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gillo
Thanks to x_los for this one.

A loopy English 20-something makes a Full English breakfast calzone. No two people could eat it without heart attacks, IMO. But it's fun and scary to watch.



Oh yes. And once the food is cooked, you can wreck it by serving it on something bizarre.

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gillo
The Jane Austen bingo card I posted yesterday was somewhat derailed by discussion of leguminous foodstuffs and bacon.

However, several people expressed an interest in using the prompts for what they were never, in a million years, designed for - prompts for fanfic. So, here is your challenge.

Jane Austen Fic Challenge

Pick a prompt, or a row of prompts (diagonal, horizontal, vertical - you know the drill) and write a fic in response. Extra points (there are no points) for including improbable combinations. Emma Woodhouse and Drusilla? Black Widow deals with Mr Wickham?

I'll put a couple of comments - it would be really good if you linked there to whatever you write. Or art - art is definitely a thing that could happen! Oh, and please feel free to pimp it! Feel free to grab the banner, resize it, make it into a button, serve it with beans, toast and peanut butter - whatever.

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gillo
Apparently the common-or-garden beans on toast is bemusing people on Tumblr now, according to the ever-reliable Buzzfeed. How is that even a problem?

More from FB, apparently one can identify Jane Austen clichés. Personally I think 'tropes' is a better term. However:

Jane Austen bingo

ETA: Thanks to shark_hat I now know that this was based on/inspired by/lifted from an article on The Toast.

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gillo
Apparently some parts of FB and tumblr are obsessing about "Cheeky Nandos" (as in "Shall we go to BK or do you fancy a cheeky Nandos?") and lots of Brits are enjoying winding Americans up. Buzzfeed has collated some of the best.

I adore the Jack Whitehall clip at the end:



Not that I particularly like Nando's myself.

Frankly, it's more fun playing Mornington Crescent online in front of confused non-Brits.



The much-missed Humph. And the much-missed Willy Rushton. Absolute ledges, both.

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gillo
monthlydiaryday last month was such a washout that I didn't bother to post. At least today I had a little more going on in my life.

Under the cut to save some of you from reading it twice.Collapse )

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gillo
Today is another free-for-all day on seasonal_spuffy, so I posted another chapter of After the Deluge. I know - don't faint. About 1,212 words, PG13.

Chapter Twenty-Seven: Beneath UsCollapse )

And, as always, I crave feedback.

Happy Mothers' Day to all who celebrate it! I had my day back in March, as we still use the traditional church calendar, but there can never be too many times to celebrate all that mothers do and are. May you all be thoroughly spoilt. And the mothers of fur, fin or feather babies or none at all. Women? We are awesome.

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gillo
I stepped in to post on seasonal_spuffy yesterday, as slaymesoftly has ongoing computer problems and I didn't want there to be an empty day. I had a chapter of the five-year-old WIP, After the Deluge ready to go, so I posted it, and I'm putting it here for completion's sake. I have most of another chapter done, and am aiming for Sunday's Free-for-All day for that. It may even be completed in a couple of further chapters, so before the end of this decade at least!

So, here it is. Spuffy in concept, ensemble in effect, and I have no idea what rating by now, though Spike's language probably makes it R.

Chapter Twenty-six: Finding the Rabbit-holeCollapse )

I would nurture any comments as if they were my offspring. Though you should definitely be reading seasonal_spuffy anyway, for the wonderful stuff appearing there daily.

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gillo
Written for this week's prompt at sb_fag_ends

Buffy wears a lot of heavy coats and thick woollens. The practical reason for this, I read the other day, was that no stuntwoman was as tiny as SMG, and the baggy clothes evened things up a bit. But it got me thinking - here in England we've had a week we would call "really warm", with temperatures in the high sixties, US-style. Very unusual for mid-April, and doomed to end this weekend. According to Wikipedia, though, that is really cold for, say, Torrance, CA. It's all about what one is used to. And that gave rise to this. S6, not long before Riley appeared to bugger things up. You have to squint at the timeline a little to fit this, but you can manage that, can't you? Please?

Prompt: 1. Sighting on the shoreline
Rating: PG
Length: 975 words

It Was a Dark and Chilly NightCollapse )

As always, I crave comments and feedback.

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gillo
A heads-up via elmey about an outfit calling themselves ebooks-tree.com, which has been busily scraping material from AO3 (possibly elsewhere?) and offering it on their site. They have two of my fics, which means they are likely to have a lot more by better-known writers, and probably in every fandom.

There's a detailed page about it on the AO3 tumblr. I strongly suggest you go and look. They have two by brutti_ma_buoni, for example, and two by herself_nyc, which suggests to me that they may be lifting a couple from each writer and waiting to see what happens. OTOH, they have scads by enigmaticblue. They may come to regret pissing off a lawyer with serious legal smarts.

I feel seriously pissed off about this, and will be following the instructions on the AO3 tumblr to make a complaint in the morning. This is seriously unpleasant.

Can I suggest signal-boosting is in order?

ETA: It would seem a lot of material has been removed from the site - I imagine we have the good folks of AO3 to thank for that, plus possibly the big guns of some established commercial writers and publishers.

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gillo
The AA delivered us home and the car to the garage safely last night. Today I seem to have been making huge posts on communities. How on earth did I end up helping edit the su_herald and mod the Rewatch on fantas_magoria and seasonal_spuffy? Thus a banner poll, a daily digest of BtVS/AtS material and an episode recap all this afternoon.

Last week I was busy in other ways. I went to LondonCollapse )

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gillo
We made a last-minute decision to visit my Mum when we realised my brother was going to be away and she'd be alone for the long weekend. Congestion meant a dreary trip on Saturday, but she was pleased to see us and yesterday we took her 'up the valley' to Bettws-y-Coed for lunch and back over the mountains in glorious sunshine. Today we did a bit of shopping for her then left early in order to miss the worst of the Bank Holiday traffic.

Hollow laugh. Just south of Northwich the clutch died. No power to speak of to the engine. We called the AA (Automobile Association, nothing to do with booze) and fifty minutes later a nice man who can turned up and towed us to a Motorway Services where we could be picked up for onwards travel. That was an hour and a half ago. I don't much like Costa coffee at the best of times and Sandbach Services loses its glamour remarkably swiftly.

Still, Wales is pretty. And the AA van was welcome. So will the next one be.

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gillo
There's a report in the paper that Jeremy Clarkson has actually learned something from his bruising encounter with the BBC.

He's joining the Guardian.


Following what he described as a “dark night of the soul”, Clarkson said he hoped to “regain the trust of the British public” by dedicating his time and financial resources to sustainable energy, road safety and forging mutual understanding and tolerance between people of different cultures and religions.
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Just check the date carefully.

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gillo
First of all, a link to a funny list of Every Argument About Buffy on the Internet. An example:

Spuffy Is Problematic

Bangel Is A Child’s Delusion Of What Love Is
Spuffy Is Literally Assault
Okay But He Felt Really Bad About It And Didn’t Have A Soul


Second, I do hope you are following the rewatch we are doing at fantas_magoria - yesterday we reached School Hard. You know you want to read what was said about it. There are pictures.

This made me think a bit about Sheila, the Bad Girl(TM) who shares the wrath of Snyder at the start of the episode. She's a one-episode character, though she runs away after Buffy fights her and kills a passing vamp, so she could have returned. Just didn't.

We know she's a Bad Girl(TM) because we see her sneering and chewing gum in Snyder's office. (Should he really be threatening expulsion without contacting the parents first?) She is dressed pretty much in the sort of garments Buffy wore in S1, though she wears them with more Bad Girl(TM) attitude. She slumps in her seat, while Buffy sits bolt upright. While our Slayer is eager to please and appease Snyder, Sheila signals a total absence of damn-giving. Then we learn that she attacked a teacher with pruning shears. Clearly Bad Girl(TM) material.

More evidence as the Scoobies leave school - Sheila was smoking in sixth grade (age 10?) and Willow had to act as her lookout. It seems the girl has a long and distinguished reputation to live down to. She blows off Buffy's solemn attempts to plan the decorations and stuff when she sees "Meat Pie", a blond guy who looks older than her and with whom she is rapidly canoodling. So unlike our own dear Buffy.

Except, of course, it's not. Sheila is beefier than Buffy, but otherwise is in many ways an inverted reflection of her - even to the significantly older and apparently unsuitable male love interest. Her dress sense is not mine, but isn't actually that bad. We see her apparently hung over, later, and apparently she frequents a different club, seedier than the Bronze (at which you may well blink) and where it would appear they serve alcohol to minors more readily.

Later we see her picking up two young men, walking with them to some sort of rendezvous, before Spike makes them permanently sleepy with punctures to their necks. (The lad can clearly drink very quickly when he's in a hurry.) He is creepy but sexy as hell in his come-on to her, which leaves her wanting more. Can we really, truly blame her?

When we next see her she is bound, gagged and utterly terrified, watching Spike and Dru flirt before being handed over as a bedtime snack while Spike goes to get chanty. Dru seems, rather randomly, to have sired her, in a very swift operation, as she has risen and become on of Spike's minions within less than 24 hours. Perhaps Dru just has a talent for speed-siring? It takes longer with Darla, but Dru was trying to do that one properly, after all.

We don't see much of Sheila, I know, but what we do see makes me wonder. She seems desperate for validation by males - she may be all swagger, but in the alley she is very uncomfortable when she feels abandoned. On leaving school, after an unpleasant interview with the Principal, she rushes straight to the arms of a strong male, who seems to be good at comforting her. She seems to me to be desperately in need of belonging somewhere or to someone, and her violence, binge drinking, apparent readiness to be promiscuous and attitude all spell a deep insecurity. A dry run for Faith, who is drawn in much more detail, yes. But is this also an instance of slut-shaming and stereotyping, a girl who is doomed to be Bad from the start, if only because the class markers signify someone from way beyond the wrong side of the tracks? Should we even feel sorry for her, a girl who lacks Buffy's Chosenness but is using quite a few of the same techniques of violence and intimidation in order to attempt to keep her head above water?

Final though from School Hard - is Spike racist when he won't feed off the one token person of colour in the school hall? When he says he's more a "veal man", is it just age he means, or colour too? He's truly evil at this point, after all.

Thoughts, anyone?
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gillo
I missed last month - still too dazed from The Wedding, I think.

Yesterday was busy, but fun. Mostly.

[Under the cut, to save your flist.]
As usual, Dave brought me coffee in bed just before leaving for work. Unusually, I actually got up as soon as I had finished it. I pootled around, doing dishwasher tasks and the like, then pached a bag and left the house.

I drove over to the University campus, arriving in good time but with no better chance of finding an actual parking space. I parked in the place next door to the building I actually wanted - the Writing Department is a part of the Science Park, so it is among various office suites, and the Jaguar-Landrover offshoot had room. Naughty, but the alternative was parking at Tesco and walking, which would have made me late.

The occasion was the weekly meeting (during term time) of a writing group I recently joined. It's organised by a bunch of people who recently graduated from the MA in Writing course - it turned out that I knew almost everyone in the group. It follows the usual workshop plan; on the Monday we were sent three pieces of writing, on which we did, in effect, a thorough beta job. (Not that this term is actually familiar to the folks in the group, I suspect. I haven't actually admitted to the nature of most of my writing...) Each in turn goes through the main points, which are discussed by the group as a whole - we then hand over the papers or email the annotations if we've been working from a screen. It was very enjoyable - three very contrasting pieces of writing with much to discuss and a very good atmosphere. Serious criticism but also respect for the quality of the work and the aspirations of the writers. My turn to submit will be early next term. The University has now finished until mid-April.

After the workshop session, which lasted a bit over two hours, I passed on the chance to go for coffee with the others, which I did last week. I chatted briefly to Amelia, who did her MA in my first year, went back to Canada (BC) for a while, but has now come back to England, semi-permanently.

Then I drove down into Coventry, an interesting experience currently, as there are roadworks almost everywhere. Up the other side of town to the Foleshill Road, which is where the Indian community (well, South Asian - quite a few Pakistanis and Bangla Deshis as well as Indians) have their shops. This is something of a fun park for me - textiles, restaurants and supermarkets all close together. I browsed in Tahim's, which is the biggest of the fabric shops, then moved through several others, before finding what I was looking for - three identical ivory-coloured pashmina-style shawls, for the grand price of a fiver apiece.

After making the purchase I had time to kill, so I went into one of the many little cafés in the area - 'restaurant' is too posh a word. I had a samosa, a stuffed paratha and a dish of yoghurt for the princely cost of £1.90. The yoghurt was essential for mouth-cooling purposes, of course. I cruised round a few of the shops, because it's probably illegal to go to that area and not buy barfi (Indian sweetmeats. Very yummy.) I also bought a plastic bottle of lassi and some Bombay mix style snacks.

The lassi was a good idea, as I was thirsty and had a certain amount of time to kill, so I read my Kindle for a while - I am deeply into Claire North's Touch currently, and loving it.

The real purpose of my hanging around in Cov was a meeting I had at the Ramada, at 3.00pm. Sian, the lady in charge of conference lettings gave me coffee and we went over the basic plans for this year's writerconuk. More news on that before very long, I'm sure.

I called in at Hobbycraft before going home, and managed to be very strong and restrained and didn't buy all the paraphernalia for a new hobby. I was tempted by a die-cut machine, but I don't actually do cards and scrapbooking, some lovely pastels, but I have plenty currently, some books on sewing, some Easter decor stuff and several packs of fat quarters. Be impressed; I was.

I drove home, past the school where I used to work, which had a flag at half mast, which worried me a little - still haven't found out why that happened. I felt really positive about my day as I drove home.

When I got into the house I made coffee and settled down in front of the computer. My entire FB feed was full of tributes to Terry Pratchett, whose death had just been announced. Instant mood downer. Of course, I knew he was ill, of course I knew his time was limited, and each time he was on TV he was clearly less well. But still... We have all been cheated, by a vicious, insidious disease. Pterry was a great writer and a great man - warm, funny, essentially humane. I confess there may have been a few tears.

I rang my husband, who had not heard the news, and he decided to leave work early (it was nearly 7.00. That's the way he operates) and come home. We raised a glass of wine to Sir Terry, though we don't normally drink on a Thursday evening. It seemed appropriate, somehow.

We watched the usual mix of TV - the finale of the Sewing Bee. I felt the woman should have won, because Matt's 'avant-garde' dress really desperately needed pressing, and some of the seams under the hoop looked very skew. Then Banished, which none of my flist have mentioned, but we are enjoying it very much. It's based on the considerable amount of material available on the First Fleet which took the first convicts to found the penal colony in what would become Sydney. It has Julian Rhind-Tutt and Russell Tovey, so there is plenty of pretty to drool over, often sweaty and muscular bodies revealed in interesting contexts. I found myself looking up various of the characters on Wikipedia, which has a lot of good links to lists of the convicts. I knew quite a few of the names from Timberlake Wertenbaker's play Our Country's Good, which I taught at A Level. It's interesting to see what the 'real' people were like - rather hoping Russell Tovey's character doesn't follow the path his namesake did. Then Newsnight had a reasonable tribute to Sir Terry.

Bed at around midnight, in time to listen to more news. I am a Radio 4 junky, so it's the soothing tones of Sailing By that sent me to sleep.

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gillo
The Metro is a free newspaper available at railway stations and the like - not usually great journalism. Today, though, it celebrated the anniversary of a certain little show I fell in love with a decade and a half ago and still love.
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gillo
Is now in the place it should have been posted in - fantas_magoria. Go read it there. Pretty please?

And RIP Leonard Nimoy. A sad day for fandoms.
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gillo
The sky was crystal clear blue this morning - not exactly common for mid-February. We decided to go out for a little this afternoon. Not far, just up the road to the castle.

Cut for picspam of castle and trees and such.Collapse )

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gillo
The two "Modern" showrunners of Dr Who have worked together well - Moffat wrote quite a few eps for RTD, after all. But sometimes the devil really is in the detail. And they are both massive geeks when it comes to their show. The following is lifted from io9.com, who got it from The Mary Sue.

Someone wrote into the official Doctor Who magazine and asked Moffat if that meant the Doctor was a bigamist. Moffat replied that at least the Doctor's marriage to Elizabeth could have been annulled, since it was never consummated.

And thus the trouble began. Seeing as the Tenth Doctor married Queen Elizabeth I during Davies' time as showrunner, when he ostensibly knew exactly how far the Time-Lord and the Monarch went on their wedding night, he immediately wrote in to the magazine, taking grave umbrage at the idea that the Doctor wouldn't have had sexual relations with his new bride
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I love your list in DWM 482 of the Doctor's many wives. Did you ever think we'd be having that conversation, 10 years ago? But… what's this? His marriage to Queen Elizabeth the First was unconsummated? But, but, but… in The End of Time Part One, the Tenth Doctor arrives on the Ood-Sphere to greet his old friend Ood Sigma with the words, "Got married. That was a mistake. Good Queen Bess. And let me tell you, her nickname is no longer… ahem." So, what does that mean, boss? What can it possibly mean?? Steve, what does it MEAN??? Thank you.

Moffat's indignant response was as follows:

Oh for God's sake, PAY ATTENTION. You've gone soft up there in Manchester. Practically tofu, I'd say. Probably all that lazing about, never writing any episodes for me, even though I wrote six for you. Yes, SIX. Actually, no, SEVEN. Time Crash counts too – and it was for charity. But never mind, oh no, I'll just type on and on and neglect my children, that's fine!
 Okay, the facts. I said the marriage was unconsummated – and so it was. You saw for yourself in The Day of the Doctor – he ran straight off after the ceremony. Would we have put that on television if it wasn't true? But I never said – not once, not ever – that the relationship was unconsummated!

Yes, Russell! I went there. Even as you
 gasp and clutch the furniture for support, 
I am writing in the pages of Doctor Who Magazine, about pre-marital shenanigans! I realise you've probably never heard of such unsanctified naughtiness – glancing at your resume, I see
 you write mainly about fruit and veg for
 Channel 4 – but it does go on, you know.
 Well, outside of Manchester. So there you are. You may sleep again. The Doctor's boast in The End of Time (oh, and thanks for that title, just before I took over) and my statement that his marriage to Elizabeth was unconsummated are in no way contradictory. True fact! Accept my True Fact. Back away in shame at your wrongness. Actually, write me a story, and we'll say no more about it.


I love Moff's references to RTD's current trio of shows on C4, More4 and 4OD! (I haven't reposted the whole thing, BTW - follow the links to read the comments on the exchange.)

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gillo
At last I have a little time to write. I posted this in response to a prompt this month at sb_fag_ends, "Red, Blue and White". Getting in at the last gasp of a month which has been a touch busy for me, here's a little Spike POV fic to share.

Length: 377 words
Rating: PG

Four ColoursCollapse )
Disclaimer: All belongs to Joss, but he said we could play with his toys.

Comments are much-loved and cherished.

Edited to match the version added to AO3 on February 2nd

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gillo
This has been sitting on a hard disk for well over a decade. I share it now in celebration of curiouswombat's change of status and in the hope my flist will enjoy it.

Instruction manual for a Boromir of your very own.Collapse )

This is instead of a real post, because my brain is not yet functioning as such. Happy new month, folks!

Also, RIP Geraldine McEwan. A great and underrated actress.

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gillo
The Monday after The Wedding we went to Yorkshire.

Under the cut for funeral and graduation.Collapse )

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gillo
So, more of The Wedding. We got the bride and groom into the car and then, taking more effort, checked that all the guests could get to the reception venue.

The Saxon Mill, with many photos...Collapse )

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gillo
So, dere readers, I left you as the bridal party were about to leave the house. Actually, I left the house before F and Dave, getting to the church in time to watch my brother's spectacular reverse manoeuvre and greet the bridesmaids.

More wedding stuff, with picspamCollapse )

More tomorrow, a day I have promised myself will be one of idleness.

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gillo
Firstly, many thanks to many of you for all your good wishes. The wedding was about as good as it can get, and there will be many pictures for your delectation. This may take more than one post, however, as I want to try to get it all written for my own future reading, as well as for anyone with the stamina to get through it all here.

FridayCollapse )
More tomorrow. Lots more pics in particular. Tired now...

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gillo
Four bridesmaids, the bride and I have now had our hair done. Flowers have arrived and, where relevant, been despatched to the groom's family. F and I have painted our faces and I am wearing my mother-of-the-bride outfit. She is still in a jumper and jeans, but is also in a very good mood - the house is full of cheerful young people.

Last night six of them sat round the table and created table labels, a seating plan board and stapled eighty-odd orders of service together. A fancy venue would have done all this for us, at a price, but this is much nicer as well as more economical.

The car, a vintage Rolls Royce, will arrive in about an hour. Then it will be all systems go.

Wish me luck!

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