cimorene: A black-and-white vintage photograph of 1920s singer Helen Kane in profile, with a dubious, side-eye expression (wtf?)
I think the ideal regular social event would be a combination knitting circle and Dungeons and Dragons (actually I've read some random stuff on the topic and think it should actually be Pathfinder, but I have no direct experience of either).

My sister agrees, but Dallas to southwest Finland is just too much distance to manage that. I mean, there's videochat tabletop gaming, but the 8-hour time difference would be murder.

We both don't actually know how to play D&D and have never played even though our dad was a DM when he was in high school and college. Honestly, I feel betrayed that he never taught us in person.

My sister and I agreed that the best way to set up something like this would be to find a local knitting group and then canvas it for people who could be converted to the idea, but that depends on someone else in the group knowing how to play and being happy to teach you. If the person who wanted to organize it knows how to play, it would kind of remove the difficulty.

My sister is way ahead of me here because she has actually attended local knitting circles multiple times in her life - I don't think she has one now, but she used to go to one in Louisiana. I've been talking about wanting to go to one, but been too socially anxious, since before she was inspired by my example to teach herself to knit. 😕 Of course, language and culture issues add to my social anxiety and even if they didn't raise the initial bar to Just Doing It to insurmountability, socializing in Finnish as I would then have to do would be both mentally and emotionally tiring, much more so than just doing social things that make me anxious in general. Of course, conversing regularly in Finnish would be mentally tiring because my Finnish isn't fluent, so logically the practice would be good for me, but that doesn't make it less daunting.
cimorene: A black-and-white vintage photograph of 1920s singer Helen Kane in profile, with a dubious, side-eye expression (face!pie)
I went to a new doctor today and she was really helpful and I liked her a lot but as soon as I got home (four hours later, after errands) the anxiety from that 15 min appointment slammed over me like a wave at the beach, the ones that unexpectedly flatten you and drag you into the water so you end up coughing, under water, with your swimsuit full of sand.

I've often been so emotionally drained by anxiety that I slept for a long time afterwards, but this time I collapsed onto the bed and sort of lay there, too drained to crawl under the blankets, for hours, too keyed-up to actually fall asleep. And when I stood up again a couple of hours later I still felt physically and emotionally drained, with those weird little post-adrenaline trembles in your arms and legs where they really want you to let go and collapse on the ground wherever you are and it feels like you're not 100% certain of your coordination (not a great frame of mind for cooking dinner).

Last Friday I met a new psychiatrist, but it wasn't quite as exhausting. I've been trying to get in to see a new psychiatrist for literally over a year now - thanks bureaucracy~! - and also, the psychiatrist was a Finnish hipster guy with a big blond bun, maybe younger than me (looked younger than me: mid-late twenties?)... so maybe he was just less intimidating, or maybe the anxiety in advance of the appointment was less because I'm more accustomed to and less wary of psychiatrists than GPs.
cimorene: A black-and-white vintage photograph of 1920s singer Helen Kane in profile, with a dubious, side-eye expression (domestic)
Our cats are purebreds, which means they came with registered names. The late, great The Crazy was sold as Tea-Time Tune, and earned her name by being a neurotic, weird-as-hell mess (but in a cute way).

The BB was sold as Arwen, which actually suited her since she is a genetically and visually flawless, perfect specimen cat who is also petite, dainty, elegant, graceful, fearless, and sweet. But she gradually earned the nickname "BB HBIC" (later shortened to just BB), because when we first got her, she had the adorable habit of surreptitiously following the Crazy around and copying her, but in a tinier, daintier fashion.

Snookums was sold as Russel [sic] Crowe, and when we rescued (bought) him from Crazy Cat Lady Hell where he was being bullied by his 21 overbearing relatives, seeing his name on the papers decided us for sure (the lady had been calling him "Jere", a folksy Finnish dude name that's just as laughably OOC for Snookums as the comparison to Russell Crowe). "It must be fate," we said. "We have to rescue this cat!" Later we came home and followed the real Russell Crowe on Twitter, which we have never regretted, and Snookums, who was hiding in the corner of the sauna literally under his great-grandmother when we first met him, blossomed from a shy, skinny, cringing fraidycat into the pudgy, friendly snugglemonster we know and love. His dedication to snuggling has to be seen to be believed. He ALWAYS is in the mood for snuggles, and there's no kind of squeezing or manhandling him I've come up with that he doesn't enjoy, so his name is an excellent fit.

The bunnies are also purebreds, but when we got them from our buddy pierydys, she advised that if we weren't planning to breed and show them, registering them would be unnecessarily traumatic and expensive, since you have to get their ears tagged to do it. We didn't, and so we had to pick names for them ourselves. Since their sire is named Snickers, we decided on a locally-available candy theme, and we picked popular chocolate caramel Japp bars for the tri-colored one and pink-and-white Rowan-berry-flavored Pihlaja jellies for his ginger-and-white brother. Since we speak English at home, we translated Pihlaja and call him Rowan: unlike Japp, that one doesn't lend itself to anglicized pronunciation.

Since we named the bunnies ourselves, swapping out their names based on personality seems silly, but we actually call Japp "Tiny bunny" or "Tiny bun" more often than anything else. He's just so incredibly smol that when your eyes land on him, exclamations about his smolness sort of reflexively pop out ("HAVE YOU SEEN HOW TINY THE BUNNY IS SITTING ON THIS RUG????") and it's difficult to stop them. He also looks weirdly like a little old man in the face - I think it's the shape of his eyebrow and mustache floof - but nothing pithy to express this has come to us yet.

Ro's descriptive nickname is The Majestic Floof. His personality and behavior is not at all dignified, but his fur is so beautiful and, well, majestic that he can easily fool you just by posing.

I have not illustrated this post with pictures, but this blog is completely full of my pet photos if you want to refresh your memory.

imzy

26 Aug 2016 11:18 pm
cimorene: A black-and-white vintage photograph of 1920s singer Helen Kane in profile, with a dubious, side-eye expression (Default)
I have invitations. Wait, that's not all!

When I saw Aja retweeting official Imzy appealing for fandom signups, I went, "Who?" So I googled it. Google found an article that left me squinting a lot but basically conveyed that it is

  • A bit like Tumblr, except everything you follow is communities


  • Every post has threaded comments (but the threading only nests 3 deep so far. They intend to improve that in future)


  • Designed to allow "tipping" for posts - I assume the idea of this is for things like Patreon and Medium; one of their built-in post types is Podcast, so it makes sense for that too. This requires credit card info obvs. Potentially problematic fandom implications also obvs.


  • Designed to allow anon posting and linking of multiple aliases under one sign-in.


This is several of the big issues with Tumblr - communities and commenting - but maintaining the WYSIWYG interface of Tumblr; there are image posts too, although they don't look great right now.

Obviously, people are saying "What about the TOS? Are you going to start banning fandom for posting erotica?" and there's a post about that at /fail_fandom_anon over there (which seems to have some useful fandom-specific information and newbie tutorials and the like), here (viewable if you've got an account and are signed in). To quote relevant bits,

Strikethrough? Not going to be banned or deleted without warning

First, we’ve banned very few people, and only when they were explicitly and repeatedly violating our TOS. If we think you’re crossing a line, we’ll try to talk to you first. And even if you do get banned, you still have access to the entire site and all your content, you just can’t do anything new. When content is removed by a leader or staff, it is only removed from public view and is still accessible to you.

NSFW content? Erotic fanfic is okay. We don’t have a problem with this, as long as you make sure you’re still marking everything as NSFW and following the community’s guidelines. [...] Our community policy states that “we define pornography as imagery whose primary or sole purpose is sexual arousal.” Sometimes there is sexually explicit or otherwise graphic content that is a part of a story and is a crucial part of character and plot development in, say, a web comic. That should be okay. A lot of fan art I think tends to fall into this category. If you have fan art about a show, certain characters, even a romance, there will likely be some erotic art that comes up. That’s fine, in that context. This is about celebrating characters, a show, a story, a world, whatever else, and exploring them. And some erotic content just may come up as a part of that. But the erotic part of it is not the “sole or primary purpose.” A community dedicated to pornographic art, on the other hand, isn’t so cool.


This is a staffer answering questions, apparently. Not terrible, at least. It sounds like they are aiming to disallow porn spam and porn blogs, but not nsfw content when it pops up in fanwork comms (if they stick to that).

Anyway, I'm cautiously hopeful.

And I have 199 invites, because when you make an unrestricted community you get a big packet of them. So you can drop your email address in a private message to me if you want one, or you can use the request button on this page (joining the community in question is not required, it'll just get namechecked in the invitation mail)(feel free to join if you like Poirot, though).

As yet there is no major content there, but it might be worth your time to namesquat just in case.
cimorene: A black-and-white vintage photograph of 1920s singer Helen Kane in profile, with a dubious, side-eye expression (Default)
Exciting adventures occurred when the washing machine just made distressed noises instead of doing the spin cycle today. We had to stop it and take the clothes out but they were still soapy. If you've never rinsed a mountain of detergent-infused cotton by hand before hanging it up to dry, allow me to not recommend it! I am under no illusions that all the soap came out, but at least the laundry won't be molding until the new washer is delivered.
cimorene: A black-and-white vintage photograph of 1920s singer Helen Kane in profile, with a dubious, side-eye expression (arrrgh brains)
The thing about Party Cat is that I still am not sure what he actually WANTS when he wakes me up in the middle of the night.



Unfortunately, sometime last spring he realized that he could more effectively get my attention - and actually, for the first time, bully me out of bed - by concentrating his harassment on [personal profile] waxjism. To protect her, I started to follow him out of the bedroom going, "Okay, WHAT DO YOU WANT?" This became a habit where I'd simply carry him straight to the sofa, make myself a nest there and read until I fell asleep. But after a few weeks, when I dozed off, he went back in the bedroom to harass [personal profile] waxjism. He made it clear that he would do this if I didn't trail him around the flat the entire time like a bodyguard.

Then I actually tried playing with him, but he didn't really want to play any of the things he likes in the daytime. Once I gave up on getting him to play, I tried shutting him up in a different room, or just out of the bedroom, but there's nowhere in the flat far enough away to muffle the sound of his constant angry yelling and repeated flinging his body against the door - Wax can't sleep through it at all (unlike me).

Eventually I realized that the only way to prevent him from harassing Wax was to lock him away from her, and the only way to prevent him from yelling about being locked up was to be in there with him.

So now I take him and my pillow straight into the library, shut the door, and tuck myself into a cocoon of blankets on the sofa. That doesn't mean I get to go straight to sleep, though. He has to pace all over the room and deliver a dramatic monologue, and he requires signs that his audience is paying attention. Sometimes he spends a time rustling around the room, making ominous noises like he's about to start ripping books off the shelves and eating them (he's done it before), or eat the giant monstera. Typically I have to spend an hour or two reading to keep myself somewhat awake while he gets this out of his system before he comes to lie down on top of me and purr.

This is significantly better than the past arrangements, but it still involves an hour or two of forced wakefulness in the wee hours and spending half the night not in my bed.

Party Cat #3 is my life now )
cimorene: A black-and-white vintage photograph of 1920s singer Helen Kane in profile, with a dubious, side-eye expression (crack)
☂ I got the boxed DVD set of the complete Poirot for the winter holidays last year. I already hoard thousands of Poirot screencaps on my harddrives & Poirot blog ([tumblr.com profile] maisouipoirot), but I started rewatching from the beginning with the closed captions turned on and taking caps of my favorite lines. I got sidetracked into watching some other stuff partway through though - before I even got to the modern widescreen era for that matter - and I still need to finish.

🎜 After we marathoned the last season of Game of Thrones - "Bad at continuity and dialogue; good at production values!" - [personal profile] waxjism and I wanted to watch something else together and we watched the two seasons of Mozart in the Jungle. Apparently this is an Amazon streaming show in the US? It stars Gael García Bernal (still tiny, still radiant, now greying) as an orchestra conducting former child prodigy and the female lead is an oboist, which was the instrument I played in middle/high school (I still have partisan feelings). Also Saffron Burrows is there, which seems significant to Wax. We enjoyed it a lot, although it's not really a fannish show. Apparently Jason Schwartzman is a creator/writer/runner as well as a secondary character, and it really has a his-kind-of-thing feel to it (kinda hipster, but more specific than that).

🎶 ↳ It was nice, but it mostly made me miss playing music: I don't have an oboe anymore (I quit when mine broke in 10th grade), but I have my grandmother's recorders and her collection of medieval and folk music. I used to play the recorder too when I played the oboe, just for fun, and I kept it up for a few years - I think the fingering would come back quickly, but I shudder to think of having to start developing embouchure muscles from scratch.

🕶 We randomly rewatched Hot Fuzz a couple of days ago - I think there was a gifset. Man, so good.

👓 I'm halfway through the first season of Supergirl. I'm completely pro-Supergirl, but I still hope the writing gets a little bit better. I had to take a break because I just couldn't stand anymore of those gag-me Teachable Moments and Inspiring Dialogues. It's definitely on the children's moral play spectrum, which doesn't have to be bad - it reminds me most strongly of My Little Pony, but My Little Pony, while aimed at a less cognitively sophisticated audience, makes up what it loses in subtlety by having (a) almost no male characters and (b) zero love triangles. I would be cool with it if the plot actually had Kara mature past her infatuation and end up with Cat Grant, which is definitely what the plot inadvertently (?) is still strongly suggesting is going to happen, but I can't believe that's going to happen. Excited for guest appearances from Tyler Hoechlin Superman though! what a precious. Now put him in a cardigan.

☙ I was listening to [tumblr.com profile] septembriseur about her current obsession with Oxford Detectives - specifically with Hathaway (the lovely Mr Billie Piper). It turns out there's two series of Lewis I haven't seen - I always miss them because they come out too far apart! - and a new series of Endeavour, plus I need to refresh my memory of the previous series of Lewis, Endeavour, and even (in a few spots) Morse to get all the references. On the minus side, that's a lot of rewatching and I have a very limited attention span for consuming media in ways other than reading. On the plus side, though, the last time I rewatched Morse from the beginning, I crocheted an entire lap blanket. I could use another blanket. I'm thinking a crocheted ripple blanket... of course that would mean buying a bunch of yarn though, so maybe just an Umaro...
cimorene: A black-and-white vintage photograph of 1920s singer Helen Kane in profile, with a dubious, side-eye expression (working)
We saw Ghostbusters and loved it (obviously). Everyone in the theater laughed a lot, but I and the young dude on the other side of me from Wax laughed the most.

I don't actually feel a strong push towards the fanfic (such as typically emerges in response to subtext and plotholes), but I do feel the most positive about it of anything I've felt fannish about in a while.

Except spoilers, well, potentially )

The only thing I've felt vaguely stirred to write or plan fanfiction for in AGES is the mmf ot3 in the 2013 Swedish series based on Maria Lang's classic crime novels. (Series is on Netflix in Finland titled "Maria Lang: Crimes of Passion" and is new to our streaming services, but aired previously here and in Britain at least, because [personal profile] calathea saw it a few years ago and had the same thought.) (I mean to read these and perhaps check out her other novels but I haven't got around to it yet.)

I don't have any sort of ideas or creative urges about Ghostbusters fic, just a strong sense that Yes, There Should Be More of This in the World.
cimorene: A black-and-white vintage photograph of 1920s singer Helen Kane in profile, with a dubious, side-eye expression (crack)
While looking for help with my Party Cat problem1 on the blog of cat behaviorist Jackson Galaxy, I came upon the concept of raw feeding for cats. I read more at first out of curiosity, but eventually wanted to try it, and I was able to convince [personal profile] waxjism that it would be a good idea.

We had always free-fed our cats almost exclusively dry food, with occasional treats of wet food; but because our cats suffer from what I now know is the extremely common habit of just licking the sauce/jelly from canned wet food and leaving the meat bits, we had pretty much given up on wet foods as a waste of money.

But after talking about it and reading about it, we at least wanted to try to
  1. transition the cats to eating at specific mealtimes, which is the necessary 1st step in all the recommended solutions for Party Cats (we did it and it hasn't worked, but I guess hope springs eternal; plus, it's better, at least, and I'm not out of options) and

  2. remove most or all of the carbohydrates from their diets (we did it and we discovered that it makes their poop smell WAY better and also decreases, though doesn't eliminate, the frequency of their barfing).


We started by transitioning gradually to wet food, but this is a tall order because:

  1. All the cheaper wet foods and many of the expensive ones are bits-in-jelly-or-sauce and, as mentioned, the cats won't eat the bits, which is much more nutritionally worrisome when you're trying to make up the majority of their diet with it.

  2. The vast majority of wet cat food, including most of the really expensive ones, are so-called "supplementary" foods that aren't nutritionally adequate.

  3. The foods they like the best are the most expensive (Applaws, Canagan, Schesir, Thrive) but are somewhat too low in fat so even if we were made of money it wouldn't be good for them to just switch to those.


This is where the raw diet looks attractive, because it's fairly popular in Finland and high-quality, domestic pre-prepared raw foods for dogs and cats are easily available, and cheaper than feeding a canned diet (the drawback is that they're frozen, but it's worth it).

However, the cats didn't have the best reaction to my first few attempts.

  • Cubes of beef liver? No, they wouldn't touch it.

  • Cubes of ground salmon? They'll lick it and nibble it, but they won't eat it alone, and if it's mixed into canned food, they won't eat the canned food at all.

  • Ground turkey (a mixture of meat and organ, so not like the ground turkey you've encountered for people) today was the best result so far. Snookums eventually ate both portions of it, but the BB wouldn't even lick it off my fingertip.


The comparative cost of buying nutritionally-complete wet foods that the cats will actually deign to eat is going to get burdensome if we can't replace a good chunk of that with either raw or dry. In fact, that's why we introduced gluten-free dry foods again after initially tapering off the kibble they were eating before: we tried to just add a little of the old food back in after a couple of weeks and the sudden return to the old level of cat poo stink made us realize that while we hadn't even noticed when the stink was suddenly reduced, we can't live like that anymore.



1. I don't know if I've mentioned it here, but I mention frequently on Twitter that Snookums has a habit of waking me in the middle of the night because he's bored, and if I don't get up with him, he'll wake [personal profile] waxjism when she needs to get up early for work.
cimorene: A black-and-white vintage photograph of 1920s singer Helen Kane in profile, with a dubious, side-eye expression (arrrgh brains)
Friday, 2 pm, I talk to a lady with the employment bureau who tells me to wait for a callback because she's sending a note to my assigned caseworker asking them to call me.

So I look at their website and what it says about phone calls is that they come between one and four and that the bureau may not have the resources to try again, so it's your responsibility to pick up.

So I've kept my phone on me every moment of the call window Friday, Monday, and today, and still nothing. Now I'm wondering if I underestimated the time involved. The person in question might be on vacation the whole month of July... or they might have three weeks' worth of other things they have to do first in their inbox, which seems plausible when we hear of caseworkers having hundreds of clients apiece... .

The problem is that my brain gets attached to a to-do list that it has ordered by priority and if I get blocked on something that my brain thinks I need to finish first I can have real trouble making myself do any of the other things, even if it's literally impossible to do the first thing, so I'll spend weeks or even months floating around dispiritedly, marinating in increasing levels of frustration and self-flagellation (and as of recently, also shame because the self-flagellation is self-defeating and I'm supposed to be trying to have self-compassion instead).

I've done two days of sitting on tenter-hooks and not even doing dishes and laundry, which I'm confident won't last, but there's a real possibility I won't manage to make a single important outgoing phonecall until this one arrives.
cimorene: A black-and-white vintage photograph of 1920s singer Helen Kane in profile, with a dubious, side-eye expression (dragon)
This is my combination of about 3 different recipes.

couscous, 1 3/4 US cups (or a little over 4 deciliters)
a tiny bit more vegetable or chicken broth (or use 1 bouillon cube + water)
1 big bunch of parsley

Greek olives (recipes always want Kalamata, which I can't get here; I use green), 1 sm jar or about 1 cup/2½ deciliters
feta cheese, 1 package or about 1 cup/2½ dl
cherry tomatoes, 1 package
red grapes, ½ package
1 red onion
1 large cucumber

Dressing:
4 tablespoons olive oil
4 tablespoons lemon juice
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp dried oregano
½ tsp ground black pepper
½ tsp salt

Make the couscous according to package directions but using broth (or bouillon cube dissolved in the water), and make sure it's not dry by adding a bit more liquid if necessary. Fluff well so there are no clumps.

Wash & chop the vegetables: dice the onions finely, slice the cucumbers into bite-sized chunks, halve the tomatoes and grapes. I leave the olives whole. Chop the parsley roughly. Combine them in a big bowl, then add the couscous and stir to combine. Mix the dressing separately, drizzle it over the top, and stir again.
cimorene: (gr arg)
I was intrigued by a few recs for this book, which says upfront that the salient feature of these methods is prioritizing efficiency, simplicity and speed (the author says your goal should be for each 'zone' to be pick-uppable in 2 minutes, before a short attention span can run out), so they don't need to be adhd-specific.

Organizing Solutions for People With Attention Deficit Disorder: Tips and Tools to Help You Take Charge of Your Life and Get Organized

It's mostly actually about spatial organization of things, and unlikely to directly prevent me from losing things (which was my original aim when I started googling), but I got into it anyway.

Some of the stuff is laughable (throw out your DVDs in favor of streaming service only if you literally don't care WHAT you watch as long as you watch anything, FFS) or extreme (I'm happy to allow myself more than 5 tupperwares), but there's enough left over that was useful to have rendered the book totally worthwhile.

At one point I was so galvanized I leapt up in mid-sentence and cleaned the desk space around my computer monitor.

And later, in a less impulsive manner, I was inspired to reorganize the entryway shoe storage, the dish cupboards, the pots and pans, the tupperwares, and the pantry, all just in the last 2 days.

 

My mom is a hoarder of objects - I don't mean a clinical hoarder, in the rats and garbage sense, just a creator of hoards of things like art, salt and pepper shakers, dragon and chicken tchotchkes, antique teacups, teapots, excess tables and chairs, kitchen gadgets, tools, art supplies, broken things that might be reusable later in an art project, fabric scraps, books, magazines, spices, containers, linens... etc. My parents've been in the same house for 26 years. They have an organizational problem too, but a book whose basic philosophy is to make things easy to find by not having your storage be too crowded to see and access the things in it is not going to work for them without a few months' worth of sorting, slimming, and tossing first.

I think the advice could still be helpful to her and people like her (provided the extremity of the suggestions didn't panic them first!), although more so if she had a coach standing by to help her throw things away, because even if an exhortation to throw away 90% of your tupperware only gets you to throw away 20% of it, that's still an improvement.
cimorene: A black-and-white vintage photograph of 1920s singer Helen Kane in profile, with a dubious, side-eye expression (HALP)
Last Monday I thought that I had lost my wallet AGAIN, which would've made the 2nd time in 6 months. I had a meltdown of (a) guilt for failing to keep track of my important stuff and (b) agony over how much of a pain it is to replace all the things in your wallet, and then I did a whole bunch of reading about adult inattentive adhd. I've seen articles here and there about it before, and although my mother has long said that she probably had it, and even though I do share many absent-minded traits with her, I never thought it very likely that I had it until then.

Well, actually it turned out that I didn't lose it on the bus at all! I dropped it on the floor of [personal profile] pierydys's car when we went for a drive with the bunnies last weekend, which isn't nearly as bad. To lose it on the bus I'd have to have dropped or set it down on the seat/floor, but my bag was on the floor of the car and it probably just fell out of the exterior pocket (where it shouldn't have been and never should be in the future, but still, it's not as bad). I'm really relieved, but the scare has made an impression. I'm still thinking I'm going to adopt something like a wallet chain (only not an actual chain: maybe a lanyard, ribbon, or knitted cord...).

In the meantime, I did a bunch of reading about adhd, because I have felt increasingly overwhelmed by trying to organize/prioritize/manage tasks with a bunch of bits that have to be kept together/not lose things/etc (although I don't remember having any problem whatsoever with that as a child... aside from having a horribly messy room, but again, that's a common problem). I'm pretty much convinced that my mother has adhd now, but I didn't really find convincing indications that I might. There are a few things that ring true for me too - most strikingly, the lifestyle of accumulating clutter/things specifically in piles -, but I didn't find any reason to identify with it over simply being absent-minded (and battling depression off and on). The reading was interesting enough, so I didn't waste my time.
cimorene: A black-and-white vintage photograph of 1920s singer Helen Kane in profile, with a dubious, side-eye expression (this is awkward)
I haven't been able to make use of Facebook for years.

Part of this is because I despise the company and their various evil actions over the years; part of it is the deliberately opaque site design; but part of it was my fault because I used to figure since I was avoiding it 99% of the time anyway I might as well have an approach to accepting friend requests that was almost completely haphazard, and I rendered my own feed completely unusable as a result by filling it up with people I didn't particularly want to be following.

The more unwieldy, the more I avoided it and every notification from it for weeks. Eventually I reached a state where a limited pool of people I care about a lot were attempting to use it to communicate with me, and it wasn't working, and I was also spending a lot of time thinking about deleting my account all together.

Yesterday it occurred to me that unfriending a lot of people would make more sense than actually deleting the account, so I set about doing so.

And it was hard.

Why was I following about 15 members of my mother's extended family whom I barely know - people I couldn't even say how I was related to? What about all these classmates I never conversed with beyond smalltalk from my Finnish language classes, not even WHILE in the classes? People I wasn't especially close to even in high school - middle school, in some cases? I unfriended a childhood playmate whom I hadn't spoken to since age 12; my best friend from 5th grade, from whom I'd already drifted apart by 7th grade; a girl whose dad worked with my dad, whom I played with a few times when we were under the age of 10. These were all people I not only didn't interact with outside of Facebook, but people with whom I never interacted on Facebook either, apart from feeling uncomfortable about friending and about unfriending them.

I kept my first cousins, aunts and uncles, my wife's family members with whom we have friendly relationships, and actual friends past and present with whom I have had SOME form of attempted continued keeping-in-touch over the years: only people I would care to follow on Twitter or Tumblr, if they used it. I deleted forty or fifty people, I think.

I'm quite pleased with all of this effort, and it does seem to have worked somewhat, even though the interface is still awful.
cimorene: A black-and-white vintage photograph of 1920s singer Helen Kane in profile, with a dubious, side-eye expression (perfect)
I don't usually have anything to say about celebrity death other than "how sad", but this time I have to remind you all of the time Prince (at that time he was Formerly Known As) came to my high school to talk to a confused group of around a hundred kids about Jesus.

The presentation was heartfelt and evangelical, but supremely disorganized. Then-formerly-Prince himself was wearing an amazingly dapper plum purple suit that I WOULD have hardly looked away from, except that he had a modest entourage with him, and one of the members (friend? bodyguard? advisor?) was wearing a jade green suit that was an even more brilliant color. The talk was marked by periods of quiet, where nobody said anything, or people came and went and he and his entourage murmured together in a loose knot on the floor of the gym.

I think he talked about being born again maybe? But TBH you've all heard all there is to hear about Jesus before by that age, and literally everyone there except MAYBE then-formerly-Prince himself was WAY more interested in his celebrity than his thoughts on divinity.

Also: how sad.
cimorene: A black-and-white vintage photograph of 1920s singer Helen Kane in profile, with a dubious, side-eye expression (this is awkward)
I was recently introduced to the Philo Vance detective stories of S.S. Van Dine by an article about how T.S. Eliot (I think?) was a fan of detective fiction. I was surprised to learn that these stories, written pseudonymously by literary critic and NYC cultural avant-garde elite W.H. Wright, were all bestsellers at the time of publication, but have since faded so far from modern cultural awareness that I'd never heard of them in spite of having been close to several big-time golden age detective fiction fans. (If you read them, you'd probably also begin to feel you understand why they haven't stood the test of time as well as ACD, Christie, and Sayers, but I haven't quite applied myself to articulating my speculation yet.)

These novels feature a genius sleuth and a narrator-biographer sidekick, are set when they were written, in the 1920s-30s, and in some ways seem to bridge gaps between the above-mentioned writers, and to exist in conversation with them, in a fandomy, remixy way. (I also detect playful dialogue flourishes reminiscent of PG Wodehouse, although I have to note regretfully that the narrator is never Jeevesy.) But... gayer? I mean, of course, that foundation is unquestionably there in the rest of the genre, but here an overwhelming homosociality of the main cast combines with a definite coded gayness for the sleuth.

Sleuth Philo Vance, fundamentally a mixture made of largely Sherlock Holmes and Lord Peter Wimsey (maybe a dash of The Murders in the Rue Morgue, not least because of how his narrating biographer is handled), is coded gay in that early-20th-century asexual way. It's introduced with a pointed comment about a green carnation in the first scene with dialogue in the first novel, but never becomes actually relevant to the plot. He would read as asexual otherwise, but it isn't belabored or emphasized in contrast to anyone else, the way ACD did with Holmes, or Christie did with Poirot; it's just that sexuality would have been a complete non-issue if not for the green carnation remark and later, subtler hints. (Although spoiler ))

And though I don't discern any coding in their characters, his entire cast of regulars - or trio of backup singers, you might say - are also bachelors, evidently leading existences free of any assumptions of heterosexuality and heteronormativity. The author-narrator, S.S. Van Dine, referred to casually as "Van" by Vance, is his live-in man of business or secretary or personal assistant, a lawyer by trade whom he picked up when they were together at Princeton, but who is now devoted full-time to his correspondence, financial affairs, and art collections.

Their connection to the world of police is through district attorney Markham and homicide detective Sergeant Heath. Markham is typically present with the narrator and Vance, either at home or dining out, for what seems like one meal in three and a portion of every day, even when they are at leisure, and the readers are treated to the narrator waxing poetic about the dynamics of Markham and Vance's relationship, history, feelings for each other, and the nature of their banter, which he seems to find mysterious or ineffable at times.

Heath is a friendly and respectful subordinate of Markham's and shares with him the role of unimaginative policemen who want to pursue the wrong suspect or clue and have to have everything explained to them by the genius, but they're also both friendly with Vance. Heath doesn't hang around with them in his off-hours, but he's still what one might call a Bachelor's Bachelor.

The upshot is a highly homosocial cast that I think would make a great candidate for an update into a modern queer female foursome. (They wouldn't really need to be solving mysteries: as mysteries go these are not remotely realistic anyway.) (Yes, this was one of those shower thoughts that starts with "Wouldn't I like X better if all the characters were female?" I don't know why I have this conversation with myself so much, because the answer is always yes, but imagining it is always fun anyway I guess.)

Just picture this:

1. The sybaritic gastronome genius classical translator, art historian and collector, unarmed fighter and dog breeder, a sharp-dressing perfectionist diva who makes a point of delivering all her genius statements as if she couldn't care less, when in fact she feels a deep empathy for everyone that she covers up with coolness. A huge vocabulary, excitable tangents about art, history, and cool science stuff that sounds like it comes from an encyclopedia, a tendency to occasionally quote literature in a foreign language and then pretend not to hear when people try to ask her wtf she's talking about.

2. The narrator of the books is so transparent you often forget he's there, so it's hard to tease out a characterization. But that mystique could be played with interestingly, like maybe the character could be a long-distance bff who is in communication via texts and Skype.

3. The genius's older, tolerant friend who is serious to a fault and acts like putting up with the tangents and flights of fancy is a chore, but secretly finds them charming, and also will always melt at any direct request. Responsible, busy, on time, could be conquering the entire world one-handed off-screen. Is getting gray hairs. Always protests that she's busy, but then the genius is like "But this new restaurant has KILLER (esoteric dish) that I want to feed you," and she's like, "Okay." Says things like, "It sounds like you can handle things," and then goes along anyway just because the genius wanted an audience for her brilliance. Obediently provides the appropriate straight-man line whenever needed, and also instantly and commandingly takes charge of any situation and/or group of people with sheer force of charisma.

4. Brash, confident, likable lady who is presentable but insists on dressing comfortably and less formally. Has been doing her job competently a while and knows everybody in the field, and is friendly with them. Great at delegation. Stubborn, never afraid of an exhausting, difficult or tedious task, patient. Has a fairly optimistic outlook and is fond of one-liners and snarky asides. Prone to getting fired with frustrated righteous anger; yells about it until requested to please tone it down because her vigor is exhausting. Literally always falls for (practical) jokes: will fall for anything. Has probably been flicked on the nose after looking down when asked "What's that on your shirt" hundreds, if not thousands of times.
cimorene: A black-and-white vintage photograph of 1920s singer Helen Kane in profile, with a dubious, side-eye expression (face!pie)
I've made a lot of progress in Keeping It Together enough to plan for what I/we are going to eat in advance and put it on the shopping list: most of the time, I manage to keep on top of it, and it's only once a month or so that I suddenly realize at dinnertime that I'm going to have trouble pulling anything together (or give up and have oatmeal or plain rice).

Usually there is the option to have [personal profile] waxjism buy things at the tiny grocery store on her way home, and this can be repeated almost every day, but not this weekend, so yesterday's shopping trip the entire weekend was UP TO ME. I planned ahead for this trip to the store. At least three dishes, I decided, and added stuff for them to the shopping list accordingly.

But when I got to the store, as I often do, I ended up eliminating things on the spur of the moment with the goal of making everything fit into two shopping bags. And I also had left things off, with the result that ALL THREE of the things I was planning to make are now impossible because I neglected to buy 1-2 of the ingredients.

Broccoli pasta salad? I impulsively didn't buy broccoli! Spaghetti casserole? I impulsively didn't buy spaghetti sauce (and I don't have any spare tomato sauce ingredients)! That new, oven-baked black bean burrito filling recipe I wanted to try? I bought five different ingredients, but neglected to buy the cheese!

I can reshuffle these ingredients into burritos without cheese and chicken and spinach salad, but the worrying thing is the flaw in my system...
cimorene: A black-and-white vintage photograph of 1920s singer Helen Kane in profile, with a dubious, side-eye expression (srs bzns)
Frtnj I was reading an article about a recall of a baby gate known to fall down when repeatedly tugged on by babies. Top comment was some mouthbreather like, “I think this ‘culture of safety’ has gone too far. By this logic they should also recall large bookcases.”

I know you’re not meant to read the comments, but this is practically unbelievable. They’re now applying the concept of pc police to babyproofing?!

The difference, Pekka, is that those bookcases are not specifically FOR BABIES, and unlike the baby gate in question, they all come with a safety warning telling you to anchor them to the wall with screws.

Somebody give this guy a very heavy bookcase before he votes Perussuomalaiset again.

#never read the comments
cimorene: A black-and-white vintage photograph of 1920s singer Helen Kane in profile, with a dubious, side-eye expression (huh?)
The only other tv I've rewatched as many times as an adult is Poirot - with Star Trek it's considerably more for a very few episodes but once only for others (much more variable quality for Star Trek than Poirot - though the latter also had quite a collection of different writers, directors, and producers, and even switched owners midway through its 25-year run). It feels to me like even the best episodes of Star Trek are pulpy enough to hover around the worst episodes of Poirot for rewatchability, even though as bad examples of their genre the worst Poirots are definitely worse in absolute terms than the BEST Star Treks - it's just the genre and register and how my brain works I guess.

Actually, I think murder mysteries in written form are also maybe easier to read casually, with more skimming and less engagement, than science fiction adventures? As I think about it, my mom uses both mysteries and paperback romances in this way - as palate cleansers between science fiction and fantasy books, or for when she doesn't have the brainpower/attention span for serious engagement. So maybe I just copied it from her, but it really feels easier.

I suppose that reality tv also allows for that lower level of engagement, but most of the reality tv I've tried to watch has ended up putting me off for one reason or another. I still watch new seasons of RuPaul's Drag Race, although not right away, and I think the reason I've never got fed up with it as with Project Runway for example (aside from the lack of a sudden disastrous drop in quality...) has to do with how it's so camp and upfront about the amount of gimmicks involved. But it's still got a high level of hystrionic interpersonal drama for my taste (obviously, this is a draw rather than a deterrent for many people, so it's not like I censure it for this). And I think that ultimately, the whole contest aspect to a lot of reality tv puts me off: feeling bad for the losers and disliking the things producers do to try to make you like and dislike people.

Instead of that, This Old House is really a documentary and basically only shows skilled craftsmen and experts in their fields at work, doing the various things they do and explaining them as they go. I also am more interested in the care and fixing of old buildings, mechanical systems, woodwork, etc., than I am in most of the subjects of these other reality shows. A lot of house-related shows that I used to see in the US on HGTV and its forebears wasted too much time on human interest (I hate human interest as a genre: it always seems to make me way less interested in humanity in general) and featured some guy yelling in front of a bulldozer about how big things are or how extreme something is, while This Old House shows closeups of people using tools and explains what they're doing well enough that, in many cases, someone could follow their instruction to do it themselves (provided some experience with the tools and general area in question, like carpentry or masonry or plumbing, all areas that my mom, for instance, or my aunts and uncles, have experience with, even if I don't).

Another thing I hate on a lot of house-related shows are the interior design bits - I love interiors but I hate the buzzwords and jargon (a common thing to make [personal profile] waxjism laugh around here is me yelling "RARGH, INTERIOR-DESIGN-SPEAK!!!") and also the over-designed results that a lot of professional interior designers on tv and in magazines seem to produce. This Old House does work with designers (and owners) with taste I don't like, but at least it's not too often, and only occupies a small part of the screentime for each project. (It helps that the host isn't an industry professional and is always there as the audience surrogate, and his attempts to sound polite and excited when I can tell he actually hates something are also a thing of beauty.)

One thing that is amusing and somewhat annoying is that the way reality tv works to create narratives that mimic fiction causes my brain to read it like fiction and start shipping people and sometimes lie awake sternly trying to talk my brain into investing its shipping energy in something with an actual fandom so I'll have something to read.
cimorene: A black-and-white vintage photograph of 1920s singer Helen Kane in profile, with a dubious, side-eye expression (Default)
Even though Agatha Christie's Poirot is perhaps my favorite tv show (in terms of rewatches, screencaps, etc), I am not actually a tremendous Christie fan. I've read quite a few Marples and Poirots after having seen them: sometimes well worth it (Death on the Nile, Murder on the Orient Express, Five Little Pigs, Hickory Dickory Death, The Clocks, The Body in the Library, A Caribbean Mystery, At Bertram's Hotel), sometimes a letdown (I can't remember which these were offhand because I got bored and quit). However, after hearing they were going to make a movie of And Then There Were None (original title and second title both horrifically racist), I went and read it, and since then I've read two other non-Marple-Poirot (Maroit? Poirple?) books.

First I tried The Man in the Brown Suit (1924), a Colonel Race novel set mainly in South Africa and dealing extensively with diamond trade, so I was cringing to a greater or lesser degree most of the way through. Aside from this aspect, it's a spy novel instead of a mystery, with a distinctly lighter-hearted air and a strong humorous note. The heroine is a pretty great character, aside from being tainted with some of Agatha Christie's patented Old and Also Just Plain Gross Gender Issues.

Then last week I stumbled on The Secret of Chimneys (1925), a Superintendent Battle novel, which starts in South Africa but takes place mainly in Britain, but manages to be offensively monarchist and racist against four or five ethnic groups I could name in spite of all the characters being white, and particularly offensive about the Balkans. A really special flavor of offensive, all in all, and manages to also have a delightful rollicking air, a couple of great characters and a stellar heroine who actually explicitly debunks some sexism from dudes WHILE ALSO reinforcing more of Christie's Awkward, Weird Gender Issues.

I suppose perhaps whenever there's a Christie whose title I HAVEN'T heard a lot of, it's probably for one of these embarrassing sorts of reasons.

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cimorene: A black-and-white vintage photograph of 1920s singer Helen Kane in profile, with a dubious, side-eye expression (Default)
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