strange_complex: (Chrestomanci slacking in style)
...with whomever you want, where would you be and who would you be with? (late)

Written last night, but unposted because LJ was down.

Well, first I need to explain for context that I am exhausted beyond coherence at the moment. That's no surprise - it's been a very tough term, and I knew that at the time. I'm pretty sure I have adrenal burnout - it would be surprising if I didn't, really. Certainly, I feel physically leaden and just like curling up in bed all the time, and mentally dull-witted and utterly incapable of making plans, organising what I want to do with my work or anything like that. Again, no surprise. In simple, human terms, I have had my efficiency, motivation and intellectual engagement cranked up to the max for the past three months. Of course there's nothing left.

Anyway, this means that basically my vision for an ideal holiday currently revolves around the maximisation of opportunities for rest, relaxation and recuperation - with a little dusting of Christmassy goodness on top. I see some sort of hill-side lodge, surrounded by pine trees and snow (of course!). On offer in the premises are hot tubs, comfortable sofas and arm-chairs next to a roaring fire, a plentiful supply of good books and DVDs (with a lovely big telly to watch them on), and huge warm soft beds which feel like nests for hibernating animals - and which there is no particular reason to get out of in the morning. The place is kitted out with appropriate Christmas paraphernalia, including a tastefully-decorated tree with lots of presents underneath it.

In the surrounding area is beautiful winter scenery - snow-drifts, frozen streams, hedgerows full of holly, etc - which might be explored during pleasant wintry walks. But it can all be seen perfectly clearly from balconies and large plate-glass windows in the lodge anyway, and no-one is pressuring me to actually go on a walk. It's just a thing that's available for the doing if I decide one day that I feel like it. Similarly, there is a stack of sledges in an outside shed, some ice-skates and a suitably-frozen pond to use them on, and a cheery village complete with a traditional English pub in the valley just below the lodge. But no obligation whatsoever to make use of them.

The lodge is staffed by quiet, undemanding, efficient people, who just run the place smoothly and without issue. They don't insist on being able to come in to clean my room at a certain time each day - they just slip in magically while I'm not in it. They are totally happy to serve up meals at whatever time I feel I want them. They keep hot-tubs bubbling, fires burning and beds plumped up at all times, without me having to ask for anything. Trained experts are on hand to administer gentle soothing massages and other relaxation / beauty treatments whenever they are required, and the kitchen staff are Michelin-starred chefs. They will, of course, serve up the best Christmas dinner I have ever experienced on the day itself.

As for people to share this with me, I think if I can only have one person, it would be my sister. But this is a lodge, with plenty of rooms presumably. So I could very easily come up with a list of about ten or so friends - some ones I see regularly anyway, others I don't - whom I would also like to be there. We'd all go with the shared assumption that when we wanted each other's company, we would find each other in the public lounge, hot-tubs, dining room etc, but that anyone who preferred quiet and solitude would be very welcome indeed to pursue it. Each room would be equipped with its own fire-place, arm-chair, television, dining-table and jacuzzi-bath as standard anyway, and people would bring portable massage-tables up to your room at the simple push of a button if you wanted one.

So - who's coming to my fantasy lodge, then?

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strange_complex: (True Blood Eric wink)
I've been having a pretty lazy, undemanding weekend - much needed after the last month and a half of zipping around the place and being intensively driven and intellectual all the time. I slept in till midday today and yesterday, and have been spending most of my waking hours lying on the sofa in my dressing-gown, drinking coffee, reading the internet and watching the snooker (which is throwing up a lot of surprises this year - but mainly nice ones as far as I'm concerned).

The only thing I can be said to have 'achieved' this weekend is to make the attached icon, which took me through quite a steep learning-curve with Adobe ImageReady (it's only the second animated icon I have ever made), but which I am now really proud of and very slightly in love with. I believe I have tipped over in this last week from thinking that True Blood is a pretty cool show which I'm careful never to miss an episode of, into full-blown squeeing fandom of the type which causes one to join fan communities ([livejournal.com profile] trueblood_lj seems to be the main one round these parts) and conceive crushes on regular characters.

[livejournal.com profile] lefaym made an excellent post a few weeks ago pointing out some of the many things which True Blood is getting right - well-realised characters; complex situations without simple solutions; and prominent black, female, queer and working-class characters whose lives and experiences are taken seriously and explored without the suggestion that they should somehow be ashamed or self-loathing about their under-privileged identities. I can't really improve upon [livejournal.com profile] lefaym's analysis, but I will also add that another big draw for me is the dialogue. It's sometimes very powerful, it does a brilliant job at revealing character and pushing on the plot without ever feeling forced, but most of all it regularly manages to be crackingly laugh-out-loud funny. There are a few quotations here, but TBH they don't really work out of context. They work because they all fit so well in the mouths of the characters they come out of, and in the structure of the scenes where they occur - and that is precisely why this is such a good show and so satisfying to watch.

Anyway, I did manage to get myself up off the sofa and dressed and over to Manchester yesterday evening for [livejournal.com profile] glitzfrau and [livejournal.com profile] biascut's house-warming party. It was lovely to see them all set up and bright and cosy in there. I last saw the house on their first day in it, when it was mainly all boxes and make-shift furniture, but they have already made a massive difference to it in only two months, and it feels properly like their own glorious domain now. Filling it up with bright, interesting people and food and wine last night was the icing on the cake, really - as a house-warming should be.

It was also nice to discover that the trains between Leeds and Manchester really do mean that I can breeze out of the house on a summer evening with nothing but a little money and my house-keys in my pocket, sail over the Pennines in fading sunshine, spend a decent evening with fine people on the north edge of the city centre, and still be back safely curled up in my own bed by 1 in the morning. I've not really tried doing that before, but it opens up new social opportunities now that I know how easy it is.

Now it's about time I watched my recording of last night's Doctor Who so that I can find out what everyone's posts and comments about River Song's identity and Amy's developing character actually mean. Oh, it's a hard life...

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