briarwood: (FF River Girl)
This week I've been busy working on the [livejournal.com profile] sentinelbigbang. I am illustrating a story this year, not writing, but being a mod I also have to get all the stories ready for posting. I know, most big bangs make the participants do it and certainly some are so big there's no other way. With TSBB we ask writers and artist to send in their final copy and we do the posting. It gives us a little more control - no chance of anyone missing their posting date - and we get a nice, professional look. But it's a lot of work and it takes time.

Still, we have some fantastic stories this year. I kinda want to bring posting forward so I can post one of them on Halloween - it would be so perfect. But I'm not sure everything will be ready by then and anyway I shouldn't screw with the timetable. Posting in November!

Short Term 12 popped up on my Netflix recommendations today. I loved that movie when I saw it in the cinema last year, so I'm going to re-watch it tonight. It's an indie film about vulnerable kids in short term accommodation. I'd call it a feel-good movie, though not in the same way as most that get that label. It's about good people trying to do good things - to me, that's 'feel-good'.

Last week I also...discovered I once again have way too much annual leave saved up. Yeah, that's what happens when there's no chance to take it. And since they won't offer pay in lieu any longer I've got to take it. For the rest of this year, and maybe January, I'll be working 3.5 days a week. Good deal, huh?


Last week's movies were...Annabelle and Serena. Apparently it's my week for movies titled with girl's names. Annabelle was awful. I don't have high expectations of horror movies - there are good ones out there but most rely on cheap shocks and blood for the scares, or apparently forget they're supposed to be scary. This movie manages to do both and be boring and predictable besides. Oh, yeah - demon after your soul, so scary. Sorry - been there, done that, burned the t-shirt. Maybe Supernatural ruined the genre for me?

Serena on the other hand, was excellent. Another really strong performance from Jennifer Lawrence. The story wasn't as strong as it could have been, though. More focus on Serena herself would have been good. She completely transforms over the course of the film, and I would have liked more insight into some of her choices. It felt like the director was relying on the audience assuming 'she's female, so she's nuts' instead of explaining it. I felt no such confusion over the motivations of the men in the film, so why so shallow on the character the movie is named for? *shrug* Hollywood and strong female characters.


This week I am reading...TSBB stories! Reading while I work on them makes it go slower, but more fun.


This week I am listening to...The second half of A Storm of Swords. No surprises so far - it's all plot which has been covered in Game of Thrones on TV. I want to stop with the books before too much of the show gets spoiled for me; I'd rather see it on TV first. But the timelines seem a bit wonky and I wonder if I'll hit some major spoilers before I realise I should stop listening.
briarwood: Jennifer's Body - Demon!Jennifer (JB Jennifer)
The Guardian film section is having a Halloween celebration with each of the critics writing about the movie that frightens them most. You can find them all online if you're interested.

Anyhow, I thought I'd do the same. Horror films rarely scare me. Oh, I jump with everyone else at those moments, but being startled isn't being scared. Scared is when it stays with you after the film ends.

The first film that ever truly scared me in that way was the Hammer House of Horror's Charlie Boy. I was 7 or 8 (yes, way too young to be watching late-night creature features), and what scared me was the sheer inexorability of it. It's about a Voodoo doll - the kind you stick pins in to curse someone. In this case, the pin is stuck through a photograph then through the doll, and everyone in the photo starts to die, one by one. The Final Destination series repeated the concept but those never scared me like Charlie Boy. It was so random, and the characters had no idea death was coming. It stayed with me for a long time, that one. I guess technically that's not a movie, though, as the House of Horror series was made for TV.

So we come to the second. Poltergeist. Still gives me shivers today, though in a different way. Cut for length )

Honourable mentions go to...
Silence of the Lambs which is the only film ever to give me actual nightmares. Although the nightmare wasn't about the film. I'm just pretty sure it came from there through my twisty turny subconscious.

Cabin in the Woods as one of only two films to disturb me enough that I vowed never to watch them again. In the case of Cabin in the Woods I eventually did re-watch. At home, on Netflix, with lots of pausing. The other was Se7en and I'm never watching that again, ever. Ever. I really mean it.
briarwood: (Dollhouse Echo Active)
Last week my big news was my new bed.

You see, for the past...actually, I'm not sure how long. At least seven years. I've been sleeping on this old sofa bed.

Photos and the rest of the story behind the cut )

Last week I also...replaced a ceiling light fitting with help from YouTube. The old one was totally fubared and sis was too cheap to hire an electrician. I replaced mine years ago, so figured I could do it. But after removing the old one I found it impossible to find out which colour wire was supposed to be live and which was neutral. I mean, I do know how to do basic wiring but the wires in our ceiling were not the colours they're supposed to be. Google was no help as it insisted on giving colours for the 1950s or post-2006 - this house was redone in the 80s. But not all of it, hence my confusion. I eventually decided it was a fifty-fifty shot and I was almost sure red wasn't live because I remembered thinking that it should have been back when I learned this stuff. I got it right, anyway, and the light is now working. Yay me!

Last week's movie was...The Judge, and it's so nice to see RDJ in a movie where I don't hate him! I've loved RDJ as an actor since his turn on Ally McBeal but boy do I loathe Iron Man! In The Judge his character is still something of a dick - it's RDJ's niche, I think, that particular brand of overconfidence and brash fast-talk - but there's a real depth to the character and it's an excellent film even if it does fail Bechdel.

I am also watching...United States of Tara on DVD. I found it under my old bed and I'd forgotten how much I enjoyed this show on its first run. There aren't many TV shows that deal well with mental illness but this one did. I don't know how well it reflects the reality of DID; I'm not a psychologist, but it does a fantastic job of portraying how living with someone who just doesn't think and behave in a "normal" way affects everyone else. It's also sweet and funny and sexy - just the kind of comedy I can get into.

This week I am reading...still on The Broken Window by Jeffrey Deaver. I'm about a quarter of the way through.

This week I am listening to...A Storm of Swords audiobook by George R R Martin, read by Roy Dotrice. RD is a fantastic actor, but not no hot as an audiobook reader. I finished listening to Broken Soul - I enjoyed it, but the end made me sad as it feels like the series is edging toward a conclusion, and listened to A Shiver of Light - LKH's latest Merry Gentry novel. Which was basically a short story padded out with recap and repetition ad nauseum. A shame, because the last few chapters really did work. It's just such hard work to get there! And LKH did that thing which she always did in the Anita Blake books but has largely avoided so far with Merry - it's like LKH gets to a certain point when it feels like something should really start to happen, and then she stops, and gives you the rest of the plot in a quick summary instead of another 20K words. I know there always comes a point when you write a long story where it gets really hard to finish - I've written enough myself to know the feeling - but I've never known a writer to just blatantly give up the way LKH does. It's like she thinks she's worked hard enough setting things up, so the reader doesn't need to experience the rest of it, a quick summary will do. No, it won't!

Not dead!

Oct. 13th, 2014 08:03 pm
briarwood: (HL Methos BeenThere)
Holy crap, it's been so long since I posted anything, anywhere, I'm almost afraid to. Other than my Yuletide letter, I haven't posted since April last year. Which is ridiculous.
I'm still alive!

Life's been hectic and, on a personal level, pretty shitty, which is probably why I stopped posting. A lot of people like to share their problems online, and I'm always happy to offer help and support to my friends, but when it happens to me, I tend to retreat into my shell. And things were bad for a long time.

I think I'm a different person now. Or, at least, my view of the future is different. Lots of reasons, but *shrug* nothing I can really share.

So, what have I been up to?

I published City of Rain my first novel. The link is to the physical book which is print on demand, but you can also get the ebook from Amazon (much cheaper). If you've read my most recent TS fic (in the 2013 Sentinel Big Bang), it's essentially the same story. I didn't 'file the serial numbers off' a fanfic; it's closer to the reverse, actually - it's an original story that happens to work really well as a Sentinel AU.

Speaking of Sentinel, [livejournal.com profile] sentinelbigbang is pretty much the only place I have been posting as I'm still running that challenge with Patt. We post this year's stories in November. We also did an Almost Human big bang this year and I co-wrote a story with Patt for that one: Running on Empty is at AO3.

Work has been...well, I still have a job. Around the time I quit posting I was starting to look elsewhere. Toward the end of last year the job got really bad - problems on the team, a lot of uncertainty, backstabbing and suchlike. It's a lot better now, but we're still short staffed and struggling. Still, I have a job, and it's secure which is more than many people in my hometown can say. The town is really struggling - there's a lot of building work in the city centre which we're told, when it's finished, will regenerate the city. I rather suspect it will be too late. This city is dying.

When I last posted, they'd been filming Doctor Who close to where I live. That was Matt Smith's last season. The flashbacks to Clara's childhood - where her parents met, the cemetary and the park where the Doctor saw her as a child - those scenes were all within an easy walk of my place. I'm also 90% sure the interior of the house where Clara lived when she first appeared was also filmed nearby - just the interior, not the outside. I could be wrong about that, but I think it was. Whenever they're filming nearby the support staff set up near where I work - not just DW, there are several shows that film location stuff around here. Sometimes I can tell which show; sometimes it's one I don't recognise.

I didn't manage to get tickets for the DW world tour but I was in Cardiff the day it kicked off - Daleks and Cybermen in the street, and a freaking huge crowd. I've been quite disappointed with the show this season, though. I may change my mind when we get to the end. I have before. It's not Capaldi's Doctor - I think he does a great job - but the episodes don't quite work for me. Even the good ones are missing something I can't put my finger on.

I'm also watching...

Arrow
Criminal Minds
Game of Thrones (I finally caught up!)
Gotham
Grimm
Once Upon A Time

There are a couple of others I watch on-and-off (Agents of SHIELD, Bones, Hannibal) but those are my main ones right now. I sorta drifted away from Vampire Diaries and I no longer watch Supernatural. Have been re-watching old favourites but have yet to find a new obsession. Except Guardians of the Galaxy if that counts. I saw that four times and am tempted to make it a fifth while it's still in the theatre. Best movie I've seen in ages! I want a dancing baby Groot so bad!

Oh, also, I discovered Comicbookgirl19 on YouTube. I first stumbled on her Game of Thrones stuff, but I've watched most of her back-catalogue now and she's brilliant. If you're into genre TV or movies you've got to check her out!

That's my last year in a nutshell. I will try to post more often, I promise. If anyone's still reading, that is. Wouldn't blame you if you're not. 18 months of silence is too much.

This is me, now:

Last week I...bought a new bed! It is to be delivered on Thursday. I have no idea how
I'll get my current bed out of the room, but I have two days to figure it out. Getting the new one in will be easy as it's a steel frame flatpack.

Last week's movies were...Gone Girl and Dracula Untold. I enjoyed both, though Gone Girl is unsettling in ways it shouldn't be and Dracula Untold doesn't work once you start thinking about it. But that's the kind of film where you unhook your brain and just sit back and be entertained. On that level, it's good.

This week I am reading...The Broken Window by Jeffrey Deaver. I enjoy this series of novels but in the books Lincoln Rhyme is white. He was played by Denzel Washington in the movie (The Bone Collector) and I can't picture him any other way.

This week I am listening to...Broken Soul audiobook by Faith Hunter, read by Khristine Hvam. Another series of novels I really enjoy.
briarwood: Gal Godot as Wonder Woman (Default)
Dear Yuletide writer,

Thank you for offering a story in one of my fandoms! I will love any story in the worlds I've requested. I will try to explain below what I think my perfect Yuletide gift might be, but I am always willing to be surprised and it's not unusual for me to fall in love with something very different from my request! So if your inspiration runs to angst where I've asked for fluff - please go right ahead. Write a story you will love, and I'm sure I'll love it, too.

I spy a fantasy/elvish theme in my requests this year. I'm definitely leaning more toward the dark side of the fae folk lately.

My prompts are 'gen', but that's because when I'm asked for a prompt, I think *plot*. My taste in fiction is much more wide-ranging than that - I enjoy gen, het, slash, femslash, or any combination thereof. I'm hard to shock or squick and I enjoy kink. I like darkfic very much, but I also enjoy cutesy fluff and happy endings. Pretty much anything goes, really.

There's only one thing I absolutely won't like: non-con or rape between characters who are a couple in canon.

Anne Bishop - Courtyards of the Others )

Ally McBeal )

Grimm )

Laurell K Hamilton - Merry Gentry )

Thank you again, unknown writer. I love Yuletide and I will love your story :)

Doctor Who

Apr. 27th, 2013 08:36 pm
briarwood: (ZenFen Crane)
I don't think this counts as a spoiler, but just in case speculation... )
briarwood: (TS Jim DL)
I came across 20 amazing facts about the human body a couple of weeks ago. Some of the 20 I already knew, many I didn't. But the interesting ones from a Sentinel fandom perspective are 15, 16 and 20 on the list, as they deal with the senses.

(In case I have readers not in the fandom, the basic premise of The Sentinel is a genetic gift that enhances the five senses to an extraordinary/superhuman degree.)

Eyesight is pretty miraculous )

Thoughts?
briarwood: (Alias Sark)
Please help me, all-knowing flist.

What is a hush puppy?

To me it's a shoe, and that's what I get when I Google it but I'm getting the feeling it's food. Or am I seriously mis-hearing dialogue in US TV shows lately?

Also - my workplace is introducing a bag search policy. I need suggestions for something I can carry in my bag that'll make them regret it if they pick mine to search. (I don't mean mousetraps; I'm thinking like gay porn or something. I don't embarrass easily, but most of the security guys are old men and this policy is bloody offensive.)
briarwood: (No1 LDA Smile)
It's sis's birthday today, and when I asked what birthday cake she wanted she said 'something with chocolate'. Not very specific. Sis is fussy, especially about chocolate, but I couldn't get anything more out of her than that.

So I went through my books and actually, while there are a lot of chocolate-based cakes, I don't have many that really work as an adult birthday cake. What I ended up making is something I've wanted to try for a while. Considering it was my first attempt, I didn't make too big a hash of it. It's a layered cake: three layers of chocolate buttermilk sponge layered with vanilla buttercream, and the whole thing encased in chocolate fudge. If that sounds like I'm giving Sis a heart attack for her birthday...well, yeah, it's pretty much a dietician's nightmare. But should taste amazing.

The chocolate fudge was so much fun to make. The recipe called for cream and syrup heated to boiling then poured over the chocolate, and mixed really, really slowly. I had visions of it going terribly wrong but when the whole thing came together it was such a great yay! moment! I won't be scared of it again.

One of the sponge layers fell to bits while I was assembling the cake. It didn't matter too much as I just carefully squished the pieces back together and hid it under the chocolate fudge. But that's the only thing that went wrong.

Want a pic? Here it is )

I'd love to show you one with all the layers, but the cake hasn't been cut yet.

The recipe came from Tea with Bea by Bea Vo and it's the cake on the cover so you can see what it's supposed to look like, at least.

It's a tough book to puzzle out in parts as there's a lot the author doesn't explain, but judging from my results today it's worth the effort.
briarwood: (SG1 Sam)
I keep reading that you are statistically far more likely to die in a car accident than in a plane crash. But does this oft-quoted statistic take into account how often we do these things? Most people drive every day...I don't know anyone who flies that often. (Superman does not count.)

If we calculate those odds based on each journey instead of a lifetime what would happen? I suspect planes would still win on safety but not by much.
briarwood: Sentinel: Jim (Predator Icon) (TS Jim Frown)
You know how when you're writing, sometimes it feels like a story (or part of it) didn't come from you? Like you're discovering how it 'really' happened instead of making it up?

When I was writing Wolves of Cascade I kept looking for a way to include Naomi in the story, and other than a brief mention of Blair's childhood, she just didn't fit. When I did the first round of edits, I made her absence more explicit. Only mentioned once, but it's there that Blair doesn't have any contact with her and hasn't for a long time. I had a vague idea why that might be, but left it open.

Today, working on the sequel, it all suddenly made sense. Two elements of the story that were never intended to fit together suddenly do, and in a way that totally doesn't feel like it came from me. It's not the way I originally imagined Blair's past, but it works and I think I'm going to keep it. I must keep it: when something comes to life like this, you don't argue!

I'm unclear if this means Naomi will make an appearance in this one; the relvelation/twist involves her, but it's past not present. But if not, I'm sure she'll show up in the next.

Oh, boy, did I just imply there's a third in this series? I 'designed' it as an open-ended 'verse but I get nervous when my muse plans ahead like that!

In pain

Jan. 8th, 2013 08:10 pm
briarwood: (BTVS BuffyPain)
For some reason my ankle - the one I sprained two years ago - is really, really hurting me right now. Feels almost like a fresh sprain (not that bad, but the same kind of feeling) except it's not swollen and I don't remember falling or anything like that. I walked from work to the gym, did my circuit, walked home from there, and an hour later - pain!

No clue, but I'd like it to stop now, please.
briarwood: (FGT Honey)
Tomorrow, I return to work :(

It's been a good break and I got lots done, although my to-do list isn't as empty as I hoped due to extra dog-walking duties.

I have written about 17,000 words of the sequel to Wolves of Cascade and I can't post about it! Or, not much more than the word count anyway, since I haven't yet posted Wolves. I don't think I can mention stuff about this new story without spoiling the first. You know, if I can write enough of this sequel in the next few months I may post Wolves anyway, and put its sequel in for the Big Bang instead. Oh, but that would mean no beta, which is bad. Why do I always get this itch to post when I know it's not really ready? I just want to share!

Anyhow, the sequel is title-less just now which is also annoying as a title does help me focus. It wasn't until I titled Wolves that the plot really came into focus for me. The sequel is fairly focussed already, at least plot-wise, but a title would help.

In other news - I need to start planning my baking for Sis's birthday. She's hard to please. I guess chocolate is a safe-ish bet, but what to do? Brownies are tasty but don't look very impressive. Last year I did whoopie pies, and the year before choc-hazelnut cupcakes.

I'm also itching to try something with lavender. I'm not sure why. I don't even have any (yet) but I saw this recipe for lavender shortbread and it looked so yummy! I started looking around and found lavender recipes for all sorts of things - sweet and savoury. Even one for bread (though that was with lavender honey; not quite the same thing). I just really love the idea.
briarwood: "Jaffa Do It With Really Big Guns" (SG1 Tealc)
I dusted off my Stargate DVDs this week. Boy, I'd forgotten how bad some of the season one episodes are! There are some gems in season one, too, and those I remember. But on re-watching it's the bad that stands out. Stargate SG-1 went from strong to outstanding before it began to decline as any long-running series always does. But - with the caveat that I never saw the later seasons, so can't be sure - I doubt it ever got as bad as the worst of season one.

All the fans slated Emancipation but there's actually the core of a good idea in there. The basic theme of culture clash and cultural relativism vs right and wrong reappear in several of the early episodes (and indeed, throughout the seasons). I even find its punch-bag-style feminism kinda endearing. I bet it looked fabulous on paper. There's just something in the execution that doesn't really work. At all.

But I can find no such redeeming potential in The First Commandment. So bad I'd evidently blocked it from my memory and all I can say now is "what were they thinking?"

Ah, well. I'm past the worst of it now. No, wait. I still have the super-STD episode coming up. Eek.
.
briarwood: (Teryl Rothery)
Happy new year, everyone!

I know 2012 was not a fun year for many of my friends. Here's hoping the coming year will be a good one for all of us.
briarwood: (Hogfather Death)
This year I was determined to do some proper baking for Christmas. I made my own mincemeat and Christmas pud. The mincemeat made lovely mince pies.

My most Christmassy bake was A gingerbread house )

As my own family have an irrational prejudice against traditional Christmas bakes, I made this Cheesecake! )

Our family tradition for Boxing Day lunch is a buffet: cold cuts of leftover turkey, ham and beef, plus chips and whatever else we've got that can be thrown together without too much effort. I made fresh bread as my contribution. Home baked bread... )
briarwood: (Amber Santa)
Have a wonderful day, everyone, whether you celebrate Christmas or not.

Personally, I do. Today has no religious meaning for me, but I do believe in the Christmas spirit, and any excuse to sip mulled wine and eat lots of lovely fruit cake in the worst part of winter is very welcome.

Here's one you've got to be in fandom to appreciate: the first gift I opened this morning was a pot of salt! (Smoked salt, from a friend who knows I love to cook, but still, my first thought was of the Winchesters.)
briarwood: (Hogfather Death)
I am amused by just how much space the newspapers have been devoting to assuring everyone that the whole Mayan prophecy thing is bunk. It seems there's been at least one article per month, this year, and several per day this week. It's beginning to feel like a serious case of protesting too much.

You know, if I were the paranoid type.

But there's no point worrying about it. Just in case the apocalypse really does come today, I have taken the day off work and consider myself well armed. After all, who is better equipped to deal with such things than us fans? Don't we watch all the shows that explain how to deal with just about any kind of disaster?

Me, I'm going with Douglas Adams' sage and invaluable advice. I shall ensure that I know where my towel is at all times, and thereby know I will be safe.

How will you spend the apocalypse?
briarwood: (LOTR Arwen)
I've been 'Morgan' as long as I've been in fandom - pretty much since the mid-90's. I've gone through variations on the name, but I've always been Morgan. When I renamed my journals a couple of years ago, I 'rebranded' myself as Morgan Briarwood and used the latter as a username, but I'm still Morgan. I wanted to do that last rebranding because I wanted an online identity that would 'feel' like a real life name: first name and surname.

Morgan is not my RL name; it's not even related. It's related to where I live - Morgan is the name of a family that once pretty much owned this area (the same Morgans responsible for Captain Morgan's rum). I also chose it because it's a gender-neutral name - spelled the same way in both male and female versions.

Anyhow. I'm giving serious thought to producing my first original novel (okay, it's not the first, it's the first that's actually worth publishing) and I'm on the fence about what name to use. I won't use my RL name. No way. I have reasons.

But beyond that - do I use Morgan Briarwood, or come up with a new name. Using my fandom identity has both advantages and disadvantages. I'm under no illusions that I'll produce the next 50 Shades of Grey (at least not in terms of success; in some other elements, maybe) but I'm not sure linking fanfic to original is such a good idea. On the other hand, it's an identity I'm comfortable in; another name would take some getting used to. If I go for a new one, I'll probably use Morgan as the surname and use a variation of my real or maybe my middle name as the first. At least that wouldn't be entirely alien...

But I'm still on the fence.

Any opinions? Advice?

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briarwood: Gal Godot as Wonder Woman (Default)Morgan Briarwood

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