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sally_maria: Daniel Jackson looking sideways (Default)
wrong but wromantic

March 2017

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sally_maria: (Oldest Hills)
One day I will write DW entries regularly and without lots of second-guessing myself, but obviously not yet...

In the meantime, a few weeks ago I was invited by long-standing friends to crash their family visit to Pembrokeshire, where their parents have retired to. I took a long and beautiful train ride out to Haverfordwest, and met up with them to do the last few miles to Broad Haven, on the coast.

The weather wasn't particularly wonderful, but in between card games I spent a lot of time admiring the view from their lounge window.

Pembrokeshire 2017

(Click through for more pictures)

One day we did go to St Davids, famous as the smallest city in the UK - far smaller than Winchcombe - but it has a cathedral, and that's more important than size.

St Davids

(Click through for more pictures)

I was very grateful for the invitation - a lovely chance to get away and catch up, and visit a lovely part of the world I hadn't seen for 20 years or so.
sally_maria: (Watchful Dragon)
When looking for potential nominations for the Tolkien Society Awards, I came across this piece of artwork.

Luthien and Huan by Elena Kukanova



Her DeviantArt account has lots of wonderful Silmarillion related pictures, well worth a look.

Also two articles with personal takes:

Tolkien and Combat Stress: Writing as a Release
by the Angry Staff Officer

Tolkien and the Gift of Mortality by Anna Mathie
sally_maria: (Moria)
As I'd put this together for somewhere else, I thought I might as well share it here. If you have any links to add to it, I'd love to know about them.

To start with, a 2 hour authorised documentary that was originally released on VHS, but I haven't seen it on sale on DVD at all.

Michael D. C. Drout on How to Read Tolkien

How THE HOBBIT Came to Milwaukee: Dr. John D. Rateliff speaking at Marquette University

Tolkien and Doctor Who by Joel Cornah
is one of quite a few interesting talks on the Tolkien Society YouTube Channel.

And there's also the Mythgard institute - which has talks on a number of Tolkien related subjects.


Oxford University has a number of talks as well.

A conference for the 60th anniversary of Return of the King in 2005 Tolkien's Legacy
Patrick Curry
Dimitra Fimi
Andy Orchard

Middle Earth and Tolkien's Digital Afterlives | Stuart Lee

And various podcasts
sally_maria: (Henry bookworm)
I've always been an avid reader, but I must admit that the internet has definitely cut into my book reading time - both fanfic and blog posts/articles. I collect links to all sorts of things, and catch up when I have time. So I was wondering what you do with things you read online.

Open to: Registered Users, detailed results viewable to: All, participants: 6


How do you keep links for later reading

View Answers

I bookmark them in my browser
2 (33.3%)

I keep the tab open until I've read it
4 (66.7%)

I use an offline reading app like Pocket
1 (16.7%)

I use online bookmarks like Pinboard
1 (16.7%)

I don't, I always read them at the time
0 (0.0%)

Some other way I'll talk about in comments
2 (33.3%)

Obligatory silly ticky box :-)
1 (16.7%)

sally_maria: (Hello Sally)
In hopes it'll take me less time before I post next time.

I haven't read a lot of Yuletide stories yet this year, but I just loved this one.

The Spirit of St Mary Mead by lost_spook
St Mary Mead has had an unusual guardian down through all these centuries
.

Miss Marple never changes.



Dinosaurs as a Cultural Phenomenon
from American Scientist

My brother's the continuing dinosaur fan in our family, but there is certainly something fascinating about them.


And
On Progress and Historical Change

Is progress inevitable? Is it natural? Is it fragile? Is it possible? Is it a problematic concept in the first place?


"Progress" from a historian's perspective - I found this interesting, thought-provoking and satisfying. I'm sure there are things to disagree with, but it made a lot of sense to me.
sally_maria: (Hammond)
I keep meaning to post about my small adventures at work, but in the meantime have a poem I first came across last year, and think is rather wonderful.


ATLAS

There is a kind of love called maintenance,
Which stores the WD40 and knows when to use it;

Which checks the insurance, and doesn’t forget
The milkman; which remembers to plant bulbs;

Which answers letters; which knows the way
The money goes, which deals with dentists

And Road Fund Tax and meeting trains,
And postcards to the lonely; which upholds

The permanently rickety elaborate
Structures of living; which is Atlas.

And maintenance is the sensible side of love,
Which knows what time and weather are doing
To my brickwork; insulates my faulty wiring;
Laughs at my dryrotten jokes; remembers
My need for gloss and grouting; which keeps
My suspect edifice upright in the air,
As Atlas did the sky.

by U.A. Fanthorpe

Oxonmoot

Sep. 12th, 2016 04:45 pm
sally_maria: (TS Sleep)
Oxonmoot is the Tolkien Society's annual social/academic event, held in Oxford in September for over 40 years. (This was my 19th, but I know there are those on my flist who've been going rather longer.)

It's been a highlight of my year almost from the beginning - a chance to spend the weekend with friends, to learn, to relax and to stay up far too late and try unusual alcohol. :-)

Danish Ent Beer, Finnish Cloudberry Liqueur and Pudding Vodkas )

There were many interesting papers given on a wide range of Tolkien-related topics, and I didn't manage to get to anything like all of them.

These were some of my favourites )

What made this year even better than usual, though, was a special performance of Leaf by Niggle, by Richard Medrington and the Puppet State Theatre Company, just for us. The work involved in getting the dining hall set up as a theatre space (and taking it down afterwards) was considerable, but it was so worth it. It was a lovely, moving, and thought-provoking version, one actor, some family heirlooms and Tolkien's text presented almost complete. Another speaker, Joel Cornah, had talked earlier in the day about the importance of getting the "voice" right in any Tolkien adaptation, and this very much did.

If you get the chance to see it (and at the moment it seems to be touring mostly in Scotland), I'd say you really should - it's just wonderful, both as an adaptation and a piece of theatre.
sally_maria: (Not Amused)
I've had the week off this week, and decided it was time to get round to taking Dad to see the Docklands Light Railway, something he has talked about, but never got round to doing. (Well, not since about 1997, anyway.;-D)

As that seemed a bit of shallow thing to hang a day trip on, I went looking for things to see and found the Museum of London Docklands, in one of the old warehouses still standing near Canary Wharf.

ETA: Should have fixed the photos now.

Cut for photos and rambling )

Slow Train

Jul. 12th, 2016 09:26 pm
sally_maria: (Foremarke Hall)
I love this video to one of my favourite Flanders and Swann songs, an elegy for the passing age of the branch line railway.



Not all of these stations closed in the end - St Erth to St Ives is still a beautiful run, and you can't beat the view from St Ives station, even on a cloudy day.

Read more... )
sally_maria: (Fountain pen - classic)
A couple of weeks ago I was contacted via Ancestry by someone from the local history society of the village in the Stroud valleys where my mother grew up. She'd heard from one of the girls (now nearly 90) who'd been evacuated from Birmingham to stay with my grandparents in the early part of WWII, before my mother was born.

Lily had fond memories of her time in Woodchester, and wanted to visit again, so I passed her details on to my mother. Today was the day and Mum and my aunt gave her a tour of the current village, changed in many ways but still the same basic layout.

I must admit one of the responses I had was regret that I never knew those grandparents, both of them died before I started school. :-( I can't help feeling a certain fellow feeling with my grandfather, who clearly wasn't particularly ambitious or driven, but who was a key part of community life, doing what needed to be done, from churchwarden to regular local committee member.

Lily remembered him encouraging her artwork, and we still have a couple of the pieces of furniture he made - I suppose there are worse legacies.

Frank William Garland )
sally_maria: 1950s British Railways logo (British Railways)
Last weekend it was the Steam Gala at my local heritage railway, now a fixture of the late May bank holiday weekend.

The weather was nicer this year, as I enjoyed my customary brake van ride from Toddington to Cheltenham and back, and as usual took lots of pictures.

2016 GWSR Steam Gala

Two Manors - click through to my Flickr account for more pictures.


Highlights of the weekend )
sally_maria: Grinning - with text "Can you tell I'm happy?" (Doctor Four - Happy)
As might be expected, The Force Awakens has led to a massive surge in Star Wars fandom (not that it had ever died off, but now there has been a modern Tumblr-style explosion). I've very much enjoyed some of the new fanworks, without really getting into the fandom as a whole - try as I might, Tumblr just doesn't work for me.

One theme I've enjoyed is Finn as an inspiration to other Stormtroopers...

Tomorrow (there'll be more of us) by dimircharmer

“FN-2187 was real, right?” She sounds very young again. “Please tell me he was real."

"I'm real,” said Finn, who was on his first patrol since his back healed. “And my name’s Finn now.”

Her eyes widened. “You have a name?”


and the sequel:

One Was All It Took
by Miz636

In the end, so many of their stories began just trying to escape the First Order and do the right thing by ending it. The Stormtrooper Rebellion was just Stormtroopers doing the right thing after being shown that they actually could.

All it took was one Stormtrooper, and so many more followed.


For people who prefer icons, another lovely set from [personal profile] sallymn - Smiles

Happy icons from Doctor Who, Merlin, SG-1, SGA and many more.
sally_maria: (Foremarke Hall)
Even though I'm no longer involved in the Tolkien Society committee, I still try to get to the AGM weekend every year. It's a great excuse to spend the weekend with friends, often listen to an interesting speaker at the Annual Dinner, and visit a new and interesting town/city. (There are so many interesting places I would probably have never got round to visiting if it wasn't for the TS.)

This year it was York, and while I'm sure I would have visited more of the city if it wasn't for the stinking cold I've been fighting, I did get to see quite a lot of the centre, including the Shambles, the Minster, the Yorkshire Museum and of course, the National Railway museum.

NRM April 16

(Click through for more pictures.)

Flying Scotsman fever has of course seized the museum, as it has the country - there are a lot of interesting presentations of the history of the FS express service, which existed long before the steam locomotive bearing the name, and the media and publicity attention it had from the very beginning.
(I must admit I'm more of a GWR fan - and my discussion of the exhibits included pointing out the model of City of Truro - which did 100mph long before that LNER upstart. ;-D)


On Sunday morning I went round with a group from the TS, and demonstrated that a little learning is a dangerous thing by attempting to explain various railway related things. I was obviously speaking too loud, as I was pounced on by one of the museum volunteers, who wanted to talk me into joining them. *blushes* Still, it was a good visit, and I was pleased to find Mallard, and a Royal Mail sorting carriage, which I missed the first time round.
sally_maria: Dreamsheep with Luthien's badge (Dreamsheep Luthien)
I swear it used to be in the autumn... Still there are worse things to have multiples of.

In any case someone elsewhere asked for our favourite Tolkien poem, and this came to mind.

From Mythopoeia:

"Dear Sir," I said- "Although now long estranged,
Man is not wholly lost nor wholly changed.
Dis-graced he may be, yet is not de-throned,
and keeps the rags of lordship once he owned:
Man, Sub-creator, the refracted Light
through whom is splintered from a single White
to many hues, and endlessly combined
in living shapes that move from mind to mind.
Though all the crannies of the world we filled
with Elves and Goblins, though we dared to build
Gods and their houses out of dark and light,
and sowed the seeds of dragons - 'twas our right
(used or misused). That right has not decayed:
we make still by the law in which we're made."

Festivids

Feb. 14th, 2016 08:15 pm
sally_maria: cartoon image of Peter Capaldi doctor (Doctor 12 Rebel)
Every year the vidding version of Yuletide produces a wonderful crop of vids for rare/unvidded fandoms.

The vidders were revealed this weekend, so it was the perfect prompt to share some on my favourites.

The first one I have to share is for An Adventure in Time and Space, the drama about the early days of Doctor Who that was made for the 50th Anniversary. This emphasises the story of Verity Lambert and Waris Hussein, the original producer and director, making something wonderful happen.



It was made by purplefringe, who posts here about why she found the drama so inspiring.

Some others I also really liked included: )
sally_maria: (OTW)
While I was sharing things, I hope that people might find some of these helpful.

Some of these are userscripts, for which you need Greasemonkey (Firefox) or Tampermonkey (Chrome or Opera).


AO3 Crossover Savior - For hiding stories with too many fandoms from the search pages.
AO3 Lazier - Adds a button to take you to the latest posted chapter
AO3:Kudosed and seen history - for those of us who forget whether we've read a story before - show the ones you've given kudos to or marked as seen.

AO3 Saved Filters - a way to apply a specific filter every time you search on the archive, so you can block stories from a specific fandom, or with a specific pairing. It combines very well with...

"The "Search Within Results" Field and You" - instructions on how to rule items out of searches, using the internal number codes for certain tags - fandoms, pairings or characters.

Something else I went looking for was a way of loading stories without the collections they are part of, as I'm picky enough to want all my bookmarks to look the same. I asked over at the dreamwidth AO3 community and somebody made this bookmarklet.


So, if there's any particular function you want to know about, it's worth looking there, at [community profile] ao3some or at all the userscripts people have written for the archive.
sally_maria: Old-style drawn cover of Agent Peggy Carter (Agent Carter)
Day seven: whatever tickles your fancy...


And finally, some epic silliness. Last year several of the actors involved in Agent Carter and Agents of SHIELD started a "dubsmash" war - lip-syncing to songs in as dramatic/humorous a way as they can. This is all of the clips, so you get to follow the story all the way through. :-)

sally_maria: Cartoon image saying "Cool Story Bilbo" with the Ring as one of the Os. (Cool Story Bilbo)
Day six: a song

So back in 2008, the Lord of the Rings musical was playing in London. I got to see it twice, and this was one of my favourite songs - the Frodo and Sam duet.



"Stories we tell,
will cast their spell,
now and for always."
sally_maria: X Wing fighter in a dive over water. (X Wing)
Day five: a youtube clip


I don't think anyone can describe this as spoilery (unless you don't know anything about who the actors who are appearing in the latest Star Wars film are) but it's such fun. :-)



Jimmy Fallon, The Roots & "Star Wars: The Force Awakens" Cast Sing "Star Wars" Medley (A Cappella)
sally_maria: (Liz 10 - Bloody Queen)
Day four: a site


One of the my favourite blogs - Separated by a Common Language - which the author subtitles as "Observations on British and American English by an American linguist in the UK".

I find it a fascinating combination of linguistics and cultural observation - the differences go so much further than we call it a lift, they call it an elevator. :-)

Two example posts I found interesting - this one on noodles and this one about crosswords. Do read the comments as well - they usually add useful information to the topic, and trolls are rare.
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