I'm still working through it all, and am not sure I'll have the energy to reply to each birthday wish individually, because this isn't the easiest of weeks and because while I'm physically a lot better than I was I'm now facing all the stuff I didn't get to last week on top of feeling like I'm walking through molasses and everything takes entirely too much energy, and... yeah. That sounds like I'm complaining about too many things to reply to, as if that was a bad thing. It's an embarrassment of riches, actually. But I know me and know I could feel a lot of pressure to reply to them all. So I'll reply as much as I can, but if I forget, do know that I saw it and appreciated it genuinely.
The big event was that I had some friends come over and we watched a British comedy mini-series, "Clone," with Mark Gatiss and Jonathan Pryce and also, in a bit part, the actor who plays Anderon on "Sherlock." The premise is a government scientist tries to clone a super-soldier, but the process doesn't work, and the doctor who created him tries to hide him away from the government so he can "fix" him and save his reputation. Pryce is the scientist, Gatiss the government agent who wants to kill and autopsy the clone to find out what went wrong. It's violent and bloody in an "Inglorious Basterds" kind of way but also really, really funny. And Mark was great. (I... may be obsessing a little bit over him, and don't think it's all because I love Mycroft Holmes. He's just great fun to watch.) We watched all six episodes in a single sitting. Also there was cake and wine and just hanging out until about two in the morning.
I got my parents to scan my old birth announcement, which is actually pretty cool. My dad was a journalist and so he wrote it up as a newspaper clipping. Thought I'd share it in honor of the day. Even if the day was yesterday, now two days ago as we've crossed the midnight line; I'm MARTA, meaning I'm allowed to be late.
One other thing I've been thinking about a good deal is the value of audio-only entertainments, radio programs and audiobooks and the like, as opposed to videos. I was thinking about it yesterday, first because I actually took some time to properly close my eyes and listen to some music, and also because the one real competitor for my love of Mark Gatiss is my love of Cabin Pressure. If you're not familiar, it's a radio comedy about a charter air firm that's barely surviving, with two pilots (one has-been, one never-was, as the show promotions put it) and their adventures to make enough money to balance the books, basially taking on any job that comes in. Here's a clip I put together from the "Helsinki" episode. The context should be pretty self-explanatory.
What's struck me is how nice it is to listen and let your imagination do the work. There's a simplicity in the sense of a unified production that's not distracted by all the bells and whistles, and there's also a responsibility for me to fill in the gaps. But somehow I know exactly what I'm supposed to be imagining. I guess it just is nice to be more active in how I consume things, not to have it all be pre-digested and presented to me just so. I think I actually prefer closing my eyes and just listening. Technically, it's certainly giving you a smaller file sizze and I can only imagine a much cheaper production cost, giving the studio the ability to take risks and try ideas from unproven creators. Plus, I just have a soft spot for listening to really well-done voice work. It just lets my imagination take me away. And Benedict Cumberbatch but all four principles, really, are doing such quality work on that show. I'll be really sorry to see it end in a few months.
On the fannish front, I have two stories I've received beta comments back on, one about Mycroft's and Sherlock's childhood and the other about John and Lestrade as a kind of gapfiller for HLV. Those comments are sitting on my computer. I also have two stories I promised their author I'd beta. So what do I do, now that I have the time and health to actually manage it? Start a story #3. It was inspired by a comment on a meta I wrote, about whether Sherlock would necessarily be a virgin before ASIP and what the different options would look like, and one thing I mentioned but didn't develop was the idea of how his history of drug abuse might intersect with any past sexual history. And so I found myself working on a story looking at that idea. Specifically, I found myself writing a fairly explicit sex scene, which I basically have working but is the equivalent of line art really; the tone and details will need to be made less explicit once I work have the rest of the story written and I can work out what's appropriate. Still, it's a good scene and if the rest of the story comes into place I think it could be either psychologically moving or erotic, whichever way I end up needing to go. It's therapeutic in its way.
But I really need to get back to the other stories, the beta comments on my own stories and the ones I need to edit myself. Tomorrow. I promise.
Finally, I've been coming across some good Tolkien-centric stuff today, so thought I'd share a bit of it:
1. Tolkien fans bring their A game to Amazon customer reviews, here.
2. There's a Silmarillion readalong starting next week over at Tumblr. As part of it, they've been putting together some political and travel posters, or mock posters that are one part celebrating the Silm, one part advertising for the readalong. Anyway, check out these political posters for Feanor, Finarfin, and Fingolfin for High King. Finarfin's in particular made me smile.
3. Some interesting speculation about how Laketown would have defended itself against Smaug in the book. It bills itself as movie spoilers, and I don't think it is --remember Paths of the Dead? Jackson hasn't shown himself keen to sacrifice "But this would look really cool" for the more finicky points of book-canon-- but as a discussion of the book it's pretty fascinating.
Oh, and from a while ago, check out this Telegraph interview with Martin Freeman. It's mainly about his current Richard III play, but he also talks about Fargo, Sherlock, and the Hobbit, and even compares Gollum to Richard III. Plus it's just fascinating and shows how he thinks as an actor. Longish, but well worth a read.
Right, that brain working at molasses pace is making itself felt. This post has taken over an hour of getting distracted and coming back, and now my brain is threatening to crawl out of my ear. So I'm going to say good-night. :-)