jencat: (dr who)

Somehow I always expect to love the Who xmas specials far more than I actually do... the combination of Moffatt trying to write xmas in the middle of summer (after a typically brainmelting season finale), plus catering for all the casual viewers that inevitably drop in, ends up leading to something that's oddly neither fish nor fowl. And hey, RTD very rarely pulled it off either (I'd say The Christmas Invasion worked as a classic ep, but that's about it...).

 

So, this year's effort: not... great.  There were some lovely one-liners, the pimped up rooms were inspired, Claire Skinner did sterling work with some truly daft dialogue/plotting, kids managing not to be annoying, and the last freaking two minutes were an epically gorgous case of Moffatt writing his own fics yet again.... but mostly before that, the plot was flailing madly and falling into deep dark pits of cliche that I couldn't quite find enough xmas spirit to overlook. Shame :o(

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slightly spoilery )

Posted via LiveJournal app for Android.

jencat: (through the door)


Well, it's been an interesting season this year... vast amounts of snow (but never a white Christmas, naturally), vast amounts of alcohol for one night only (the work xmas party, of which i remember scarily little. And then had to call in sick the next morning with, er, not a hangover. Honest. It was a cold!).  There was a surprisingly fun little 'office do' where we handed out the Secret Santa pressies, and our manager decided to bribe us with M&S party food, and now I don't have to be back at work for another... nine days, woohoo!  Not that it's particularly awful, but I am starting to feel a little like the Ghost of Christmas Past these days, drifting around with lots of things leftover to do but no real purpose.  It doesn't exactly encourage mustering much enthusiasm for the whole thing, hence it was kinda easy to give in to the hacking cough that's been plaguing me this week and not roll in until the afternoon on Monday, Tues and Wednesday... ho hum.

And then I did all my lastminute shopping yesterday with surprisingly little stress, wrapped everything in existence last night while downing a bottle of mulled wine fizz (surprisingly drinkable!) and watching rubbish tv.  As everyone managed to behave themselves today, the only real moment of stress was hacking open both turkey crowns to realise they still hadn't bloody cooked properly, despite not showing any signs of this when we took them out of the oven originally... (although, given the vast amounts of butter and maple syrup stuck in and on the things a la Nigella, there was no chance they were ever going to be dry..!)

But it was good... only one kinda dud present that I really really hope my parents didn't spend much money on in which i am ungrateful )



The guy who wrote Scroogenomics kinda has a point, which is why this year I had no qualms about buying stuff I wanted myself and handing it over to parents/grandparents for them to wrap up and give me.  Half the time I don't even get the money back, but I'm not really bothered about that - I really just can't see the point of buying meaningless crap that isn't wanted or likely to be used.  seasonal whining )

Oooh, btw, was somebody feeding Russell T Davies lots of sugar and/or caffeine before he wrote the Doctor Who finale? Because all I've read in interviews is him raving about how epic and heartrending it was to write, and what we got in the first part tonight was a couple of brief moments of epic/heartrending, but mostly it felt like the hyper ADD kicking off of someone on a severe sugar high.  DW spoilery rants )


jencat: (Default)

Well, they certainly came up with the pretties this year...  The Next Doctor was absolutely gorgeous (the episode, not David Morrisey, who quite frankly wound me up so much in Sense & Sensibility that I pretty much couldn't stand him after that).  It had the usual RTD complete lack of regard for anything like logic or plot, but somebody had seriously been at the steampunk before they wrote this...

There was every steampunk convention you could think of chucked in, dripping in Victoriana and clockwork gears (although not quite as much as The Girl in the Fireplace) and Dervla Kirwan's villainess - Fabulousness.

Doing the usual RTD thing though, it was a case of rushing through all the boring plot building bits to get to the good stuff.  And the good stuff was seriously meaty - the visuals were amazing, and the grand plot reveals were pretty damn good - but I couldn't shake the feeling that it was slightly.. I don't know  - all style and no substance, maybe.

Certainly the most beautiful and visually impressive Christmas episode they've ever done - not up there with The Christmas Invasion in terms of script, or character or plotting (this script was never really going to come up with anything on the level of the Lion King one-liner from Invasion)  and maybe not quite as satisfying as last year's - but with just enough pathos to ground it.  But a plot this convoluted needed a two-parter to really play it out properly, and this ran by with blink-and-you-missed-it haste (in the hope that you don't see the cracks, and a cute shout-out to Blink. And Human Nature!). 

But, did I mention the gorgeous already? And even though slashfic does absolutely nothing for me, this was playing up to the doctor/'doctor' pairing to the point where even I noticed it...  Gawd, it was like watching that last  ep of Merlin again.

On to Strictly's xmas ep now, complete with predictably ridiculous scoring and Brucie's introduction of, er, Rachel and Vincent's theoretical raunchy Hoky-Coky, complete with demonstration.  Eek!


And, yay, today has been better than expected... wonders wil never cease.  For which I'm grateful.

jencat: (dessert spoons)


Heh. Christmas is coming, Twilight  is nearly here and I kinda forgot to book any iceskating this year...

Of course, Ticketmaster is on the long list of sites on the naughty list according to the insane firewall at work (which changes on a daily basis according to, er, what the weather, is by the look of it.  Capricious doesn't even begin to descibe that thing) as is the whole of LJ as of last week, and that made me seriously consider quitting.  And I'm not even over-reacting.. Honestly, now I have managers who actually treat us like grown-ups and, like, trust us to behave and get the work done, I'm quite capable of spending 10 mins here and there during the day switching off and LJ entries happen to be the perfect size for that.  Otherwise, I'm the one that only takes half my lunchbreak and stays late when stuff goes wrong, so we're all in agreement that it's kinda fine.  Except, of course, the IT Fuhrers never seem to agree... Bastards.

In other, completely unrelated news... I'm loving Robin McKinley's Chalice.  It's just... gorgeous.  Beautifully written and the literary equivalent of... slightly spicy hot chocolate, maybe.  Comforting and still a little bit dark.

Also loving Prison Break.. how can you not love the adorable cheek of trying to re-enact both Eternal Sunshine and The Matrix in one scene, while Michael's having a major brain op?!
I half kept expecting Sarah to start quoting Trinity (well, hell, we already knew Mike was The One, surely) and bring him back from the dead with a kiss... Ah well, she just stuck to pleading and it worked just as well!

Not loving Starbucks today.. not that you ever expect to be served by a native English speaker in.. well, any retail anything in London at all really, but today was ridiculous.  As I bought the same thing from the same branch every day this week, and hadn't had a problem before, it was a bit much that I had to repeat my order five times.Very slowly.  And how she then managed to interpret 'steamed milk with vanilla', then 'ok, hot milk. With Vanilla syrup.'  (when i realised we were having communication problems) into the black coffee that I ended up walking out with initially... lord knows, i have no idea.  I really don't.  Cos then I had to go back, queue up again and try explaining it again, and started getting snippy after the sixteenth attempt. 

Gawd knows, it's pretty much part of the basic job requirements, you'd think... Also slightly worrying that it's a problem we run into at work a lot, and that has slightly more at stake than a cappucino unfortunately.

jencat: (Default)
... is really the only word for it.  Cold outside, and it keeps drizzling with rain, and I seem to have done things every night last week to the point where I just curled up next to the fire for the whole weekend.

Well, almost.  There was the tree to put up, and a mad search for another gang plug so that we could have white and coloured lights on the tree (I managed to break the first two sets of 100 bulb white lights as I was putting them up, which left one sad little string of 50 bulbs working. That only covered about half the little 4ft tree, so the extra long string of coloured lights had to be be found a plug socket to fill in the gaps.  Convoluted, methinks...)

It looks pretty now, anyhoo.  Just the outside lights to go up at some point (not my responsibility, phew) and it would be nice to drape the little red cranberry lights up somewhere, but it's not looking very practical at the mo.  I've only had to rescue three baubles from the Demon Doodle Dog so far (he likes the big red/gold harlequin ones, apparently), as Kitten restricts herself to snagging things from the tree and chucking them on the floor (where the dog finds them. I'm starting to think they have a tag-team thing going on here.).  She's still completely agoraphobic, which means she's stuck in neurotic baby mode for a while longer and needs to be constantly amused.  I miss her being all grown-up and staying out all night playing with the foxes next door, even if that did entail 4am crying outside the back door. *sigh*

Ack.  Thursday night was our annual Grinch and eggnogg and present wrapping night, but it didn't start all that well.  Five minutes after I left, I noticed the car in front swerve and had to slam on my brakes and hazards when I realised there was a little white dog lying in the road. 

Read more... )

Friday night was what they usually call the Frost Fair down on the South Bank, although this year they actually ditched all the historical 'Frost Fair revival' schtick and started calling it the Winter Fair.  Not as much going on this year, by the time I got down there (the huskies had gone home for the night!) but it was pleasant enough.  We walked further down to the Festival Hall to catch the Cologne Christmas market, which was fun - Dutch pancakes and cutesy wooden ornaments and a carousel right out of Mary Poppins (of course we went on it!) so I proceeded to spend far more cash then I intended... Oops!

Today was.. constructive.  The bathroom is clean, the pickled onions are currently having a pre-pickling soak in salt, and a big vat of Nigella's Butternut and Sweet Potato Soup is sitting on the stove.  I maybe should have checked the veg a bit sooner while they were roasting so as to avoid quite so many burnt bits, but hey... tasted good enough to have for dinner with stilton crumbled on top. Nom!

So I managed to watch the repeat of the finale of Devil's Whore, Persuasion (the replacement dvd arrived, yay!), the Strictly semi-final (yay, actually pretty damn glad their mathematics went wonky as the judges were being mean to poor Tom) which has caused much upset from strange people who apparently don't want to see all the cool dancers do the final next week, then caught up on the last three eps of Prison Break (lordy, just realised there are so few series left to ship anymore, as Sarah and Michael are breaking my little heart and this series is playing out so well).  Tonight was... the big shock eps of Eastenders, which even I had to watch after all the drama this week, then the bits of Merlin I missed from last night (surprisingly, this has been a fairly respectable effort all round, although they are seriously just playing into the idea of Merlin/Arthur slash in some of the scenes from the final ep, and I am never going to buy into this Arthur/Guinevere in a million years.  Sorry guys, but they have zero chemistry - Gwen/Merlin are quite sweet, as they're both Rather Nice People, and the battling Arthur/Morgana were always fun, although Morgana is seriously vindictive/crazy/psychic enough for this to end Very Badly.

To end with a complete contrast, I finally watched Elf (awwww! And Zooey Deschanel as a blonde!) and then the final Wallander...  Very impressed with the three Henning Mankel adaptations they had, and an intriguing way of adapting foreign language detective fiction to TV.  Still identifiably Swedish -- all the writing was in Swedish, and they filmed on location in Ystad like the Swedish language adaptations did -- but acted in English with English accents, so they find ways of translating any vital written Swedish to being incorporated in the English dialogue so you don't miss anything.  Elegant, harrowing and very grown-up, it's a complete mystery why playing grey and rumpled makes Kenneth Branagh quite so adorable, but my god it does...

Lordy, it's late, and my hands absolutely still reek of onions after hours peeling for the pickling... off to find the scrubbing brush!

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Jennifer Howell

July 2015

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