It would have been difficult to gracefully get out of the Saturday thing if my only excuse is "I've hit my introvert social maximum for the week" -- it's a going-away party for a friend. However, she changed it last-minute from something I actually wanted to do (dinner at a nice Greek restaurant in town, followed by a bar crawl, which I was already planning to quietly beg off from), to something I really don't want to do AND have a decent excuse for not doing (a concert with a band I don't care about, that has $40 tickets). She doesn't mind me not coming and we made plans to have lunch next week instead.
Collapsing at home it is, then!
Also, once I get the garden in, my (once) frightfully intimidating May to-do list will be nearly 100% done. For the rest of the month, the only thing I really HAVE to do is to get my Kismet page buffer finished through early August (since I will be either traveling or too busy to work on it for most of June and July). And yeah, that's gonna be quite a bit of work, but it's fun work, and otherwise I can play a bit, and do art, and maybe write some fic. And figure out what my next big fiction project is going to be.
2. Kitty doesn't seem interested in much wet food at all, but she is eating a lot (for relative values of "a lot") of treats and drinking a lot of water, so at least she's got something going in her tummy.
3. The strawberry swiss rolls I love are on sale this week at work.
4. We took a nice walk this evening.
It was a riveting presentation, and afterwards of course someone asked our main author, Christiane Kohl, who wrote about this (her book has already been made into a tv movie which I haven't seen yet), why the hell the first director of the Gestapo wasn't among the prisoners instead of being a wined and dined witness. ("Wined and dined" isn't an exaggaration; as opposed to the rest of the country, where the food situation was what you'd expect it to be in the wake of total destruction, both the witnesses and prisoners in Nuremberg had three to four full meals a day.) She said it was mainly because in 1945, many of the Third Reich documents hadn't been processed or even found - the protocol of the Wannsee Conference, for example, didn't turn up until 1947 -, so the prosecution had to rely on affidavits and living witnesses, and Diels was one of the few Nazi insiders willing to testify for the prosecution - he was referred to as an 1a witness - and swear to the fact that knowledge about the Holocaust hadn't been limited to a very few. Still: it's incredibly galling to imagine that this man due to his testimony not only got away scot free but was working in the Allied administration from 1948 onwards. Afterwards, he was thoroughly enjoying his life, getting a pension, living on an estate, and dying of all the things in a hunting incident. (He had an unsecured gun in the back of his car, the dog jumped on the gun, and that was that.) Actually, he was even enjoying his life during the Nuremberg trials; being good looking, he had many affairs, including with the landlady of the "Zeugenhaus", who was an Hungarian countess put in charge by the Americans because they thought "aristocrats have natural authority". God help us.
No wonder that Josef Ackermann wrote that "I chocked" when seeing this man on the other side of the table. Christiane Kohl says she was first alerted to this bizarre situation when coming across the guest book (yes, there was a guest book) of this house, where the victim witnesses, if they signed, signed solely their names, while the perpetrator witnesses signed with either long sentimental or long self pitying eloges on the note of "in a time when the whole world is against you, it's great that there is one place where you are treated with kindness and dignity". I suppose pragmatically speaking putting them in the same house was probably because with 98% of Nuremberg destroyed in 1945, there weren't that many houses where you could stash a bunch of people, but still. Surely there could have been a different solution that would have spared the victims having to house with Gestapo bosses? At any rate, you wouldn't dare to make something like this up. Reality beats fiction in sheer bizarreness every time.
Getting old is kind of a drag, but at least there is lots of guidance for dealing with back pain. (Not all of these will work for everyone, etc etc.)
Nom, I shall have to make this at some point.
I did not expect to find in this essay about Watership Down such a clear statement of the thesis of Carpetbaggers: There is ... more to being in a position of authority than getting to boss people around; might does not make right; "leadership" is our society's debased shadow of something more than a mere gimmick to make other people do what you want; that neither having all the answers nor having it all together are the requirement for Kingship nor its identifying characteristic; that the King and his energy are not optional, but not necessarily tyrannical; that for all that some are born with talents and inclinations in that direction, the craft of Kingship is always something learned.
... although, reading on, I can see that there is more I could have done there. Ah, well. Live and learn.
Noted for this weekend: I'm going to taste pinots with my oldest friend in the world. Yay!
The #hometovote hashtag on Twitter is really inspiring. If you don't know what that is: it's Irish expatriates traveling home to vote in the referendum on marriage equality. Rock on.
Planet Money posted a guide to determining whether your job will be automated. My job doesn't even show up on the list, although several similar jobs seem safely un-automatable.
I did go see Mad Max: Fury Road the other day, and although my ears are still ringing, it was hella fun.
Job situation: not resolved, but signs are looking better.
I missed reading Wednesday, but:
Just Finished: English Creek by Ivan Doig. So very much a book about a specific place and time. Suffers a bit in comparison with Molly Gloss, although they are doing different things. But so very vivid and well-written and small-towny.
Currently reading: Uprooted by Naomi Novik, as noted above. Fun!
Up next: Maybe Hugh Howey's Silo, or some Flaubert for book club.
And now back to my book, as my laptop battery is dying...
For English speakers.
The following are available:
The following are upcoming soon (at 80% complete or above):
I love Duolingo.
2. dine recc'd a fic that includes these lines:
"Captain America is alive, Brad. He's alive and he's fighting aliens in New York."
"Goddamn it, Ray," says Brad. "Stop calling me when you're high."
It's a really cute Ray/Brad fic, totally angst free. If you feel there is just not enough Ray Person fic out there, check it out. I Would Wait Lifetime To Give In To You.
3. I'm sure everyone in the world has seen it that wants to, but for my own reasons I'm posting it here. The Supernatural Parody, which is brilliant and hilarious and created by some very talented people. It's done to the tune of Shake It Off and I really enjoyed watching it.
2. WHY DIDN'T ANYBODY TELL ME KATE MARTINELLI WAS A LESBIAN. I kept hearing, "Oh, the Martinelli mysteries have even more LGBT representation than the Russell ones" BUT NOT THAT KATE WAS A LESBIAN.
3. I have new audiobooks after listening my way through Ben Aaronovitch's Rivers of London and should go outside with my handy dandy bluetooth wireless headphones and work on constructing my garden beds.
Except that after about an hour, my body started doing the same thing it seems to start doing after an hour with _anyone_ at the moment. Which is going into panic mode, where I'm suddenly being loud, sweaty, shaky, and generally really on edge.
And it doesn't seem to need anything to happen in order for this to happen - it happened the last two times I saw cairmen too - and he's also a delightful person who is fun to spend time with.
It seems to happen to some extent with pretty much anyone I spend time with at the moment. I assume that my generally raised stress levels from the ongoing life stuff are interacting with my natural introversion*** to mean that an hour of other people is all I can take before I need to escape. Either literally, or into my phone/internet if that's easier than physically departing.
And I feel rubbish for this. Because I like people, and I like spending time with them. And I don't want them to feel that I'm constantly running away from them.
But I'm not sure what, if anything, I can do about it at the moment.
*Who is absolutely lovely, smart, and interesting, and you should go friend him and persuade him to write more.
**One drink in each, we didn't split the drink between bars, they don't like that.
Two excerpts today. Double your pleasure, double your fun, or something like that…
Excerpt the First:
Slash pushed him roughly to the other side of the tunnel. “See that patch?”
Jig stared. The ground was dusty rock, the same as the rest of the tunnels.
“We spread a mix of blood, rock serpent venom, and diluted honey there. The venom keeps the blood from clotting, and the honey makes it stick to whoever steps in it.” Slash licked his lips. “The tunnel-cats love the stuff. If you step inside the lair wearing that scent, they’ll be on you before you can draw your sword.”
Before Jig could say anything, Slash was yanking his arm again. “Watch out for those spikes.” Jig had to squint to see the tiny metal shards resting on the ground.
“They’re so small.”
“And they’re coated in lizard-fish toxin,” Slash said.
Oh. Jig looked at the hobgoblins with new respect. If he tried to set up such traps to protect the goblin lair, the only thing he’d accomplish was to kill off half of the goblins.
Happy Bonus Excerpt:
When the hobgoblins materialized beside him, Jig jumped so hard he knocked Smudge to the ground. “Where did they come from?” he asked as he retrieved his fallen spider.
“Author’s tweaking the storyline again,” Grell muttered. She glared at the sky. “Try writing an outline, ya damn hack!”
Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.
I had forgotten some details, such as the fact we don't meet Marcus Bell until episode 2, whereas in the pilot Gregson's Faithful Lieutenant with identical initial attitude towards Holmes is another character. I suppose given the time that passes between pilot making and series proper on American tv, the actor wasn't available anymore or was this more a case like the B5 pilot where the network objected to several actors? Anyway. One can't imagine the show without Bell, so I'm glad, whatever happened.
Something else I had forgotten: that the pilot establishes Joan's parents only just got together again after her father had had an affair. No wonder that in season 3 Mary Watson ( comes to a spoilery conclusion )
The first few episodes establish quite a lot about these versions of Holmes and Watson that holds up well three seasons later, which isn't always the case in shows with an evolving canon. Even something which I thought was one of the few things where Elementary contradicts itself later: does their Sherlock Holmes have friends pre-Watson, or doesn't he? Because actually it's Joan who comes to the conclusion he doesn't in episode 2, and that Gregson is the closest thing to a friend in his life right then. He doesn't refute her assumption, but neither does he confirm it. (They're still very early in their relationship, after all, when he regards her presence in his life as a paternally ordered intrusion.) When Alistair is introduced in episode 6 and during his second, honest conversation with Joan refers to himself and Sherlock as friends, she automatically says "Sherlock doesn't have friends". What Alistair says in reply basically, I think points to the difference betweeen pre-Watson and Watson era friends for this Sherlock Holmes.
Alistair says you can't expect Sherlock to relate to you and behave like a normal person does. Basically that you have to allow Sherlock to set the parameters for the relationship. And if you think about it, not just in Alistair's case but with all the pre-Watson friends we meet through the course of the series, this is certainly what he does. What's so new about Joan Watson is that she doesn't accept this, and does her own parameter-settings. And out of the negotiations between the two grows the Holmes & Watson relationship. (It's one of the things he learns from her that also transfers, not without complications and the occasional fallback, to the other new friendships he makes, as with Bell and Alfredo.
Something else that struck me as I rewatched those early episodes: Joan at the start of the show shares something with Joan mid s3 when ( spoilery things happen ) Because Sherlock's damage is so obvious, it's sometimes easy to overlook Joan starts the show damaged as well, and I think one reason why they work so well together is that they both at this point need someone to challenge them out of what they think their lives should be like.
You can tell Joan is interested in and intrigued by the detecting from the pilot onwards (and Sherlock does notice it). She's a problem solver by nature. What the three jobs she's chosen during the course of her life - surgeon, sober companion, detective - have in common is this, in connection with helping people, but they also allow her (usually) to keep her emotional distance from the people she helps. She's empathic, but up to a point. This prevents her from getting obsessive the way Sherlock occasionally does.
Elementary has been pretty consistent in having their Sherlock Holmes do the usual abrasive genius thing, but also have him show a particular distaste/deep-seated anger against villains who exploit the weak and powerless from the pilot onwards. (When he pulls that car stunt in the pilot, it's because ( he has just figured out something spoilery ) Which is important when it comes the careful growth of the Holmes and Watson friendship, and the "why does Joan Watson not quit early on before they become friends?" question. He does have a code of ethics when she meets him. There is a lot he learns from her, but not this basic drive for justice.