fajrdrako: (Default)


Last night I watched the pilot episode of the Chris Carter show, The After.

What an ill-conceived show.

The problem was, it made no sense. It appeared at first that nothing electronic, electrical, or mechanical would work - but then some things did work. The initial characters, six people stuck in an elevator, appeared to be random - and then turned out to have the same birthday, though not the same date of birth. In all the general sense of hysteria, panic, and confusion, no one expresses surprise or speculates as to why this may be happening. Our protagonist, physically attractive but not too bright, risks life and limb to recover her cell phone - twice - when the phones aren't working and her battery surely can't last much longer anyway. There was a lot of shouting and some gunfire, but nothing much in the way of coherence.

The only that almost made it interesting was the appearance of a funny-looking alien, but even that was brief, unexplained, and unremarked. And the characters? It was fun to see Aldis Hodge (from Leveage) and Adrian Pasdar (from Heroes), but they seemed to have no personality - except the left-over personalities of Hardison and Nathan Petrelli. That may have just been my interpretation, having nothing else to go on - least of all script.

Makes me long for the old X-Files days.

fajrdrako: (Default)


My computer is dismantled and sitting on the floor of my bedroom, not because it is malfunctioning (which it is), but because I got new furniture: a lovely new desk, which calls itself a Maplewood Writing Table. And my wonderful friends helped me set it up yesterday.

There seems to be no photograph of it online. It has an old-world look with new-tech functions: the large drawer doubles as a keyboard tray, and at the back of the desk there are two plugs and three charging ports for electronic devices.

Between the process of taking down my old massive desk and putting up my new sleek one, we watched The Doctor Who 2013 Christmas Special, which Alayne had not seen. I liked it rather better the second time round; the first time, I was irritated at how little sense it made, and only really enjoyed the bits with Peter Capaldi at the end. And I'm still not sure why the Gallifreyans offered the Doctor extra lives in the end - not that I'm complaining. Transilore may have fallen - I'm not sure the Doctor is the best protector they could have had - but the universe goes on, the Doctor has new kidneys, and Clara stands faithfully by.

fajrdrako: (Tibetan Singing Bowl)


A few months ago I went with Beulah to a concert that was entirely one man playing many Tibetan Singing Bowls. He gets them himself from Tibet, where he stays with the people who make them. He could make water spray out of the bowl just with the vibration of the sound.

I have a Tibetan Singing Bowl that I treasure greatly; it was a gift from [livejournal.com profile] gamergrrl when she came back from Mongolia. It sits on my shelf, looking beautiful. Usually.

Tonight I took it down to try to play it. At first, I thought there was no sound at all. But I played with it, slowly and carefully, to get the hang of it. There was a faint bell=like sound. And then I realized suddenly that there was a loud, musical ringing tone that seemed to be all around me - but it could only be coming from my bowl.

How cool.

Happy with my experience tonight, I'm going to try again tomorrow. It seems a beautiful kind of meditation.

fajrdrako: (Default)


This evening and I watched two Oscar contendeders, The Wolf of Wall Street and Gravity.

I didn't want to see The Wolf of Wall Street because I can't stand Leonardo di Caprio and don't like any of his movies. I decided to give it a try because of its Oscar nomination - not that I necessarily think that's a mark in a movie's favour. There have been plenty of Oscar movies I disliked, with or without di Caprio. This did nothing to change my mind: it's the anti-fajrdrako movie, with nothing in it for me at all.

Gravity, on the other hand, was as good as I expected: excellent script, great directing and cinematograpy, terrific acting by Sandra Bullock, whom I do always like. And Clooney, too. Though Ryan Stone made me feel like an underachiever.

Shield...

Jan. 15th, 2014 09:13 pm
fajrdrako: ([SHIELD])
Watched this week's episode of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. at Pim's place tonight

Love that show more all the time. Skye's story is getting more interesting.

Also: reading "Freedom and Necessity" by Emma Bull and Stephen Brust. Amazing story.
fajrdrako: TARDIS in winter ([Christmas] - 02)


I wanted to point out [personal profile] commodorified's wonderful Litany For A Season of Night and Storm.

How can it be a whole month since I have posted here?

The solstice has come. The season has turned. We escaped an ice storm by sheer blind luck and that isn't sleet in the air, it's Christmas.

Under the influence of my friends, I spent an hour or two last night watching cat videos on YouTube on my television - after spending a good part of the morning watching Michael Wood's show about Alfred the Great and petting [personal profile] maaseru's lovely white cat, whom I call the Little Princess. But her name is really Minou.
fajrdrako: Ninth Doctor - Christopher Eccleston ([Doctor Who])


Watched Doctor Who: The Day of the Doctor at Chris's new place with Tim and Sylvie.

Best episode in years.



Things I liked: )
... and looking forward to more.
fajrdrako: ([Lymond])
Today was the International Dorothy Dunnett Day, where fans the world over got together to toast Dorothy Dunnett at 1 p.m. local time.

In Ottawa we met at the Tea Party Cafe on York St. I'd instituted a hat contest - a prize for the best hat. Lyn won it this year, for a stetson wrapped in a mauve feather boa. The best touch: a horse had trampled the hat. That seemed a delightfully Dunnettesque touch.



We each read a passage of choice.

Lynne read a scene where Lymond sees the unconscious Will Scott shortly before Will's death.

Gemma read the passage at the end of the chapter in which Diccon Chancellor dies.

Donna read a scene from "Checkmate", about the aftermath of the Hotel de Ville banquet.

Tasia read the passage in which Thorfinn and Thorkel discuss happiness.

I read from "The Game of Kings", the scene with Jonathan Crouch, before Lymond and company go to the Ostrich.

We tasted Dorothy Dunnett, and made plans to meet again next year - spring and fall.
fajrdrako: (Default)


When I was about eleven years old, I used to pretend I had a flowing red cape and a big hammer and long, fair hair. I wanted to be Thor, or to know Thor, or to hand out in Asgard. I was a Thor groupie. Big time. My parents were puzzled by my fascination with Norse mythology.

So now it's 2013, and the eleven-year-old fajrdrako has got her heart's desire: a Thor movie that satisfies all those old craving and more.



Great things about Thor: Dark World (and, trust me, spoilers follow):

    1. Chris Hemsworth. His face isn't the face of Thor in my imagination (channelling Jack Kirby), but he's quite wonderful in the role. All that muscle and courage. Nice smile. Nice puzzlement. Nice compassion.

    2. Natalie Portman as Jane Foster. I never much liked Jane Foster )


Things I didn't so much like:

    1. Christopher Eccleston was wasted as Malekith. Sure, he was a fine villain, but it was all in the photography, the script, and the costume. They didn't even make full use... )


Hope to see it again, and soon.
fajrdrako: (Default)


J.B.S. Haldane said:

    Capitalism, though it may not always give the scientific worker a living wage, will always protect him, as being one of the geese which produce golden eggs for its table.

I think J.B.S. Haldane overestimated the ability of the powers that be to recognize the value of the scientists. Or why is Stephen Harper systematically dismantling Canada's scientific infrastructure?

We don't want golden eggs?

fajrdrako: (Halloween)


Remember the little boy on the bus who looks like Jamie from Doctor Who? He was on the bus today with his father. His nose was painted with a red blob and he wore a clown costume. The woman beside me complimented him on his nose, and, at slight urging from his father, he murmured, "Merci."

"Show her you can say it in English, too," his father prompted, and he whispered, even more softly, "Thank you."

It was a third-generation clown costume, his father said. The crowning touch was the warm woolen grey toque, on top of which was a black plastic clown's hat with a neon green pom-pom.



Wishing a Happy Halloween to all my friends
fajrdrako: ([Uncle])


I'm enjoying this show more with each episode. It reminds me of favourite shows of my past: The Man From U.N.C.L.E., the Avengers - I mean Steed and Mrs. Peel, not the Marvel version; X-Files and Fringe. I love the international settings - how many shows these days bring us Stockholm and Malta in two consecutive episodes?

I loved it that the show used X-ray specs.



Are we going to get more weaponry and gadgets from the ads in the back of the old comics? Amazing Sea-Monkeys? The Black Dragon Fighting Society? Grow Living Monsters in Your Own Room? New Bodies for Old?

There's a potential plot in every one of them.

fajrdrako: (Default)


Every five years we have to get a new Ontario Health Card. Don't they call themselves OHIP any more? How many years am I out of date?

My old card expired on my birthday. A couple of weeks before that I went to their office to renew my card, got my picture taken - just a little older and more frazzled than the previous card. They took my old card, and gave me a piece of paper which they told me to keep in my wallet until my actual card arrives in the mail.

So today I went to the bank and got my temporary travel health insurance for my trip to the States next week. Just as I was leaving the bank, the teller reminded me to make sure I had my Ontario Health Card with me. I explained that I didn't have a card at the moment, but that they'd given me a piece of paper to tide me over. "Just be sure to take it with you," said the teller.

Very helpful reminder. So I looked in my wallet and... no slip of paper. It's been a few weeks. Had I absent-mindedly taken it out? Had it fallen out? Where was it?

I've been rooting around the papers on my desk with no luck. Starting - almost starting - to worry. Then I realized I hadn't looked at today's mail yet. There were a few things... including a letter from the Ontario government. Yup, my health card has arrived. I'll be covered to travel. Or at home, too, but it's the idea of being sick or in an accident while out of the country that worries me.

Not that I intend to have any mishaps. I think I feel that if I'm insured, nothing will happen. If I'm not insured, fate will come and bite me.

fajrdrako: (Default)


There's an odd bit of my walk by the river where I have go go under the Hurdman transitway bridge, then up stairs to get to the path beside the Ottawa U football field that leads to the Hurdman foot bridge.

On Monday, it was just fine.

Yesterday under the bridge there was a suitcase on the path. Slightly zipped open, full of clothes and what looked like a laptop case. This was anomalous enough to have me wondering how it could have got there. If someone had thrown themselves into the river, it seems unlikely they would pack. A murder? No sign of violence. A stolen suitcase then, riffled through for anything valuable, and then just left there.

The more I thought about it, the more sinister it seemed. As if bad things happen under that bridge. So I hesitated this morning: but it would take me ten minutes out of my way to avoid it, and there seemed to be no immediate danger, so I went that way and the suitcase looked untouched since yesterday. I fought the impulse to search it a little myself. Perhaps I should have called the police, and reported it? Perhaps I will.

In the UK, and probably elsewhere, I might have worried that it might be a bomb. That never occurred to me till afterwards. A friend of mine had a bomb scare recently just outside her house in the country - yeah, it can happen.

Earlier in the walk, I encountered a runner who was concerned about a bicycle left unlocked and unattended by the path, with no owner in sight. She thought it had probably been stolen and then abandoned, and planned to call the cops to report it.

High crime on the Rideau River. This also makes me reflect that in a few weeks - I'm not sure how many - it will be too dark to walk alongside the river morning or evening, regardless of the weather. I must enjoy it while it lasts.

fajrdrako: (Doctor and Rose)


Every day when I walk to (or from) work, I see someone remarkable... I think I will designate a 'person of the day'.

Monday, it was six people - soldiers doing early-morning manoeuvres, I imagine. I said "Good morning," to them and one replied in kind. They looked a little strained. How far had they been hiking? I took considerable satisfaction in the fact that my back pack was almost as big as theirs.

Tuesday, it was the little boy on the bicycle. He was maybe three years old - four, tops. His bicycle was so little it barely reached my knee. His father was cycling slowly behind him, so the kid set the pace. He was manfully pedalling, slow but steady, not wobbling at all. Go, kid!

Today my Person of the Day was on a skateboard, just whizzing onto the Hurdman foot bridge as I was getting off. A youngish man. He had long blond hair. He wore a black hat, black jacket, black narrow-leg jeans, and black shoes, with neon orange shoelaces and a Hawaiian shirt (glimpsed under the jacket) in bright green, orange, and black. He could have been a Halloween poster, or a comic book character.

Yesterday as I walked home - only a few blocks from my place - someone spoke to me, beyond the customary "hello" one might use with strangers. He asked if the Torchwood patch on my back pack was a reference to Doctor Who. I admitted that it was. I said I was actually an alien in disguise. He replied that my Meat Suit was very good. We chatted about the show a bit - he said he's only watched from the Chrisopher Eccleston shows to the first Matt Smith series, but it's clear he's hooked.

Ahh, fandom. I love the way fans pop up here, there, and everywhere.

fajrdrako: (Default)


What with one thing and another, I got very little exercise in August and September, leaving me feeling unfit and flabby.

So yesterday I went to the gym, and then walked to work.

I used to walk to work all the time when I worked in Sandy Hill, about 45 minutes from home. I'm now about twice the distance. But I love to walk, and the bus isn't much faster...

Google directions said I could get there in 1 hour 10 minutes, and back in one hour and twelve minutes. I'm still trying to figure out what is different.

Now, when I walked yesterday, I didn't go from home, so that added a bit to the walk. I got some advice from a friend at the gym as to what direction to go, and then partly disregarded it - the advice not to use the Bank Street bridge was good, as that would have added enough time to make me late for work. So I walked along the Rideau River path, on the west side, till I got to Hurdman Bridge, where I crossed and then went along the path on the east side until I got to North River Avenue, cutting eastward at McArther. It took me an hour and twenty minutes - just enough time to change my clothes and get a quick coffee.

It was so very beautiful.



Alongside the Rideau River, on the northwest side. )

Today I went again to the gym, but was going for a checkup with my doctor, so I took a bus to work. (I had to wait a long time; I'm not convinced it was much faster than walking.) So I decided, in a "do as you mean to go on" sort of spirit, to walk home after work. It was a lovely day for walking, slightly warmer than I like, with the sun in my eyes most of the way home. Note to self: bring sunglasses to work.

It was still beautiful. And while Google said it should take me one hour and twelve minutes, it actually took me one hour and fifteen, which I think is pretty darn good, considering that I walked right along the Rideau River path instead of taking North River Avenue, which is straighter and more direct.

Now I'm trying to pretend my legs aren't tired.

It's supposed to be foggy tomorrow. Wonder how much difference that will make. I suppose it depends just how foggy it is.

fajrdrako: ([Coulson])


I watched Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. again tonight, this time with Pim and [livejournal.com profile] maaseru. And I think I may have fallen in love with it this time. Okay, I still don't like Maria Hill's hair.

In the comic, she looks like this:



While in the TV show, she looks like this:



and because I am pretty much madly in love with her anyway, it's hard to adjust.

Now that that is off my chest...

A look at more details... )
fajrdrako: ([Coulson])
I've been a fan of S.H.I.E.L.D. since the Steranko days - and a fan of The Man from U.N.C.L.E. before that. So the announcement of S.H.I.E.L.D. TV series filled me with joy and trepidation. I knew it wouldn't be the S.H.I.E.L.D. of my dreams. The tidbits of information Whedon leaked about the story sounded terribly trite... but that man has been known to make pearls of out swine (and vice versa), so that wasn't much to go by. It would at least feature Agent Coulson from the movies - whom I adore.

Mixed feelings about it. I couldn't wait. I begged, cajoled and bullied my friends into watching it last night. My feelings? A sort of reasoned: not bad, not bad at all. The story didn't thrill me or move me as much as, say, The Avengers movie did, but it wasn't horrifying, either, and it had a few real plusses.

One thing horrified me: Maria Hill's long hair. So wrong. It made me almost sorry they included her.

But if that's the worst I can think of...

Though, actually, Maria Hill's hair was exacerbation of something that both [personal profile] commodorified and I thought: that the main characters were all a type, all too alike. Young, dark-haired... even Sky, who is supposed to be a renegade, seemed very conformist. To blend in with the crowds she hides in? I wanted her to be more of a Kenzie, more of an outsider. But she was my favourite character, except for Coulson himself. As a matter of fact, more than I expected, I liked them all - even though I had some trouble telling them apart. I didn't even notice that May was Asian until someone pointed it out.

I loved the comic book and movie references. "With great power comes..." and the inclusion of Extremis in the plot. Mentions of Thor and Iron Man and the Chitauri. It's the Marvel world, but it's a variation of the Marvel world we haven't seen before - the TV Marvel world.

I'm looking forward to next week. It hasn't awakened my fannish passions, but it has me interested and intrigued.

And it's Phil Coulson. He makes me happy. I particularly loved his moment of anger: "Don't tell me you can't do it." That's why I love S.H.I.E.L.D.

Oh, yes. Also his car. Lola. Yup, that's the right spirit.
fajrdrako: (Birthday)


I've only been working here a week. Love the place, but I still worry about getting things right; remembering the right things.

Yesterday at lunchtime I treated myself to another picnic by the river, enjoying the sunshine, watching the squirrels and gulls, and eating cheesecake decorated with cream and a strawberry just because I had a good excuse. Making the lunch break festive.

I wasn't back in the office long before I was called upstairs, where the Director has his office. "Come up for a meeting," said his assistant. So I grabbed my pen and notebook, running up, wondering how or why there could be a meeting I didn't know about - and I admit, somewhat paranoically, wondering if I'd done something wrong. More likely they just needed me to take notes.

They were all sitting around a table with a beautiful birthday cake on it. One candle, lit. It was gorgeous! "Make a wish!" they said, so I did, and blew it out. My wish was to keep this job.

Now I'm having a leftover piece for breakfast before work. The cake is from the Swiss Pastry Shop; they make wonderful cakes. A white cake with strawberry cream, and strawberries on top. And no calories on birthdays, either. (This includes the leftovers on the day after, as a buffer zone.)

fajrdrako: ([Bird and berries])
After an amazing weekend of seeing friends, I came in to work this morning, and the tree beside the building seemed to be full of singing birds. It's a small tree. The large tree, in the back, had no birdsong at all.

Mind you, I know from my own budgies how two birds can sound like a flock.

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