sareini: (loki)
Lovefilm by Post DVD rental service to close.

This rather sucks. Yes, things are very different from when Lovefilm started a decade or so ago and there are a ton of streaming services now for people to choose from... but Lovefilm's selection was huge, and even with Shudder, Amazon Prime and Netflix combined I wouldn't have anything near the selection of films that Lovefilm had (we're not mentioning Kodi here because of the legal grey area). And I'm not the only one to point out the vast difference in available titles either. Maybe Amazon will listen and be able to make more titles available for streaming, so people won't have to resort to... other sources for films.

***

In other news I've started on season 2 of Legends of Tomorrow and after two episodes I'm still happily hooked - thus breaking the season 2 curse I've been labouring under lately. Nick would have been all but peeing himself with glee, of course, as we've now got the Justice Society of America which Nick was a total fanboy for. Any questions I might have had about them (such as which was Obsidian and which was Dr Mid-Nite, because they had such similar powersets that I got a bit confused) would have been answered in great detail rather than my having to go to Wikipedia to look things up. The rest of the Legends are still awesome as well - I still miss Captain Cold, but because it's near-impossible to avoid spoilers sometimes I'm aware that isn't a lasting condition - and I love that Sara Lance gets to be a bisexual with an active sex life with both men and women. There's not nearly enough of that in movies and TV.

Oops.

Aug. 12th, 2017 09:09 pm
sareini: "Made a note in my diary on the way here. Simply says, 'Bugger'." from Blackadder (Bugger)
So the audio connector "thing" in my computer just fell out. Well, in, to be exact - the part of the internals that was the USB and headphone jack plugs (which had already been having problems for a while now, not connecting microphones or anything) just fell into the tower base of my computer, leaving me with a perfectly intact outer case but no way of plugging headphones or anything into it. No audio, no music, no sound. And for me, no way of fixing it myself because I have a track record with technology that can be politely called the "Luddite's Touch" and which is the reason Ross won't let me touch any of his tech whatsoever (I once checked my email on his computer and 15 minutes later the hard drive caught fire. This is not hyperbole.)

So I am left with two options.

1 - Try to get it fixed myself somehow. Highly unlikely to happen.

2 - Get a USB extension cable, plug it into the back, and hope that works. Might work, but then again my headphones also require a jack to be plugged in so it might not.

There is also Option 3 (because there's always an Option 3). Move to Nick's computer. But that involves a lot of rearranging of the front room which won't be easy.

In the meantime, I guess I'm watching stuff on the tablet or in the front room (where I have to sit on the floor because the sofa, even when it's not covered in junk, has no padding and eats people alive).

Still, 21 months before something broke that I would have required Nick to fix isn't that bad of a record. And at least I have at least two other techies that can be reached online to offer assistance (and possibly mild disbelief that only the weird stuff happens to me).

Hair

Aug. 1st, 2017 11:06 pm
sareini: (air kanji)
I cut my hair short a couple of weeks ago. Not for any self-punishing or self-harm reasons like I have in the past, but because it was getting difficult to keep under control and becoming uncomfortable in the summer heat flashes we've been having.

I have a love-hate thing going with my hair. It's mid-to-dark brown in colour (with flashes of red), which means that, if I ever want to dye it interesting colours (which is most of the time lately), I've got to bleach it quite vigourously first. It's also curly in the Irish way, which means that if I have a bad day or two and don't brush it to within an inch of its life, it snarls up very quickly and becomes even more difficult to handle. So it's great when I'm in a state of mind to appreciate it, but otherwise very high maintenance. So cutting it short like this is probably for the best right now.

(Nick hated me cutting my hair short. It was a weird thing; he would really get upset if my hair got too snarled up to be saved by brushing and would have to be strategically trimmed. I think maybe some of my feelings about having it cut short are still tied into that.)

Of course, the best case scenario would be to get it done by a professional hairdresser, but that costs money and I'm trying to save as much as I can for later this month when I visit my niece and we go to a yarn festival together. So I looked at a few pictures on Google, tipped my head forward so that my hair all hung down, and set to it with scissors. It didn't turn out too bad in the end, I think - I managed to get it more or less even on all sides, with no random bits of long hair sticking out that I missed or anything. Which really is the best you can hope for, I think, when you're cutting your hair yourself.

The style I think I've ended up with would be best described as "fat and slightly punk Rachel Maddow" (because I've still got a few random streaks of pink and purple from where I tried to dye my hair blue a few months ago. There was no blue in the end result). If I can, I'd like to bleach and dye it again before I go up to see my niece in two-and-a-half weeks, but that will also depend on whether I can force the motivation into myself to do it. But if I do I think I'll see what makes a better purple - the purple hair dye or the blue one.
sareini: (tired)
9. A song that makes you happy
Not much explanation here )

10. A song that makes you sad
A little more explanation here )

The past couple of days have been annoying because I've been suffering from thunderstorm headaches a lot. My thunderstorm headaches often are like mini-migraines; focusing on the area above and behind my right eye so I get vision problems along with the pain. My usual treatment for them is to go lie down and take a nap till they hopefully go away rather than take painkillers, but things aren't helped when the promised thunderstorms never actually arrive and the pressure stays low and the weather stays humid, and my head stays painful.

But I managed to drag myself out of the house this evening and went to Tesco's to do some food shopping. I even treated myself with some coconut chunks (which I'll have to keep from Lily as she likes the taste of coconut) and a few other things. I also got a Robinsons "Refresh'D" Raspberry and Apple drink but I was not impressed. I don't know if it's just me, but every time I've tried something of Robinsons it's just tasted like flavoured liquid plastic to me, which is kind of ironic really.

In Fact...

May. 22nd, 2017 01:20 pm
sareini: A Procrastinator's work is never done! (Procrastination)


("Name Your Poison" from The Return of Captain Invincible, starring Alan Arkin and Christopher Lee)




("He's Rockula" from Rockula, starring Dean Cameron, Thomas Dolby and Tawny Fere)
sareini: default (Default)
Just now Facebook - even though I didn't have it open, because it has somehow wormed its way into my browser - helpfully informed me that today is Nick's birthday.

He'd have been 41 today.

A brief check on Facebook showed a couple of mutual friends saying they wished he was still here, and his brother being about as pissed off/depressed as me about the birthday reminder. Which made me feel slightly guilty, because if I'm memorialised his account when he died then none of us would be getting the reminders and people wouldn't be sad and upset.

A friend asked me why I don't just do that, and I came up with several excuses very quickly. Some of Nick's friends still like to post to him as though he were still here. I think they require proof and that's awkward and time consuming. I'm not a "verified family member" (just his partner) so they might not even take the request from me.

Honestly? Even 18 or so months down the line, memorialising his FB page feels too much like drawing a line under everything and moving on, and I don't think I can do that yet. Turns out I can hoard even virtual memories. Who knew?

In the past, we'd celebrate Nick's birthday with pizza, either superhero movies or otherwise "bad" movies (like Rockula or The Return of Captain Invincible, which people should probably watch anyway because the latter has Christopher Lee singing a musical number) but as today is a Monday my local friend can't come round so I'm probably going to spend the day quietly. Knitting, crocheting and maybe trying to get through the mountain of DVDs and Blu-Rays I found in bags while moving the chair the other day. And trying not to think about Facebook.
sareini: Nate Grey from the X-Men comics (Nate Grey)
I've been ruminating a bit over the last few days over the current Marvel comics event, Secret Empire. For those of you not in the know, Steve Rogers, Captain America, was old for a while then got returned to his youthful self by the/a Cosmic Cube, which was in the form of a little girl called Kobik. Unfortunately, when Kobik de-aged Cap, she also re-wrote part of his history because of manipulation by the Red Skull, making him into the perfect Hydra sleeper agent. Several in-continuity months later, Hydra puts their plan into action and takes over the United States with Captain America, thoroughly believing that Hydra is what's best for the country, in charge. The majority of heroes get locked outside the planet by a defense shield, New York gets put into a Darkforce Dimension bubble and cut off from everything, mutants get "relocated" to a new country and Inhumans get put into camps. Oh, and there are public executions and Las Vegas gets bombed into the ground for harbouring a resistance movement. Fun stuff all round.

The reason I've been thinking about this lately is not just because I've been following the story, but because I've been wondering what Nick would have thought of all this. Those of you who knew Nick know that he created his "Benevolent Dictator for Life" idea, and his cynicism (and depression) led him to believe that humanity couldn't be trusted to govern itself, so someone should step in to do it for them, for their own good. He'd also jokingly "Hail Hydra" sometimes. So I'm wondering how he would have reacted to Secret Empire.

Short answer: I think he'd have hated it.

Long answer: Oh boy, where to begin. First off, I think Nick would have empathised with the over-written Captain America - he's clearly supposed to be thinking this is the best for everyone, that Hydra really will help Make America Great Again (hah). The problem is - and this is most likely down to bad writing - that Cap's actions don't always mesh with the fact that he's still supposed to be trying to do the right thing. Look at the things I listed above, to begin with. Concentration camps? Public executions? Bombing a city into rubble and killing thousands of innocent civilians just to send a message? There is no way that Captain America can still be thought of as "trying to do the right thing" when he's taking part in any of those actions. I don't think even Doctor Doom in his villainous prime went so far as to have concentration camps, and yet here we have Steve Rogers going along with this like it isn't a big deal at all. The man fought in WW2! (There was a page from a 90s X-Men/Avengers crossover event called Bloodties that I wanted to put here to illustrate the point - it takes place on Genosha where the mutate population have been put into camps to "protect" them from the Legacy virus that was ravaging the country, and when Captain America finds one such camp he is... less than happy - but I can't find a scan of it anywhere and I don't know where my own copy is, so just take my word for it.)

So we have those problems with the whole thing. Then we have the way Hydra is keeping control of the US now that they have it. Propaganda and information blackouts are one thing, but they're also putting mind control agents in the water and encouraging people - including children - to inform on anyone they think is harbouring "anti-Hydra" thoughts. And if they catch you... well, it seems all you have to do to stop the torture/execution is to "Hail Hydra", and again, how the hell can Captain America still be thought of as in any way "good" or still heroic if he's going along with this? He kills two of his friends because of this! In panels where they discuss these things he looks more annoyed by the bureaucracy than anything else.

It seems that Marvel might be starting to realise that they've written themselves into a corner with their portrayal of Captain America now, as the end of #2 of Secret Empire seems to be setting up a "good Steve/bad Steve" situation, but certainly right now they can't go on trying to make Captain America be all, "It's all for the best! No really, my murderous brainwashing Hydra allies aren't bad!" without completely destroying the character forevermore.

So in conclusion: no, Nick would not have been agreeing with Steve Rogers and Hydra on this. At all.
sareini: "ambiguous desire" written over an image of Desire of the Endless (Desire)
Yesterday while going to the vets', I was reminded by a large billboard that the new Twin Peaks is starting soon (May 22 here in the UK). This in turn reminded me that I had meant to marathon through the original series some time ago, but never quite got around to it.

Mainly it was because of Nick. When the new series was announced a couple of years ago, Nick revealed to me that he had never actually seen the TV series; just the prequel movie Fire Walk With Me. And even then he couldn't remember who had actually killed Laura Palmer. So I made the decision that we would watch the whole thing together so he could be up to speed when the new series began. I think we made it most of the way through the first series before he got distracted by something else, and then he went and died so he never learned the truth about Killer Bob and the one-armed man.

So now with a week or so to go I'm watching the whole thing again with the cats for company, and the very first thing that struck me is how much I loved the music. Seriously, I'm surprised I forgot, but back in my teens I actually had the CD of all the music from the show, because it was just so sad and melodic and haunting. I couldn't get enough of it. I had to pause the first episode just so I could run to Spotify and add half the pieces to a playlist.

The second thing that's struck me is how real the characters are. And by "real" I mean quirky, flawed and human. Much as I love my Criminal Minds and my Supernatural and the like, it sometimes feels as though the characters there don't show themselves to have flaws or weaknesses unless a major plot point relies upon it. Here we get things like Deputy Andy crying every time they find a dead body, and the reactions of Laura's parents upon hearing the news of her death are heartrending even now (of course, Leland Palmer being played by Ray Wise, a man who may have been born to play Satan in later TV shows, certainly helps). It all just helps to draw you in. It's something David Lynch is good at - exposing the dark heart of suburbia for all to see.

And the 90s fashion! And the hairstyles! I remember being so very jealous of Donna Hayward and Audrey Horne for having short curly hair that they could still make look good, while the best I could manage was "not quite Screech from Saved By The Bell". I also had girlcrushes on both of them that I didn't know were girlcrushes, because I hadn't figured out that I was bi at that point. I remember being so very confused about how fascinated I was at Audrey's ability to tie a knot in a cherry stem with her tongue...
sareini: quintesson icon (transformers)
My brother was the one who got me into comics. He bought me my first one when I was five (it was an issue of the UK Transformers series, where Circuit Breaker was trying to kill Jazz but stopped because it was Christmas and even traumatised psychotics in fetish circuit gear who want to kill all machines can appreciate the spirit of Christmas). So it's only fitting that, 32 years later, I'm now the one recommending comics and lending graphic novels to him whenever he visits.

He's just recently finished the entire run of Garth Ennis' Preacher, which he greatly enjoyed (mainly for the side characters, because he felt like Jesse Custer was less a protagonist and more of a hook to hang the story on, which I can't say I disagree with), so it was time to start him on some new ones. I'm currently holding off on showing him The Boys, because I think he needs some more understanding of Garth Ennis outside of 2000AD before we go there, so instead I gave him the introductory graphic novel of Hitman, which Ennis wrote for DC in the 90s. It's about a professional hitman who gets superpowers from an alien source (x-ray vision and limited telepathy) and decides to use them to elevate his hitman game instead of going all heroic. Ennis isn't a big fan of superheroes. It was one of Nick's favourite series, so we'll see how he likes it.

I also gave him the standalone Batman v Alien, the first three books of Ex Machina (guy gets the ability to communicate with and control machines from mysterious source, tries being a superhero for a bit, then gives that up and becomes mayor of New York) and the first four books of Secret Six (which started off as Villains United) which was Nick's absolute favourite comic book series with bells on. Six supervillains of various backgrounds (Deadshot, Catman, Ragdoll, Bane, Scandal Savage and Jeanette were the core six eventually, although there was a fair bit of special guest stars as well) team up as a mercenary group that sometimes does good things and sometimes bad, depending on the pay. It's notable for giving Bane a personality beyond "Break the Bat!" and having the homoerotic relationship between Deadshot ad Catman be all but canon. Oh, and also for portraying Deadshot as absolutely sociopathic, rather than the Will Smith version we saw in the Suicide Squad movie (not that there was a problem with that; I think the comics Deadshot would have been utterly impossible to have as an antihero on the big screen so they had to change things up). We'll see how he finds all of these. After all, as well as Transformers, my brother also introduced me to Judge Dredd, Zenith (by Grant Morrison, and therefore exactly as irreverent and weird as you'd expect), Strontium Dog and The Ballad of Halo Jones, among others. So I'm pretty much honour-bound to up the game now with my recommendations.
sareini: default ("bad century")
Six years. It's been a while. Stuff's happened, obviously, since I was last here.

Nick died. November 17 2015 - so exactly 4 months ago. I got woken up at 4am by the cats biting my elbow (well, Lily was biting as Cracker has no teeth), heard the silence of the house and realised it was not a good silence, went to his room and found him dead in bed. Bronchopneumonia and sepsis, it turned out to be. He'd had a cough for several weeks but we'd thought nothing of it, mainly because of an advert that had been on TV a couple of years previously that went, "Had a cough for more than a few weeks? It could be CANCER!" and so whenever I mentioned the cough we'd laugh about that and he'd tell me it was nothing serious. All the other symptoms were masked by the ridiculous amount of painkillers Nick needed to take on a daily basis to do things like get out of bed and move about - he was on 40mg of morphine at the end because of the state of his knees and back. So neither of us knew anything until it was way too late for anything to be done.

It was very odd, telling his friends and family that he had died and then immediately following it up with, "He didn't kill himself." Because for the last few years, Nick's mental problems had been getting the better of him as well. I'd been his full-time carer for several years at that point, and it's pretty safe to say that looking after him was really the only thing that was keeping me going day-to-day. Because after his death I more or less had a complete mental breakdown myself and am now quite nearly as crazy as he was, albeit with my own spin on things. I don't leave the house very much any more, talk to anyone or do very much, because the outside world is really just too big and scary and overwhelming to deal with now. And it has far too many people.

So it's just me and the cats now. And it's two new cats too. Sandy sadly died in 2011 of stomach cancer, and Suki followed him 3 months later of old age and just being lonely. So now I have Lily, who's a ginger flump who barely makes a sound except when she's playing, but who loves to climb up onto the sofa or bed with me and snuggle and lick my nose (and occasionally nip it as a game). She's 12 now, but she neither looks it nor acts like it, which is a good thing as I don't think I could cope with losing anyone else for a good while. The other cat is Cracker, who we got about 6 months after Lily because she was getting a little bit too flump-y and we hoped that a playmate might help her lose some weight. Cracker is a skinny black cat with no teeth and inflammatory bowel disease, which means she uses the litter box a lot- hence her full title sometimes being Cracker the Amazing Pooping Cat. She came from a house with 21 other cats after being rescued from the streets, which made her the friendliest cat in the world, albeit with a lack of understanding about personal space that's remarkable, even for cats, and also one of the most anxious. She doesn't like being on her own - even more so now that it's just the three of us, and howls her displeasure if she finds herself alone in a room for more than 1o minutes.

I'm at university again, this time studying Creative Writing part-time. Well, that's the theory anyway, as I'm currently more or less on extenuating circumstances leave while I try to get myself back on my feet. My tutors are all very understanding, actually, as apparently I'm quite good at my course and they want to keep me on, but it's still difficult to get into classes when I can't face going out and I've got no money to do so anyway. Because of course, with being completely snooker loopy comes the fun of being unable to work and having to claim disability benefits... but we'll go into the fun and games of that in another post. Just rest assured that it's not really possible to live on £73 a week when £50 of that goes on heating and electricity, and that if it wasn't for the help of others I wouldn't have lasted this long.

I decided to start posting here again because I need somewhere to put my thoughts down, and because this is, in theory at least, a way in which I can reach out to other people in some semblance of socialisation. Because most days, other than the cats and my brother who calls every day, I don't talk to anyone at all, and that's probably not helping my mental state. I'm going to try to post something every day, even if it comes down to, "Still here, still not doing much but watching twitch.tv on the sofa." because at least I'm trying then.

Also, I can play with all my icons.
sareini: default (discworld - tried normality)
So, I've apparently come to the attention of the BBC, as seen in this article listing bloggers from Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire (guess I'm now really officially a local, then). I wouldn't have even found out about this except that I was bored this morning after staying up all night reading Fashion SWAT on SomethingAwful, and was just idly browsing and wondering what was going on in the local area. I nearly had a heart attack when I saw my name there, and when I showed Nick he nearly spat coffee everywhere.

For those who don't want to scroll 2/3rd of the way down the page to see my name in lights (so to speak), here's what the BBC have to say about me:

"Writers are also using blogs as their starting point for stories. Darkkat, as she is known, regularly posts notes that discuss possible ideas. She also occasionally posts reviews to films that she's interested in - which tend to be about horror and science fiction."

I'm not sure whether to feel impressed, self-conscious or worried that I've been distilled into, effectively, 'writer and reviewer of horror movies' (although when I think about it, that is an awful lot of what I do). But it has made me determined to kick myself up the arse and start posting more...

Also, Nick sulked because he wasn't on the list. So he insisted I pimp him on my blog. So, if anyone's interested in reading the rantings and ramblings of a 30something, hairy, opinionated and crazy liberal, you can find him here.
sareini: default (cthulhu)
This is something I've been meaning to write up for some time. I'm finally getting round to it now because I'm (a) down with the sickness right now (damn flu!) and (b) at something of a loose end while I craft things in Fallen Earth. So I might as well use the time productively.

The long, long story is behind this cut... )
sareini: default (lfg-fwoom)
There is an ad that plays regularly when Nick watches his various politics shows on the internet lately. It's for Duracell batteries, and it's had several different versions, each dealing with a different type of technology that's supposed to be life-saving/incredibly important, that wouldn't be as efficient without Duracell batteries. Their latest one apparently has to do with night-vision goggles, and finishes with the line (or something very much like it), "Even in the blackest night..."

So now Nick and I have decided that Duracell power the Green Lantern rings.

"In brightest day,
In darkest night...
Duracell Batteries, proud sponsors of the Green Lantern Corps."

Antichrist

Aug. 29th, 2009 04:01 pm
sareini: default (discworld - millenium hand and shrimp)
Last night, I found myself with the chance to actually watch Antichrist, one of the two films I mentioned last week here.

cut for spoilers and very disturbing content... )

(Last.fm is being bitterly ironic with the music too, I see...
sareini: default (Discworld - Thunder rolled)
So, there's a new MMO out called Champions Online. It's a superhero MMO, and so of course everyone who plays or has ever been interested in City of Heroes is all a-buzz with talk and opinions about it. Well, this weekend there was a completely open beta for anyone who wanted to give it a try just before it went live, so Nick and I downloaded it (well, let's be exact - it got downloaded onto Nick's machine because my computer currently doesn't have the graphics to run anything much above Minesweeper) and we spent most of Sunday giving it a test-run.

Cut so that the majority of you uninterested in my MMOing can be unassailed by the wall-o-text... )
sareini: default (jack/ianto)
...so a few days ago Nick and I were talking sci-fi shows, and I suggested, purely in jest, the image of Jack Harkness as the Earth Ambassador on Babylon 5, with Ianto Jones as his long-suffering aide/lover. Nick, instead of telling me I was utterly mad and changing the subject, told me I was utterly mad and then started coming up with ideas of what Jack would do on B5 (or, to be more exact, what trouble he would get into)

And thus, a new brainworm was born.

I think this is my first crackfic... )
sareini: default (Nate)
Nick and I watched this last night, in lieu of anything else that caught our attention.

Here be spoilers... )
sareini: default (Number 61)
It's Nick's birthday today. He's 33, and I get the feeling he's feeling a little depressed over it. He doesn't like the idea of getting older.

His mother sent him a big box of stuff, including a new George Foreman grill because our old/current one is starting to lose its non-stick coating in places and really getting on a bit. I'll be "christening" it for him tonight. Suki got a present too, in the form of the box that everything came in. Suki likes to play in boxes.

Apparently, Nick shares his birthday with (among others):

- Alexander Pope (1688 - 1744)
- Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (1859 - 1930)
- Harvey Milk (1930 - 1978)
- Theodore Kaczynski (1942 - )

Return

May. 20th, 2009 12:45 pm
sareini: default (American Gods - organising gods/cats)
I haven't been around for a while, have I? Yeah, I could claim that having to effectively share a computer with Nick has made it difficult to get onto lj much, but really, it's not that hard to get to the computer when he's asleep, so... Anyway, I'm making an effort to be back again now.

The Bad News )

The Good News )

So that's the big news that's happened to us over the past few months.
sareini: default (Number 13)
It is cold. -6 degrees celsius (that's 21.2 degrees fahrenheit) to be exact. As a result, Nick is wearing socks on his hands a la Jeff Hardy (I've threatened to get some brightly coloured fabric dyes and paint stripes on them) and Jelli, once she's on our laps or in fact anywhere where there's a duvet or chance for warmth, refuses to move. She's perfectly happy to employ her claws in this as well.

In trying to keep my hands unfrozen and have the blood keep running through them, I'm trying to knit gloves. Only I don't have any sircular needles and I don't know how to shape fingers, so they're likely to end up as some sort of freaky handwarmers or something...

Oh, and there's also snow. I hate my country's weather.

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