Friday, December 30, 2011

Dust and Shadow

I finished reading Lyndsay Faye's book Dust and Shadow, about Holmes investigating the Jack the Ripper murders. I'd heard so much praise about it that I decided to read it, even though it contained no slash.

Some spoilers below.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Point of Origin, part 4

And here's part 4. Sherlock and Mycroft call pon farr the flu, like Tuvok called it in Voyager, out of his Vulcan need for privacy and discretion.

Fandom: BBC Sherlock/Star Trek
Story: Point of Origin
Pairing: Sherlock/John
Warnings: slash, dubious consent mindmeld, rated R

Friday, December 23, 2011

Point of Origin, part 3 revised

Okay, I managed to write more of my pon farr fic. (The one where Sherlock is a Vulcan.) This is a continuation of the short part 3 that I posted a while back. I'll go ahead and repost the whole chapter here.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

The First Actresses

Just read this interesting blog post about London's 17th and 18th century actresses. Scandalous Women in London: The First Actresses

It discusses how actresses were equated with prostitutes, and were frequently the mistresses of powerful men. The story of Dorothy Jordan and the Duke of Clarence reminds me of Irene Adler and the King of Bohemia, except for the illegitimate children. Also, as a contralto opera singer, Irene Adler would have been suited for trouser roles. Here called "breeches" roles:

The exhibit explores the "breeches" roles that were so popular in the 17th & 18th century. These roles allowed women the freedom to go on stage dressed like men, but it also caused a stink because they weren't covered up!

So that's more reason for men like Wilhelm to think Irene is basically a slut, purely based on her singing career, regardless of how promiscuous she might actually be. I've heard that Irene Adler was modeled on Lillie Langtry, and in the story, the King called her an "adventuress" trying to blackmail him.

Unfortunately, so many adaptations seem to equate "adventuress" to criminal or whore, as if our mores haven't advanced one bit. I hate it.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Game of Shadows

So I saw the movie this weekend and enjoyed it. Frycroft was indeed awesome, and surprisingly the gypsy lady was not at all a love interest. Moriarty and Moran were both super satisfying too.

I will say that this movie has the same problem that the first one had--a bad trailer that puts you off the film. Remember how the first movie trailer had the scene of Irene dressed in a slutty corset and attacking Holmes with a hairpin? It made me fear the movie would make Irene nothing but a tacky sexpot. Fortunately, that scene got cut out from the finished film. Although Irene was unfortunately a criminal, she was dressed modestly most of the time and even wore male clothing just like in SCAN. Holmes didn't even seem to requite her feelings.

In the trailers for the sequel, I was quite put off by the clip of Holmes in drag on the train, and him later being shirtless on the floor of the train. Made me dread the film horribly. Though those scenes aren't cut out of the finished movie, they were far more tolerable in the context of the whole movie.

Spoilers below.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Advice not taken

Speaking of Holmes, I've been doing a little work on some scenes from DIM lately.

We all know that in the Speckled Band, Holmes doesn't regret causing Dr. Roylott's death by snake, and sounds even a little proud of it. However, in my novel-in-progress, the Surrey County police aren't so supportive of his actions. They suspect Holmes of premeditated murder, so Helen Stoner has to lie to convince them that Roylott was just sleepwalking and was killed by his secret pet snake.

I have now rewritten my Brotherly Advice sketch to show Mycroft disapproving as well. He lectures Sherlock until he sees that killing Roylott was an unnecessary and illogical step. Foolhardy and reckless, even.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Thanksgiving movies

Well it's December already, so I should post something new. I saw both The Muppets and Hugo movies on Thanksgiving.

I mostly liked The Muppets, but found Walter somewhat boring and didn't like every song in the movie. Still, I enjoyed seeing all the old characters and their jokes like "travel-by-map", so it was still pretty good.

With Hugo, I was mostly disappointed to find that Jude Law's part as Hugo's father was so small. It's like the slightest tease of him before the new Holmes movie comes out in a couple of weeks. I'll have to patiently wait it out, I guess. The rest of the movie was fairly good, though, and I was glad to see Ben Kingsley in such a good role. I know a little about Georges Melies already because his Trip to the Moon movie was actually featured in the prologue of the 1956 Around the World in 80 Days film; producer Mike Todd was unnecessarily showing off the contrast between the early film and his.

Hugo had a slight mystery in how an automaton that Hugo's father found and restored was connected to an old man who worked in a toy shop at the train station where Hugo lived. Having already seen the Melies moon film, I realized quickly why Melies seemed to recognize the sketches of the automaton; he had obviously made the automaton long ago, but lost it. So there was no suspense to me on that front, but only on when and why Hugo's uncle disappeared. Also, I thought the automaton would do something more spectacular than draw on a piece of paper, so I was slightly disappointed to see that most of the 3D action would take place in dream sequences and Hugo running through the walls inside the train station. But it is a beautiful, entertaining film, with a touching story. Even the minor characters in the train station had funny, interesting scenes and character developments.

Both movies were good for breaking the long dry spell since the summer, when I saw Rise of the Planet of the Apes and The Help. (I did see Tower Heist, but the anticipation for that wasn't as intense.) I guess I was hoping for more from both movies, but maybe nothing could have lived up to my expectations. I hope the Holmes movie won't disappoint me; I'm just going to hope Frycroft is awesome and never mind about the rest.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Getting out

I'm very glad Obama announced that U.S. troops are leaving Iraq this year. At long last it will be over. Then we just need to get out of Afghanistan too.

I'm glad to hear that Gaddafi's gone now. When I first heard that he'd disappeared, I was too nervous to celebrate the Libyans' victory, lest Gaddafi somehow come back and continue to wage war out of sheer spite, without any chance of winning.

As with bin Laden, I didn't feel any bloodlust or wish to know the details of his death. I would've been fine if he'd just been captured alive and tried instead, but whatever. It was their war to wage, and they've won it. Now I hope they can get to enjoying some peace and moving on. The Arab Spring has lasted well into the fall now, and I hope more countries can achieve successful revolutions. The world will be better when the people rule instead of despots.

Here's to hoping our troops can come home soon, and Congress can get some damn stuff done.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Point of Origin, part 3

This is somewhat short. I wanted to make this part longer, but I'm having trouble with a scene where Sherlock and John are at a crime scene, and he's starting to show the first signs of irritability and jealousy due to pon farr.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Point of Origin, part 2

Here's part 2 of Sherlock as a Vulcan.

Fandom: BBC Sherlock/Star Trek
Story: Point of Origin
Pairing: John/Sherlock
Warnings: slash, interspecies flirting. Rated R for mention of drug use.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Point of Origin, part 1

This is my first attempt to write a fic in the new BBC Sherlock universe, and it is about John discovering that Sherlock is really a Vulcan. Yes, I'm working my way up to pon farr.

I am more of a Sherlockian than a Trekker, so I am indebted to David M. Scott's theory that Holmes was a Vulcan. I also looked up Vulcan stuff on Memory Alpha. Hope you enjoy.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

TV movies

Well it's Labor Day weekend, and I'm still deciding on whether to hit the stores for sales or just buy online. I'm glad for the rest, and feel like I should have taken some vacation time this summer.

Normally I'd try to see a movie, but I'm not interested in anything out in theatres right now. (I've already seen The Help and Rise of the Planet of the Apes.) In fact the upcoming movie lists look pretty dismal until about November when the Muppet Movie comes out, along with Hugo, which stars some of my favorite Holmes & Watson actors--Jude Law, Christopher Lee, and Ben Kingsley.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Madness Chapter 11

I finished another chapter of my asexual Holmes fic. Watson and Holmes dine at the Eiffel Tower, then encounter Holmes's colleague le Villard. Seeing someone else advocate for homosexual love makes Watson feel secure enough to not pressure Holmes about sex as much.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Surprise Hits

I've seen two movies in the theaters lately, The Help and Rise of the Planet of the Apes. I enjoyed them, and both movies deserve the great reviews and surprisingly good ticket sales.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Around the World three times

Well, I finished reading Verne's Around the World in Eighty Days, and enjoyed it. Near the end I was surprised to read about Fogg buying Captain Speedy's ship and having the crew dismantle and burn any wooden parts for fuel. That's very similar to a passage in Nicholas Meyer's The Seven-Per-Cent Solution, where Holmes and company dismantle a train for fuel so they can catch up to the villain's getaway train. I had thought that was Meyer's original idea, but it appears he was borrowing from a different Victorian classic. Oh well.

Anyway, in Verne's book I was amused when, on the train in Utah, a Mormon preacher gives a lecture to the passengers about the history of his religion. Passepartout sits through the whole lecture while other passengers walk out, and Verne never says a disparaging word about it. He just reports the preacher telling the entire Joseph Smith history, and how the Mormons have been driven out of various towns until they settled in Utah, and how poor Brigham Young is in jail now and the United States have made Utah outlaw polygamy. The Mormon preacher ends by asking if Passepartout will convert and join them, but Passepartout simply says, "No!" and leaves. It's an amusing digression from the journey, but it's never been featured in a film version.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Madness - Chapter 10

Yay, I got Chapter 10 done! I was hoping to get them off the train and into Paris, but I guess that'll be the next chapter.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Love Bites - Modern Plagues

The final episode of Love Bites wraps up Annie's storyline with Matt. It also brings back Jodie and Charlie (aka the Banana Bread couple) and Kyle and Drew (the engaged gay couple) from episode 2. So it was almost like coming full circle at the end. If only all the stories were better.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Love Bites - Boys to Men

This is episode seven, the penultimate episode of the show. Unlike all the other odd-numbered episodes, I mostly liked this one. It actually aired a couple of weeks ago, and I'm only now catching up on my reviews. For some reason the writers got lazy with this episode and just titled the three stories after the couples' names, rather than after the plots.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Other Stuff

In other news, I started reading Jules Verne's Around the World in Eighty Days. Wow, what a difference in readability! I was beginning to think that every Victorian writer was as stilted as Allan Pinkerton (or whoever his ghostwriter was). Verne possessed an easygoing style that is refreshing. (At least that's what it's like in translation. Don't know what the original French was like, but it ought to be good, given the wide and enduring popularity of his books.) Plus the characters are three dimensional, with eccentric traits and their own way of talking. Except for Aouda, who is simply a pretty cipher at the moment, though I hope we'll get more after they leave Asia. I have to keep reminding myself that Verne is French and not an English writer, because Phileas Fogg seems so quintessentially English.

Pinkerton Practices

I finished reading another Pinkerton story, this time "The Burglar's Fate" from 1884. There's actually more than one burglar in the story, and they are more like bank robbers and perpetrators of check fraud. So the title seems to be referring to an abstract, hypothetical burglar, i.e. the inevitable fate of a burglar is to be captured and sent to prison for his crimes. It's Victorian moralizing (and Pinkerton self-promotion) at its best.

Anyway, four criminals conspire to rob a bank in Geneva (I think Geneva, Illinois), and Pinkerton is called in afterward. One robber is an inside man at the bank, and his accomplices are his gambling buddies who plan to split the proceeds with him. I found this story more readable than the Expressman case because there is actual evidence on which Pinkerton bases his suspicions. It's not all purely his intuition anymore, and the case moves fairly quickly, ending only a couple of months after the robbery itself. So no waiting endlessly for any progress to be made.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Love Bites - TMI

For some reason I only like the even-numbered episodes of Love Bites. So again I'm skipping an episode. (Episode 5 was not only bleh, it made fun of some of my favorite 1980s artists, Simple Minds and Howard Jones! And the third story was eye-rollingly unrealistic and annoying.)

Anyway, onto Episode 6 "TMI" which focuses on characters feeling embarrassed in various situations. I was worried I wouldn't like the stories that didn't feature Judd or Annie, but this time they were more successful, tying the stories together in a less gimmicky way.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

At Last

Finally I broke through the impasse on my Madness story. I've finished one new chapter and hope to get another one up soon.

As a reminder, Madness is set in 1895 after the Oscar Wilde scandal. An asexual Holmes realizes that Watson is in love with him, and because he's a Victorian, he thinks Watson is ill and/or insane to have such feelings. However, Holmes doesn't reject Watson, because he feels guilty about faking his death. He confesses that he loves Watson and will do anything to protect him from scandal or prison. Watson agrees to go see a German doctor in the hope that he can be cured of homosexuality. This of course does not work, and Holmes decides to beg him to come home. They are in France now, still on the way back to London, and Holmes has shown some blindness about the fact that he likes to cuddle and kiss Watson even though he claims they're only friends. He says they're intimate friends.

(Holmes is in fact asexual, but he does feel romantic/emotional love for Watson, and they will be discussing the matter further in Chapter 10.) For now, enjoy Chapter 9, in which Holmes is semi-compatible with Watson's desires.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Shadow's story

I went to the zoo today, which was thankfully open despite the holiday weekend, and though some of the animals were merely sleeping and finding shade, others didn't mind the heat and were active.

Also I wanted to recommend Psycho-somatic Sex Junkies by Shadow. It's set in BBC Sherlock-verse and is very sexy. It has the right amount of Sherlock's cold analysis, but he's not so cold as to be a sociopath. I find I don't like the darker fics that are so prevalent lately on the kinkmeme. There's only so much unrelenting angst, pain, and torture that I can stand before craving something light and happy.

Happy 4th of July

Well I have a three day weekend now, but it's not that happy given that I heard that Glenn Beck is thinking of moving to Texas. So even if his TV show's gone, we'd be plagued with him and his threats to run for Governor. Fuck. As if Rick Perry wasn't bad enough.

And before anybody suggests I move out of Texas or says "let Texas secede," you try picking up and moving away from your family, with no job prospects anywhere else. I don't fucking need lecturing from other progressive leftists who fucking abandoned us when it came to campaign funds.

Anyway I was right. I just got another form letter from Kay Bailey Hutchinson, totally ignoring what I wrote her. If she's not gonna actually read what I write, what's the point?

Saturday, June 25, 2011


Oh also, I saw a clip of this story about Popeye the bulldog on a weather channel. The poor thing suffered heat stroke, and I found this page about it. (He's an American bulldog, not an English one. They're different breeds, as we know.)

I hope he gets into a loving home after all this is over.

Love Bites - Sky High

In other news, I successfully dyed my hair red last month, after going to a salon where there were two stylists that were really experienced. It turns out all-over dying my hair doesn't lift the color enough, so they went back and did foil highlights on throughout, and it finally worked. My roots are starting to show now, and I'll have to decide whether to go back to the salon or try one of those root touch up kits from the store.

Anyway, I also watched the latest Love Bites episode. (I'm skipping episode three, "Keep on Truckin'" because I didn't like it as much. It was very blah, much like the pilot.) So here's what I think of the 4th episode, called "Sky High."

Great news

Woo hoo! New York passed the gay marriage bill! And here I was thinking that all the delay about religious exemptions was going to lead to not getting the votes before the end of the session. I'm very happy for all the couples now that will have equal rights at last.

It's also some positive news I needed, what with Rick Perry beginning his overtures to for a presidential run. It's so sickening. I also recently received a letter from my senator, Kay Bailey Hutchinson, saying she still would not confirm Obama's judicial nominations. So I wrote her another email letter, though I guess it won't make any difference. She's no more likely to change her right-wing ways than Rick Perry, even though they probably hate each other.

At least Obama announced the troop withdrawals from Afghanistan. I know it's not as much as many people want, but it's more than expected. With the public support collapsing, the war shall finally end.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

More Pinkerton

To learn more about Kate Warne, I read "The Expressman and the Detective," the book that Pinkerton wrote earlier than the two tales I read already. Sadly, I found this book much less enjoyable to read. Not only was the Expressman case confusing, but the plot was slow-moving and tiresome.

The thing about Pinkerton is that he's perfectly content to let a case take weeks or months to resolve, while he sends multiple detectives around to shadow suspects and their loved ones. I can't help thinking that Sherlock Holmes, had he been on the case, would have tried to deduce more or engineered some trick to get the secret out of the criminal much more quickly.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Love Bites - Decent Proposal

Today I watched the 2nd episode of Love Bites, a romantic anthology series on NBC. I didn't actually intend to record it; it just came up as a Tivo recommendation. Anyway, I watched "How to..." and was surprised by how much I liked it, given that I'd heard the pilot got bad reviews. As I understand it, there are only a few recurring characters on Love Bites, including Annie, the blonde restaurant chef who's carrying a baby for her sister and brother-in-law, and Judd, a married tattoo artist played by Greg Grunberg. Other characters are friends of either Annie or Judd, and the stories/events are sometimes tangentially connected to each other.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Egypt reopens border with Gaza

I was disgusted by Congress, including Democrats, criticizing Obama for supporting the 1967 borders for Israel. I can't stand that Netanyahu and our own politicians make up these controversies and pretend that being against the Israeli settlements is being anti-semitic or pro-terrorist. Israel can't just grab land and keep it, let alone keep building on it. Besides, 57% of Israelis support Obama on those borders.

But if America can't do something to help the Palestinians right now, the newly democratic Egypt is opening the Gaza border more fully starting today. Not that everything is completely free and perfect yet. Palestinians still desperately need cement to rebuild their homes, and need to trade goods to have any sort of economy.

But still it's a hopeful sign. I hope more good things happen in the region, especially in Libya. Wouldn't it be a great Memorial Day weekend, if all the bloodshed could end, and Gaddafi could be gone?

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Kate Warne

In other news, I finished reading another Pinkerton detective story, "The Fortune Teller and the Detective", which was in the same book with the "Somnambulist and the Detective" I read earlier. In the "fortune teller" story, we see Kate Warne again (playing the fortune teller) and in chapter 3, Pinkerton mentions that she is the Superintendent of his Female Department. He compliments not only her but all lady detectives in general, from his twenty years of experience with them in his agency. He argues that it is as respectable a profession as clerical and other similar work. He makes sure to say that it's moral too (lest anybody think such women are corrupted).

Can we get out now?

Well, I wasn't home the momentous night that Obama made the announcement of Bin Laden's death, but of course I learned the news soon enough. I was not so much joyful as simply relieved that the issue was finally resolved so that nobody can still say we're in these wars because of 9/11. I would have been just as happy with capturing him alive and putting him on trial, but this is just as well.

I never saw Obama's speech about how the struggle isn't over, so I don't know what he said. But I wish desperately that our troops can finally start coming home. Even if they can't all go, surely a substantial decrease would be all right, since we were already going to leave? And with the new poll saying 59% of Americans want out, I hope it may actually happen. Certainly we've got to get out of Iraq as well. Please can't we all agree on something and not let the war hawks keep us stuck there?

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Pinkerton's mystery stories

I just finished reading The Somnambulist and the Detective, at least part 1. (There's another mystery in the book that I haven't started yet.) It's by Allan Pinkerton, of the Pinkerton Detective Agency, and is supposedly a true story with the names and details changed. It was published in 1875, but clearly the case took place pre-Civil War, since they still speak of slaves in the Southern town. Thus it's very interesting to see how detectives worked before any Sherlock Holmes story was published. Plus nice to see how Pinkerton operates outside of a Molly Maguires context.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Prelude - 3000 downloads

On Sunday my ebook reached 3,000 downloads, after approximately 15 months on Feedbooks. This seems very encouraging to me and I think about writing a sequel to it at last. I've had this plotbunny in my head about Holmes's childhood in which he had a sister Violet who was killed. I did not want to use this backstory in DIM, because I want his childhood to be relatively happy and free of trauma there. But if I used this tragic past in Prelude, it would be explain why he's so reluctant to open up to Watson about his cocaine, even though cocaine use is perfectly legal in Victorian times. Holmes is more upset about his failure to save his sister, and vigilantly reminds himself not to trust people because it will compromise his ability to spot a murderer or other criminal.

Anyway, it probably won't be done for months at least, but I will be working on it off and on.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Freezing February

As for me, I'm finally getting a break on the overtime at work. Still have to work some, but not as much anymore. Finally I can get some rest, though I've been having odd dreams lately. At least the weather's better. We had a cold spell recently, making it impossible for me to drive to work, and I was lucky to have enough personal time hours to make up for it.

I saw the IBM computer Watson play on Jeopardy!, and was disappointed by how much promo filler was shown, and how Watson did too well in the second episode. It got a lead that was far too much to overcome, even when the human contestants did better in the third episode. I was hoping it would be more of a give-and-take competition rather than a steamroller. I enjoyed watching the Nova special about Watson more.

Jasmine Revolution

So the Egyptian protestors won, and it looks like the Jasmine Revolution is still spreading among other countries. Still no idea how it will all end.

Meanwhile in America we're having our own political battles. I was upset to hear that Congress was voting to defund PBS, and then the Republican-controlled House actually did it. I'm trying to hope that the Senate can stop it and the other crap they did, but apparently we're headed into a battle against a government shutdown. *sigh*

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Doyle's Duet

On my Nook I've recently finished reading Doyle's 1899 book A Duet, with an occasional chorus, which is a non-Holmes novel about a young couple named Frank Crosse and Maude Selby. I got it as an ebook from Google. The story begins and ends with a frame by "The Author" claiming that he is a personal friend of the main characters and is using excerpts from their letters and journals as an inspiring example to show other young couples how to cope with the challenges of marriage. (But other than some love letters at the beginning, we don't get first-person journals, only third-person narration of events in their lives.) Besides, if the whole story were true, the Author would be a bad friend indeed, indiscreetly revealing painful secrets to Maude in public.

Anyway, Frank and Maude are already engaged at the start of the book, and they get married and have a baby during the course of the book. The tale is mostly sweet and humorous, with interesting glimpses into late Victorian domestic life. Poor Maude reads through Mrs. Beeton's book and cries that she can't master it all, so Frank comforts her. Doyle shows considerable knowledge of women's fashion as he describes Maude's clothes in detail. Interesting that even straight men back then had as much fashion sense as a gay man might have these days, and had no embarrassment about it. Also, it's fun that sometimes Doyle drops names already familiar from the canon, like Farintosh, and at the wedding, he still has the characters claiming that weddings aren't legal unless performed before noon. (Even though Sherlockian references claim that this law was gone by 1886.)

Many of the loving embraces and kisses between the couple are implied through their dialogue rather than described, which is an oddly understated style. Perhaps his restraint came from the fact that by now he had already fallen in love with Jean Leckie, but was remaining faithful to his dying wife Touie? (ACD met Jean in 1897, and Touie didn't die until 1906.) I don't know, but there's one scene where the couple ride in a hansom together, and Doyle claims that it's never comfortable to share a hansom unless one's arm is around the other. Hmm! And Holmes and Watson shared hansoms all the time... ;)

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Egyptian Protests

It's been hard keeping up with the news lately because I've been working a lot of overtime hours at my job. It's not like the TV news covered much international news, either. So I didn't hear about the Tunisia overthrow until we were well into the Egyptian protests already.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Arizona shootings

I wasn't home to watch the memorial service live on TV, and didn't even know it would be on, but my Tivo caught snatches of it since it took the place of (or delayed) the regular shows I was recording. So I saw it out of order, and only just finished it today.

I'm glad I saw it, especially the opening blessing by Dr. Carlos Gonzales of the Yaqui tribe. I've never before seen a non-Christian opening for a service or any other event on TV before. It was very refreshing to see a Native American blessing instead, and that Gonzales expressed the diversity of the nation as well as the Arizona region. It almost made up for the later officials who kept reading from the Bible. Overall it was a good service, especially getting to hear the stories of the victims, survivors, and also the heroes. I'm glad I saw it.

We can only hope for the best, but it was a very sad way to start the year. This Monday will be Martin Luther King, Jr. day, and of course he was the victim of an assassination. Makes you grateful that some were able to survive this most recent tragedy.