This is Memorial Day weekend in the States, what used to be called Decoration Day and which originated after the American Civil War. It's also the cultural beginning of summer here. If you're curious, you can read a bit about it here.

Super busy at work this week, which is reflected in the paucity of links I have for you. Sorry. I'd rather wallow in fandom but goddamn work keeps getting in my way. Everything isn't very awesome.

POEM of the week: I don't know why I went looking for this poem, but I did. Everyone already knows it, but maybe you want to read it again, too. Musee des Beaux Arts, by Auden:
About suffering they were never wrong,Collapse )

Fannish Stuff:
» Have you been watching Penny Dreadful? I have. I think it's a hoot. So over the top, but so fun. I especially enjoy Timothy Dalton. Can that guy chew scenery or what?

» This is more of a placeholder because I haven't had time to watch, but this hour-long video looks pretty dang interesting: An oral history of Industrial Light and Magic.

» I enjoyed the heck out of Grace and Frankie, so much so that I plan to watch the entire series again. I also enjoyed this interview with Jane Fonda. It's from W magazine so clothes clothes clothes, but still some personal stuff. I was especially interested in how she has, as the article says, defined herself by the men around her. Saddened, too, a little bit.

Non-Fannish Stuff:
» More clothes stuff: 9 Things That We Really, Really Want (When It Comes to Our Clothes): POCKETS. POCKETS! But all nine points are good.

» More on the California drought, because I am a Californian: The average American consumes more than 300 gallons of California water each week by eating food that was produced there. California farmers produce more than a third of the nation's vegetables and two-thirds of its fruits and nuts. To do that, they use nearly 80 percent of all the water consumed in the state. It is the most stubborn part of the crisis: To fundamentally alter how much water the state uses, all Americans may have to give something up.

» And Jesus, is this depressing and infuriating: The California Oil Spill Is Even Worse Than We Thought: Gov. Jerry Brown declared a state of emergency in California on Wednesday, after oil spill estimates soared from 21,000 gallons to more than 105,000 gallons.

This week's terrific fan artist is Be There Now in a Minute, and her work is here. I adore this kiss, mmmm, so sexy, and this admittedly similar welcome home hug. I think her work is very romantic, and erotic. Though she does have this disquieting one, of something dreadful happening to John.

Be sure to check out past artists because many are still producing gorgeous work. (The list of past artists is so lengthy I've moved it to its own page.)

If no loue is, O god, what fele I so?

Well, at last a Friday links post actually posted on a Friday. I ended up working from home today because Webster had a doctor's appointment but didn't feel well enough to drive himself. I'm glad I stayed home and drove him; we ended up having a pretty nice time and he was feeling better by the end of the day. Yay! He has to go back in two weeks and I will probably take him then. It's easier to work from home and much more pleasant.

Wow, did you see The Blacklist? Where on earth are they taking this show? And Elementary! Ack! I'm also watching Les Témoins; have you seen it? Only two more episodes to go. I've started watching Daredevil, which is okay though way way too violent for me, so I have to turn away a fair bit. Plus I prefer the secondary characters (Jane, Foggy, and Ben) much more than Matt and Wilson (though isn't Vincent D'Onofrio unrecognizable as Wilson?). I'm working my way through The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt (I like the theme song SO MUCH), but I loved Grace and Frankie. LOVED IT. Not that it was flawless, but it was so much fun seeing people in their seventies! Said the sixty-two year-old blogger.

POEM of the week, an oldie but goodie because it has great significance to me. It's Chaucer's Canticus Troili, the Song of Troilus from Troilus and Criseyde. Chaucer basically re-wrote Petrarch's sonnets 132, and that is a story unto itself. But here's the poem:

Canticus TroiliCollapse )

Fannish Stuff:
» Thanks to Hardboiledbaby, I was able to listen to the Marc Maron podcast with Allie Brosh, author of Hyperbole and a Half. It starts about twenty-two minutes in and is a long, intense, thoughtful discussion about suicide and depression, as well as her art. Maron talks a lot, more than I like in most interviews, but he was a good foil for Brosh, I thought. I found it fascinating, but it may be triggering for some people, so click with care.

Non-Fannish Stuff:
» I'm a big fan of Radiolab and a big fan of Oliver Sacks, and this is an interview you really want to listen to. Probably his last interview, and certainly one of his most honest. Tell-Tale Hearts featuring Oliver Sacks. There are actually two stories, and the first one is also very much worth listening to.

» It's hard, especially in fandom, not to be aware of the political situation in England (and how frightening I, as an American, find it in light of our own upcoming election). This post was not cheering, but it helped me understand a bit more: SOME FACTS YOU SHOULD REMEMBER BEFORE TALKING ABOUT HOW THE UK 'GOT ITSELF INTO THIS MESS'.

» More politics, this time about the States, found via Wil Wheaton's Tumblr: The increasing isolation of America's police: But crime, homicides of cops, and assaults on cops have all been in decline for 20 years. That's rarely pointed out in the story. Exaggerating the threat to cops not only skews discussion about policing issues, it may also make cops more likely to see threats where there aren't any, with tragic consequences.

» I like to end on a more cheering note; not sure if this is it, but as a Californian, I found it damn interesting: California's Improbable Navel-Orange Queen: Eliza Tibbets was a suffragist, abolitionist, and spiritualist -- and the mother of California's orange industry.

This week's terrific fan artist is Urbanbloodlust (what a name!), because I saw this John and Sherlock and fell in love. Then I found this sexy thing, mmm. She doesn't appear to have a lot of her art work posted, but here is what I could find.

Be sure to check out past artists because many are still producing gorgeous work. (The list of past artists is so lengthy I've moved it to its own page.)

Friday links, one day late

Another Friday with very few links to share. It's been a difficult week: I'm so worried about my mother, and Webster still isn't fully recovered, and I really do not want to go back to work on Monday. One of the few bright spots is I'm pretty sure, from work emails I've read, that my new CIO has found funding for a second person in my position, which will take so much weight off my shoulders. It's absolutely ridiculous that I'm the only person who can do certain things -- that means I'm always on call, no vacations or sick days. Well, we'll see.

The happinest news for me is The Sentinel - At Last, There Are New DVD Plans for The Popular Early-UPN-Era Show. How wonderful is that? I loved that show. It was so awful and so wonderful all at the same time. (Thank you, Hanarobi!)

More happy news: Agent Carter was renewed for a second series! Renewed dramas include "Castle," "Grey's Anatomy," "How To Get Away With Murder," "Marvel's Agents of SHIELD," "Nashville," "Once Upon A Time," "Scandal," "American Crime," "Secrets and Lies" and "Marvel's Agent Carter."

I'm not sure how I feel about this news: Martin Freeman joins cast of Captain America: Civil War with Marvel. I love Freeman, and I enjoy the MCU. I just hope he plays a baddie.

You already know I'm a huge fan of William Gibson's novels (especially the Blue Ant trilogy, especially especially the character Cayce Pollard), so I enjoyed this brief Q and A with William Gibson.

Finally, I'm sure I've mentioned, a robotic telescope service with a steadily increasing number of "live events" -- opportunities to watch as, for example, the recent solar flares, the space probe Messenger crashing into Mercury, meteor showers, various eclipses, etc. I'm not a member (too expensive) but I signed up for email notifications and so rarely miss such an event. At work I have two monitors so I'll watch on one while working on the other.

Oh shit, I said "work."

Friday links, four days late

Hello, I'm back from Phoenix. It was a rugged trip for several reasons, such as the heat, which was appalling. Mother is substantially weaker -- she's in a wheelchair now, rather than using a walker. Her memory is, of course, shredded, though what she says is still sharp and funny, if repeated a lot. I didn't get to see my sister-in-law at all, and only saw my sister twice. To top it all off, Webster was on the edge of a migraine every single day, AND his PTSD was triggered.

The first thing I did after I got home was see the new Avengers movie, which I liked but didn't love the way I loved the first one. Still, Whedon did an amazing balancing act, probably the best anyone could do, but there were so many problems, SO many problems. Well, I won't think about the problems. I'll just enjoy how crucial Natasha was to the team, and how much I like her as Auntie Nat. More Auntie Nat, please! (And more Pepper and Jane, please.) I found this review which I mostly agreed with. See point 8 especially.

I've been reading Hugo nominees -- well, not the "puppy" ones because that's disgusting manipulative behavior and I don't want to reward it, but some of the nominees. I had already read Ancillary Sword (and in fact have pre-ordered Ancillary Mercy) because I love that universe and Leckie's writing (though I will say I preferred Justice to Sword), and I really loved The Goblin Emperor. Man, I raced through that novel, just couldn't put it down. Please tell me there's a follow-up coming? Right now I'm about most of the way through The Three-Body Problem, which I am also thoroughly enjoying.

(It's terrible, what's happened at the Hugos this year. If you don't know, here's a decent explanation, though I've also been following ME Curtin and George RR Martin for explanations.)

So it's good to be home, even though I miss my mother and my sister. It's been cool and foggy, the garden is thriving, and I have books and the time to read them. Webster is a little better, but over the years I've learned there's not much I can do but be patient.

I had almost no time to read online while I was in Phoenix, but I have been paying close attention to the California drought. Everyone in the States should; after all, we basically feed the US. Driving through the central valley was distressing; it's the end of the rainy season but the land was as brown and brittle as it would be in August. I'm afraid this will be a hellacious fire season.

I'll put a few links here in case you're also interested: California droughtCollapse )

I enjoyed the heck out of this little video, The Rites of Spring: WQXR took 46 performances of a selection of Igor Stravinsky's The Rite of Spring and spliced them together into one piece, highlighting the [sic] how varied the performance of the notes on the page can be.

Oh, I want to read this next! Here is a book review of Sydney Padua's "The Thrilling Adventures of Lovelace and Babbage". I'm going to ask my university's library to purchase it.

Finally, a fella I'm very fond of, Mark Gatiss: 'Doctor Who is my first love, my last, my everything': And yet he's one of those actors who almost disappears into their roles. He has an everyman quality that, given the right hairstyle or false beard, makes him almost unrecognisable from one programme to the next.

That's it for this week. Time for a cup of tea and to get caught up on PlaidAdder's fantastic BBC Sherlock story Prior Engagements. SO EXCITING.
Posting a day early because I'm off to visit my mother, which I'm really looking forward to. Not sure if I'll have anything next Friday.

I'm actually kind of upset. I was supposed to see the Night Vale show in Oakland on Tuesday, but due to a lot of factors, I wasn't able to attend. That's the second time I've missed their local show. I was supposed to go with Monanotlisa, so it's a double disappointment because I didn't get to spend the evening with her, either.

And that leads me to retirement. I'm still waiting and waiting to hear what's going to happen, but wow, there's part of me that's sorry I won't be retiring in July. There's so much I want to do that I simply don't have time or energy for while working full time + a lengthy commute.

POEM of the week is from a friend's LJ but I can't give her credit because she locks it. But she's awesome. Anyway, it's really cold and foggy here so this poem especially appealed to me:

The Enkindled SpringCollapse )

Fannish Stuff:
» This is so sad. Jonathan Crombie, Anne of Green Gables actor, dead at 48. What a shock.

» This also made me cry, but in a different way: A letter to JK Rowling, whose words gave me a sense of home. I love the Guardian's "A Letter to . . ." series, and this one was especially moving to me. I could carry a whole universe within me and escape, for a time, from this small and unsatisfying world of mine, which I couldn’t prevent from falling apart. Even if I now understand that escapism, in that sense, is not a solution, as an eight-year-old boy it was all I could hope for.

» Penny Dreadful is back! What a hoot. You can see an "edited" version of the first episode of series two over on Youtube. By "edited" they mean the naked bits have been blurred, but not the violence and blood and guts. And there's a lot of violence and blood and guts.

» My hat, but I would love to see this show: Gypsy with Imelda Staunton, Peter Davison, and Lara Palmer. Yes, that Lara Palmer! Every facet of the character [of Momma Rose] is caught by Imelda Staunton who gives one of the greatest performances I've ever seen in musical theatre.

» This is a lengthy and at times difficult interview with Ralph Bakshi by Cliff Broadway (AKA Cliffbeam) from TORn, but I found it very worth reading: The Bakshi Interview: Uncloaking a Legacy. "Peter Jackson never called me once to thank me for getting the rights … He was very … He never called me once about getting the rights. He never called me once to tell me he was doing the film. And now you're showing me a picture of him with me seven years before … What does that mean? … The guy snuck up and took a picture of me -- you took a picture of me today, I never saw you before. So the point is: Peter Jackson was very, what is the word, impolite to Ralph Bakshi. And he said once, somewhere, that I was his inspiration. He said it only once, one time somewhere. You read every interview he's given, you don't see it at all. So you want to stop that?"

» Links to this essay have popped up everywhere, but there's a reason for that: In Celebration of Old-School LiveJournal: The girls who read my LJ, and vice versa, were doing the same; they, too, believed their lives were at least worth documenting, and so we were hungry together, reaching out toward the details in one another's lives like vines toward the sun; we loved each other, celebrated surprise joys and consoled atomic hurt. We joined communities to learn to knit and to share poetry and to post photos of ourselves. I was a lot older than the author when I came to LJ, but the significance of sharing my life with others is the same for me. In a shocking turn, the comments are also very worth reading.

» ENOUGH WITH THE TEARS ALREADY: Have you seen this? The Last Fuckable Day, from Inside Amy Schumer with Patricia Arquette, Tina Fey, and Julia Louis-Dreyfus. Okay, maybe we still need the tears.

Non-Fannish Stuff:
» I love this Killer Mobile Device for Victorian Women, the chatelaine, so much; I think we should bring it back. Like a customized Swiss Army knife, a chatelaine provided its wearer with exactly the tools she needed closest at hand. For an avid seamstress, that might include a needle case, thimble, and tape measure, while for an active nurse it might mean a thermometer and safety pins. In fact, I kind of wear one -- I keep my work keys, ID, and a whistle on a long ribbon that I wear around my neck while I'm on campus.

This week's terrific fan artist is Imrisah, whom I have linked to before, but I want to point out her really fun AU of BBC Sherlock which she calls Westernlock. She has Greg Lestrade as a sheriff and Mycroft as a "dapper gentleman," of course, and John and Sherlock as Billy Holmes and Shotgun John. Even James "Jesse" Moriarty and Sebastian Moran are in the mix! I'm just going to leave the one link and let you scroll through -- except to point out that my absolute favorite one is this one. Heh. Great stuff, I think.

Be sure to check out past artists because many are still producing gorgeous work. (The list of past artists is so lengthy I've moved it to its own page.)

Buzzing around the house

I have almost nothing this week for you! And for the next two weeks I'll mostly be with Mother in Phoenix, so those Fridays will also be light. If you see something you think I'd like, please let me know!

Aesc! Have you see these sleeping bag thingies? I instantly thought of you burrito-ing away.

POEM of the week is another Billy Collin's poem, "Morning." You can even listen to Billy read it!. Or read it here:
MorningCollapse )

Fannish Stuff:
» There was a Holmes-and-Watson con recently, the 221B Con, and Abundantlyqueer gave another talk, this one a line-by-line exegesis of every word ACD wrote about Colonel Moran. I thought it was fascinating and if you have any interest in ACD, you will too: AQ talks Sebastian Moran. In three parts, totalling an hour. Excellent, excellent stuff.

» Oh my gosh, I laughed so hard at this video of Stephen Hawking singing Monty Python's The Galaxy Song. What. A. Hoot.

» I think Annie Lamott's book Bird by Bird is fucking brilliant, even though her Christianity gets on my nerves. But whatever works for her, you know? And that brings me to this essay by her in, Anne Lamott shares all that she knows: "Everyone is screwed up, broken, clingy, and scared". #2 is so true! But my favorite line is in #8: Earth is Forgiveness School. I like to remind myself that I am no one's boss or anyone's mother. Thank christ.

» Martin Freeman has apparently done a whisky commercial in Japan. I know Western celebrities do that all the time, but is this straight from Lost in Translation or what? Japanese Harmony. It's even Suntory. (The other man is Hiroki Hawegawa, who is very big in Japan.)

Non-Fannish Stuff:
» I'm such a big fan of Robert Macfarlane, so I had to include this odd essay-review-thingy by him from the Guardian: The eeriness of the English countryside: [T]he recent rise of the eerie coincides with a phase of severe environmental damage. In England, this has not taken the form of sudden catastrophe, but rather a slow grinding away of species and of subtlety. The result, as James Riley notes, is "a landscape constituted more actively by what is missing than by what is present". Very thought-provoking, though of course I'm thinking a lot about the US and in particular my beloved Yosemite and the eastern Sierras.

My hat, but I really dislike the most recent changes Tumblr has made! I am finding it harder and harder to navigate it. I wish everybody would come back to LJ (as if that will happen). Anyway.

This week's terrific fan artist is Shinibunny, who has kindly tagged her art here. She's into many fandoms, including Transformers, The Avengers, Tintin, the Star Trek reboot, and lots more, something for everyone -- and there's a fair bit of NSFW, so browse cautiously! Of course, I love the more gentle romantic stuff like Bath time. I also like this portrait of Sherlock as inspired by REM's song Losing My Religion, and this very creepy and disturbing illustration of Sherlock and John killing Moriarty that's based on Artemisia Gentileschi's Judith Slaying Holofernes. Not sure what that says about me, or about the fact that I also really like this bloodied up Sherlock and John. So please scroll (cautiously) and enjoy!

Be sure to check out past artists because many are still producing gorgeous work. (The list of past artists is so lengthy I've moved it to its own page.)

Oops! Misread Sunday Recs!

Well, dang. I put this together and then realized I had misread this week's BBC Sherlock LJ's recommendation topic. I thought it was crossovers, but it's fusions.

So here is my list of crossovers that I was going to post there, in case you also like crossovers.

Crossover with Firefly, set in contemporary London: Let Me Be Your Apple. Greg Lestrade/Kaylee Frye. So much fun, and deeply romantic.

Crossover with RDJ's Sherlock Holmes: Untitled. HI-larious.

There are lots of Doctor Who crossovers with the various Holmeses; I think this is my favorite; it's with ACD's version and the Tenth Doctor: Montpellier '93.

Finally, here is a wonderful, wonderful short series, also with the Tenth Doctor but with the BBC's version of Sherlock and John:
Two Doctors, a Nurse, a Detective, and a Scot
The Joke is Better the Second Time
Third Time's the Charm
I've Forgotten the Punchline.

I have a lot of fusion favorites, too, but I'm too pooped to html anymore today!

I was the same age as Cheerios

Today is my 62nd birthday! I've had a pretty nice day, though busy -- I stayed home from work, but had the windows washed (and we have a lot of windows) plus the yard pruned and trimmed. We were supposed to go out to dinner but poor Webster isn't doing well. I'm thinking about take-out, hmmm.

It is also Dogeared's birthday, and Pionie's birthday, and yesterday was Elmathelas' birthday, plus a work colleague's and my sister-in-law's birthday! April 10 is a good day to have a birthday, I think (and April 9 not so bad). Happy birthday, dear LJ friends! And I've received flowers and cards and emails and notes -- thank you, everyone!

So our new CIO started on Monday and we had a meeting on Wednesday. He told me flat out that we couldn't afford a second full-time to position to assist me (my number one reason to stay or to retire), but that we could afford 50% and so he was putting together a proposal where the other departments who use my work would pitch in a small percentage to reach 100%. I know that has worked at my last university (I hired a programmer for 60% and IT had her for the other 40%), so I'm pretty excited. I figure I'll give him six months; if he can't pull it off by then, well, he never will. If he can, I'll stay till July 2016; if he can't, I'll stay until I'm burnt out again, however long that takes. So. There it is. Time will tell. But it does feel right to stay a bit longer.

POEM of the week is a birthday poem by Billy Collins, "Cheerios":
One bright morning in a restaurant in ChicagoCollapse )

Fannish Stuff:
» A nice interview with Viggo Mortensen: Often people are desperate, so I do what needs to be done. "I don't really look for movies based on the budget or the nationality or the language," he has said. "I just want to be in movies that I wouldn't mind seeing 10 years from now."

» A second item from the Guardian, and though the headline is about Michael Sheen, I'm including it because the movie also stars Andrew Scott, of BBC Sherlock and Pride fame.

» Via Neil Gaiman's blog, Ursula Le Guin on her 85th birthday: Naomi Alderman talks to leading novelist Ursula Le Guin about her life and work and hears from literary fans including David Mitchell and Neil Gaiman.

» I adored Marvel's short series Agent Carter, so I went over to the ABC website and left a note about why I thought the series should be renewed. Maybe you should, too?

» Oh, this is ugly. Really ugly. I first learned about it from Obsidian Wings, and wow. I'm just speechless at the vile behavior we're witnessing. Here's the Telegraph's take on how the Hugo Award nominations spark criticism over diversity in sci-fi.

Non-Fannish Stuff:
» This is my ISP! We've been with them almost since the beginning (1995 for us, 1994 for them). Meet Sonic, the anti-Comcast. Alas, we also have Comcast -- yes, two ISPs -- but Sonic hosts all my husband's stuff and we turn to them for any assistance. Wonderful people. A concern for privacy isn't just embedded into Sonic's corporate philosophy, it's also built into the design of the company's networks.

» Welcome to London, a short hyperlapse film. I'd never heard of hyperlapse, but it's basically a moving timelapse. Lots of fun.

This week's terrific fan artist is Svetaart, who has tagged her work here. I love this watercolor of Benedict Cumberbatch as Sherlock, don't you? Or how about Mycroft as a fox? I thought this was an interesting charcoal sketch of Sherlock, almost palpably longing. But this one is my absolute favorite, of John hugging Sherlock, which in my opinion is exactly how it should be.

Be sure to check out past artists because many are still producing gorgeous work. (The list of past artists is so lengthy I've moved it to its own page.)

the sign of their ripeness

What an odd week I had -- not a bad one, thank goodness, but different. For one thing, I took off last Monday and because Tuesday was a state holiday (Cesar Chavez Day), that gave me a four-day weekend. What a delight. Of course, it flew by, but I got lots done, including a long hike, lots of baking, and hours of reading. Lovely. I hope that's what retirement will be like.

POEM of the week is from this post, Jane Hirshfield's 5 Poetic Elements for the Home Cook. Instead of asking a chef or cookbook author, we wondered what a poet would choose as the five most essential things a home cook needs to know, or have, or do. The elements are all right, but I most enjoyed the two poems included, and especially this one:

Green-Striped MelonsCollapse )

Fannish Stuff:
» You've probably already seen the announcement, but just in case: The OTW's "Open Doors" content policy is under review. This is how other archives (like my beloved 852 Prospect archive) get housed on the AO3's servers. The announcement is here, and the proposed policy (in html) is here.

» Doctor Who gets official BitTorrent "box set" from the BBC. I gave up on Doctor Who a while ago (oh, fuck you, Moffat, for spoiling my joy), but this is cool: It will be distributed as a free "bundle" through BitTorrent's file-sharing network, with an introductory video from current Doctor, Peter Capaldi, and a 10-minute preview of Rose, the first episode from the modern Doctor Who era.

Fans will be able to download or stream both, but will have to pay $12 to unlock the rest of the bundle, including the 10 episodes -- strictly speaking 12, since a couple are two-parters.

» From this morning's Guardian, George R. R. Martin, Game of Thrones, and the triumph of fantasy fiction: It's an annotated list of certain elements (or tropes) of fantasy fiction, such as magic and dragons, illustrating them with examples from well-known work, as well as a little exploration of their push into non-fantasy literature and criticism.

» Here, break your heart with this BBC Sherlock fanvid by Intriguue, the things he meant to say. Ulp.

» Oh man, if you aren't watching Fortitude, you are missing some wild-ass television. I actually hide behind my hand or laptop while watching it. Here's an interview with the writer, Simon Donald, Watch: the 7 most shocking moments from the unbelievably disturbing show Fortitude. Yes, they'll spoil you if you haven't already seen them, but I'd like to think they will entice you to watch the series.

» "Woody Allen is a genius. Woody Allen is a predator": Why Mariel Hemingway's new revelation matters is a thoughtful piece trying to come to grips with a genius who is a sexual predator. As the essay points out, Allen is not the only one; this is a distressingly common issue. The debate over whether or not we can separate a work of art from the flawed human being who created it isn't a solvable equation: If artist X does Y, times n, then the reaction should be Z is a comforting thought, but it's not realistic when human emotions and rationalizations are involved.

Non-Fannish Stuff:
» Darling Pionie sent me this link: Forty Portraits in Forty Years. I have a sister only twenty-three months younger than I am, and we resemble each other quite strongly, so I especially appreciated this. It's made me want to have a photos made of us when I see her next time.

» Not sure if this should go under Fannish Stuff or not: Good Bad Language: a post about swearing. This is for the writers of fanfiction -- well, for any writer: Every few days, a post floats by on Twitter or pops up on a writing advice forum about profanity. Generally, the advice is the same: Swearing betrays poverty of imagination and language; you can convey the same effects without using rude words; you might upset people who don’t like swearing and what’s the point in turning off potential readers?

This is not the advice you are about to receive here.

» Another link that might be best under Fannish Stuff: Must We Forfeit Our Ghee? by Navneet Alang. Part of the problem with cultural appropriation is the entitlement involved—that sense that, for a certain kind of person, the whole world is waiting to be mined, packaged, and sold, regardless of what the things in question mean to people, or whom such selling benefits.

» This made me laugh like a drain: the pocket Bible.

This week's terrific fan artist is Cutteroo; her fan art is here. My favorite of her work is this of Martin Freeman. And oh gosh, look at this sweet kiss between John and Sherlock. She tends to work with charcoal and chalk, as in this portrait of Benedict Cumberbatch. And here is a portrait of Bilbo Baggins, that I really like.

Be sure to check out past artists because many are still producing gorgeous work. (The list of past artists is so lengthy I've moved it to its own page.)

My bones, scripted in light, upon cold soil

First, my good news: no Lyme disease in me! The yucky news is that the Health Department identified the tick as the type that most commonly carries Lyme disease in these parts, so I'm really happy not to have to start the antibiotics but a bit freaked out. Yuck.

Did you see Arthur and George? I read the Julian Barnes novel when it first came out and was really excited to see it had been made into a three-part series. It wasn't the best thing ever, but I quite enjoyed it, especially Martin Clunes who played Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. And what about Fortitude! Where the heck is it going? Man, that is one creepy show. Only two episodes to go. Will they pull everything together?


Richard III stuffCollapse )

POEM of the week: Well, of course, it has to be Carol Ann Duffy's "Richard":
My bones, scripted in light, upon cold soil,Collapse )

Fannish Stuff:
» OH MY GOD but The X-Files is coming back! My first fandom! Where I met such wonderful people as my non-LJ friend Linda as well as Rosalita -- this is on atxf and one of the Yahoo X-Files lists. Wow. Yes, I know, the odds are it'll be shitty, but who cares? Scully! Still a role model after all these years (and hasn't Gillian Anderson grown more and more beautiful?). I remember watching the very first episode and thinking: I've been waiting for this all my life.

» I stopped watching Glee a few years ago -- I dunno, the story lines didn't interest me, and frankly, most of the characters didn't interest me. However, even I couldn't miss that it was a big deal and honestly, I think it made a difference in US culture. Maybe the world? Autostraddle had a thorough recap/review of the final episodes, Last stop on the midnight train: It's not that Glee was guilty of being about white establishment culture more than other shows; it's just that Glee's creators — to their tremendous credit — invited all kinds of minorities to the party, but then found themselves absolutely bamboozled and infuriated when those minorities refused to take whatever racist or sexist or transmisogynistic or homophobic wankshite was hurled their way. You can see it in the interviews the producers have given over the years, in their social media interactions with fans, in their in-show commentary about out-of-show critics.

» As so often happens, I can't remember how I ran into this article, but it's pretty dang cool -- and upsetting: Where are the women? 2015 ranking: These are not "reviews" of the films! These are simply examinations of how well or how poorly they depict girls and women. Check out the author's rating system. I think it's valid, and she raises important points.

» I have to share this drawing; I think it's brilliant. It's a manipulation of Sydney Paget's version of Holmes and Watson: Sherlock Holmes and John Watson by SherlocksScarf. So clever and so well done!

» Via, a wonderful read (and listen-along) that I cannot recommend highly enough: The Ballad of Geeshie and Elvie. A peek into some extraordinary and pretty much unheard music, beautifully written and deeply felt. Generations of spirituals pass through "Motherless Child," field melodies and work songs drift through it, and above everything, the playing brims with unfalsifiable sophistication. Elvie's notes float. She sends them out like little sailboats onto a pond.

Non-Fannish Stuff:
» Remember the scene in the first BBC Sherlock episode, at the press conference where we meet Lestrade and Donovan, when she whispers to him, "The Daily Mail"? I had to email my English friend Pionie to understand why that was important. Now I know better -- and that it's often called the Daily Fail. I was pretty appalled at their involvement in the phone hacking scandal, but oh my goodness, they are not nice people. My year ripping off the web with the Daily Mail Online -- which is, in case you don't know, the most read online newspaper. That's scary. [T]he Mail's editorial model depends on little more than dishonesty, theft of copyrighted material, and sensationalism so absurd that it crosses into fabrication.

» I was born in California, I live in California, and I love California, but damn, things are pretty scary: California's next megadrought has already begin: California's cities have more than enough water to withstand the current drought and then some. They simply don't use that much. Not true for agriculture, which uses 80 percent of California's water—10 percent of that just on almonds. Though it's still a national powerhouse, fed increasingly by fast-depleting groundwater supplies, the state's agriculture industry has likely begun a long-term decline due mostly to simple math. Abnormally dry conditions have dominated in 11 of the last 15 years, and the cuts have to come from somewhere. Agriculture is the elephant in the ever-shrinking room of California water.

» As an English major, I've read about "plane" trees for decades, with no understanding of what they are. And a couple of years ago I sat in the cafe in Russell Square looking out at the lime trees thinking, they sure don't look like any lime trees I've ever seen, and I've seen a lot of citrus trees. So thank you to Doctor Science for her excellent explanation, Limes and Planes. Plane trees = sycamores (though not what I would call a sycamore) and limes = linden trees.

» Hot damn, I could drive to London! Russia proposes world's greatest superhighway: A theoretical drive (as fancifully calculated by CNN) from London to Alaska via Moscow might cover about 12,978 kilometers (8,064 miles). SHUT UP AND DRIVE.

This week's terrific fan artist is Lucy Knisley, a professional artist (her pro website is here. I discovered this adorable cartoon first, Sherlock but if John was a kitty. Ha! Mrrr, indeed. She only has a few BBC Sherlock drawings up, like this hysterical one, Moriarty than he bargained for. But her entire Tumblr and website is worth looking through.

Be sure to check out past artists because many are still producing gorgeous work. (The list of past artists is so lengthy I've moved it to its own page.)

Water will keep running

Happy Friday, dear friends. This was a HARD WEEK for me and I'm happy it's coming to an end. Not because of work; work is fine, especially now that I have some hope due to the new CIO (who starts April 6), but, well, on Sunday morning I woke up really distressed, which I attributed to several causes until I realized it felt as though someone had punched me really hard in the back. I reached over my shoulder and touched the spot -- then leapt to my feet and ripped off my nighty, demanding that Webster tell me what was wrong. I expected he'd say, Where did you get that bruise? But what he said was, That's a tick. Don't move.

He worked the tick out and doctored my wound, which OW, for such a tiny hole in my skin really hurt. On Monday, he drove the tick up to the Sonoma County Public Health, who tested it yesterday and will call me today if it was infected with Borrelia burgdorferi (i.e., Lyme disease), in which case I'll start a course of antibiotics. My fingers are crossed they find NOTHING. I'll let you know next week.

Then my husband's computer died an ugly death so we've had to shell out money for a new one. Because he uses it for very technical music software, we needed several experts to come together to decide what to get, how to configure it, and who should do the configuring. That's done; everything is in the mail and now we wait.

But it's Friday, I have nothing planned for the weekend but a bit of housework, breadbaking, and a hike in the newly opened Montini Preserve. That's MONtini, not MARtini, as a friend of mine insists on calling it, but he likes martinis, whereas I'm more a gin and tonic kinda gal. And I think a g&t would also help.

Also, I can no longer comment on anyone's LJ when I'm at work. WHY? I do not know. I think it's a Firefox issue, but I need to test out my theory. Anyway, I'm reading but trying to remember to comment when I get home. I'm sorry I'm not participating more at the moment!

POEM of the week: I cannot tell you how I came to this poem -- the sequence of events is gone -- but it's supposed to be the last words of Chidiock Tichborne, who was eviscerated, hanged, drawn and quartered for treason against Queen Elizabeth I. I have no idea if he was guilty of treason, but I don't much care; no one deserves that death. Anyway, here is Tichborne"s ElegyCollapse )

Fannish Stuff:
» Two links to articles about Terry Pratchett. The first is so, so cool: Terry Pratchett's name lives on in 'the clacks' with hidden web code. Really a wonderful tribute to him. [T]he encoding of Pratchett's name into the fabric of the internet seems a fitting modern homage, as though millions of computers were whispering his name, and chuckling softly to themselves. I love this.

The second is how to start reading Pratchett when his oeuvre is so enormous: There's no wrong place to start reading. I think I've mentioned that I am working my way through the Samuel Vimes novels.

» Ridiculously short article about Mycroft Holmes as played by Mark Gatiss: Peter Mandelson inspired sherlock character Mycroft. Mark is going to play Mandelson in a new drama coming up. Steven ... and I talked about how Mandelsonian Mycroft was ... Conan Doyle says Mycroft is the British government. He's the power behind the throne.

» How did Bilbo and Frodo support themselves?, which is a really good question to which there aren't many good answers. In other words, the wealthy hobbits probably financed business deals as investors. Occasionally they might buy a whole business or a parcel of land, which they could then own or sell as required.

» What happened to the Ringwraiths once the Ruling Ring was destroyed in the Lord of the Rings books? In Gandalf the Grey's words to Meriadoc Brandybuck at Rivendell: "The power of their master is in them, and they stand or fall by him." By the time of the War of the Ring in the year 3019 of the Third Age of Middle-earth, that "fall" had been postponed for more than 4,200 years.

» Oooh, look at this cast! Dench and Gatiss lead Donmar and Channel 4 election night first: Set in a fictional London polling station, The Vote dramatises the final 90 minutes before the polls close in this year’s election and will be broadcast live on More4 from the Donmar stage at that precise time, between 8.30pm and 10pm, on 7 May.

Non-Fannish Stuff:
» Media blackout: would I be happier if I didn't read the news? Well, in my husband's and my case, the answer is YES. Webster just said to me this morning how much happier he is since we stopped getting newspaper and he stopped watching the news. Instead, he reads books, watches movies, and just discovered the joys of Youtube for music. I gave up most news quite a while ago and am very happy I did. Call it irresponsible if you wish, but I have to take care of myself and being the newshound I had been was making me sick. This author used Twitter, which I never do. But slowly, I notice I feel slightly happier. I am not carrying around so much stuff. That's what I found.

» Have you ever heard of Anna Atkins? I never did till I saw the Google doodle for her this morning celebrating her 126th birthday. Yes she is believed to be the first person to publish a book illustrated with photographic images. How cool is that? And how beautiful are the images?

» Speaking of beautiful, I found this via; it's five minutes of the first and last scenes of fifty-five movies. Really made me appreciate the care with which movies are made, and also made me anxious to re-watch some of them.

This week's terrific fan artist is Cuteskitty, who has kindly tagged her art here. (I adore artists who tag their work: BLESS YOU, ARTISTS.) She caught my eye with this adorable kiss in the dark. I also love this Valentine's Day kiss, or this Christmas kiss.

But how about these tiny, Borrower-sized John and Sherlock images? Or them as Pokemon characters? She has lots of silly and fun stuff, include Pokemon, the Hobbit, as well as lots of BBC Sherlock. Enjoy!

Be sure to check out past artists because many are still producing gorgeous work. (The list of past artists is so lengthy I've moved it to its own page.)
Well, let's just get right to it: Terry Pratchett has died. Not much to say, is there, except the world is a poorer place. As many, many people have already quoted: It's not worth doing something unless someone, somewhere, would much rather you weren’t doing it.

POEM of the week is again from Eat this Poem, which posted an excerpt from Ode to Bread by Pablo Neruda, a poem I was completely unfamiliar with, which is sad and embarrassing because I love Neruda and I love making bread.

Ode to BreadCollapse )

RETIREMENT countdown: three months and twenty-eight days EXCEPT DO I HAVE NEWS FOR YOU. As you know, I work in IT, and we just hired a new CIO (chief information officer). Even though he doesn't start until April, he is spending time on campus talking to people -- not just his new staff in IT but offices all over campus. When he talked to me, he addressed all the issues that had driven me to decide to retire, and I mean all of them. We had a good twenty minute chat and I left feeling hopeful for IT and the campus. But then I started thinking: if he's really going to fix the problems that made me want to retire, do I want to retire? So I emailed him saying that and he immediately emailed back: Please hang in there. So I'm going to hang in there a while longer and see what happens. I can still retire any time, but heck. So I no longer know when I will retire. I think I'll have to retire the countdown for a few months, until I find out if he can walk the walk or only talk the talk.

Fannish Stuff:
» Look how pretty this is! A skirt made from Hobbit-themed fabric. Seriously, if it weren't so expensive, I'd buy one. Her other literature-based skirts and dresses are also really cute, like this Marauders Map skirt. Adorable. (She has a Lord of the Rings skirt, too, but it's in Black Speech, so . . .)

» Speaking of clothing, I would love the see the Victoria and Albert's exhibition of Alexander McQueen's clothing. It's not that I'm such a huge fan of McQueen, but apparently the show lets you see the evolution of the garments from idea to execution. And wow, the execution! From dresses made of glass microscope slides or razor shells to plywood or feathers, it is the breadth of materials that has made it fascinating for us. McQueen’s collaborations with skilled craftsmen, with glass blowers and metal workers were fundamental to his design genius.

» Oh my gosh, I am so envious -- I have a friend who is going to see Letters Live 2015: Benedict Cumberbatch and Louise Brealey will take to the stage for every night of the Freemasons' Hall run, reading letters alongside a diverse array of world class performers each evening, including luminaries from the stage, screen, music, art and literary worlds. Eeeee!

» This cropped up my Tumblr dashboard; I've read it twice and find a lot of validity in the author's analysis: Hearts in His Eyes: a textual analysis of John Watson's flirt face. Flirt face, ha. In other words, can we determine based on textual evidence from episodes of BBC Sherlock whether or not John Watson is romantically and/or sexually attracted to Sherlock Holmes?

» More from my Tumblr dashboard, an excellent essay on fan fiction that's also a rebuttal to the recent Vulture article, and it's by one of my favorite authors, Earlgreytea68: If you want to talk about something weird, let's talk about geoducks, not fan fiction. Frankly, I couldn't read that Vulture article so I'm impressed that she was able to get through it and respond. My feelings about how fan fiction is treated by non-fans are VERY STRONG and I will SHOUT AT YOU, but EGT says it more nicely. Speaking of condescending: That’s the problem with the entire tone of that Vulture article and of most discussions about fanfiction. They are just so incredibly condescending. "Look at these cute little people creating things!" these articles seem to say. "People outside of the traditional establishment have *thoughts* in their *heads* and create things! Can you believe it?" You go, EGT. (Just in case you don't know, she wrote Scotch, one of my all-time favorite BBC Sherlock stories, as well as the uber-adorable Nature and Nurture.)

Non-Fannish Stuff:
» My dear non-LJ friend Linda sent me this very cool link: Watch Me Write This Article, about a hack of Google Docs that lets you watch yourself write. The creator of the hack, however, has another goal: I am not going to let a tiger go by the tail until somebody really, really great writes something important [in Draftback] and then people can break it down. Because that's going to be an artifact that's valuable to every single high school teacher, high school student, college teacher, every literate person in the world. Wouldn't that be amazing, and useful, to watch Stephen King or Joan Didion or Ursula Le Guin and the drafts of their work? The article's author used Draftback on this very article and says about the experience: The data, in other words, told me something I didn’t already know. That was surprising.

» You already know that I love San Francisco, so not surprisingly I enjoyed these two articles: Reading American cities: books about San Francisco and the subsequent Readers Picks. I want to really recommend the author's first choice, The Golden Gate by Vikram Seth. I bought it when it first came out and have read it several times, and given it as a gift. The Bridge Trilogy by William Gibson is also another favorite of mine that I have only recently re-read (though honesty compels me to admit that his Blue Ant Trilogy is my absolute favorite of his work). But like the commenters, I have no idea why she left out Armistead Maupin. I remember reading his Tales of the City when it was serialized in The San Francisco Chronicle, and it's been beloved ever since.

» My mother isn't quite as poorly off as this author's, but there's a lot of overlap: Cher, Bloody Marys and dementia: The heartbreak and comic absurdity of caring for an aging mom. Little things; little comforts. I am always looking for new ones. There are the medicines that lift her a little, but I always say that two Bloody Marys help her more than anything prescribed. There are the weekly viewing of the "Dirty Dancing" DVD ("I've had the time of my life," I sing to her sometimes, sitting on the side of her bed). There are the Peppermint Patties left under the pillow and the CD from "Phantom of the Opera" that I play in the car on the way to one of the difficult doctor's appointments. These are the things that spell survival.

On very special days, there are our trips to the hairdresser.
This is so, so true, especially the hairdresser and the chocolate. And singing, though in my mother's case it's anything by Frank Sinatra -- and of course, See's candy. God bless those boxes of See's soft center chocolates.

» Meet the Murderous, Inbred Mountain Lion Family of the Santa Monica Mountains. Big news in LA! Plus I was born in Santa Monica. But mostly sad and fascinating. It's not news that Los Angeles's local mountain lions have a family tree that doesn't really branch out -- a family shrub, maybe. They're isolated, pinned in one area because their habitat is bordered by urbanized zones, the ocean, and mostly uncrossable freeways.

» A question for New Yorkers! A city I would love to visit one day. Anyway, is this accurate? Heh. There must be one for San Francisco.

» Ending on something faaaaaaaaaaabulous: this popped up on my Tumblr and I've watched it approximately one zillion times: Shut up and dance! Guaranteed to make you smile (and dance in your chair).

This week's terrific fan artist is Milfiepumpkin; she tags her artwork here, but it's not all BBC Sherlock. What first caught my eye was this passionate kiss between Sherlock and John, mmmm, and how about this very sweet couch hug. All the hugs she draws are comforting and sexy at the same time, I think, unless they are funny. Anyway, scroll and enjoy!

Be sure to check out past artists because many are still producing gorgeous work. (The list of past artists is so lengthy I've moved it to its own page.)
Well, it's been a ridiculously busy week, partly because it's so busy at work but also because I took a day off to see The Duchess of Malfi, filmed in the gorgeous Sam Wanamaker Playhouse next to the Globe, a theatre I really want to see. I met up with friends and had lunch first, and then on to watch the wild restoration drama, with the stage literally mounded with dead bodies by the end of the play. Thoroughly enjoyed it, and am now in love with Gemma Arterton.

Also, is anybody else watching Fortitude? Wow, strange and intense and Stanley Tucci is brilliant. The last episode was beyond creepy.

POEM of the week comes from a recent post by the Gluten-free Girl, about rituals (and gluten-free pizza dough). She refers to William Stafford's poem A Ritual to Read to Each Other, which is lovely and quiet:

If you don"t know the kind of person I amCollapse )

RETIREMENT countdown: four months and four days.

Fannish Stuff:
» No fannish stuff! How is that possible? Okay, here's something -- I love Call the Midwife. I never miss an episode and I never fail to cry at least once during an episode. The most recent episode guest-starred Mrs. Hudson -- or rather Una Stubbs -- and her story made me cry. But my favorite character, Chummy, has been missing. Anyway, I bumped into this darling fanart for Call the Midwife, Chummy Collected. How adorable are they. Spiffing!

Non-Fannish Stuff:
» Here is a wonderful piece by a favorite author, Robert Macfalane, Caught by the Sea Road. It's described as This is the sound-story of an overnight sea-voyage that I and four others made one August, in an old open boat called Jubilee, to the Scottish Island of Sula Sgeir. Sula Sgeir – also known as the rock – lies far out in the North Atlantic. It is forty miles due north of the Outer Hebrides. It is the jaggy black summit of a submarine mountain, made of three-billion-year-old Lewisian gneiss. It is a shockingly severe place, home only to gannets, seals, skuas and puffin. And it is also the site each summer of a gannet hunt carried out by the men of Ness. I hope you enjoy it. I'm re-reading his The Old Ways in preparation for his latest book, Landmarks.

» More Robert Macfarlane, this time an excerpt from Landmarks over at the Guardian: The word-hoard: Robert Macfarlane on rewilding our language of landscape.

» Via, a beautiful short video taken by a helicopter, The Himalayas from 20,000 ft.

This week's terrific fan artist is KrisKenshin, who has kindly tagged her BBC Sherlock fanart art here. She has a pastel, watercolor-y style I really enjoy, as I do her settings, like this of John and Sherlock wading in a rock pool, and the little prompt for the piece. Or little wonderful AU of John and Sherlock in an ice cream shop -- look at the progression of Sherlock's expressions! This one of Sherlock at John's wedding kind of breaks my heart. I also like her Greg Lestrade, heh (love the goggles). The BBC's version of John Watson is a favorite of mine, and I do see him as a guardian angel, or as KrisKenshin describes him, Captain John H. Watson M.D. of the Fifth Northumberland Fusiliers, Guardian Angel. Scroll through her work; there's lots of it, some very silly and some quite sexy.

Be sure to check out past artists because many are still producing gorgeous work. (The list of past artists is so lengthy I've moved it to its own page.)
Well, I missed last Friday's links post because I was in Phoenix with my mother. She is doing all right -- by which I mean no real change. I spent every minute I could with her, took her shopping and out to lunch, but mostly just sat with her in her room. I also got to spend some good time with my sister, and we talked a lot about Mother, our plans and hopes for the future.

On top of that, I have caught a terrible cold. Everyone in my office has had one, and on the flight to Phoenix at least two people had the most horrible, juicy coughs they shared with us onboard, and then my sister's allergies turned out to be a cold, so I suppose it was inevitable. Anyway, I feel miserable, so be glad I can't share my virus with you.

Did you hear that Leonard Nimoy has passed away? At 83. What an amazing person he was. How many people has he influenced over the course of his career? I feel very sad. Gene Roddenberry is gone, Dee Kelley, Jimmy Doohan, and now dear Mr Spock.

ETA: Just as I posted this, Astolat reblogged Killa's gorgeous vid Dante's Prayer, so go watch that.

POEM of the week is Walking to Sleep, by Richard Wilbur:
As a queen sits down, knowing that a chair will be there,Collapse )

RETIREMENT countdown: four months and thirteen days.

Fannish Stuff:
» "Difference and the Critical Possibility of Sherlock," by abrae/acafanmom: I doubt I'll ever actually write my thoughts about BBC Sherlock -- I'm just too disappointed in the writing -- but this is analysis appeals to me. [W]e were asked to identify with John very early on. He was our eyes and ears on Sherlock Holmes. His frustrations with Sherlock were ours, his shock and disbelief and delight were all ours. Now, at the end, we can’t fully relinquish that identification, but we’ve learned how uninformed, how misunderstanding, how unobservant John is (or has allowed himself to become). We know what Sherlock feels – his every expression and movement speaks of nothing but his love for John – and our frustration finds a target in John, with whom we identify.

» 'Overnight, everything I loved was gone': the internet shaming of Lindsey Stone. Terrifying stuff, absolutely terrifying.

» At the most recent Seattle Sherlock con, Destinationtoast and Strangelock gave a talk analyzing fandom statitics which I really enjoyed. Not that I was there, but they've posted it at the AO3: Sherlockian Fandom Stats.

» The Eichmann Show review -- full of good actors and good intentions: I still haven't seen The Eichmann Show, though I want to. This is a lukewarm review, but I'm actually posting it because of this: And at least [Martin Freeman's] presence on our screens this week assuages some of the pain amongst those of us who longed to see him as Cromwell in tomorrow's Wolf Hall adaptation. (That is to cast no aspersions on Mark Rylance, by the way. I haven't even seen it yet. I'm sure he will be wonderful. I just will always want to know what our most extraordinary Everyman actor would have done with history's most extraordinary Everyman politician). I'm watching Wolf Hall and enjoying it immensely, but now as I watch I try to imagine what Martin Freeman would have done as Cromwell. It adds a certain piquancy to my enjoyment of the show.

» Speaking of Mark Rylance, he recently was on Desert Island Discs, and very worth listening to.

» Hey, the FCC has (temporarily) passed something that strengthens net neutrality. Alas, it split along party lines with the Republicans as usual voting against it. Always voting for Big Money, never for the people they theoretically represent. Anyway, you can read about it here. The new rules, approved 3 to 2 along party lines, are intended to ensure that no content is blocked and that the Internet is not divided into pay-to-play fast lanes for Internet and media companies that can afford it and slow lanes for everyone else.

Non-Fannish Stuff:
» Have you heard about Oliver Sacks? Here is his essay on learning that he has terminal cancer. What a loss to the world.

» For Valentine's Day, NPR ran a column of Chaucer advising about love: Can Amor Truly Vincit Omnia? Chaucer Doth Advise. It was fun.

» As always, let's end on something beautiful:
I loved this little video so much that I sent it to my husband to watch: Uncommon Ground: a word-lover's guide to the British landscape. Beautiful music, too.

» You know how much I long to visit Antarctica: Investigating the Mysteries of Antarctica, 16 photos curated by the awesome Alan Taylor.

» Making Music in the Anthropocene: How should artists engage with times of crisis?, by the composer John Luther Adams. I love his work; you probably have heard his Become Ocean. My work is not activism. It is art. As an artist, my primary responsibility must be to my art as art—and yet, it’s impossible for me to regard my life as a composer as separate from my life as a thinking human being and a citizen of the earth.

This week's terrific fan artist is Harbek; you can find a lot of her BBC Sherlock inspired work here

Be sure to check out past artists because many are still producing gorgeous work. (The list of past artists is so lengthy I've moved it to its own page.)

love is more thicker than forget

I'm still fussing about the loss of Glenmore's wonderful stories from the AO3. Does anyone have a copy of her WiP 15-8, the one with the poems? I have Turn Left at the Park and Albion and the Woodsman in mobi format I would be happy to share, but I don't have her darling Calico Jack stories nor that wonderful 15-8. Dammit.

In much happier fanfiction news, Parachute_silks has finished her amazing, brilliant, beautiful BBC Sherlock-science fiction AU Names for the Galaxy. I loved every bit of it -- what ingenuity, and beautiful writing, and terrific characterizations. (You can also read it on the AO3.)

Had a weird work week because we are interviewing for a new CIO (I work in IT). We had three candidates: the first didn't even meet the minimum qualifications, the second was pretty dang good, and the third was HORRIBLE. I took careful notes both at our interview with each of them and at the Open Fora, wrote them up, and sent them to my colleagues. We're in agreement about who we want, but alas, we don't have much influence over the outcome. But at least I did what I could.

For the past few weeks my links list has been pitifully short but I'm making up for that today. I hope you find something interesting in all the clickbait.

POEM of the week has to be something romantic (see second item in Fannish Stuff + tomorrow is Valentine's Day) so how about e.e. cummings' love is more thicker than forgetCollapse )

COUNTDOWN to retirement: it's dropped below five months! Holy cats! Four months and twenty-nine days! In early March I have an appointment with CalPERS, the California Public Employee Retirement System; I really hope I don't learn anything upsetting. *bites nails*

Fannish Stuff:
» Surely everyone has read one or two incarnations of this essay, but here is the most complete I've read to date. I think it should be posted at the AO3: I'm done explaining why fanfic is okay by Aja Romano, AKA Bookshop.

» The headline Benedict Cumberbatch to marry pregnant Sophie Hunter on Valentine's Day on the Isle of Wight says it all, but it's from a red top, The Mirror, so who knows. Still: on Valentine's Day! Also, I'm kind of in love with Sophie myself.

» The mystery of Mingering Mike: the soul legend who never existed. What a fascinating article! Kind of heartbreaking, but wow. When a 'crate-digger' found a massive vinyl collection at a flea market, he couldn't understand how a soul star who'd released over 100 records could just disappear. But the truth turned out to be even stranger. Jon Ronson goes in search of Mingering Mike.

» LOTR's One Ring Explainer. Via, an excellent little video doing exactly what it says: explaining how the One Ring works.

» An interesting and somewhat technical discussion of the battles that Weta Digital created for The Hobbit: Battle of the Five Armies. Fight to the Finish.

» The Trust Engineers, a Radiolab podcast about the Facebook fiasco of social engineering. I hate Facebook but found this really interesting, and it was good to get Facebook's side of the disaster.

» A wonderful interview with the goddess Gillian Anderson: Gillian Anderson on therapy, rebellion and 'being weird'. The first sentence refers to her as "a tiny, mighty force" -- no wonder I love her so much.

» With my own mother's memory shredded, I found this article about Sir Michael Gambon's memory quite touching: Sir Michael Gambon calls time on theatre career after memory struggle: Actor had been wearing an earpiece on stage to receive lines, and will continue to work in film and television.

» The very awesome Ariane DeVere has produced a transcript of an interview with John Finnemore and David Tyler, the writer and producer of Cabin Pressure, taken from the boxed set of Cabin Pressure which, alas, is not yet available in the States. They are funny people and oh, how I miss Cabin Pressure.

» You already know I'm a fan of the Song Exploder podcast and here is another interesting one with Alexandre Desplat (and now I know how to pronounce his name) and his music for The Imitation Game.

» I think a lot of us are fans of Hyperbole and a Half and were worried about the author for a long time. Her long strip on depression was one of the best and most insightful essays about that topic I've ever read. I think this link popped up on my Tumblr dashboard but I can't remember; anyway, a good interview with Allie Brosh, who seems to be doing pretty well these days.

» I bought two songs from Rosanne Cash's newest CD because of this video interview with her: The River and the Thread.

Non-Fannish Stuff:
» Wow, you'll be using baking soda and vinegar after playing with this interactive article about the chemicals in shampoo. ICK.

» Dear Pionie and I went on the London Eye when I was last there and I adored it. To think it almost was never built or installed! A short article by the architects about it: How we made the London Eye. Certainly, for years, nobody thought it would be built. But we didn’t give up. I don’t know if people underestimated us, or we were just stubborn, At one point, we had our house, our whole livelihood on the line.

» As you'll read in this article, a big deal out here is the annual release of a beer, Pliny the Younger: In the 11 years since Russian River Brewing Co. introduced Pliny the Younger triple IPA, it has grown into a cultural craft beer phenomenon in the Bay Area and beyond. Its two-week February release -- which commenced Friday -- brings throngs of beer buffs to downtown Santa Rosa, filling hotels and injecting the local economy with a heavy dose of carefree spending. Yes, that's right; it's available for only two weeks each year.

And now, two weird but quite wonderful stories about dads:
» DeathHacks: Tech tips for people who are going to die (someday).

» My Dad, the pornographer.

» Let's end on something beautiful: Eric Ravilious: Chalk and Ice. I'm embarrassed to admit I'd never heard of Eric Ravilious before and now I'm glad I have.

This week's terrific fan artist is Arkarti, whom I've listed before but this time I want to share her extremely beautiful WiP TPG series. Just gorgeous work, and I am curious where she is going. Scroll down to the bottom of the page and work your way up. Notice that some of the images are actually gifs. Lovely.

Be sure to check out past artists because many are still producing gorgeous work. (The list of past artists is so lengthy I've moved it to its own page.)

Forever is composed of nows

I am so upset: Glenmore's stories have disappeared from the AO3! I had a really difficult day yesterday and listened to her Turn Left at the Park on the drive home. It had me smiling and feeling so much better that I went straight to my computer to email her but discovered -- gone. I've googled hoping that she had her stories elsewhere, but I can't find anything. Does anyone know what happened? I'm just heartbroken. She was so good and now she's gone. Thank god I downloaded four of her stories onto my Kindle, but I sure wish I had them all. Goddammit. All that's left is her bookmarks. I can't believe how upset this has made me. Come back, Glenmore! I miss your writing so much.

POEM of the week is "After Midnight" by Louis Simpson:
The dark streets are desertedCollapse )

RETIREMENT countdown: five months and five days!

Fannish Stuff:
» Speaking of the AO3, did you read about their fannish next of kin process? My beloved non-LJ friend Linda has agreed to be my fannish next of kin. Who will take care of your stuff?

» Well, the final episode of the youtube series Baker Street is out, and I really enjoyed it and am looking forward to the next season. It definitely got better as it progressed and I so want to know What Happens Next.

» The very beautiful, very talented Gillian Anderson was a huge hit as Blanche in A Streetcar Named Desire (oh how I wish I could see that! I hope the filmed version comes here). Now there is a prequel: The Departure: Gillian Anderson, who played Blanche in an award-winning performance at the Young Vic theatre in London, has returned to the role for a short film exploring those days before Blanche's arrival in the play. The Departure has been made for the Young Vic series of shorts that complement the theatre's main-house productions. It will be available to watch exclusively on from 9am GMT on Friday 6 February.

» This American Life played a BBC documentary about William Burroughs and it is terrific. Highly recommended. Burroughs 101.

» Just found this charming interview with a real favorite of mine, Jasika Nicole (best known as Astrid on Fringe): Jasika Nicole Will Teach You Embroidery and Social Justice: The Autostraddle Interview. The photos of her are absolutely gorgeous, too.

» I thought this gifset was hysterical, and really clever: The Hobbit: a modern AU, set up as if it were a series of articles on the BBC News website. Love it.

Non-Fannish Stuff:
» A long, thoughtful article about the health benefits of psilocybin: The Trip Treatment. "I don't want to use the word 'mind-blowing,' " Griffiths told me, "but, as a scientific phenomenon, if you can create conditions in which seventy per cent of people will say they have had one of the five most meaningful experiences of their lives? To a scientist, that's just incredible."

» I can honestly say that I hate anti-vaxxers. How ignorance became "cool" I simply cannot understand. Murderers, fucking murderers. Anyway, interesting article about the recent Disneyland outbreak: In the fight against measles, science and detective work join forces. "It's only January, and we've already had a very large number of measles cases — as many cases as we have all year in typical years," she said. "This worries me."

Relatedly, this popped up on my Tumblr dashboard: In 1736 I lost one of my sons, a fine boy of four years old, by the small-pox, taken in the common way. I long regretted bitterly, and still regret that I had not given it to him by inoculation. This I mention for the sake of parents who omit that operation, on the supposition that they should never forgive themselves if a child died under it; my example showing that the regret may be the same either way, and that, therefore, the safer should be chosen. Still true all these years later.

» A couple of weeks ago Webster and I were walking through our little retirement community and found a neighbor peering over a bridge looking at animal prints in the mud below. "That," he said, pointing with his cane, "is a bear." I took a picture of the print and compared it online and damn if he wasn't right. So that makes foxes, deer, coyote, a mountain lion, and now a bear traipsing through here. I told Webster: no more late night hikes! But I'm not surprised that the animals are here; there's lots of evidence from a Network of North Coast wildlife cameras aiding science and conservation. From the Mayacmas Mountains northeast of Healdsburg to the sprawling Pepperwood Preserve west of Calistoga, from a relatively narrow corridor in Sonoma Valley to the flanks of Sonoma Mountain, the fairly low-cost cameras are producing remarkable stills and videos of mountain lions, bobcats and black bears, along with more mundane shots of deer, rabbits and the occasional wood rat.

» There's a new blog I've really been enjoying, Strong Language, and they ain't fooling around. I've enjoyed pretty much every post, but this one caught my eye in particular: What gives 'cunt' its offensive power? [V]erbal conditioning, the result of phonology plus semantic content, determines our emotional response to swearing. I'm not sure I buy everything, but it's thought-provoking and interesting.

» I've been a big fan of Alan Taylor's curated photos at The Atlantic for years. Recently he started a photo of the day; you can see them here.

This week's terrific fan artist is Breathing2005 over on Deviantart. Really beautiful, almost stained glass images of The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings, and The Silmarillian. Pop over here to her art of Tolkien and see what I mean. Here are a few of especially favorites of mine: Farewell Frodo, Riddle, Bard with Black Arrow (and check out her Smaug!), or this amazing illustration of The Hobbit. The details, the colors, the stylized figures -- just gorgeous. I think my favorite might be Bilbo Baggins in Bag End. I love how she moves through time and space simultaneously.

Be sure to check out past artists because many are still producing gorgeous work. (The list of past artists is so lengthy I've moved it to its own page.)Be sure to check out past artists because many are still producing gorgeous work. (The list of past artists is so lengthy I've moved it to its own page.)
I have remarkably few links to share with you this week; I'm not sure why, whether it's me and I'm losing interest in my current fandoms, or if things are slow, or boring, or irritating, or . . . Anyway.

POEM of the week: Relax, by Ellen Bass:
Read more...Collapse )

RETIREMENT countdown: Five months and ten days!

Fannish Stuff:
» This news has been everywhere as well as many analyses, but what the heck, here it is again: Benedict Cumberbatch apologises after calling black actors 'coloured'. I must say, it was a good apology: straight-forward, no quibbling, none of the snotty "Sorry if it offended you" that we get so often. Well.

» I'm putting this under "fannish" because of the interviewers, but it could equally be categorized under non-fannish: Holy Shit, I Interviewed the President, by Hank Green. I sent this to my husband because he is furious with how news is presented these days and with what is considered news. Sometimes we start to watch the news and end up staring at each other in disbelief. This is news? This is what we're supposed to care about? Green addresses these concerns directly in his essay: Walter Cronkite wasn’t representing a political ideology, or even discussing politics when my father watched the news as a teenager. He was discussing the news. Cable news today uses the residual legitimacy of that bygone era (that they are simultaneously destroying) to degrade the legitimacy of their political opponents. Very worth reading, I though.

» Oh my gosh, Rod McKuen has passed away. I loved him when I was in my teens. I even saw him in performance! Mr. McKuen is credited with more than 200 albums -- dozens of which went gold or platinum -- and more than 30 collections of poetry. Worldwide sales for his music top 100 million units while his book sales exceed 60 million copies.

» I'm a big fan of the podcast Song Exploder, but this one is especially interesting, largely due to the song: The Commander Thinks Aloud, by The Long Winters.

Non-Fannish Stuff:
» I shared this with a friend who taught medieval English literature and she enjoyed it as much as I did: Who was Chaucer? In October-November 1386 he was deprived of his City apartment, denounced – in his capacity, though not by name – in the parliament in which he was a sitting member, and pressed to resign his controllership. He chose several years of voluntary self-exile in Kent. In a short space of time, he found himself without a job, a city, a circle of friends, and a loyal audience for his poems.

» Ha, I was really amused by this article in a local newspaper, Fear and Loathing in Glen Ellen, about the year Hunter Thompson and his wife lived up the road from us. I had no idea he was ever here, let alone how miserable he was. Imagine his poor wife! Gene McGarr, a hard-drinking visitor from the Bronx, described Glen Ellen as "a rural slum." Everywhere were horses, cows, chickens and old shacks with broken-down trucks tangled in tall grass. The place reeked of manure. Actually, it's not all the different once you get off the main road. Or "main" road, since it's a windy mountain road.

» For many years I've said I wanted to write a book about tampons, a topic I find endlessly fascinating, so you can imagine how interested I am in this article, If men menstruated, would periods still be taboo? Those were tough times. We had to be fairly stoical and keep it all a secret. Not easy, what with all the leaks, belts, nappies, stench and pain.

» I've heard about Conscience rocks before but I didn't realize they had their own webpage and even a book! The petrified rocks are incredibly, unbelievably beautiful and I understand the temptation to take one.

» Let's end with Alan Taylor's Photos of the Week. Beautiful, horrifying, moving, distressing, heartwarming -- it's a comprehensive collection. Click accordingly. #34 is my favorite by far.

This week's terrific fan artist is actually a genre, genderswap. I have friends who don't care for genderswap, and there are some fandoms for which I'm not wild about it, either, but for some reason I adore either Sherlock Holmes and/or John Watson genderswapped. (One of my favorite Holmes-Watson stories is genderswapped: It Comes Naturally, Watson is a woman who has chosen to disguise her sex and live as a gentleman.) What decided me was this great genderswapped version of BBC Sherlock by PawsPaintsnThings. Meetingyourmaker has a very sexy BBC Sherlock in a sheet, looking more like a goddess. And what about this kiss surprise by Valerie Evalyn, mmm. Against-stars has a terrific and very tough Jane Watson paired with an wonderfully sexy female Sherlock Holmes.

I'm also fond of these two lovely women dancing by Mydirtytinyroom and oh, Decompositiondance's Sherlock Holmes and Doctor Watson is terrific. Very close to how I imagine them. One of my favorite Tumblrs, though sadly inactive, is Ask Sherlock, which in turns is funny, wise, sad, and always fun.

Anyway, check out my genderswap tagged reblogs if like me this is a genre you enjoy.

Be sure to check out past artists because many are still producing gorgeous work. (The list of past artists is so lengthy I've moved it to its own page.)
Happy Friday yet again! Tomorrow I'm going to see Treasure Island as performed by the National Theatre -- only I'll see it in a movie theatre with a friend, and then lunch afterwards. I'm so looking forward to it.

POEM of the week is "What lips my lips have kissed, and where, and why," by Edna St. Vincent Millay:

What lips my lips have kissed, and where, and why,Collapse )

RETIREMENT countdown: Five months and 19 days!

Fannish Stuff:
» I've seen other people share this because it's just that interesting: Why Fanfic and Fan Rights Should Matter to Pros, a guest post on the OTW blog by author Cecilia Tan: There is no more loving and in-depth attention given to a writer's work than that paid by fanfic writers and readers.

» Fanfiction Made Me a Better Feminist by Anna Anderson, who on the AO3 is Amelia Clark. My best writing, the stuff I'm most proud of, is also the writing that makes me the most ashamed. It shouldn't have to be that way.

» Oh my hat, but do I love Peggy Carter and the Agent Carter show, and one of the reasons is the care the production takes with set and costume design, so I really enjoyed this Interview with Agent Carter costume designer Gigi Melton: We make blouses and jackets with specific slits to allow for harnesses. For kicks in skirts I have vintage style black silk tap shorts to wear under.

» Speaking very frankly, I am a little bit Benedict Cumberbatched out these days, but this wasn't a terrible interview, on NPR's Fresh Air: Benedict Cumberbatch On Alan Turing's Awkwardness And Sherlock's Sex Appeal.

Non-Fannish Stuff:
» Because Kevin Jorgenson is a local, this climb was huge news here in Sonoma County, but I had no idea the NYT was also reporting it. Anyway, check out this three-minute video over at Climbing the Dawn Wall at Yosemite. JESUS.

» Also via Kottke, and I think Esteefee would be interested: How PAPER Magazine's web engineers scaled their back-end for Kim Kardashian: "In a crunch," he said, "I'd rather rely on cut-and-paste from a Google Doc than software."

» Kim Dotcom is, uh, problematic, but he's a smart guy: Kim Dotcom launches end-to-end encrypted voice chat 'Skype killer': "No US-based online service provider can be trusted"

» A different kind of technology, one that made me hungry: Umami is what makes savory foods so delicious: What is umami for? Nobody really knows.

» I'd never heard of Mark Manson before I read this article, so I googled him and found that Forbes Magazine describes him as the accidental self-help guru, which isn't exactly inspiring to me, but I did really enjoy (and agree with) his essay The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck. Because when we give too many fucks, when we choose to give a fuck about everything, then we feel as though we are perpetually entitled to feel comfortable and happy at all times, that’s when life fucks us.

» A long article about the history of same-sex marriages, primarily in the west but with a few mentions of other cultures: The secret history of same-sex marriage: Instead of the old dichotomies between friends and lovers, innocents and lesbians, acts and identities, the history of sexuality is increasingly concerned to explore what role the erotic played in different kinds of physical intimacy, personal relationships and emotional cultures.

This week's terrific fan artist is Gingercatsneeze, whose work I've already shared because she's just that good, but this week it's for a marvelous little video she created for the Sherlock Seattle con (which I missed AGAIN *sad face*). You can watch her video here. The music is adorable, too, written by Podington Bear AKA Chad Chase. (You can find the piece here.)

Be sure to check out past artists because many are still producing gorgeous work. (The list of past artists is so lengthy I've moved it to its own page.)
Happy birthday, Msilverstar! I hope you're having a wonderful day.

I am very happy that it's Friday; it was a long and busy work-week. I'm also happy because it's a three-day weekend; Monday is Martin Luther King, Jr. Day -- and my Webster's 65th birthday! He is not thrilled to be turning 65 (well, who would be), but it's better than the alternative. No idea how we'll celebrate; he isn't very enthused. But we'll do something (see my Bonus Poem section below).

State of Mother: I haven't talked a lot about my mother lately and that's good news. This time last year she was in the hospital, the first of many stays, but she is much better now that she is being taken care of in the health center. I call her two or three times a week, and will be out to see her in February, but she's lonely -- all her friends are at the first place she lived (independent living) and between her shyness and her blindness, she finds it hard to make new friends. Both my sister and I arrange for visits with her old friends, but all of them find it increasingly hard to get around. Still, she likes her room and how it's decorated very much, and they do take very good care of her, including making sure she has her hair done and a pedi and a mani every week. I miss her.

State of TV: So far this season I am wild about Person of Interest and Agent Carter. PoI shocked me at the last episode (I cried), and I got a little teary-eyed this time as well. The peculiar family they've created out of misfits has really pulled together. But what really shocks me is how openly critical they are of the current US political and information infrastructure. Well, actually what the US government, in particular the CIA and NSA, does is what shocks me, but so does the meta-textual criticism of it in PoI.

Agent Carter has its own social criticisms and I appreciate them, as I do their care with the historical context, both in set design and characterization. But mostly I'm wild about Hayley Atwell's performance as Peggy Carter, how completely I believe in her. I also like the supporting characters. Go, Peggy! If you're not watching, please try it; ABC lets you watch the episodes online, so if you're shy about torrenting and what not, here's a solution.

The POEM of the week is "Cremation" by Robinson Jeffers:
It nearly cancels my fear of death, my dearest said,Collapse )

BONUS POEM and a recipe: I read a lot of blogs and one of my favorites is Eat This Poem, subtitled a literary food blog. I've got the ingredients for the Spiced Coconut Ice Cream on my grocery list and will let you know what I think. And just as Rachel did, I posted that poem before, but in light of her preceding commentary, read it again: It Bears Repeating.

RETIREMENT countdown: five months and twenty-five days -- finally, less than six months to go.

Fannish Stuff:
» Well, it's awards seasons; here's a list of nominations for the Oscars, and on the right you'll find here a list of the 2015 Golden Globe winners. I am not a fan of awards, nor of drunk people, nor staring at women's clothes and hair and fingernails as if that's what the awards were about. . . Also I won't be the first person to point out the lack of diversity in the line-up. So. There you go.

» I did find this interview with Jane Hawking, Stephen's first wife, more than interesting: I firmly believed in Stephen and his brilliance: I thought we were going to beat this disease and be a normal family like everybody else.

» And since we're on awards, despite my issues with them I have to admit that I was glad when Jeffrey Tambor won a Golden Globe for Transparent; I loved the first series, and his Maura. People come up to me and discuss their own transitions.

» Really hope that The Eichmann Show makes it to the US because I want to see it. Here's an interview with Martin Freeman about it; he plays Milton Fruchtman: Milton was charming, and fluent in both Hebrew and German, and he persuaded the Israeli authorities to allow him to film proceedings.

» Golly, I was excited to learn about The Baker Street Project, which I did just a few days before the first episode was posted. It will only be three episodes long, but I was immediately captured by the characters -- well, how could I not be?

» We've all known of -- or been fooled by -- online presences who turn out to be not who they claim. For example, before I had my LJ, I used to read the flist of a friend and during that time watched someone accidentally out herself as two very different people -- and get caught. It wasn't pretty and a lot of excuses flew. I've also witnessed at least two "pseu-icides," one of which really hurt a friend of mine. I'm sure you have your own stories, and we've all read much worse.

So I think you should take the time to read this lengthy essay that's basically a How to Fake a Human, The Lives of Ronald Pinn. It's beautifully written and really fucking scary. Facebook has 864 million daily users, of whom at least 67 million are believed by the company to be fake. There are more social media ghosts, more people being second people, or living an invented life as doppelgängers, than there are citizens of the UK.

Non-Fannish Stuff:
» I cry at mobile phone commercials, so this essay interested me: Why do women cry more than men? Shallow tear ducts! Among other reasons.

» After you've cried at the mobile phone commercial, go out into your garden: Dig down to lift your spirits: soil bacteria act as antidepressants. So that's why I feel so good when I'm gardening or hiking the overlook! A key to feeling better, it seems, is to do what health experts have been telling us to do for years. Get outside, get into the garden, and while you're at it grow some of your own food. You'll feel better, and you'll have free food.

» Our Animal Hell, a deeply moving essay from the new York Review of Books by Robert Pogue Harrison. Seriously, you might want to skip this. We like to think of ourselves as the stewards or even saviors of nature, yet the fact of the matter is, for the animal world at large, the human race represents nothing less than a natural disaster.

» Not as sad, but depressing in its own way is Alan Taylor's compilation illustration A World Transfixed by Screens. The continued massive growth of connected mobile devices is shaping not only how we communicate with each other, but how we look, behave, and experience the world around us. 36 photos.

This week's terrific fan artist is Sheeponmars. You can find her Sherlock artwork tagged here, and wow, look, the very first one is Vinette Robinson as Sally Donovan, a character I want to know a lot more about. But my favorite is this lovely piece of John and Sherlock on a park bench. I love the colors. Sheeponmars doesn't have a lot here, but I love what she's shared. She has an "art only" Tumblr as well here, with more BBC Sherlock work but also really clever posters for Cabin Pressure (my favorite is for Ottery St. Mary), some of Twin Peaks, Hannibal, and lots of Benedict Cumberbatch. Go, scroll!

Be sure to check out past artists because many are still producing gorgeous work. (The list of past artists is so lengthy I've moved it to its own page.)
Well, it's been an intense week, has it not? I keep reading that world is significantly less violent than it's ever been, but sometimes that's hard to believe. Thank goodness for books and movies and television shows music and fanfiction and fanvids and fannish friends.

I hope you are all safe and well.

Fannish Stuff:
» Peter Jackson's long goodbye to Middle-earth, a lovely article that does what it says. I especially enjoyed the photo of their children all grown up. I find it almost impossible to believe this journey is at an end.

» There is a surprising amount I disagree with in this essay, but her point is well taken: A Year in Reading, by Elizabeth Minkel. Over the years I've been asked if I've read anything good lately, and I've always bitten my tongue: I often have, but it's not "real literature," after all, but rather some 30-chapter masterpiece that someone has penned for free -- for the love of the source material. I'm kind of done glossing over this major part of my reading life: for every good novel I read this year, I read a fantastic novel-length fic as well.

» And another fannish article that doesn't make us fans sound like idiots (I think I found this on my Tumblr), These Internet SuperFans Can't Stop Drawing Benedict Cumberbatch. They are almost exclusively self-taught. Generally they are young. Most of them are female. Some of the people I speak to are hardcore fans and some are artists who tackle other subjects but have zoned in on Cumberbatch since noticing that their drawings of him tend to be more popular on the web.

» The happiest news I've had all week is that PlaidAdder has started posting another BBC Sherlock story, a continuation of her amazing Law Like Love: Prior Engagements. I love that woman's writing, and her Harry Watson is a brilliant characterization of a complex, interesting woman.

» And speaking of BBC Sherlock, I'm sure you've heard that Cumberbatch and his fiancée Sophie Hunter are pregnant! Can you imagine how beautiful that child will be with the two of them as parents? Dear god. (I bet his mum Wanda is over the moon.)

Stolen from many many sites on Tumblr.

» AGENT CARTER! Did you watch? Oh my god, I'm so in love with that character, and with Hayley Atwell. IGN had a nice interview with her: Hayley Atwell Talks Marvel's Agent Carter and Peggy Carrying on Captain America's Work. We're coming back from the war and the aftermath of the destruction of that and there's a lot of work to be done. She's having to forge her own path and find a way of still being active and carrying on Cap's work in this environment where she's just being asked to get the lunch orders and make the coffees and answer the phones for the guys. Which is why I think she jumps at the chance to work with Howard when he comes along and proposes to her this mission.

Non-Fannish Stuff:
» Is depression a kind of allergic reaction? I think this is an important insight into depression and I will not be the least bit surprised if it proves true in many cases. I mean there is of course situational depression (back in 2003-4 when my husband was very ill, I ended up on Prozac and can tell you it helped immensely), but for non-situational on-going depression, it very well could be an infection or allergic reaction, I think. When H. pylori was first suggested as a cause for ulcers (which both my father and I suffered from), it was laughed at, but in fact, it is a very common cause. I'm glad that this suggestion is being taken seriously and studied.

» I love Shirley Jackson's work, both her really creepy stories and novels but also her amusing stories about her family life (Life Among the Savages and Raising Demons). I was therefore delighted to learn that her children have been going through her archives and there are lots of stories yet to be published! Last April, there was an interview in The New Yorker with Jackson's son Laurie, and links to two stories, The Man in the Woods and Paranoia (from 2013). (Be sure to read "Paranoia" -- I found the tension almost unbearable.)

» Finally, via The Dish, a short video from UC Berkeley's Greater Good Science Center: We are built to be kind.

This week's terrific fan artist is Hyperplus, and you should scroll through her work. Her illustrations are lots of fun, and include characters from manga as well as BBC Sherlock, and some of her Sherlock work is manga style, like this fun piece -- I wish I read Japanese. But my favorite is one I can't figure out how to link to. If you scroll to the bottom of the first page, it's the last one on the left side. I can't articulate why, but I think her caricature of John and Sherlock, as here, is hysterical. The expressions on their faces! And what on earth is going on in this?

Be sure to check out past artists because many are still producing gorgeous work. (The list of past artists is so lengthy I've moved it to its own page.)

2014 in review

My regular Friday post is a day late because yesterday was a day of adventure! Kind of. It's also my year end post and although I've been on vacation, it's been a vacation of stuff to do. Mostly fun stuff, but a lot of stuff. Thus: a day late. Sorry!

Yesterday a friend and I went down to San Francisco; we drove to Larkspur and took the ferry in.

Port of SF 01022015

We had lunch at the Slanted Door in the Ferry Building; it was very good but we ordered way too much food (the serving sizes were very generous). I bought some chocolate at Recchiuti to send to my mother (and treated myself to a small box of very dark chocolates, mmm). Then we hopped on an F-line tram and took it to the end of the line at Fisherman's Wharf, where we watched people swim in the Bay (SO COLD); then we toured the Balclutha and the Maritime Museum. I could have spent hours there, but we were running out of time because we wanted an Irish Coffee at the Buena Vista. It was very good! And it turned out that my friend has a long history with the Buena Vista, including it was where she met her husband many years ago.


Then we jumped back on the F-line and returned to the Ferry Building, in plenty of time to catch our ferry home but discovered it had already left. I couldn't believe it! And because it was a holiday schedule, the next ferry wasn't until almost two hours later. There was a herd of disgruntled people at the gate, trying to figure out what to do. Most of us took the ferry to Sausalito and then cabbed to Larkspur, so we were able to split the cost of the cab fare. I finally arrived home at 6:30 utterly exhausted.

But it was a fun day, with lots of good food (maybe I had some Straus Family Creamery Dutch Chocolate ice cream), and I have a gift for mother, and of course excellent memories.

Okay, on to the year-end post:

Most read post: April 18, 2014. Why? Over 400 people read it! Golly. Maybe they're all me -- did I have a lot of corrections to make? Usually I get well under a hundred people clicking on any given post.

PEDTM in 2014: April, June, September, and December, so roughly quarterly. I do enjoy posting every day and wish more people would try it occasionally.

BOOKS: This was a year of re-reading for me, in particular William Gibson and Tony Hillerman. What started me on Gibson was his newest, The Peripheral, which I loved. Similarly for Hillerman, it was his daughter Anne picking up from where he left off after he passed away, with her Spider Woman's Daughter, that got me started re-reading his series. I look forward to reading more of Anne's version of Joe Leaphorn and Jim Chee, and I really liked her incorporation of Bernadette Manuelito into the action.

But as much as I enjoyed re-reading so many books, I also found new-to-me books to love, in particular Lost Cat, which is, yes, about a lost cat but a story that takes a surprising and sad turn. It's a love story in several ways.

Years ago, I never missed reading Dear Sugar, an advice columnist in the online magazine The Rumpus -- do you remember her? Well, turns out Sugar is Cheryl Strayed, of Wild fame, and she's compiled a book of her columns, Tiny Beautiful Things. I was so moved by the letters and Sugar's responses, in part because she hears deeply, if you know what I mean, and made me realize (again) how superficially I tend to listen to people.

Finally, I read the first of a trilogy, Cider with Rosie, and I'm looking forward to the next two books. Lee was a pretty fascinating guy living during times of immense change, though I gather from that Wikipedia article there is some disagreement about what he actually did.

Which was my favorite book? I think Gibson's The Peripheral and Strayed's Tiny Beautiful Things, but no one book was a slam-dunk as in past years.

POEMS: I read a lot of poetry this year and posted one a week all but two weeks. I've re-read them all and think I chose well. My favorite? Either This is a recording from last October, or possibly The Night City, from June.

MUSIC: For some reason it was easy to select my favorite new music this year, though I couldn't select just one. My favorite new-to-me artist is Lizzy Hoyt and at the moment her song "New Lady on the Prairie" is on repeat for me. But I thought Billy Boyd's "The Last Goodbye," sung over the credits of the final Hobbit film was incredible. Here is a short interview with Billy and an acoustic version of the song that is definitely worth listening to. At NPR.

RETIREMENT: Six months and 8 days, or 189 days. Last time I reached six months, I had to restart the count as it turned out I needed to work until July 2015. I hope I don't have to start over again!

Fannish Stuff
» A short but fun Q&A with Rupert Graves. Good god, but he's aging gorgeously.

» The LA Times interviewed five male lead actors, including Benedict Cumberbatch, Robert Downey, Jr., Eddie Redmayne, Michael Keaton, and Steve Carroll: Five actors on faking confidence, the Batsuit and tea breaks.

» First, the title of this article caught my attention because I thought it referred to Queen Elizabeth II, but no, it's the group Queen. Then it turned out I really enjoyed reading about them: Queen's Christmas message: "We need a change of government". "Freddie is like a myth," Lambert says. "It's like he's not real. When I look at footage of him, the voice, the command of the stage -- it is extremely intimidating to walk up to."

» Okay, I'm ashamed to admit that despite Lovecraft's awful anti-Seminitism, his racism, his misogyny, and his awful awful prose, I still read and re-read his stories, so I was a bit cheered by this review of a newly issued volume of his stories, The Hideous Unknown of H.P. Lovecraft: The effect is to throw the reader out of the story into a speculative realm concerning the author of these self-described "weird" tales. What on earth (or elsewhere) is the source of these imaginings, and why is the crisis rhetoric so similar from one tale to the next?

» I'm not entirely sure this belongs under Fannish Stuff, but OMG it made me laugh SO HARD: Women Listening To Men In Western Art History. I lost it at the eighth one down.

Non-Fannish Stuff:
» As you know, I'm a big fan of Mark Bittman, so not surprisingly I loved his An Atheist's Christmas Dream: The so-called golden rule -- do unto others -- is ostensibly a core principle of every major religion. Though it's widely ignored, we all know what love is and who our neighbors are. If every day were Christmas, if we lived as if the golden rule mattered, if every day were a truce -- well, that is a reality we have never approached, but should aim for.

» Completely fascinating essay about life on the International Space Station: 5,200 Days in Space. It's a little strange when you think about it: Just about every American ninth-grader has never lived a moment without astronauts soaring overhead, living in space. But chances are, most ninth-graders don't know the name of a single active astronaut -- many don't even know that Americans are up there. We've got a permanent space colony, inaugurated a year before the setting of the iconic movie 2001: A Space Odyssey. It's a stunning achievement, and it's completely ignored.

This week's terrific fan artist is eRin, who has tagged her artwork for us. I really love her Merman Sherlock, especially the colors and graceful swoop of his tail. She has a cute sketch of Sherlock showing John how to wear a yukata (a summer kimono, according to Google). Following the same idea, here is Sherlock's kimono showing his thighs, and oh! the goldfish! I also like her sketches of them as old men and as young men.

She also paints Inception characters, and here's a portrait of Kili, from The Hobbit and his brother Fili, as well as Harry Potter and Skyfall characters. But my favorite of all her work is this reflection in a puddle of John and Sherlock's wedding.

Be sure to check out past artists because many are still producing gorgeous work. (The list of past artists is so lengthy I've moved it to its own page.)

PEDTM: day 31

Last day of December, last day of 2015. 2014 was a pretty shitty year all around, especially for my mother who was in the hospital five (or was it six?) times between January and September, and that doesn't include all the visits to the ER and urgent care places. But she's better now that she's settled in the new place, though she misses her independence and friends -- as anyone would.

But the year does end on a sad note; I received an email letting me know that a very old friend has passed away. She was 92 and in hospice, so it isn't a surprise, but she played such an enormous part in my life. She could also make me laugh till I cried. I will miss her.

No photo on this last day.

PEDTM: day 30

Big, big winds started last night and kept up throughout the day, knocking things over and rattling down the chimney. I was actually stopped in my tracks by a big gust! NOAA says the winds will begin to die down after midnight, but that it will still be breezy tomorrow. And cold! Brrrr.

The photo of the day is a twelve-second video of the wind in my backyard, which is bare though full of dead leaves blown in. You can't feel how cold it was, but you can certainly see how dreary!

I saw Into the Woods this afternoon. I've never seen a live version of the play, but I have seen the filmed version with Bernadette Peters and Joanna Gleason (with whom I fell in love) several times, and I liked the movie I saw today with its CGI effects. I did miss Bernadette; she will always be the witch to me and as much as I love Meryl (and I do love Meryl), she didn't measure up. But Emily Blunt as the baker's wife was a revelation. And wow, but can Anna Kendrick sing! Chris Pine was a surprise, and very funny; you go, Captain Kirk!

Even though, as I said, I've seen this before and own the music, I forgot that "No One Is Alone" makes me cry. As in big fat tears rolling down my face the instant the music began. My god, that song -- here are the lyrics -- so wise, so heart-breaking, so true. I hate crying at the movies for some reason but there was no stopping me this afternoon.

PEDTM: day 29

Golly, the month and the year are almost over. Well, 2014 was a pretty rugged year all round, so maybe we can hope for better things in 2015. Maybe.

I saw The Penguins of Madagascar this afternoon! Ha, what a hoot. And Benedict Cumberbatch as Agent Classified really does pronounce "penguins" as if it were "peng-wings." Agent Classified was very cute, though not as cute as Private -- or Eva, mrrrr. I hope the North Wind and the penguins team up again.

The photo of the day is a picture I snapped with my phone WHILE DRIVING so it's blurry and not aimed, sorry, but I wanted to show you a little bit of the view from the bridge I drive over to the theatre. It's the D Street Bridge, which sounds like a backup band to me:


I love that drive, and the bridge. I've always called it a drawbridge, but it turns out it's actually a double-leaf bascule bridge -- who knew? (I also drive over a vertical lift bridge every day to and from work.)

Anyway, fun and productive day, ending with a fun movie. Now I'm curled up in bed about to read more from Yuletide.

PEDTM: day27, 28

Oh dear, fell asleep last night before posting, and I'm almost asleep now. But I had a great weekend and what's even better I have the entire week off. Yay!

I made bread (well, rolls), worked in the garden, took lots of walks, and read three books -- Alison Lurie's Foreign Affairs, which I loved; Clara Benson's The Murder at Sissingham Hall, which was pleasure enough that I'm going to read the next in the series; and Stephen Policoff's Beautiful Somewhere Else, which was a big ol' disappointment. Oh, and I finished the second Julian Lynes and Ned Mathey novel. I loved that and hope there will be more in the series, and soon.

And now: Yuletide 2014, yippee! There are even Julian Lynes and Ned Mathey stories, as well as Rivers of London, The Dark is Rising, Neverwhere, Imperial Radch, Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell, and so many others. What a treat that is.

Photo of the day is of the cards we received for the holiday; for some reason, more people sent cards this year than in the past several years -- thank you! Lots of fun. I put them in the bookcases in the kitchen so I can see them while I cook:


I can't believe the holidays are flying by so quickly.