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17 May 2020 @ 01:04 pm
Hi Friends, LJ Users, Nigerian Scammers, Russian Bots and sundry others!
Thanks for taking a moment to read my sticky post on friending.

On the whole, there's no need to friend me if you just want to read my fics, since they are posted unlocked. In fact, most of my locked posts are me ranting about the state of the world (usually from a politics or media slant) or some such.

Generally, I am a ready friender. If you friend me and you have entries in your livejournal or have commented on some of my posts, you can usually expect to be friended back, unless:
* There are no entries in your LJ.
* I do not recall us ever having 'spoken' online (given how selective my memory is, you should probably assume this.)
* Your LJ is written wholly in a language I do not speak (pretty much anything that is not English, or French or Italian (both of which I speak poorly), or German, Spanish, Latin, Dutch, Danish, Swedish, Norwegian, Welsh or Irish (all of which I have a smattering of and enough reference books to get the gist.) (Though if your journal is in actual Latin as opposed to Lorem Ipsum, I will probably immediately friend you on principle.)
* Your journal consists of several entries a day concerning My Little Pony, school and whether your hair looks better in plaits, pigtails, or with a fringe pouf. You are probably adorable, but should not be subjected to my occasional flocked rants.

SO, if you've friended me (thanks!) and I've not friended you back, just drop a brief line saying 'Excuse me, oh vague and neglectful one, could you friend me back please?'

I can't guarantee that I will ever have time to be a good lj friend, but I will try and provide you with amusing content and I always try to read my whole flist. Well, the stuff before the cut at any rate.
01 January 2020 @ 04:42 pm
For me to keep track of!Collapse )
10 January 2015 @ 06:51 pm
Part one

Part two

Part threeCollapse )

End note:
The title is from a Pink Floyd song that started playing in my head early in the writing of this and then wouldn't go away. There is a good chord chart for it here if you have a guitar or ukulele handy, and a mammoth stadium version of it by the band here if you don't.
10 January 2015 @ 06:32 pm
So, last year, in spite of still being worked off my feet and not having finished unpacking and still feeling a bit poorly after Moving Death Plague, I thought it would be a good idea to sign up for not one, but two fests. Because I am an idiot.

I flaked on one. I've never flaked before: in the past I've pulled out of one, been late with many, but never actually flaked. The fic is actually 4500-words written and will go up some time this year when finished, dedicated to the awesome mod who was all 'Meh, you know, it's just a fic, it's not brain surgery, no-one's going to die.' Still deeply ashamed.

However, because I had tried to keep going to the end with that one, I was late starting the second, for hd_erised. Which was going to be fine: it was due mid-Novemberish, I had started it, I had an idea and an outline for most of it, I had a good opening scene, I would just write like the wind for two and a half weeks and it would be FINE.

Which is about when I broke my wrist … Sadly, this was not the worst thing to happen in November and December. There were deaths of people I cared for, there was a close relative who was very ill (I try to be kind to him even though I don't like him), and others who needed to be supported or at least listened to (especially Mum, who I love even though she's a fruitloop). I got sick again, and I didn't have time to be sick. Work was mammoth and then I helped others on days when their work was far more mammoth and vital.

And throughout it all, this fic kept being written. Partly because of the marvellous astardanced77, who, at very short notice, said, 'Of course I can beta that for you!' and then not only did so splendidly (never has the phrase all remaining mistakes are my own been truer), but also bullied me in a loving and wise way to ignore the fact that I felt like physical and emotional drek and just focus on the story.

Which was always going to be about the ways in which we heal, and which ended up being about me remembering that pain goes away, love and kindness stay.

The other thing that kept it going were weird coincidences. melusinahp had a great note on her LJ about Hanukkah, I had a notebook that contained a scene where Draco thought about converting to Judaism, because he thought a ritual of contemplation would be better for him than one of consumerism. VERY HARD not to say 'OH, HEY!'

I had Harry breaking over a dozen bones some months before the story began, there was I with a fresh one. I'd written a long list of potions I wanted Draco to be inventing, they became wish fulfillment items for me as I sat there holding my cast above my head and waiting for my arm to stop throbbing. I had Draco being eye-rolly about Wiccans (sorry, Wiccans, you're lovely and I am a terrible person), JKR was eye-rolly about Hogwarts Wiccans on Twitter (pretty sure she just meant 'well, obviously that's not how Hogwarts Magic works', which Mel again was posting about. Spooky!)

But none of that would have mattered for anything had it not been for the wonderful mods, capitu, gracerene and sassy_cissa, who were understanding, funny and kind throughout. Thank you!

In theory I was going to have another go at this story this year with two hands and some sleep under my belt and time to expand everything. In actuality, I am going to finish other things instead!

Title: On the Turning Away
Author: blamebrampton
Recipient: Squeeka, keeper_of_stars
Rating: PG
Word Count: 25,500-ish
Summary: It's one thing to be good at not making a besotted fool of yourself over a man when he's busy being the most famous wizard in the world and you're tucked away quietly in Wiltshire. It's quite another when you have to see him every morning.
Author's Notes: Dear Squeeka, your prompts were delightful and inspiring, I wish I could have incorporated them all. I hope you like the ones that made it in. An enormous thank you to astardanced77, who beta-ed under the most trying circumstances imagineable – all remaining problems are entirely my own. And great gratitude also to the mods, who were kind, supportive and understanding. No thanks at all to the fates, who conspired cruelly.
Disclaimer:All Harry Potter characters herein are the property of J.K. Rowling and Bloomsbury/Scholastic. No copyright infringement is intended.

Part oneCollapse )
08 January 2015 @ 09:07 am

Will update credits later.


By David Pope.
05 January 2015 @ 11:15 pm
Guess who looks like a squirrel becaues her lower leftt wisdom tooth has turned to the path of darkness?

I have a tube of bonjela and a dentist's appointment in the morning. If you don't hear from me for a few days, it will be because I am sitting with an icepack clutched to my cheek swearing like a sailor!
04 January 2015 @ 02:38 am
Happy Birthday teganscrush. I hope that this year is entirely kind to you!
31 December 2014 @ 10:02 pm
We have a lot of fireworks in Sydney at New Year, so I was determined to get the cats in before they started. Monster was sitting patiently at the door, because she is a good cat. Cookie had clearly gone over the fence, which is her new thing, following Satan's Own Kitty. However, one good shake of the kibble bag and she came home a few minutes later. No sign of Rusketus.

I shook the kibble bag again. Nothing.

I tapped on the gushy food tin. Nothing.

The first firework banged. KITTEN! Looking like this:


Yes, he is wet (and licking gushy food from his teeth). From the smell, we think he may have fallen into a fishpond rather than been hosed. He wasn't fishing, as the top of his head is the only completely dry part and his front paws were much drier than his back ones. He has required many cuddles. Shame about the slight pong.

On a less smelly note:
A very happy birthday to hollyxu! You are such a kind soul, I hope that this year is filled with ease and people who rightly love you, and gifts! Fabulous gifts!

Happy Birthday, too, to aella_irene! I hope that this is a year of extremely successful writing for you, and that all the people who have unwittingly inspired you are even now organising for you to have cake, ever so much cake!

And finally, a very happy birthday to zeitgeistic! Have a lovely 30th and may you need to move exactly 0 times this year, unless it is for scads of cash and with professional movers! MWAH! All the giftage, my friend!

HAPPY NEW YEAR TO NEW ZEALAND! It's just kicked off there, and I hope that the rest of us see in the change of the Gregorian calendar with joy and peace or peace shattered only by fireworks and giggling.
31 December 2014 @ 12:55 am
Happy Birthday, bottle_of_smoke! You've had such an incredible year, I don't think I can wish for anything more fervently than I did for you to have a head cold (we know why that was good!), but I do hope that everyone surpasses themselves in the gifts, cake and enjoyable fuss stakes on your behalf. You're a gem!

And, fanfic recs!

I am dipping in and out of hd_erised like a weak-willed swimmer at a cold beach. It's revoltingly hot or humid here most days, so in theory I have loads of reading time. In actuality, I have a disastrous house and garden after two months of Mr B 'doing' the housework and we still have boxes to unpack, so I am forcing myself to do things and then need brief comas to recover, so I've not made it through half as much as I ought. But I come bearing some real treats!

Firstly, my gift art! I don't know why more people don't request art, because you are likely to be on such a winning bet if you do. And I won hugely! It's a multi-page work called Fiji and it's utterly fabulous. The faces! The eyes! The hands! The story is simple: Hermione goes on holidays, so Harry is free to skive off, taking his grumpy assistant Draco with him. But the emotion that comes through the simple marks on paper is astonishing and beautiful, as is all this artist's work.

And now, fics! I think that Tea and No Sympathy was the first I managed to catch, and it was such a good start! It's long, 70K, but written in such an engaging style that it never feels as though you are labouring. Basically, Draco spells himself into a Groundhog Day style loop and becomes convinced that he needs Potter to get him out of it. I loved the fact that the author held out for a non-easy end on this one, it really paid off dramatically. A sterling blend of humour and drama, and with the most splendid little owl OC. No, trust me, Pip the Owl is totally a fully fledged (pun intended) character!

Similarly assured in its writing was House Style for Gryffindors. It's a fifth the length of Tea and No Sympathy, so if you're pushed for time, start here. Draco works on a wizarding version of the Tatler, along with half his schoolmates, including Hermione Granger. When editor Pansy hires Harry Potter for sports and general buffness, Draco takes refuge first in prossecco, then in refuge, and finally in denial. None of these work. It's the best kind of silliness, loaded with light, sparklng wit, but with a few moments that make you pause and say 'Oh …'

And I do have more, but my left hand is still meh, so I'll come back later. Have a marvellous New Year, you lot!
25 December 2014 @ 10:32 pm
It's that time of year again when, throughout the Western world and in many other places, we're all told to be filled with joy and peace.

But I think it's OK not to be.

For everyone who has lost, or who is tired or who is alone, it's OK. Because while the advertisements say that the Christmas message is gifts and family, they're wrong. It's hope.

That's the whole story: the hope that one moment can change everything. And that's true whether you're an atheist, a Christian, a Muslim, a Hindu, a Jew … anyone at all.

Each of you have been moments that have changed my life and brought happiness. Thank you for that. I wish you all peace this Christmas and at the end of Hanukah or (in Sydney) profoundly wet December 25.

And at some point between now and Australia Day I'll get my act together to by you lot the traditional Oxfam chickens or goat!
18 December 2014 @ 11:44 pm
There's a lot going on this month, most of it sadly crap, on which more later. I owe posts, comments and let us not speak of Christmas cards (I strongly suspect I am just giving up and will be sending out Australia Day Cards to go with the Australia Day Knitwear for UK types.)


And yes, that swelling is every bit as uncomfortable as it looks. But at least I have de-scaled most of the lizard skin!
11 December 2014 @ 01:29 am
Dear kareina, I hope that it is freezing and snowing and that you have a perfect day!
08 December 2014 @ 01:07 am

And I am onto cast five, which is ridiculous. There were two half casts, the glow in the dark number, then waterproof cast number one:

Which was surprisingly uncomfortable, thanks to a slightly altered thumb position and a bit of tightness that made my fingers swell if I walked around with it unslung. I had it done privately at Camperdown Physiotherapy and, stupidly, took the earliest appointment rather than waiting five days for the hand specialist.

Happily, they are a very good practice. They rang to see how it was going and, when I admitted it wasn't fab, they booked me straight in with the hand specialist and redid it for free. She told me I wasn't mad: thumb positions are crucial and fiddly. And I came away with this:

Look how short it is! That red is my sleeve! underneath it is arm! SO LIGHT!

This was one of the few high points of the month, because by then I had developed a raging flu-like virus, but could only take one day off work and had a series of radio interviews I had to do with first laryngitis and then violent coughing fits. One was with one of my fave commercial newscasters (a very short list). As soon as we went live, a violent coughing fit tried to start, so for the first two minutes of the interview I was desperately trying to hold it off and was answering questions as though I was drugged. The interviewer was very kind, but I could hear him worrying that I was having a stroke. So I gave in and coughed on live radio, which meant i could start to use my brain for thinking again rather than Not Coughing – I could hear the relief in the interviewer's voice as I started making sense!

This week has been Sydney Stormageddon as we have had monsoons every evening. Bloody climate change! My poor roses, which were splendid a few weeks ago, are now denuded. Here's one before the rains. In good news, digging 150kg of compost and manure into those beds back in September was clearly worth it!


I hope that things are going much better for all of you. Alas, the people who were going to receive Christmas knits will now be receiving Australia Day knits. It's a traditional gift! Honest!
07 December 2014 @ 02:31 pm
Sorry for bad typing, on phone and on bus. But just getting to the end of The Breakout Novelist by Donald Maass and it's a big rec from me. The stuff on writing all good, but the stuff on agents and contracts and deciphering publisher speak is utterly brilliant. Available on ebook and worth every penny
20 November 2014 @ 11:20 pm
Wrist still broken, though the bone has changed! Apparently the reason all the X-rays of the scaphoid looked inconclusive is because I broke the trapezium. Of course. Three X-rays and one CT scan later ...


Why yes, that cast does glow in the dark! Also, it has roughly trebled the diameter of my wrist. Ever so awkward for practically everything. Also, immobilised thumb and no grip. Can't even make rude gestures without an extraneous upright digit.

Putting on opaque tights/stockings with one hand is nearly impossible. This is unfortunate as my work wardrobe revolves around them. But I also own a lot of cotton leggings for easy cycling, so I have just substituted them in. Alas, they are only a little easier. Because they are essentially tights, you're meant to pull them on evenly up both sides at once. Do one side and the other tends to scrunch up on itself, which means you end up doing right three inches, left three inches, right three inches ...

In a moment of genius, I realised that if I bought LARGER leggings, they would be less tight! And it worked! Easy to get on! Except ...

Work bestie: 'Are you OK?'
Me: 'Yep, just pulling up my leggings.'
WB: 'Why do they keep falling down?'
Me: 'Don't ask ...'

Let us not speak of bras ... Alas, I am missing everything, but almost all typing hand is being saved for my Erised fic. Talk soon, only four more weeks!
03 November 2014 @ 10:01 pm
Saturday was hot. If you speak new money, it was 37 degrees, if you speak old, 98.6. I'd bunkered down the house to keep it cool, kept the cats in and battened down everything in the garden, as high winds were forecast.

But we needed food, so I checked the weather radar and thought I had just enough time to get to the shops and back before any storms developed. I probably would have if I hadn't stopped to chat to a friend. As it was, I came out of the deli into wind that must have been gusting at aroud 100km, because it was very hard to stay upright and the horizontal rain was a bit ouchie. Sensibly, I took shelter in the lee of the tattooist's and waited for the worst to go past.

I made it to the supermarket during a brief lull, cognisant that lightning was getting closer and that it's more sturdily built than the tattooist's. There I busied myself buying quorn and asparagus and a Jamie Oliver spiced pudding, because I have become a cliche since moving to the suburbs. (I jest not, Mr Brammers wants to buy a Volvo.)

I warned a few people not to leave as I was coming in, the remainder were paying enough attention not to even try. It howled. Lightning struck nearby and thunder shook the whole building, the gutters overflowed. And then it was gone.

I headed home quickly, aware that Sydney storms can be unpredictable, but it was sunny and barely spotting rain by the time I had walked the four minute trip.

And there were trees and powerlines down all up the street.

So I dropped off the groceries, grabbed my gloves and phone, and headed out. Neighbour One was waiting to get through to the State Emergency Services on his phone, I called the police on the local area command line to let them know they needed to block off the street to trucks: the trees were only across the pavements and gardens, Neighbours Two and Three had removed the one bough that had made it onto the road, but the lines had been lifted off the power poles on one side, and while cars and humans had clearance under them (happily, I didn't need to convince anyone that it would be a bad idea to actively walk under them, most Marrackvillains are sensible!), trucks did not.

The police arrived quickly and were fab, so the neighbourhood set then trotted off to clear what we could of a big tree down in a yard a few doors up. It was a eucalypt – they ALWAYS come down in winds, so never camp under one or plant one over 3 metres next to your house. My next-door neighbour, who wants us to cut down the lone pine in our garden, told everyone that he thought the pine was going to fall and that he had never seen a gum tree come down before. Being evil, I took the opportunity to let him know that the exact opposite set of beliefs were accurate, but I was nice about it and said I only knew because I had done a course. People always cope with you knowing something they don't if you've done a course.

I started to clear out the smaller bits of tree, so there would be less for the SES to have to do. Mr next-door told me to leave it to the men, because I would hurt myself. I told him I'd done a course on risk assessment and that if he would turn the branch he was hauling around, it would come more easily and not knock everything down as he took it up the drive. He listened to me only after he'd taken out a pot and a bench.

After twenty minutes, we were down to things that should not be touched, and Mr Next Door had finally been convinced that I made sense, so translated the need to wait for the SES to the Greek householders. I showed how only the fence would be damaged if the winds shifted the fallen tree more, and they were relieved. Mr Next Door followed me home, where Mr Brammers was finally ambling out (he assumes I will call him if he's needed.)

'Your wife takes command,' said Mr Next Door.

'Oh, she knows all about trees and emergencies,' said Mr B. 'She's from the country, and used to work for the Parks Service, where they make you take lots of courses.'

Mr Next Door seemed satisfied by this, and I managed not to roll my eyes.

Pride has its own set of aphorisms.

Yesterday, walking down Addison Road towards the market, this happened:


Broken scaphoid. Apparently I am fab in an actual emergency, incapable of walking down a slightly crap piece of pavement.
16 October 2014 @ 01:44 pm
Anyone on my flist in or near Okinawa? I may need to trek off for a week for work, which is on the one hand fab, YAY Japan! And on the other hand, I have limited money at the moment, am completely behind on everything, and really want to get back to the UK for a month and this is not helpful.

Meet-up would definitely sweeten the situation!
11 October 2014 @ 02:08 am
Still running round like headless chicken and finishing one fic (late) at the same time as working on another (not yet late!) (Anyone want to beta a shortish fic next week? Not if you're meant to be writing for anything!), BUT …

hp_reunion have announced their dates for a massive Get The Fandom Back Together Fest, November 1-16. You can read about the plans so far here>. BRILLIANT idea, though it looks like they could do with an H/D track, you know …

And Bloomsbury have decided we should have the international festival of Harry Potter Book Night, with a whole festival of THINGS next February 5 (I know it should be May 2, book people are crazycakes.) Check out the details and sign up for info here.

And if you're in Australia or New Zealand, you can win a family trip to London and a Harry Potter Tour by answering one simple question right here!

And now, shower and bed. I planted six roses and dug in 100kg of compost between 8.30 and 10.30 last night, wearing a head torch. I fear am going to be That Lady to the neighbours.

OOH! No, one quick anecdote first! Bus back from ukulele tonight was a DEBACLE, 45 minutes late, bunch of kids up the back playing their music very loudly. It was that blah misogynistic rap without even cleverness, musicality or genuine oppression to temper it. I was already eye-rollingly middle aged, and then just as I was getting ready to get off the bus, two of them started singing.

Now to get off the bus, I have to pick up my ukulele case (it's the concert uke, so a reasonably sized instrument in a good case), then I have to swing on my backpack full of music + work bits and grab my handbag and brolly. It's a little bit of a production. I had just done all this and made it down to the centre bus door, providing something for people in the front half of the back of the bus to look aimlessly at, when the singing started.

And it was bad. So very, very bad. And I have perfect pitch and sensitive ears, so there is a face I can't help pulling when things are horribly off key and I am not prepared for them. And I pulled it. And all those other people who had been sitting there silently thinking 'Would you bloody well turn that over to something that doesn't denigrate women in every second line?!' saw me pull it. And there was a surprising burst of laughter.

Bless the kids, they kept singing, because I minded that far less than the crap rap and you should still be allowed to sing even if you're shit, but one of their friends, in a friendly tone, announced, 'Dude, Music Lady judges you!'

I gave them a bright smile when they looked up, to encourage the singing to go on rather than the rap come back (even though I was getting off, I thought of the others), but it's true, I was judging. But I was very pleased to see that just as when I was their age and people would come out and say, 'The Happy Mondays are very good, yes, but it is two in the morning and you are in a city where people live and would you for the love of tiny bunnies shut the fuck up?!' and we would go 'Bloody old people!' but accept that they had a fair point, so too did this lot. Good old Yoof! Now I just need to get a USB stick loaded up with Happy Mondays and pass it over the next time I am in a situation like this. Or else Belgian rap, which is funny!
06 October 2014 @ 10:51 pm
It was a long weekend in Sydney. On the Saturday we went on a little night-time bushwalk with friends in the mountains to a glowworm cave, which was nothing short of delightful. It was particularly good to see how physically adept most of the kids in the group were and how open to Odd Things in the Outdoors. The one who wasn't was actively helped along by some of the others, which was lovely.

Yesterday, the rugby league team we sort of support (we don't really follow league, but they are Erskineville locals and were always so lovely when they were training at the oval or grabbing a kebab that we started to watch their games and cheer for them) won the premiership for the first time in 43 years. Their opponents were enormous, one of them looked like a polar bear, and for the first 65 or so minutes of the game it was very scary and could have gone either way. And then in the last quarter hour, the Rabbitohs went from securing the lead to streaming away to 'Chaps, are you still playing? The game is still on, you know.' I may have cheered quite loudly, which made this morning a little awkward when I realised my neighbours had bedecked their house with flags for the opposing, losing team.

They're still going to like us more than the previous person who lived here, he was a bastard.

Today I was catching up on the gardening. One of the biggest jobs was laying new pavers in the front yard, where there was originally a muddy path and where we've been making do with slabs of sandstone I just plonked down when we moved in.

Mr Brammers said that he was going out the back to read a book and let the cats have some outdoors time. I told him to keep an eye on the cats, as Rusketus had been eyeing off the Catproofing, looking for ways to thwart our efforts. Some half hour later I could hear a little chirruping miaow. I looked around and could see nothing. 'Have you got the cats?' I called down the side passage. 'It's fine,' came the reply.

I went back to digging in the concrete-like ground (the WORST soil: building waste, stones, cinders in one bit. HOW?! And full of onion weed …) and then heard the same sound. I looked up to see Ruus with his tail straight and high (the position that says 'I am cleverer than my humans! Hurrah!') trotting across the front garden towards the gate.

He had slipped through the catproofing at the side of the house, trotted down the passage to the gap under the neighbour's fence, squirmed through, made his way down to the front where he could hear me and offer commentary on my work, then squirmed through another gap to return to our garden.

The good news is that he does come when called, and since I had just dug a hole, things were relevant to his interests. He was extremely offended to be returned to the indoors. This was his face:

I suspect he is plotting my death. It will probably involve divebombing from the shelves beside the bed, and occur around 5am.