cimorene: (crack)

Catriona McPherson’s After the Armistice Ball is the first in a series of mysteries starring 1920s Scottish gentlewoman Dandy Gilver and I give it and its sequel eight stars out of five. I simply can't recommend them highly enough. I'm a converted fan for life (knock on wood, unless she later says something racist on the internet...) and my immediate goal is to acquire lovely paper editions of everything she's ever written.Read more... )
cimorene: art by autumn whitehurst (godlike)

Chocolate Chip Cookie Murder by Joanne Fluke

This is first in a series of mysteries solved by the owner of a cookie catering business and seems to be strongly emblematic of the cozy mystery genre.Read more... )
cimorene: Elizabeth Garvie as Elizabeth in P&P (1980), sitting alone in a smocked white dress, reading Darcy's letter (working)

Her Royal Spyness by Rhys Bowen is the first in the series of the same name by a well-established award-winning British writer, starring an invented great-granddaughter of Queen Victoria who solves mysteries in 1930s Britain. Read more... )
cimorene: the antique shop by john watkins chapman (inanimate things)
I was in a Miss Marple inspired mood and decided to go digging through a couple of big Cozy Mystery websites for series recommendations and found a few to try out.

Cloche and Dagger by Jenn McKinlay is the first in a series of thematic hat shop mysteries set in London with an American protagonist. Read more... )

I originally put this on Tumblr because I thought my mom, the only mystery reader with whom I regularly converse, was more likely to see it there; but actually she's not that predictable and might just as easily remember this blog exists and forget to check the other.
cimorene: Screencap of an iChat conversation bubble that says "Dude?" (is this thing on?)
... Presented as an Illustration of My Emotions and Viewing Habits Regarding Evil and Dead Lesbians

  • The Sittaford Mystery ★ ★ ★ Neither evil nor dead, but arguably platonic Read more... )

  • The Body in the Library ★ ★ Evil (and being dragged to the gallows), which is annoying but doesn't stop me watching. Read more... )

  • A Murder Is Announced ★ Dead (not evil), which is where I draw the line. Now that I know, I won't watch. Read more... )

There's also Nemesis, but although I am fond of saying that ITV added incestuous dead lesbian nuns, it wouldn't make the above list because Read more... )

I will not boycott further rewatches of stories that happen to include evil or dead gay men in this manner, although there isn't a Christie adaptation that I can think of that includes the death of a gay man (there's off-screen, pre-episode gay partner death related to the plot in "The Moving Finger", but the character is never seen onscreen, he's just discreetly mourned by his surviving partner). But if it came up in passing in another crime show, for example, I wouldn't avoid the episode if I were otherwise inclined to rewatch.

In general, though, if I know in advance that the entire plot is about evil gay (or lesbian) people I will watch it, and if it's about dead gay men I will watch it, but if I know in advance that it is about dead lesbians I won't. Basically the line is anyone involved in a f/f relationship should survive.
cimorene: a pink polka-dotted teacup on pink ground (tea cup)
I asked for some calligraphy stuff for the holidays from my mom, because as an art teacher, she has unparalleled access to and knowledge of art supplies and she also frequently gets them for free (and she's lost more of them in her house than exist in our entire flat).

Although drawing letters is okay and I have an enormous collection of free fonts that I don't do anything with (now that I no longer make icons or a layout for my website), I haven't ever had a particular interest in calligraphy until a few years ago when I bought a metallic gold pen with a flat calligraphy tip for the purpose of addressing Christmas gifts directly on the paper, thus eliminating bows, ribbons, and To/From stickers, all of which have irritated me for a long time in my role of present-wrapper. The necessary angled stance, though, as I was testing it out, made me think it would be a waste not to look at a visual reference, so I found a Chancery cursive font or something like that to copy. But of course, once starting a skill like that, you can't just stop right away. A small amount of practice made it clear how much more practice would be necessary to be deft at handling the flat tip. Then some googling turned up lots of lovely-looking letters that I wanted to try.

So now I'm the proud owner of two fountain pens, and the book on medieval quill lettering I picked up at the giftshop of the Medieval Museum in Stockholm has seen a lot of work. I still like Uncial lettering the best, so it's nice that it's the easiest for a beginner. I mean, I thought it was challenging, until I moved on to the Gothic page. A paragraph of lowercase blackletter "a" last night was so irritating to my mind and wrist that I had to put the paper away and take 400 mg of ibuprofen.

So far I'm just using an efficient, light German fountain pen with interior ink reservoirs, but I also got a dip pen with interchangeable brass tips, so I look forward to buying Chinese and Japanese ink sticks and making my own in the near future.

Also, I'm thinking about what to use for practice lettering, aside from the alphabet of course. Fanfiction, maybe. Or memes.
cimorene: (Default)
I just realized that I forgot to post this here when I posted it to Tumblr on the 1st.

The Affair of the Private Affairs of Miss Lemon (3069 words) by cimorene
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: Agatha Christie's Poirot (TV), Poirot - Agatha Christie
Rating: General Audiences
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Characters: Hercule Poirot, Arthur Hastings, Felicity Lemon, James Japp
Additional Tags: Queer Themes, Queer Gen

"I wonder why Miss Lemon hasn't married," said Hastings presently.

"Indeed, Hastings?"

"I mean, she's not bad-looking!" said Hastings. "As a matter of fact, Poirot, she's a very attractive girl."

"Oui, mon ami, and she has also the filing system most excellent."

I must thank [personal profile] waxjism and [personal profile] perhael, by convention, for their assistance with this story, although I think they're too involved with hockey and J-rock respectively to notice the omission if I didn't.

The main thing is to thank my recipient, though, for the opportunity to venture a small amount of Poirot pastiche. I've had ideas about dialogue and narration bouncing around in my head for ages, without enough unified direction to turn into a story until now. It was lots of fun and gave me an excuse to rewatch about half of the Suchet episodes again.
cimorene: Screencap of an iChat conversation bubble that says "Dude?" (huh?)
  1. Cannon slash, beware Australian spelling.

  2. Rating: Mature, but if you're 16, it's probably fine (maybe not - I have no idea)

  3. tags: Kent and Chandler are hoples

  4. [bookmarker's notes:] kidnapping and torture :)

  5. Summary: On your eighteenth birthday, the voices of your future children start speaking to you. They help you through your life, to help you have the best life before they are born.
    Notes: I've seen a lot of Tumblr promps for AUs about hearing your soulmate's voice in your head. This evolved from that. Basically, you hear the voices of your future children from the day you come of age to the moment of their conception. They help guide you through your life, and help you find your spouse/partner/ect.

cimorene: Screencap of an iChat conversation bubble that says "Dude?" (huh?)
  1. This is an Inspector Lewis/Hellraiser story.

  2. Tags: James Hathaway, Robert Lewis, Laura Hobson, Jean Innocent, Christmas, OBAMA

  3. Summary: Инспектору Чандлеру важно знать, что он может рассчитывать на поддержку своего сержанта. И не только в рабочих вопросах.
    Language: English

  4. A Story just for Halloween! Heart-ripping fluff!

  5. Rating: T
    Rating is purely because I used the f-word a couple of times. It's actually pretty fluffy stuff.

cimorene: (face!pie)
This unemployed-job-seeking support class is turning out a bit rough, with its emotionally gruelling combo of time-wasting and inadequate guidance.

The problem isn't the teachers - they seem good at what they do - but bureaucracy: 2 teacher/advisors with 30 advisees between them and a 6 week time limit. They have to keep EVERYONE occupied for 6 hrs/day that entire time, and they just don't have time to squeeze in more than 2 one-on-one sit-down meetings per advisee. The rest of the time is filled with general information about ceasing to be unemployed. Almost all the information is inapplicable to a chunk of people (people applying to schools and people actively seeking jobs are two largely non-overlapping groups), who are nonetheless not allowed to miss days. In addition to tons of info of no personal use, we've suffered a couple days' worth of repetition and an unbelievable number of times where the teacher is just reading aloud from a website ("There are a lot of pizza franchises in town, so much so that you probably can't get a loan to open one for love or money... let's see, what does PizzaLine want in a franchise owner?").

I HAVE actually gotten useful information - the information I wanted out of this course in the first place and some more as well. I'm just as uncertain about what I want to do as before, but for a completely different reason. ) So, like, I can't say that I didn't get what I came for or what I expected out of this class - on the contrary. It's just that all of the above is frustrating and exhausting. I've been like a sad sleepwalking zombie with the refrain "This week has been 2½ weeks long" for... I can't remember... maybe two and a half weeks. And THEN.

Then last Friday there was this non-communication INCIDENT between me & my Russian classmate on the one hand, and on the other our teacher who seemed incapable of hearing what we were saying or answering our questions and sort of delivered a condescending-feeling lecture in a slightly raised voice instead. Intellectually I know she wasn't angry and didn't intend to yell, but it SOUNDED like yelling and her delivery FELT impatient and like she just couldn't believe we were asking such dumb questions.

The thing is, I don't handle being yelled at... I was going to say 'well', but it would be more accurate to say I don't handle it at all, because I don't even know how to start to handle it. I REACT to it, yes, but can 'crying and obsessing over' be considered 'handling' a thing? I don't think so. (Or maybe the fact that I act calm in the moment and only cry & obsess later, at home, qualifies me for a You Tried.) I'm still not handling it. Awkward social situations WITHOUT yelling can freak me out for months, so obviously, three days is not enough for something like this that plays right into my key insecurities.

Trying to tell my therapist about it today: I was a mess. I was trying to talk, not just cry, because TIME LIMIT, but it turns out trying to force talking while crying kind of shreds my throat and makes my voice sound quite interesting. I must have been REALLY pathetic, because my therapist apologized to me three times for ending our appointment at the normal, scheduled time.
cimorene: A vintage nouveau illustration of a reclining woman embracing the enormous head of a dragon (cuddle time)
"X and Y are the guests of honor, but I don't know who they are," said my sister.

"I don't either, but I know I'm not interested in their work because they're both men," I said.

My dad said, "Yeah. And weren't all the other names on the list of guests men, too?"

(They were... except for one.)
cimorene: (stfu)
Yesterday my wireless keyboard and mouse stopped working and I got them started again by vigorous jiggling (of the USB wireless receiver: my current theory is that some tea spilled on the top of the computer case dripped down onto it) but in the process I got distracted cleaning the fuzz from the keyboard with a card between the keys.

Only then when they started working again the keyboard was... on and off. It stopped and then started about 6 times last night and today. Also the green battery power LED on the keyboard which had gone out months ago came back and then went away... about three times.

It probably needs replacing :(. It's already lasted a lot longer than the cheap ones I was buying before it, but it's still a drag that the wireless kind is like 4-5x the cost. And that I apparently accidentally broke it (by poking it between the keys I guess?!).
cimorene: (Default)
Just a few hours ago: Finnish Parliament approves same-sex marriage

This law comes from a citizens' initiative (a petition) and makes Finland the last Nordic country to recognize same-sex marriages, to many people's embarrassment.

Wax and I call each other 'my wife', but we got married in Iowa and went through the usual process for getting approval of a foreign marriage, that is, submitted paperwork to a judge, who issued the decision that our Iowan marriage's "closest equivalent" was the Finnish registered partnership (which didn't actually convey all the legal benefits, just most of them).

The article says that the details won't be ironed out before 2015, so I wonder if our status will undergo an automatic conversion then, or we'll have to do something. Of course even if it's automatic, Wax and I already went through a lot more trouble and expense than, say, my Thai classmate who met her Finnish husband via an online dating site and got married after one short visit each.

If a Finnish citizen is engaged married (or in a registered partnership with) a non-EU citizen, their fiancé(e) spouse can get a family member visa - they can work and receive Finnish social services, and don't need proof of income (ETA: though [personal profile] pierydys and her husband had to prove cohabitation when she moved here as a fiancée, so although it is possible to get a fiancé(e) visa it's got a lot of requirements and counts as a special case).

On the other hand, we lesbians could only get a Finnish registered partnership, or a family member's visa, if we could prove we had already lived together for two years (though that isn't the case anymore apparently). In order to meet this requirement, one of us had to get permission to live in the other's country for that time. Getting a green card is literally like winning the lottery, so it was a lot easier for that to be me.

I applied directly to a Finnish university, which required reading up for an entrance exam that I flew to Finland to take at my parents' expense, and once I was accepted I got a student visa, but that required me to submit proof that I had €6000 in a Finnish bank account at the beginning of each school year. (Also students can't take jobs beyond a certain number of hours and don't get social security, though their healthcare is covered by the student union.)

After two years, I was automatically eligible for a family member visa because the government had a record of our cohabiting and considered us common-law married. So our Iowan marriage, years after that, didn't change anything in our daily lives, although we would have had the opportunity to change our names or something I think.

But the barriers to our relationship were costly and complicated, and we wouldn't have managed it without some €12000+ from my parents (a gay tax that would be good to refund to them given the current economic crisis), a ton of paperwork, and support from [personal profile] waxjism's brother, mother, and even her brother's best friend and sister-in-law's sister, both of whom gave me places to crash when [personal profile] waxjism was still living with her homophobic granny for economic reasons and I was banned from the house.

I can think of three gay Finnish celebrities who are married to foreigners, but I don't know a single other gay couple that's half foreign... and, as the Finnish teachers I've seen in the past couple of years will tell you, the majority of immigrants in Finnish language classes are here because of love: married either to Finns, or to spouses who are working here. That's a lot of immigrants and a looooooooooooooot of heterosexual relationships with Finns.
cimorene: (workout)
We've been having trouble with the networked printer, so I put the laptop next to the printer and plugged it directly in to print.

Then I booted Windows...

...and a few minutes later at 4:30 my phone alarm went off with a check email reminder...

and 10 minutes after that it was 4:40 and Windows was still thinking. Chrome was blank, informing me that Gmail failed to load on the first try, and notification bubbles were informing me that the antivirus software had updated itself, that Windows had updated itself, and that to complete further 'critical' updates it wanted to restart. I reloaded Gmail, went to Google Drive, grabbed the top document in the list and clicked 'print'.

At 4:43, it still hadn't printed.

In contrast, when I wake up in the morning I hit the power button on my computer, go in the kitchen and put the kettle on and go to the bathroom, then pour the water in the teapot and put it by my computer to brew. In the time it takes the kettle to boil my computer has produced its login screen. I sign in and go back to the kitchen to make a bowl of oatmeal, and when I return in under 2 minutes, my desktop is all loaded and glowing peacefully. I click on Twitter and Firefox and they both open immediately, the latter with all 15ish of my saved tabs ready and waiting.

If I were using the Windows 7 laptop for my primary computer, I could hit the power button first thing and still not be past the "Welcome" screen when I got back with my oatmeal. And once I logged in, I'd have time to eat the whole bowl before I got to see my tabs.
cimorene: (Default)
Apparently third time's the charm! My third attempt at spaghetti sauce is definitely the best yet. I sweated the onions in butter, added olive oil and a cube of veggie bouillon, then two cans crushed tomatoes, a can of tomato puree, around 4 deciliters red wine, a bay leaf, and about a tablespoon of sugar. Simmered for thirty minutes and seasoned with basil, oregano, rosemary and a dash of chili powder.

I still haven't got around to trying it with white wine though. That's next.
cimorene: A vintage nouveau illustration of a reclining woman embracing the enormous head of a dragon (domestic)
I'm busy from before sunrise until the verge of sunset for the next few weeks (the mini course the employment bureau case worker sent me on) and this has meant it's nearly impossible to take any photos because, even inside, artificial light doesn't look very good (unless I turn the sunlamp on, but the cats can be very stubborn about taking direction for some reason). There's been an appalling drought in my kitty pictures lately as a result.

Also my brain is happy to be engaged for 6 hours a day, but using Finnish for 6 hours a day without a good solid dose of quiet solitude in the middle to recover my ability to socialize is a little much. I get overstimulated by about 12:30 and spend two hours with my mental queue so backed up on "NOPE" and "WHY IS IT SO LOUD IN HERE" that it takes me extra seconds of hesitation to produce a sentence in Finnish. (I can't even explain that my brain is slow because I'm tired in Finnish without pausing to try and remember the right case endings, in spite of how often I've done it before. Answering a question at the bus stop yesterday felt like trying to talk on the phone when you've just been woken up.)

As for the course content itself, it hasn't been more than slightly helpful so far, but I remain hopeful. The intended audience is wide, so the range of advice and information is also pretty wide, and I think they just haven't gotten to the part that I wanted yet. A lot of the stuff in the second half of the week was aimed at people who want to switch from one career to another and there's a fair amount about adult education and professional certifications and stuff and that is stuff I've heard a lot ("" "") of times already and also it doesn't apply to me at all.

Trying to be sociable has probably been good for me, though.

There's a black-hoodie-wearing fuchsia-haired lady with adult children who sits next to me, and she saw me drop my phone at the bus stop and the next day she brought a skein of yarn and made a little phone case out of 4 granny squares with a carrying strap, stitched it together and finished it off all within a couple of hours, and then spontaneously gave it to me like this:

"[SHOVES THE PHONE SOCK CASUALLY OVER TO ME] There. That'll cover your phone up. Should fit. Keep it from getting banged up. If you drop it again. You dropped your phone at the bus stop yesterday, didn't you. It's soft. And if you listen to music the holes in it are big enough to get through to the touch screen."

XD ♥ Finnish people are frequently this gruff, yes. It was really sweet of her though. I was watching her make it all morning from the corner of my eye while I was knitting, wondering what it was going to be.

Also overheard this week, from a long-haired working class dude with a goatee:

Meil on sitä, että lähemmät napurit ovat metsä ja pelto.

For us... the closest neighbors are woods and a field.

I had a hard time not laughing out loud, but then I couldn't explain to myself why this was funny except that it was SO SO FINNISH, but then I told [personal profile] waxjism and she laughed just as hard as I wanted to (though maybe it was the delivery), so at least I wasn't hallucinating.
cimorene: (workout)
Reading a variant of Undercover as Gay where the POV character is gung-ho on the idea and pushing the Romantic Interest, who is obviously wary. It only works as a rom-com of misunderstanding because of dramatic irony, particularly the fanon that Romantic Interest has been in unrequited love with POV character for years, and that interpretation makes it obvious to the reader that his wariness is to do with giving himself away.

But it doesn't really make POV character's behavior okay and wouldn't even if he did share that understanding. All you have to do is flip it and imagine the reticent character to be a romantically UNinterested woman to see how gross it is:

"You MUST accept me going undercover as your romantic partner and all that that entails, even though that wasn't what you signed up for when you agreed to the assignment, because I must PROTECT you! Your discomfort is unfortunate and I'm understanding about it, but we just have to push past it for your own good, because it wouldn't be SAFE to go undercover without making sure we've practiced dating/overnighting together!"

It's possible that I am slightly overstating the degree of pushiness involved. He has checked the Romantic Interest's comfort level verbally and promised to let R.I. control the level of intimacy. BUT the internal narration is very concerned with his sensitivity to the subtle signs of R.I.'s discomfort (no doubt because he has to eventually correctly decipher its real cause) and his internal attitude to it is self-righteous. He never even considers that shoving his way into the assignment like that wasn't the morally right and logically necessary thing to do.
cimorene: A vintage nouveau illustration of a reclining woman embracing the enormous head of a dragon (cuddle time)
When I was a teenager I had cassette tapes of filks based on Mercedes Lackey's books (the Vows & Honor ones, because I liked them the best since they had so few male characters - I never got around to buying any others) (aha!), many performed by Leslie Fish, who I understand sometimes wrote the music to Lackey's lyrics.

I was addicted to those books from age 9-13, but I already stopped being able to enjoy them the same way before high school... I think I miss the tapes even more though. I wonder what happened to them? Sometimes a random little snatch of lyric crooned (husked?) by Leslie Fish will pop into my head and I'll unexpectedly realize I remember half the lyrics.

When I discovered popslash at age 18 and told my mom about it, she said "Oh you mean like people used to write about Kirk and Spock?" I think my eyes went like *___* and a websearch led me to [personal profile] mecurtin's Foresmutters Project, specifically the historically significant K/S fic where Spock's penis is a flower. I recognized Leslie Fish's name at once from my obsessive filk-lyric memorization of a few years previous. I still remember thinking "It must be the same Leslie Fish. This Leslie Fish is even cooler than I realized and fandom is a wondrous place."

I felt moved to post this on Tumblr as well and that link is here


cimorene: (Default)

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