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Fiction: Normal Is Overrated [Dec. 21st, 2014|09:57 pm]
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So instead of writing the long fic that I've been working on all year, I seem to have come up with this since I got my new laptop. I blame Diane Castle; I commented that her non-magical AU for Harry Potter sounded a lot like Alex Rider beefed up to seven years, and that started me thinking. I'm not entirely sure I like the ending, but I haven't been able to come up with anything better.

Title: Normal Is Overrated
Fandoms: Harry Potter/Alex Rider
Rating: R (fight scene, bit-part death)
Summary: Alex Rider doesn't have to look for strange events. They come to him, even while he's just chilling in a cafe.

-=-=-

Earth to Alex?Collapse )
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(no subject) [Dec. 21st, 2014|12:38 am]
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I meant to post more in the last month or two, really I did. Unfortunately circumstances conspired. Hard.

I may have mentioned the depression now and then over the last year or two. I've been improving steadily since we figured out what was going on, helped by a variety of things. Unfortunately a couple of months ago I ended up taking over a contract from one of my colleagues who was frankly sick of it. That should have been my first clue.

They undid eighteen months worth of therapy in a fortnight. Actually, no, that's not fair; they undid it in a couple of days, they just kept the pressure up for the next fortnight.

I don't think I've ever worked in such a negative atmosphere, including my first job which was not a shining example of the IT industry. I was essentially sat in a corner, told not to bother anyone and ignored, and sod the fact that I didn't have any guidance on what I was supposed to be doing beyond "fix the tests." To be honest, I reckon that taking a fortnight to understand a hugely complex undocumented system to the point where I could rewrite the tests (including some distinctly awkward string parsing) so they weren't horribly timing-sensitive wasn't bad going. Unfortunately, Unbeloved Client was under the impression that this was a mere day or two's tidying up before reimplementing what was being tested on a different platform, work I later estimated at twelve weeks. I would have been happy to do the work (not that they were going to be happy to pay for it), just as long as I didn't have to work at their office. After all I'd get better support and supervision at our office.

Since then I've been digging myself out the hole of depression, helped by an afternoon's work with my favourite client and hindered by people ignoring the design work I did nearly a year in favour of making things so much more complicated than they need to be resulting in me doing ridiculous amounts of debugging in C++, a language I loathe with the burning passion of a thousand fiery suns. No, really. Unfortunately I've spent most of this month trying to get rid of a ridiculously persistent cold that has left me tired and only able to sing for short periods before my voice starts doing odd two-tone things, so even the carol concert last week was a rather unfun experience.

Here's hoping 2015 will be less unpleasant.
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(no subject) [Nov. 15th, 2014|06:48 pm]
At Novacon, where la_marquise_de is the well-deserved guest of honour. I haven't been for years, not since I stopped doing a fanzine of my own, and I'm enjoying myself thoroughly. Why did I stop coming again?


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(no subject) [Nov. 9th, 2014|11:24 pm]
I'm starting to get the hang of roasting stuff. My beef came out underdone for my tastes (but I'm a heathen, so others would probably be fine with it), and the turnip could have used longer too (but was vastly improved by a bit of cayenne), but everything else worked nicely. Except the garlic; I really should have remembered to toss that in much later in proceedings. Still, om nom nom, and given that I don't normally cook at all I'm feeling quite pleased with myself.
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(no subject) [Oct. 15th, 2014|01:37 am]
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So many things to say, so little time...

So we've been having a busy time at church lately. Things culminated last weekend in the 50th anniversary of the consecration of the church, which meant inviting loads of old congregation and clergy back for a celebratory meal and a special service with the Big Bishop in charge. The Bishop of Ely, that is, who also happens to be at least 6'4" and a very amiable man. He certainly put up with all the children crawling around the place very happily. Young Thomas was grinning fit to bust when he was not just allowed to hold the Bishop's crook, but got to be his page-boy for the entire service.

The nice thing, as someone commented to me later, was that this wasn't a special show put on for the bishop, this was us as we normally are. Yes, there was a bit more ceremony than normal — my fellow churchwarden and I don't normally get to wield our staves of office, and we only normally sing one anthem — but the style and settings were familiar to everyone who normally comes. The hymns in particular were our usual eclectic mix, ranging from "Come All You Vagabonds" (which sounds like it should be being sung by the Dubliners) to an authentic (dug out of the university archives) Purcell arrangement of "Westminster Abbey" (the one in this YouTube video, slightly to my surprise, though we have our own home-grown descant).

Monday night saw us variously sitting round TVs watching Only Connect, because the captain of one of the teams was the husband of our not-yet curate (who is not the same person as our part-time curate... we have complicated clergy :-) and a member of our PCC. Both teams were very good at what is quite a tough quiz show, but Sean and the Orienteers ran away with it in the last round. Needless to say, they are the only team who can regularly beat my team (the Anoraks) in our local pub quiz!
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(no subject) [Sep. 3rd, 2014|12:36 am]
It's a while since I've posted on my own behalf, rather than as a reccer. I'd blame all the preparations for LonCon and (particularly) Before The Dawn, but the truth is I seem to have been quite busy, and posting hasn't made it above "crashing out in front of the TV" for a while.

I suppose I should say something about BtD. It absorbed my time to a ridiculous extent for months, and was, to put it mildly, a trial, so it deserves some note. In the end, it was OK. Odd things went wrong, only one (or two if you were paying close attention) being obvious. It wasn't the all-conquering success some people seem to be making it out to have been, but it wasn't a disaster either, so that's fine.

One thing I really didn't like was that we always seemed to have a moving target in terms of performance facilities. We knew from the get go that the room was too small, though I'm damn glad that we didn't get Second Stage: it would have been a disastrous space to perform in. Ideally we wanted somewhere about twice the size of the room we actually had, preferably with raised staging though that seems to be a rarity in the ExCel. Still, we knew what we had and planned to it, and even if Tech hadn't been rather short with Programming when they offered us somewhere bigger after we'd already spent six hours rigging the room, we should have refused it anyway.

We did accept the extra radio mics that appeared like magic on the morning of the performance. I'm slightly disappointed in myself for agreeing to take one of them; while it did give me more freedom, I'm still not convinced that it would have been better with someone else, and I really didn't enjoy replanning my movements only a few hours before we performed. Nice as it was to be able to wander away from the microphones, I'd already replanned once because they were condenser mics and I couldn't just wander off with one as I'd been doing throughout rehearsals. It's a wonder I actually remembered to do anything, and Paul and I managed to pull off our little schticks through I Cannot Understand.

So it was OK, as I said. I'm sticking to the "never again," though. Seriously.
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(no subject) [Jun. 27th, 2014|12:46 am]
The pub quiz last week was embarrassing. We (The Anoraks) had a fifteen point penalty (out of 75) because we'd won by 15 points the previous week. There was the smallest chance of winning, we reckoned, if we got lucky and everyone else had a terrible time.

Including the penalty, we won by eighteen points. Honestly, the questions weren't that hard or that specialised. I honestly don't understand why the other teams did so badly. Anyone fancy putting a team together for Wednesday nights?
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(no subject) [Jun. 24th, 2014|12:57 am]
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I keep meaning to post something about how busy and entertaining my life is, but then life becomes busy and entertaining and suddenly it's well past midnight.

Mostly at the moment I am busily attempting to memorise music for the Before The Dawn performance at worldcon. This is something of a departure for me; while I sing a lot, almost all of it is from copy. Having to learn things from heart is something that happens to me only a couple of times a decade, so it's proving rather harder work than I would have preferred. That said, I have three and a half songs down fairly solid, and according to my late lamented church organist (whose PhD was in Psychology) memorisation and sight-reading require much the same aptitudes, so I should have a head start here.
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Surprise results [May. 27th, 2014|12:09 am]
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So the ballots are all in, and something unusual has happened. Normally it's just the big two fighting it out, and the newspapers are full of which of them did better with about that much analysis (because why one might poll better than the other might require them to think). What anyone else might manage to pick up round the side is relegated to the small print, and heaven forfend that anyone might actually be interested in anything other than the main story.

This year, it wasn't like that. This year I genuinely did a double-take, checked my sight and hearing because I really didn't believe what was happening. It's true though; Hollyoaks won the Best British Soap award.

The Euro elections were a bit of a fiasco, though.

(Oh, I so wish I was kidding about the papers. I notice that even the Huffington Post lead with Corrie's big trophy haul, most of which was for one storyline, and barely mentions Hollyoaks's win. It only just gets a larger word-count than noting that Eastenders only got two awards, both of which came from the Panel rather than the public vote. Poor old Emmerdale and Doctors don't get mentioned at all.)
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(no subject) [May. 19th, 2014|11:58 pm]
Apparently I am an electronics genius. This will be news to everyone who knows I am forbidden to pick up a soldering iron at work. Apparently all you have to do is compare a reference circuit diagram with a real circuit diagram and ask if the designer really meant to not tie a reference pin to ground.
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