jadesfire: Bright yellow flower (Default)
Dear Internet,

I have a problem.

On Saturday, I need a film to show to a group of people with wildly differing tastes. As two of these people are my parents-in-law, I need something with no graphic sex. As one of these people is my husband, I need something with a happy ending (he won't watch anything else). As one of these people is his aunt, I need something with (more or less) no swearing or anything beyond 'cartoon' violence.

To put it a bit more in context, they like things like Toy Story, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, and similar gentle, happy stories. It needs to be not too long, as we have a busy day before, and while it needs to be 'family friendly', it doesn't need to be for kids, as there won't be any present! I've come up with 4 that I think could work, which give you a flavour of the sort of thing I mean.

As you can imagine, choosing is proving challenging. Therefore, I give you a poll!

Poll #15193 The Fussiest Film Society Choice
Open to: Registered Users, detailed results viewable to: All, participants: 16

What film should I show my in-laws this weekend?

View Answers

6 (37.5%)

Despicable Me
5 (31.2%)

To Catch a Thief
1 (6.2%)

Ocean's Eleven (Clooney rather than Rat Pack)
2 (12.5%)

Something else I will elaborate on below
2 (12.5%)

None of the above, I think you should show them...

All assistance gratefully received.


PS If you don't know it, Jinni is a very cool site for film and tv recs, which I can see myself wasting far too much time on in the future!
jadesfire: Bright yellow flower (Default)
Sorry if you got spam from one of my email addresses, folks. I've done the changed password thing, and gone super-cryptic this time, so hopefully I'm good for another few months.

In other news, I feel like my brain is coming out of hibernation and wants to make ALL THE THINGS. Quilts, shawls, cardigans, podfic, fic, it's all swirling around in my brain, and if I can summon up more than twenty minutes of energy at a time, I might even get things done.

Happy Monday, Folks. Hope it's a good one.
jadesfire: Bright yellow flower (Text - chaotic system)
The thing is, I can't actually think of a good reason why someone shouldn't leave 2 punnets of mangoes in the lobby of the library.

But I'm almost dying of curiosity to know why anyone would want to.
jadesfire: Bright yellow flower (Text - mustache)
Tell me, oh wise and wonderful flist, do you like your computer?

I'm asking because ours went kaput last week, and to our considerable surprise, Amazon have agreed to give us our money back. The wretched thing is less than 2 years old, but we thought they'd just ignore us until we went away.

But we are now in the trying position of needing a new one. I have an iPad that is rather tempramental and likes to be synced rather than just DLing directing, and an iPod that doesn't have wifi anymore, so has to be synced. J has an iPhone and we both have Android devices as well. We buy our music on CD and rip it, generally speaking, so an optical drive of some kind is a must.

We've had PCs up to now, but are not opposed to the whole Mac idea, even if the prices are giving me the vapours.

Any thoughts/suggestions/recommendations? I understand the basics, but if you have a brand of PC you particularly like or hate, I'd appreciate hearing about it! Also, how long do Macs generally last for? Given their price, I'd be needing 5-10 years of use from one (whether an iMac, Mac Mini or MacBook). Is that realistic? Given we'll need a Superdrive as well, it's going to be quite the investment if we go for a Mac, and I jolly well want my money's worth!

Tell me all, people!
jadesfire: Bright yellow flower (Random - Dirty Dancing Lift)
So. If you were wondering what all the fuss over the last couple of months has been about, this is it:

Title: A Matter of Choice

Author: Jadesfire
Artist: Aaweth_edain
Pairings/characters: Gen (background Arthur/Gwen)
Rating: PG
Word Count: ~85,000
Warnings: Moderate violence, no worse than you’d see in the show.

Summary: Three years have passed since Arthur drew the sword from the stone and reclaimed his throne from Morgana, and Camelot is enjoying its golden age. Magic once again flourishes, and through his alliances with the druids, the kingdom has unrivaled peace and prosperity.

When Merlin disappears in the icy wastes of Ismere, Arthur sets out to find him. After all, he can’t leave his friend, court sorcerer and the last dragonlord as Morgana’s prisoner. But the stakes are higher than just Merlin’s life, and while Guinevere protects Camelot from a traitor at home, Arthur must prevent Morgana from finding the power she is looking for. Because if he cannot stop her, then it is not just Camelot, but the whole of Albion that will suffer.

AU of Arthur’s Bane, sequel to my story The Last Secret, but no knowledge of either is required.

Author's notes: [Below the cut. Abbreviated version at the story post]

Artist's notes: I want to thank jadesfire for allowing me to illustrate her story. She gave me a list of a few scenes she wanted photo-edited and then, after that she let me choose any other scene to illustrate. This is what I created. There are a few I particularly love, although I think they all turned out wonderfully! I hope you enjoy this story as much as I did. Please, feel free to ask me which ones became my favorites. Also, tell me which ones you, the reader liked and please review this lovely story!

Story link: A Matter of Choice on AO3

Art link: Art masterpost

Author's Notes: The director's cut version )
jadesfire: Bright yellow flower (Writing - Typewriter)
There's been a few writing memes floating around LJ lately, but I like the randomness of this one:

I currently have 123 works posted on AO3. Choose a random number - no peeking! - between 1 (most recently posted/updated) and 123, and I will tell you three things I currently like about that story.

In other news...

I seem to have spent most of my research for my recent stories trying to untangle timelines. For Merlin, I've had to use a spreadsheet to count out days, and ignore the fact that in the show, a journey that takes one set of people 3 days takes another person less than 1 day. My maths is bad, but not *that* bad. I think I've managed to rationalise it now, but still. I really wish the showrunners could count.

Then there's Jack Harkness. I can't use a spreadsheet for him because I keep having to draw wibbly lines across the paper. It's fun, but frustrating, because the Torchwood and Doctor Who timelines don't line up the way I want them to! That is, they line up internally and make their own sort of nonsensical sense, but they don't quite match in the way I'd hoped, which means I have to rethink my plot. Terribly inconsiderate of them. But it's fun thinking about writing Jack again.

And of course:

Word count of the day!

35958 / 70000 words. 51% done!

Past 50%! All downhill from here :)
jadesfire: Bright yellow flower (Random - Dirty Dancing Lift)
It's a bumper birthday week over here! [livejournal.com profile] zairaalbereo's was yesterday, and [livejournal.com profile] crimsonswirls' is today! And to celebrate, two more ficlets, rather different from each other, but both a joy to write.

Happy birthday, ladies. Thank you for being welcoming, lovely, friendly people and holding my hand over the last couple of weeks <3

For Zaira:

Title: Sunrise
Rating: G
Warnings: None
Words: ~3100
Notes: I almost never write kid!fic, but for Zaira? How could I not?

Summary: In Ealdor and Camelot, two small boys are up with the dawn and already getting into trouble.

Read on AO3

For Crimsonswirls

Title: Stuck
Rating: G
Warnings: None
Words: ~1500

Summary: Before you say anything," Merlin said, voice somewhat muffled, "can we just assume that you've already told me I'm going to spend the next three days in the stocks and move straight onto your helping me out of this thing?"

Read on AO3
jadesfire: Bright yellow flower (Random - Toy sheep)
It's funny how things come in threes, isn't it? I'm generally pretty hopeless about remembering birthdays, both online and IRL, but this week, THREE of my lovely friends have birthdays, and since all three of them are currently giving up their time to help me with my Paperlegends fic, I wanted to mark the occasion.

Technically, all three presents are going to be belated, but I'm starting with the one that is currently most belated, for [personal profile] donutsweeper. She's stuck by me through multiple fandoms and (what must feel like) hundreds of fics now, and still replies to my emails. That's a real friend <3

Happy birthday, love. I know it's been a big week over there, so I hope it was a good one too.

Title: Five times Arthur didn't climb on the Round Table (and one time Merlin made him do it)
Rating: G
Warnings: Setting is between S4 and S5. Mention of canonical character death.
Notes: In a recent beta, Donutsweeper said I wasn’t allowed to have Arthur climb over the Round Table. She was absolutely right, but that doesn’t stop him from wanting to try it.

Summary: Arthur is the master of self-control.

Read on AO3

Or under the cut )
jadesfire: Bright yellow flower (Default)
Title: Stuck
Rating: G
Warnings: None
Words: ~1500

Summary: Before you say anything," Merlin said, voice somewhat muffled, "can we just assume that you've already told me I'm going to spend the next three days in the stocks and move straight onto your helping me out of this thing?"

Read on AO3

Or under the cut )
jadesfire: Bright yellow flower (Default)
Title: Sunrise
Rating: G
Warnings: None
Words: ~3100
Notes: I almost never write kid!fic, but for Zaira? How could I not?

Summary: In Ealdor and Camelot, two small boys are up with the dawn and already getting into trouble.

Read on AO3

Or under the cut )
jadesfire: Bright yellow flower (Random - Heart padlock)
1. Picked up from [personal profile] nightdog_barks and deserving of sharing:

NYPD calls fire department to rescue officer from tree. If you put this in a story, you'd have to describe it as crack!fic.

2. My week has been immeasurably improved by finding lots of documentaries by Alastair Sooke on YouTube. He's an art historian, critic and one of those people with apparently endless enthusiasm and the ability to convey it. My only gripe is that his series on British sculpture isn't available, but if you like ancient history or modern art, there's something there for you.

3. I've needed something to keep me going, as most of this week so far seems to have consisted of data entry. There's not much left, but my motivation has run completely dry. My only hope is to pick up the good habit I've been acquiring from #Paperlegends chat and try to Get Stuff Done in half hour bursts. It's got my fic to over 31K, so something about it must work!

4. Speaking of which, I'll have 3 fics for you this week \o/ All Merlin, all short-ish, and all giving me hope that my ability to write short and silly has not completely deserted me. I'll be back on my Big Bang from next week, but I think I've needed the break to get some perspective on all the angst I'm subjecting my characters to. In the middle of it, it can feel a little overblown somehow, so I'm hoping that coming back to it, I'll be able to read it with a cooler head and carry on.

5. I had a fifth thing, I swear I did, but it's nearly half past and I want to get going, so instead, have a link to an interview by Caitlin Moran with Benedict Cumberbatch here.

There you go. You're going to get nothing done now, are you? But I really have to, so back later with fic! Have a good day, folks :)

ETA: I'm learning Tumblr ever so slowly, even if everything in me wants to shout at it CITE YOUR SOURCES. I just did when reblogging something (because it took me 4 clicks to track it down, and the complete thing is TOTALLY worth a look), and now I'm worried I'm doing it wrong *headdesk* I just can't get the hang of all this newfangled technological revolution stuff that you kids these days are using...
jadesfire: Bright yellow flower (Text - Hardcore Genficcer)
[livejournal.com profile] merlin_redux reveals are up here!.

My story was The Last Secret, header below, and a few thinky thoughts on the whole thing under the cut. This fic took a lot out of me, and being able to claim it and talk about the writing process is hopefully going to mean I can get on with my life writing my Paperlegends fic.

Title: The Last Secret
Rating: PG
Pairing(s): Gen. Background Arthur/Gwen, but focus is Merlin&Arthur friendship.
Word count: ~50,700
Warnings: Moderate violence

Summary: All confidence which is not absolute and entire, is dangerous. There are few occasions but where a man ought either to say all, or conceal all; for, how little so ever you have revealed of your secret to a friend, you have already said too much if you think it not safe to make him privy to all particulars. Francis Beaumont

Merlin has rescued Arthur from Camelot before it fell to Morgana, but when he is forced to reveal one secret, the others come tumbling out as well. Balancing his responsibilities as dragonlord, sorcerer and king’s manservant has never been easy, but doing it all at the same time is going to take a lot of work.

And there is always one more secret to be told.

Notes: Includes dialogue from ‘The Sword in the Stone’ and ‘The Diamond of the Day’, although the story itself is a fork in the road from ‘The Sword in the Stone.’ I hope that I’ve managed to include at least some of what my prompter wanted for their story. I also learned an important lesson while writing this: when in doubt, add more dragons.

With endless thanks to [personal profile] donutsweeper and [personal profile] thalia for putting up with my complaints, re-drafts and endless flailing. I could write another 50,000 words about how awesome they are, but suffice it to say without them, nothing. Remaining mistakes are all my own work.

Read it here on AO3

[When I have time, I will get around to splitting it for LJ, but I'm not there yet.]

There's quite a lot of text below the cut, but my overriding thought after the whole thing is this:

If I've accidentally written 50,000 words (yes, it was an accident, I swear) for a fest with a 1,000 word limit, what on earth kind of word count am I going to end up with for Paperlegends...

Lesson learned #0: First, take your dragon... )

And finally...

Lesson learned #423456: When in doubt, write.
You'd think I would have learned this by now, but no.

The thing I find really, really effective for writer's panic? Writing *something*. I'm rarely so blocked that I can't put any words down at all. What does happen is that I reject everything I start within a few paragraphs, which is, in many ways, more depressing than just not writing at all. But it works, because 8,000 rejected words later (no, I'm not kidding), I hit on the story I want to tell, and it all comes rushing together and things just start to flow.

And then, it's worth it.
jadesfire: Bright yellow flower (Random - Fozzie back)
Two quick things:

Please could someone choose me a number between 1 and 38? I need to pick something and am having trouble deciding. Done, with thanks to [personal profile] white_hart

Also, I have 2 Merlin podfics ready to go - one Merlin/Gwaine, one Meriln & Arthur friendship - and I was wondering if anyone out there had time to make a cover/covers, assuming I figure out how to turn them into audiobooks? They don't have to be fancy, nice and simple is ideal, but the most advanced art programme I know how to use is Paint. So I'd be grateful for any help at all!

Thank you and have a nice Sunday :)
jadesfire: Bright yellow flower (Writing - Typewriter)
Okay, since I'm not actually getting anything useful done for myself today, I figured I should try to do something useful for other people.

As with my last Britpick post, I need to start with a few disclaimers:
- My educational experience was from 1999-2003. Stuff changes, although as I still work for the university, I'm pretty sure students don't.
- My experience is entirely Oxford, which is a huge bias, although I've done my best to be general.
- This is just about first degrees. If I start on Masters and Doctorates, I could write as much again, which I'm happy to do if it's wanted.
- I'm talking very specifically about what happens in England and Wales, sometimes just England. Scottish education is quite different, and I'm not qualified to talk about it, so I don't! As far as I'm aware, Wales broadly has the same system as England, but I'll take corrections, obviously!
- I cannot cover everything. Even slightly. Please ask or point out if I've missed something obvious!

This got rather long, but it covers:

~ Terminology
~ Getting in
~ What you study
~ What you pay
~ University life
~ Oxbridge, Red Bricks and the Russell Group

Let's start at the very beginning )

As you can tell, this took quite a bit of putting together, and even then, it's not comprehensive. Hopefully the useful links below will get you started on your research, and if in doubt, please just ask either me here or over on [livejournal.com profile] paperpushers.

I think we'll go back to some slang for the next essay, as hopefully I can get that done in fewer words! And I'm still taking requests if there's anything people want to read.

Useful links:

Department of education
Student Loan Company
University rankings table
Ofqal oversee all qualifications in England
The Russell Group
NUS (national union of students)
The Open University
jadesfire: Bright yellow flower (Writing - Typewriter)
I've been meaning to write this for a while now, but my brain kept getting in the way and making it longer. However, there's a Brit Picking post at [livejournal.com profile] paperpushers at the moment, so I thought this was a good chance to start again. I'm going to be making a few of these, and they'll all be under the Britpick tag.

The best British English guide I know of is here, and I heartily recommend it as a first stop for pretty much everything.

Let me make a general disclaimer here: I grew up in East London and have lived in Oxford (SE England) for all my adult life. Regional slang varies enormously in the UK. Really, really massively, sometimes from street to street. So this is my perspective as a Southerner. Other regions will vary.

I'm also using 'quid' to illustrate a wider point about the way Brits use slang. This isn't unique to us, of course, but it's the only point of view I'm qualified to talk from!

One mistake I've seen in quite a few Merlin fics now is using 'quid' in the wrong context. Trying to pin down exactly how its used is surprisingly tricky, but here are some good rules of thumb:

Very, very, very roughly speaking, if you would't say 'buck' don't use 'quid'. That's NOT universal, but if you're in a hurry, it more or less works.

~ In general, if in doubt, use pound. Even people who use quid will use pound as well in a lot of contexts.

~ If you are talking about the physical objects of money, ie the actual coins and notes, then they are pounds. It's a one pound coin, a five pound note (always note, never bill). We say fiver and tenner for five and ten pound notes, then twenties and fifties. Those are all the notes we have. Below five, we have one and two pound coins.

~ Quid is always a whole number or an approximation. Something costs four pounds ninety-nine or about five quid. Never five quid ninety nine.

~ I've never actually seen this, but just in case, quid is the plural as well as the singular - one quid, two quid, five quid etc. Not five quids.

~ Quid is mostly likely to be used in a context where the characters are young or working class.

That last one is the one that needs some expansion, especially in a Merlin context. My linguist friends will almost certainly start headdesking at this point, but hopefully this is close enough to the truth to be useful without being confusing. Unfortunately, this is where it gets kind of long, so I put it under a cut, because here's where I start to talk about code-switching and get a bit carried away. )

Okay, that's quite enough on that. Next up: Universities. And I'm also taking requests :)

On Pompoms

Apr. 11th, 2013 09:06 am
jadesfire: Bright yellow flower (Random - Dirty Dancing Lift)
Things have been quiet here lately thanks to [livejournal.com profile] merlin_redux (which has started posting! Go! Read!) Well, they've been mostly quiet, apart from the folks who get to hear me moan constantly under my writing filter. Aren't they lucky?

Life is generally quiet here at the moment - lots of painting and cleaning in the flat, things are steady again at work and I'm tired all the damn time. That bit's less fun, but I'm dealing.

Everything will get busy again next week once I start working on my [livejournal.com profile] paperlengends fic. I need to do some reading over the weekend to get my head on straight, then I'm just going to plunge in and see what happens. There's no point over-researching at this point (yes, I did really just say that), and I've decided I'm better off digging into it as I need to, rather than ending up at all sorts of tangents. I'll only have to edit them out, anyway.

And that actually brings me to the point of this post: Cheeleading!. There's a thread over at Paperlegends at the moment for people to request Cheerleaders. I'm womanfully resisiting volunteering, on the basis that I have my own fic to write in a stupidly short timespan, and am already beta'ing for someone else. And will chip in to cheer on any of my flist who need it. And I'm lucky enough to not feel the need to put out a request post - my own betas are fabulous cheerleaders, and you guys will get regular updates as well, whether you want them or not, and any pompoms you can wave in my direction will be greatly appreciated.

BUT. I'm lucky. I've been at this a while now, I know what I'm doing, and I have a great support network to wail at. If you have the time to hold someone's hand, I really recommend heading over to the comm here and see if you can help a fellow fan out.


ETA: Okay, so I lied like a lying thing. I *have* volunteered to help cheerlead someone, because apparently I have a soft spot for Gen writers who need BritPicks... If I can do it, so can you! /pep talk
jadesfire: Bright yellow flower (Default)
Title: Onward
Author: [livejournal.com profile] jadesfire
Words: ~2500
Rating/warnings: G/none
Spoilers: All of Merlin. Tag to Doctor Who episode Midnight.

Notes: Inspired by this gif, which grabbed me by the brain and shook this story out of it. There’s a passing reference in here to the Seventh Doctor story Battlefield, but no knowledge is required.

With thanks to [livejournal.com profile] donutsweeper and [personal profile] thalia for beta services. Mistakes are all my own work.

Summary: The other man does look older, no longer the rebellious teenager, although he’s still dressed all in black. His hair is shorter on top, longer at the sides and he carries himself differently, adding years to his appearance. He doesn’t move under the Doctor’s scrutiny, keeping his eyes on the bottle on the counter, his fingers turning it slowly and carefully."I suppose I owe you an apology."

Also on AO3

”Onward” )
jadesfire: Bright yellow flower (Random - Dirty Dancing Lift)
When you watch British shows, a certain amount of fannish whiplash is inevitable, since there only seem to be so many actors to go around. But even so, having Merlin as my current fandom is threatening to give me a permanent neck injury.

It was bad enough Eve Myles turning up in the first episode, because Torchwood fandom was sort of what drove me from LJ in the first place, so that was a bit weird. And I hadn't known Anthony Head was in it, because I started watching with Season 5, going back to Season 1 after a few episodes and nearly falling out of my chair.

Only, I also love Cabin Pressure which he's in, along with Benedict Cumberbatch. And I already loved Cabin Pressure before I started watching Sherlock, and the characters are far enough apart that really, it's hard to remember it's the same actor.

And as if that wasn't bad enough, they're both in the Radio 4 adaptation of Neverwhere at the moment, except this time, it was Anthony Head I didn't recognise.

But you know, it's a small acting world, and I was kind of getting used to the whole thing. Except then I find the article about Colin Morgan (Merlin) playing Ariel to Roger Allam's Prospero in the Tempest this summer. Because while most people probably know Roger Allam from The Thick of It, I know him from (wait for it…) Cabin Pressure. This is also exciting for me, because I've never been to The Globe, and with J being a huge Cabin Pressure fan, and me being a huge Cabin Pressure AND Merlin fan, it could be a win-win evening out overall.

I seriously think at this point I could do a '6 degrees of John Finnemore' and get to pretty much any actor in the world. Seriously. I mean, I just worked out you can get from John Finnemore to George W. Bush in 6 steps. If you can do that, you can do anything.

For those of you wondering: John Finnemore – (Cabin Pressure) - Prunella Scales – (Fawlty Towers) – John Cleese – (A Fish Called Wanda) – Jamie Lee Curtis – (True Lies) – Arnold Schwarzenegger – (er…okay, not an acting connection, but still) – George W Bush.

My mind is officially blown.
jadesfire: Bright yellow flower (Random - Toy sheep)
Things I would like:

~ An email from the people I am waiting to hear from. When they said 'the end of the week', I didn't know that was *literally* the end of the week.

~ To be able to get through more than 3 sentences without a horrible coughing fit.

~ For my upstairs neighbours to stop doing whatever it is that sounds like a baby manatee in pain. It could be a power tool, but with all the strange noises that come from up there, distressed infant sea creatures is just as likely.

~ To be able to figure out whatever story is blocking my brain and write the damn thing. The last three weren't it, and if it's my Paper Legends Big Bang, I may have to cry, because I can't finish that before tackling the others, not when it's going to be 50,000 words. I may comfort myself by writing my Merlin episode tag instead. Can you call it a tag if it's pre-episode? I mean, a prequel is something you write after but is set before. What's a tag if it's set before? A gat? Maybe a hat, going on the logic that a tag is something that hangs down from a thing, and a hat is something that goes on the top. Or maybe it should be an episode lid.

~ I was going to make 'more cold medication' the last thing on my list, but reading the above, I don't know that's a good idea...


Apparently I want this too:

And the press release made me laugh out loud and realise that Buffy pretty much shaped the communication style of a generation.
jadesfire: Bright yellow flower (Text - Speshul Snoflake)
You know you have days when your brain just won't work? At the moment, it's not for lack of things to do, more of a complete overload of STUFF.

I taught a crochet class on Saturday, which is always good fun if exhausting, but I must have picked up a cold from someone there, and I spent most of yesterday asleep. Which was good for me, probably, but doesn't get stuff done. And I am out of the habit of Getting Stuff Done, which means nothing is getting done, and it's not doing my head any good at all.

The only good thing is that, having earned some 'free' money (ie money that's not already budgeted for bills, expenses or savings), I can buy myself a new microphone and get on with some podficcing. The considered opinion on my last piece is that, while the iPad microphone isn't bad, it doesn't make for listenable fic. *sigh*

Of course, that means I have to work out what I'm going to record. For Podfic BigBang, I need something over 10K. For me, I want something long and plotty and Gen. I've got something on the go that fits that, but it's something I want to do for me, rather than for the fest, if you see what I mean. Also, I feel like tackling something really, properly long this time.

So, I'm taking recs. LONG is the important part. I'd like 40k+, but will take anything over 20k. Gen and plotty and characterful is what I'm after, in any fandom at all, whether I know it or not, and whether you think I know the story already or not. I want something I can really get my teeth into!

Help a girl out? *flutters eyelashes*

PS Prompts will happen, although they'll be spaced out somewhat now as I need to work on my Merlin fic for a while. But they will happen, oh yes.