strange_complex: (Me Mithraeum)
I am now back from Cyprus (which I'll post about separately later), and have spent this afternoon setting up a Dreamwidth account. I no longer trust LJ not to delete my account unexpectedly, or indeed disappear altogether, so I want the security of a backup. And, since I'm setting it up anyway, I may as well use the new account properly and interact with people there.

You can find me at strange_complex. There aren't any entries on the new account yet, as the import is still running. I am also currently fiddling about with different display options - especially trying to figure out how to make it render nicely on both my gigantic home desktop PC and my smartphone.

I have systematically gone through my LJ friends list, looking for accounts with the same name on DW and granting access / subscribing to them if I was confident that they were the same person. I've also granted access / subscribed to everyone I knew about who is there under a different username. But obviously people whose (former) LJ and DW names are different are harder to find, so if I haven't found you yet, please let me know who you are there.

I think my long-term plan is to continue reading my friends pages on both sites, cross-posting my own entries on both, and allowing comments on both. That means nothing much should change from the point of view of people who want to remain LJ-only and continue interacting with me here. Eventually, I will identify all the people who are cross-posting to DW and filter them off my LJ friends page so that I don't have to see their entries twice. But even then I won't be defriending them on LJ, as I still want everyone to have the same access to my journal whichever site they are coming from. It's just that I will be working across the two sites, seeing all the same content as before but spread across two reading pages.

I don't have any plans to delete my LJ. I don't think that would achieve anything, while it would cut me off from people who prefer to stay LJ-only themselves. I'm sad, though, that after almost 14 years I no longer feel like I can trust what was once the most important site on the internet for me.
strange_complex: (Fred Astaire flying)
My first film of 2017, seen this afternoon with [ profile] ms_siobhan and [ profile] planet_andy at the Hyde Park Picture House. They were, of course, showing it in tribute to the late Debbie Reynolds, and I'm pleased to say that she got a healthy audience and a round of applause at the end.

Ironically, having made a point of clearing my review backlog so that I could start my 2017 film reviewing with a blank slate, I find I don't have a huge amount to say about the actual film which I didn't already say four years ago when we saw it at the Cottage Road cinema. I can certainly say that I came out of the second viewing feeling just as enthusiastic about it as after the first, though. It is a bit bare-faced about crow-barring the song and dance numbers into the plot, but you forgive it anyway for doing so with a nod and a wink, and for being so consistently funny and beautiful the whole way through. And I think it's probably humanly impossible not to be just a little bit in love with Gene Kelly by the end of it all.

One thing I see I didn't mention in my last review (but [ profile] ms_siobhan did in a comment!), and which deserves due tribute, is this wonderful Silent Movie Vamp Lady in her spider-web dress:

Singin spider web dress.png

Singin spider web dress 2.JPG Singin spider web dress 3.JPG

Simply, wow!

One more thing which should be noted here, and which I've only just realised while filling in the tags for this entry: I have now been reviewing all the films I see here on LJ consistently for ten whole years. Here's where it all began, with Metropolis in January of 2007. I have sometimes got behind on my reviews, and felt burdened-down as a result, but overall I am heartily glad that I have done it. It has definitely helped me to get an enormous amount more out of what I see, both at the time of viewing and while writing about it afterwards. I think it has also enabled me to home in more efficiently on films I will actually like. Whether I will keep it up for another ten years from now remains to be seen, but I certainly don't intend to stop any time soon.

Click here if you would like view this entry in light text on a dark background.

strange_complex: (Saturnalian Santa)
I have wanted to make this post for three days, but have been unable to do so until now because I could not load my LJ photo galleries. As multiple friends have noted, LJ has been shonky in a number of ways over the same period, and although it seems OK again now, the problems seem to be associated with a server move to Russia - and I must say I also feel very uncomfortable about relying on anything in Russia for the ongoing preservation of a journal I have been carefully curating for 13 years now. I've never felt so inclined to set up a Dreamwidth mirror... but then again something [ profile] nwhyte said in an entry earlier today made me doubt that Dreamwidth has proper picture-hosting facilities at all. It's all sadly ironic that this should happen just when people are genuinely popping up on LJ again, thanks I understand to a FB LJ-nostalgia community.

Anyway, here's what I actually wanted to post - a few pictures of our Christmas. We booked a cottage in the Cotswolds village of Bourton-on-the-Water this year - 'we' in this case being me, my Dad, my sister and her husband and children. None of us had ever done Christmas this way before, but we decided to try it on the grounds that it would be healthier and cheerier to do something new and different this year, rather than try to re-create our normal family Christmas but with one person missing. It would also allow flexible levels of participation for each person, in that everyone could choose whether to hang out with the other cottage residents, go out for a walk or simply lie on their bed reading a book. And I'm glad to say it worked really well. We did remember Mum of course, and Dad had a couple of tearful moments. But for a first Christmas without her, it was actually really nice and enjoyable and nothing like as difficult as I suspect it would have been in the family home, or even my sister's home (where Mum had also been for Christmas day a couple of times in recent years).

We arrived in the afternoon of the 23rd, in pretty rotten weather, and got settled in. We had brought a LOT of food, which took quite a bit of unpacking and putting away, while Christophe admired the (fake) Christmas tree which the cottage owners had supplied, and Eloise enjoyed The Snow Dog.

Pictures start here )

Anyway, here we are in the Festive Perineum (h/t [ profile] inbetween_girl), which I found boring as a teenager, but has now become one of my favourite times of the year. The obligations of Christmas are all fulfilled, my work email account is blissfully free of people demanding things, and it is genuinely OK to sit around in my dressing-gown watching a Buffy marathon on SyFy and ordering the unpurchased items on my Amazon wish-list. I wondered about driving up to Allendale for their New Year's tar bar'l procession this year, as 2016 is a year which I feel pretty strongly could do with a good burning out. But the weather reports say it will be raining pretty heavily there right over midnight, so maybe not. I am open to other suggestions, if anyone has any?

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strange_complex: (Me Mithraeum)
Dear Livejournal,

Happy birthday! It is ten years today since I first set you up. I didn't actually start writing entries here until the following April, but today is the day I joined the LJ community and started reading and commenting on other people's posts, so I think this is the date that counts.

You and I have changed a lot over the last ten years, and sadly not always in ways we probably would have chosen. Certainly, on my side, between parental health issues and appalling workplace mismanagement, the last six years of my life have been pretty shit, all things considered. I know it's naive to expect life to be in any way fair, and I have tried to make the best of things and not get angry and resentful about it all, but it's got to be said that I thought my thirties would be more about happiness and achievement than they have actually turned out to be. Still, you have been there for me all that time, whether I needed to write about the problems I've experienced directly, escape from them into various sorts of film- and television-related fantasy worlds, or (just occasionally) explore and express enthusiasm for new things. I wish there'd been more of the latter in particular, but I'm grateful for all of it.

As for you, the sad reality is that other social networks have chipped away at your userbase. Facebook offers ease of usage, other blogging platforms offer search engine visibility and a sense of professionalism, Pinterest makes sharing picture content quick and easy, Tumblr encourages collaborative discussions, and Twitter captures trends and breaking news and opinion in a way that you never could. As a ball-park figure, I think only about one quarter of the people on my friendslist are actually now active here in any way at all, and my stats tell me that my posts now rack up about 2/5 as many views apiece as they did five years ago. Inevitably, these things snowball, so that once people start drifting away there isn't as much left here to keep the remaining people interested, and in turn they drift too. What started as a slow but noticeable decline three or four years ago has definitely speeded up over the last two years.

And yet, somehow, here you still are in spite of it all. Just like me, in fact. What that tells me is that you still have something to offer which other social networks can't match. Obviously for any individual user, part of it is a combination of nostalgia, and the particular friendship connections we have here. But most of my LJ friendship connections are replicated on other social networks, and yet it obviously still seems worth it to me and to others to keep writing here. LJ allows long discursive writing and considered discussion threads, all of which other blog platforms can match. But where it has and keeps the edge, I think, is the ability to do all of that in a personalised format, addressed to a reciprocal audience of known and trusted friends - either pseudonymously or even completely privately.

Twitter and blogging platforms are largely predicated on the assumption that they are publicly visible and associated with known identities, while once-cool Facebook is now increasingly full of work colleagues and family members whose expectations of our personas may be restrictive - indeed, this is a recognised factor in driving teenagers off it. But LJ is both old enough and small enough to somehow have slipped under all of those nets. The fact that it is unknown territory to those who are anyway unlikely to 'get' it has always been part of its attraction. Certainly, I can write here about my parent and job woes in a way I wouldn't dream of on Facebook or Twitter, and I've seen many other LJ users coming here after long absences in similar circumstances. But it isn't just that. I can write long, self-indulgent film and TV reviews here which are about how I responded to a story, including expressions of extreme geekiness and digressions into my personal history, which I feel comfortable sharing here to a known (and often equally geekish) audience, but wouldn't want associated with my professional identity on a blog.

In short, I still love you LJ, and I don't intend to stop writing here any time soon. You are still an essential element in my online life, even if you're not the only one any more. In fact, I have made you a present in honour of our ten-year anniversary. See, I'm not saying everything I write here is cutting-edge essential content, but it matters to me and I do like writing it. I also think that one consequence of your drifting user-base is that there are people out there who might like to read some of it, but no longer even really know that I am posting here.

So I have finally done something I've been thinking I ought to do for a while. I have sifted through my Facebook friendslist, and put all the people who are or were once on LJ themselves, or who never were but whom I don't mind knowing about the sort of stuff I post here, onto a single 'LJ friendly' filter. From this entry onwards I am going to link to my public LJ posts from my Facebook feed, but filtered to that group only. Not, I think, the friendslocked stuff, but at least my film and TV reviews, and probably some general 'what I've been doing lately' updates too.

I hope you like it, and here's to the next ten years. I'll still be here if you are.

Lots of love,


Click here if you would like view this entry in light text on a dark background.

strange_complex: (Doctor Caecilius hands)
Before I changed my LJ username, I wondered what this was going to do to the old OpenID presence based on it which I had on Dreamwidth. Nobody knew for sure, so in the end I decided to find out by just doing it and seeing what happened.

I can now report that the answer is that I have lost control of the old OpenID, and have been allocated a completely new profile by Dreamwidth. Even if I try to log in as "", the system interprets me as "". No-one else can get into it either, so it isn't a security risk. It is just an orphan identity which I can no longer access.

That's not particularly troublesome to me, because I didn't have a particularly highly developed Dreamwidth presence anyway. I had used the old OpenID for occasional commenting, a handful of DW users had granted it full access to their journals, and one person had used it to subscribe to my LJ from her DW reading page. I've effectively lost all those connections now, but since there weren't that many of them, I will live.

But obviously for people with a more highly-developed OpenID-based Dreamwidth presence, losing it all because they had changed their LJ name could be a major pain in the ass. So I'm writing this post about it partly so that it can be used as a reference-point for anyone in the future wanting to know what will happen to their OpenID if they rename their livejournal.

I'm also writing this because I am going to need to ask anyone who wants me to be able to see and comment on their friendslocked DW content, or anyone who wants to read my LJ from DW, to re-grant me access to your DW journal or re-subscribe to me as appropriate.

In practice, I think the only DW journals I've ever actually commented on are miss_s_b's and matgb's - and I see that miss_s_b has already updated her access / subscription links, so thank you sweetie! But for the record, these are the other DW users who had previously granted me access to their journals:
  • ashavah
  • dadi
  • gylfinir
  • katsmeat
  • lefaym
  • matgb
  • mia_oia
  • moominlou
  • mother_bones
  • nmg
  • nwhyte
  • swisstone
If those people, or indeed anyone else, want me to have OpenID access to their DW journals, could you please update your permissions? Thanks! :-)

Click here if you would like view this entry in light text on a dark background.

strange_complex: (Default)
Well, it is done. The results of my poll suggested that most of you like it, and I certainly do. So purple_pen is no more, and [ profile] strange_complex has taken her place.

It felt a bit weird immediately after I'd done it. I was expecting it to maybe take a couple of hours to go through, but as soon as I'd paid up and returned to LJ, there it was - my username of seven years had unceremoniously vanished from its old home in the menu bar at the top of the screen, and some new name had appeared to take its place. It was hard not to feel deleted, kicked out and body-snatched for a moment, there. But I think I've pretty much got the hang of it already. It's like a brave new world. With, um, exactly the same stuff in it.

You, gentle reader, should be largely unaffected. All my friends contacts are exactly the same, and even if you forget my new username and type in <lj user=purple_pen> by accident, it will display as [ profile] strange_complex. I think you should also find that every comment I've ever made, or every reference you have ever made to me in the past, has also been changed to show [ profile] strange_complex as the username. So all you have to do is remember that that is the same person who used to be known as purple_pen.

Now I am off to round off the process by replacing my journal header, figuring out how all this has affected my OpenID (the official word is that it's anyone's guess), and also seeing whether LJArchive will be affected. Have a strange and complex morning!

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strange_complex: (Computer baby)
(Well, or for anyone who knows anything about how OpenID works, really.)

As mentioned in my last entry, I am planning to rename my LJ. However, I am very unsure as to what effect this will have on the OpenID that is based on my current LJ name, and particularly the Dreamwidth presence I have which allows me to comment on some of your journals.

For the record, I plan to use the 'forwarding' version of the LJ rename service, so my old LJ username shouldn't be vulnerable to getting bought up by someone else who can then take over my old OpenID. But other than that, I really don't know what effect the rename will have. So far as I'm concerned it could be anything between my previous OpenID completely disappearing at one end, and the system being so clever that it recognises my rename and updates the OpenID too at the other (though I really doubt that the latter will happen).

If any Dreamwidth-enabled people actually know what will happen, and are able to comment on it, I'd be really grateful. I haven't been able to find out anything via Google that would help me to predict what it will be, so it may just end up being a great big leap into the unknown. At worst, I can always just abandon the old OpenID and set up a new one linked to my new LJ name. But if that's how it ends up being, here at least is a heads-up letting you know to look out for me under the new name.

Click here if you would like view this entry in light text on a dark background.

strange_complex: (Wicker Man sunset)
Following on from the entry I made this morning about reconfiguring my LJ to suit who I am and how I use it in 2010, I'm now about to perform a very minor friendslist cull.

This shouldn't really affect anyone who actually reads my LJ, because I am only removing journals which as far as I can tell are no longer active. I don't actually think the likelihood of those accounts falling into malevolent hands is very high, but I do want to keep my friendslist neat and tidy, and especially to have a clearer sense of how many journals I am actually reading.

If I'm wrong about how abandoned any of the journals I'm removing actually are, and in fact you do still use your journal to read even if you aren't posting much, do please let me know and I will happily re-add you. I will leave this post public so that anyone who has been removed can see why and ask to be re-added if relevant.

Click here if you would like view this entry in light text on a dark background.

strange_complex: (Doctor Who Bechdel test)
Gosh, it's a long time since I've posted a personality test result here! But I've never seen a 'which Doctor Who companion are you?' test before - only 'which Doctor?'. I'm not sure whether Barbara was a possible result - I know Susan is one, 'cos that's what the person who alerted me to the test got, and judging from the questions I think the others are Leela, Ace and Rose. But I'll take Romana out of the possible options. :-)

Take Which Doctor Who companion are you? (girls) today!
Created with Rum and Monkey's Personality Test Generator.
You're Romana!

Silly Doctor. It's adorable, really, how hard he tries. And he is pretty brilliant, you'll give him that. But he always seems to overlook the obvious--including the fact that he's not the only Gallifreyan onboard, thank you very much. You are always calm and collected, and more often than not wonderfully witty, in the face of adversity. The Doctor knows he can count on you, even when you infuriate him!

Oh, and yesterday [ profile] matgb pointed out that I can provide links to my journal displayed via an old layout, so I'm reinstituting the 'Click here if you would like...' link at the bottom of my journal now after all. It's just that now it links to my old light-on-dark layout for people who don't like dark-on-light text.

Click here if you would like view this entry in light text on a dark background.

strange_complex: (Mariko Mori crystal ball)
One year ago, I embarked upon the project of recording in my LJ all the books I read and films I watched during the course of the year 2007. I'd written about things I'd read or seen fairly frequently before then, but had never done it systematically. I decided to start because I'd tried to look back over the books I'd read in 2006 when answering the end-of-year meme for that year, and was rather perturbed to find I could barely remember any. I didn't want the same thing to happen again, so the new year seemed like a good time to emulate many of my fellow bloggers in recording them all here.

One year later, I'm thoroughly glad that I did it. Looking back on the best of the bunch )

Quantities )

Content )

The blogging process )

So, here's to another year - and one with less middlebrow fiction, a postal DVD subscription and the occasional one-sentence film review.

strange_complex: (Snape writing)
As of today, it's exactly a fortnight until I plan to complete my book. Already, my LJ is seriously neglected, and friends who text or phone me asking me to come out to things are getting used to the reply, "Sorry - book." I'm pretty flaky about answering emails, too.

This post is mainly to say: bear with me, gang - this will pass. I apologise if I'm socially all but non-existent over the next couple of weeks, but I'm sure you'll all understand the situation.

I do expect to continue reading and commenting on other people's journals, as, frankly, it's helping to keep me sane in the midst of an existence which is now seeing me leave the house only once or twice a week when I need to go either to the supermarket or to the library. But, as you can imagine, using my spare time to write proper journal entries of my own is somewhat unattractive just now, given that I'm spending all day every day typing like a lunatic anyway. Any entries I do make are likely to be increasingly self-absorbed, and possibly slightly insane: you have been warned!

Normal service to be resumed, I very much hope, after the Easter bank holiday. Till then, arrivederci!
strange_complex: (Default)
Dangit: I was so certain I was never going to post anything in this livejournal, and now I've been sucked in, just as [ profile] venta predicted in the first place!

It started with more regular checks on my friends' journals while I was in Hong Kong and bored, then I got into dropping in on random people's journals from time to time[1], and finally I discovered communities. Already becoming hooked, I was then pushed over the edge into actual posting by flattery: I spent this weekend with [ profile] brummiepaul and his lovely wife and son, and was repeatedly told my Paul that I 'should post on livejournal' because I have 'something to say'.

Hmmm, well we'll see about that, but you all know who to blame now if I don't!

Not quite sure what sorts of things I will say just yet, or how often. But for today, proclaiming my intention to post in future rather than just responding to other people's posts will do nicely.

Love to all for now (and see some of you in the pub later!)


[1] From which I learnt that most livejournal users are either goths, Russians or teenagers: or sometimes a combination of these.

strange_complex: (Default)
... but this isn't going to be a record of my daily deeds and thoughts - that stuff happens in my actual diary, which is PRIVATE (mwa-ha-ha-ha!).

I'm establishing this account, with thanks to the lovely [ profile] stompyboots, merely so that I can post comments on other people's LiveJournals without having to be anonymous.

So don't bother checking back here for regular updates, 'cos there won't be any!

Have a nice day, now!


strange_complex: (Default)

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