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# So, another three weeks of radio silence (sorry!), but I really didn't have the energy. I actually started to write this post two weeks ago after I'd passed the final ECDL Core module and celebrated by letting G. drag me to one of his friends' birthday party, drinking a bit too much, almost getting lost on the roof of the WU building, and coming home at 3 am. Fell asleep every time I found myself in a horizontal position on Sunday, and as a result never managed finish the entry, and this weekend wasn't much better. I've passed Word Advanced on Friday, but it left me in a weird state of mind, completely wired and exhausted at once, unable to relax, even though I'd been looking forward to a free weekend. Went for a 5 1/2 hrs. walk today to get the jittery restlessness out of my system, which did help, but I'm already resisting the urge to stop writing and lie down.

Also, period, which most of the time doesn't really affect my psyche, but in this case really didn't help, because it made me over-emotional about stupid things like my niece's birthday present and my sister being morally and pedagogically opposed to me buying her the Rapunzel tower after all, fuck the price and fuck over-paid if it makes her happy. Rationally I know she's probably right, but it reminded me of all the times I wanted something pretty and useless as a child and got something practical and full of pedagogic worth instead, and, yes, I might be over-identifying a tad here. Probably a good thing I don't have kids.

The downside of all the studying for ECDL exams is that I'm feeling constantly guilty because I'm neglecting Russian and not really making much progress at all at the moment, quite the opposite in fact, and guilty for not exercising enough. I had to give up Tai Chi this semester because my new work hours don't allow me to leave earlier and I didn't find another suitable class, but to be perfectly honest, guilt aside I'm almost glad, because things are already stressful enough.

On the plus-side, the whole endeavour at least doesn't seem to be entirely useless, because I applied for a secretary-type position last week and actually got a reply the next day. Unfortunately that reply mostly consisted of them asking if I would be interested in doing book-keeping too, since they're looking for someone to do that, to which I could only reply that I don't know the first thing about book-keeping, but it does give me a bit of hope that I'm not just wasting my time...

# That said, I really do miss fanish discussions and writing rambling meta. I re-read parts of my last Jack/Ianto meta recently, and leaving aside the irony that I wrote it at a time when there were all of ten people left in the fandom interested in both the ship and a take on it that didn't dismiss CoE, there are bits there that I'm really proud of, and I do miss that feeling of ideas clicking and coming together. So the plan is to pass the ECDL Advanced exams for Excel and Access over the next four weeks, and then I'll give myself the rest of the year off, because it's not as if I'll have the time or energy to do any serious studying before Christmas anyway, watch the MD DVDs and (hopefully) get some writing done.

# Reading, not that much of that is happening at the moment. Re-read the first two books of Clive Barker's Abarat series, because after a seven year hiatus my memories were extremely sketchy, and am about two thirds through the third book now. Mostly, I guess, I'm not sure if such a long break was a good idea. I can't quite put my finger on it, but the tone has changed. Candy's voice has changed. Things are decidedly grimmer and more adult, downright apocalyptic actually, and a lot of the charm of the first two books is gone. I had a distinct suspicion that the Boa/Finnegan romance as it was presented in vol.2. was entirely too sweet for Barker to maintain interest in it for any length of time, but I can't say I expected suddenly!evil!Boa. Was this always planned like that? OTOH, there's the out of nowhere love at first sight assassination attempt romance between Candy and Gazza, which makes me wonder if they are going to fare any better. Strange...

Also read F. Zwingtman's Ich, Adrian Mayfield, which I picked up at work (the children/YA section does have its perks...), and promptly bought the two follow-up volumes after I'd finished it, but am stuck somewhere mid-second volume now, because I made the mistake to glance at the ending, which, as it turns out, isn't the happily ever after I was stupidly hoping for...

And because I'm apparently completely crazy and over-ambitious, I've started to read The Master and Margarita in Russian. I'm still missing a lot of words (which makes me feel guilty all over again for neglecting Russian so much at the moment), and have to go back and reread sentences, but it's enough to follow that plot and catch the tone and style, which maybe isn't so bad for not even four years of learning?

# Speaking of Clive Barker, I came across this poem of his while browsing in David E. Armstrong's book Rare Flesh, and it made me think of Jack, Torchwood and the whole death/immortality theme...

There'd be no love
Without death close behind.
No clinging together
If this went on endlessly:
This you, this me.

No need,
No hurt,
No coming darkness,
No hope of light.

Which would you prefer, sweet?
Eternity and indifference,
Or the fragile beat of love
In the face of our finality?

# Another of these strange connections... A few weeks ago Ricardo Pinto blogged about his plans to travel to Iran since his next novel is set in Achaemenid Persia, and putting off the journey because he was invited to attend a conference about Persepolis in Edinburgh, and I clicked the link and looked at the conference program and... it doesn't even make sense, it's been almost ten years that I haven't done anything at all, but for a moment I still felt a stab of pain and regret that I gave up all that. (My diss was supposed to be about greco-persian art, that is, the art of the western satrapies of the Achaemenid empire and the mingling of the various influences, Greek, Persian, and local, in style and iconography.)

# TV. Actually, mostly I'm looking for something to feel genuinely fanish over again. I'm still watching Merlin, and I'm probably not giving it up anytime soon, because I want to see what happens when Merlin finally reveals his magic, which is bound to be fairly epic, given the ever-increasing amount of lies and complications, but apparently S3 and the way Morgana's arc was handled has irreversibly soured the show for me. The charm is gone. The knights for some reason annoy me. (In fact I'm waiting for the one in the short-sleeved chainmail, I forget his name if I ever caught it in the first place, to get an arm hacked off, because that's really asking for it...)

The most interesting thing about the first two episodes for me was the Merlin/Lancelot dynamic and Merlin being able to be open about his magic with someone for a change, but, well. Although I have the suspicion that Lancelot will come back in time for the finale and Big Reveal to tell Arthur that Merlin has really been saving his life through magic for years now, and is not actually evil. Otherwise... I guess it wasn't bad objectively, or at least everyone loves and praises it, but it mostly just felt repetitive, and I just couldn't bring myself to care any longer. The slashy moments and the self-sacrificing heroism left me equally cold.

4.03 was rather more interesting. I actually didn't expect Uther to survive S3 and was more than a little surprised that he did, because in the last episode the power-balance between him and Arthur shifted completely, marking the transition from Uther to Arthur, and Arthur kissing Gwen in the courtyard after his complete helplessness in Queen of Hearts proved that. Even then it seemed impossible to reset the development of the episode (or in fact of the whole of S3), so Uther's death makes a lot of sense, and while I recognise that the plot-twist mainly serves to further delay the moment where Merlin can tell Arthur about his magic, it was an interesting turn, not making things quite that easy for Arthur after all. (Although presumably in the end Arthur will have to find about what Uther did, and he'll have to realise that he'd already had the truth in The Sins of the Father until Merlin hid it from him again to protect him...)

4.04 IMO was boring, bad, and embarrassment-squicked me so hard that I had to fast-forward through some of the slap-stick (if you can call it that) scenes. And maybe that's my general disillusionment with the show, but sometimes I think Bradley James was actually better and most convincing as Arthur in some of the first season episodes. The last episode that really gripped me was The Sorcerer's Shadow (and there it felt like the cast had finally woken up after sleepwalking through their parts through a good part of the season, or so my notes form last year tell me), and I wonder how he'll do now that he doesn't have Anthony Head to play off of any longer.

With DW I didn't even finish the season. I stopped watching after Let's Kill Hitler, mostly because I didn't have the time anyway and haven't been interested for a while, but really, if you keep emphasising that time can be rewritten at every turn, then you better come up with a very, very convincing reason why in this specific instance it can't, or why the Doctor doesn't even bother to try. I know people found MD offensive for using the holocaust as a history-repeating-itself analogy, and I can understand that, but personally I find LKH rather more distasteful, because MD at least kept things firmly in the realm of analogy and fiction, while LKH blithely plays around with over 60 million dead, effectively using them as a backdrop for the latest instalment of the Doctor/River romance...

In conclusion, wanted: a new show and some fanish enthusiasm. Or I'm just getting too old and cynical?



( 1 comment — Leave a comment )
(Deleted comment)
Oct. 25th, 2011 11:14 pm (UTC)
*hugs back*

I really miss writing so much. I know that what I'm doing is necessary (actually, long overdue), but sometimes it feels like I'm losing myself a bit...

Re. DW... I'll be back when they change the show runner. LKH IMO shows a complete lack of historical awareness and sense of proportion. It's as if fifteen minutes into The Fires of Pompeii the vulcano had suddenly ceased to be of any relevance whatsoever and was never even mentioned again. Now granted, Eleven was busy almost dying most of the episode, but can you imagine Ten in 1938 Berlin, in the Reichskanzlei, face to face with Hitler, and not be completely torn up about what to do, or not to do? In that situation I can't say I care a whole lot about whether River killed the Doctor, or not, or the whole timey-wimey-ness, and I find it fairly mind-boggling that SM could completely ignore the real moral dilemma of the story.

What I read about the last episode and River's fate doesn't make me happy either to say the least, although I probably shouldn't make any judgements purely on hearsay...
( 1 comment — Leave a comment )


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