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over-excited yet?

OMG! It's for real. It was Doctor Who and it was on my TV and it was funny and sly and silly and brought tears of joy to my eyes.

I am such a sad fangrrl.

Er...I'm not going to be revealing big spoilers, but anyone from overseas who wants to avoid everything? Look away now.

I have had report of a FOAF having to take her young son outside afterwards and show him how the wheelie bin was not alive. Which is exactly what Doctor Who ought to be doing: injecting fear and wonder and a sense of life into the world, making the mundane marvellous.

This is a Doctor Who rooted in a world we know; estates and routine jobs and going down the pub to watch the footie. It's that which makes Doctor Who marvellous. I'm resisting the 'Yeti in Tooting Bec' line but it is the idea that things that you don't even register in the everyday become thrilling and sinister which is what makes the show different and, to me at least, appealing. I do wonder if that's why so many of the Doctor Who authors I know have read a lot of Philip K Dick; an author who would set up a world, then overturn it.

I'm also 2/3's of the way through a bottle of red, opened either to celebrate the return or drown my sorrows over it. I do have some negative thoughts: I can live without insistant tinny drum and bass over dialogue scenes. There's a scene involving a conspiracy theorist which doesn't have the dumph-dumph-dumph running underneath it and which worked far better as a serious scene of forboding than the other expositionary pieces.

But, overall, put me in the over-excited cataogry and let me run about squeaking with giggles. More wine! More Pringles! Rewind the tape and watch it again!

And there's a historical in two weeks time: I may become incoherent.

Posted @ 8:59 pm on Saturday, March 26, 2005
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time wasters welcome

I've done some fixing on the moosifer jones' reading blog.. It's now 99% OK, unless you happen to be running IE6 under Windows with a screen resolution of 800 x 600 in which case you should consider swapping to Firefox anyway...IE is buggy.

Could someone on LJ syndicate this and let me know? moosiferjones_reading would be OK....ta...

Now I must finish all this revision work before 7pm...

hello, gorgeous

Handsome Devil
Handsome Devil,
originally uploaded by Mags.
Sébastian is settled in. He's still rather grumpy about some things and has decided that the day bed / spare bed in the attic is, in fact, his. He may just be showing off his handsome coat against the black and white throw that covers it.

We're still negotiating breakfast times. I consider 8am to be a reasonable hour to get up and feed him, as I don't have to leave for work until 8.30am. He considers 6.30am to be a reasonable time to wake me to demand his breakfast. So far he has woken me once with the cold nose on my own and twice with attempts to eat my arm. I'd forgotten how lively four year old cats are, but luckily even in my mostly asleep state, I remember how to get them to release the 'killing blow' on your arm without upsetting them. And the teeth marks only last a day or so.

I hope no-one wants the spare bed any time soon...

Posted @ 6:30 pm on Friday, March 25, 2005
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Some backstory

Last night I was posting hastily, in order to hurry back downstairs and make sure Sébastian hadn't escaped via the chimney. And, trust me, he did try at one point last night. So here is what I know of his past, and why he is called what he is called.

He was brought in to the RSPCA Little Valley Shelter on 20th January this year. He was a stray, but was wearing a red velvet collar. He had been run over, and suffered a fractured pelvis. No one came to collect him. He's about four years old, and has been recovering steadily. when I first saw him he was washing himself and looking deeply uninterested in the person peering into his pen. After I filled in paperwork, I was allowed to handle him, at which point he did become interested in me and at which point Cruella became known to me.

Unsurprisingly, when you decide to tour all the cat shelters in the area of a Sunday afternoon you notice the same people coming to each one, as we all look for a cat to adopt. Cruella had been at the Cat's Protection place out towards Woodbury, and suddenly she was in the cat shed at Little Valley. She wanted Sébastian because her previous cat had died two weeks ago and Sébastian was a grey tabby just as her previous cat had been. The trouble was, I'd filled in the paperwork. Back to the office to get the duty manageress's opinion on my application and there was the inevitable "um" when they realised I live on a busy road, especially given Sébastian's previous history with traffic. So I sketched in the gardens at the back, and they decided to at least visit before rejecting my application. Whilst I'm still in the office, going through some paperwork, Cruella talks to the duty manageress and talks about how she lives in a quiet lane. I know Cruella wasn't really after him for his silver tabby coat but because she wants a replacement for the cat she has just lost. But don't try to gazump me when I'm standing right there!

The paperwork said I'd hear about the appointment for the home visit within 72 hours. Atfer 48, and with no contact, my paranoia kicks in. Cruella, I think, was listening to my conversation. She knows my name and address. She has, obviously, phoned them and cancelled the application by pretending to be me. Thankfully, a few hours later, the RSPCA phoned about a home visit. The next day he was mine, and yesterday he came home. Today, he has been investigating the rest of the house. He has scratched the sofa, scratched me (he is already posessive over his mouse) and tried to crawl under the wardrobe. And tried to climb the chimney in my bedroom.

The Naming of the Cat
As TSEliot pointed out, The Naming of Cats is a difficult matter. It isn't just one of your holiday games. So Sébastian's name has been pondered.

He was brought in to the shelter on 20th January which is the feast of Saint Sébastian. As the name has that cute little accent on the e, and they have a Spanish assistant there, I think the name was deliberately that of the saint. Sebastian was the one who was shot with lots of arrows, who survived but was then beaten to death. Curiously enough, the artwork involving Sebastian tends to focus on the arrows business (and made him into a gay icon). Also appropriate for a cat who has survived a trama.

I was assuming I'd get a cat called Tiddles or Socks or something equally uninventive and I therefore planned to rename my new cat using Russian novelists and poets. Boris, Nikolai, Ivan, and so on...Names you could call with relish when you're trying to get the cat to come in of an evening and the neighbours are sniggering at you. But I like Sébastian; it suits him, it rolls off the tongue well when called and so it stays.

I'm going to cause problems at the vets with all these accents on the names*. He's a very European cat. Due to the state of uncertainty Sébastian was in this last week, he is obviously a Schrödinger cat.

My vets uses the family name as the pet's family name. This makes sense if you have, for example, three different cats all called Tiddles in your waiting room. The Current Ex suggested my vets were strange for this, but Carrie confirms that her vets do it as well. Is it common practise then?

*for anyone wondering, the UK keystrokes are:
é = ALT+0233
ö = ALT+0246

I'd better see if he's tried to crawl under the wardrobe again.

Posted @ 11:59 am on Saturday, March 19, 2005
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Sébastian Schrödinger Halliday

originally uploaded by Mags.
He's still a bit nervous, on account of just having arrived, but he jumped on my bed and took over the foot of it within about ten minutes. I took most of the photos without the flash, but at his flickr page you can see one shot with the flash on and how green his eyes are.

It turns out the woman who logged in in at the RSPCA is Spanish, so he is not Sebastian but Sébastian. He was found a stray, having been run over, and is recovering from a fractured pelvis. Not that you'd tell from his curiosity about my bedroom. I've just left him for fifteen minutes, so he can investigate the room on his own.

Posted @ 7:47 pm on Friday, March 18, 2005
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That Very Important News

Last week, Carrie and I decided on Sunday morning to go for a walk on Woodbury Common in the afternoon. As we were driving out, we decided to go to the Cats Protection adoption centre out that way. There were many cats, several of whom I liked but no joy. So, having got started on visiting the centres, we went over to theLittle Valley Animal Shelter which is run by the RSPCA. There were several fluffy things. I don't dislike fluffy cats - the current Ex's cat is fluffy and lovely - but I'm more of a short hair person. Then, at the far end, in the same pen that Carrie found Scully, was a very lovely grey tabby giving me a "what? I'm busy." look.

He's called Sebastian and I'm collecting him tomorrow to bring him home.

There will be photos. Many, many photos. And I'll write up his back story over the weekend. There's been attempted gazumping. There's been a home visit. There's been anxious moments. But there's a new cat in my life.

Posted @ 10:59 am on Thursday, March 17, 2005
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the trip of a lifetime

I do have a life. Honest, I just put it down somewhere and can't find it. It may have fallen behind the fridge. This post, however, belies my claim by being another about new Doctor Who. The full 50 second trailer is being broadcast on BBC1 and I just worked out why it cause me to laugh in delight. It's not the look of the thing, although that is cool. It's not the music, although that causes disbelief every time I hear it. It's not Eccleston, although he has, suddenly, become 'the Doctor' in my brain. It's not the whizzy effects, although they look like someone got carried away. No, it's the continuity announcer saying "Doctor Who...coming soon to Saturdays on BBC1."

Not Thursdays, or Tuesdays, or every other Monday depending on the moon's cycle, but Saturdays. Plural. It's a whole damn series! At prime time and trailed heavily in advance. Given that I missed a season opener back in 1989 due to a) not having a tv and b) no publicity...this is....well, I'm as giddy as a school grrl.

I do have other stuff. I'm writing to order, which is odd. And I'm waiting for some important news tomorrow, which is nerve-racking. But....::points::...Doctor Who. On telly.

Posted @ 11:52 pm on Wednesday, March 16, 2005
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hang on a second, I know that sound...

I spent a fair bit of MicroCon 25 biting my tongue to resist spilling the time and date of the first episode of the new
Doctor Who series. I suspect I even muttered 7pm under my breath. I know I told zevemiel this weekend and may have told Ladylark the other weekend. After last year, when I cheerfully suggested Eccleston was a potential Doctor, I could have racked up serious kudos for predicting the time and date.

Except, obviously, I had been told via the Who fannerati grapevine already. Thankfully, what with the episode leak on Sunday night and the publicity blitz, I only had to whistle innocently for another day or so. The new theme tune is worming its way online as well.

Tonight, despite knowing they were coming, I did a slight double-take on the blipverts. I recognised Billie Piper as Rose but didn't really register what I was seeing until the oooooEEEEEEooooo penetrated my brain. It's real! Look! A real advert for real Doctor Who, on real TV!

Makes up for the fact that last night I dreamt my editor told me to check my mailbox and, sure enough, this morning there were rewrites waiting for me.

Posted @ 12:21 am on Wednesday, March 09, 2005
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I ::heart:: Flickr

When I first joined flickr, I was wowwed by it as a tool for photo-sharing. A thing designed to allow me to upload my photos, used thumbnails of them, point anyone I wanted to at them (my 'thank you' letters for Christmas went to all my family with a note of my URL). It was, like, cool.

The flickr blog points up stuff which is happening on it and suddenly there are professional photographers putting up their work, or this member posting slides his father took in Vietnam (Vietnam War Photos). The groups function has me reeling with information overload as I join groups dedicated to photos of the British Museum, or the feline overload that is I Love My Cat. Flickr is a project expanding expotentially, and creating a resource of staggering scale which contains the possibility of finding just the image you need. Heidi, over at memyi, suggested using the tags to give yourself a virtual tour of a city and it is indeed rather fun.

I ::heart:: flickr.

Posted @ 5:18 pm on Monday, March 07, 2005
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change of plans

Correction: I've swapped my talk at Microcon and am now on at 14.00 on the Sunday. I am doing two panels during the Saturday (how has TV SF/F changed since Doctor Who was last on air? and how would you promote equality in supervillians? - yes, I have no idea about the latter...).

I've got all my notes done, and chosen some extracts - both of Warring States and of a wuxia novel - to read, but haven't timed it all yet. I think it should come in at 20 minutes which leaves 5 minutes for discussion or as a way of getting the program back on time...

Posted @ 9:51 am on Friday, March 04, 2005
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Things are Getting Strange, I'm Starting to Worry

Still in a limbo world of not having to write every night. I did tidy the house beautifully, including cleaning out a cupboard untouched since I moved into the place. Although my tent is definitely missing. I suspect it is still at the Current Ex's house (along with quite a few books). After the tidy, I then untidied as I had a suden urge to watch the X-Files again. As all my old tapes are crammed into a box underneath the big pile of books waiting to be read, I now have books everywhere.

The X-Files can be blamed/praised for several things in my life. I had a phase of wearing suits when I first got a day job, all of which I would refer to as my "Scully suits". I've toured the FBI building in DC because of it; I made some good and lasting friends via it; I read the Fortean Times every month because of it. Most importantly of all, I started writing fiction again because of it. If I hadn't had the urge to write X-files fanfic, I'd probably not have written the odd piece of Who fic, prpbably not gone from there to writing for the fanthologies and probably not have decided to have one last try at writing a Doctor Who novel. So, you know, Mulder and Scully helped me achieve my dreams.

But, watching a bunch of episodes from season 5, 6 and 7 again, I can also see why I drifted away from the series. At the time, I thought it was the abduction of Mulder again (and this time, we mean it) but I also knew there were elements of christian religious iconography being referenced which made me uncomfortable about where the series was heading. Making Scully a scientific sceptic who also believes in God - or at least has Catholic faith - was not a problem. That great scientists can have great faith is a matter of record. No, it is the beautification of her - the use of blatant Madonna & child imagery (even before the miricle birth in a rain-lashed motel) - and the treating of Mulder as a Christ figure - he is crucified so that others may live and then rises again in Amor Fati - which led me to turn away from the series. There's an entertaining moment on one tape where the off-air picture wobbles and the end of an X-Files episode cuts to the middle of a Buffy season 1 episode. One of the wonderful things about Buffy is that, from the start, there is no heavy use of Christianity. The crosses work to repel the vampires, true, but there is no suggestion that religious faith has anything to do with it. From Whedon's commentary on Firefly, you get the idea that he refutes blind faith which is much more in keeping with my own thoughts. From the X-files, you get the idea that Carter moved towards a greater christian faith over time. so my switch from one series to the other becomes more explicable.

Mind you, the X-File episode Hollywood AD ("Mulder, I have something to confess. I'm in love with Assistant Director Walter Skinner.") did cause a burst of laughter when I realised it involves gnostic texts about Mary Magdelene and Jesus which the church are attempting to hide. Yes, Mulder and Scully do the Da Vinci Code.

What I ought to have been doing, instead of watching Mulder's puppy-dog eyes, was prepping my talk for Saturday at Microcon 2005. I've got the 10am slot, which should be fun. Then two panels throughout the day. So, 10am this Saturday. Come along and laugh as I get confused because I winged it instead of prepping.

Posted @ 11:16 am on Thursday, March 03, 2005
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