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Jan. 16th, 2015

Hannah Abbott

Mary and Joseph photos

westmarked has requested more cat photos. Happy to oblige! In no particular order, some photos of Mary and Joe taken at Christmas 2014. If I can work out how to put a video on here I've got one of Joe chasing, catching and biting his tail!

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Jan. 15th, 2015

kittens

Update

Right, so, I've been a bit busy over the last few months but I'm now making a renewed effort to get back to my LJ. One of my New Year's Resolutions.

On Saturday, I'm graduating with a Merit in my MA. Mum and Dad are coming down tomorrow so Gideon and I have been trying to get the flat in perfect condition by the time they arrive at some point tomorrow afternoon. There's still quite a bit to do, although I've got a lot of the tougher cleaning chores done. Dad won't care about the state of the flat - he probably wouldn't even notice if it was a mess! - but Mum would and she'd start tidying and putting things goodness-knows-where. So once I've finished this post I'm going to get going with the chores. I've already done a stock-check of the kitchen food cupboards and cleared out quite a few things, most of which were things I brought over from the old house (I was the last one to move out) and were my old housemates' - one of which was a packet of cous cous that was Jeremy's, which was best before some point in 2012...! Later I'm going to actually organise the cupboards because on three separate shelves were tins of sweetcorn. Whoops!

I'm still unemployed. Autistic wheelchair users tend not to be employers' favoured employees. I've been applying for at least 10 jobs a week and if I'm lucky I hear back from 1 or 2 of them (usually rejections). I've just applied for a couple of jobs at the deaf school so fingers crossed and if you're the praying type, prayers would be appreciated, that something comes of those. It's especially stressful because the DWP stopped my ESA at the end of August and still haven't bothered to formally notify me about it. I found out through the housing benefit lady... When we got back after Christmas I found a big brown envelope on the hall floor... DLA renewal form!!!!! I was expecting to be sent the wretched, unfit-for-purpose PIP form but it's DLA! I can relax for another two years.

Joseph was adorably hilarious over Christmas! We discovered that chocolate-coin foil is a brilliant cat toy! He got so excited and riled up that he ended up chasing his tail! And then caught it. And then bit it and pulled a tuft of fur out of it. And then looked rather surprised when it hurt...! Mary had some turkey, which was very brave of her (Joe we had to constantly move away from the turkey, of course!)

I've been so tired this week. However, I can't just give in to it, not this week with so much to do. In a few minutes I'm going to get up and get started. I will be posting more soon, either later today or tomorrow.
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Jun. 24th, 2014

kittens

STILL ALIVE!!!!!!!

I can't believe it's been nearly a year since I last posted here. Life has been rather crazy to say the least! First year of my MA, then level 3 BSL NVQ (which I passed without doing the taught section, just the assessment part, because it was decided that I was already up to level 3 standard), then back into the MA for my second year, the first term of which was a module off the English Lit MA programme (poetry and I don't mix; it was either do the poetry module and fail, or a module off another programme and actually pass), then Structures of Realism. Now in the final stretch, my dissertation (15,000 words creative, for which I'm doing Gothic/haunting, and 5,000 words critical essay). Amongst all that I was preparing for reception into the Catholic Church at Easter and around that time Gideon moved down to Exeter and in with me. And Burnley are back in the Premiership!

Jul. 28th, 2013

Mary and dice

Update-y thing

Gah! It's been 6 months since I last posted! Too busy with MA, BSL, school, larp, badminton, boyfriend, autism stuff, NCIS obsession... Don't think I've missed anything...

More detailed posts to follow!
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Jan. 24th, 2013

doll_kat

I'm alive!!!

Just a quick note to apologise for my several-months-long hiatus from here - MA coursework and all sorts of other things kinda got in the way, and having fibro and ME don't help. So yes, I am still alive, and I do plan to get back to posting on a regular basis soon. And it would help if I could type the correct letters (blasted dyslexia).

Sep. 24th, 2012

Mary and dice

Absence...

...Oh whoops, it's been multiple months since I last posted. Heck! I owe rule_number_7 a HUUUUUUUUUUUUGE apology for not sending a birthday card last month; I am useless!

I've mostly been AWOL because thanks to a certain person I am now hooked on NCIS fanfic and have dived back into the fanfic world, writing pretty much non-stop apart from when I'm playing wheelchair badminton. Badminton training is now twice a week. In addition to that I've just today started my MA in Creative Writing (part-time over 2 years). Gideon and I have just passed the 2-year mark in our relationship. Burnley have been their usual erratic selves - won 3, lost the others, so far this season (most importantly beating Bolton on the first match of the season). My mum's mum got into a fight with one of the other residents at the home where she now lives; a dispute over whose walking frame belonged to whom and Granny kicked this other woman!

So this is just a brief post to say that yes, I am still alive!
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Jun. 21st, 2012

burnley fc

Football season 2012-13

The fixtures for next season came out on Sunday. For as long as I can remember, the fixture list has been released on a Thursday in the middle of June at 10am. This year, bizarrely and for no reason I can think of, they were released on a Sunday at 9am. Yes, really. I had to double- and triple-check because Mum (understandably) didn't believe me. I assumed the error was on my part because let's face it, I'm dyslexic, I get numbers (so dates, times, etc.) muddled in my head all the time. But no, I was correct!

Mum and I are now making plans for which matches to attend. The first fixture of the season is an absolute MUST, because we are AT HOME TO BOLTON WANDERERS!!! What a start! Of course it was the top story in the media because of the way they nicked our manager 2 1/2 years ago. They did come to us in the 2011-12 League Cup, back when they were still a Premiership team, and WE BEAT THEM. I don't think either Coyle, the Bolton fans or the players will be relishing this fixture in the slightest! I can't miss that one!!! We're due to play Blackburn at Turf Moor the weekend of 1st December and I'd really like to go to that - can't miss such an intense local derby!

Annoyingly, we play MIddlesbrough at the Riverside Stadium (nearly wrote Ayresome Park - they moved from there yeeeeeeeeeeears ago!!! Whoops!) the following Tuesday evening, so there's no way I'll get to that. Let's hope Boro don't get promoted so we'll play them again the following season.

Depending on where Mum is, I'd quite like to do Bristol City away in October. It's the day after my birthday and although it's a Tuesday night match, it's only an hour or so up the M5 from me; Mum would be able to stay over. I'm NOT doing Cardiff the Saturday after, though. No way in hell! I have a very strong sense of self-preservation.

Peterborough away is the first Saturday in February. That's one I'd like to do because it's not a ground I've been to before. Much as I'd love to do Bolton away the Saturday after, IVFDF is soon after that and with coursework deadlines and financial limitations, it's just not viable. Brighton away is at the end of February and about an hour and a half from Southampton, so it's easily do-able from Gideon's. They've just moved to their new stadium and it looks really nice. Mind you, ANYTHING looks fantastic compared to the Withdean Stadium. Well, except perhaps Grimsby's old ground, Blundell Park. Wait, that at least had a roof and the seating felt solid, not liable to collapse at the slightest jump. Oh, and Gillingham and Portsmouth. Bath City FC, a non-league club, have better disabled facilities than Portsmouth!

We're at Blackpool in mid-April. Another one I'd quite like to do because I haven't yet, and I've not been to Blackpool since I was on placement there in 2005 (the one that got me kicked off the OT course because I failed it).

The weekend of December 15th is Exeter v Plymouth. I'm going to make sure I'm nowhere near the city centre that day! It's a rivalry every bit as bitter as Burnley-Blackburn. Looking at the date, I'll probably have a coursework deadline looming, so I'll be either at home working on that, up at the library on campus (which I can now go into again now they've finished the Forum project on central campus - the horrible library carpet that made me ill has gone and they have a wonderful dark grey now!!!!!!!!!!!!!) or with Gideon.

And yet again the cat has got off my lap to sit on my wheelchair. Typical!

Jun. 5th, 2012

Mary and dice

TV: American Horror Story

I initially saw the trailers for this when it was first being shown, ages ago, but it was back when I was living in my flat and didn't have a Virgin Media box that I could record stuff on and I was out or something when it was on (I can't remember) so when FX started showing it again a couple of months ago, I jumped at the chance. It came across, and I think FX presented it, as a modern Gothic horror, which I love, and it looked quite good from the trailers.

I've given up watching it. After several episodes I still wasn't sure whether or not I liked it. I missed a couple, came back to it. I gave up. It wasn't scary, it was too predictable, the characters were, on the whole, plain annoying... There are very definitely a lot of Gothic elements, but it just doesn't work for me. Maybe it's too modern. There is frequently a sexual aspect in Gothic fiction, but it seemed more gratuitous than anything else in AHS. There wasn't the inversion of traditional roles that is common in the Gothic.

But above all, it simply was not scary. That's the honest truth. Perhaps it's because I'm British and it's an American perspective; that wouldn't surprise me. But bottom line is, it wasn't really any good.
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May. 27th, 2012

Hannah Abbott

(no subject)

Panel 4B - Harry Potter
- "'It's real for us': Secular Religiosity and JK Rowling's Harry Potter" is about the role of The Tales of Beedle the Bard and the impact it has had on Potterverse and the fandom as a whole. The text is a source of meaning and an expansion of canon, and is underlying culture, a foundational folk text in Harry's world. It is "allowed" to be canon because JK Rowling wrote it. Because popular culture can often be a source of meaning, scholars must take these movements seriously.

- "'You must've heard of Babbitty Rabbitty!': Fairy Tales and Folklore in JK Rowling's Harry Potter series" is about how folklore traditions have been used to develop folklore for imaginary worlds. The Potter world is parallel to but separate from ours, which allows for its own consistency of reality. There is subversion of traditional folklore images/perceptions, eg. mermaids, and creation of its own folklore, yet the style of tradition is very similar to ours, allowing both Muggle- and wizard-raised children to recognise it. The tales in Beedle's collection have relations in our folklore. Overall there is a balance of seriousness and humour, and the ability to do this is at the heart of Rowling's use of folklore.

I couldn't not go to a panel devoted to Potter!!!!! They were both absolutely fascinating and I'm really glad I went to this one. Neither were things I'd given much thought to before. It's also given me things to think about for my own writing. Also, the second talk was given by an English Lit professor I met at the Tolkien festival I went to with snarkysneak in 2010.

Panel 5B - Werewolves and Vampires in Films
- "'Real Vampires Don't Sparkle': Captain Kronos: Vampire Hunter, a dead end" - Kronos was an attempt to revive Hammer Horrors' reputation and re-portray the vampire as a dangerous villain. The changes in how vampires are written and portrayed over time, and their rehabilitation more as an addict than something intrinsically evil. It leaves the question: Where next for the vampire genre?

- "The Werewolf in Lovers' Lane" - the folklorist has an advantage over the film critic because they know a wider range of folklore. Are the werewolf and hook-man legends interchangeable? Lots of references to Supernatural. Is it real or a hoax? Sightings drawing attention to the visual. What is the symbolism of the hook man? Inseparability of folklore and fantasy.

The first one made me think I should probably investigate Hammer horrors. My DM should be a good source - he did a degree in Film Studies and I know he likes those films! Thoroughly fascinating and made me really think about the vampire genre as a whole. Now I need to get on with actually writing some stuff for the speaker's weird-fiction website like I promised! The second one, I had real difficulty following because it made no sense, the guy had a strong French accent and kept mumbling into the floor and the points he was trying to make were unclear and I still can't work out what they were meant to be. Additionally, I'm pretty sure he got episodes of Supernatural mixed up (reinforced by a conversation I had with someone afterwards who's another Supernatural fan). It was the only bad one in the entire weekend, which isn't too bad considering!

Keynote Lecture - 'Paying Heed to Old Wives': Drawing Upon and Creating Folklore in Fantasy Fiction
I remember it being really really interesting and being related specifically to the speaker's work and culture (she's Australian) but it wasn't stuff I could take notes on. Really good, though!

Conference Paper by Special Guest of Honour - Urban Folklore on Discworld
There is a sharp and realistic awareness of how fractures of folklore pervade urban areas; parody of real life. Parallels between British customs and Ankh-Morpork. Overall conclusion that Ankh-Morpork traditions are born out of British customs, and that If nobody knows, that's proper folklore.

Absolutely fascinating. I got a lot of the references because of being raised English folkie. Have resolved to read more Pratchett, though it probably won't be until after my MA!

Panel 6B - From the Middle Ages to the Final Frontier
- "Wonder Voyages from the Odyssey to the Starship Enterprise" - the voyage as a standard plot device; strange and unknown places are key. Monsters and islands, and what they represent. The wide range of authors who drew on a huge lot of folklore. Archetypal perils, the end of voyages and what they mean. The voyage changes you. Very few women leading.

- "Wights and Ancestors: a Comparative Archaeology of the Barrow-Downs and Pallinghurst Barrow" provided us with an overview on barrows. They are generally settings of unusual activities. Particular folklore is associated with particular types of barrow. The barrow and landscape as a liminal zone; the uncanny nature of landscape. Savage spirits; superstition and sacrifices yet still our ancestors. Barrows as a doorway to old cultures. The collision and intertwining of folklore and archaeology. How weird the internal can be. Fantasy can engage with archaeology and landscape without the destructive elements of archaeology; merging of  traditions.

- "Naming the Green Man of the Medieval Church" sets out to ask is the Green Man a Christian or pagan symbol? The reusing of images, elaborating on the story of Adam, Seth and seeds from the Tree of Knowledge; the Apocrypha. Bits and pieces pulled together to make something new. Variations on the story and myth. The Green Man as a symbol of resurrection, linking the events on the Cross to Eden, from Adam to the Crucifixion. Role of pictures and images in a largely illiterate culture.

All of these were really interesting. I wish I'd taken my dictaphone so I could have recorded the middle talk because there was some archaeology jargon that I'm not familiar with and I could have asked friends about. Ah well, nothing majorly disastrous! The Green Man stuff is not something I'm that familiar with, although I know a little of it due to my folkie background. I hadn't thought of him as a potentially Christian symbol but it does make sense. The voyages talk was interesting and it refreshed my memory and what I know about the subject. Must look into this and think about it further.

Panel 7 - Legends of Ghosts and Spirits
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'How much of it is actually true must be left to the gentle reader's own discretion, but it makes interesting and entertaining reading" focuses a lot on the controversial figure of Margaret Murray, who was certain that things such as ghosts were dying out because the development of technology was dissipating the supernatural. There was also a focus on particular popular authors; no clear division between narrative and an authority figure. Stories aren't necessarily validated but people engage with them; printed stories become points of reference. Some lore is invented by authors and storytellers and then become part of local legends; literary representations of oral narrative become themselves their own traditions. Beware of false dichotomies. Tradition is dynamic and adaptive.

- "'I Saw Him on the Burning Mountains': Legend, Literature and Law in Booty v. Barnaby" - modes of experience of the supernatural. Written attracts notions of hard evidence in a different way to oral traditions. Structure remains the same; no one text depends upon another.

I wasn't familiar with what the first talk was on but it made a lot of sense to me and I shall bear them in mind in future. The second one I enjoyed but I think I would have got more out of it if I was familiar (or had actually heard of!) the main text focused upon.

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Fantastic conference. Next year it's happening in Cardiff and I have every intention of going.

Right, bedtime. It's midnight here.

May. 24th, 2012

Mary and dice

Folklore and Fantasy Conference 2012 - details (part 1)

I'm going to attempt to briefly summarise each talk and put random other comments in there. All whilst typing around the cat, who is asleep on my laptop's mouse pad...

Panel 1A - Victorian Fairies, the Gothic and Fairy Tale Formulas [sic - should be "formulae")
- "The Naked Fairy - a Victorian Fantasy" didn't happen because the speaker was ill.

- "Mirror Mirror: Damsels, Doppelgangers and the Death of the Natural Mother: How fairy tale ideology inspired the Gothic literary tradition" - I really wanted to go to this one because I love the Gothic tradition.The death of the natural mother or the natural mother's rejection of the offspring, or in the case of Frankenstein the complete removal of the mother/natural form of reproduction subverts the normal structure and way of things. Lots of disguise and concealing of identities, blurring of boundaries (particularly gender/sexuality), subversion of the natural order and progression of things. Duality and binary opposition. Death, decay and sexuality; the return of the repressed; the grotesque; the incestuousness and the non-traditionalness of the Gothic family unit. Changing of appearances and personalities; the passivity of the female; superficiality. Fairy tales serve as a cautionary note to the effects of the subversion of the natural and conventional.

- "Old Forms in a New Function: Transforming 'Once upon a time' Formulas in Children's Literature" - formulaic lines are pretty universal and anchor/shape the reader and their expectations (genre expectation). The greater the deviation from the formula, the less certainty there is about what will happen (such as with Wilde). Kipling merges the conventional with other traditions/cultures/myths. Intertextual frames with references to other texts within the primary one. Genre guides the author but the author at the same time influences the genre by their approach. There is a common formula to the structure of fairy tales that go across many languages and folklore traditions. Some authors use deviations from the formula to hook the audience. There have been cultural shifts with the modern authors and the community of child and adult is different now.

Really enjoyed this panel. I thoroughly enjoyed the Gothic one; I knew a lot of the stuff about Frankenstein but I've yet to read Anne Rice, so when I do I know what to look out for! The second one was really interesting and not something I'd considered before; I don't think I'm going to approach fairy tales in the same way I used to!

Panel 2B - Medieval Fantasies
- "Gwyn ap Nudd - Transfigurations of a Character on the way from Medieval Literature to Neo-pagan Beliefs" - how the character and role etc. of Gwyn has changed over the centuries, and the influences of religion and particular authors. The only part that is consistent through the centuries is that he is a hunter. In the earlier versions he is a supernatural being similar to the Irish Finn McCool who represents the outside of civilisation, the wilderness; by the Romantic era he had become a Celtic Hades due to the influence of classical mythology. Language misinterpretations are likely to have had a major role in the changes. He is apart from men.

- "The Craft of the Riddle Maker sheds new light on Treasure in a Dragon's Cave" came complete with props/visual aids, which as someone who's very visual, was really cool for me! The guy who gave the talk gave me the teddy jumper afterwards! This talk was about how language is manipulated and played with to mislead, exaggerate, etc. Several specific examples were used in great detail.

- "The Interactions of Folklore and History in the Fantasy Writing of Sylvia Townsend Warner" is basically about how events and history influenced her writing; she had elements of fantasy in her work right from the start and how that is manifested in her work. There is dislike of restriction and excessive labelling/classifying, and raising alternative possibilities.

I'm not familiar with Gwyn ap Nudd so I plan to investigate him. This was a good talk (thankfully it wasn't gone into with the presumption that everyone there is familiar with the legend) and I found it particularly interesting to learn about how and what have changed over the centuries. The second one was absolutely fantastic! The third one was an author I'll admit I've not heard of but plan to investigate, though probably not until after my MA. I was rather drawn to the focus on cats in The Cat's Cradle (it's cats, what's not to like?!)

Panel 3A - Children's Fantasy Literature and Play
- "The Fantastic in Playing: 'This is where the bad boys and girls are burned and eaten'" is about research the speaker has done into children's play, the types of games they play, what certain specific places/things in the playground are and the folklore of the school (usually passed down from the older children to the younger ones so they are perpetuated). The most common things are Toilet Ghosts, Holes and Superheroes. The children know the difference between what's real and what isn't; these places (eg. toilet ghost, witch's pot hole) are liminal spaces. The extraordinary is actually in the ordinary and everyday.

- "Fantasy and Folklore in Children's Literature" was about what interests children, the differences between what adults like and what children like (and the importance these days of having adult appeal as well because of the realities of the commercial aspect). Are there recognisable elements in children's fiction that are recognisable to adults? There are elements of collusion between the author and the children in the audience (more in older than younger children). The author has to empathise with all the elements. Oh, and children love gory stories!

- "The Use of Traditional Fairy Tale Elements and Metafiction in Modern Children's Fantasy" - Philip Pullman's work "Clockwork" was looked at particularly and how fairy tales and metafiction are used in his writing. Interactions between the reader and writer are looked at, the concept of Narrator, everything is subjective - objective truth cannot be portrayed. There is an interaction with the story that creates a reality of its own; reality vs illusion. Becoming post-human means that everything is subjective, the text reality is fluid and the reader can see stories within stories.

The Fantastic in Playing reminded me a lot of primary school and the different sites and places that were specific things. It was all sooooo familiar! It was a fascinating talk. The second one was quite interesting and it was given by a published author; it made me more aware of the elements that go into children's writing. The last one was quite interesting and I'd not come across the concept of post-human before, but I think it will make more sense to me once I read Clockwork

Right, that's it for now, partly for space readings and partly coz the combo of the fibro clinic at the hospital and school is exhausting when you have fibro and ME. More probably tomorrow.

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