silly_cleo: Fred Burkle looking over her shoulder, text: princess. (angel - fred - princess)
I stared at my remaining topics and wasn't sure which I felt like talking about, and then I landed on this one because I finally picked a fandom to talk about. ;D I've been struggling with this one ever since [personal profile] carawj requested it because I'm pretty generous in what I define as an active fandom. Like thanks to Tumblr I consider say, Harry Potter, Buffy (ETA: turns out I lied and can't talk about Angel without Buffy), Xena, and Farscape to be fairly active fandoms for me because they come up on my dash a lot, I re-watch eps periodically, I watch vids, I ponder and read meta, so they were all out, and they're some of my oldest fandoms.

I also pondered and rejected Doctor Who because dear show, I feel like I already expend more energy on you and justifying our break-up than is good for me at the mo.

And I regularly re-read say, the Vorkosigan Saga and Robin Hobb, so they're also out.

I briefly considered 'Grey's Anatomy' cuz I had a really fun conversation with someone on twitter about it earlier this evening but maybe another time as this is SO LONG.

Shows I've come to in the last 5 years don't even count as nostalgic yet, so that rules out a LOT. ;)

But! As I mentioned in my entry earlier, I've fallen down a 'Person of Interest'-shaped rabbit-hole, which is ENTIRELY because of Amy Acker, for whom I have a huge thing. And I tend to forget this is the case until I actually see her moving and talking in something? Like stills and even gifsets don't really convey it? But anyway, this has sort of been simmering since [personal profile] purplefringe's beautiful Festivid last year, with which I am slightly obsessed, and then I saw [personal profile] isagel's fantastic character study from POI, and like months later, here we are. ;)

The problem here is that prolonged pondering about Amy Acker inevitably leads me back to Angel in the end, and for various reasons, I haven't hung on to Angel over the years the way I have Buffy. But, because of the Amy Acker thing, it has been on my mind lately more than usual.

(Btw, this entry is going to have massive spoilers for all of Buffy and Angel, so if you're in the process of watching those, or plan to watch them some day, look away.) Cut for length, but as yet, no spoilers. I'll let you know when I hit those. )

OK, here be spoilers. )

Like it would be ridiculous and untrue to say I'm not capable of the depth of feeling I had for Buffy and Angel but they're both wrapped around my me-ness and personality in ways it's harder for things to be as I get older, because my personality and sense of self are more formed.

As an aside, they're the first fandoms I shared with Alex. Like we met through mutual friends in Gargoyles fandom, but we were both done with Gargoyles by the time we started hanging out. She's hugely responsible for my Tara love, I didn't like her at first because I missed Oz. (I know, I know.) We used to hotly debate Buffy/Angel vs Cordelia/Angel. She was very sympathetic (and frequently mocking) over my Fred feelings. My LJ still has an Alex-only filter, and if I ever let another living human being on that filter, they would find hundreds of comments, because that's how we used to talk to each other, and lots of them are about our Buffy and Angel re-watches. We didn't simul-watch because time-zones can bite me but we used to watch more or less concurrently a lot.

Heh, she tried to get me to watch Justice League Unlimited because so many Jossverse alums voiced the characters, chiefly Amy Acker as Huntress.

I don't really know how to wrap this one up. I don't even know what it'll be like to read, it's very introspective (navel-gazey ;)) and rather sentimental. Thinking it over I don't think it's age or depth of feeling that's different about how I watch TV, it's critical thinking. When I watch TV or movies or read a book now I can't switch off pondering whether it has passed the Bechdel test yet, where are the queers, where are the PoC, hey, that woman just got put in a fridge*. Etc. And I wouldn't change that even if I could, even though it makes me a killjoy sometimes, but I'm also glad I got to watch Buffy and Angel BEFORE I learned to do that. (Also I think I worked through a lot of my feelings about relating to canons and problematic canons and how to be a fan of problematic things through Buffy and Angel. Like there was a point where it was important to me to like everything about every aspect of the show, so I worked hard to say, love freaking Spike and Riley, and it was freeing to work out that I didn't have to do that.)

Like I often talk about how much I've learnt about feminism and equality and intersectionality from fandom, and it's TRUE. I am not sure I even gave credit to how much that's true until I wrote all this down.

(My god, I am so sorry about how long this one is.)

*Not to say every type of media I consume is a paragon of representation or anything, VERY far from it, but part of the automatic process of watching that is critiquing it.
silly_cleo: black and white image of Elizabeth Taylor as Cleopatra, text: an almost all greek thing (Default)
I'm so behind with these. Shocker. IDK. I'm sorry. I finished work on the 19th, then I had to write my Yuletide, do last-minute Xmas stuff, and obviously actual Xmas (which was surprisingly OK). All of which was fine and great, but looking back on the last few days I really have just collapsed like a puppet whose strings have been cut. Er, I also fell down a 'Person of Interest' shaped rabbit-hole. Which I may write about at some point soon. 's been fun. ;D

Tbh, I think it's been good and I was due a break. I owe comments and December posts and a couple of drabbles and a podfic, and there's other stuff I feel moved to do, and I think I'll actually be able to move on to all that lot soon.

BUT ANYWAY. Enough of that. [personal profile] goodbyebird asked me to talk about all my Wonder Woman clothes and accessories! :D And I figured since it's her birthday it might be nice to get the right day for this one. Happy birthday, sweetie, hope you've had a lovely day and fun and gorgeous presents. <3

So it's no secret I have a) a massive Wonder Woman thing b) love clothes and dressing up and c) am a cosplayer and 'stealth' cosplayer. (Too lazy to link but last year I talked about this for one of my December memes!) This means a) I buy myself a lot of WW stuff and b) it's a great present avenue for OTHERS. I'm now, as requested, going to talk about all my WW stuff and also how I acquired it. ;D

I did consider taking a PHOTO of me wearing all my WW stuff but I realised I can't actually wear it all at once, plus I'm lazy. Sorry. Anyway. ;D

It started with one T-shirt from Primark, which I still have, and is much loved.

I don't remember the order perfectly, but I've cosplayed as WW for both Nine Worlds so far, so I have several red tops I use for that, that I count as WW stuff. I have a vest, a t-shirt, several jerseys. An increasingly worn blue skirt with white polka-dots on it. I've got some bracelets made of silver card that also double up for my Thor cosplay. I've got some beautiful bracelets [personal profile] shinyjenni *made for me*. I've got THREE tiaras, one I made from gold and red glittery card, one felt one [twitter.com profile] minihannah gacve me for my birthday (or Christmas? My memory stinks) last year, one that a coworker CROCHETED for me as a goodbye present. [personal profile] spiderwolves gave me some cute elasticated faux red boots with the white stripe. I've got scads of gold ribbon I use as lasso, lasso-as-hair-control, belt, W, as I see fit.

For Christmas (or my birthday??) last year, [personal profile] carawj got me a beautiful necklace that I wear almost every day. I need to learn to clean copper jewellery.

For my birthday this year, [personal profile] carawj and [twitter.com profile] Shiiuga BOTH got me Wonder Woman bags, one is a beautiful handbag I wear all the time, the other is a gorgeous tote from Red Bubble that's done like it's for Themyscira the sports (rollerderby LBR) team. As I use totes almost every day for the stuff I can't fit in my handbag (I know) sometimes I wear them both at the same time and it's the BEST.

[personal profile] shinyjenni also got me WW-themed stuff for my birthday this year. A gorgeous length of navy blue ribbon with stars and the W across it that I frequently wear in my hair, a little W necklace that sits perfectly on my chest to stealthily simulate the W on Diana's chest. And a little lego WW that lives on my bedside table.

This year [personal profile] cosmic_llin gave me a book on Amazons, no doubt in large part due to my WW thing, though obv Amazons are RTMI anyway and the Diana thing is a little bit because of that. I got given a Greg Rucka comic for my birthday last year. (Only like the best one, i.e., Eyes of the Gorgon. <3)

I bought myself a WW iPad case. Also at some point another Primark T-shirt. Also er, *coughs* two pairs of WW converse, though the high tops don't fit and I need to sell them. (*sob*)

For Christmas, my little sister gave me WW headphones. (She overheard me tell dad I wanted them and went to quite a lot of effort to find them as I hadn't mentioned where she could buy them. <3) I can't usually tolerate big over-ear headphones but for this pair and my little sister's effort, I'm gonna see if I can figure it out.

I think that might be all my WW stuff?? (All. *snort*)

ETA: Oh! Make-up! I used to have all the colours to do WW nails, but need to replace red and blue as I was sharing [twitter.com profile] minihannah's while we lived together. I also have colours to do WW eye-shadow. :D

Now I've written it all down, it's making me think of other stuff I'd like. I'd love more WW-themed make-up. I'd love WW tights or leggings. I'd also love a dress, or that jumper pattern that goes around Tumblr sometimes. There can never be too many necklaces. Hair clips maybe? There can also never be too many t-shirts and sweaters and stuff. Basically if you're ever stuck for a present to give me you'll be hard-pressed to go wrong with Wonder Woman clothes or accessories. And even if I already have it, you can bet I'm loving and wearing and using it to death and will be so grateful for a replacement. ;D <3
silly_cleo: A girl in a leotard stretching over a ballet bar. (dancing! - girl stretching)
So I was lying in bed the other night (bear with me ;)) and I was struggling to get to sleep, so I was thinking about my current book, which at the time was ‘The Stepsister Scheme’, and I sort of segued into thinking that I also struggle to pronounce the word scheme. This led me to ponder other words with that ‘sch’ noise that I can’t pronounce, and why that might be, which led me nicely onto the December topic [personal profile] raven asked me for, which is – languages! (And interesting cognates, and being bilingual, and all that cool stuff we sometimes talk about.)

But yes, ‘sch’! The other word I struggle to pronounce that starts with it is ‘schism’, and then I noticed that both these words are of course, Greek, scheme means shape (σχήμα - schema) (at least in Modern Greek, so you can see how that works, scheme/shape/plan all kind of share nebulous meaning. *waves hands vaguely*). Schism, in Modern Greek (σχίζω/σκίζω - schizo) I rip. I trust I don’t need to explain that one. I had one other but I forget what it is. Oh, schedule. (σχέδιο - schedio) Pattern, plan.

And you can see in the Greek word the ‘ch’ compound is trying to stand in for the Greek Χ, which doesn't sound like X (that’s Ξ) but rather more like H, but way further back in the throat. I took a term of Linguistics 101 at uni, and remember learning about all those noises we make in the back of the throat, how English doesn't go very far back (in the throat) at all, and how Greek goes a bit further but nowhere near as far as other languages.

I went off on two tangents at this point and one of them is shorter than the other so I’ll address it first. This was me thinking about words that have ‘sch’ in them that I CAN pronounce and the one I thought of first is ‘school’. Then I thought about how, to my eye, the word school comes from the same place across all the languages I know, which struck me as cool. (Disclaimer: I could be wrong about this, like I’m good at spotting patterns across languages and that’s why I’m good at them, but I’m by no means trained or always accurate.) But, to my eye:
School
Schule
Ecole
Escuela
Σχολείο(Scholio)

ETA: [personal profile] glinda informs me that in Gaelic/Welsh school is sgoil. From work I believe Welsh for school is ysgol? ([personal profile] cosmic_llin, [personal profile] beccatoria?)

So yes, that struck me as a fun cognate. The problem with cognates is as soon as you ASK me about them, my mind goes completely blank. (Brain very helpfully informs me potato is a cognate - πατάτα - patata)

Anyway! My other tangent brought on by the word ‘scheme’ was less about cognates, and more about pronunciation. Namely, that my English of same is sometimes dodgy. It’s the odd word, rather than an accent, no one ever really believes I’m not-from-an-English-speaking-country foreign (we could unpack some stuff THERE if we wanted and I may return to that), but I do trip regularly over Greek words when spoken in English. If you have ever heard me speak about Classics or Ancient Greece or Greek mythology (or as I like to think of it, mythology #brat ;)) at length, you’ll have heard this happen. I can’t immediately find the Anglicised pronunciation. Examples: Aegean, Odysseus, Achilles, Circe (I just can’t pronounce this one at all anymore), Theseus, Delos, Demeter, Persephone, Iphigeneia, Thessalonica, Thrace, Euripides. I can pronounce (and SPELL) most of these now, but it has taken me practice, I have to stop and think about it. I used to have a lot of feelings about Anglicised pronunciation (I thought it was stupid) so I would just switch to Greek for the words I needed, but that was difficult for others to understand, and also in hindsight, wanky. I now get very judgy of non-Greeks who use the Greek spelling and pronunciations of things unnecessarily. As is my right.

I'm also not very reliable about pronunciation in general, tbqh. When reading scifi and fantasy my guesses of made up names are very clearly drawing on a very different set of phonetic rules. ([personal profile] carawj and I had fun comparing our pronunciations of a lot of character/place names in Robin Hobb for example.)

I kind of alluded to this earlier, but I also thought I‘d talk about what languages I do actually speak, and to what level. English is now, and sort of always has been, my first language. I spoke English first, when I was small, given my mum and her friends were the people I saw most, and my parents spoke English at home. I learned Greek when I went to nursery. I have vague memories of being encouraged to speak Greek at nursery, even though all the kids were bilingual, everyone had Greek in common. (My mum found this ex-pats nursery, so the staff were v good about language stuff. Probably much better than if I’d gone to a straight-up Greek nursery.) I am told I refused to speak Greek until this nursery. Mum assumes this is because I associated Greek with loud, pushy relatives and old ladies in the street poking at my (weird, huge, white-blond and fluffy/spiky) hair. (I don’t know whether I remember this or have just constructed memories from mum’s stories.)

Once I learned Greek, I was definitely bilingual, and still am, though my Greek is rusty now. I dreamt and thought interchangeably in both languages, which is supposed to mean something. (I now dream and think in English. Excitingly if I go to Greece long enough I do sometimes start to think in Greek.) If anything, my written Greek was better than my written English for a long time. My mum arranged for extra English classes twice a week to address that, with another ex-pat friend of hers. (Ex-pats feature hugely in my life. ;D) This is where I picked up a) a life-long love for reading, we did a bookwork scheme and it REALLY worked ;) and b) a life-long confusion over American vs British English spelling and phrasing, with some NZ and South African confusion thrown in for funsies. I can’t tell you which is which, and I can’t pick one to use consistently. I was always running into difficulty over this once I moved here. (Is it a pavement? Is it a sidewalk? Is it the footpath? WHO KNOWS. I wrote the word ‘anglicised’ and then 'anglicized’ two sentences later and almost didn't catch myself doing it. My teachers eventually cracked and were like ‘just pick one and for god’s sake be consistent’. *hollow laughter*)

I loved being good at English when I was little, I was a little brat to the English teachers at school, my English was better than theirs and I was not nice about that. I remember a lot of school English classes spent at the back of the room with the (English) book of my choice.

I did a tiny bit of French and German for a while (another ex-pat gave a few of us lessons for a while ;)), but didn't really learn any new languages till I moved to the UK, where French and German were both mandatory at my secondary school. I took those to GCSE, and then to A-Level. I also started Spanish at A-Level. I would have been able to pick that up no problem if I’d actually done any work, but my 6th form college experience is largely characterised by doing no work whatsoever, so. Now I have A-Level French, German and Spanish, that I haven’t practiced in over 10 years. I think I could make something of all 3 if I spent some time in each country or some sort of immersion programme, probably most time for Spanish, then German, then French. My French is best.

I realised I loved languages when I moved to the UK, actually, and got the opportunity to learn French and German. Schooling and education is so much better over here. I had so many issues at secondary school, but a lot of the stuff I got to learn was not one of them. I also continued my Greek, by getting a GCSE and an A-Level in it, which has definitely helped my Greek.

(I have a lot of feelings about teaching and learning languages, and how interesting it’s been for me learning Greek and English taught as foreign languages and mother tongue, as I’ve had experience of both languages, both ways.)

I also have some Latin and Ancient Greek, picked up at university. I find that having Modern Greek has made learning lots of Romance languages easier for me, and adding Latin was like adding an extra link to that chain. Having Modern Greek is also a massive vocab cheat, naturally. I still occasionally stumble on words I would have no idea how to define without Greek.

I also know approx. 3 words of Maori. (Tena koe, kia ora, tahi-rua-toru.) I also have a lot of feelings about the relationship between Maori and Pakeha in New Zealand, but as a Pakeha who lives far away, I don’t really know enough about it to feel entitled to take up space with my words on that.

For my next trick, I’d love to learn a language that’s not even a little bit related to Greek, and see how I do. Preferably something with a totally different alphabet. (Russian is out, [personal profile] cosmic_llin and I have lots of fun with Russian and Greek cognates.)

This is now long, and a brief smattering overview of my thoughts on languages. I will start tweeting cognates as they occur to me, going forward. ;D

(Please note, I tried to post Greek alphabet, I have no idea how that will look once I hit sent, or indeed on other devices. o.o)
silly_cleo: black and white image of Elizabeth Taylor as Cleopatra, text: an almost all greek thing (Default)
So I'm obviously not even remotely on time with these. If you had a reason for the date you requested, sing out and I'll do my best to honour it, otherwise I'll get to them all fairly randomly. Topics surprise! ;D
silly_cleo: Close up of feet in satin pink ballet pointe shoes and pink tights, one foot pointed, the other flat on the ground. (dancing! - pointe shoes)
So [livejournal.com profile] livii asked me to talk a bit more about Irreverent Dance as my first December topic! :D (If you asked for a fic or podfic for donating to the Kickstarter, I will totally get to those this month! Er, unless your name begins with K in which case I’m working on it. Also it’s not too late to ask if you still want to!) (ALSO if you haven't asked me to talk about something, or you have and want me to talk about TWO things, I have LOTS of slots left! :D) (Also, sorry it's late, [livejournal.com profile] livii!)

No lie, I was hoping somebody would, so here we go.

I’d actually been aware of Irreverent Dance for just over a year (and they’ve been going now for close to two and a half I think) but what with one thing and another, didn’t actually make it to a class until August this year. I was a bit worried about it at first just because it had been ages since I’d danced regularly, and I was lighter and thinner then and have had a lot more issues with injuries since, so I had various expectations and concerns.

I DID find my body could not do things as well or as easily as I remembered, but I also found it didn’t much matter. One of the many things I think is amazing about ID is that when they say beginner/all levels, they actually mean it. So many other dance classes I’ve attended that say ‘beginner’ are actually either used as a warm up by advanced students (which is fine, as far as it goes) and thus cater to those students (NOT fine) or the ‘beginners’ there have been at that class for a long time and just not progressed, so they have a lot more familiarity than new students, and the class is still geared to them. Assuming everyone has a 101 understanding of anything is really alienating to beginners in any kind of class/teaching environment, and most dance classes, even ones geared at adult supposed beginners, have no understanding of that.

ID really does start from 0, no previous knowledge is assumed, but at the same time, as a relatively experienced dancer, I found going back to basics really useful. I can’t speak for any of the other teachers (yet! :D) but the founder, Amanda, is a really gifted teacher, I’m not the only student who’s found that her explanation of concepts has stuck in a way others’ haven’t. I also found that it didn’t matter that I couldn’t do things as well as I remembered, because the point was just being able to do it as well as *I* could. Working with the body I have, rather than against it, or being mad at it. I’m finding dancing again, specifically with ID, really helpful for the misc body issues I carry around.

And now it’s 3 and a bit months better and I’ve fallen in love with dance all over again! <3 The BEST bit about Irreverent Dance is it gives me all the things I ADORE about dancing, without all the negatives. It’s not a secret that the dance world and body issue and negativity go hand in hand, so to be somewhere where the fact I’m fat has nothing to do with how good or bad a dancer I am, or in fact, how good or bad a dancer I am has nothing to do with my worth inside the classroom, is wonderful. (I’m not happy with that sentence, but I am happy with its sentiment!)

I’m so excited we’ve got our own studio now!

And of course, the other thing I love about ID is that I said ‘we’ in that last sentence. It’s not just a dance studio, it’s a community. I’m lucky, I have a few close friends I adore, and several larger communities I’m lucky to be a part of and am also extremely fond of, but that is certainly not true for everyone, particularly queer folks. I’ve felt really welcomed by ID, and I can see how it’s an important social space for a lot of the members, and it’s lovely to be a part of that. Like I got a really warm, unclique-y welcome, and you can never know too many good people, really. <3

Like, class and rehearsals and the one performance I’ve done so far have just been such a FUN experience. When I was little, I used to get sent outside for giggling ALL THE TIME (actually, that just happened at school too, not just dance class. I’m sure you’re all stunned.) and obviously I get that from wee!Cleo’s teachers’ POV, but it’s so nice to learn in such a light, laughing environment. Like I said, Amanda is a great teacher, and she puts a lot of herself out there in her teaching, in making a connection with us so everyone feels fun and safe, and the result is a really nice camaraderie in the class. For example, all ballet moves tend to have their proper French name, and our own name. (E.g. ronde de jambe en l’air (spelling bad) is also known as tentacle legs. Or when we are reminded to keep our chests high, we are supposed to imagine we are Iron Man. Or we learned assembles, which are called that because your feet assemble in the air, LIKE THE AVENGERS. Second position is the shape your arms would make if you were hugging Totoro. Nobody likes the Polka. Everyone cheers everyone else when they achieve air time pictures of jumps.)

When they say they’re gender neutral and for all levels, they MEAN it. Everyone learns everything regardless of their gender, assigned at birth, chosen, perceived or otherwise. Pointe is open to everyone, allegro and adagio are open to everyone, everyone learns to lead and follow. There is a lot of emphasis on self-care, and letting the teacher know your injuries at the start of class, and only doing stuff that is comfortable, working with your body, not punishing it, while still stretching and pushing yourself, just safely.

I can’t wait to do many many more classes, I feel so supported by the space, the teachers, and the other students that I'm hoping to try lots more things I wouldn't have felt confident enough to do before.

I could probably go on a bit more, but I'm already a few days late with this, and you definitely get the gist! (If you have questions, please obviously ask away!) Plus, I'm sure ID will work its way into my next post, which is also dance-related. :D <3

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