strange_complex: (Bettie Page shoes)
Yesterday evening, I ventured along with [livejournal.com profile] nalsa, [livejournal.com profile] big_daz, [livejournal.com profile] myfirstkitchen and two other folk (who are probably on LJ but I don't know their usernames) into the remarkably friendly and agenda-free territory of the University Chaplaincy, for the sake of an audience with Doctor Who writer, Paul Cornell. We got there a bit early, so had time to settle down with free cups of coffee amongst the bean-bags, and chat to Paul (whom [livejournal.com profile] myfirstkitchen already knew) while we waited for the talk proper to begin.

And an excellent session it was, too )

Finally, while I'm writing, I also want to rave about my fantastic new shoes! )

strange_complex: (Snape writing)
1. Last Wednesday - went off for the day with Mum on the Severn Valley Railway. We saw partridges, pheasants, rabbits, butterflies, great crested grebe, elephants, bison and gazelle. Although I suppose it's only fair to explain that the last three were in a safari park visible from the railway. Enjoyed a lovely picnic at Arley, then walked along the river a bit, glorying in the warm weather. All the way there and back, I examined properties along the route with a buyer's eye. I can't help it now - force of habit.

2. On that note, I'm still waiting to hear about the house. My first offer was rejected; I raised it to what was my absolute upper limit and said so; the seller relayed that it was rather less than she wanted but she'd think about it; I enquired again of the estate agents on Friday, but they said she still hadn't decided. I do know that no other offers have been made, though. So ideally she'll wait a bit longer, see that no-one else is offering and accept my bid. Two people saw it over the weekend, apparently, but I know a lot of people have seen it by now and very few have offered, so I'm cautiously hopeful.

3. Thursday to Saturday saw me attending the annual Classical Association conference. Well, actually it carried on this morning too, but I decided to bunk the last part for the sake of a lie-in and some more relaxed parent time. I must say it was probably the best CA conference I've been to (out of three altogether) in terms of papers and general conviviality. Logistics perhaps not so great - it was in a fairly second-rate hotel, with not wonderful food and tedious queues at the lifts to move around the building. But I spent the conference dinner last night (in the much nicer surroundings of the University of Birmingham's Great Hall) with a big grin on my face, feeling on a high from the whole experience. There's too much to record now, of course, but highlights were the comedy caretaker during John Henderson's opening lecture, some cracking panels on Roman cities and all flavours of Classical Receptions (including Buffy and Achilles / Patroclus m-preg fanfics), and all the lovely people I got to catch up with.

4. Did some enjoyable shopping in Brum on Saturday afternoon - scheduled as excursion time for conference-goers, but I'd been to all the places they suggested visiting many times before, having grown up here. Surprised myself slightly by buying some baseball boots - not my normal style, but I really was desperate for new shoes by this stage, and I think they can become my style. Also got CivCity: Rome, which I've wanted for about a year now, ever since I first heard it was coming out, and was reminded of by a great session on Classics in computer games at the conference. And I enjoyed just generally wandering around Birmingham city centre, experiencing the weird combination of things which haven't changed at all and things which are totally unrecognisable, and exploring the various memories which streets and buildings threw up in my mind. I'm proud of my roots here.

5. Term starts again tomorrow. Wah! Only two weeks of teaching and one of revision classes, but they're going to be pretty tough. I'm more-or-less ready, but have a lot to do over the next few days.

6. Haven't seen this week's Who yet, as I was out at the dinner last night, and now my parents' cable box is broken! So that will have to be squeezed in over the next few days too. Have been reading people's online reactions, though. It seems to have provoked quite a lot of discussion and some division.

7. I am travelling home first class in the train tonight, because there was a cheap weekend upgrade available, and I've always wanted to try it out. It'll be a bit different from the Severan Valley Railway, where we were in a third-class compartment!

Easter weekend

Monday, 9 April 2007 14:31
strange_complex: (Cocoa beans)
On Saturday, my Mum and I went shopping in Solihull - an extremely posh suburb of Birmingham which likes to pretend it has nothing to do with Birmingham whatsoever. There, I noticed that both John Lewis and Beatties sold miniature morning coats and pinstripe suits for tiny little children - presumably so that they can be page-boys at weddings and so on. SO CUTE!

My main mission was to buy shoes and bras, since I'm getting dangerously close to having no wearable examples of either. Since I was effectively going to have to start my bra wardrobe again from scratch, I got myself measured up, figuring I might as well do it properly. For years, I've believed I was a 34B, but it turned out I'm actually a 32C - a significant (and rather pleasing!) difference, as female readers will realise. So I'm now feeling a lot more comfy in the bosom region.

Pity I can't say the same for my feet, though. Of course, when I say 'shoes', I actually mean 'ankle-boots', since that's all I ever wear. But there are next to none in the shops at this time of year, and what there are are all hideous. So I gave up in the end, and consoled myself by buying a posh frock for my cousin's wedding in June, instead.

In the evening, still in my old, nearly-dead shoes, I went over to [livejournal.com profile] hollyione's parents' house, where she (like me) was spending Easter weekend at the family homestead. We watched Doctor Who with her two-year-old daughter, who was allowed to stay up for it specially, and then ate yummy kebabs and played Trivial Pursuit with her parents. The game never quite got finished, as everyone became very merry and eventually had to toddle off to bed, but it was lots of fun, and [livejournal.com profile] hollyione and I as the last two players agreed to declare an honourable and amicable draw.

Sunday was mainly Verulamium-article-writing, but there was a bit of chocolate-egg-exchanging too, while in the evening we ate a delicious juicy duck. I then wound up the day by rewatching Doctor Who, as there were quite a few bits of dialogue I'd missed the previous day while [livejournal.com profile] hollyione's daughter was trying to decide whether she was scared of the witches or not!

It definitely rewarded a second watching, though. I got the chance to notice things like the conversation over the TARDIS console at the very beginning of the episode, where Martha is asking how exactly the TARDIS can travel in time, and the Doctor replies with something like, "Oh, you've got to take the magic out of everything haven't you - it just does!", thus establishing the magic / technology issue right from the opening scene. And how cool that Queen Elizabeth is his sworn enemy, even though he's never met her! I can't see an obvious episode in the coming series where that will be resolved, so I take it as a long-term promise for an Elizabethan story involving her as a character - ideally while we still have David Tennant, to explain how she recognises him. And I like that we're dealing with a series which troubles to set up long-term plot elements like that.

Oh! And a thought: since Shakespeare is set up earlier in the episode as being so very perceptive (noticing how old the Doctor's eyes are, and how Martha looks at him as though she can't believe he exists), does this mean we are to take him 100% seriously when he says to Martha that the Doctor will never kiss her? (Excepting, of course, the fact that he already has - I mean kiss her in lurve?) Or is it just a corny line to get himself a snog? Discuss!

Meanwhile, in the realm of the scarily-real, I have made an offer on this house. But not heard anything back yet. Wah, the frustration! I'm on tenterhooks about it all the time, waiting, and wondering, and trying to second-guess what's going on in the seller's mind. It's like waiting to hear about a job interview.

Well, you'll hear about it here when I do!

strange_complex: (Bettie Page shoes)
To celebrate having a free day on Saturday, I first enjoyed a big fat lie-in, then took a leisurely breakfast, watched some TV, noodled on the 'net, and finally headed into town to complete a few shopping missions I hadn't had time to attend to for the past week or so. I needed to stock up on things like shampoo and so on from Boots, but it had also become urgent that I buy a new pair of actual boots. So urgent, in fact, that I'd got to the point of being faced each morning with the choice of wearing either a) a pair of boots with one missing sole, a broken shank1 and a rapidly disintegrating interior or b) a pair of boots with the bottom of one heel missing. Usually, pair b) won out - but it was clear that this state of affairs could not go on.

I wasn't really looking forward to the boot shopping very much, as I have terrible trouble finding boots I like which are appropriate for work. I've railed in this journal before about those stupid heels which are placed right at the back of the boots, I don't like wedges, and I don't want to wear anything more than about 2.5 inches high for the sake of comfort. So there's not much on the contemporary high street which I really want to wear.

However, yesterday the Shoe Gods were clearly with me, as I walked into Clarks, saw a pair of boots I liked straight away, tried them on and found that they fitted beautifully. I can't find a picture of them online that I can link to, but they're Victorian-looking black leather ankle-boots, with cosmetic laces up the front, a practical zip up the side and a nice-looking heel about 2" high. Plus, they were in the sale. Yay!

Thanks to Clarks, I'd got everything done I needed to do within an hour of leaving the house, so I used the time I'd expected to spend trudging gloomily around boot-shops checking out mobile phone deals instead, with an eye to the upcoming end of my current contract with Vodafone on 27th February. This is what I found, in the sort of price-range I'm willing to pay and with the sort of features I want:

NetworkVodafoneO23T-mobileOrange
Plan150 AnytimeOnline 25X-Series SilverFlextDolphin
Monthly charge£25£25£22.50 for 8 months, then £40£27.50£35
Insurance£6.95£7.50£5.99£5.99£6
Minutes150200300c. 85250
Texts5005001000c. 170250
Internet allowanceReally unclear1Mb then £3 per Mb1Gb1Gb£1 per Mb
HandsetSony V630iAnyNokia N73Nokia 6253Most
Contract18 months18 months18 months18 months12 months


Given that I'm currently paying £30 per month for a mere 25 minutes, 250 texts and no internet allowance, those all look pretty tempting. In fact, I think I'm most tempted by the T-mobile Flext deal. Although the numbers of minutes and texts are a bit lower on that deal than some of the others, you can actually use up an overall 'allowance' on whichever you like, which is rather nice, and I very much doubt on current usage levels that I'd feel restricted by it. And that lovely, ripe 1Gb of internet usage is very tempting! Although my current phone can theoretically access the internet, I never use it, because I have no idea how much it will cost me, and suspect it might be rather a lot. A 1Gb allowance basically means being free to surf as much as I like, in practical terms, and the web browser the guy in the shop showed me looked pretty decent, too. Although I probably won't make as much use of it now as I might have done a year ago (when I was spending at least nine hours on trains a week), I can still see how it could be really handy for things like house moves (which I know needs to happen again fairly soon), trips away and so on.

If anyone has any thoughts on that deal, or any of the others, or any general experiences with any companies other than Vodafone (the only company I've ever used so far) which you think I should know about, speak up!
-----------------
1. The steel 'backbone' of most heeled boots. You know it's broken when the heel no longer stays solid in relation to the boot, will move about if pushed by a hand and feels like it's slipping out behind you when you walk.
strange_complex: (Snape writing)
Oxford lay buried in a deep, off-white fog all day today. But I didn't mind at all. The only time I had to go out of the house was to walk to and from seeing Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire with [livejournal.com profile] redkitty23, both of us wrapped in gloves, scarves, warm coats, long black skirts and, in my case, my new sexy boots. Especially on the way back, when it was dark and wintry and we walked across my bridge deep in conversation about the film, the fog only served to make the journey feel like a real-life extension of the Hogwarts experience. Perhaps a cut scene featuring two particularly attractive young teachers, set on the rickety wooden walkway which crosses the steep valley behind the school.

Since this magical experience constituted the first time I'd worn my boots out of the house, and they do feel just like the sorts of boots a female teacher at the school might wear, they shall forever after be known as my Hogwarts Boots.

What about the film itself? Spoilers ahoy! )
strange_complex: (Ariel squee)
Actually, I don't know what made me think that would be half an hour long. Inattentive reading of the TV schedules, probably. Very good, anyway: crazy!Doctor, and a chance at last to see Rose's (very plausible) reaction to seeing the Doctor go all explodey and then change into someone completely different in front of her eyes. Can't wait till the Christmas episode now. I think David Tennant's Doctor is going to be fun.

Also, I forgot to mention earlier that I got new shoes in the post today. These ones (in black of course). Sexxay! And also smart enough to wear to work. :)

Plus (as if that weren't enough) a fabulously cool glow-in-the-dark LGBT wristband, sent by [livejournal.com profile] bethanthepurple! Groovay!
strange_complex: (Penelope Pitstop)
In the last seven days (to be specific, since Monday), one or both of the heels from exactly THREE different pairs of my shoes have fallen off. For context, I own nine pairs altogether, so we are talking about a 33% Heel Failure Rate in one week.

The first pair (yes, both heels fell off at once) couldn't be put back on, so I have had to abandon that pair of shoes. The second (single heel) could, so I have. The third appears to have been lost this evening in a taxi (unless [livejournal.com profile] captainlucy was successful at getting it back for me after I got out?).

Just what is going on here, exactly? Have the heels of my shoes been jinxed? Is it some kind of divine ironic punishment for the disparaging comments I have made about the horrible heels attached to virtually every pair of shoes currently available for purchase in the shops? Is fate playing with me - forcing me into a situation where I have no choice but to buy shoes with horrible heels?

And is it true that bad things always happen in threes, so that I can relax now that the danger has passed?

Answers on a lost shoe heel, please...

Update: The good news is that [livejournal.com profile] captainlucy did manage to find last night's lost heel, so hopefully that's another one I'll be able to glue back onto the shoe concerned.
strange_complex: (Default)
Walked into work this morning through snow, both on the ground and falling thickly from the sky. Luckily, I had the good sense to look out of the window before I decided what shoes to wear, so I chose appropriately, and since I only live 10 minutes' walk away from work anyway, it didn't really bother me.

I'm sure it's adversely affecting some people, though, and I feel particularly sorry for those who've now got transport problems to add to exam stress. None of my own students actually have exams today, but it is currently exam season both throughout Queen's and for all those pursuing GCSEs and A-Levels. So sympathies to anyone on my friends list who woke up this morning and thought 'Bugger, that's the last thing I need' rather than 'Ooh! Snow!!'.

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