Still here. I've been so terribly lazy and lurgy-ridden about typing up an update, is all. (Okay, and I spent five days in Britain around New Year's, too. Fortunately I got back just before all the snowstorms broke out, and only suffered a fifteen-minute delay on the last flight. Oh, and I suffered boredom at the airports, too. Agh two-hour layovers.)

First off, some long-overdue thanks to my fantastic [livejournal.com profile] yuletide writer [livejournal.com profile] lies_d, who is made of win and wrote me a fantastic Eastern Promises fic AND a YTM treat. A treat in a fandom (I, Lucifer by Glen Duncan - I recommend it, it's hilarious) I thought was too small to muster fic. ♥!

[livejournal.com profile] caras_galadhon and [livejournal.com profile] cousinshelley also deserve many thanks, because they both wrote me YTM Treats. You rock!

Oh, and now I can reveal which fic I wrote: Bullseyes and Targets, Say the Bells of St Margaret's, the fandom being The Gun Seller by Hugh Laurie. (Yes, that Hugh Laurie.) Btw, if you haven't read the book, I highly recommend it. It's... well, "comical noir" or "noirish spy-thriller parody" is about as close as I get. Very funny, with many excellent and hilarious turns of phrase.

While on the topic of fic: while I only wrote two fics for holiday exchanges last year, I suddenly realized that I have two older fics that I haven't posted in my own journal, one being a fic written for the [livejournal.com profile] sons_of_gondor Halloween Exchange and the other being a giftfic. I'll be posting all those later, but I'll try to stagger it so I don't swamp your flist.

And because I can't NOT comment on the weather: like much of Europe, Finland was hit with both chill and snow a few weeks back. The difference being, of course, that we're better equipped to handle it. In late December/early January, we enjoyed temperatures averaging -20° to -25° (where I live, at least. I know the northern areas were even colder.), as well as lots of snow. The snow started falling around Christmas Eve or a little before, and when I left for England on the 29th, we had close to two and a half feet of snow. By contrast, St Albans (where I stayed, with my aunt and her husband) had no snow* and was a balmy 2-3°, and so I was able to enjoy a lovely sauna on New Year's Eve, and also sat in the garden after said sauna bath in nothing but a bathrobe, drinking a g&t. Lovely. It was less lovely to come back to Finland two days later and get welcomed by a snowstorm and -15°. The worst period of chill seems to be over now, though, and it's been around -5° to -10°. (Which feels weird after the deeper chill. I swear, the first day that we had a mere -5°, I went outside to fetch the mail dressed in a teeshirt and felt warm.)

Oh, and last but not least: thanks to [livejournal.com profile] nieninque121 and [livejournal.com profile] azewewish (whom I owe totally belated birthday wishes) for the cards! ([livejournal.com profile] nieninque121, the snowflake arrived mostly safely - a little piece had broken off, though. :( ) Also, note to [livejournal.com profile] credoimprobus: the gift was WIN. :D It works like a dream. (Stan's currently squished under Logan, who's been getting quite the workout of late. *g*)

____
*No snow at that time, that is. They did have quite a lot of snow later, but I was back home by then.
empyreus: (Suomi)
( Jun. 22nd, 2008 07:56 pm)
I'm finally back. I arrived late Friday night, but spent Saturday and most of Sunday near Tampere. Now I'm officially back in my own flat. :)

Emotion-wise, I'm a bit torn. I miss Scotland, but home is home, isn't it?

I have a really long update re the last week of my trip to type up, but I think I'll leave that until tomorrow. I'm horribly tired despite the fact that I've been sleeping a lot the last few days, plus I need to unpack.

I know I've missed a lot of what you lot have been up to, despite my valiant attempts to at least skim the Flist while online in Scotland, so if there's something you want me to look at or comment on, just leave a comment.

Oh, and before I forget: thanks for all the birthday wishes! :) And a special thank you to my mysterious benefactor, who bought me a virtual cupcake.
empyreus: (coffee)
( Jun. 15th, 2008 02:48 pm)
I just realized I last updated about a week ago. I've been meaning to type up another overlong bundled update, but I've been both too busy and too tired to do so.

So, since Friday last week, I have: been to Castle Campbell and Stirling, bought a pinstriped corset, been to pubs, visited the Glenkinchie whisky destillery, eaten haggis, danced through most of a ceilidh in aforementioned pinstriped corset, won a bar raffle and subsequently drunk stupid amounts of alcohol very fast, done and won an informal quiz on the course material while possibly mildly hungover and had a new piercing done. I think that's the more significant events done. *g*

Castle Campbell )

The corset )

Whisky )

Some more folk dancing )

Haggis )

Drink! ... and some idiocy by proxy )

(Okay, this one flies free, I have too many cuts already. *g*)

After getting the course diplomas and saying our goodbyes to the teachers (though I technically had a week left), L and I decided to wander over to Tribal Body Art on Canongate, which is practically next door to Moray House. I'd mentioned I wanted to have a scaffold (also known as an industrial) piercing done, but when I'd been at TBA earlier in the week, the piercing artist had told me (to my massive disappointment) that my ear didn't have enough of a ridge along the upper edge to support the end of the bar. L had had a second eyebrow bar put in at TBA and had enthused about how good the artist was, so I though I could at least swing by there again and see if there were any other piercings I could have done. I didn't want anything in the face or mouth, and I'm too chickenshit to get a body one, so it was confined to the ear, really. One of the other piercing artists was in, and he concurred with the earlier statement about the scaffold, but (of course) urged me to get something else. At first, I briefly considered a tragus, but remembering how sore my helix was after it was done, I didn't want that one. After roughly five minutes of banter with the two piercing artists, I thought to hell with it and said I'd made up my mind. I now have a rook in my left ear. :) Jared (the piercing artist who did mine) was fantastic. It barely even stung when the needle went through, and the final adjustment was equally painless. Plus he was incredibly kind and funny and had the most gorgeous shade of light emerald green hair. He approved of my choice of piercing, but then he had a double rook in his left ear. *g*

So far, it hasn't given me any trouble, though I did manage to turn over onto my left side and press my ear into the pillow when I woke up on Saturday morning. I righted myself very fast. Generally, it's not that sore, but it hurts a bit when I move the ring to the side while cleaning the site with salt water twice a day. That's a small price to pay. :) I love it, and I keep looking at it in the mirror. I think it's a nice and slightly unconventional memento to take home from Scotland.

*deep breath* And this was the brief version, mind you. *g* I'll have to type the rest up at some point and portion it out in snippets once I get home. After boring friends with it IRL and in chat.

Gah, there's still so many things I need to see and do, and I'm running out of time. Halp! I've also managed to miss [livejournal.com profile] tvillingar's birthday. Argh. Lots of belated well-wishes, darling!

(Btw, uspect I'm on skip=25675 by now, so please leave a comment or email me if there's something important you want me to see/know.)
Muahaha. Guess who got to cozy up to Frank-N-Furter and gang on Wednesday? Me, that's who. *g*

The Frankenstein Pub held a Rocky Horror night, with actual live performers doing some of the songs. They had a best dress/Time Warper contest as well, but since I'm away from home and my wardrobe proper, I wasn't able to go all out. Besides, we'd gone there just after the theatre visit, so even if I'd had a more RHPS-suitable getup handy, it wouldn't perhaps have been that appropriate.

Even though the crowd wasn't that large, the evening was absolutely brilliant. I sang and yelled until my voice cracked, danced until I was dizzy and sweaty, and generally enjoyed myself.

During the entire evening, RHPS played (without sound) on big screens over the bar, and though the DJ played more normal music between the songs (to give the poor performers time to breathe and change costumes - and in one case, change characters, as Riff Raff played Brad as well), it was quite obvious there was a theme night on.

That night, I also had the pleasure of being heckled by the performers. *g* Yes, that way around. (In truth, it barely qualifies as a heckle, more of a retort.) They were announcing who'd won the Time Warp dance contest, and began by stating that the winner was male, to which I replied with a loud "Damn", and since I stood in the front row, all of four feet from the bar on which the performers were standing, Frank saw fit to say "Get a sex change, love, you'll have a better chance". I was also on the receiving end of a stealthy grope courtesy of Riff Raff. He was leaning in to tell me (after I'd asked if I could have my picture taken with him) that they were doing another number in a few minutes, but that I'd get Frank as well if I waited. In the process, I got patted in various interesting places. It wasn't bad, just... interesting. ;) I still don't know if it was deliberate or if he just didn't see where his hand landed.

I didn't drink much, mostly because we sang so much. I also suspect I may have been the cause of a minor lovers' tiff. (I didn't start it, I promise! I was standing watching the show, singing along, when I noticed a guy roughly my age grinning widely at me. I took it to be general glee, grinned back and continued singing, noting he did the same. Two songs later, both of which I'd belted along with, he suddenly yells "I love you!" while grinning even wider and grabbing my hand. His girlfriend, who stood next to him looked slightly perplexed and angry, but didn't say anything. Or if she did, I didn't hear it, since the volume inside was deafening. Now, I took the spontaneous declaration of love to be caused by the fact that I knew all the songs, nothing else, so I figured it didn't harm if I grinned back a bit and faced the bloke while sing-shouting my way through another song along with him. Apparently it did. I didn't notice it, but I have it on good authority that the girlfriend looked progressively pissier as the evening wore on. Oops. Can I take a moment here to state that any touching was limited to the brief clasping of hands? Sure, we faced each other and kept eye contact through the dancing, but that was it.)

On our way back from the bar, I had to take my shoes (they look roughly like this, but the heel is a bit wider and not quite as high) off since they were absolutely murdering my feet, and walked from North Bank Street down to Waverley Steps barefoot. o_O I didn't step on any glass, though, and while the driver of the night bus gave me a funny look when I got on, still barefoot, he didn't say anything. Once I got off the bus, I walked a few hundred yards from the stop to the place where I'm staying, still barefoot. At that point, it too was beginning to hurt my feet.

I slept five hours that night and was late for a museum visit the next morning, as well as suffering from a sore throat and aching feet, but it was absolutely worth it. :D


Actually, almost all of Wednesday was brilliant. In the morning, we toured the Festival Theatre, and were really given the full tour, including backstage and the orchestra pit. And now I can say I've literally been on stage at the Festival Theatre. ;) What was amusing was that our guide, who was also the duty manager, made a RHPS reference as he led us into the theatre proper, saying that he felt that the step from the 1994 foyer into the 1938 seating area was his own personal Time Warp. (He'd also actually played Frank in a stage version there, which counted so much in his favour it wasn't even funny.) As we left, I thanked him for letting me have my own RHPS moment on stage, as the view out from there could stand in for the final scene. I said I half thought that if I turned, I'd see the big RKO mast behind me. After the tour proper was over, we stood talking briefly about RHPS, and the course teachers who stood next to me looked as though they thought both of us should be taken away by the men in white coats, particularly when we started reciting lines. :D

*deep breath* And there's more. :)

Yesterday was ceilidh practice, and my calves are trying to kill me. The combination of spending RHPS night in two-and-a-half inch heels and then spending two hours the next evening dancing Highland dances in flat shoes (and I do mean flat, they were plimsolls) is not good. At all. My calves started aching directly after the two-hour session, and they're still sore as hell.

The dancing was great, and I say this as someone who normally hates dancing. I have two left feet, so any sort of choreographed movement is difficult to say the least. There is a slight inconvenience in that because males were outnumbered in the group, some women had to swap temporarily, so I now know the steps to the Gay Gordons only for the men. Thankfully most of the dances we learned don't require separate steps for men and women.

Another thing I learned the hard way: if you're doing the Dashing White Sergeant, try not to end up in the middle of the sets of three. Trust me on this one. You'll be the one doing all the running and spins, and there is a lot of that. A lot.

Right, that's it for now, I think. I know I'm probably forgetting something, but I'm running out of time (am sitting in an internet cafe) and I'm dead tired after walking around all day today too. :(
empyreus: (academia)
( Jun. 2nd, 2008 12:14 pm)
Shortish update re the first week. :) I have a feeling I'll do longer updates either later this week or when I get home. Depends on how much energy I have, really. For some reason, I've been incredibly tired all week, but that could be because I've been running (well, walking fast) all over town after lectures each day.

A few highlights:
The beerienteering on Wednesday was great. We only visited three pubs and didn't drink that much, but that didn't matter at all. Turns out two of my coursemates are Monty Python fans, which (after some drinking) led to the three of us walking along Chambers Street singing "Sit On My Face". :D Fortunately it was quite early in the evening, so there weren't that many people out. And no policemen.

We ended the night quite early by Finnish standards, around midnight, but that was because it was Wednesday. Plus I wanted to catch the last regular bus home instead of waiting around for the night bus. (I can't stop sniggering at that phrase, because I keep thinking of HP. That the buses on the line I use are double-deckers does not help. *g*) Now that I've got used to the bus system here, I find it quite handy.

Our local student guide on the beerienteering tour was absolutely disgustingly cute but unfortunately also engaged. :(


The bus tour to Hill House and Loch Lomond on Saturday was wonderful (I took lots of pictures, which I need to upload), even though I managed to burn my collarbones and the side of my neck. The sun was really hot. :( I thought I was fine, since it didn't hurt at all during the day, but when I got home, the first thing my hostess did was make a big fuss about how I'd burned myself. Sure enough, when I looked in the mirror properly (having been out and about and away from mirrors all day), I saw that the skin was bright red. It's much better now, thanks to the judicious application of aloe vera.

Since the weather on Saturday was absolutely beautiful over most of Scotland, Sunday had to be awful. It started pouring down around eleven-ish and didn't stop until late evening.


So far, I've been mistaken for someone Irish twice (!), since I apparently have "a wee lilt". What. Oh well, at least I'm mistaken for someone English-speaking. *g*

To answer the obvious question: yes, I have seen a lot of kilted men. This is partly because the rugby sevens are on at Murrayfield stadium, which is very close to where I am staying. Whatever the reason, it's quite nice. *g*
empyreus: (got to be joking)
( May. 29th, 2008 02:40 pm)
For the first time during my stay here, I'm actually a bit miserable. It's not the weather, it's not homesickness... it's the bloody internet access. The computer room at the institute is a bloody joke. I can't get at my usb stick (My Computer shows up blank when I try via Windows Explorer or My Computer), I doubt there's wireless access, the room in itself is tiny and muggy and located in the basement, the screen settings are fucked up... I hate this. And did I mention there's no access where I'm staying, either.

Of course, it could be because I haven't eaten properly today. Actually, scratch that, that only covers part of this. Blargh.
empyreus: (teacher)
( May. 27th, 2008 10:59 am)
Argh. This is the first time I'm online since my last update, and I've given up hope on slogging through the backlog of Flist. If there's anything you want me to see, leave a comment on one of the more recent posts and I'll see what I can do.

Short version of things at present: am okay, most people on the course are nice (and, ironically, all the people from my university are miserable and sourfaced), getting used to Edinburgh's street layout and mass transit system.

I need to type up a few bundled updates and upload them, but as any internet time has to (okay, it doesn't have to, but you get the point) be grabbed at internet cafes since access at the Institute is abysmal, it could be a day or two. :P

Damn, I have to run to be on time for the lecture. Argh!
empyreus: (smiling sharpe)
( May. 24th, 2008 02:00 pm)
So, the promised recap of yesterday. Why no, I'm not eager to inflict it on you lot. ;)

It was a mix of yay and fail, actually, but nothing too horrible. Even the fail was mirth-inducing.

Let's start with the fail, shall we?
You're doing it wrong. )

Not-quite-fail )

Interesting observations: I tried Irn Bru for the first time in my life, and it was... interesting. My first reaction was "My god, it tastes like liquid bubblegum". It's very sweet and tastes oddly fruity. Since I'm a masochist, I intend to try the diet version as well. :)

The day wasn't entirely without win, though. :) Reading the comments on my posts was lovely, for one. :) I also remedied the book situation. I limited myself to one book: The Persian Boy by Mary Renault, (which has been tricky to find in the original English in Finland. I have a Swedish translation, but it's not quite the same.), just to pace myself. No use in going mad quite yet, I still have nearly a month. *g* And then there was the simple fact that I was spoiled for choice. So many books! (Finnish bookstores are generally quite sad when it comes to English paperbacks that aren't bestsellers.)

Random linguistic observation of the day )

Wow. That was one wordy post. Can you tell I haven't had anyone to talk to?

(A few sekrit messages:
[livejournal.com profile] tackerama & [livejournal.com profile] littlemimm, plz to email me the addresses, since I naturally managed to forget the card they were written on.
[livejournal.com profile] caras_galadhon: that-thing-in-the-pipeline is actually moving forward at a tolerable pace. :) )
empyreus: (coffee)
( May. 24th, 2008 12:55 pm)
gang aft agley. :( I'm sitting in the Elephant House (HP fans will know why this is important. *g*), but of course I can't use my memory stick with their terminals, so my cunning plan to paste in my pre-written update is foiled. Oh well.

Day two is going well, despite my slight tendency to fail at directions and my stubborn refusal to read my map in public.

Anyway. Am safe, am good, and will probably paste my update in once I find an internet cafe that lets me use my memory stick.
empyreus: (Default)
( May. 23rd, 2008 11:34 am)
Updating from internet terminal at Edinburgh Airport. *waves* O hai.

Am fine, but slightly hungry. Flight was uneventful, apart from the descent, which occasionally felt like a ride on the back of Iron Man sans one flight stabilizer. Yes. Wildly bumpy.

Off to hotel now. Am going to splash out on a cab, since my luggage weighs a fuckton.

Love you.
empyreus: (Default)
( May. 23rd, 2008 08:28 am)
Updating from Arlanda airport. Of course the cheap internet access point in the terminal was b0rked, so I had to shell out 9 e for an hour of wireless access. Be grateful, bitches. *g*

So far, everything has gone well. (Well, I managed to forget my sunglasses, but hey.) What amuses me endlessly is that I completely and utterly forgot to bring any books. o_O I KNOW. Consider that as proof of how nervous I was. I did pick up a paperback at the airport bookstore, though, one I chose purely because the main character is an interpreter. :)

Can't promise an update from Copenhagen/Kastrup, as I'll have to run to catch my flight. (Or at least walk briskly.) Edinburgh? Maybe, if I find an access point.

A few random observations:
* was most pleased that we had a female pilot who flew like a dream.
* airline coffee = still toxic.
* I'm surprisingly alert for someone who slept four hours last night.
* I'm also oddly calm.
(The tarsier has really been getting a workout of late. *g*)

So, I'm off to Scotland tomorrow. I could lie and say I'm not nervous at all, but no-one would fall for it. I actually feel vaguely ill right now, partly from stress and partly from nervosity. I'm convinced I've forgot half of the things I'll need, despite the fact that I had to sit on my suitcase to be able to close it. Apparently I haven't registered the fact that yes, there are actually shops over there. :P

Part of why I'm so flaily is that I'll be travelling alone. It's not the first time I travel alone, but it's the longest solo journey I've made so far. I'm convinced I'll manage to fuck up somehow, somewhere along the route. Pah. I'll also spend the two first days alone, as the accommodation proper starts on Sunday.

(Okay, technically I won't be travelling entirely alone. No, [livejournal.com profile] littlemimm and [livejournal.com profile] tackerama have seen to that. :) Mimm knitted me a tiny slasher with stary eyes, and T burned me a dvd with Pratchett&Gaiman stuff. *loves* And the two of them also provided me with roughly a kilo of Finnish candy (Fazer's chocolate, blue and red; a Jack Sparrow Pez dispenser (!) plus two different brands of salmiakki). *loves more*)

I'll try to update when I have the chance, but I have no idea when that'll be. No, scratch that. I will update, come hell or high water. I'll find a way. :)

In the meantime, I love you all. If interesting things happen or you want me to look at something, drop me a comment, as I probably won't be able to read the Flist regularly.
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