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Bought a city guide yesterday, for use from Monday onwards - I'm planning to behave more like a tourist now. ;-)

Going to see the penultimate ep of Farscape now. :-(

2,583 members at Frell Me Dead now. :-)

And it seems like we're not going to change teachers on Monday, after all. Damn.
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The most important thing first. (This is *my* journal, so -- *my* priorities. Even if they make sense to no one but me and the 2,559 posters on Frell Me Dead.) The most important thing is this: I'm depressed. Not too severely, but nevertheless. Watched 'We're So Screwed pt.1: Fetal Attraction' yesterday with Kadira (gotta love those ep titles), and it's a frelling fantastic ep. Damn, I love this show. And I can't help myself, I just love it when John goes totally badass. Love it in a sick way, because somehow it's all *wrong* for him to be that way, and yet... he's only survived because he's discovered he can be as tough as they come, so how wrong can it be? He had no choice with all the dren the universe (or, more precisely, sadistic script writers) kept throwing at him but to learn how to kick butt. And part of the sick thrill of watching John kick butt is that nagging memory at the back of my mind of the soft, naive, friendly and innocent John of season one. The discrepancy between the two is so incredible, and yet has been growing so slowly and believably. Which is precisely why I love the writers, actors, etc. of Farscape. I've never seen better character development on TV than on this show.

And then there's Aeryn. For once not rescuing John but being rescued by him. A distressingly weak Aeryn. For some reason this ep's torture scenes, short as they were, had a more profoundly distressing effect on me than the whole of 'Prayer' had. Don't know what was wrong with that, but somehow 'Prayer' didn't get to me as it should have. Well, but 'Fetal Attraction' did, oh yes. Especially the hallucinations in the beginning. Very, very painful.
The fandom is pretty divided over Aeryn at the moment, it seems. I don't read many blogs or forums, but a friend supplies me occasionally with stuff she considers worthwhile... Well, most people seem to agree that This Is Not Our Aeryn Anymore. Some take this quite literally, suggesting that the bioloid might have been on board Moya a lot longer than just since BHTB. Some just say it's inconsistent writing. Well, I dunno. I'm reasonably sure that, at least physically, it *is* our Aeryn all right. And all the strange changes in her behaviour I still tend to explain by reference to her months-long absence from Moya at the beginning of the season. We still don't know what happened there - and chances are we won't, not for a long time, anyway.

Other notes: obviously, I need to watch the ep again (and again and again and again and again... you know how it is), but a few things that struck me:

- Noranti and Rygel: very touching scene, between these two unlikely charactes. Only Farscape could have a truly touching scene between a two foot high greenish-grey (and peeling!) Muppet and a shriveled old woman with three eyes and monstrous ears. Incredible.

- D'Argo and Chiana: okay, I'm not a shipper, not by a long shot, but can I just go 'wheeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!!!!' here for a moment???

- D'Argo has grown on me a *lot*. Also, he seems to be seriously growing up.

- Chiana never needed to grow on me, loved her from the beginning.

- Sikozu's people. Great, understated culture building there. Just a few hints here and there...

- Colour direction. Every FS ep seems to have its own colour. This one was sort of a brownish red.

- John/Aeryn shippiness: Let me repeat it: I am *not* a shipper. But seeing John sitting on the floor besides Aeryn's bed, sleeping, exhausted, leaning his head against the bed, and her stroking him ever so gently...... -- *melts*

- But my joy at the intensity of that moment is nothing compared to my happiness about the return of Harvey. Hezmana, I'm evil. I'm actually *happy* to see yet another stress factor resurface in John's already not exactly easy life! *g* But it's hard not to enjoy the interaction between the two, and the weird forms their enounters take on -- 'I am the undead!' *snort*.
And, frell, it's hard not to be fascinated by John's ongoing struggle with madness. I'm not sure I want to know what that says about me, but... there it is. Everybody who knows me a bit knows that I was frustrated when they seemed to remove the Harvey problem so easily in 'Promises'. Felt like a cop-out to me. I'm glad it turned out to be just a ruse.

I still can't believe that, if Skiffy have their way, there's only three more eps to go, and all those intriguing plot lines will be left dangling. Frell you, Skiffy. (Sorry, needed that.)

*****

All right, change of topic. The second most important thing in my life at the moment is of course the Spanish course. I've sort of caught up with the rest of the class now, and am feeling pretty good. I have to take care not to develop a crush for my teacher, though. He's kind of... hmmmm. Cute? Not really, but I like him. ´s far as I know him, which is not very far.

Which reminds me I should write a bit faster, 'cause I still have my 'deberes' to do.

*****

Okay. Next topic. Miles Vorkosigan. The other man in my life right now, courtesy of Lois McMaster Bujold. (LOL.) I don't feel like going into details here and now, as it's not yet an obsession, but I must say, the books are fun. Great fun. I'm not much for military SF, usually, but this series is interesting because of its characters and a nicely ironic touch, and the hero is such an unusual character that he's really almost the antithesis of the typical hero. But why the frell do strong women always have to have red hair??? ;-)

*****

Birmingham update: Told the foreign students' office that I would like to go there this autumn, and got a very encouraging reply that basically said that usually, once you're there, funds can be found to make a second semester possible. So, there's definitely hope for a whole year yet. :-)

*****

And finally, it looks like I will be doing some kind of presentation at this year's DortCon, in about three and a half weeks. It requires me to go directly to Dortmund from Barcelona, to speak to a probably tiny audience, but hey, the things I'm doing for Farscape...
You ask why I'm doing this? Well, same answer as the nasty answer from Aeryn's goddess: because I can. - And because it's important to me that the fandom survives and spreads, as much as possible, under these difficult conditions, because I still believe that fandom can be an important power in making a future for the show possible. So, it's simple, really. I think something needs to be done; I feel like I can do it, and that probably no one will do it if I don't do it myself, and hence, I do it. And that's that.)

Okay, and now off to my homeworks and then to bed.
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Not much new to tell here. It's a quiet, pleasantly geeky life here, a computer in every room, Farscape in the evenings, DSL... Making some progress with Spanish, writing a bit, cooking occasionally, and that's that. Kadira redecorated a bit today and managed to hurt her foot on the sharp end of a bookend (looks nasty - ouch!), and Mike is always slightly hyper. Volker still cooks like a god, and the mice are still cute as a button. (What a stupid phrase. Why is a button cute??) I'm reading an interesting book, too, recommended by Kadira: The Alien Years by Robert Silverberg. An unusually unspectacular but nevertheless gripping alien invasion novel. The aliens are truly alien, it never becomes clear what they really want from Earth... and the human resistance never even makes a dent. A good book, quite realistic, I think - it's very likely that if there were life out there and if there were ever to be any kind of contact, that would be more or less how it would turn out... unless we'd meet with some very benevolent aliens, that is. ;-)

Ah, frell, I do have something new to tell, but I sort of suppressed it, I think. I just remembered.

I got an e-mail from the foreign students' office at Frankfurt a few days ago that said that this year it was only possible to go to Britain for one semester instead of two, and now I'm wondering if it would be worthwhile at all to go to all that trouble for just four months or so. Wouldn't that be ironic, to have almost achieved a dream I've had for close to ten years, only to be 'foiled' in the last moment? I mean, before I got that mail all I knew was that I was accepted for the ERASMUS program... and I still am, but I'm not so sure I want it anymore... On the other hand, I talked to one of my fellow students here at the language school yesterday who basically told me I should take what I get, and today I talked to a British friend who told me Birmingham, the university where I would be going, was a very good uni... So should I or shouldn't I?
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Who'd have thought I'd be back here so soon? Certainly not me. Not that I mind. Barcelona is a wonderful city - one I'm sort of beginning to feel quite at home in - and Kadira and her little family are always fun to be with. This stay is decidedly less fannish than the last, though. Language school is time consuming, and it isn't helpful either that I was not put in the course for absolute beginners. All the others in my class have already been here for a week, and it's kind of hard to keep up with them...
Got lots of homework, too. I hardly get around to watching Farscape with Kadira! And all my website work is still waiting to be tackled, as are several fanfics I brought, in the hope that I would be inspired... and inspired I am, but I haven't had much of a chance to write yet. A shame.
Still, I feel pretty good, though I did have two short bouts of depression, also. One yesterday, when - perhaps reawakened due to the change in pace that comes with travelling - the awareness that Farscape is ending, at least for the time being, rose to the surface of my mind once more. The other today, when talking about fanfic writing and the fact that nobody seems to read me. Well, nobody but a few very choice friends. (My usual coming and going writer's neurosis.)
On the whole, though, I'm quite happy. I feel very comfortable with my hosts, now that I'm here for the third time in less than three years, and I do enjoy finally learning a new language again. It's been a long time... (Latin doesn't count.)
It's difficult, though. Not really much more difficult than I expected, but definitely more time consuming. Classes from 9 in the morning to a quarter past two in the afternoon, then homework, which also takes hours, even if I do it only sloppily. The teachers are very nice, and the classes are very small. Four people in the morning - two girls, one guy, and me - and three in the afternoon - me, the guy from the morning class, and an older man who's lived in Ireland for 20 years. Unfortunately, almost everybody is German, and the only non-German is Swiss. On the other hand, it's good that there are people who speak and understand German, 'cause I'm still very, very far from being able to communicate in Spanish. Volker (that's Kadira's hubby) is planning to complement my teaching by taking us to see The Two Towers in Spanish this weekend... *g*
Well... what else to tell? Today Mike, Kadira's son, caught a mouse, so I feel right at home. ;-)
It's much less cold here than I expected, which is good. Today I got drenched in a downpour, though, and I think I'm going to buy an umbrella tomorrow! As well as a dictionary.
I'm writing Save Farscape letters even from Barcelona, and plan on sending postcards to Bonnie Hammer, Mark Stern, Tom Vitale, Kevin Levy and Gary Levine, and to Henson, too. Just to show them that Farscape fans truly are everywhere, and will be counted wherever they are. *g*
I'm also planning on taking turns with Volker preparing dinner for the four of us... I feel bad enough as it is 'imposing' myself on them like this! ;-) I made a potato and pea dish today that even Mike seemed to like. That made me so proud! *g*
Well... my brain is sort of half-asleep already, so I think I'll stop now. These two days have been kind of quiet, anyway, so there isn't that much more to tell, really, at the moment.

On edit: Just noticed I haven't mentioned this yet, since I haven't been updating my Livejournal very often recently: I think I should mention here that I was apparently accepted for the ERASMUS program after last week's short interview about my motivations. I say 'apparently' because the wording of the acceptance mail suggested there might be yet another selection process. I sent back the 'I accept' form, anyway, and we'll see what will happen. My euphoria after the decision was strangely limited - non-existent, actually. I think that is because the reality of my endeavour began to finally catch up with me, and I was finally beginning to get afraid... not afraid enough to quit now, though! So, if all goes well, I'll be in Birmingham, come October... :-)

But now I should really go to bed.
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Oh boy. What a year. And it's only one and a half months old, too!

It's kinda depressing but I only seem to be able to consistently update my journal when I'm on holiday. The semester has been busy, a fact that was exacerbated by the SaveFarscape campaign which ate up most of my net time. I started 2003 with a massive backlog of things I should have done months ago, and resolved I would have to do something about it or it would crush me. So I decided to finally write my paper on Farscape and its construction as art that I had meant to write last September when the cancellation news frelled up my planning, and I decided to stay away from the net until it was done. Well, and as soon as that was done, I had to get my application for the ERASMUS program ready, i.e. write several CVs and a detailed explanation of my motivation for wanting to spend a year in Britain. And as soon as that was done, I started to organise a stay in Barcelona to learn Spanish, and I'm leaving for that on Saturday. Oh, and I was sick for a while, too. Besides all this I started rebuilding my website (finally!!!), building a website for the German Farscape mailing list, and tried to be somewhat active on the list, too. Oh, and I got a job at uni, too.

So, you can see why I haven't been updating much. ;-)

My website's still far from finished, and I've neglected my e-mail for months, and Clan MacSlow even longer, and I haven't made any jewellery since before Christmas. Still, I've gotten a lot of stuff done, although there always seems to be something else that lurks reproachfully in the background.

So... this is basically just to say that I'm still alive and well and active both in Real Life and in fandom. And to those few whose weblogs I usually read - Kadira, Tehtah, Sherry, and occasionally Black Widow and Dark Poet, clansibs of old - I'm sorry I haven't been able to read much in the past six weeks. (Though I doubt that many of you are reading this, either.)

In case someone here has stalker-y habits ;-) you may know that I've actually been quite active on the Frell Me Dead boards, and you might conclude from this that I simply do not care enough about this journal - or the journals of my friends, for that matter - to keep up. That is not true. It is just a matter of priorities, and since I consider it a sort of duty to help keep the Frell Me Dead forums active and contribute my ideas to the campaign, that has had top priority for a while now. I hope that my livejournal and my friends will be able to bear my sort-of-absence for a while. I will be back. In fact, I'm not really gone - just arranging my life in intervals. There's times when I'm more active here, and times when I'm less active. Simple as that.

Well. Until I post my next entry, you can bid on a comm badge made by me -

http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=2160231589

- or read my latest published fanfic:

http://users.boardnation.com/~scapeartist/index.php?board=4;action=display;threadid=2875
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I'm actually too tired to do a real update, but I want to correct the impression that all I've been doing in Barcelona was watching TV. So, for all those who've been wondering: 'Why does she travel 1400 km to watch TV?', here's a short report of Barcelona-specific things I did here.
1.) I visited the market hall, the harbour and the ramblas.
2.) I visited the Barri Gotic and Born.
3.) I saw the inside of many big bookshops, some of them quite picturesque.
4.) I sat in street cafés.
5.) I went hiking on Montserrat.
I also visited Parc Guëll and La Pedrera and other Gaudï related stuff and several other museums the last time I was here. We didn't repeat that because it's all rather expensive, and anyway, I'll probably be back, and we can visit them again then.

Now that I cleared that up. . . here's what we did today: 13 eps of Hellsing, five eps of Highlander, and one ep of Deep Space Nine. *bg*

*yawn* gotta go to bed...
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That sums up today, which might sound like not so good a day, but actually it was. A good day, I mean. I did a lot of work for uni, read 70 pages, and I just saw 'Dogma' with Kadira and Volker. Nice movie - detected a Neil Gaiman influence there, and he was in the credits, indeed, right after a number of saints. It's funny how I can get positively high on fictions. Anyway, I already rambled about that some other time, and I still have a character to kill (I want to get that fic done so I can go on writing 'Breakfast of Losers' again), so I'll just leave it at that remark. For now.

I've also thought a bit about many of the people I've become friends with over the last few years. I think the one thing they have in common is a rich, sometimes somewhat twisted inner life that doesn't often show on the outside. On the outside, many of us, myself included, are the most unremarkable people imaginable. We don't do much about that -- we don't spend a lot of money or time on appearances, I mean. But we spend time (and sometimes money) on maintaining and sharing our fantastic inner universes. I know - feel - I need this, but sometimes it does frighten me, and then I need a good dose of Real Life. But once I got that dose of Real Life, I soon feel that need for fantasy again. It's a difficult balancing act. It's not entirely unstressful, but it's something that seems to be a permanent characteristic of my psyche. I need fiction - reading, watching, writing - to cope with reality, and then I need reality to cope with fiction.

Back to my friends for a moment. Relationships in a fandom environment are a balancing act, themselves. How much Real Life troubles do we allow into our conversations... and how much of my very own obsession will the other be willing to endure... Talking fannish stuff can bring people closer together, create a sense of community, but there is also a point when you cross over into Real Life territory -- when you *need* to cross over into Real Life territory to become *really* comfortable with each other, and how you do that determines whether you'll be friends with any given person or just share an obsessive interest with them (which, in any case, is still more than I share with the average passer-by on the street).

So, relationships in fandom aren't really that much easier, I suppose, than your usual Real Life relationship -- you start on slightly different premises, and *then* progress to the usual stuff of a friendship.

Oops, there's thunder outside, and Kadira is telling me the electricity might be frelled soon, so I'll just post this, somewhat unfinished.
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Well, strictly speaking it's neither morning nor exceptionally beautiful -- it's noon, and it's rather grey outside. But I'm sure we're going to have a good day... :)

I think it's time I posted a bit of a report of the last days here, and since I'm waiting for Kadira to finish ironing so we can have breakfast, I might as well do it now.

I arrived here on Wednesday morning last week, after a twenty-hour bus ride, and was picked up by Kadira and her family at the bus station. We then spent the rest of the day talking and watching Farscape music videos and eps. (I know Kadira from HL fandom, but she started watching FS because of my constant recommendations, and really grew to love it.) The next day we were planning to visit Montserrat, a famous mountain and monastery, but we didn't get out of bed in time, so we spent the day watching FS instead. The day after that, we *did* manage to do some sightseeing, but we only made it to Barcelona's Barri Gotic, not to Montserrat. We also visited a number of bookshops and had some icecream. In the evening, of course, we watched Farscape again.The next day we went to Barcelona again to see another old quarter called Born, and a beautiful gothic church (and another bookshop. *g*) That evening, we did *not* watch FS because we ran into some technical problems. The day after that we finally managed to get up in time for Montserrat... I'd already been to Montserrat with Kadira the last time I visited her, but the mountain is very beautiful, and I wanted to see it again - and Kadira is simply in love with Montserrat, so she never minds going there another time! :-) As on the previous days, Volker and Mike, Kadira's husband and son, accompanied us, and made altogether pleasant company. In the evening - you guessed it - we watched FS again (we've reached 4.05 now)... and today my muscles ache from hiking on Montserrat, and I have no objections at all to spending most of today watching most of the rest of season four! And maybe I'll be able to write a bit.

Besides what I described above, we of course spent a lot of our time talking about anything from our so called Real Lives through general fandom related things through Farscape in particular to writing. (I pestered Kadira with all my writing neuroses) Oh, and Volker provided consistently great food, except for two days, on one of which *I* cooked (I made my trademark 'lazy lasagna'). On the other we called a pizza service.I'm enjoying every moment here, and I don't really want to think about going back to Frankfurt yet...

PS: I just accidentally posted this entry in Kadira's journal! Ooooops...
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...Kadira is great, Volker is a marvellous cook, Mike is cute and Barcelona is a truly beautiful city. Oh, and Farscape is especially good if taken in large doses...
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one of them is that by travelling that way you become truly aware of the distances your travelling, which, although uncomfortable, is a good thing. It makes travelling more real. Or maybe that is just me trying to convince myself that not having a lot of money is actually a good thing. ;-)

Here's some notes I took during the trip:

15:00 Leaving Frankfurt.

16:20 Manheim. Reading 'The Sandman Companion' which I found in the mail just before leaving. Thanks, Anne!

18:45 First stop.

20:40 They begin torturing us with bad German comedies on the board TV. The sound is really loud - inescabably loud. Definitely a strong point *against* travelling by bus.
P.S.: I think we crossed the French border a little while ago. I didn't notice, being totally engrossed in the 'Sandman Companion'.

00:15 For the last 45 minutes I've been trying to go to sleep, an endeavour that was complicated by the the fact that it's virtually impossible to find a comfortable position on a bus seat, and by my generally screwed up sleeping patterns. Besides, I've been having several kinds of angst -- future angst (in the guise of writer's angst), and angst of losing old friends, especially Ebru, whom I haven't seen in too long a while. The future/writer's angst was bestowed on me by the 'Sandman Companion', I think. The last chapter I read was about Neil Gaiman's wish to become a comic writer.

07:30 I've slept through the Pyrenees. Again. Frell.

08:00 In this early morning light the country outside reallz looks as if made out of glass. Truly beautiful. I love Spain.

08:30 Breakfast at Girona. I refrain from brushing my teeth after seeing the long queues waiting to use the two wash basins, and pop in a chewing gum instead, feeling dirty and dishevelled.

09:30 Calling Kadira. The cell phone is frelled up again -- the whole bus can listen to our short and confused conversation!

10:30 Barcelona!

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