Saturday, August 27, 2005

 

Doctor Who Fanfics

I discovered the world of fanfiction through a friend. He happened to describe something we were talking about as glorified Doctor Who fanfiction. The term fanfiction didn't really mean anything to me but he kindly explained it and another friend told me about fanfiction.net. Unlike my friends who hate all forms of fanfiction I don't mind it too much. Every now and then I visit the website and have even written something myself. Like most fanfic visitors we all know that the really good stories don't come that often but they are there. I always found that the Doctor Who stories were usually better than the others I visited. This has changed though. Not surprisingly the popularity of the new series of Doctor Who has increased interest there. There is a whole new fanbase and a lot of them only write stories based on this. I suppose that it isn't much of a surprise to hear that reading these stories became boring quite quickly. Mainly because they all involved Rose and the Doctor getting together. One of the debates my friends and I used to have (yes I realise that I will be admitting how big a geek I am here) was should there be romance in Doctor Who. There will always be people who see the chemistry between one of the Doctors and his companion and feel that there is a story there. Our conclusion was that the answer is no. That's not what the show is about. It never was. Romance was always an excuse used for a companion leaving or in another case completely accidental. These didn't carry on to the next story line and that's the way it should stay. I have to admit though that in the new series there is more chemistry between the Doctor and Rose than there was in the past. Again this is only going to make more people write about it. Especially since this new Doctor is more down to earth than all the others.

My point here is that now all the Doctor Who fanfics are about Rose and the Doctor. It has put me off reading them. I guess it would just be nice to see some of those other stories in there. Ones about his other carnations. Even if it is only a small funny story. I won't even read these new ones now. Which is a shame because there might actually be a good one amongst them. Or maybe it is just me. Maybe my fascination with this form of writing has finally worn off and it will take a lot more for one of these to really grab my attention.

One of the other things we talked about was the BBC Doctor Who books and Big Finish productions which my friends also see as a form of fanfiction. I have only read a few of the books and I didn't really enjoy them. I do have some of Big Finish audio books and while there were some good ones amongst them some of them weren't so good. The one series I did enjoy was the Dalek Empire series. No signs of the Doctor in there but I still really enjoyed them. Looking at their website they are also going to do something similar with the Cyberman. A series of four CDs based on them. Not sure if the Doctor will have a part to play in these either but I think I will have to make a point of looking out for them too.

This was just a quick rant. I will be back in about a week. I'll have some stitching updates and some book reviews. Until then I am enjoying a relaxing time off.

Friday, August 26, 2005

 

Brock Peters (1927 - 2005)



Brock Peters dies this week at the age of 78 after suffering from cancer. Most people will probably know him from the classic film "To Kill A Mockingbird". He played Tom Robinson, the character who was accused of rape. My fellow geeks will also know him from his Star Trek Roles. He played Admiral Cartright in Voyage Home and Undiscovered Country. Later he played Captain Sisko's father, Joseph, in DS9. I have enjoyed all of these roles and sadly didn't realise that this Star Trek actor was also the Mockingbird actor.

Sunday, August 21, 2005

 

One last blog (for two weeks anyway).

I didn't get the castle done although it is almost there. I underestimated how much time it needed. I did spend a few hours on it and it probably needs only a few hours more but again my reading has overtaken everything. I think that will calm down over the next few weeks. I don't usually read that much when I am away. I do have an overwhelming urge to read everything by John Irving. I just finished reading "The World According to Garp" which was every bit as good as "A Prayer For Owen Meany". Then last night I watched a programme about John Irving on BBC4. I missed the start of it but what I did see of it made me want to go out and read the rest of his books. I will read them eventually but I learned my lesson with Douglas Coupland. I loved the first book I read by him and within a year I had read them all. I am now waiting impatiently for the release of his next one. I don't want to do that with John Irving. He has just brought out a new book and there was a good few years wait for that one. I'll take my time with them and read other things in between. I highly recommend him. Both books that I have read I found difficult to put down and they both had their funny and sad parts. I loved his characters too. They just seemed so real even if they did have some odd characteristics.

Timewarden mentioned that Victoria Beckham said she has never read a book. Yes, it did make me shudder. Surely she couldn't have went through school without reading at least one book? At school though when it came to reading I was in the minority. Most people I knew only picked up a book if they had to. I do think being read to as a kid and being encouraged by parents have something to do with it. My mum is a big reader. When she was little she would regularly go to the library and she was always told to bring something back for my grandparents. My aunt and uncle though were brought up in the same environment and I have never seen them read a book. My parents did encourage us to read. As I have mentioned before my parents used to take my sister and I to the library quite a lot. And yet my sister isn't much of a reader so I don't think that the way you are brought up has everything to do with it though. My dads parents aren't readers and yet both my aunt and my dad are big readers. I could go on with lots of examples in my family alone.

Anyway, I am only taking a couple of books with me so hopefully when I come back I won't be droning on about books. I will be taking the castle with me to finish. Sorry to those who were looking forward to sharing a happy dance. I promise that there will be one when I come back. I still plan on taking bugs with me so I will post a photo of him (I don't imagine it will be much but hopefully I will have made a start). Lastly I might do some writing. Haven't done any in a while and think it's about time I get the pen out again. See you in two weeks.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

 

More bits and pieces.

I am still stitching away here and there. The castle is almost finished and think that after a couple more hours of stitching I will be ready to have a happy dance. I have to admit that I am glad that I took everyone's advice and kept at it. If it wasn't for all those stitching blogs I visit it would probably still be sitting there collecting dust. It was thanks to them that I decided to give rotations a go. I won't be picking up my rotation again when done as I am going to be away for two weeks. Instead I am going to take Bugs Bunny with me and then work him into the rotation when I come back. I doubt there will be any posts in that time but hopefully I will get a few in before I leave.

My increased obsession with books is still there. I haven't ordered anymore but I am now reading three books. It would have been more if I didn't stop myself when the rest of my order came through yesterday. Two of them are very light reads and the other is still Robin Cook's. It just means it will take me longer than normal to finish them. Hopefully though I will finish most by the end of the week and will have a few book reviews before I go.

Sunday, August 14, 2005

 

Fantasy

You can see from my links at the side that I now belong to a stitching ring. I was randomly browsing through other sites on the ring when I cam across one called Booking Through Thursday. This is a site that gives meme's based on (funnily enough) books. The latest questions are about fantasy books and although I am not a member of this group I couldn't help but answer it.

1. Do you like to read fantasy?

Yes, although I go through phases of it. I can go through months without reading any and then read nothing but fantasy.

2. What is your favourite (or least favourite if you don't like the genre) thing about reading fantasy?

Most fantasy stories are light reads and it is easy to become caught up in the storyline. I love the fact that in fantasy just about anything goes and that it is an escape from the real world.

3. Do you prefer regular people placed in alternate realities, like the Thomas Covenant stories and the Amber books, or do you prefer the whole world to come from the author's imagination? Or something else?

To be honest I have only ever read books based on the second so I don't have a basis for comparison. I have always meant to read the Thomas Covenant books though. My boyfriend introduced me to fantasy and he hated them which is one of the reasons I have put it off for so long.


4. Do you have a favorite author or theme that you go back to again and again?

I read quite a lot of Anne McCaffrey and would probably have continued to read all of her books if I had left her Acorna series until last. I really didn't like them and it has put me off any others. I will read her son's new pern books but that's about it. Which is a shame because I really enjoyed her Pern and Crystal Singer series as well as some of her short stories. Maybe one day I will pick up her other books. I also like dragons (which was why I started reading McCaffrey). I have a whole list of books I want to read just because they involve dragons. I also seem to go for books where women are the central character e.g Tamora Pierce and Mercedes Lackey. This wasn't an intentional theme.


To be honest I have only been reading fantasy a few years. There are still a lot of books out there that are considered to be classics within the genre that I still haven't gotten round to reading. I think my problem is that there are too many other books that I want to read too. I doubt I will ever become an expert in just one genre or book type. I flit around subjects too much even if I do come back to them all eventually.

Friday, August 12, 2005

 

Bits and Pieces

I have no photo update for you although I have done some stitching. I have stuck with the Castle and I am very slowly making progress. Again I haven't been doing much because of all the reading I have been doing. Tonight though I hope to get some more done. I am hoping that this time next week I will be able to have a happy dance.

I am having a biography phase just now. After finishing Wil Wheaton's I felt like reading another. I decided to pick up Robin Cook's "The Point of Departure". I haven't got that far into it but is has been pretty good so far. It is probably teaching me more about the workings of parliament than my politics class ever did. As well as giving insight it is also funny in a dry sort of way. I have ordered a few more autobiographies and they are all political too. I am waiting for Mo Mowlam's (although the reviews of it weren't that good) and Hillary Clinton's. Have that doesn't cure my biography phase I will then get Wil Wheaton's other book and Bill Clinton's "My Life".

I haven't really been up to much else. I watched "School of Rock" again. I really enjoyed it the first time I saw it. This wasn't that long after it was released on DVD. I saw it in the sale and decided to buy it but I just didn't get into it this time. Maybe it's one of those films that once you see it that's it. I'm not sure if my boyfriend is too bothered about it either. I'll probably end up giving it to my sister as she loved it. The same goes for "Rock Profiles". It was really funny the first time I watched them but after I had watched the lot I couldn't bear to watch them again.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

 

"Just a Geek" by Wil Wheaton


I have been having a bit of a reading frenzy of late and "Just A Geek" by Wil Wheaton is the latest book I have finished. This is basically an autobiography although it doesn't start from childhood. Wheaton used entries from his blogs to show his feelings about having left Star Trek and his life since. His struggle to make it as an actor and then a writer.

As everyone probably knows I am a huge Star Trek fan. In the sci fi world it was my first love. I was brought up on it. I suppose having parents who were huge sci fi fans I could have went down the road of hating it like my sister did. But no, I was hooked and am now probably a bigger fan than my parents are. The Next Generation was my generation which is probably why I liked this best and I grew up with these characters. Wesley was never my favourite although I didn't hate him like I know a lot of people did. I always wondered what happened to him after he left Star Trek. I then heard about his website, WWdN, and made a point of visiting it. I can't remember what the first entry I read was but I have been visiting it ever since. I have enjoyed reading stories about his family and his success with his writing. He is good at grabbing your attention and keeping it. I respect him for his openness about his political beliefs. The only entries I don't really read are the ones about poker. I'm just not a fan of poker and so can't get interested (I realise I am rambling a bit).

When I heard about the publication of his books I have been itching to read them. They seem to have done well for him in the US and his strong fan base is even bigger thanks to his books and his blog. They were never really released properly here (unless maybe I missed it) so I finally decided to just go ahead and buy a copy from Amazon. I received it and finished it yesterday. I will never be a fan of Wesley but I am now a fan of Wil Wheaton. He was so open and honest that it is hard not to like him. I got upset with him when he was dismissed by Rick Berman and then when he was told he wasn't part of the Trek family. I was excited for him when his writing was a success. I think I was also amazed by how much he had to struggle. I just assumed that because he had spent all those years in Star Trek that he would be relatively well off. It shows you that actors are people too and most of them need to keep working to make ends meat. I will be buying "Dancing Barefoot" at some point in the future. And I will continue to visit WWdN to see what other plans he has for the future (hopefully more books).

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

 

"The Power of Five: Raven's Gate" by Anthony Horowitz.


Young Matt is in trouble. He has been picked up by the police and now he has to chose. Prison or fostering? Matt chooses to be fostered and ends up in Yorkshire with the icy Mrs Deverill. There was something funny about her that he couldn't quite put his finger on. The rest of the village were the same. He makes up his mind to get away but something strange happens every time he tries. What do these people want with him and why does Mrs Deverill seem to know so much about him. With the help of the local journalist he uncovers their sinister plot and discovers that the whole world is in trouble.

Other than his TV scripts Horowitz is better known for his Alex Ryder series. This book is the first in a series which involves the supernatural. A lot darker than his other books but just as exciting and just as difficult to put down. I think that this change of genre will be a success for the author and I can't wait to read the others in the series.

 

"The Dream Merchant" by Isabel Hoving

Before I go on to do a book review I want to thank everyone for the lovely comments they left about the Castle. I haven't done much more but I will take your advice and keep going with it until it is done. I will make a start on Bugs once it is finished. Julianna I just used aida. I had loads of it at the time and I decided to make use of it.


Josh seems to be just an ordinary boy. He has a collection of bits and pieces and is a bit of a dreamer. He is also a thief although only steels when the opportunity presents itself. One night out of nowhere he is offered a job with Gippart. They believe that he has a talent that they need although Josh himself isn't so sure. The job involves entering dream land (amaya) and selling products to the inhabitants of that world. Sounds simple until he discovers that they want something more than that which has already killed another child. When they try to force it out of him Josh is stuck in amaya along with his friends Baz and Teresa. They must travel to the end of time to get out. Along the way they have to get themselves out of dangerous situations and discover the legend of Gippart and his siblings.

This book turned out to be completely different from what I was expecting. It was a little to slow to begin with but after reaching a certain point in the story I couldn't put it down. I was sucked right into it, wondering what was going to happen next to Josh and his friends. It was a little dark though. I really think this should be classed as young adult rather than 8 - 12. A very good read though.

Monday, August 08, 2005

 

Decisions, Decisions

I was able to get a bit more of the back stitch done on the castle. I am almost finished with the building and then I will move onto the dragon itself. I'm now very tempted to keep going with it to get it finished. I might be able to finish it this week if I keep going with it. Probably a little too optimistic but I am thinking of giving it a go. I haven't fully decided yet, I'll see how I feel tomorrow.

 

Good Luck Discovery

Good luck to the crew of the discovery as the re-enter the Earth's atmosphere today. You can read about it here. I also saw some of the pictures of the astronauts fixing the discovery. They looked amazing. When I was looking at them I had to remind myself that this was real not something from a sci fi movie. I can't imagine what it must have been like to be out there.


I just found out that the landing of Discovery is going to be delayed for 24 hours due to bad weather.

Sunday, August 07, 2005

 

Robin Cook (1946-2005)


Robin Cook died yesterday at the age of only 59. He had a heart attack while on a walking holiday. To be honest I really didn't know much about him. I knew who he was and that was about it. Then when he left the government because of the war in Iraq I paid attention. It's not easy to stand up for what you believe in if it means going against (in his case) your party. I truly admired him for that. My thoughts are with his family.

 

School Story Obsession


I was a big reader when I was little. I would read almost anything but as soon as I read my first Enid Blyton book I fell in love with school stories. This isn't really uncommon. The few readers amongst my friends also loved them. Since then I have come across few female readers who didn't read them. For me I think the attraction was the idea of boarding school. These schools were so unlike my own that it made it seem all the more interesting. There were even a few occasions that I begged my parents to send me to boarding school. I was convinced that it was all fun, games and midnight feasts. I eventually grew out of these books. Although occasionally I would go back to them just for fun.

I started reading them again. This is a new obsession that was started by a friend of mine. I haven't picked up those Enid Blyton books yet. I did start to collect a series about a school called Trebizon by Anne Digby. This was the other series I read when I was little but very few people seem to have heard of it. I have now worked my way through them all. Well, all but two which I can't get a hold of. Now I am reading purely for nostalgia. At least that's what I keep telling myself. It's amazing how easily I was sucked in to these stories again. I am also now considering trying out ones that I didn't read when I was little. There are more school stories out there than I thought. I have since heard of a lot of people who collect these books and I think that I am probably going to become one of them.

Saturday, August 06, 2005

 

CW and some stash


I did some more work on CW. As soon as I picked it up I forgot all about blossom fairy. Hopefully this feeling will continue throughout these rotations. Working with the whites and grays is still a little boring. Using linen again however makes up for it. I think that part of the reason that I am finding it so dull is that the fairies dress was mostly in white too. My advice is to rotate this one with something colourful. I do have the castle which is colourful but it doesn't feel the same since I am only doing the backstitch. Since today is my choice I have decided to pick up the castle a day early. I wanted to get as much of it done as I can.


I was feeling sorry for myself a few days ago. Not for any particular reason I was just feeling a little down and so I decided to treat myself to a few new stitchy things. They came through the very next day so it really did cheer me up. I bought the chart of Petal fairy. I first fell in love with this when I saw this on Carols blog. Seeing her beautiful finish was the main reason why I decided to go ahead and order it. It will be quite a while before I stitch it as I have quite a few charts I want to stitch first.

This one I had to buy as soon as I saw it. I actually saw this finished in a store a few years ago, not long after I first took up stitching. I tried to get the kit but it was a limited edition and was out of print. I eventually got over my disappointment and stitched the Mickey Mouse version for my sister instead. I was so surprised when I saw this. I actually didn't think that it would come through. I was waiting for the email which said that it was no longer available. I can't wait to stitch him. I am thinking of putting him in place of the castle once it is finished. Although this would be going against my own advice about going for a colourful project.

Friday, August 05, 2005

 

Book Rant


I actually had to think about how I would write about this. Normally when I need to rant about a book I just spill it all out. In this case though there was a good chance that I could say the wrong thing and offend people which really isn't my intention.

Yesterday I was listening to the radio when the news came on. It mentioned that some MPs and other people were asking publishers to remove "Checkmate" by Malorie Blackman from the shops. They believed that it was the right thing to do after what happened in London. Basically the main character in this book is preparing to be a suicide bomber. They believe that some people who read this will be heavily influenced by it. I hate the idea of books being pulled off the shelf. I hate even more when it is done for the wrong reasons. This isn't what this book is about and anyone who has read it or the others in the series will know that. This trilogy is about racial inequality. It does touch on terrorism but it doesn't say that it is a good idea. Malorie Blackman should be congratulated for writing about a difficult subject and in the process teaching children something important. I can understand why anyone affected by the London bombings might be upset about this book. However, the book was on sale before this happened.

I'm not trying to be insensitive. I just think that there are bigger and more important issues that these people should be concentrating on.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

 

Wild Cherry Blossom Fairy


I managed to get some of Wild Cherry Blossom Fairy done. She's starting to take shape now. Working with the pinks and flesh tones is a nice change from whites. It seems when I pick up one of my projects I want to continue with it and I have to force myself to pick up the set days project. Yesterday when I picked up the fairy again what I really wanted to do was continue with the castle. A bit of a shock since I hadn't touched it since February. Part of it was because it is so vibrant. Another is that it doesn't look like it will be long before it is finished. Yet once I got going all thoughts of the castle left my head. I'm guessing that it will be the same when I pick CW back up tomorrow.

I finished watching Blakes 7 yesterday. What an ending to the series. I have seen the first one of the next one so I know a little of how it turns out. What surprised me was Travis' death. I wasn't really expecting it. I suppose it should have been obvious since Blake leaves in the next series and Travis' obsession is with Blake. I also thought that there would be more of him in this series. I also found out from Timewarden that David Jackson who played Gan died last week of a heart attack.

Monday, August 01, 2005

 

The Castle


I didn't do any stitching yesterday because again I was reading. I did do some today though. Yes, I actually picked up the castle. I finished the back stitch on the rocks (the grassy bits I plan to do last) and I even got a good start on the castle itself. Now that I picked it up again hopefully that is all I need to keep going with it on its rotation.

 

"Starship Trooper" Robert A. Heinlein


Set in the Earth's future Juan Rico tells of his experiences as an MI. He starts while getting ready for a drop on one of the 'bugs' planets and then goes back to why he signed up. The story then goes through all his experiences in boot camp before going back to his present day and continuing from there. It's a sci fi war story told from the point of view of one of the small people. He doesn't know the why's behind the decisions of the higher echelons. He just carries out his orders as he makes his way up the ladder.

This was not at all what I had expected. I have seen the film a few times and hated it. I expected the book not to be much different until a friend of mine told me otherwise. The only similarity between the book and the film is the main character, the war, one of the battles and the part about citizenship. That's it! I'm still not sure if I liked the book or not although compared to the film it wins hands down.

 

"The 13 1/2 Lives of Captain Bluebear" Walter Moers


Bluebear doesn't know how he was born. He only knows that the minipirates found him floating on the ocean in a nut shell. And this was how his first life began. Each life is an adventure and ends with him usually escaping some sort of danger. After the minipirates he was almost eaten by an island, went to school, lived in a Tornado, became famous in Atlantic City and many more.

I loved every minute of this book. Each chapter in the bears life was highly imaginative and I spent most of the time reading it wondering what was coming next. The book is filled with lovely illustrations which fit in so well with the book. It's also very funny and I found myself laughing out loud quite a few times. It's told in the first person which is difficult to pull off but this book manages it. As I said before if you like the surreal you will like this.

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