So they finally fixed it, after I'd bought a digital aerial and had settled down with that, and watching shows online, at painfully slow and stuttering non-speeds. For a while there the cable worked great, and we even had proper internet, not something that behaves like some feeble and doddering old family retainer on an ITV murder show. For a while. It playing up again now, to my dismay, and it's not like I can say, hey, it's the cable. No, I'll have to go through every painful step again, to the dearth of my few remaining slender shreds of sanity.
But never mind that, because Hell on Wheels is now screening on the ABC, for free, sans cables, sans ads, and, weirdly not British, the ABC being a bastion of British telly for my lifetime, at least. Maybe because it's filmed in Canada, which used to be a pink bit, that's good enough?
I do like it, and it's even better without ads. Free and without ads. How wonderful. Anyway, you know me, I love a western, and this is better than most, with an enigmatic anti-hero with a Tragic Past (tm) and that good old need for revenge that has powered many, many a western. We've got properly vicious injuns, hookers, ex-slaves, traumatised vets, plucky Oirishmen and Colm Meany as a particularly moustache twirling villian, if he had a moustache to twirl, that is. I fully expect to find him tying young ladies to the tracks in one of the episodes I missed.
Hard to remember, and perhaps one choses not to, that the tracks I merrily bounced over in my travels, cost men's lives, and were built the hard way, with sweat and shovels. Something to remember, the next time I shift in my uncomfortable Amtrak seat, that I have the easy part.
So, what have I been up to? Not a lot. Certainly not all the typing and editing I'd planned/dreamt of. Even last night, after being up since 4am, but the time I'd served every other master it was 9.15pm before I got to my room and I was so tired I just wept. I just couldn't even open my book, let alone burn up the evil little PC that crashed several times and took several hours work with it. Oh, I hate it, and I hate that CRTL S doesn't work, so I forget that I'm not saving as I should and crash, gone. Last time it happened I stalked off to my room and ended up watching Much Ado About Nothing because I couldn't bear to do anything else. Sulking with Shakespeare. It did help though, and I could raise a chuckle at the saucy bits. Also, according to the sleve notes in the Globe dvd, 'nothing' is Elizabethan slang for frontbottom. Any day where I learn some naughty slang is a day well spent.
Speaking of which, where on earth is that place they were filiming in that Poirot episode that had the gynaecological geological strata patterned marble walls, like walls of, well, frontbottoms, to quite dramatic effect. I've found out where Poirot's block of flats is, and that amazing art deco factory, but the fanny hall, hall of fannys, eludes me, and it's not the sort of thing I want to Google, even in safe mode (much like the rubber ring that broke on my Italian coffee pot, 'cause like I'm gonna search for 'Italian rubber ring' on the interwebs). Anyway, if you do know, please let me know. I was... I think impressed is the right word.
Still on the subject of anatomy, I also went to the Alexander The Great exhibition at the Australian Museum, which, while small, had some very nice pieces, but Himself says The Hermitage has always been a good lender, even at the height of the cold war. They feel sorry of us, being so far away from civilisation, and they're not wrong, and man, I appreciated their efforts. Huge marble statues! Fancy breastplates with a gorgon centrepiece. Helmets! Fragments of cloth from the BCE.
There were two main threads to the exhibition: cool stuff from from the era and places of Alexander, his life and legend, and images of Alexander himself, from contemporay right up to the modern era (and yes, that Colin Farrell film). And it covered a lot, much as the lad did. Very coy over his special friend, but as he managed to take in most of the more interesting parts of the world at the time, there were enough bric a brac to have me oohing and ahhing. Elephants, lions and tigers, oh my. Gods and heroes, lamps, dishes and swords.
I liked, and I lingered. A sprint then down to the QVB for high tea which I'd been looking to so much it barely came up to my expectations at all, but that's the way of things at times.
Much could be said of The Hobbit, which I had been reading beforehand (I couldn't find my old copy so I turned on my old tablet which works plugged in, and read it via Kindle, and I have a brand new deux hardback copy of The Hobbit for my birthday, with all the maps and illustrations that the Kindle lacked). At first I was delighted because it was just so, they are very faithful to the books, but yeah, it did plod a bit and maybe JRR wasn't as lazy as I thought him when he kept saying 'shit happened, onto the spiders' and skipping over stuff that PJ loving restored and elaborated on. Throwaway lines become long scenes of complex exposition (they really need to take a leaf from Sorkin's book and try a running corridor briefing in Rivendel).
But yes, it was a very faithful rendering (despite some critic's complaints about the dwarfs behaving like frat boys and Elrond popping up - read the freaking book), perhaps to it's detriment. You know, that moment when an adaptation becomes a touch too slavish. A bit like Brideshead, that takes far longer to watch than to read.
I did buy the catalogue from the Alexander exhibition, and a British Museum book on the Greek body. The catalogue, I'm afraid, while full of fun facts to know and tell, had such a smug tone I had to put it aside and pick up the BM book, which was much more to my taste with it's hilarious understatement, particularly when they described the satyrs with the 'wayward pebdula'. Okay, yes, I'll alwys laugh at a dick joke. Why onn earth do you think I dig Bill shakespeare so much. Now there's a man who knew a dick joke when he met it.
Perhaps I should be less bawdy and common, but as I mentioned on twitter, ain't gonna happen. As I sip my peppermint tea I can see from the window the very spot once occuped by a disorderly house owned by a great great Aunt. Just up the road from great, great Uncle George's sham marriage racket. When one's ancestors documented adventures are accompanied by the words 'much talked aboout' and 'nude romp', well, you can tell me to behave. You could also try teaching a frog to fly.
The lack of phonecalls, emails etc told me I should be mending my ways this year, though. Sigh. Really? Do I not already endure the fierce bullies, the smiling psychopaths, the cranky, lazy and doltish? I mean, I'm seriously running out of cheeks to turn here, and that includes the two I'm currently sitting on. I think I'd have much more fun being like Joan Rivers on the Graham Norton Show and letting rip so fiendishly that even Jeremy Clarkson was left gasping for breath. Hey, at least it would be cathartic, and could I have any less phone calls over December? I mean, is it possible to have an absence of silence?
And why am I fretting anyway that someone who never calls, but suddenly expects me to drop everything at a moment's notice and give up tickets to a concert I'd paid hundreds of dollars for and had been looking forward to for months and months, to endure their weak tea and petty judgements. If they can't take a simple 'I'm sorry, I've already made plans for that evening' with good grace, then they really aren't worth bothering with. And yet it's a nasty stain on what was a truly grand day and night out. Typical, ruining my fun, finding me wanting, making me miserable.
Meanwhile, I finally managed to utter the words 'I'm going to be killed by a Christmas tree' as they were roughly taking the one down in the foyer and somehow sent it rolling through the lift well. I suspect the malignant and negligent hand of Gen Y (perhaps inspired by this tree throwing contest), but nevertheless, there I was, pressed up against the wall as the xmas tree barrelled past. I swear, my life is not like other people's.
Wednesday: Once upon a time I'm sure I did more than stagger home, collapse on the couch and watch nothing but QI and Poirot. I could cite record breaking heat, increasing dotage and lengethening commute, not to mention the stresses of not being made redundant (ie, having to pick up another fellow's workload in its entirity, and be snappy about it), but whatever. At least I was sweating peppermint.
The mean cleaners on the bus were making such a thing about me being fat and smelly. Fat, yes, I did let myself off the leash a bit over the Saturnalia festivities, tis true, with the usual gain back with interest at play. The smelly hurt, too, so I've been guzzling Twinings peppermint tea, so at least if I get sweaty, and on a 41C day, on a commute through the blasted western plains, there's a fair chance I might, at least I'll smell minty fresh. At least, that was the theory. Worked, too.
Distressing, though. I was only wondering why I could suck this stuff up much better when I was four, five or six than now. The main thing was I'd told myself that this, too, shall pass. It'll get better. Well, it bloody well doesn't. Another birthday, another bus ride full of harpies cackling and calling me fat and smelly. This is what drives my despair, the neverending grind of it. It's not depression, it's erosion.
I swear, get a few select people to talk a long walk off a short plank, and fix my cable issues, and I'll perk up in no time.
Anyways, I did get my robot card (thank you!) and sat down with the new toy to discover David Bowie had put out a new single. Squee! This makes me so very, very happy. I'm ever such a fan, even though I own no records. Bought one, once, when very young. Was dragged by my ears back to the shop to hand it back. I've never bought another one since. But I played his new video on my new Samsung. Time to get over it, I think, and stock up on the back catalogue, and stop hanging out for any listen I can get.
Meanwhile, I think I sweated off some of the pudge yesterday. It was probably all that turkey grease they could smell. People keep telling me turkey is dry and horrid. Well, they're just not doing it right. Himself makes a magnificent bird. I dare not ask the secrets, but I know lots of butter and sage in the stuffing is the trick (from a long lost American correspondent) plus a scoop or three of my whisky marmalade, nuts, I've detected, and craisons. Yum yum. It was a good feast, oh yes, indeedy. (I know, I overdo it, but I had a mean and impoverished childhood so I need to cut loose every so often)
He also made a relish using my possum fall peaches. That wicked animal had pulled the peach tree down 180 degrees, hooked it through the railing and then just sat on the back porch like a fat Roman senator, helping himself. The few that had fallen off or been tossed over the side as rejects, were stewed up into a divinely sweet chutney. So at least I had my peaches for the feast, afterall, one way or another.
We finished off with a Fortnum and Mason pudding. Oh, and there was Glenfiddich cake, Sandringham blend coffee, F&M christmas blend tea, some German biscuits and the Veuve Clicquot and Cheezels for Hogmany. We might be peasants, but we've sampled the high life through our (much) better connections.
But yes, overdid it, just a touch (oh yes, must confess, Coco Pops for my birthday), but it was fun. Back on the fruit and green teas now, I swear.
Friday: The less said about yesterday, the better. Let's just say the flying demon monkeys were back to torment me and the lowlight was me being harrangued (think the harpies in that old Harryhausen flick) while sponging blood off my blouse from a nosebleed. Misery.
Still, I did manage to get home in time to curl up in front of The Hour. I love it. I don't know what people are talking about clunky dialogue or dragging plots. I'm completely mesmerised by the fashions (golly, that green dress) and my favourite boys (Ben Whishaw, Dominic West and my very beloved Peter Capaldi). Perfection.
Caught the end of Grimm on Fox8 so I was a happy bunny (as I'd missed it on Sunday and Wednesday).
The driven over but not broken copy of the Downton secial arrived. Thanks again, Telegraph, for your entirely uncalled for headline spoilers which popped in my RSS feed so I was spoilt before I could stop my eyeballs scanning the line. You bastards.
Anyways, finally got a copy of DA series 3 as the first copy was last reported disappearing into Auburn (a more wretched hive of scum and villainy, etc). Despite being spoiled, we sat down with the F&M biscuits and tea, and just watched it like a panto, really. A campy farce. It's very silly and hits every trope in the book, which is part of the fun, I think. A jolly watch.
Not watching White Collar because Ten, being particularly Bomer-phobic these days, whipped it off. I doubt they'll ever play his episode of New Normal, which is a pity because from the spoiler pics it seems he forget to get dressed again. Which he seems to do a lot these days. Never mind. I could copy and paste the aesthetic description of male beauty from my British Museum textbook, but an inarticulate gurgle is more me.
Never did get to watch my Magic Mike dvd, without or without wine, but that's my days off for you. All spider bites and sunburn trying to clear the jungle, no pervey dvd fun. Sigh.
Tuesday: Still can't get this posted. Try to type up some fun stuff, them the flying monkeys swoop in and claw me to death and it's hard to write something cheerful when you've claws dug deep into your shoulders.
Nevertheless, the weekend was, surprisngly, good. Started off with dashing off to my philsophy course on the Hobbit, yes, the Hobbit, (an examination of Aristolean themes). Which was why I'd been gifted the deluxe (mutherf**ken) edition, in replacement for a) my beloved old copy which was maliciously tossed by a second party and b) the copy I'd ordered six weeks ago from Dymocks that never arrived. I sent them what Wodehouse would call a hot one and they graciously refunded the money. Anyway, it was the grandest edition in the class, to my crimson shame and delight, but there it is.
And it was fun. I love Ray, for all his foibles, his ramblings of the path, his pet themes (and, boy, are they his pets, my preciousssss), and I had fun. For once, having been introduced to the book as a child, I was across everything, like Ruskin, Beowulf, the green man, Family Guy (yes, re the Star Wars parody), WWI and the schism between the 19thC and the 20thC. At least, when I managed to get my two cents worth in. But it was so much fun and over in the blink of an eye. (Just told a friend who cringed at my nerdiness, oh yes, supreme nerd, me).
Came home to find Himself had made, yes, made, coffee and rum icecream, which was lovely. Alas, my favourite Thai place since my student days, has done its dash, giving me such an allergic reaction with its cheap, nasty red curry it took until Sunday lunchtime for my face to unpuff enough for me to be able to see out of it clearly. Himself did my share of the garden duties while I endured, bless. But there was icecream. Surpise, homemade and glorious icecream.
We watched Downtown, the dreaded holiday special, during the thunderstorm (not strictly the intent, it was an after lunch thing as Himself was knackered and I'd done my counch-side sorting jobs), and that was fun, though seemed to veer into Monarch of the Glen for some reason. I can certainly see why the UK was in an uproar when they sat down after pudding to that.
We had icecream and leftover chrissy cake and tea, and sandwiches and Doctor Who on the telly (still during thunderstorm). It was the Aztecs, the one where the Doctor gets engaged, and nearly chokes on his hot chocolate. It was such a Matt Smith moment. I had no idea Matt was using so much Hartnell in his peformance (I'd spotted the Troughton, Pertwee and Baker). It's given me a new appreciation, and, while not one of my faves usually, I thoroughly enjoyed it. Also, Ian rocks.
A good weekend. I got to take my brain out for a short run, and there was icecream and Doctor Who. Yay.
Then there was Monday, and the less said about that the better, but at least I could watch Hell on Wheels via the aerial (cable out again, one day they will understand their poxy cable was not build for possums to swing off nightly) and loved every damn second of it. Intriguing characters, who are all tropes, yet quirky and unpredicatable, in a trangressive kind of way. Which makes it interesting. This is what good writing and acting, and, damn, that glorious film-making deliver, the same of story with the same old characters, but with enough spice and brio to make me sit up and take notice (I've no patience for lazy writing and lazy acting, hello USA network). Love it to bits. So glad the ABC are playing it.
I don't know why I let people call me a failure all the time. Sure, I'll never finish those screenplays because I have other people's deadlines to worry about, but when I was in school, I wanted to have a job that paid enough so I could go see a play at the RSC. And I did. I stood on top of the Empire State Building, I walked around Stonehenge, I saw The Pietà in Rome, and David in Florence. I had pizza by the Grand Canal in Venice under moonlight and I travelled on the Orient Express. Don't you dare call me a failure just because I know how to use birth control.
I saw the pineapple house in Falkirk, and Ken Adam's sketches, too. It's my life. I'll like what I like. I'll wear what I want to wear. I'll go where I want to go. I'm only just learning what my favourite colours and flavours are, without being told what I'm allowed to like, and what I'm not.
But I shall stop being cross, as I find myself momentarily bully-free and it feels like I can breathe again, just a bit. Well, I've made myself a pot of Russian Caravan tea but couldn't even set it down without being demanded upon, but there it is. Not depressed. If I was, I wouldn't be so damn happy right now. Or at least, not under siege. It's like the peace when the roadworks stop for the night.
I wish I could finish the fic, but I'm slowly, oh so slowly, coming to accept that it was never meant to be. Still, I've done some crazy things in the name of research, stuff I might never have dome otherwise. Walking around Oxford in a blizzard comes to mind.
Speaking of which, I can't believe I blew my birthday vouchers on Lewis, but I did. And a few books I could never get here. It'll do. Faraway places...
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A PICKPOCKET'S TALE
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The Whole Nine Yards About a Phrase's Origin
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Matt Bomer & Ian Somerhalder - People's Choice Awards 2013
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Ian Somerhalder and Matt Bomer Come Together to Ignite All Your 50 Shades of Grey Fantasies
MATT GOES SHIRTLESS ON 'THE NEW NORMAL'
28 December 2012
- 4 January 2013
12-18 January 2013