Friday, 27 July 2012

Fifty Shades of Fanfic

Is it me, or is this the year when the whole nation is gripped by craze after craze, fevour after fervour? I like a little bit of collective, national joy and happily bedecked my home in red, white and blue bunting for the jubilee, thus subscribing to two current fads: jubilee fervour and bunting. In fact, mine was home-made from fabric scraps, so I can tick off 'vintage' and 'shabby chic' too. The bunting is still up, looking a little more pastel now, having been battered by the elements for the best part of the worst part of what felt like a month or two of rain. I'm keeping it up for the Olympics (ticks another box) and the street party (tick). I've also finally given in to the cultural and baking tsunami that is cupcakes. For several years now, I have resisted the urge to over-ice over-sized cakes, believing the humble fairy cake was in danger of extinction. To my mind, the marauding cupcake was the invading grey squirrel, pushing the native red squirrel (fairy cake - stay with me) to the very peripheries of the British Isles, i.e. my kitchen. However, the realisation that icing cupcakes might be fun finally dawned on me and now the two types of cake are able to co-exist in my kitchen.

One craze I haven't yet succumbed to is reading 'Fifty Shades of Grey.' I thought I might give it a go, given that everyone was talking about it and I didn't want to feel left out. I had visions of trying valiantly to hold up my side of the conversation, while all around me were discussing topics I had no knowledge of...

Me: I've just discovered how to do a 3-M swirl on cupcakes!
Other, much cooler, people: Hmmm? Yeah, so anyway, have you got to the bit about the red room yet?
Me: Huh? What? No, my kitchen's painted green...

It's not like me, though, to dive into anything without first reading up on the topic, even when the topic itself is, er, reading, so I read reviews and online extracts and decided that it simply wasn't my thing. I decided to take the, 'slightly superior' line, because, y'know, everyone loves somebody who does that, and tried rolling my eyes at anything involving Fifty Shades, but then I discovered that 'rolling your eyes,' in Fifty Shades parlance, is not a very good idea. Not unless you want to be on the naughty step, or a slightly ramped up version of it...apparently. So anyway, I decided to read up on it enough so that I could partake of Fifty Shades of chat, without actually reading it. I do that a lot. In fact, I'm a bit of a Wikipedia: full of information, but not all of it verifiable.

Today I was talking to a lovely and very talented friend, who has a real gift for writing but who is currently struggling to get her novel published. I don't know why, as I've read it (yes, actually read it) and it is really good. She was encouraging me to write too, but since I am currently 'under the weather' and my brain isn't working quite as well as it should, I declined. I then wondered, aloud, if I could attempt some kinky fanfic, suggesting, rather meanly, that maybe it didn't take much brain power to write. (Miaow!) My friend suggested I write kinky Little House fanfic. I know - it sounds like sacrilege, but here goes:

Laura looked longingly at Almanzo, his hair tousled and his pants hanging from his hips. ‘Holy Moley!’ she said aloud, despite her congrationalist upbringing, and bit her lip. He grasped the log firmly and rammed it into place. Her inner goddess danced a jig and all her corset stays quivered.

‘For Pete’s sake, Laura,’ he gasped. ‘Help me with this log, will you?’

 She shattered into a thousand tiny pieces and her inner goddess made a mental note to put them back together again later. Exactly as she was bid, Laura grasped the other end of Almanzo’s mighty log.

 ‘Stop asking questions and help me build the dashed thing!’ he commanded, commandingly and in a commanding manner.

‘Build?’ she asked, ‘Build?’ This was something he had never yet asked of her and Laura wasn’t sure she was up for this. Wavering momentarily, she took a moment to consult her inner goddess, who was at that very moment wondering whether to whip up a batch of fresh corn bread and Johnny cakes. At the mention of ‘whip,’ and ‘Johnny,’ her inner goddess skipped wantonly through the high waving prairie grasses and Laura’s thousands of pieces shattered into a thousand more, even tinier, pieces. Her inner goddess noted, ruefully, that the whole reassembly thing would now take a lot longer. She bit her lip. Again.
Almanzo rolled his eyes, which was OK for him to do. ‘Yes, woman: build. These are cedar logs and I’m building us another shed.’
‘Another?’ asked Laura, tremblingly, her pioneer undergarments wet like the shores of Silver Lake. ‘But, Almanzo, we have so many sheds already…’ her voice trailed off, mindful of what had happened last time she had questioned him. Her inner goddess privately wondered if decorating the parlor red had been a good idea after all.

Almanzo’s deep and powerful voice cut through her thoughts, like a knife through freshly churned butter, which you can read all about in ‘Little House in the Big Woods’. ‘Laura,’ he breathed, in that masterful way of his, ‘Of course I am building you another cedar shed: I am fifty sheds of grey.’

Well, that wasn't difficult: piece of cake! Cupcake, obviously. Or maybe cakepops. I'm told they are the new thing. Off I go to read up on them.

Sunday, 22 July 2012

Rage Against the Machine

I'm so very, very tired...
Firstly, an apology: I do apologise for not writing anything lately and leaving you all hanging in cyberspace, no doubt pining for my latest missive. (Yeah, right.) My silence has been due to a number of factors: I had nothing much to say, I wasn't very well and it turns out that the end of a school year is a manically busy time, especially if you have not one but two jobs in two different educational establishments. So anyway, I haven't been around much.

Now it's the school holidays and a chance to slow down a bit, except that the start of the school holidays round here signifies the start of the St Peter's Church Holiday Club. Not much chance to relax, but a lot of fun! I'm endeavouring to produce some of the teaching materials for the younger children attending the Holiday Club. It's going OK, but you know how it is when you're trying to do something on a computer and it just won't do what you want it to do? Yeah: that! Sometimes I think life was a lot easier before we had computers. True, back then I spent hours drawing and handwriting these things, but at least when things went wrong, I had only myself to blame and could rectify most things with an eraser and a freshly sharpened pencil. These days it takes a plaintive, 'Mr Ruuuuuubbbbbbbyyyyyyyyy!' and much sotto voce cursing at the screen. Thing is, I know what I want to computer to do for me, I know it's done that for me before, but suddenly it seems to be on strike and won't do what I ask it, despite (or sometimes perhaps because of) my increasingly frantic mouse clicking). And the rage this kind of thing inspires? Well, it's impotent rage really, isn't it? Toddler tantrumming, Basil Fawlty, Victor Meldrew rage. You can get as cross as you like at the computer but in the end you're just ranting at code and code really doesn't give a flying fig what you yell at it.

Am I bovvered?

Incidentally, I'll be darned if I can get the images for this blog post to sit in the right place on the screen. Mr Ruuuuubbbbbyyyyyyyyy!
Small print: I borrowed the 1950s housewife picture from here.