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Here's another instalment in my ongoing [community profile] intoabar  series in which Vila ends up in various different universes which has become a Thing. This time it's the Star Wars original trilogy.

Title: Scum, Villainy, and Rebels
Author: [personal profile] vilakins
Prompt: Vila Restal goes into a bar and meets... Leia Organa.
Fandoms: Blake's 7, Star Wars Original Trilogy
Word count: 3281
Rating: General audiences
Contents: No warnings needed
Summary: Vila asked Orac to take him somewhere no one would ever find him.

Scum, Villainy, and Rebels Also posted on Dreamwidth, with comment count unavailable comments.

May the Fourth - and fifth

  • 7th May, 2019 at 8:40 PM
avon silver anorak
The May the fourth - and fifth - NZSO Star Wars concerts (the first two original films with the orchestra doing the score) were amazing, especially the second one with the iconic Imperial March and all its variations. Just stunning! The films were on a big screen over the orchestra and had subtitles for when the dialogue was partially overwhelmed by the magnificent score. John Williams added so much to those films with his music.

There were about 3,000 people in the Spark Arena at each one, and when we left, there was a huge lightsabre shining in the sky, mounted on a crane which was invisible in the dark: very effective.

Lightsabres: yes, they were indeed allowed and you could see them waving in the audience during fight scenes.

Costumes: I saw several Jedi, a Stormtrooper who must have been sweltering in the humidity, several Leias, and a couple of Lukes. No Hans as far as I noticed: pity.

The Mos Eisley Cantina scene: we were looking forward to the orchestra doing the jazz, but they didn't. We and the people in the row in front sadly discussed this in the interval and thought that maybe John Williams hadn't written it, but that's not the case. It's now my theory that because it's part of the film itself rather than the score, it couldn't be removed so that the orchestra could play it.

[Edit] Playing elsewhere? Maybe there's a Star Wars concert near you! Have a look here, filtering for your country and Star Wars. It's very much worth going to one if you're a fan.

Photos of a couple of fansCollapse )
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Weekend up north

  • 7th May, 2019 at 8:12 PM
nikau (NZ!)
Because DW has given paid and premium accounts more image hosting space, I'll go back to using it to see if it's any easier than Imgur. This possibly means more posts, including some catch-ups. If only it were as easy as Facebook...

To start with, here are photos of the sunrise as we left for Auckland on May the fourth for the Star Wars concerts, the views from our B&B in Meadowbank, and the Tesla Model 3 we had a look at on Sunday morning; ours being due to arrive in the next 2-3 months (we hope).

PhotosCollapse )

I almost forgot, though it will only interest NZers: I sat beside Shane Cortese on the plane up. I said, "It's Loki!" which made him laugh. He played Loki in The Almighty Johnsons, Hayden Peters in Outrageous Fortune, and Dennis Buchanan, in Brokenwood (and other roles I haven't seen). I said that he seems to have made dodgy lawyers and businessmen a thing, but added that one doesn't have to like a character to find them entertaining, and he agreed that he'd rather play characters like that as it's far more interesting than likeable roles. Also posted on Dreamwidth, with comment count unavailable comments.


May the Fourth

  • 3rd May, 2019 at 8:52 PM
Tomorrow is the 4th of May, or indeed May the Fourth, and we're off in the morning to Auckland to see the first two original Star Wars films - with the NZ Symphony Orchestra playing the score. Yay!

Not yay - they're going to search bags (and only small ones are allowed) and frisk everyone going in. I have never been frisked. Yes, that is the way things are now. Greg says they're being extremely paranoid, but it's making me feel somewhat too. People can dress up in Star Wars costumes but NOT complete with weapons. I wonder if light sabres are OK. Probably not.

I'll just be wearing my Rebel Alliance pendant. Maybe also on the plane.
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More on gender in SF, and the Moclans

  • 14th Apr, 2019 at 9:41 AM
jenna lion
Another trope in SF series is that females are always smaller and more rounded than the males and of course with mammary glands, no matter the alien race, even reptilian ones. (Discovery, you could have made Saru's sister as thin and angular as him, but no.)

However I'm now wondering what Moclan females are. The males mate and lay eggs, so what, anatomically, are "females"? Essentially neuter? With no children to take care of (and be expected to have), they could instead be the defenders, protectors, the standing army, even the governing body.

Come on, The Orville, you could find some old records showing something like that, and the current persecution perhaps based to be on a long-ago failed military uprising.

I bet you won't, but prove me wrong.

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I generally enjoy The Orville with its classic Star Trek feel and light touch, but seriously, why do pretty much all SF series (and I'm looking at you too, Farscape; rant here) have to do the sexist society trope? You know, as if it's new and original? As if they have something new to say?

Yeah, right.

It might be slightly original if it were men being oppressed but as far as I know only C J Cherryh's Chanur novels have done that.

We had to put up with the Moclan society and Bortus's offensive mate last season, and oh joy, here we go again. Enough already; I refuse to watch.

Here's an excerpt from a review I found online, cut for minor spoilersCollapse )

One small plus: Marina Sirtis in a bit part as a teacher very early on, using her own accent. Once you've seen her scene, you can skip the rest.

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Colour meme

  • 4th Apr, 2019 at 11:28 AM
In the absence of content and because photos are all I have to offer and uploading and posting them is such a pain, have a meme.

Your rainbow is strongly shaded violet.


What is says about you: You are a creative person. You appreciate beauty and craftsmanship. You are patient and will keep trying to understand something until you've mastered it.

Find the colors of your rainbow at spacefem.com.

Not so very much with the patience thing though. Or I'd be posting the photos.

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The vigil

  • 17th Mar, 2019 at 12:22 PM
I went to the vigil held here in Oamaru for the Christchurch victims. It started in St Luke's Church with candles, then we walked from there to the Courthouse.

The flag at half mast seen from the porch at St Luke's

People walking from St Luke's down the main street to the Courthouse. All my Muslim friends were there too, some of whom are mourning people they knew, and they were surrounded with love and support.

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Te Reo Rhapsody

  • 22nd Feb, 2019 at 11:25 AM
nikau (NZ!)
It's a lovely late summer day here. Have a Te Reo (Maori language) version of Bohemian Rhapsody - truncated but still very cool.

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Fandom tropes

  • 11th Feb, 2019 at 10:41 AM
Snagged from [personal profile] thisbluespirit , but grouped instead of ranked because I've written so few of them. It's a very bizarre list, and for that matter some strange tropes I've heard of actually aren't on it.

Fandom tropes I've written, might write, probably won't, and JUST NOCollapse ) Also posted on Dreamwidth, with comment count unavailable comments.


Friday Five on sleeping

  • 10th Feb, 2019 at 9:44 PM
1. What size (twin, full, etc.) is your bed?
We don't have either of those sizes. In this country they go up in this order: single, double (really 1.5 and to be avoided for two), queen, king, super king. We have a queen. Twin beds are plural here, referring to two singles in one room.

2. How many pillows do you sleep with?
One normally, two if I'm not feeling well.

3. Do you have a weighted blanket? If so, does it help you?
No, and I'm not sure I'd like one. We used to have heavy wool blankets in winter when I was a kid and I didn't really like the weight on me. I prefer a duvet now, or just a sheet in summer.

4. Do you sleep with any stuffed animals?
No, not even as a child, as I didn't have any. That sounds sad, but I had loads of wonderful toys (mostly for boys), just not stuffed ones. I do now though, all bought as an adult. Most of them are cats but I do have a magnificent black bear, though not a teddy: it's very realistic and unrealistically soft and cuddly.
I do however sleep with at least one cat, my much more cuddly black Sebastian, and that's more than enough softies in the bed (though with sharp bits). :-)

5. Do you have to have the TV on to go to sleep?
No TV in the bedroom, but if I'm tired, I might doze off in front of the telly in the living room. My usual bedtime ritual is to do a cryptic crossword in bed before turning the light off. It's relaxing and distracts my brain from any worries.

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The return of the icon meme

  • 27th Jan, 2019 at 8:59 PM
gladiator cow, cool stuff
1. Comment to this entry with "Ooh, shiny!" and I will pick three of your icons.

2. Make an entry in your own journal (or just reply if you prefer) and talk about the icons I picked.

[personal profile] mab_browne  asked about these icons, all three made by me:

This is Elim Garak from Star Trek:DS9, ostensibly a "plain and simple" Cardassian tailor who enjoyed the holodeck, but in reality a lot more complex, being an exiled spy and former member of the Obsidian Order, the Cardassian intelligence service. He was one of my favourite characters.

Servalan, the elegant and evil Supreme Commander of  the Federation's Space Fleet from Blake's 7, swanned about in formal gowns that proclaimed her power: who needs uniforms and rank insignia when you can dress in white and never actually get your hands - or clothes - dirty? She's here at Space Fleet HQ with her glass flower, smiling sweetly and being evil.

Vila Restal, also from Blake's 7, a very clever thief and often the comic relief though he was at heart a sad character who had no self-confidence outside his skills and was often picked on. His and Avon's witty interactions in the first two seasons (they were at that stage sort of friends) were what attracted me to the show when I found a list of quotes online. He was my favourite in B7 (as you can tell from my username) and one of very few faves who aren't alien or androids, oddly enough because he was so very human.
This icon was made years ago when I went on a comic-making kick with the GIMP image software: reduce an ordinary screencap to outlines, then fill them in.

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Wintry Friday Five

  • 27th Jan, 2019 at 7:02 PM
Oh good, a Friday Five I can do, even though it's summer here.

1. What are your feelings about winter?
Fear and loathing when I lived in Auckland because it was an almost unbroken stretch of grey miserable wetness and often illness. I feel much more positive down here where sunny days are much more common, and when it's not windy, actually very nice to sit outside a cafe in and enjoy coffee with friends. And I keep hoping that we'll get some snow. :-D
[Edit] I should add that I loved winter in Germany when I lived there because it was very different: crisp, sunny, lots of snow...

2. What is your go-to drink in the winter?
Coffee, specifically a flat white (good description here along with a photo of the usual NZ fern version). Mind you, coffee all year round is pretty good too. Breakfast is not breakfast without it.

3. What are your favourite things about the winter?
Now I'm living here, the sunny days and lower rainfall - so much more enjoyable even though there are still occasional storms and floods.

4. How do you deal with the wintry blues?
Much, much better than I did! Vitamin D helps when there's no sun. They didn't call this country Aotearoa (land of the long white cloud) for nothing.

5. What are your least favourite things about the winter?
In general* there not being anything for everyone to look forward to or celebrate while northerners have Christmas, New Year, and various other fun things to brighten them up depending on where they are.
* But hey, at least there's the Steampunk festival here in early June, so that's something that for me puts Oamaru a big step above anywhere else in this country. Even though it's limited in its appeal to others, including friends, lots of people from out of town or even overseas come to here to join in the fun.

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Oh Christmas tree...

  • 24th Dec, 2018 at 4:04 PM
me with cat and wine
We haven't got any Christmas decorations, but I suppose I could have got out the summer holiday lights (50s-style caravans, tomato sauce bottles, pohutukawa blossoms, and jandals/thongs/flip-flops though they all seem to be hidden behind bigger lights...) but it doesn't get dark till 10pm.

Last night at a friend's place though I took a photo of their only Christmas decoration.

Haha, I would love one of these!Collapse )

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Christmassy Friday Five

  • 24th Dec, 2018 at 12:49 PM
xmas, party
From [community profile] thefridayfive , a good excuse for me to make a post:

1. Happy Holidays or Merry Christmas – which one do you use?
Mostly "Merry Christmas" because most people here celebrate it. "Happy Holidays" isn't really used by people (companies do though) but it actually applies here since most people take their summer holidays now. (Not me though; I prefer it when schools are back and the weather's more settled.)

2. Do you own an ugly Christmas sweater?
It's summer, so no one here does that. Why does anyone though? Just asking - is it a sort of joke, like wearing the ugliest thing you can find?

3. Do you celebrate the Winter Solstice?
Unfortunately our winter drags on with nothing to enliven it. (Except for this town with steampunk weekend, so that's something, though it's not at the solstice.)

4. Now that you are ‘in the know,’ what would you leave out for St. Nick on the 24th?
I was always in the know, never having believed in Santa / been told that particular lie. St Nicholas however was a real person and if he happened to pass while throwing dowries in the windows of poor girls, I'd offer a bite to eat and a cup of tea.

5. Tired of the snow and icky weather yet? For those fortunate people in the other hemisphere, are you tired of the humidity and hot weather?
I'm sick of rain like everyone else in this country. Summer's been very late this year, what with cold and rain for two months. The sun is shining today though - YAY -and I'm hoping it will for more than one day this time.</user> Also posted on Dreamwidth, with comment count unavailable comments.


Armistice Day 11-11-18

  • 11th Nov, 2018 at 10:29 PM
11am on 11-11-18: the armistice celebrations at the Oamaru war memorial on a glorious spring day.

Soldiers and poppies outside the town hall

Five more photos under the cutCollapse )

... and when I got home, we found a single poppy out on our rock garden! I am stunned. We also had a first poppy bloom on 11 November in 2016. The blue tiles are a garden seat.

This evening we went to see Peter Jackson's film They Shall Never Grow Old which was commissioned by the British Imperial War Museums in association with the BBC. It features 90 minutes of restored and colourised archival footage and a soundtrack created with voice-overs from archival interviews with British WWI veterans recorded in the 60s and 70s.

And man, it was intense.

A veteran told me about it when I was a child, how a shell blew up the man next to him, how he and others drank from a shell-hole for three days until they found a dead German at the bottom, how he was gassed (only slightly compared to others), and he let me feel the pieces of shell in his arm. I was only about 8 but I remember it vividly.

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Fic: In the Company of Strangers

  • 20th Aug, 2018 at 3:59 PM
cally alien
Here's my Unconventional Courtship story, written during renovations (ceilings coming down, new ones going up, walls being stripped, noise, and dust everywhere). This fic challenge is one I enjoy though - because? - I find it hard, romance not being a genre I go for. It's also fun finding a plot synopsis that appeals.

Title: In the Company of Strangers
Author: Vilakins
Fandom: Blake's 7
Pairing/Characters: Cally, Kerr Avon, assorted assassins
Rating: PG-13
Length: 5,438
Summary: A woman without a past... She didn't know her name; she didn't know her home planet. "Mina" knew only that her martial-arts skills and weaponry and assassination techniques went far beyond the average person's.
A mark that became a death warrant… The people who'd tried to assassinate her all shared one common trait: a tattoo of a winged horse, like the one on her ankle.
Notes: Based on the plot synopsis for The Business of Strangers by Kylie Brant

Link: In the Company of Strangers Also posted on Dreamwidth, with comment count unavailable comments.

Fic: A Human Resource

  • 6th Jul, 2018 at 6:18 PM
avon blue
I finally got round to uploading the Avon story I've been sitting on for a while. It was written for a gen bingo card, but I very much doubt I'll get a bingo as it's been so long.

It's a PWB about Avon working in the Aquitar Project, and was for the prompt "Office".

A Human Resource

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About that giant teapot...

  • 5th Jul, 2018 at 10:11 PM
steampunk raygun
I was just checking out the Christchurch Grymmstone and Treacle Emporium who will be bringing their wares to town for the Victorian festival - and also found out who owns and drives the giant teapot we saw: it's a very cool mobility scooter!

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Steampunk Festival: Sunday

  • 3rd Jul, 2018 at 5:39 PM
oamaru 2
Later than I'd planned, but here's the last lot of photos.

Tintype photography, monster teapot racing, and parasol duellingCollapse )

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Steampunk Festival: Saturday

  • 29th Jun, 2018 at 6:08 PM
I've tried to select photos that are different from last year's, so none of tea duelling for example, though I did watch again (but didn't compete this time).

The parade, steampunk morris, a chap on tracks, a wizard and an author, and Splendid Teapot RacingCollapse )

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Steampunk Festival: Friday

  • 25th Jun, 2018 at 2:17 PM
steampunk me
Earlier this month was the annual Steampunk Festival (see these two posts for last year's). I've finally sorted out some photos for each of the three days. Not much for Friday as it officially started that night.

Book launch, Fire and SteamCollapse )
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Taking flight on the shortest day

  • 23rd Jun, 2018 at 9:54 PM
I still haven't got round to sorting out and selecting from my many photos of the steampunk festival, but here are some others.

On Thursday, the shortest day (yay, past at last!) I went on a Tiger Moth flight from Omarama over Lake Benmore, a gift Greg ordered for my birthday. It was freezing (literally: -1C) but totally awesome! The plane was one that took part in the Warbirds over Wanaka and is based there, but I got a 30-minute flight from Omarama (a place famous for clear skies and great gliding weather) on its way north to Auckland for winter maintenance.

Photos including me, aerial shots, a shining sword in the lake, and two ShreksCollapse )

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Here's my [community profile] intoabar fic - yes, yet another one where I throw Vila into a universe he doesn't belong in. There are probably vanishingly few people who know both fandoms, but [personal profile] zoefruitcake, who put me and Greg onto Detectorists - for which I am very grateful - is one. If you can get hold of it, do.

Title: The Delta Hoard
Author: [personal profile] vilakins
Prompt: Vila Restal goes into a bar and meets... Andy Stone!
Fandoms: Blake's 7, Detectorists
Word count: 2,728
Rating/Contents: Gen, No Archive Warnings Apply
Summary: Vila needs to retrieve two Terran Federation credit coins, so he enlists the unwitting help of two metal detectorists.

The Delta Hoard Also posted on Dreamwidth, with comment count unavailable comments.

Ashley is 10

  • 1st May, 2018 at 8:01 PM
It's Ashley's observed birthday today (we're not sure when she was born, but it's close enough). Here are some photos of her (and occasionally her friend and adopted brother Sebastian) taken over the last year. She's 10, but still looks half-grown, being only 3kg - as light as a silvery-grey cloud.

Five photos of Ashley RiverstoneCollapse )

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Anzac in Action

  • 25th Apr, 2018 at 10:58 PM
It's Anzac Day today, so here are photos from the Anzac in Action event we went to on Sunday at the Rangitata Island Aerodrome. It was really impressive with WW1 trenches complete with dugout, lots of military vehicles, and a simulated battle to end the day.

Stargate fans, look for the surprise Goa'uld!

Photos, plus bonus airfield catCollapse )

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Warbirds Over Wanaka - Sunday

  • 25th Apr, 2018 at 4:19 PM
tarrant ace
A bit late because I am slack, but here are a few photos from Sunday, the last day of the airshow. It started off literally freezing - we had to scrape ice off the windscreen - but was so hot later we both got sunburned.

Tiger Moth, Herc, the mad LithuanianCollapse )

Plus bonus photos from the day after in Wanaka.

Includes Roman and other toiletsCollapse )

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Warbirds Over Wanaka - Saturday

  • 9th Apr, 2018 at 10:39 AM
Saturday last weekend at Wanaka started off muddy and cloudy after a night of heavy rain, but at least the rain and stopped, and the hot sun was back out before lunch. Unfortunately right at the beginning a Yak-3 clipped a cherry picker with its wing after landing, got spun right round, and damaged its wing, undercarriage, and the cherry picker. Right in front of our stand; yikes! And why were the cherry pickers even there? We were told it was for fireworks, or maybe something to do with the coloured balloons on the far side of the runway, but they were gone the next day. Anyway, the investigation and getting the poor Yak-3 off the runway closed it for two and a half hours, so much of the morning programme was cancelled. We were glad we bought passes for the three days.

Here is a small selection of the many photos I took.

F16, WW2 dogfight, the Harvard big wing, and moreCollapse )

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Warbirds Over Wanaka - practice day

  • 5th Apr, 2018 at 8:00 PM
We bought gold passes for all three days of the Warbirds Over Wanaka airshow, arriving around midday afternoon. We missed some of the practice routines because of wandering around the grounds in the hot sun looking at static displays and parked planes - bit of a mistake as the Spitfire and Messerschmidt were up at one point, and they were the top of my list to see.

Six photosCollapse )

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The Annual Tree Octopus Hunt

  • 18th Feb, 2018 at 8:56 PM
steampunk me
The annual expedition in search for the elusive antipodean tree octopus took place in the Oamaru Gardens today. It's a fun steampunk event starting with a splendid (a very steampunk adjective) picnic and tea, then armed with a list of clues we ventured forth in search of octopodes. Why yes, that is the correct plural, the word being Greek rather than Latin.

We had to follow cryptic clues taking us all around the gardens answering questions on our forms and keeping an eye out for Octavia and the more rarely seen Septimus. Our team found them both, plus a third unnamed plushy. It was a fun day, but very hot and humid; I admired the fortitude of those sporting more elaborate and heavier regalia than I did.

Music for our picnic in and around the rotunda was provided by this chap with his gramophone.

More photos of splendid explorers and octopodesCollapse )

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