kangeiko: (Ayrton/Alain)
I haven't posted on this for ages. I feel like I've sort of left DW/LJ for tumblr, but tumblr is so exhausting a lot of the time. And I've started being online via laptop rather than tablet/phone a lot more, which makes it easier to use DW/LJ, so let's see how long this lasts, anyway.

At the moment, I'm in Iraq. I've been travelling for work since the beginning of December last year, and I am very very tired. I was in Ethiopia, Kenya, South Sudan, Rwanda and am now spending my March mostly in Iraq. I get to come home for Easter, though, and I am SO ready for that. I think it's one thing to be for travel in principle, and to enjoy it to a certain degree, but the last few months have been exhausting. I've had several security incidents - including explosions in the middle of the night in South Sudan, armed men entering my car in Kenya, and a battle 25miles down the road last week in Iraq - and it leaves you quite jumpy.

I was talking to friends of mine about how I was failing to sleep in the interim. And that's sort of true. I'm picky and sickly at the best of times, and the security situation, almost constant food poisoning and high work stress has left me wrung out.

So anyway, I finish at Easter, and then I come home for a few weeks. And then I start a new job. It's much more senior than anything I've ever done before, and I am properly gulping in trepidation over it. That's also partly why I want to come back to DW/LJ - where I have a calmer connection, I think, with fandom than I do with tumblr. Tumblr and twitter and Skype have kept me sane the last few months, but I feel like I'm constantly shouting and being angry, and I need some sort of outlet that allows for slightly more complex and rounded thought.

Anyway, fandom-wise, it's mostly been F1, with a side-helping of Top Gear. You can basically see where this is going. Yes, a lot of fandom-related tears since October onwards. In fact, from before, probably. I've started writing again, which is new and exciting - I've been writing more or less every day in fact. I really don't think I'll be continuing at that pace once I've started my new job, so... we'll see. I'm enjoying this burst of limited creativity for however long it lasts.
kangeiko: (Default)
 I hope everyone is having a fantastic holiday season. This year, I participated in several fic exchanges which means I got awesome gifts to open before/during Christmas day and if you haven't read them yet, you totally should.

For [community profile] yuletide , I got the absolutely amazing you and i are a collection of unfortunate events, which is a Rush fic and so wonderful it took my breath away. It gives the James perspective on the Niki crash, and it does it with such delicacy of touch and neatness of phrase that it left me grinning like a loon. James's inability to work out what exactly his feelings are - other than he has plenty of them - also rung true for me, as did Marlene finally sighing and kicking Niki into sorting it. This fic is wonderful and you should all check it out!

For f1secretsanta I got The burden of things unsaid, which is a wonderful Sebastian/Mark fic. Seb/Mark is my guilty pleasure and this fic so wonderfully captures the contrariness of Seb's feelings for Mark. The Valencia crash made me think, but how could Seb NOT run to check he's ok?? And that is exactly what he does - however you feel about someone, when you see something like that, you check they're ok. And Sebastian in this fic is so mixed up and confused about his own feelings for Mark that he can't do much to stop them bubbling to the surface. 

For topgearslash secret santa I got Night Manoeuvres, which is James/Jeremy h/c and nailed all my kinks. James having nightmares? Check. Jeremy awkwardly caring & trying to help? Check. Awkward first kisses? Check. NNnngggggg bulletproof kinks, I am not kidding. This is so perfectly in character and so deftly done I defy anyone to not fall in love with it. 

Secret authors, one and all - thank you! You have made my Christmas reading a joyous affair indeed! <333

(For anyone wondering where I've got to, btw, I'm now mostly active on tumblr under the same user name, and squeeing over Top Gear and F1 for the most part, so come say hello there!)
kangeiko: artic ice with the sun in the background, and a sledge being dragged by dogs (TG adventure)

I was totally intending to do a travel round-up, but I'm struggling with the connection. Instead, I'm going to whine about working on a giant spreadsheet that gets more complex with every added formula. Why, world, why? This is why I don't like project work. Or, well, I do, but I feel like I've been dropped in the middle of it with no briefing, and am struggling to make sense of everything in the allotted time.

On the plus side, I'm definitely travelling in-country in a couple of weeks, which should be awesome. On the downside, the rest of my time seems to be pencilled in to interview panels and workshops, with no actual time to get any of the work done. ARGH. Plus Monday is a bank holiday! And my normal lift has her sister visiting so probably won't want to drive us around!

Oh, I totally forgot to mention that I've been driving a giant 4x4 pick-up truck in Africa. THIS IS SO COOL. Also terrifying. And painful. I can't change gear without sacrificing a wrist-bone. And no one here indicates, and pedestrians don't look, but walk in the middle of the street, and there are no street lights. I'm so not ready to be driving myself around anyway (at least not for the next couple of weeks), but I'm putting in the time behind the wheel, which is good. I've been trying to persuade the business manager to let me borrow a car over the next few weekends so we can go to the beach, but he just moans something about likelihood of me ending up a mangled wreck in a country with poor medical coverage, and changes the subject. BORING. Just because the lake-side roads are rubbish and inter-city traffic is hideously dangerous and we've suffered several car accidents as an org this year already...

ANYWAY. No beach until the end of the month, when we're gonna try to persuade a colleague to drop us off. Er, 200km out of his way, but whatev. Better than the mangled wreck option.

In any case, when I get back to the UK, there will be Top Gear Live!  Front row centre seats, bb, oh yeah!

Yes, I can be fannish, what of it?
kangeiko: artic ice with the sun in the background, and a sledge being dragged by dogs (TG adventure)
Safely back from Burundi. The placed was beautiful, but the conference was very stressful. I had hoped to have some time to write, and I did, a bit, but it really wasn't the most conducive environment for creativity, so I got neither of my [community profile] help_japan fics done, for which I apologise. I'd hoped to get them done by the end of June, but that's looking less likely by the second. I got back on Friday morning (by virtue of saying "sod it" and getting a flight a few nights earlier), and on Tuesday I leave again, this time for full immersion security simulations, complete with men in balaklavas and toting AK47s. Then I get back, repack, and set off for the Isle of Wight, to see an old friend I haven't seen for months. Then I get back, repack, and set off for women traveller-specific security training, i.e. The Rape Simulation Exercise. That one promises to be a barrel of laughs for all concerned. Then I get back, have a couple of days at work doing admin-y things, repack, and set off for the Superprix at Brands. Then I get back, have a week at work, and 84 celebrations are in that weekend. Then I have another week at work, and then pack and set off for the MSVR weekender at Brands Hatch. Then I get back, etc etc.

Basically, I will be lucky to have time to breathe, let alone write, for the next few weeks. GAH. My existential writer-angst is made all the more poignant by the fact that both of the people I bid on for [community profile] help_japan have already finished their fics for me, and OMG they are EXCELLENT. I mean seriously, overwhelmingly good. Stuck as I was with minimal internet connectivity, they even emailed me copies I could download and read offline, which made me a very happy camper indeed.

So, without further ado, I urge you to go and read the following excellent fic. Both are Top Gear RPF, J/J, and both are NC-17, so use your own judgement if RPF troubles you.

Wise Man by [livejournal.com profile] marginaliana [locked to AO3 registered users only] is set during the Middle East episode because, well, I was a little bewildered that no one was writing about it when it could be the source of so much angst. So I asked for it specifically, and [livejournal.com profile] marginaliana obliged with a sweet, angsty, hot fic from Jeremy's POV, centred around James's accident.

and

Well After All by[livejournal.com profile] blacktofade , which is also set during the Middle East episode, this time from James' POV. [livejournal.com profile] blacktofade asked if I had any particular wishes or kinks, and I immediately said, "awkwardness and uncertainty during first-time sex, please!" And Well After All delivers. Boy, does it deliver. Hot and funny and awkward and brilliant.

Both of these fics are absolutely amazing, and I swear I didn't arrange it to have one from James's POV and one from Jeremy's, but it made me insanely happy. You wanted Middle East fics? THESE ARE THE DEFINITIVE ONES.
kangeiko: James & Jeremy after the London-Edinburgh race, plus obligatory pint. (TG J/J)
I've been off the grid for a little bit. Mostly I've been writing articles for BadRep, writing fic for Top Gear, and reading about cars and engines. If you've had the misfortune to spend more than five minutes in my presence in the last few months, you will know that I am all about the cars now. In a secret, must not mention this to my father, sort of way. This is because 1) he will become far too excited, and 2) I reserve the right to become just as unethused as I am current enthused about it all.

I have been looking for a new hobby for a little while now. I dabbled in languages - French, Czech, Italian, Russian, Arabic - and creative arts - writing, watercolours, sketching, sewing, embroidery - and have come out the other side the very model of a semi-polished Victorian lady. As it turns out, I have very little interest in being a Victorian lady, polished or otherwise. Instead, I want to get mucky in the garden. This started with several ill-fated gardening projects in the old house, to several ill-fated DIY projects in the new house, and is now culminating in what will doubtless be an equally ill-fated engine project in the new garden. I fully exppect to blow up myself and the neighbours at some point reasonably soon.

Rebuilding an engine - because I will be, if not this very second - will accomplish several New Year's Resolutions, chief of which is, it will get me out of the house. It also has the added bonus that despite having an engineer and mechanic for a father I have no knowledge whatsoever about cars or engines, so will have to start from scratch. This is pleasing and challenging in equal measures.

Finally, I will have something to do with my hands, rather than sitting around in libraries or cafes sipping espresso and contemplating the nature of existance, the economy, or just how annoying women's magazines are these days.

Having mentioned something along these lines to a coleague at work, I was astonished to find that she had come to the precise conclusion, and had been despondently flicking through car maintenance courses on the interwebz. Of course, she found zilch. Mechanics courses come in two types: the kind that will make you a mechanic, and the kind that will let you change the oil in your car. There is no middle way, sadly. So we decided to make our own middle way by buying a cheap engine off ebay, stripping it down and putting it back together again. The advantages of this are numerous, and centre around manual labour and learning new stuff. The disadvantages are that it will likely rain on our heads the entire time. We will therefore probably need to wait until it is a little less frozen, and will also need to buy tarp.

In the meantime, we purchased and assembled a model engine. It is SO cute. Look:Model Engine by Haynes

Yes, it is aimed at kids. No, I wouldn't advise leaving your children to have a go unsupervised, unless they have surplus fingers.

I do have photos of the finished version, but I'm taking the opportunity to write all of this up for BadRep, so will just link through there when the posts start going up. In the meantime, you should buy your own and buy it when drunk, it's hilarious. Especially when you realise that a couple of the instructions are just wrong, and would have you attaching things that have no business being attached. Even when the beer was all gone we still managed to figure out what to do, though, so I'm calling it a triumph.


Finally - and most importantly, perhaps - I am learning to drive. Again, my father (who has begged me for 12 years to learn) will not hear a word of this until it is all done, however long it takes. I can't wait for it to be done, actually, because I've found that I LOVE driving. My first experience at 17 was hideous, hideous, hideous. I can still taste the bile in my mouth from that horrible hour of being in rush-hour London traffic on my first time behind the wheel. These last few weeks of practise have been completely different. I'm in a little nippy car that I have been flinging around even worse traffic quite merrily, and getting quite, quite lost. I hope that navigation comes with practise, because otherwise I will be heading to Heathrow and ending up in Lothian.

The original plan was to learn to drive, pick up some basic mechanics knowledge and go around France one summer, which sounded quite nice and fun. My colleague - who is apparently even crazier than I am - has upped this to "learn lots about mechanics and then drive around Africa." OK, then. To be fair, it sounds fantastic and I am definitely up for it, but I suspect that it will take a few years. That's ok, though, I can drive around England in the meantime. And once I qualify I'll be able to learn fun kinds of driving, too, like racing and rallying and defensive driving (we teach this to our drivers, and that's actually the useful bit when you're rattling around Africa...). But mostly, going really really fast.


*

Oh, and I did some fic. With all my issues surrounding RPS, I was quite surprised to end up in an RPF fandom, writing happily if a little clumsily. Anyway, have some fic. These are all at AO3, and locked so that only registered users can see them. Because I am clinically incapable of writing naughty scenes, the teen rating is for swearing.


And Another Thing...
Fandom:Top Gear RPF
Summary: Jeremy's column has been AWOL for a couple of weeks. How is he going to explain this to the Sunday Times readership? James/Jeremy.


Bleach
Fandom: Top Gear RPF
Summary: James is upset, and Jeremy can't figure out why. James/Jeremy.


Buffer Zone
Fandom: Top Gear RPF
Summary: Richard's used to being in front of the cameras. James/Jeremy, OT3.


*

To round things off, since going to see 10 O'Clock live, I have been working on a Top Gear RPF / 10 O'Clock Live crossover. THINGS ARE GETTING DESPERATE, SEND HELP.

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