rionaleonhart: harry potter: extremely poorly-drawn dumbledore fleeing and yelling NOOOOOOOOO. (NOOOOOOOOO)
I've been waiting for the start of a fresh month to share this story! On the first of August, I was contacted by one of my clients.

'I've got a new book coming in for you to edit,' he said. 'It'll need to be ready by the end of the month.'

'Okay! How long is it?'

'About thirty days.'


Unfortunately, I also have to share a story where I'm the one who ends up looking silly.

'I don't know why I finished Life Is Strange and immediately started writing horrible fanfiction about [unpleasant character],' I said to [livejournal.com profile] reipan yesterday.

'Don't take this the wrong way,' Rei said, 'but I'm really not surprised.'

'I don't know. I've always thought of my writing as reasonably wholesome.'

Rei laughed in my face.

Here's the thing: I was serious. And then I started scrolling through my Archive of Our Own account, trying to find the most recent wholesome thing I'd written. And scrolling. And scrolling. And scrolling.

'Let's see... psychological trauma, psychological trauma, two teenagers discuss the horrible murders of their classmates, someone is afflicted with a hallucinogen and nearly kills her brother, someone isn't afflicted with a hallucinogen and nearly kills her friend... does "someone ropes a friend into having sex with her purely so she can use her pregnancy to evade execution" count?'

'No.'

'A guy has the memories of fourteen other people loaded into his head and has a mental breakdown, a photographer deliberately cuts off her fingers so she can't hold a camera... hey, my fic where the Final Fantasy VIII cast become l'Cie is all right!'

'Doesn't that mean they're doomed to become either monsters or crystals?' Housemate C asked.

'IT'S A LOVELY WHOLESOME STORY ABOUT MORTALITY.'

So, yes, it turns out that everything I write is horrible and somehow I never even realised it. So much murder! So much guilt! So many psychological breakdowns!

This is a genuine revelation and I don't understand how I never noticed it before.
rionaleonhart: the mentalist: lisbon, afraid but brave, makes an important call. (it's been an honour)
I went into a bookshop with the specific intention of buying Rivers of London and realised too late that I didn't know the name of the author. With an inward sigh of despair, I trudged into the 'Sci-Fi and Fantasy' section, prepared to comb through all the shelves alphabetically.

Thank God for the name 'Aaronovitch'.


THE BOOKENING TITLE #5: Rivers of London, Ben Aaronovitch.

'Vagina dentata,' said Nightingale. I wasn't sure that I was reassured by the thought that it was common enough for there to be a technical term for it.

Usually, when I enjoy a book, it's because I like the characters or the world or the concepts. Occasionally you'll find a book that's enjoyable because the narrative voice is just so much fun to read. Peter Grant is a great narrator, and I think the constant undercurrent of his wry humour is what really makes Rivers of London. It feels like you're sitting down with him in the pub and he's telling you a story.

There were aspects of this book that impinged slightly on my enjoyment of it. It contained a lot of horrific gore, which I wasn't entirely prepared for, although that's not really the book's fault; I think I expected it to be aimed at a younger age range than it was. It's also a bit male-gazey, although it is at least narrated by a mildly sexually frustrated young man, rather than being one of those books that feels the need to monitor everyone's breasts at all times even if the main character has no reason to be looking at breasts. And I don't like saying that books need better editing, because I'm a copy-editor and I know how thankless a task it is; people will see the one typo that slipped through, but they'll never see the thousands of mistakes you corrected. That said, this book could have done with better editing.

Ultimately, though, this was fun! I hugely enjoyed Grant's voice, and the asides about the history of London were interesting. I liked the friendship between Grant and Lesley. I wanted to care about the relationship between Grant and Nightingale, and there were a couple of moments where I thought 'is this the moment I get invested in these two??', but in the end I didn't feel they had as much of a connection as I'd hoped for. I've gained the impression that they're a popular pairing, though, so perhaps their relationship is stronger in later books. (Not sure yet whether I'm actually going to pick up the other books in the series, but we'll see.)

Also, at one point the protagonist makes out with a little brook that runs near my childhood home. There's no other book I can say that about.
rionaleonhart: final fantasy viii: found a draw point! no one can draw... (you're a terrible artist)
Sometimes, researching things for my work leads to Googling sequences that will almost certainly land me on some sort of watchlist. Searches from Friday: hatchet, machete, meat cleaver, carotid artery, Chechen mafia, Al-Qaeda, uranium-235. I feel like the police could kick down my door at any moment.


For Christmas, my brother gave me a DS RPG called Radiant Historia. The concept is that you are a soldier named Stocke, jumping around through time and trying to make the correct decisions in order to 'write the true history'.

I am, it seems, extremely bad at writing the true history in Radiant Historia. So far I've been offered five major decisions, and I've made the choice that leads directly to a Game Over in four of them.

A couple of the Game Overs were particularly bizarre:

Riona: Rosch's friendship with Sonja is suffering because he's in love with her? Well, all right... I suppose I'll talk to Sonja and see if I can get an idea of how she feels, and then maybe I'll be able to advise Rosch on—
Game: YOUR FRIEND DIED ALONE ON THE BATTLEFIELD BECAUSE YOU'RE A TERRIBLE MATCHMAKER.

Book Guy: Hey, I'm writing a book! Could you ask Field Marshal Viola for some information that would help me?
Stocke: Field Marshal Viola, would you be able to help this person who's writing a book?
Viola: Oh, well, I suppose this might help.
Stocke: ...er, this is your personal diary.
Viola: Do what you think is right with it.
Stocke: There's some really sensitive information in here. Should I really give it to the book guy?
Riona: ...well, I suppose I won't give it to the book guy.
Game: YOUR NATION WAS TAKEN OVER BY SOME EVIL DUDE BECAUSE YOU DIDN'T GIVE VIOLA'S DIARY TO THE BOOK GUY.

I'm enjoying the game a lot, though! I'm not tempted to leap into the fandom just yet (perhaps just as well, because I'm not sure this game has a fandom), but the battle system is nicely strategic and it's a lot of fun to play. The time travel mechanic is interesting, too, although of course it makes absolutely no sense; I think it may actually rival Final Fantasy 'IF YOU CHANGE THE FUTURE YOU CHANGE THE PAST' XIII-2 for the 'Most Illogical Treatment of Time Travel' award. Did you know that, if you save someone from bandits in one timeline, that person will miraculously be restored to life in a timeline in which you were nowhere near the bandit incident? Now you do!
rionaleonhart: final fantasy xii: fran glares; tremble with fear! (don't cross me)
This Revolutionary Girl Utena AMV to 'Brick by Boring Brick' is perhaps the best fanvid I've ever seen. I'd never heard the song before, but it works so well. Major (if confusing) spoilers for the entire Utena anime. I get a bit teary every time I watch it.

(I've realised that I have a big, big weakness for female characters who belong in Gryffindor. Utena, Yuna, Korra, Lightning, Elena Fisher, Donna Noble: all favourites of mine, all - in very different ways - Gryffindors. I'm not guaranteed to adore a Gryffindor girl, but it certainly helps. Not sure what to do with that knowledge. Write a giant Hogwarts AU?)


I'd love to be able to say that this second fortnight-long posting hiatus in a row was because I was having a second lovely holiday, but in fact it's because I've done almost nothing but work since I got back. The curse of the freelancer: you never have the right amount of employment. 'Too much work' is preferable to 'no work', but surely there must be some sort of balance between the two extremes?

I did find time for something non-work-related yesterday, though: I've had a replay of Final Fantasy XII saved just before the final area on my memory card for ages, so I decided to play through the ending. (The PS3, it turns out, has ruined PS2 graphics for me. I was really aware of the pixellation at the edges of the character models. I'd never noticed that before.)

Regarding the ending itself: it made so much more sense this time! The first time I saw the ending, I had absolutely no idea where Balthier and Fran had gone or what they were trying to achieve by endangering themselves. I was aware that they were doing something awesome, but I did not know what that awesome thing was. Now that I know, it is a lot more awesome!

I've also realised that I really, really love Larsa. I wish I'd been that centred and good-hearted and intelligent when I was twelve. Frankly, I could do with being that centred and good-hearted and intelligent now.

Final Fantasy XII is fairly far down in my personal ranking of the Final Fantasy games, I have to admit, despite scoring high on actual gameplay. This is in part because the plot is even more incoherent than I generally expect from a Final Fantasy (possibly this is just because there are great swathes of gameplay between cutscenes and by the time I reach the next scene I've forgotten what happened before), but it's mostly because the party never really felt like a group to me. They were always Balthier-and-Fran, Vaan-and-Penelo, Ashe-and-Basch: three duos (or even two duos and two individuals; Ashe and Basch seemed to stand apart entirely at times), not one... sixio. Sextet. WHATEVER THE WORD IS, THEY DIDN'T FEEL LIKE ONE. At the end, Vaan says to Ashe, 'You'll make it; you've got good friends,' which struck me as odd because they never actually felt like a group of friends to me. I think that's a great shame.

The other problem with XII is that Larsa is not a permanent party member. This is simply not acceptable. I was thinking recently about what I would do if I had the power to replace any one party member from each Final Fantasy game with any one non-party member; I would definitely replace Vaan with Larsa. (I'd also swap Beatrix in on Final Fantasy IX, incidentally. Possibly in Amarant's place. What would you do?)


Oh, hey, the Olympics are almost over! Better share the best fact I've learnt in a while: during the torch relay for the 1956 Melbourne Olympics, at the Sydney changeover, a student ran along the route with a fake torch consisting of a pair of flaming underpants in a plum pudding can on top of a chair leg. He managed to hand it to the mayor of Sydney and escape before the deception was noticed.
rionaleonhart: final fantasy xv: prompto, the best character, with a touch of swagger. (looking ahead)
Here is an entry of scattered points:


– Out and about last night, I caught a fleeting glimpse of a young man who looked a bit like Robert Pattinson. He could conceivably, given that Pattinson grew up around here, have been Robert Pattinson. Was he Robert Pattinson? I suppose I'll never know.


– I've been sort of half-watching the current series of Strictly Come Dancing; my mother's been watching it and, although I have no real interest in or understanding of dance, I've often hung around while it's been on. I am even half-supporting a particular couple: Alex and James. I told my mum that I'd just arbitrarily picked a couple to support, but yesterday I confessed to the real reason:

Riona: I think they first caught my attention because I think he fancies her.
Riona's Mum: It's funny you should say that, because his partner last year was Pamela Stephenson, and she was quite old, and it definitely seemed like he fancied her. Maybe he just gives that impression.
Riona: Or maybe he just fancies everyone.

You're lucky I don't have any grasp of James' voice at all, because otherwise I'd be writing terrible angstfic about how he constantly contrives to fall in love with his partners, thus improving the chemistry of their dances but breaking his own heart. YOU'RE LUCKY.

(The other reason to watch Strictly is Bruno Tonioli, one of the judges, who is gloriously barking mad.)


– Curious scene in our sitting room recently: Joseph, wearing no trousers, leap-piggybacked onto Fred, whose trousers fell down in the process. At this point Dad entered the room, wearing an enormous furry hat and no trousers.

My family.

(Er, I should probably point out that they were all wearing boxers, so their nethers weren't entirely unclad. Also, Joseph is about six foot two, so having him leap onto your back is quite an event.)


– Yesterday I had to e-mail a company that had sent me some work to ask whether we could agree on a per-word rate, rather than their usual per-page, because it was set in a considerably larger page size than usual and so I'd have been paid a third less than my usual rate (I'd be losing about £170). I feel weirdly awful and guilty about asking, even though it's an entirely reasonable thing to request. And it was on Friday evening so I probably won't know whether they'll agree until Monday, augh.


– Whoops, every single image in my Misfits picture folder is of Seth. In my defence: his face.
rionaleonhart: final fantasy x-2: the sun is rising, yuna looks to the future. (i'm here now)
In the comments to my entry on Rogue/Logan, some people referred to the pairing as canonically unrequited. I was genuinely confused before I realised that 'LOGAN WANTS ROGUE JUST AS MUCH AS OR POSSIBLY MORE THAN ROGUE WANTS HIM; HE'S JUST BETTER AT HIDING IT' was how the films were filtered in my head rather than actually canonically stated.

But things become so much more interesting when you look at X2 through that lens! The scene where Bobby introduces himself as Rogue's boyfriend, for example, is fascinating, particularly Logan asking Bobby, 'Boyfriend, huh? So how do you two...?' (which, by the way, Logan, is a really inappropriate question, although I suppose your personal investment in knowing the answer may have imprisoned whatever sense of propriety you have). Logan's freaked-out reaction to Mystique becoming Rogue is much more interesting as a combination of longing and denial and self-loathing than as a simple 'WELL THAT'S WRONG'.

Not that I'm saying you have to 'ship it, obviously! I'm just saying that I'm watching a better film than you are, nyah nyah nyah.

I've been hunting for Rogan/Logue - hang on, no (that was a genuine error; why are your names so similar, guys?) - Rogue/Logan images recently. Beneath the cut is a scan I was very pleased to come across, from X-Men #169.


Who needs context? (Warning: Logan is alarmingly muscular and wearing an alarmingly arse-defining outfit.) )


And now to videogames!

Question: Riona, why did you buy a third-person shooter if you know you're terrible at shooting games?
Answer: ...wait, this is a third-person shooter? oh noooo

So, yes, I appear to accidentally be playing Uncharted: Drake's Fortune! I AM SO BAD AT IT. I do not have the patience to hide behind objects and occasionally peek out to shoot at people; I would much rather run up to my enemies and whack them repeatedly with a giant key. What is this 'conserving ammo' nonsense?

Possibly the largest problem so far: when you're on the verge of death in Uncharted, the colour drains out of the screen.

I do my work in a monochrome word processor: grey background, white page, black text.

The first time I opened up the document I was working on after a couple of hours of Uncharted, my mind screamed MONOCHROME SCREEN GET AWAY RECOVER YOUR HEALTH at me.

(Said document was a novel I was editing, which contained a scene in which Cambridge won the annual boat race between the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge. My family have very strong ties to the University of Oxford. I mentioned this scene to them. Immediately:

Fred: Correct it.
Dad: Change it.
Joseph: Write a note to the author: 'Is this really realistic?')
rionaleonhart: final fantasy versus xiii: a young woman at night, her back to you, the moon high above. (nor women neither)
Riona: (no, really, I was actually thinking this yesterday.) Okay, it's been a difficult sixteen months, but I think things are looking up. I've got work, for now; I've got a sort of plan for my near future; the hairdresser said I'd been losing my hair due to stress, but she also said it was growing back, which has to be a good sign. I just need to keep going.
Life: Hello! I've got a present for you.
Riona: Oh, boy! ...wait, it's not food poisoning, is it?
Life: Er, no?
Riona: Great! What is it, then?
Life: Iiiiiit's... food poisoning!
Riona: LIFE
Life: Surprise!
Riona: oh my god when I'm physically capable of leaving this bathroom I'm going to kick your arse

On the bright side, the novel I'm editing at the moment contains a character with severe food poisoning, so perhaps this will help me ensure that it's realistically depicted. It's method editing.


Anyway! In nicer news, [livejournal.com profile] reipan and I have watched the first five episodes of My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic.

That was an experience. (oh my goodness it is so cute)

A handful of quick thoughts:

- Not only is the main character called Twilight Sparkle, but she initially shares Bella Swan's 'who needs friends? stupid other people being nice to me' attitude. I refuse to believe that this is a coincidence.

- I went 'awww' aloud at Fluttershy's first appearance. She's adorable! And quite like me in several respects, although I've become a little less Fluttershyish in recent years. (Pinkie Pie refuses to prank her because she knows she'll be upset! Pinkie Pie may be ridiculous and overenthusiastic and frequently oblivious, but she knows where to draw the line. Bless her.)

- I spent more or less the entire second episode in tears. LOOK AT ALL THE PONIES BEING FRIENDS AND HELPING EACH OTHER. I am twenty-two years old.

- The ending theme has the lyrics 'My Little Pony! My Little Pony! My Little Pony, frieeeends'. Rei has taken to hissing 'frieeeends' at me in quite a sinister fashion. It's alarming.
rionaleonhart: final fantasy x-2: the sun is rising, yuna looks to the future. (never leave us again)
Thank you so much to those who offered help and advice regarding my work-related woes! I don't deserve such wonderful online friends, but I'm very glad I have you. I am going to take a deep breath, break through my fear of making unsolicited calls (seriously, my current method of 'taking half a day to work up the courage to make the call, shaking for an hour afterwards' takes far too much time) and pester all the publishers in the world until I have enough work to live on. THE WORST THEY CAN DO IS NOT GIVE YOU WORK, RIONA. THERE IS NO NEED TO PANIC.

And now another entry about videogames!

(For the past couple of missions with Demyx, he's been going 'OKAY ROXAS I'LL WAIT OUT HERE AND, UH, GUARD THE EXIT, GOOD LUCK FIGHTING ALL THE THINGS BY YOURSELF.')
Demyx: You entering some kind of contest, Roxas?
Roxas: Sort of. These Games are the only way to get inside the Coliseum right now.
Demyx: Ahh, I follow you.
Roxas: I wish you would.

BEST GAME. (Oh, Demyx.) I haven't been playing videogames much of late; I'm delighted to discover with Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days that I haven't lost the capacity to enjoy them.

(And now I have had missions with Luxord! And he goes on great long metaphorical spiels about luck and says things like 'let's go after our harried little hare' and Roxas just goes 'er, right help I have no idea what you're talking about'. And he teases Roxas about the Cheshire cat! AND HE OPENS ANOTHER CORRIDOR OF DARKNESS AT THE END OF THE MISSION, THANK YOU LUXORD, WHY CAN'T MORE ORGANIZATION MEMBERS BE SO THOUGHTFUL. I love him, although of course I do also now love almost every member of the Organization.)


From my Pokéwalker diary:

Walked 2603 steps! RYU is so very happy, it's frolicking around! It seems like it will jump on your back.

Which is all very cute, until you realise that Ryu is a Rhyhorn. Please do not jump on my back, Ryu; it would kill me.

Also, I caught a Magby! A Magby, for those who don't know, is the pre-evolved Magmar; its name is a portmanteau of 'Magmar' (or, well, 'magma') and 'baby'. HERE IS A MUCH BETTER IDEA, POKÉMON NAMERS: IT IS THE PRE-EVOLVED FORM OF MAGMAR. IT IS A BABY AND THEREFORE SMALL AND THEREFORE COULD BE DESCRIBED AS A MITE. IT IS A MARMITE. I CAN'T BELIEVE YOU LET THIS OPPORTUNITY GO BY.
rionaleonhart: top gear: the start button on a bugatti veyron. (going down tonight)
Last night, I watched an episode of Only Connect, a gameshow presented by Victoria Coren, in which the players have to work out the connection between the items in a series. One of these series was 'Fighting', 'Grass', 'Dragon', 'Psychic'. I, naturally, got the connection immediately, but the contestants did not ('Are they nicknames for drugs?' one asked), no matter how loudly and repeatedly I tried to inform them.

'And,' Coren said afterwards, addressing the camera, 'if you were shouting "Pokémon, Pokémon, Pokémon" at the screen during that last round, why not visit our website and give the puzzles there a try?'

She knows me so well. Which is odd, as we've never actually spoken.

Then I fell asleep and dreamt, my notes inform me, the following:

I was accompanied by two dogs. one was a poodle and also a prostitute. she was later to double-cross me. not that I think prostitutes are inherently immoral, canine or otherwise, although poodles may well be. they were on fairly short leads, so I could swing them around and use them as a weapon. in retrospect, this may have contributed to the double-crossing.


I love that, in the world of Waterloo Road, the results of mass drugs tests are presented with 'NEGATIVE' or 'POSITIVE' printed directly onto the paper and the names to which they correspond on sticky labels next to the outcome. IT'S ALMOST AS IF THEY'RE DESIGNED SPECIFICALLY TO MAKE IT EASY FOR UNSCRUPULOUS FATHERS TO SWAP THE NAMES AROUND.

Any other ways you would like to bend reality to make storylines more workable, Waterloo Road? Perhaps an unscrupulous teacher is photographed speeding and frames a student who's just passed her test by peeling off his easily-removable number plate* and transferring it onto her car. Naturally, the police find the culprit by personally looking at the number plates of all the cars in Rochdale, rather than checking any sort of database.

(For all I know, the results of mass drugs tests could come in with the names on easy-to-switch sticky labels, but it strikes me as unlikely.)


* I have literally only just realised that 'number' as in 'unit of quantity' and 'number' as in 'more numb' are homographic. Obviously I knew they were both spelt 'number', but it hadn't really occurred to me that they were both spelt 'number'.

...look, it makes sense in my head.



LAST-MINUTE ENTRY ADDITION: I have spent the past month pestering every publisher in the south of England, asking for work to edit, and one has finally agreed to send me a trial manuscript! YEAH. Employment, here I have a chance of coming! I am really excited! Please let me not screw this up.