story as you're writing.
Me: *chuckles at own cleverness* This is my timey-wimey detector, it goes ding when there's stuff.
Class: ...
*tumbleweed rolls by*

But that's fine, people don't watch British sci-fi here, I can let that slide. What I find more worrying however is this:

Picture if you will a group of four workshopping a fellow student's piece. In said piece a group of lost people are wiling away time waiting for an imminent attack that they know will happen when something specific stops.

Me: This reminds me of Lord of the Rings. You know the bit with the cave troll, when they're in the Mines of Moria and the drums start up and they're waiting...
Workshoppee: -blank stare-
Me: ...have you seen Lord of the Rings?
Workshoppee: No - (would probably have said more had I not interrupted)
Me: Why do people not watch Lord of the Rings!?

I may have made him feel bad there, but hey, people should watch LOTR. They just should. If they're not going to read it, that's what has to happen. To me it's not a nerd/geek thing, it's a popular culture thing. My mother has watched the first one. Actually, I've been trying to convince her to watch the others, but it's been unsuccessful - she claims they are too long. A valid argument I suppose, if it's not something that grabs your attention.

I completely understand it may not be everyone's cup of tea, but I'd still say an attempt at watching it is at least required. Before I gave LOTR a chance, I didn't think it was my cup of tea either and just look, I could not have been more wrong.

Hm. I really, really want to watch that again. I've been saying that for the past year. Seems as good a Friday night activity as any.

Music: Golden Years - David Bowie
Mood: Working

Your freedom comes naturally

Just a quick one from my lunchtime reading.

MSNBC are running an article on *sigh* Twilight, more specifically 'Is Twilight altering teen minds?' You can read it here. It begins with the obvious in my opinion -

"We don't know exactly how literature affects the brain, but we know that it does," said Maria Nikolajeva, a Cambridge University professor of literature. "Some new findings have identified spots in the brain that respond to literature and art."

I think we're all aware that literature and art affects the brain. This is hardly a revolutionary development. I take issue with the following however, not because I like Twilight (which I do), but as a writer. First we have the predictable 'Bella is a bad role model' spiel -

"If you look very, very clearly at what kind of values the 'Twilight' books propagate, these are very conservative values that do not in any way endorse independent thinking or personal development or a woman's position as an independent creature," Nikolajeva said. "That's quite depressing."

And then it's followed up with -

Nikolajeva argued that authors have a moral responsibility to include some positivity and hope in works aimed at teens.

"If young people read books where there is no hope at all, it's really damaging," she said. "We need to be aware of young people's being influenced by what they read or watch, the games they play. It all plays a very important role."

Excuse me, what? Authors have a moral responsibility? I was under the impression authors were allowed to write stories, not merely fables. I don't agree with this at all. I think the only responsibility authors have is to be truthful. That truth might be different depending on the story sure, but it's not an author's job to police society and neither should it be. If kids prefer darker things, maybe it's simply because they recognise that reality as closer to their own, and relate more to it.

It really annoys me that in modern society we're so obsessed with the morals of things and constantly targeting outside influences such as films and video games, when frankly their function is not necessarily to teach. Hey parents, how about teaching your kids about life yourselves for a change, instead of expecting books and TV to do it all for you? Just a suggestion. I'm not denying that these things can exert influence, they can and lots of it, I just don't think it's black and white enough to be able to cast moral responsibilities, or in fact claim the right to do so.

And yes, I know some books do have morals, and of course it can be helpful if your reader can go on a journey along with your protagonist and hopefully learn something, but the idea that it's somehow a responsibility to be positive is ludicrous. Especially when you're a teenager. Who wants positive stuff when they're a teenager? I mean come on, teenagers are emo. During my later adolescence, R and I went through a phase where the only films we watched were of a tone that seemed to consistently require blue lighting. That's what being a teenager is.

Plus, I don't think Twilight is a series that lacks positivity or hope. In fact one of the things I liked about Breaking Dawn was how it ended completely on a positive note. Metaphorically, it was the sun coming out on a cloudy day (note: cloudy day, not thunderstorm, because as we all know sadly nothing happens in that book - and by nothing I mean the epic battle that we were due. Oh so due.) So you know, I don't know if you could necessarily accuse Stephenie Meyer of perpetuating hopelessness.

As I've mentioned before, I don't think Bella is the bad role model she's made out to be. I can only restate my belief that it's a dissonance between the books and the films that have caused this issue in the first place.

While I'm on this topic, I'd like to say I'm quite tired of people knocking Twilight in general. I get it, you know? It's crap, teenage girls are stupid, Meyer can't write, the concept is silly and offends horror sensibilities, and Buffy would have staked Edward ages ago. It's been a few years now, it's done. I just don't have it in me to laugh anymore. Sorry.

Now I shall end on one of my favourite quotes. It probably muddles everything, but that's just the way I roll -

What came first, the music or the misery? People worry about kids playing with guns, or watching violent videos, that some sort of culture of violence will take them over. Nobody worries about kids listening to thousands, literally thousands of songs about heartbreak, rejection, pain, misery and loss. Did I listen to pop music because I was miserable? Or was I miserable because I listened to pop music?

From High Fidelity, based on the novel of the same name by Nick Hornby. Hornby, incidentally, is my go-to-guy for all things regarding the relationship between books/music/pop culture and personal identity. Now, back to work.

Music: Bliss - Muse
Mood: Busy

Monday, September 13, 2010

Come to me with the worst you've said and done

I'm experiencing some significant lag this afternoon. Need a nap.

Severely frustrated as well - clients are painful, have tons of reception cover to do, and hotmail is a royal pain. Seriously, what is up with it? It lags, doesn't send emails and is forever telling me the server is busy. It's been doing this since the revamp two months ago and I don't know if it's just because it's not compatible with my ancient work computer or whether it's the actual thing that's useless. Either way....fix it windows!

I can't even use ymail instead cause their interface is actually not compatible with aforementioned ancient work computer.

And now my iPod has started playing Brand New. Thanks Beckettoo, you always know what will cheer me up o_o

My head hurts, I really need to get my eyes tested and ok, I'll stop whining now.

I've just received tonight's class exercise - Write the beginning of a story where an alien is encountered and intergalactic travel is assumed.

Sooooo...I can re-write the first episode of any Doctor Who season then? Class exercises are so annoying. They serve no purpose. Why not let us work on one novel or one piece for the duration, experimenting with stuff, instead of forcing a new 700 words out of me each week. I don't care, alright? I do them at work and I hate them all. Oh, did I say I'd stop whining? I'm sorry, my mistake.

Do. Not. Want.

Sigh. If I hadn't already skipped two, I'd just skip class tonight. It's such a shame, pop fiction started off so well, now it's just boring and repetitive. We're heading into the sci-fi module now, but I'm not expecting the earth to move. Frankly, I'd just rather go home and watch Sherlock again. I know I've seen it and there are only three eps but...yeah.

Actually, there was a blurb in the paper about Sherlock on the weekend, mentioning Nine picking it up but not setting a release date. What idiots. I still can't figure out how they managed to get hold of it, BBC things should go to the ABC in my opinion, it just makes sense. Or UKTV, like Torchwood. It'll never get the treatment it deserves on Nine - a channel, I may point out, that managed to screw up the first season of The O.C. I still don't know how they managed that. It's just baffling.

Ok ok so....alien, space travel, alien, space travel. I really could just revamp a Who story, the class would never know. Aaaaaaaaaaah. Isn't 700 words a bit few to set up an alien and space travel? Flash fiction is not my strong point. On a related note, it's my inability to write a decent short story that'll keep me from ever getting published. I've taken a bazillion classes and I still don't think I know how to do them properly. Hm.

In other news, I hear Merlin started again this weekend. I have no way to get hold of it. Sad.

What have we learned here people? Blogging at work on Mondays results in ceaseless whining. Normal transmissions will resume shortly...hopefully.

Music: Little Death - [+44]
Mood: Tired

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Prototypical nonconformists

I returneth to the blogosphere with a new layout. My mum declares it 'very British' which I suppose it is, but then I like British things so what the hey. Change is nice, all the same.

It's been a mad scramble this week trying to get my creative work organised for workshopping, thus the lack of blogging. Was actually late for class on Thursday cause I was still finalising the last bits of the chapter - I take some comfort knowing that I can churn out 1,600 words in two hours when I absolutely have to. Not the best words in the world but still, according to my class(es) both tone, pace and style is nearly faultless. That's nice to if only I could get the damn story to behave itself and get on the paper the way it is in my head. It's so much better in my head. I was bemoaning this on Friday night and the words "my novel is trying to kill me" may have been uttered. Did I receive any sympathy for my mother? No. Only laughter and the quip, "You'd swear you've written hundreds of them before". Hmph.

Other than that, last Thursday I headed off to Aussiecon 4, the 68th World Science Fiction Convention (aka WorldCon.) It was....not what I expected. I've been to a few cons now and mostly they are characterised by geeky people running about in various stages of flailing and lots of cosplaying awesomeness. Worldcon, on the other hand, is serious business. Emphasis on the serious. It is a literary convention more than anything, so I guess I shouldn't have been surprised, but I just felt it lacked that feeling of...well, fun and silliness that you find at those other cons. In fact, I found a lot of attendees to be quite unfriendly and taken with some form of superiority complex. I know a lot of people had an absolutely fabulous time, so I concede this may be my problem. I just thought the event was missing that spark that you can even find lining up for a gig all day - you know the spark I mean, the one that has you talking to people and acting like idiots and feeling like you're friends, bonded forever, with other people in that line. Also, I thought it was absolutely woefully organised. After waiting around Saturday night for the cosplay masquerade that ended up consisting of only seven costumes, I was getting seriously pissed off with the organisation. But c'est la guerre.

The panels, on the other hand, were extremely informative which made up for the other nonsense. I particularly enjoyed the franchise writing, professional writing for spec fic authors, and pitching panels. All very practical and useful. The panel I least enjoyed was one on immortality, I couldn't believe they managed to make it so dull. Blah. The most fun was however Paul Cornell's 'Just a minute' game show type panel on Saturday, pitting six other guests against each other in what was an utterly hilarious hour. It was also a prime example of how unorganised the con was however, as we spent twenty minutes standing outside the hall waiting for someone to unlock it. But this was also one of the few times I managed to engage others in a decent conversation - acquiring a very nice ribbon for my pass in the process.

A definite highlight was the Nightmare Masquerade Ball on Friday night. Give me an excuse to dress up and wear a mask, I will grab hold of it and never let go. I absolutely adore my costume, it's comfortable and looks pretty cool, if I do say so myself, and I kind of wish there are more opportunities to wear it. I got a fair few compliments on it, which is always nice as well. Lizzie and I had the dubious bright idea to start the night with wine - during dinner, and later in our hotel room. It really was both brilliant, and terrible, as these things always are. Especially since they kept giving us wine when we actually arrived as well. There was a less than fortunate incident with orange juice and I lost one of my satin elbow length gloves, but all the same, t'was a fun night.

Originally, my flight home on Sunday was only at 5.45 as there were quite a few Doctor Who related things I wanted to go to, but by the time I crawled into bed Saturday night I was completely over this con business. It really takes a lot out of you, it's overwhelming, draining, and just exhausting. Instead I headed to the airport at 8 to see if they could get me on an earlier flight. In the end I had to run to make the 9am flight since they were all booked until the afternoon (it was 8.45 when I reached the counter and the plane had already started boarding.) Of course by the time I got on the plane, all the overhead compartments were full and I had quite a fun time jostling things around to fit my bags and getting progressively more annoyed.
"Too much luggage?" the guy next to me enquired.
I wanted to smack him with the newspaper. That's the downside to flying business class, smug travel companions.

Overall, from a writing point of view, it was well worth going. I'd like to think I picked up some useful things and mainly I just got a firm kick to stop whining and start writing. Every day. No matter what. I'm doing my best, Cory Doctorow is incredibly intimidating and I don't want him to think I'm not serious *shifty eyes* Conclusion: Writing is hard. Even if you're good at it, it's still hard. But it's meant to be. So shut up and get on with it.

However as a convention that's meant to include new fans and so on, I felt it was a bit of a fail. But then again maybe I should just go to Comic Con and leave the serious business for the serious fans.

This week's agenda:
> Work:
Drama, downsizing, and forever chasing clients for material.
> Uni:
Last week before mid-semester break. TFG.
Reading and research.
> Social:
Uuuuh...can't remember.
> Other:
I need to DL updates for Sheldon
Back-up and clear hard drive
Book riding lesson, stuff.

There's always stuff.

And even though I'm meant to be reading Dune for class, I'm reading Neverwhere instead.

Music: Trash Unreal - Against Me!
Mood: Cold

Monday, September 6, 2010

A cage, to stay behind bars until use and old age accept them

'For she was pitted against a foe beyond the strength of her mind or body. And those who will take a weapon to such an enemy must be sterner than steel, if the very shock shall not destroy them. It was an evil doom that set her in this path. For she is a fair maiden, fairest lady of a house of queens. And yet I know not how I should speak of her. When I first looked on her and perceived her unhappiness, it seemed to me that I saw a white flower standing straight and proud, shapely as a lily, and yet knew that it was hard, as if wrought by elf-wrights out of steel. Or was it, maybe, a frost that had turned its sap to ice, and so it stood, bitter-sweet, still fair to see, but stricken, soon to fall and die? Her malady begins far back before this day, does it not, Eomer?'
'I marvel that you should ask me, lord,' he answered. 'For I hold you blameless in this matter, as in all else; yet I know not that Eowyn was touched by any frost, until she first looked on you. Care and dread she had, and shared with me, in the days of Wormtongue and the king's bewitchment; and she tended the king in growing fear. But that did not bring her to this pass!'
'My friend,' said Gandalf, 'you had horses, and deeds of arms, and the free fields; but she, born in the body of a maid, had a spirit and courage at least the match of yours. Yet she was doomed to wait upon an old man, whom she loved as a father, and watch him falling into a mean dishonoured dotage; and her part seemed to her more ignoble than that of the staff he leaned on.'
'But who knows what she spoke to the darkness, alone, in the bitter watches of the night, when all her life seemed shrinking, and the walls of her bower closing in about her, a hutch to trammel some wild thing in?'
Then Eomer was silent, and looked on his sister, as if pondering anew all the days of their past life together.

Lord of the Rings: Return of the King [Chapter 8: The houses of healing]

Music: Rustle of leaves
Mood: Wistful