blamebrampton: 15th century woodcut of a hound (Default)
I know what it's like. I remember a couple of years back, spending weeks thinking 'Surely no-one could be stupid enough to vote for Tony Abbott?'

But the tragedy is that yes, they could, and the predictable disaster was even worse than we'd imagined.

What we learned from this is to never underestimate the lack of thought people can put into their vote, nor the stunning duplicity some political figures will practice in the service of their own self interest.

And while it is tempting to just look at the plummeting pound and adjust shopping and travelling plans, all the while cackling ruefully at the Leave voters who have been all over the news saying 'But I thought it was just a protest! I didn't think it would happen!' we should all learn from today.

I'm looking at you, Australia and the US. Ignore lies, ignore comedy, look to the social and economic futures of your countries and make your vote count rationally. And when it comes to economics, don't listen to anyone's smug words; look at the records, look at the numbers, look to the IMF and World Bank and your respective Treasuries, who are boring and more conservative than I would like, but who know the value of infrastructure and education.

I can't even be funny about any of this today. I have never seen such an appalling case of the older generations fucking the future of the young out of fear, self-interest and ignorance.
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We open with the contestants all walking through the stadium with models wearing paper costumes onto which national flags are projected. Some quality Vogueing there. And a genuinely decent dance mix.

Petra and Mans (soz, Mans, I've been misspelling your name in the semis, because, well, you're not Petra. But you're cute) are back to host, and they look fabulous. Ah Stockholm, you genuinely know how to party. I like to think that their opening monologue was a strong Bremain comment. And this year, Australia is voting! Not me, obviously, because I am watching this on record due to needing to sleep. But others! And holy moly, they are going to split the jury and phone votes and that IS GOING TO TAKE FOREVER!!!!!!

And with no further ado we are on to the songs, which I wll not be fully recapping if they came through the semis, because there's precious little more to say on most of these.

Once more unto the breach, dear friends! )
blamebrampton: 15th century woodcut of a hound (Default)
And we're back! Brilliant opening with beautiful imagery (Sweden, you do this so well!) And a nice host banter intro complete with brief Petra pub chant. The hosts tell us that it's the first time China and the US have carried the telecast live, and all of us are left wondering just how people in small towns of both those countries are dealing with that, with the conclusion being that some will be stting there saying 'That Europe is a magical place of whimsy' and the rest saying, 'Kids, you are NEVER leaving home.'

And now it's time for a song from the hosts! Wherein they try to explain Eurovision 'We make music and friends with every nation, and bankrupt the hosting TV station!' It's classic Broadway, with more than a few stolen riffs (Mary Poppins, Sound of Music and Mame foremost) and a lot of comedy – 'And the interval act is their one big chance/ to fail to live up to Riverdance!' Well played, Sweden! Well remembered lyrics Petra and Mons!

Conchita is in the audience!

And on with the songs )
blamebrampton: 15th century woodcut of a hound (Default)
It's that time of year again. Stockholm, we salute you and your willingness to take one for Europe (and Israel and Australia). Straight into things tonight.

Last year's winner starts the night off with a very nice acoustic version of the 2015 winning song. Very cute little kid there with him, and it's all going well, until – in the words of Mr Brammers, 'Oh no, a children's choir! That's a low blow.' A Children's Choir dressed as Oompaloompas, no less. Could be worse.

The emblem is the dandelion, which makes sense as those buggers will set seed everywhere. Lots of faffing about, which is a relief as I'm freshly home from work and trying to scoff a bit of dinner.

HOSTS! The magnificent Petra from three years ago, and Mons, last year's winner. Nice gag with 'Welcome Europe!' leading to the opening riff of 'The Final Countdown', then not too much filler until we are on with the singing. Sweden, you know how do run this gig! And let us ignore the fact I originally typed swinging rather than singing. No Swedish stereotypes! Also, almost all the Swedes I know are sober, mature and monogamous. And the ones who weren't went out with my father.
And on with the show )
blamebrampton: 15th century woodcut of a hound (Default)
Especially those in Brussels. I know that this is low on your priorities, but when you have a minute, if you could just drop a line to say if you're OK, it would be much appreciated. I know that from around the world, we are all thinking of you and holding you close in our thoughts.
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The most senior Australian Catholic is currently appearing before our Royal Commission on child sex abuse via video link from Rome. He has been declared too ill to travel from the Vatican to Melbourne by his private doctor, despite having flown out to Australia for a private function a few weeks before he was last due to appear.

So Tim Minchin, one of our better songwriters has penned the following little ditty about the situation. Miranda Devine, a 'journalist' in one of the Murdoch papers has complained that this song is intolerable. But she's been totally silent on the subject of Pell at the very least turning an inexcusable blind eye to child rape during his career. Odd sense of priorities.

Subsequently, I am mentioning this song every chance I get. It's a beauty.

FFS, 2016

Jan. 15th, 2016 12:36 am
blamebrampton: 15th century woodcut of a hound (Default)
I am not best pleased with the decline in the number of golden-voiced British men this year.

The Independent tweeted this link in a bid to raise spirits: I find the whole scene so incredibly easy to imagine. Though I was never lucky enough to see Rickman perform live, I saw him talk about his performances at several pressers and Q&As and he was unfailingly delightful: courteous but sparky and not afraid to gently tell people that they were perhaps missing several essential points, such as writers being interested in words, actors being interested in writing, and women being people.

And, a fave Rickman moment on film:

While his Snape was unforgettable, his every performance was astonishing (admittedly the eyes very open variety in Robin Hood and Die Hard, but brilliantly mad in both) and his decency shone.

I know that we are all mortal, but it is more than a bit crap to see horrible people live seemingly forever while the talented and lovely ones go too soon.
blamebrampton: 15th century woodcut of a hound (Default)
I very nearly said no to writing for another fest, cognisant that it meant two or three months in which little or no work would be done on any of my own work, but as [ profile] raitala used to say, if I didn't do fests, then I'd write no fanfic at all. So this was written as part of the glorious [ profile] hd_erised, which has SO MUCH good stuff in it (though I confess I have finished exactly two fics, but I have about 10 open in tabs because I would go 'LOOKS BRILL! But it's 2am, so now I am in love with the first page I will come back to it later.' Eh, there's a heatwave coming, that means more reading time since moving will be impossible) and I was matched with a giftee who had a really fun request asking for activist Astoria and making jokes about Victorian England being her favourite period.

Which is my way of saying that everything that happened subsequently is [ profile] nerak_rose's fault.

In good news: no broken bones this time!

Title: All the Important Words Unspoken
Author: [ profile] blamebrampton
Recipient: [ profile] nerak_rose
Pairing(s): Harry/Draco, Hermione/Ron, Astoria Greengrass/the Magna Carta
Rating: PG
Word Count: 73,500
Warnings: none
Summary: Narcissa Malfoy and Amarantha Greengrass just want what’s best for their children. But since it’s 1899, their children are 32 and 27 respectively, and sundry magical and Muggle crises are erupting across Europe, the chances of their plans progressing smoothly are close to zero.

Author’s Notes: Dear [ profile] nerak_rose, where you went wrong was in making jokes about Victorian England. There was no coming back from the vision of Draco in a cravat. Everything wizarding happened as it did in the books, just 113 years earlier; the Muggle timeframe remains as in reality. And Astoria is three years younger than JKR has revealed her to be. Because I forgot how old she was meant to be and it was too late by the time I remembered. *Shuffling of feet and guilty glances.* On the upside: all the Astoria! Thank you for all you contribute to fandom, and a very Happy Christmas/Saturnalia/Yule/Kwanzaa/New Year!

Many thanks to [ profile] zeitgeistic who did a champion job of beta-ing and [ profile] hollyxu who cheer-led wonderfully. Remaining errors are entirely mine, and will all be in things they didn’t see!

Disclaimer: All Harry Potter characters herein are the property of J.K. Rowling and Bloomsbury/Scholastic. No copyright infringement is intended.

All the Important Words Unspoken

I have many things I want to talk about to do with writing something set in 1899 (mostly George Bernard Shaw is my bestie) and just writing in general, but it's 2am and there's a Motorhead special on Rage, so that can wait till tomorrow.
blamebrampton: 15th century woodcut of a hound (Default)
2016 Book 2, The Noticeably Stouter QI Book of General Ignorance, read as a book, Christmas gift from Mr B

Edit: the lovely [ profile] kayoko has reminded me that the main point of a book review is for the potential reader to discover whether or not they might enjoy the book. Which makes this one wholly useless (aside from the bunny anecdote) if you don't know what QI is. It's a British TV show hosted until now by Stephen Fry which looks at the 'facts' of the world and dissects them. For example, How Many Wives Did Henry VIII have? To which the classic answer is 6, but 2, 4 and 5 are also correct, since his 'marriage' to Anne of Cleves was very very tenuous, more of a flirty note, which would drop him back to 5. Or you could take out all the anullments, which would drop him back to 2. Or instead remove only the ones that had no lasting legal status, which would see Anne of Cleves off the hook again and Kathryn Howard's definitely out, poor wee muppet, which gives you 4, and leaves all the wives who produced heirs and the wonderful Katherine Parr who was married to him when he died.

The book is nearly 400 pages of such stuff, ranging across topics from natural history to technology, all treated with a pedantry that is in turns ridiculous and inspiring. Here ends the edit.

I very much enjoyed reading through this, but didn't learn a great deal. Which worries me. I know that, thanks to my job, my brain is filled with random crap, but I had hoped that in its darkest corners the technical details of sequences and series might still be lurking. Alas, it appears that of the familiarity of much of this material suggests that all ability to do maths is gone and that instead a pub's worth of trivia is taking up valuable space.

This is not to say it was a wasted read, even the stuff I knew was informative, engaging and at the very least, the sort of thing you feel very comfortable nodding and saying 'Yes, you see people just don't know that, but it's obvious once you do' to as you read. And there were new news! The paradoxical frog. I love it! And I did not know that Napoleon's greatest defeat was at the hands, sorry, paws of rabbits. Apparently he was invited to a shooting party. Wanting to make sure his honoured guests were successful bunny murderers, the owner of the country house ordered in thousands of rabbits. Hand-raised rabbits. Who thought Napoleon looked like the guy who fed them. And mugged him. That will never not be funny.

I had also forgotten that the first modern Olympics were held in Shropshire.

In all it was another great holiday book, easy, amusing and interesting. Will Keep in Loo for Guests.

Sometime very soon I need to post about my love for Bluestone 42. Which is epic.
blamebrampton: 15th century woodcut of a hound (Default)
I did not expect to see Star Wars. But when I got home from work just before 8pm because I NEED A NEW JOB, poor old Mr B who has been sick as a dog since Boxing Day, leapt up and said MOVIE NIGHT! And given his state of illness (throaty, chesty, achey horror), I felt I had to go along with this plan.

I thought the writing was really lazy, though competent, but I liked the direction, acting, design, editing and music. And I am prepared to give a bit over two hours of my life for the sight of two stormtroopers backing away Slowly and Quietly. I laughed vey loudly.

However. If you're a writer, give your readers a reason for things. A real reason, not 'he's the best pilot in the Resistance' – that's a description. Something like "Poe grew up in the Resistance. He's been flying these planes since he was eight. Stealing them since he was nine, but he never broke one, so we didn't complain …' or 'I met a pilot from the Rebellion when I was 16, and while he told me stories of laying down covering fire on the Death Star attack, I realised, that's what I really wanted to be. So every minute since then, that's what I've trained for. I found out years later that he just ferried the X-Wings around, but by then, I was flight leader, so I didn't hold it against him.'

I just want films that acknowledge that, most of the time, you get good at things by doing things. And that work has worth and value to it and can be a part of the story that makes your character a person.

Which, obviously, means I should say 'Oh, let's watch something small' the next time Mr B has a hankering for big budget. But it was fun, and I didn't need to worry my poor overtaxed brain, and those stormtroopers will bring me joy for years to come.
blamebrampton: 15th century woodcut of a hound (Default)
The hd_erised poll is open! And I am failing at link insertion because my iPad hates me. It's here:

I feel very confident of my one guess, though I've only read the first part of the story (too much to do!). I know one other, but no fair because I actually know it, and I read one other fic that has a familiar taste to it, but I couldn't place it (the first one posted, I think, where they are fake dating. Highly amusing!)

If you think you know which fic I wrote (and aren't one of the handful of people who know the answer), leave a guess here. First correct answer wins a prize! And I have no idea what that will be. Maybe an 'extra', or a postcard, or violet crumble. Right now I have no idea what I am having for breakfast and it's 11.37am. I have definitely used up my planning brain!

Looking forward to reveals because I REALLY want to talk about some of the process of writing that bugger. I have useful writing knowledge to impart.

And on an unrelated note, I had to bin my toughest gardening gloves yesterday. A thing you do in Australia that you don't do in saner countries is shake out shoes and feel glove fingers before putting them on. TWO fingers with random inclusions yesterday! Cockroach in one and spider in another. The cockroach was dead and not budging, and the spider was alive and gnashy. Since the gloves were not expensive and were aged, I wasn't going to argue over who won that one!

My second toughest gardening gloves and I had a rewarding afternoon pruning flowers and potting on tomatoes. Now for the herb repotting this afternoon before my promised week of rain!
blamebrampton: 15th century woodcut of a hound (Default)
I have been meaning for some years to keep a list of books I read at LJ. In all likelihood I will get three entries in and then be hopelessly distracted by something else, but I'll give it a stab! Possibly another stab, this seems a very familiar caveat ;-)

2016 Book 1 Uprooted by Naomi Novik, reread, on Kindle.
Perfect holiday fodder, it's a satisfyingly long quasi-fairytale, in which village girl Agnieszka is unexpectedly taken by their local wizard into a decade-long period of indenture – he chooses a new girl seemingly based on personal taste in a ceremony held once every ten years. Everyone has long assumed her best friend Kasia will be the choice: she's beautiful, brave and talented. What she isn't is magical. And so Agnieszka is taken from her loving family and pressed into service in the fight against the encroachment of the magical and malevolent Wood.

Genuinely creepy and exciting in turns, I thoroughly enjoyed this the first time I read it and did so again yesterday having a New Year lurgy day where we sat in the park with bottles of cold water and pillows and read while lorikeets squawked at us and peewees hopped over to see if we were up to anything interesting. Back home, I stayed up far too late just to finish it.

The Dragon, the powerful wizard who takes the girls, is shown to be strong but not awful right fom the start. The awful part of their fate is never feeling at home again, never being able to go back to their villages once they have spent ten years in the service of a man who – and they all say he never touches them, but… wag the tongues – has the wealth of a courtier and vast libraries and is visited by th King's messengers.

What is awful is the Wood: horrors come out of it, and those that do not rip and rend corrupt with as little as a touch of pollen, turning people against themselves, against each other, into monsters.

The reality of the world is one of the most satisfying parts of this book. Harvests are necessary. There are rich and poor peasants. The court is partly there for purposes of politics, and partly for pointless posing. Agnieszka and Kasia's friendship has jealousies and angers alongside its love and loyalty. The characters are personable: you care about their fates and motivations, and even the most stupid action has a reason to it.

In terms of negatives, I have only two and they are both quibllings: the passing of time is blurry in parts, so there is one passage in paticular where I am still not sure after two readings whether days or weeks went by. And Agnieszka's magic, which is presented as 'organic' and different to the structured court magic of the others, which is not necessarily bad, except that the seven years of study done by the other wizards and witches isn't given a countrasting weight in her months of different working. Her specialness comes from her willingness to listen to what the world is telling her, but this is touched on very lightly. I would have loved more on the difference between her story magic and the others' book magic, but I suppose it was already a fairly substantial read!

Thoroughly recommended, including to people like me who are only semi-comfortable with fantasy.
blamebrampton: 15th century woodcut of a hound (Default)
Normally, at year's end, I have a lot to say on politics. This year, there is absolutely nothing I can say aside from HOW HAVE WE ALL FOUND OURSELVES SURROUNDED BY SUCH AN ENORMOUS PACK OF TITS?? Honourable exemption for Canada who cleverly voted for someone who is not only a major hottie, but who explained the dominance of women in the cabinet with 'Because it's 2015.' Well played, Canadians.

Moving on. The best things of 2015: Marriage equality in Ireland (well done, chaps! Fingers crossed Australia FINALLY follows you next year, this is getting ridiculous) and the US Supreme Court decision on the same issue. For anyone who doesn't see why it's such an issue, as the daughter of a lesbian I can tell you in great detail of the problems families have when they are not recognised by the state. These laws protect children as well as provide basic fairness for adults.

The Paris Agreement. Years later than it should have been and at the end of yet another year of weather records toppling, but a giant step forwards from the 'it's someone else's problem' that major governments have been trotting out for years. It's a problem for all of us. And if you know a rampant ideologue who insists the science still isn't settled or goes on about a fictitious "pause", then remind them that tens of thousands of people die annually of the pollutants spewed out by coal and oil, so the economic case for renewables is inarguable. Ask Shanghai, Milano and Delhi what price breathable air.

Unity in the face of stupidity. From the strength of Paris in the face of repeated attacks, to the generosity of so many nations across Europe, Asia, the Middle East and the Americas in welcoming refugees (fail for Australia again), to most Australians managing to get their heads around the link between misogyny and violence against women thanks to the sterling work of Rosie Batty and hundreds of women and men who work in the sector (and yet, Tony Abbott. Sigh.).

I built a garden. It's still a work in progress, but I have pomegranates ripening, ridiculous amounts of tomatoes, fiendish amounts of acanthus, a lemon myrtle that's reaching for the top of the deck roof, bamboo that's gone above it and enough mulberries to make me and a three year old very purple. I'd missed having this much sun, and have been enjoying shading it out with trees and giant grasses in enormous pots. Have yet another magnolia that I am going to put into the small back garden bed (SO MUCH PAVING) once I've dug up the remaining third of the archaelogical mess in there (everything from Edwardian tiles to building rubble found in the first two thirds).

Worst things were mostly death and illness. Far too much of both. I am not a fan. Biology is crap. Too many friends, then thoroughly decent famous people like Sir Terry Pratchett and Malcolm Fraser, and yet Dick Cheney is fine. If you needed any reason to see why people are atheists, you need look no further.

Work was poo. I clearly need to find new work.

I finished writing zero novels. I did finish one fanfic. Probably would have been a better idea to have done the reverse, but what the hell. Currently posting fest so there'll be a link later.

Read many books. I had forgotten how much I enjoy just sitting down and having a read. Watched two films at the cinema. The Martian was the better of them. Walked along the river a lot. Did not threaten Johnny Depp's dogs. Sorry, politics again. That's most of it, really. Cats good, Mr B brill, friends lovely. Front garden soil rock hard.

Here's to a glorious 2016 for everyone. May those who had a good year this year have a better one next, and may those who had a bloody awful one spend all of the next twelve months exclaiming, 'Oh, this is SO much better!'
blamebrampton: 15th century woodcut of a hound (Default)
Peace be with all of you on these days of the year when even politicians remember it's a virtue.

May you be surrounded by friends, or have kindness from your families, or the knowledge that you alone are still fine and worth celebrating.

It is cool and wet in Sydney, the moon is full and beautiful and we spent a joyful day with people we love. We are very, very lucky.
blamebrampton: 15th century woodcut of a hound (Default)
A ticker just rolled across the bottom of the morning news: 'JK Rowling joins actors in defending casting of black Hermione.'

HOW is this even a thing? We know three things about the way Hermione looks: she has bushy brown hair, she has large front teeth to begin with, and she probably has an epic side-eye given how clever she is and how much stupid she has to deal with when it comes to things like pure blood privilege. None of that says 'must be white' to me.

Can we not focus on the important things, such as get the chap playing Ron some red hair dye asap and HOW CAN IT BE that they have case YET ANOTHER actor as Harry Potter without looking for bloody green eyes??!!

As expected, my flist greeted the casting news with: 'Cool, awesome actor!' Because we have all actually read the books. One day, news producers will take their ticker notes from informed and engaged people, rather than the loudest knobends on Facebook. Alas, this is not that day,
blamebrampton: 15th century woodcut of a hound (Default)
Did I mention our house was hit by lightning?

We've been having Exciting Weather here recently. So far this month there was the epic storm that didn't actually end up flooding the river, so I left work early for nothing, but did wipe out our phone and router and scared the bejeezus out of the cats when lightning hit either our house or as near as makes no difference. Rusketus ran around for ten minutes afterwards looking for the source of the big boom to see if he needed to fight it or run away from it, bless.

Then we had the tornado, happily not damaging us, though sadly taking out a lot of houses not far from here, and then this week has been heatwave, with last night so unbearably hot practically no-one could sleep, though I really shouldn't complain because in South Australia it has been 8-12 degrees hotter all week and people are literally dying. Also, half the country is on fire again and we are not.

Today, I had to unplug the spare router because we had electrical storms, and the house's safety switch, which I have learned WILL cut out power in time to save almost all the electrics, is no help if you're also plugged into the phone line.

As a result, my plan to spend my first proper holiday day reading erised fic was thwarted. I did go to the new hairdresser. I asked if she could lighten up my ends enough for us to make them pink as I was tired of having vertical stripes in my hair and wanted to go for horizontal ones instead. She assured me that would be fine. I now still have my old two light-blonde vertical stripes, with no dark-brown filling in of their tops as I had requested and a caramel balayage over the bottom ten inches of my hair because as it turned out the answer to 'can you get the lowest six inches of this hair this light?' was in fact 'no.' I had pictures and everything!

It's not bad, it kind of looks nice and grown-up if you don't pause to wonder why there are two light-blonde stripes amid the caramel. But I was after ridiculous and punkish, without having to listen to the death metal of my usual punk hairdressers.

I'm going to have a think about what to do next. Happily, there's enough hair that the answer could even be chop that lot off and start again.

And now there is no more lightning, the rain is making my garden very happy! If only I'd remembered to throw some fertiliser around this morning …


Dec. 17th, 2015 08:22 pm
blamebrampton: 15th century woodcut of a hound (Default)
Last day at work for the year!

Magazines sent on time: all of them!

Stories nailed: lots!

Typos missed: very few!

Collleagues murdered: zero!


Also …

Dec. 17th, 2015 02:00 am
blamebrampton: 15th century woodcut of a hound (Default)
If your brain needs a little break, run, don't walk, to the nearest Google window and play the Beethoven game! I used it as a test of sight reading skills, but there are little play buttons on each of the music snippets if you don't play anything or sing. Terrific fun and only takes a couple of minutes max.

If your brain wants to be tied up in knots for much, much longer, try the GCHQ Director's Christmas card. I do puzzles as part of my work, so could legitimately try and work my way through the steps during work hours -- the only joy at all this month. The first one is actually easy, just time consuming (SPOILER!! it's a simple logic puzzle, start by counting out the knowns listed for each set and fill in the 25s), part two has me stuck partfway through. 1 and 3 of Part two were super easy, 2 harder, and 4 I just cannot find the key to it, but am determined to avoid spoilers. You can find a link to the puzzle in this story, which does include spoilers, but it has a link to the puzzle set before you get to them (you can sort of see the first one, but I'd already done that and have already spoiled you above, and look, it's hardly rocket science).

I've seen a screengrab of one of the later ones and I have absolutely no idea. I feel Christmas will be spent shouting in frustration ;-)
blamebrampton: 15th century woodcut of a hound (Default)
Tell them we had a bloody tornado in Sydney today.

My home and work fine, Mr B decided to take shelter during his lunchbreak in a shopping centre that had a roof collapse, but it was comparatively minor.

Seriously, I am going to bite the kneecaps off the next politician that tells me coal is good for humanity.

Back to writing! SO CLOSE to finishing the current thing! Alas, five important things queued behind it …


Dec. 10th, 2015 12:37 am
blamebrampton: 15th century woodcut of a hound (Default)
HAPPY BIRTHDAY drgalleon! You're a gem, and I hope you;re having a ball.

Work remains mad, HUGE storm tonight, lighting hit the house. Safety switch saved the electronics, but the phone line is gone and wireless, so it's phone as modem time. Fingers crossed not for long! Back to writing!


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