sally_maria: Daniel Jackson looking sideways (Default)
If you're looking for a quick and easy way to make a post linking to something interesting, you might find this useful.

[personal profile] lj_writes posted: Signal Boost bookmarklet with user name tags for more sites
sally_maria: (Honey)
I visited some friends in Portsmouth - we met when were studying at the University and now they were celebrating their 50th birthdays... They held a barn dance/celidh for 50 or so of us - family, and friends old and new, including several other college friends.

On Sunday we went to see Mary Poppins Returns - and I really enjoyed it. If I wanted to be picky, there are some things that weren't perfect, but I really felt it was a worthy and respectful sequel to the original. The casting was excellent, the songs made me laugh and cry when they were supposed to, and the whole look of the film was beautiful.
sally_maria: I have a terrrible sleeping disorder, reading (Books - Sleeping Disorder)
Somebody recommended Consider the Fork - A History of How We Cook and Eat by Bee Wilson and I thoroughly enjoyed it. An easy read, but with a lot of interesting background about the history of cooking and food in different cultures. It makes very good points about how the nature of prestigious food has changed over time and how no-one really cared about labour-saving devices, until they had to actually do the work. :-)

One of the side effects of watching the Clone Wars animated Star Wars series, which I highly recommend if you are at all interested in Star Wars, is that I've actually become much more interested in stories set during the Prequel Era - it's managed to get me invested in the characters in a way the films never did.

Of course, being me, I'm most interested in the various ways that things can be fixed, or at least made less dark, and one major story type is one that sends one of the characters, or their knowledge of the future, back in time.

If I had to list my absolute favourite I'd go for the Reprise series by Elfpen in which Obi-Wan is sent back when he dies aboard the Death Star, to 40 years before. After over 400k words, the series as a whole isn't yet finished, but each constituent part finishes in a sensible place and it gives the reader a chance to spend a lot of time in the old Jedi Order, seeing how events are gradually changed by the addition of the wisdom and experience of the future.
sally_maria: (Oldest Hills)
I've been spending far too much time over the past few months watching various YouTube musicians, but it seemed this right time to share this, from a favourite accapella group. That bass...



In any case my best wishes for the new year to everyone.
sally_maria: (Christmas)
On the first Tuesday in December, the small town where I live has a Christmas market and late-night opening evening. Almost everywhere opens, not just the shops but the local museum, which puts on a special display of local historic photographs, and even the estate agents and the undertakers.

Dragon mobile hovering over bottle of gin

Even though it was raining, there were still several hundred people wandering round, enjoying the atmosphere and buying from the couple of dozen craft and artisan food stalls. As you can see, I bought a Dragon (a mobile, and what the photo doesn't really show is how well it moves), lots of fudge, and some award-winning local gin - really local, the guy who makes it was on the stall, and said he lived in town, and would deliver more when I'd drunk it all. :-)
sally_maria: (Doctor Thirteen)
But in the meantime I loved the new Doctor and her companions, an interestingly varied bunch. (And I don't just mean "diverse" though that's good to see as well.)

Cut for spoilers )
sally_maria: (Moria)
But what I can think of this year is Tolkien's "Sam's song in the Orc-Tower"

In western lands beneath the Sun
the flowers may rise in Spring,
the trees may bud, the waters run,
the merry finches sing.
Or there maybe 'tis cloudless night
and swaying beeches bear
the Elven-stars as jewels white
amid their branching hair.

Though here at journey's end I lie
in darkness buried deep,
beyond all towers strong and high,
beyond all mountains steep,
above all shadows rides the Sun
and Stars for ever dwell:
I will not say the Day is done,
nor bid the Stars farewell.

And the Tolkien Ensemble's beautiful setting of it:

sally_maria: (Brig)
5 things you’ll find in my laptop bag / or bag (it's a shoulderbag, and like sallym's a big, shabby, many-pocketed one):
- an umbrella (I'm British, after all)
- my Kobo (being caught with nothing to read is one of my nightmares)
- a hairbrush
- a powerbank (see the second entry)
- a spare pair of gloves

5 things you’ll find in my room:
- bookcases
- artwork from some of my favourite Tolkien artists
- more bookcases
- a number of old favourite cuddly toys
- 2 tablets, a wireless phone charger, a bluetooth speaker, a netbook and any of my other tech that came upstairs and hasn't gone down again.

5 things that make me feel happy:
- funny postings on Twitter
- watching the steam trains go across the valley from my bedroom window
- the new SkyQ boxes, with masses more storage, able to record 6 things at once, and I can watch them on either TV
- hearing from friends on social media or (even better) seeing them in person at TS events
- finding a new way to make my tech do something interesting (I love the launcher on my phone, which means I can give it a new look, whenever I like)

5 things I’m currently into:
- Peter Hollens on YouTube
- prequel era/timetravel Stars Wars fic (Blame the Clone Wars series)
- the TV show Ransom (and of course it's been cancelled, but it has been very enjoyable)
- Wynonna Earp
- Arrowverse (Green Arrow, the Flash, Supergirl etc) I'm not in the fandoms, because Tumblr, and also I burnt out on ship wars long ago, but I love so many of the characters.

5 things on my to-do list:
- Oxonmoot
- Oxonmoot
- Oxonmoot
- Oxonmoot
- and then I might be able to think about something else.
sally_maria: books top and bottom, with text "I do not understand the concept of too many books." (Books - Too many?)
Two books I had pre-ordered arrived in the last week or so, and I very much enjoyed reading both of them.


Redeemer by C.E. Murphy

Rosie wants to keep her job as a riveter, even with her boyfriend returning from World War II. But there’s defying convention, and then there’s executing a demon on the factory floor. Rosie is ready to roll with the demon-slaying power awakened inside her—if she can figure out how to make it work on command.

The Buffy inspiration is obvious, and honoured, but Rosie is a young woman, not a teenager, and with a different set of social mores to deal with. The (mainly female) cast of characters is interesting and varied and the story is well-set up as the first part of a series - I look forward to reading them.

The Curse of Fenric by Una McCormack

I first became aware of the Black Archive series of critical analyses of Doctor Who stories because a friend was writing one, but then I realised that this month's edition was not only of one of my favourite stories, but written by someone I know through Twitter and her DS9 novels, and Tolkien fanfic.

It does an excellent job of putting the story in the context of the time it was written, both in terms in current events and behind the scenes of the show itself, nearly at the end of its original run. It also spends quite a bit of time on the character of Ace, as she grows up during the course of the story. Only a short volume, but very interesting.
sally_maria: Old-style drawn cover of Agent Peggy Carter (Agent Carter)
but this is such fun I couldn't resist sharing it.

sally_maria: (John Desperation Song)
This time from [personal profile] purplecat - it's great to see an icon meme in the wild that's actually spread far enough to have variations.

Reply to this post with "PORGS!" and I will pick three of your icons for you to talk about in your own journal, and then keep the meme going by making this offer on your post.

Daniel Jackson from Stargate SG-1, still one of my favourite characters ever. He's the classic absent-minded scholar, but with a core of steel when things he thinks are important are threatened. So, "Mostly Harmless".

The Witch King from the Lord of the Rings films. And to be honest, that's about all I can say - I like it as an icon, the composition really works for me, but I can't remember why I wanted a Ringwraith on my journal.


Dr Janet Fraiser, also of Stargate SG-1. She could have just have been a functional supporting character, the base doctor, but instead she became a key part of the show. Compassionate, competent, and standing no nonsense, she was a good friend and a steady voice of reason.
sally_maria: (Dreamsheep Electricsheep)
From [personal profile] miss_s_b

Reply to this post with "Oh, sod it, go on then" (or variation of your choice) and I will pick three of your icons for you to talk about in your own journal; please then keep the meme going by making this offer on your post.

Repton - the title character of my favourite computer game of the 1980s. We had a BBC B computer - 32k of memory, 8 colour graphics (well, 16 if you count the flashing colours) but some of the best gameplay anywhere. You can even play it on a PC or Android these days. :-)

Timeheart is the narrative equivalent of heaven in Diane Duane's Young Wizard series. What's loved survives there. I took the photograph of one of my favourite places in the world, on the north coast of Devon near Lynmouth - and it just seemed appropriate. It's the only other icon I've used as a default on this journal (and its LJ predecessor) apart from Daniel Jackson, in the first few weeks after my grandmother died in 2008.

The Spanish Bride is one of my favourite Georgette Heyer novels, unusual because it's actually based on real people. Harry Smith, officer in Wellington's army in the Peninsular, rescues Juana María de los Dolores de León from the sack of Badajoz and she immediately marries him, accompanying him throughout the rest of the campaign. (As Lady Smith, wife of General Sir Harry, she eventually had a city in South Africa named after her. :-D) I first read it as a young teenager looking for more stories by a favourite author, and it inspired me to a lot of other reading about the history of the campaign and Wellington in general.
sally_maria: cartoon christmas bird in cup - here's to joy and laughter (Christmas - joy and laughter)
Christmas tree with presents underneath

Wishing you all the best for this time and the New Year.

Snow

Dec. 10th, 2017 10:38 am
sally_maria: (Christmas)
Those from more northern parts please excuse our excitement - this is the heaviest snowfall we've had for 5 years or so.

While it's not nearly as deep as in other parts of the country, living surrounded by hills means the buses have been cancelled (fortunately I wasn't supposed to be working today anyway) and so have the Santa specials on the steam railway.

sally_maria: (Remembrance Poppy)
Will it be so again
That the brave, the gifted are lost from view,
And empty, scheming men
Are left in peace their lunatic age to renew?
Will it be so again?

Must it be always so
That the best are chosen to fall and sleep
Like seeds, and we too slow
In claiming the earth they quicken, and the old usurpers reap
What they could not sow?

Will it be so again -
The jungle code and the hypocrite gesture?
A poppy wreath for the slain
And a cut-throat world for the living? That stale imposture
Played on us once again

Will it be as before -
Peace, with no heart or mind to ensue it,
Guttering down to war
Like a libertine to his grave? We should not be surprised: we knew it
Happen before.

Shall it be so again?
Call not upon the glorious dead
To be your witness then.
The living alone can nail their promise to the ones who said
It shall not be so again.

Cecil Day Lewis, in Word Over All (1942)
sally_maria: I have a terrrible sleeping disorder, reading (Books - Sleeping Disorder)
Two completely different works I'm currently enjoying:

Double Agent Vader by Fialleril

The one where Vader turned double agent for the Rebellion about three years after ROTS, and Leia is now his primary contact with the Rebellion.

Tatooine slave stories, another perspective on the Star Wars universe and as the author tags it "truly ridiculous amounts of painful irony" A series of connected short pieces rather than a single story, but each one is a treat.


Recommended by [livejournal.com profile] ladyofastolat
The Rituals of Dinner: the origins, evolution, eccentricities, and meaning of table manners by Margaret Visser

A fascinating anthropological study of the origins of our modern day food rituals, how they've changed over time and how they vary around the world. It's both scholarly and readable, and really gives a sense of why we are so attached to our particular ways, and find others so odd.
sally_maria: (Centurion Duckie)
One of the good things about working for a franchise/local partnership is that we are more closely involved in supporting local charities and organisations.

This year, we're sponsoring the local rugby team, for example. :-)

Rugby players standing with their backs to the camera.

Yes, the women's team as well...

We also received an award today for our work with a local project aimed at helping people who have barriers to employment into training, education and/or jobs - the GEM project. These things are good publicity, but it's also very encouraging to see the kindness and willingness to help my colleagues as individuals have displayed when working with people who have a lot to contribute, but need some extra help along the way.
sally_maria: (Merlin Fight and Defend)
Some of the promised photos.

Streets of Carcassonne 2017
Click through for more pictures on Flickr.

These are from a week spent with friends who invited me on holiday with them to south western France. I had a lovely time, with pleasantly warm weather, the chance to visit a couple of beaches and the local town of Homps, as well as a day spent at the medieval fortified town of Carcassone. (Yes, the one the game is named after, though copies were not easy to come by, one of the few things the many tourist shops didn't sell.) Though very much aimed at catering to the large numbers of tourists, the narrow, hilly, winding streets and occasional squares did make it surprisingly easy to imagine the medieval town, which I'm sure would have been equally thronging with people and markets.

The site their holiday home is on had a rather dramatic view from the front, a photo just wasn't going to do it justice - click through for a nearly 180 degree view.

Port Minervois
sally_maria: (Vala age)
Innocent smoothie bottle wearing little woolly hat

It's little hat season again. :-) Whoever came up with this as a marketing campaign for Innocent smoothies has a lot to answer for.

(Yes, I'm bored after going through airport security, however did you guess. ;-) )

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