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Below are the 20 most recent journal entries recorded in Eshva's LiveJournal:

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Thursday, March 9th, 2006
2:49 pm
Friday, January 27th, 2006
2:29 pm
Canyoning again
Last year, back in er February I wrote a long account of my first ever canyoning trip. This is another loooong account of a canyoning trip. Cut for lengthCollapse )
Wednesday, June 15th, 2005
2:37 pm
Wednesday, March 2nd, 2005
10:14 am
I should know better. Middle of last week I was talking to someone at work and said something along the lines of "Yeah, I've lost some weight, and the exercise is making me feel pretty good, and I'm feeling less depressed than I've been in ages." Big mistake. Because the universe decided to even the score and my bags got stolen at the pool last Thursday. So I lost the lot. The important stuff like my passport and my credit card etc is a pain - especially the passport which is proving difficult to replace (trying to get enough ID together when you've just lost your bag is not easy). But I'm more upset about some of the things that had sentimental value, like the book I was reading which my mum gave me as a birthday present one year. And to make it even worse I discover that particular book now goes for $50 (and that's US dollars!) second-hand. To rub salt in the wound, they also took my clothes (and I was wearing my favourite top that day), so I had to get home wearing a load of lost property. And then for pepper in the wound as well, they left one shoe in the locker. One shoe. So no wonder I'm depressed again.

Anyway, to other things. Found this - The Commonly Confused Words Test via ithiliana

This is what I scored:
You scored 100% Beginner, 100% Intermediate, 100% Advanced, and 66% Expert!
You have an extremly good understanding of beginner, intermediate, and advanced level commonly confused English words, getting at least 75% of each of these three levels's questions correct. This is an exceptional score. Remember, these are commonly confused English words, which means most people don't use them properly. You got an extremely respectable score.

I reckon the punctuation questions must have been under 'Expert' as I don't understand colons and semi-colons at all. It's not a brilliant test - I could think of lots more commonly mis-used words they could have included.

What was more interesting was that they asked for your age and at the end there were these statistics:
- Compared to users who took the test and are and in your age group (I'm 34 btw):

* 100% had lower Beginner scores.
* 100% had lower Intermediate scores.
* 100% had lower Advanced scores.
* 100% had lower Expert scores.

- With respect to Beginner, users aged 55 to 59 scored highest.
- With respect to Intermediate, users aged 55 to 59 scored highest.
- With respect to Advanced, users aged 55 to 59 scored highest.
- With respect to Expert, users aged 55 to 59 scored highest.

Now possibly the sample size is teensy and possibly people aren't putting in their ages correctly. But this sounds pretty depressing re decline in standards re English.
Thursday, February 24th, 2005
8:58 am
Am doing the "Ten Things I've Done That You Probably Haven't" meme, mainly out of inferiority complex. Keep reading everyone else's and thinking that I haven't done anything unusual at all, so I am going to cudgel my brain to come up with 10 things, no matter how stupid they are. BTW has anyone ever mentioned the wonderful appropriateness of the word "meme" (me me!!)?

So, Ten Things I've Done That You Probably Haven't (in more or less chronological order)
1. Been the object of a weird witch craze in high school, complete with accusations that you're the spawn of the devil and crosses waved at you.
2. Wagged school (the one and only time) to hear Gough Whitlam give a speech.
3. Had the sight in one eye buggered by complications of adult chicken pox. (serious advice - avoid getting chicken pox as an adult)
4. Had a security vetting interview for a job at a submarine base. (My first ever proper job - and it was an incredibly menial admin job too. Being vetted was weird. One of the questions was, "Have you ever been on a demonstration against a government policy?" (or similar). Well of course I bloody have! Hello, democracy, we're allowed to do that here. Which is pretty much what I said to the vetting guy.)
5. Been booked into a very small, hot, stuffy hotel room at a convention; left the window open to attempt to get some air in; come back to room to find that it's full of pigeons.
6. Taken photos of damn near every Pictish stone in Scotland.
7. Token celeb entry - been crashed into in Franklins by Margaret Pomeranz with a shopping trolley. (Pathetic isn't it, I've never encountered anyone famous outside of "can I have your autograph please?")
8. Gone canyoning (although maybe not very unusual, given the number of companies that run canyoning trips).
9. Had a massive obsession with a dead guy for the last 20 years.
10. Been commitedly celibate for the last 10 years
Sunday, February 20th, 2005
8:30 pm
Can we really blame fannish writers for their Mary Sues, when there are so many of them in published fiction? And yes, I do have an opinion on this, but first a character description which would shriek "Mary Sue" if seen on the Pit.

Sue-ness and some ramblingCollapse )

In other news, I *finally* saw 'Kinsey'! Don't have anything to say that hasn't already been said - it's bloody good. I think I may have to become a Bill Condon fangirl.
Thursday, February 10th, 2005
9:26 pm
Pet peeve. This is an absurd pet peeve, but I'm peeved, so this is me peeving.

PeevishCollapse )
Tuesday, February 8th, 2005
9:29 pm
A quick wibble about something that weirded me out recently - the great outburst of rejoicing that happened when Orlando Bloom broke up with his girlfriend. I guess it especially weirded me out because it happened in a forum which is usually fair to middling sensible.

I can't quite wrap my brain around why it matters if he has a girlfriend or not. Is the idea that if he is girlfriendless, this improves their chance of becoming his girlfriend? No offence intended, but the chances have got to be slimmer than an anorexic matchstick. Or is it that it makes it possible to *fantasize* that they're his girlfriend. This seems slightly less odd, but maybe lacks imagination. I mean, if you're fantasising, why not just create a nice alternate universe? Reality is no obstacle - if you want to fantasize yourself as a famous movie director or a genetically engineered immortal with superpowers, and Orlando Bloom single, what's to stop you?

The hostility to wives and girlfriends thing has always struck me as a bit weird as well - immature and unkind. But then maybe I'm weird in the opposite direction, since I've been known to develop crushes on the wives/girlfriends as well. One case in particular, I remember actually getting all teary when they got divorced.

I spose this is one of those things where I just don't get it.
Sunday, February 6th, 2005
9:29 pm
As I may have mentioned previously, I'm an atheist of the card-carrying, hard-line variety. To my eyes, the evidence says that there is no god. Or at least that there is definitely no benevolent-to-humans god. There may possibly be a malevolent god, or one with a deeply warped sense of humour, or one with thought proceses so alien that I can't begin to understand them, or one that doesn't give a bugger about humans. I don't believe any of these exist either, but it wouldn't make any difference if they did, because I wouldn't be worshipping them anyway.

I spent this weekend cleaning my flat - moving all my furniture and possessions, vacuuming, then moving them all back. The main purpose of this activity was to try and stem the invasion of cockroaches that seem to be taking over. And it occurred to me, while moving a box full of old zines and cockroach droppings, that it's far more likely that the cockroaches are god's chosen species. It goes something like this:

The Gospel according to cockroachesCollapse )
Wednesday, February 2nd, 2005
3:52 pm
Since I've survived with all limbs intact etc, some burbling about what I did on Saturday - I went canyoning in the Blue Mountains. Readers may feel free to tell me I'm completely stupid, but since I'm totally fine, I'm not going to take any notice. For background info, a guy was killed on a canyoning trip in the Blue Mountains recently. There are those who wonder why people insist on doing a stupid and dangerous thing like canyoning, but the simple answer is because it's absolutely and completely brilliant!

I was planning to post this on Sunday, but it ended up longer than I expected. So if you don't want to read 3000 words of Eshva's canyoning outing, flee now!

The trip - in excrutiating detailCollapse )
Monday, January 24th, 2005
8:22 pm
After long silence, an actual post. Fanwise I'm having an attack of LotRness - seems that it's a fannishness that makes me post things and write things. Previously I've been messing about with Red Dwarf, which evidently lends itself to attempts to lose weight and get fit rather than to writing - or maybe it's a coincidence.

Red Dwarf was a bit of an accident. One of the DVDs showed up from webflicks and I was reminded how very much I liked it when it was originally on telly. And by fortunate coincidence Season V came out just as I was getting fannish - love love love season V. The slashfic is pretty thin on the ground, but some of it is rather enjoyably old-fashioned. None of this postmodern ironic self-awareness stuff - it's cut the chat and get on with the torture. (Ooh, I do believe that's a B7 quote. Maybe that'll be my next revived fandom). The other slightly surreal thing about Red Dwarf is that just about everything is canon - mpreg, bodyswaps etc etc - you name it, canon got there first.

In other developments, I've been trying to lose weight and get fit. Basically my trousers started getting too tight and I realised I was turning into a blob, so now I'm trying to exercise, eat better, blah blah blah no fishcakes for Eshva. The down side is that healthy eating is bloody expensive and time-consuming. My food bill has expanded alarmingly, even if my waist has shrunk somewhat. My arse is still the size of the planet Jupiter though - I keep expecting to see little planetoids orbiting around it.

On the plus side, I've been doing some of the walks around the harbour (er, that's Sydney Harbour). It's insane that I've lived here for over 8 years and had never seen any of this stuff. My favourite is Clifton Gardens to the Taronga Zoo wharf around Bradley's Head. Most of it is through lovely bushland, with great harbour views - and lots of lizards on the path, if you don't make too much noise. The Spit to Manly is nice too - around Dobroyd Head is really spectacular - but the end bit coming up to Manly isn't much fun - too open and touristy (and anyway, my feet hurt by that stage).

On first walk to Manly I noticed a boat out doing parasailing (where you hang from a parachute being towed by the boat). I remember when I was about ten seeing parasailing when we were on holiday and absolutely *longing* to do it. So, over 20 years later, I finally did it - was brilliant too. I reckon it's the best way to experience dangling under a parachute, since it doesn't involve having to jump off or out of anything. After that I resolved to try all sorts of things I'd never done, to see if I can get over my mental block that I'm completely physically inept.

But I fear that if you're sad and nerdy, nothing you do will you make you cool. I mean, abseiling down a 100 ft drop may seem cool, but if I do it, it'll be sad and nerdy. Not that this will stop me. Possibly, if all my limbs are intact, I'll post about how it went.
Tuesday, August 3rd, 2004
8:40 pm
I despair, I really do
Hmm, so I haven't updated in eons, and now I finally do it's to complain about abysmal spelling. Couldn't help it - after these spelling atrocities I despair of the future of the human race.

First off, well 'loose' instead of 'lose' has apparently become the most common spelling error in the known universe, but I knew that already. I've been waiting to see the inverse mistake committed, and yep, I saw one today. Forget the exact sentence, but it was along the lines of "She wore lose, comfortable clothing". Aargh.

Now to the funny ones - spelling so bad it took me a while to actually process what they meant:
mid-evil = medieval (oh god, the pain)
hinus = highness (nearly ruptured something laughing)

And finally, witnessed a lovely online shouting match in which which Pugilist 1 called her opponent a cretin and Pugilist 2 declared Pugilist 1 an idiot because there's no such word as cretin. Clearly she needs to invest in a dictionary.
Sunday, June 6th, 2004
9:18 pm
Went to see 'Super Size Me' today. It was that or Troy again and in the end I opted for the vomit and stomach-stapling over the buff guys in skirts. Couldn't see HP because it hasn't opened yet (10 June) - I'm assuming so they open for the long weekend. Won't be seeing it on opening weekend though, as I'm planning LotR binge on long weekend. Then LotR symphony on 18 June - squee!!

Anyway, back to Super Size Me. Super Size MeCollapse )
Saturday, June 5th, 2004
8:14 pm
Succumbed to temptation and made one of those little self icon thingies.

Scary part is that it does look kinda like me. Depressing. But then, I was trying to be brutally honest (unlike some I've seen). The main inaccuracy is the hair, as I very rarely wear it down, but there was no option for hair in a long plait that I could find.

Note to self - do not mess with honey at 6am. Vegemite is less likely to end up in my hair (and if it does, it's a more camouflaged colour.
Sunday, May 30th, 2004
2:17 pm
So, I'm updating the LJ as a way of procrastinating from what I'm supposed to be doing - ie, scanning a load of diagrams for work. It's depressing, these days I only ever seem to use Photoshop for work purposes. Must change this and make myself some new icons or something. Only I'm buggered if I know how people come up with all the cool captions they do.

In other grumbling, I've got new glasses. Hate getting new glasses - takes a while to get used to the ground being too close and I always think I look hideous. And these are smaller than my old pair (glasses shops seem very keen on pushing everyone into teeny frames) and I'm constantly aware of the edges of them. Grumble.

Further grumble - I had a story idea and research killed it. Well, it wasn't so much an idea as an image with some words attached, but it was a nice image and I liked it. Got myself to the point of writing it, decided to do some quick research and discovered it's not possible. Bugger. The really annoying thing is that most readers (assuming I actually finished it and anyone read it) probably wouldn't notice. But I'm afraid it has killed it stone dead in my mind.

Back to Troy for a minute - my mum reported funny conversation with my brother.
M: Eshva went to see Troy on the weekend. Have you seen it?
B: Nope, not yet. What did she think of it?
M: She thought it was pretty ordinary. She'll probably go and see it again.

Another Troy bit that I forgot to stick in my Troy post - something else that bugged me. I was most surprised and taken aback when Priam took Briseis back to Troy. When Achilles suggested it, I was all ready for her to say "I can't go back", but it didn't happen. Which struck me as unlikely - I mean, she's a nobly born virgin priestess of Apollo who's been captured, enslaved and comprehensively de-virginised by the big bad (to the Trojans) himself. Okay, admittedly my knowledge of the era is very limited, but I just can't see them taking her back under these circumstances.

Finally Troy bit - stumbled across this. Makes me really wish for an EE version.
Tuesday, May 25th, 2004
4:11 pm
Some random thoughts.

Recent discussion on FCA about LJ as a fannish medium. Have decided that there's nothing wrong with LJ as a fannish medium, it's just that I'm complete crap at it.

Happiness is a multi-region DVD player. With tub of nice chocolate ice cream as an optional extra. And yes, I know i sound like a sad case, but too bad.

I don't believe this - someone goes to the trouble of doing great load of excellent-quality screen caps. Eshva squeaks with happiness. Then notices that among all those caps, they didn't do the very best bit. Eshva gnashes her teeth. Or possible Eshva just needs to get the gear to do her own damn screen caps (and stop referring to herself in the third person).

Fic mystery - why would anybody bother to write a threesome, where it's utterly obvious that they have no interest whatsoever in one of the three??? Why not just stick to writing the two they are interested in? Further thought suggests that it might be a ploy to get fans of third-bloke pairings to read the thing who otherwise wouldn't. Except that such fans just feel cheated and wish they had the thing in hard copy so they could pitch it out the window.

Suppose it relates, sort of, to the thread on MA about why on earth writers slash characters who they loathe and despise etc. But not quite. I figure that fanfic is impelled by emotional reaction to characters, and the emotion doesn't have to be positive. I suppose loathing is just as strong a writing motivator as lust. (It's the complete disinterest in the third of the threesome that I found most inexplicable).

Hmm, am now reminded of another threesome story. It was interesting because it was aiming for a rather nice sort of circular symmetry between the three. The problem was that for one of the three parts it failed to convince because the writer wasn't convinced (ie, no prizes for guessing who writer likes least). And I'd have been *easy* to convince, so it's not just a reader preference problem.

Or to get to the real point - why am I cursed with always going for the least-liked character?
Tuesday, May 18th, 2004
9:56 pm
Eshva's reaction to Troy - behind cut for length

TroyCollapse )
Friday, March 19th, 2004
9:43 pm
Bonus of the LotR trilogy - got to see the 'Troy' trailer. Looks quite nifty. Pluses, well, Sean Bean obviously. Reason I'm planning to go and see it in fact. And he's playing Odysseus (yay!) who's always been my favourite Iliad character. Not that there's that much competition - Achilles is a psychopath and Paris is a wuss. Hector is all noble and doomed (which is good), but I'd rather go for the brainy one. Other 'Troy' positives - Brian Cox as Agamemnon - he's made a good career out of playing baddies. And I can't resist the notion of Paris being prettier than Helen.

On the down side - Brad Pitt. Nuff said. Also I have trouble taking Eric Bana seriously. Haven't seen many (any?) of the movies where he's had proper serious roles, so haven't quite made the transition yet. Actually I have a similar problem with Russell Crowe - difficult to take seriously dude who you watched as a sprog in embarrassing Oz children's telly.

Another down side - no Sean Bean in trailer, which is a bad sign for the size of the role. How can you not give Odysseus a major role? He only won the sodding war for them.

Sounds like they're not having the gods in it, which I guess isn't really a surprise. Though if you have to do a no-gods version, it's a shame they didn't do Colleen McCullough's 'Song of Troy'. Then we'd get the fun of Achilles/Patroclus - their love is so tragic except I can't stand either of them, and lovely Odysseus/Diomedes fuck-buddyness.

Personally I'm hanging out for the sequel Odyssey :)
Sunday, March 14th, 2004
10:00 pm
Went to LotR trilogy yesterday and it was great (no surprises there really). 10 hours in a movie theatre is pretty hard on the poor old bod though. Audience featured quite a few Orli fangirls, but they weren't too painful.

This next thing is not what I had planned to wibble about, but it just occurred to me. There's this bit of fanfic (LotR) that I read a while back and just recently re-read, and I can't decide whether it's a frightfully clever piece of postmodernism or just bloody awful. The set-up is utterly and completely absurd and there's no attempt to make it make sense. The set-up has no other purpose but to make the bunch of assorted sex scenes happen. Now this could be read as cleverly postmodern - drawing attention to the fictiveness of the thing, and making the point that even better disguised, more universe-integrated and more logical set-ups in slash are doing the exact same thing - setting up the sex scenes the writer wants to write. This is emphasised by a character who acts as an authorial insert, sets up the situation and in fact talks about the complete arbitrariness of the set-up.

I have no idea whether it was the author's intention to be all postmodern about it. If it was, it worked for me to some extent by making me think about how 'good' stories do the same things, just with better disguises. But OTOH it totally failed to work for me as a piece of slash. And this made me wonder why.

If I wanted to appreciate slash purely as sex scenes, then there's no reason why it couldn't theoretically have worked, since the silly set-up is just there to make the sex scenes happen. In a way it makes me think of the 'plots' in trad porn - they don't actually have to work as plots.

But where the story failed was that it was also attempting an emotional theme, and the silliness of the set-up made it impossible to connect with the characters, their situation and their emotions. Because it was all too silly. To empathise, I think I need to be sold on the idea that "it's real for the characters" and this just can't happen when it all seems too silly and unreal. I'm in slash for the emotion - without it, the fic just doesn't work.

Er, I don't think I'll name the story. I'm comfortable with the idea of being critical of stories that are extremely popular (and one day I *will* get round to writing what I think of L'Histoire d'Obi) but not so much for other stories. And I haven't been in LotR long enough to have much feel for which are the classic 'everybody raves about it' stories and which aren't.
Friday, February 20th, 2004
11:33 am
There's an interesting discussion happening on MA (where I'm nomail, but can't resist peeking to see if there are any kerfuffles happening). It was said that there are some listees who read, write and enjoy slash, but disapprove of homosexuality in RL, either because they have religious objections or because they find it a bit repulsive (or maybe both). Predictably there was an outcry about how inconsistent and warped and nasty this attitude is.

Well, fair enough, I don't agree with these people, but then I've fortunately missed out on the 'homosexuality is icky' gut reaction and am not burdened by any kind of religion. But I think it could be argued that those who are up in arms are also taking a stance which involves some cognitive dissonance (which is a nice way of saying hypocrisy). IMO, it may be objectionable, but it's brutally consistent with the ethos of slashdom to say "well homosexuality is clearly wrong in real life, but it's okay to enjoy slash because this is fiction". One of the great recurring refrains of slashdom is that a clear line can be drawn between RL and fiction, and we can tell the difference. So we happily assert that of course rape is wrong in RL while salivating over rapefic. That torture is bad and evil in real life while lapping up torturefic. That adults having sex with minors is wrong in RL while happily reading chan. And indeed it's okay because it's fiction is the cornerstone of the RPS defense. So why should homosexuality be any different?

So, IMO, there are only two consistent positions.

You could say that fiction and RL are completely separate and that values from RL have absolutely no applicability to fiction (which looks to me like the current slashdom ideology). In which case being anti-gay & pro-slash is entirely reasonable and non-contradictory, and everyone should stop yelling about the horror of holding such a view.

Or you could say that actually fiction cannot be so neatly separated from RL values. Which means that being anti-gay and pro-slash is contradictory and problematic. But it also means that "because it's fun" stops being a universal justification for everything in fic, and the whole current ideology of slashdom is called into question.

(I suppose the obvious place to post this is to MA, since that's where the discussion is happening. But I don't post there anymore for various reasons, so this little rant ended up here instead.)
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