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...

Click here to view this entry with minimal formatting.

strange_complex: (Tom Baker)
At least two people on my friends list have posted over the last week or so to recommend Being Human, the pilot episode of which has now been shown twice on BBC3. Having just watched it, I can now say that they were definitely right - it's a very promising little piece, which I'd love to see more of. Basically, you have a vampire, a werewolf and a ghost, who are in all other respects really very normal twenty-somethings trying to get along and make sense of life. It's not over-stated, it addresses the usual clich├ęs without going over the top about it, and it's basically exactly what British cult TV does best. And I discovered to my delight when I watched it this evening that it's also set in Bristol, which brought back a lot of nostalgic studenty memories for me - especially when I saw the shabby, scabby little flat the three of them moved into.

Alas, for the present, it's a pilot only, so if this sort of television floats your boat and you haven't seen it yet, then I can only recommend you get yourself along to iPlayer and check it out (within the next five days). Then, if you like it, there's a petition you can sign to persuade BBC3 to commission more. Actually, I can't help but suspect the whole "We'll only show you one episode and then make you beg for more" set-up is a big publicity stunt - but if that's what it takes, I'm voting anyway.

In other news, I made my first ever animated icon! I don't intend to make a habit of this, because quite frankly they usually rather annoy me. But there was no way I was going to get all the text and images I wanted into one 100x100 frame in this particular case, and I wanted to learn how anyway. Pity about the reduction in picture quality you get when you turn things into gifs, but other than that I'm fairly happy with it.

Yes, I am still watching a lot of Classic Who...

GIP

Sunday, 4 March 2007 13:05
strange_complex: (Pompeii sundial)
I've been filling in the latest two icon slots that LJ has bestowed on permanent users. Now at last I have an icon about time - and it manages to combine Apollo, Pompeii and a line from one of my favourite Siouxsie and the Banshees tracks as well, all in one big cross-overy love-fest! Hooray.

I do wish I'd bothered to go out and look at the lunar eclipse last night, now I've seen everyone's photos of it this morning. I was vaguely aware of it, but didn't quite register that it was actually going to be a total eclipse, at a perfectly civilised hour of the evening. Oh well - your photos were good, anyway, all of you.

This morning I saw the episode of Angel from season five where just in case... and there are House spoilers under here, too )

Right. Now I am going to spend the rest of the day catching up with my Italian. We're supposed to hand in homework every couple of weeks, but I think I've done so about twice so far over the whole course. Bad Penny!

strange_complex: (Leeds owl)
...keeping me up all night!

Actually, they aren't really owls, but apparently some openings in the roofing of the flats where I live, which make hooting sounds exactly like owls when the wind blows through them. Which was most of last night. Still, it gives me a great opportunity to introduce my latest icon (man, I just love the way us permies get yet another new one every few months!).

This particular owl may be found outside Leeds' Civic Hall, where he and a feathery friend stand as proud emblems of the city - whose patron goddess must therefore logically be Minerva. Now that I actually live in Leeds, I felt the need for a 'Leeds - town' icon to supplement the 'Leeds - gown' aspect represented by my Parkinson building one. So that's his job. Meanwhile, in the background, is Shelley's rendering of the Homeric hymn to his mistress, the first few lines of which run thus:

I sing the glorious Power with azure eyes... )

Hooting aside, I am having a very lovely weekend, which so far has included:
  • Going shopping and buying a very lovely fifties-esque dark purple party frock for upcoming Christmas dos
  • Getting the flat properly clean and tidy
  • Painting my toe-nails
  • Dying my hair (that one's happening right now)
  • Doing some very fruitful and rewarding Alessandro Moreschi research
  • Making lots of interesting notes (so far in English) for the Italian presentation I have to give on Tuesday
  • Some cracking lie-ins
Later on, [livejournal.com profile] my_mundane_life will be coming to stay over en route to an interview she has here tomorrow, and we will be going out for dinner with [livejournal.com profile] hieroglyphe. And in the meantime, I'd better get this dye off my hair and start turning those notes into an actual presentation, that's actually in Italian...

GIP

Thursday, 20 October 2005 11:55
strange_complex: (Fortuna coin)
Allow me to introduce my new icon: Fortuna. She is the Roman Lady Luck, and is here to plug a long-felt gap in my icon collection. Henceforth, when people are doing exams, going for job interviews or simply heading out on an important date, Fortuna will be there to help me wish them good luck appropriately.

In fact, the coin I've taken her from is a rather interesting one, and worthy of comment in its own right. Let's take a look, shall we?

Sicinius' Fortuna )

The Fortuna coin is one of two major types produced by the moneyer Q. Sicinius in the crucial year 49 BC (the other one being a rather ravishing Apollo, with references to his struggle against Hercules for the Delphic tripod and an interesting role to play in contemporary jostling for his potential as a political icon). It's an aesthetically beautiful piece, but one rich with political symbolism as well.

49, you see, was the year that Julius Caesar crossed the Rubicon, and marched towards Rome to engage in conflict with Pompey and his 'Republican' supporters. The stakes were high: these were the two most powerful men in the Roman world, and whoever won would establish his dominance over both his fellow aristocrats and indeed the entire empire.

Sicinius' coin in this context )

Sicinius' faith, of course, was misplaced. Within a year, Pompey was dead. What happened to Sicinius himself is, as far as I know, unrecorded, but once he'd placed his name on coins which supported the Republican cause, it's unlikely to have been a happy ending for him.

Still, the coin as a whole is a fine work of both public relations and the die-cutter's art. It deserves replicating and commemorating. And I hope it will be more lucky for all of you than it was for Pompey.

Dring! Dring!

Tuesday, 11 October 2005 13:30
strange_complex: (Purple and black phone)
Whee! My purple and black phone has arrived!

I have tested it out with the help of my mobile, and it works perfectly. Outgoing calls take about a minute to make, as you wait for the dial to rotate back round to its starting position after each number. But hell - when I was a kid, that was all part of the ritual of making a phone call. And when I tried it out in the other direction, and heard it ring for the first time, I actually jumped up and down with excitement! It sounds like a real phone. *nostalgic and slightly manic grin*

In pre-emptory celebration, I made a new icon of it a couple of days ago, which I now introduce here. This will also shortly become my new [livejournal.com profile] sms_to_lj icon. It replaces Sophia Loren on the phone, which is sad, but I'm going to make a new Sophia icon soon and slot her in in place of one of the ones I don't really use, so she won't be lost forever.

Meanwhile, trying out my phone myself is all very well, but obviously nothing like as exciting as getting a Real Phone Call(TM). So if anyone is a bit bored, call me - please? Landline number is here.

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