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One man's meat is another man.

If we were meant to talk more than listen, we would have two mouths and one ear. If we were meant to face our problems more than run away from them, we would have two faces and one leg.

I live in Scotland and speak fluent English, French, Italian and Scottish Gaelic. Perhaps Japanese someday.

I have a tendency to be very, very lazy and too often apathetic. I'm not proud of it. I am also agender, but really you can call me by any pronoun you like, I probably won't answer anyway.

Grew up reading Italian Disney comics (often in French), and later Diabolik. Yes, Donald Duck makes a fine superhero. The Beano and Dandy too. Also Lego, insofar as it had settings and stories back then. Late to television but got to know Marvel and DC through their animated series. Reading novels came embarrassingly late (with newspapers, magazines and reference books I could start anywhere and take a few paragraphs; reading a book from start to finish was daunting). The Foundation Series and Discworld series started that. In recent years I have found that audiobooks let me overcome my difficulties in focusing on long texts. Visual novels help too.

Important series: Series/{{Friends}}, Star Trek, especially Voyager, Babylon 5, Scrubs. More Recently started with Japanese animation (Gateway Series: Durarara!!) and webcomics.

I do some art and writing, but I'm very unmotivated.

Also my fanfiction: of Tolkien's Silmarillion, for World of Warcraft, and for Haiyore! Nyarko-San.

The usual list of recommendations...

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    Anime and Manga I like 
  • Bakemonogatari: Entrancing, mysterious, dialogue-driven and with striking characters. And when it gets disturbing, it's intended. Specifically 
  • Durarara!!: My Gateway Series. It is frustratingly cut short, but as long as it lasts it's tight, well-planned and often surprising. It's amazing how much they can put in what is at heart the story of an Irish woman who moves to Tokyo in the hopes of getting ahead.
  • FLCL: When I first watched it, it seemed like so many one-off gags and out-of-place action sequences. But going back over it, with the wonderful English dub, I realised how much it all connected together into a story about budding sexuality and teenage troubles. It takes many ideas from Evangelion and plays them out better.
  • Fullmetal Alchemist: I recommend watching both continuities, but overall I think the first animation is better despite disappointing fights and a bizarre twist in the finale. It takes some of the manga's weakest moments and builds them up very well, and unlike the manga doesn't cop out on its moral conflicts and darker themes.
  • Gakkou Gurashi: A schoolgirls series with a real sense of theme, tension and character progression.
  • Creator/Dogakobo shows are generally worth watching simply for the energy they can bring to mundane set-ups, but Monthly Girls' Nozaki-kun is perhaps the best of them. As is Sabagebu!, by the same director; : There is something I like about girls shooting each other
  • Ghost In The Shell 2: Innocence: Mamoru Oshii has a problem with writing dialogue. It's not bland, or meaningless, or pretentious, and I don't find it boring, but... it doesn't sound like dialogue. It's as if the cast were aware of being in a story and were busy annotating it or adding epigraphs. But if you can swallow it, this film ends up both more philosophical and a better film than the first Ghost in the Shell. Also, no fanservice.
  • Gundam: My favourite full series are the original (at least the compilations), ∀ Gundam and, oddly enough, Mobile Fighter G Gundam. Very different expressions of similar themes. Mobile Suit Gundam: The 08th MS Team and Mobile Suit Gundam 0080: War in the Pocket are good as short introductions.
  • Kill la Kill: It's a bit less spectacular than Gurren Lagann, but has more comedy and uses themes better. Quite a few problems, yet the energy and imagination makes it unique and compelling. On that note, I found Gurren Lagann was better the second time: once used to the stupidity I could focus on the amazing visuals, voice acting and music.
  • Kino's Journey: Ramblings on just about anything the author had in mind. Both adaptations have their strengths.
  • Kuragehime: The art is unconventionally cute, the cast is unconventionally cuter, and it breaks out from gender norms in a way romances too rarely do.
  • Majocco Shimai no Yoyo to Nene: I can't point to anything it does wrong.
  • Namiuchigiwa no Muromi-san: Funny, cute, energetic, erudite, and better characterisation than Disney's Little Mermaid.
  • Nyarko San: Never mind the references; this is a love comedy / sex farce that actually celebrates sexual enjoyment instead of pandering the audience while also making them feel guilty for it. Sometimes falls flat (more often in the second season), but when it works it's hilarious.
  • Panty & Stocking with Garterbelt: Gainax out-gainaxing themselves. There are parts I will not rewatch in a million years, but the diversity of its episodes ensures there's always something to like. It's the sort of deadpan, slightly flippant humour I love best. And Funimation's dub is great.
  • Puella Magi Madoka Magica: Some don't like its rhetoric of angst (mostly close-ups of crying) and its utterly threadbare characterisation is a real problemnote . But its strength comes from a driving plot where every blow is a logical follow-up of what has come before. And while shallow, the characters are powerful. Episode 10 is one of the most touching I have ever seen.
  • Rebuild of Evangelion: The films lose some things from the original series, in atmosphere and characterisation, but also improve on many things, and not just the technical aspects. While the original could only point to problems, these films have a glimpse of a way out.
  • Seirei no Moribito: It has real flaws, especially a first half that feels badly padded out, but impeccably made on most technical aspects.
  • From the New World: Slow-burning but builds up to a horror that is not based on violent individuals but on what measures society will take to suppress them.
  • Space☆Dandy: The writing starts out bad, really bad, but the visuals are stunning all the way through and by the second season the writing has caught up. By the end it has a lot more to it than could be expected.
  • Haruhi Suzumiya: I am intrigued by the Speculative Fiction side (nothing entirely new, but it's all played oddly yet fittingly) and even more so by the two leads. Haruhi, let's face it, is a terrible person, but I can't help but admire her. Yuki Nagato is the first character for whom I felt any sort of attraction (despite already knowing Rei Ayanami). About Endless Eight... watch the first, any of the next six and the last. The rest of the second season is worth seeing.
  • Uchuu Kyoudai: It takes everything slowly, but uses that time to build up a perfectly believable cast whose individual ambitions I could feel like my own.
  • Zombieland Saga: There are a fair few idol shows, but none like this one. Hilarious and endearing.

    Comics I like 
  • Diabolik: Inevitably there are some weak issues note  and the lack of continuity (there are only four recurring characters) is a problem. But in general it gives gripping intrigue/thriller plots with good monochrome art.
  • Yoko Tsuno: Confusing, sometimes confused, but mesmerising.
  • Life And Times Of Scrooge Mc Duck: Don Rosa is the consistently best Disney comic author I know. Historical references, a wealth of hidden details and a sort of restrained cartoonishness make it his magnum opus.
  • The Sandman: An enchanting set of stories, that shifts to a different style each issue.
  • The Fosdyke Saga: So little-known, yet so brilliant. Amazingly expressive art when you consider the monochrome newspaper-strip format, so imaginative in its antics, consistently funny and you can see the love for Manchester shine through. Also worth checking are Bill Tidy's other cartoons (seriously, his output is incredible).

    Webcomics I like 
  • Order of the Stick: Starts off with okay-ish jokes, turns into brilliant drama and adventure. Needs no knowledge of Dungeons & Dragons. The biggest problem is how it treats the goblins: Redcloak makes a fine villain as their leader, but the rest seem to be evil not because they enjoy it but out of a sense of duty. It occasionally looks at the implications of Always Chaotic Evil but doesn't follow them through. And if Belkar were an NPC, he would have been killed long ago.
  • Dan and Mab's Furry Adventures: No, it's not pornographic (though it must be noted that as the author's skill improved, the cast came to wear less covering clothes). The first strips are lame, but from number 74 onwards it becomes funny, quirky, endearing and one of the cutest things I've seen.
  • DM of the Rings: Often hilarious, and a telling look at certain role-players (though I should not it does not match my limited experience of them). The author said he was was surprised that the idea was not picked up by others, mentioning that Star Wars might be a good candidate, because if there's one thing the Internet is good at it's taking a successful formula and running it into the ground. Maybe, someone suggested, because those ready to put time and effort into a good webcomic are not those who think of parodying the likes of Star Wars. Until...
  • Darths & Droids: The team behind Irregular Webcomic took up the challenge. I expected a parody of Star Wars, which it does very well (pointing out what the prequels do badly), but I was surprised at the depth of character and the good use of multi-layered storytelling.
  • Questionable Content: I can't quite point to what it does well, but it does it well indeed.

    American television I like 
  • Babylon 5: Engrossing, despite a slow start (and end), a massive war that never kills anyone in the main cast, and some bad moments of protagonist-centric view and some preachy episodes. Well planned storylines and an epic outlook that had not been seen before on television.
  • Friends: It was quite tame and conventional, even more by today's standards, and dragged out Ross and Rachel for 10 seasons, but is worth seeing for the jokes (and acting) alone.
  • Sabrina the Teenage Witch: Whilst I did get frustrated at its mostly static situation, I loved the humour and especially the lightness.
  • Scrubs: Thought rather highly of itself, but could afford to. Very intelligent Plot Parallels and ethical dilemmas (if at time too artificial).
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender: I could make any number of criticisms on minor points, but overall it's a wonder of story, character, art and animation. The sequel Korra is not as good with the writing, but still worth seeing.
  • Black Dynamite: Dark and ironic satire often alienates me, but here it is combined with energy, art, fights and voice acting that raise it to an art form. Even if I don't get a quarter of the cultural references.

    British television I like 
  • 'Allo 'Allo!: British comedy. In France. Mocking the Brits.
  • Blackadder: Blackadder The Third and Blackadder Goes Forth at least. Rowan Atkinson plays a horrible man, but you can't help but admire his cunning. Tony Robinson and Hugh Laurie are also great.
  • Life On Mars: Bringing the police procedural back to its roots while also dissecting those same roots. Very character-driven. Pity they couldn't end it well.

    Films I like 
  • The Lego Movie: I've played with Lego since my earliest memories note , but this film is for everyone, with the passion and energy of loving fans together with knowing how to make fluid animation and good comedy. Just don't bother with looking at it in political terms, it is entirely about toys and how to play with them.
  • Gravity: Predictable but perfectly convincing.
  • The Adventures of Baron Munchausen: Story is iffy, but the visuals are incredible.
  • I like Pixar films in general, but especially Up, WALL•E (the first half at least) Toy Story 3 and Inside Out.
  • I don't care much for most Disney films, but I do like the visually inventive Alice in Wonderland, the dramatic The Lion King, the highly self-aware The Emperors New Groove, the avant-garde Fantasia, and the Disney renaissance in which they took their old tropes, took them to pieces, and put them back together fit for a more cynical age: The Princess And The Frog, Tangled and Enchanted.
  • Wolf Children Ame and Yuki: Taking a fairy-tale premise and treating it with the utmost seriousness. It works fine.
  • Lawrence of Arabia: Nevermind that the real Lawrence was not as tall and handsome. It shows us why he was such an admired leader, and the burden that came with bearing the cause of an entire people.
  • Inception: It does fail to follow its own rules several times, and barely resembles real dreams, but the pacing, tension, imaginative setups and character drama make it a very good example of crossing genres.
  • Double Indemnity: Everything you expect in film noir done just right. Made me feel tense like few other works did.
  • Mildred Pierce: Everything you don't expect in film noir done just right. I'm told things were toned down from the novel, but it was still a highly subversive work when it came out, and still today is surprising and telling in its attack on contemporary ideas on women.
  • Pickup on South Street: Samuel Fuller pitched it as an anti-communist film, but if it espouses any way of thinking, it's anarchism. Very vivid characters, and thoroughly an exercise in what they could get past the censors.
  • Kiss Me Deadly: There are many things to see in this film. How a rather misogynistic and very red-baiting pulp thriller was turned into a deconstruction of itself. What it said about contemporary society, consumerism and alienation. But what I noticed most was how a film noir comes close to full horror.
  • Doctor Strangelove: Less topical now, but no less funny and engrossing. It manages to satirise everyone involved without turning them into mere caricatures.
  • Night Watch: The Russians beat Hollywood at its own game with a few percent of the budget. Doesn't make much sense, but visually striking in all sorts of ways. It's the sort of film you have to watch more as a roller-coaster ride than a narrative.
  • Mad Max: Fury Road: Whilst it did make me wonder why it's named after this minor Max character and what about him is at all mad, it is a stunning example of both visual storytelling (you can honestly ignore the dialogue for the most part) and of gritty stunts that feel entirely real. And you get to see one woman covered in oil and grease and a half-dozen in skimpy veils with unblemished skin! It's exploitative but fun!
  • The Great Escape: An unusual war film, but a perfect heist film.

    Authors I admire 
  • The fiction of Isaac Asimov in general, but Foundation is what made me actually read full-length novels with its brilliantly simple idea of epic scope.
  • Arthur C. Clarke, his short stories cover a variety of intriguing ideas and some display a remarkable sardonic humour.
  • Daniel Finn. As real as The Wire yet a lot more engaging.
  • Terry Pratchett's Discworld. Self-aware, inventive and incisive as anything. And at times just rib-cracking hilarious.
  • J R R Tolkien, though it's the Silmarillion that really got me into his mythos. I recommend buying Christopher Tolkien's The Leys of Beleriand, third book in his collection of his father's unpublished writings. Some wonderful poetry.
  • H P Lovecraft, inventor of modern horror. The best of his stories I've read are the truly dream-like Celephais and Nyarlathotep (both just a few pages long), and the very atmospheric The Colour Out Of Space. You have to swallow his florid prose (sometimes good, sometimes hilarious), his visceral racism note  and the fact that some stories, like The Call of Cthulhu, have since become a mass of clichés and much parodied, but he remains a great innovative writer.
  • Larry Niven. Some of his futurism has been hilariously wrong, but there's no denying his vision, imagination and hard science.
  • Tom Holt. Though his novels range from hilarious to dreary. Falling Sideways is the best I've read, largely because it is untypically upbeat.
  • The Brontë sisters. Not so much the best-known, Jane Eyre (though it does have some good, very modern dialogue), but rather Wuthering Heights, a character study but also a genuine horror, and the obscure The Tenant of Wildfell Hall, a study of an abuser who might have made a decent husband had he less money and power. My biggest problem with them is that the heroines come across massive inheritances far too conveniently.
  • Philip Pullman. His Dark Materials suffers from being overtly anti-Christian (while most Narnia novels are subtler, but have other problems) and cramming in too many things towards the end, and the ending is both anti-climactic and rather contrived. But I prefer them to Harry Potter because they are grander in scope, have a more coherent setting and have more emotional torque.
  • Jasper Fforde. Very silly novels for intelligent people.
  • Michael Wright. Whatever the degree of autobiography he uses, he can make almost-normal life into fascinating prose.
  • Chinua Achebe. He is valuable enough for the perspective of colonialism from the other side, but he is exceptional in showing personal conflicts that resonate universally, the interlocking layers of colonial rule and a glimpse of the rich oral tradition of the Ibo.
  • Cynthia Harrod-Eagles: Her Morland Dynasty novels, family dysfunctions through the ages, deserve all their hundreds of pages. Impeccably researched and psychologically compelling.
  • Douglas Jackson. He can portray Roman border wars in all their bloodshed and still make me wish both sides could win.
  • Robin Hobb. She can make fantasy that requires no suspension of disbelief.
  • Paul Torday. His Salmon Fishing in the Yemen is at once satirical, speculative and true to life.
  • Richard Adams. Watership Down is, at base, a profoundly human work.
  • Robert Harris. There's something about the level of very human detail that makes his writing feel entirely real, and very engaging.
  • G R R Martin. Yes, A Song of Ice and Fire is a work of genius. The strength of the setting, the prose, the intricate plot and especially the very human cast makes up for its defects. I recommend starting with the show; it can get you grounded in this sprawling story, but the novels have a richness that doesn't translate to the screen.

    Singers and composers I like most 
  • Loreena McKennitt: Mesmerising. She scours the world for inspiration, arranging folk songs, putting old poems to music and writing her own songs into which she puts a part of her being. "The Mummers' Dance" is the best.
  • Enya: Her songs are not as meaningful as McKennitt's, but each one is a very distinct tune while always having her own unmistakeable style. "White is in the Winter's Night" is the only Christmas carol I know that I do not find unbearably cheesy. The songs of her former group Clannad are also good.
  • Cecil Corbel: I've heard her sing in five different languages and she gets them all right.
  • Julie Fowlis: The best modern singer of Gaelic songs I know of.
  • Sgoil Chiùil na Gàidhealtachd: In Gaelic, Scottish dialects, standard English or just instrumentals.
  • Tom Lehrer: His muse may not have been fettered by taste but it certainly knew how to do black humour.
  • Miracle of Sound: Always able to fit a tune to the tone of something, even if the lyrics sometimes feel like they were picked from a thesaurus.

    Videogames that I enjoyed playing 
  • Fallout: New Vegas: Takes the software and graphics of Fallout 3, the storytelling of the first two games, and improves on all of them in many ways. Might not always feel like the wreck of and old civilisation, but it certainly centres on building a new one.
  • Katawa Shoujo: An sexual explicit visual novel, where every girl has a disability, from a group who met up on 4chan. What would you expect it to be?note  Rin is one of the characters I have felt the most emotional attachment to ever. Everything about her leads to a heart-rending tragedy that flows naturally out of who she is.
  • Ib: Very artistic, very atmospheric, quite endearing, though more than a little unintuitive. Remember, when you have the chance, talk to Garry seven or more times.
  • Iji: Short, rather limited gameplay, and one bad Difficulty Spike (seriously, what is it with Asha?), but still a remarkable effort for an amateur freeware project. It really creates the feeling of mowing down hundreds of alien soldiers.
  • Yume Nikki: I did not find it all that scary, once I learned hardly anything could harm the player character, and certainly not compared to The Witch's House by the same developer (which I cannot recommend because of the ending, pure trolling that robbed it of its emotional impact). But it is haunting and intriguing, leaving plenty of tea leaves for the audience to read (I myself can only accept that she is troubled, had some violent and perhaps sexual trauma, does not fit into society and is resentful towards the world). But you will need a walktrough at some point, with all the hidden and stochastic events.
  • Undertale: No doubt about it, it's a masterpiece of themes and characters being reflected in the mechanics and music.

    Looking for an entry point to the sprawling world of Virtual Youtubers? 

    Other things on the Internet of note 
  • My favourite fan-made music videos: Moonlight Shadow, Swing Box, With a Capital T, Notice Me, The Hardware Store, coco rock, Timeless.
  • Yugioh The Abridged Series: Much imitated but never surpassed. A unique combination of jokes and voice acting (Little Kuriboh can bring up a running gag twenty times without it being stale).
  • Mirai Nikki Abridged: One of the few followers that comes close. Doesn't parody the original so much as give it a slight push into comedy.
  • Crash Course: Well selected information in a very watchable Youtube format.
  • Extra Credits: Not as thorough as Crash Course, often too simplistic, but still valuable as an introduction to many topics.
  • The Magnus Archives: A wonder of episodic horror, with a strong overarching plot. The best episodes build simple and common fears into supernatural terror, helped along by a wealth of convincing details.

    Things I find enjoyably bad 
  • Quite a few monster films, but Teenagers from Outer Space is the one I find most endearingly bad.
  • Kinslayer (one of a series of which I don't remember the name) is the best novel I have read that I could not take remotely seriously.
  • Guilty Crown: Excellent art, animation and soundtrack, some good ideas, the writers aimed to make a more hopeful version of Neon Genesis Evangelion, and failed very badly. If they had put some effort into the writing it would have been the show of the year. Instead, we have flat characters with no consistent motivations, ten episodes with no evident plot, a belated plot ripped from Evangelion without the aura of mystery or attention to detail, buckets of clichés and jarring fanservice. (And more disturbingly, a strong Japan-as-victim nationalist subtext in the first episodes.) The first half is bad throughout, the second shows some of its potential; they put a stop to the most obvious problems and manage to make their Shinji-expy into a mix of an insecure teenager and an inspiring action hero. (Did the writing team change? Or were they given the time to flesh out their ideas?) You can watch it without your brain to enjoy the action, or laugh as someone gets sliced through the middle then gets back up saying it hit no vital organs, or watch it critically to ponder how it could have been done right. (First thing that occurred to me: switch around protagonist Shuu and his love interest Haru. Maybe not any better, but certainly less clichéd.)
  • I love occasionally reading the blogs of white supremacists, theocrats, MRAs, social reactionaries, the fringe of radical feminists (especially TERFs), communists, trutrans, and anything else lying around. What's Wrong With Equal Rights? is the most deranged (and deeply self-contradictory) I have yet found, though I don't think I'll ever be quite certain it's not a parody. And just about anyone with an inflated ego online. Especially when they are still undeniably intelligent, but refuse to consider that others may be too.
    • A specific example would be Metapedia. It is basically where Nazi sympathisers banned from Wikipedia gathered to make their own reference work (and it is all written anew, unlike Infogalactic which is a fork of Wikipedia with only a few percent of pages changed). Most of it amounts to whining that the Allies did bad things, denying Nazi atrocities, and desperately casting about for anyone in any way respectable they can claim as supporting them, but some articles... are just weird. If you can stomach the thing, look up "Garlic". It needs to be seen to be believed.
  • The forums of World of Warcraft. With millions of players, it's not the most sensible, open or articulate who post there. It is incredible to see so many posts that imply or state that the player base agree with them and it's only because of irrational bias from the developers that they have not acted on it (when really, plenty would angrily attack you for saying the sky is blue). And all the myopia that comes from those who play enough to have a stake in the game but not so much that they can see the overall picture. If you built your impression of the game from the forums, the conclusion would be that it is going through its worst period, the last patch ruined it, all playstyles are disfavoured and every class is unviable. It's sad, but can be amusing.

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