dbskyler: (DT and Lis)
2017-06-21 04:01 pm

Learning French for free on the internet

It all started when a friend of mine happened to mention the language-learning site Duolingo (www.duolingo.com). I was immediately drawn to how addictive it was, how fun it was, and how free it was. Ironically, I first wanted to improve my Spanish, as that is the foreign language I had been using (trying to use) the most. But I also took French in high school, and soon I couldn't resist using Duolingo to find out how much French I remembered. I quickly discovered that I had lost a lot of it -- in fact, Duolingo's test took me right back to the beginning, "Basics 1" -- but I also discovered that it started to come back to me, and the more I progressed through Duolingo's lessons, the more lessons I was able to test out of. I am now two lessons away from completing all of Duolingo's French lessons, and I am at least as good at French as when I took it in high school, and possibly even better.

Besides Duolingo, I have been able to practice my French with lots of other free resources on the internet. In fact, it's amazing how many resources are out there if you go and look. Here are my favorites so far:

-- Watching episodes of a French anime series, "Les Aventures de Ladybug et Chat Noir" (The Adventures of Ladybug and Black Cat). I have [personal profile] primsong to thank for this; she recommended this show and it is both charming and addictive to watch. I watch in French with English subtitles, although I sometimes watch without the subtitles just to gauge how good I am at picking up the French without the translation. (Not too good yet, but improving.) The episodes can be found on youtube.

-- A site that has you watch French music videos and fill in pieces of the lyrics. Sometimes there are technological hiccups (asking for the word before the video played the word; not allowing you to type in apostrophes while requiring apostrophes for the correct answer), but it's so much fun, I have to list it here. Also, the site has introduced me to the French musical group "Carrousel," and I now love their music, especially the song "Le Manque De Place." Here's the site: http://www.bonjourdefrance.com/karaoke-fle/index.php/fr

-- Reading fanfic in French on AO3. So far, I have read several French Doctor Who fanfics and a few Marvelous Ladybug fanfics (i.e., Les Aventures de Ladybug et Chat Noir). I have also managed to comment on the fics in French, although you'll have to ask the authors how comprehensible I was. Anyway, it's another great way to strengthen my reading comprehension with material that I'm actually interested in reading.
dbskyler: (Sarah looking up)
2017-06-07 11:52 pm

Wonder Woman movie

Got to see the Wonder Woman movie today, and it is as fantastic as everyone is saying it is. Yes there are kick-ass action sequences, but they also take a back seat to the story and the characters.

It's seriously one of the best movies I've seen in a long time. I've never particularly cared about Wonder Woman, but now I'm a total fan.
dbskyler: (eleven smile)
2017-02-26 05:28 pm
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Batman Lego Movie

Saw the Batman Lego movie last night, and it was awesome! It's now become my favorite Batman movie ever. Of course, it didn't hurt that it had that surprise appearance by those villains, described wonderfully as:

spoilers for the Batman Lego movie )
dbskyler: (tardis)
2017-01-27 08:17 pm
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John Hurt

Just heard that John Hurt has passed away. I hadn't realized how important his portrayal of the Doctor was to me until just now. He was absolutely brilliant in that role.
dbskyler: (Ten looking up)
2017-01-25 06:39 pm
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The Good Place finale

Damn it, now I have to go back and watch The Good Place all over again from the beginning.

(If you've seen the season finale, you know why. If you haven't, be warned that there will probably be spoilers in the comments.)
dbskyler: (dalek tea)
2017-01-24 11:31 pm
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Timeless Jesse James episode

Just saw the Timeless episode on Jesse James, and OMG you guys, I have seriously not screamed aloud at my TV this much since "The Pandorica Opens."

Spoilers are black? That's AWESOME. )
dbskyler: (Sarah from Hand of Fear)
2017-01-15 02:31 pm
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Downtime

OMG you guys, so I just saw Downtime for the first time, and that was the trippiest thing I've watched in a long, long time.

cut for spoilers, if you can actually spoil this thing of wonder, which I doubt )
dbskyler: (tardis)
2016-12-14 04:37 pm
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Timeless

I just saw the Benedict Arnold episode, and OMG you guys, this show. This show. They keep upping the ante, and making it so good!

spoilers )
dbskyler: (Four_fanfic)
2016-12-08 10:56 pm
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Public Call update

My Public Call story has been revealed! Not the one FOR me, but the one I wrote. I can announce because it's not anonymous -- and a good thing, too, since I'm pretty sure I signed "dbskyler wrote this" all over it in big, flashing, neon letters. Anyway, the rules say I'm not allowed to post the fic anywhere else until the fest is over, but I can link to it! So if you're curious, you can check it out here:

http://public-call.livejournal.com/41916.html

Now I just have to wait for that "Mystery Gift" that's been sitting on my AO3 page for ages to un-mystify.
dbskyler: (Four_fanfic)
2016-12-03 05:56 pm
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Public Call and Yuletide updates

Public Call has started posting stories, and I am discovering the benefit of a low number of participants: there is an almost 50% chance that the story for me will be revealed next week! There is also an almost 50% chance that the story I wrote will be revealed next week. There is around a 75% chance that at least one of these two will be revealed next week. And, there is almost a 25% chance that both will be revealed next week.

I can't even decide which one I'm looking forward to more. My favorite thing about writing fic is getting the feedback, and I want the feedback! But then, someone wrote a story just for ME, and after shamelessly shaking tags, I am tremendously excited to read it.

In the meantime, I have started writing a Yuletide treat. Not sure yet if it will be long enough to go in the main collection or if it's going into Madness, but it's very liberating to not have to care about the word count. Also, I can laugh at the default deadline, muah-ha-ha-ha! In fact, I can miss the whole thing and still put my fic into NYR when it's finished, although obviously I would like to get it in by the 25th if I can.
dbskyler: (DT and Lis)
2016-11-30 01:15 am
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Something missing from this "Timeless" article

I am really, really enjoying "Timeless." But I just read this interview with the show's creators, and was struck by how something big was missing, just sitting out there, unacknowledged. Here's a quote:

So when I was toying with the idea of doing a network show again, I said to myself, "If I’m going to do this, it needs to have a humming story engine that I know I can sit in the writers’ room and get 22 episodes out of." And so then as Shawn and I were talking, we landed on this idea of you have a different historical period every week, with a different mystery in that historical period and meeting fascinating characters within that time, in a very genre way.

22 episodes? Yeah, I'm pretty sure you can get around 50 years' worth of episodes out of that formula . . .
dbskyler: (dalek tea)
2016-11-12 10:16 pm
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Calufrax

So, the last time we got a [community profile] calufrax rec was over a month ago. Is Calufrax dead? On hiatus? Does anyone know?
dbskyler: (Sarah from Hand of Fear)
2016-11-11 01:34 am
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Doctor Who fanvid rec: Survivor

Check out this wonderful fanvid by nancyblackett: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bIPHRw56j0Q

It's the Doctor's companions being awesome all by themselves -- being survivors. Watching it gives me hope that we will survive, too.
dbskyler: (tardis)
2016-11-01 02:49 am
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Slightly out of control canon review

My canon review for Public Call is a little out of control. I just finished re-watching "Curse of Fatal Death," which I can publicly announce because not only did no one request it, it is not even part of the tag set for Public Call.

At least I haven't re-watched "The Five(ish) Doctors Reboot" yet?
dbskyler: (tardis)
2016-10-29 02:15 am
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Writing update

I think I finally have an idea for my [community profile] public_call fic! It'll be another day or two before I know if it's a solid idea or a "fizzler" (i.e., an idea that fizzles out on me). In the meantime, I think I should do more canon review. Such a shame that I have to re-watch this show for the sake of fic. If only I had a pile of DVDs ready and waiting for my review. Oh look, I do!

And ha, even if I end up choosing different characters than the ones I matched on, I have those DVDs, too! Perhaps I should watch my entire collection just to be safe. Then again, I only have until Nov. 20th to get this fic written, so I'll have to exercise some restraint.
dbskyler: (Ten expression)
2016-10-21 01:28 am
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Star Trek: Enterprise and crazy plots

I was flipping through TV channels tonight, and I happened to randomly come across Scott Bakula in the back of a truck with a bunch of Nazis. At first I thought it must be some episode of Quantum Leap that I hadn't seen before, but no, it turned out to be Star Trek: Enterprise. With Nazis. But not just any old Nazis. These Nazis were being led by aliens who want to change Earth's past. Yes, alien Nazis.

I didn't watch enough of it to tell you more, although I did wonder if there was a weathered Kansas farmer Time Lord* lurking around somewhere.

* An unfilmed crazy plot from Doctor Who, with bits available from a tape of Paul McGann's audition. There's a weathered Kansas farmer Time Lord, the Doctor, and Nazis. Presumably regular Nazis, not alien Nazis.
dbskyler: (fez)
2016-10-17 03:20 pm
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Ficathon update

So I didn't sign up for Yuletide, but instead decided to do Public Call, which is a relationship-based exchange for Doctor Who. I just got my assignment, and I had the exact same Yuletide-type thrill when I opened it, followed by the exact same "Wait, did I really say I would write this?" reaction which always seems to happen no matter how careful I am in my sign-up. I think it's the difference between the hypothetical vs. reality ("I can write this!" vs. "This is what I have to write!") But having gone through it before, I know that the nervousness will fade, and I will soon settle down to writing.

There are already a few things in Public Call that feel very different from Yuletide, though. First, it's a much smaller exchange -- according to the profile, only 15 people signed up! I mean, wow. With so few participants, I'm surprised I was even matchable, especially given the huge range of relationships in the tag set. I think most people must request and offer more than I did (I was pretty close to the minimum for both). Second, it's due a lot earlier than Yuletide, which is worrying me a little, although I think it will be good to have no excuse for procrastination. Third, the requests involve relationships, not just characters. The relationship doesn't have to be romantic, but it's dawning on me that it's not enough to write a story that simply features the requested characters; their relationship has to be centered somehow. This will be a new type of challenge for me. Finally, there's the fact that the whole exchange is based on Doctor Who. There I was, staring at my assignment, doing my usual "That's what I matched on? I know I said I can write it, but can I really write it?" when it suddenly occurred to me that look, there are a bunch of other relationships also requested, and OMG, I know those characters, too! That means if something doesn't come together for what I matched on, it's actually possible for me to switch and write one of my recipient's other requests. This is mind-blowing. In Yuletide, I have never, ever known any of my recipient's other fandoms well enough to write a request other than what I matched on. In fact, usually the other fandoms are things I've never even heard of.

Anyway, so far I am feeling pleasantly excited, nervous, and challenged. And, I'm not missing a Yuletide assignment. I think I needed a break from it this year, although once my Public Call assignment is finished, I'll definitely poke around Yuletide to see if I'm inspired to write a treat or two.
dbskyler: (Sarah from Hand of Fear)
2016-10-04 01:18 pm
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What should I offer for Yuletide?

Flist, I am once again having trouble finding 4 fandoms to offer for Yuletide. So, I'm looking for suggestions! What should I consider offering?

My favorite thing to do for Yuletide is write humor, so I am particularly looking for humorous fandoms, or fandoms with a cracky premise, where recipients are pretty likely to be requesting something in that tone. I realize you won't know if I'm familiar with a particular fandom or not, but if you think of something, suggest it, because maybe I know it!

Basically, I'm asking: anything I might be overlooking in the tag set? Or any 5-minute fandoms out there that I should check out?

FYI, you can find the tag set here.
dbskyler: (Ten expression)
2016-09-23 12:41 am
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Best laugh of the day

I was reading over at the [community profile] yuletide_admin comm, and someone mentioned a problem they had with one of their nominated fandoms getting categorized as RPF:

"I just noticed on my nominations page that birdsrightsactivist (Twitter) has had Real Person Fiction added to the fandom name.

I just wanted to clarify that Bird (birdsrightsactivist) is a fictional bird with a Twitter feed, not a real bird with a Twitter feed."

This makes my day, and not just because of own struggles with AO3 wanting to categorize my fic as RPF.
dbskyler: (Sarah from Hand of Fear)
2016-09-21 11:40 pm
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Writing meme answer #5

Last answer to the writing meme! Thanks for bearing with me; it was a lot less overwhelming to answer these one at a time.

[livejournal.com profile] lost_spook asked me #5 from the writing meme:

5. If you wrote a sequel to It Doesn't Go 'Ding' When There's Stuff, what would it be about?

Hmmm. Well, I would have a hard time writing a sequel with Frobisher in it because I don't really know his character -- certainly not well enough to sustain more than a brief appearance. So I'd have to go in a different direction, and instead write the Tenth Doctor in a series of vignettes where he tries to discover Zygons with his non-dinging Zygon detector. And of course, since he's terrible at it, he would fail miserably every time. He would go after more non-Zygon rabbits, and non-Zygon chickens, and there'd have to be a non-Zygon horse in there, and I'd probably throw in non-Zygon Jack Harkness just for fun. At the end he would give up, and then I'd have Zygon-Queen-Elizabeth show up to try to snog him to death with those venom sacs in her tongue, at which point someone would have to rescue him. It would probably be Frobisher, who was initially disguised as another Zygon.