cimorene: woman in a belted tunic pointing to the left with cape and long braids flying; a dragon flies overhead (thattaway)
I asked my friend Ella if her mom or aunt, both murder mystery fans, knew of any historical Finnish mystery writers, but she said they both thought there aren't any. (There are murder mysteries written and set in the 1950s from Sweden, such as Maria Lang's series with the heroine Puck, filmed in 2013 and picked up by international Netflix under the title "Crimes of Passion".)

So I was quite surprised to find Kulkeva Varjo (The Moving Shadow), a murder mystery set in 1900 Finland, on the public tv streaming site!

But it turns out that it's actually a dramatization of Vandrande Skugga, by well-known Finland Swedish literary light Bo Carpelan, a hereditary baron known for poetry and for fiction for both children and adults. This novel just happens to concern a murder in a small coastal town (it's set in Nådendal/Naantali, a historical spa resort quite close to us here in Turku/Åbo and the site of the Finnish president's summer estate, Kultaranta, as well as Moomin World). He's not a mystery writer, and wrote in Swedish besides (Nådendal, like much of the Åbo region, was majority Swedish-speaking at the time). It's also filmed in Swedish (1980s), so watching it was completely useless from a Finnish practice perspective, but it was still interesting (the setting, not the mystery. The mystery was eh, which is fair enough because the book isn't really a murder mystery, just a literary novel about the aftermath of a murder).

For instance, here's the volunteer fire department on their way to put out a fire: a horse and cart and a handful of men and flock of barefoot boys on foot! (The production only appeared to have one horse, so maybe the actual 1900 Nådendal volunteer fire department would have had a multiple-horse carriage or two but they couldn't afford it.) +4 )
cimorene: cartoon woman in red wizard's robe with tattered sleeves and pointed hood, pale nobby green green hands raised to cast magic, yellow eyes glowing from the shadows of the hood (evil)
The library appeared to spread outwards from him as from a core. His dejection infected the air about him and diffused its illness upon every side. All things in the long room absorbed his melancholia. The shadowing galleries brooded with slow anguish; the books receding into the deep corners, tier upon tier, seemed each a separate tragic note in a monumental fugue of volumes.

—Mervyn Peake, Titus Groan


17 Mar 2019 12:15 pm
cimorene: stylized laurel wreath surrounding the Swedish phrase meaning "genius and taste" (snille och smak)
I bought some dk-weight alpaca-blend sock yarn from Norwegian brand Sandnes, and it's called Spøt.


My intuition that this sounds hilarious from the Swedish point of view as well was borne out by Wax's reaction. I tried an inter-scandi dictionary and wiktionary to no avail, but finally a text search turned up the info that "spøt" is Nynorsk (the less common (?) closer-to-traditional-less-modern (?) standard Norwegian - they have two) term for "knitted fabric".

ETA: Spøt produces an incredibly soft and squishy sock, in spite of 20% nylon. Alpaca's silkiness and airiness make it feel a bit fluffier and smoother on the skin than pure merino (it's 40/40), but the merino still provides that buttery, cushiony surface/density/springiness that merino is known for. These socks are great! I'm wishing I'd chosen a more basic pattern so I could finish them faster - I'm stuck doing cable twists on the front center motif now which is slowing me down since I have to check that I'm twisting the right direction and at the correct interval... I should've left the cable socks for Wax, who is so much faster than me, and just hurried through so I could be reveling in my new bluey Norwegian-fir-green heathery socks.
cimorene: closeup of Jeremy Brett as Holmes raising his eyebrows from behind a cup of steaming tea (eyebrows)
Even the first few episodes of Miss Sherlock are strikingly and hilariously better modernizations of and commentaries on both Granada Holmes canon and Sherlock Holmes book canon than BBC Sherlock (and also cleverer which is even funnier). Even the soundtrack is witty — it's full of references to the Granada theme, but it incorporates other references at times, including a section where it went nearly full Mission: Impossible and had me bursting out laughing. But ultimately I can't look past the other changes they made that were so exactly opposite my own taste in fanworks, which spoiled my enjoyment after the midpoint or so. )
cimorene: scribbly sketch of an orange and white cat in an alert, friendly posture (curious)
So Snookums has been getting his insulin injections for a couple of weeks and has learned to come and demand attention at injection time (but not learned to relax and hold still so he has to be held down firmly for 10-15 sec).

It's common for diabetic cats to achieve remission after some treatment. It's also possible for removing carbs from the cat's diet alone to remove the need for treatment in some cats. So while diabetic cat owners online are fairly unanimous about a low-carb ("Catkins") diet, you also shouldn't suddenly go minimal-carb after the cat starts receiving insulin but before blood glucose is being regularly checked, because giving insulin to a cat with low blood glucose can make it dangerously hypglycemic.

So I got the animal blood glucose testing machine in the mail almost a week ago now, but I haven't started actually doing the testing because I have some anxiety about (a) the stabbing of Snookums's beautiful silky little tulip-petal ears with a needle and (b) all the actual mathy stuff, because it's not just testing regularly - once a week or once a day or whatever - it's about determining what the cat's highest and lowest levels are and how long between injections and meals these occur and to do that one takes a so-called "curve" by testing every 2 hours for 12 hours and graphing the levels on a little chart. So stabbing his little ear six times in one day...! That allows you to know when you want to be testing and to do so on several different days before introducing diet changes so that you know what's happening. [personal profile] waxjism the farm girl is much more calm and matter-of-fact about these things and has done the ear-needle blood sample thing before, so I want to proceed under her supervision at first.
cimorene: spectral figure of a pale woman in a long white gown with loose hair wearing a crown of flowers and holding flowers carelessly in her hand, silhouetted against very dark background (goth)
The farmhouse itself no longer looked like a beast about to spring. (Not that it ever had, to her, for she was not in the habit of thinking that things looked exactly like other things which were as different from them in appearance as it was possible to be.)

—Stella Gibbons, Cold Comfort Farm
cimorene: closeup of a group of white sheep with the one in front making a seemingly judgmental face (:|)
I'm making okay progress on this zigzag blanket, partly out of frustration because I tried to start the Briochevron Cowl pattern by Stephen West, a very popular pattern designer, with my new beautiful merino... and had to start over about 4 times yesterday because the pattern is badly written. It's not the most unclear pattern I've ever seen and there aren't exactly errors; it's just full of omissions that don't signal they are omissions, so you don't know which parts you're going to have to look up beforehand.

The only indication that the pattern is only clear and intuitive to an expert brioche knitter and is actually almost in a kind of shorthand is a note in the introduction that brioche knitting howtos and "classes" by a particular person are great. I've never completed a project in brioche, but I have completed some square samples of brioche rib based on detailed howtos, and it was because they were so fun that I decided I wanted to make a big project; and I thought that since I had the hang of brioche rib and understood what the anatomy of brioche is more or less it should be fine (particularly as the pattern also touts how simple and easily-memorized the pattern repeat is).

So while I could have avoided much of my frustration over the past 2 days if I'd sorted all the finished projects by the most helpful notes and systematically gone through them highlighting passages before I started, I didn't realize that I needed to do that. In spite of the loud consensus among knitters of the pattern that it is confusing and unclear, there's no note on the pattern page to that effect and no update to the pattern itself (common practices on Ravelry in those circumstances which I have come to expect). When I start over for the 5th time later today I will perhaps be slightly more likely to make it past the fourth row.

In the meantime, I'm possibly going to have to mail order more shades of 7 Veljestä for the zigzag blanket...

cimorene: closeup of a woman with short disheveled pixie cut, cropped to show only the top half of the face and head (the thinker)
2019 Oscars Speech for Best Film Editing but it's Edited in the Style of Bohemian Rhapsody - by Ambient Film Tracks on YouTube
I just thought that the Oscars weren't edited quite as well as they could have been so I took what I learned from the film editing in Oscar winner Bohemian Rhapsody and attempted to improve this speech.

(As hilariously patchy as the editing of BR was, it's pretty much impossible that anyone would do that on purpose. As [personal profile] waxjism pointed out, they probably had terrible coverage to work with and did the best they could to frankenstein it together into telling a different story from what they had originally filmed. That is at least a somewhat comforting idea that tallies with what we know of the film's journey to the screen. On the other hand, at some points it's hard to believe that was the best anybody could do...?)
cimorene: Sheppard & McKay from Stargate: Atlantis standing in an overgrown field in tactical gear (pastoral)
‘Jeeves,’ I recollect saying, on returning to the apartment, ‘who was the fellow who on looking at something felt like somebody looking at something? I learned the passage at school, but it has escaped me.’

‘I fancy the individual you have in mind, sir, is the poet Keats, who compared his emotions on first reading Chapman’s Homer to those of stout Cortez when with eagle eyes he stared at the Pacific.’

‘The Pacific, eh?’

‘Yes, sir. And all his men looked at each other with a wild surmise, silent upon a peak in Darien.’

—PG Wodehouse, Thank You, Jeeves
cimorene: closeup of Jeremy Brett as Holmes raising his eyebrows from behind a cup of steaming tea (eyebrows)
Since Wax and I are interested primarily in English-language & international film, we've never bothered with purchasing an actual tv. Getting all our media via the internet has greatly reduced our knowledge of domestic shows, so I've never actually encountered a Finnish remodeling or design series until I found Kotoisa ("homelike", "cosy") on the MTV streaming service. (I've had brief accidental exposure to reality tv at the homes of my in-laws, but this is typically Swedish reality tv because they're Swedish-speaking. Plus my instinctive reaction to dating shows and talent shows — MIL and SIL1's choices — is to move as far away as the limits of the house allow and try to block out the sound.)

Well, in the last 2 days I just learned, from this tv show, that it's normal for adult professional Finnish acquaintances to greet each other with a hug in certain circumstances! And I just learned this after 15 years in Finland, lol. )

On the show, the designer and the contractor are welcomed by the homeowner(s) to their homes inevitably like so:

  • each set of 2 women hug

  • each possible combination of man and woman hug

  • each set of 2 men shake hands

(This is also what happens when the two sets of hosts who usually work on separate episodes meet at a collaboration, so they aren't strangers in that case but they also aren't being welcomed into anyone's home: friendly work acquaintances who are happy to see each other but don't do so on a routine basis, I guess?)

So anyway. They seriously do this!

Can you even see yourselves, straight men? Are you for real right now? Out here in public behaving like this and not expecting to be laughed at????
cimorene: short-haired woman leaning on the wall with her eyes closed while someone off camera feels her forehead (blue)
My psychologist has been telling me for a year that my scores on the depression & anxiety indices are nearly identical to those of an average adult in Finland who isn't in the mental healthcare system. And, yeah, I do feel a lot better than in my depressive episodes or crises, no question! But... at the same time... I've been feeling a bit bad the last few months.

I know that thanks to my seasonal affective disorder I always feel crummy in the winter and that this winter has been the least terrible I've had in years, that my energy hasn't been as low and that I haven't felt the same kinds of emotional effects like spells of despair... but I'm still desperate for the winter to end, and frustrated because time seems to be going by too fast and it seems like I'm constantly remembering something I meant to do earlier, whether it's meal planning or replying to messages from friends or refilling my pens with ink.

Right now, in fact, I'm having a worse spell (an 'uh oh' spell?), going by things like laundry and vacuuming piling up, and having dropped my usual daily dinner-planning and barely noticed, so Wax has been buying some random ingredients on her way home instead and we keep eating improvised stuff.

I don't feel consumed or buffeted by waves of panic or despair (good!), except for these little transient sort of thunderstorms of anguish and guilt in response to impending deadlines/imposing events; and I'm not feeling physically ill at all (very good!), and in fact I don't feel particularly sad (unprecedentedly great in winter!!). But I am lacking in fuel (motivation?) to get through all the stuff that I want to have done (I just don't want to actually do it, but I want to want to do it) and I'm not feeling good (more kind of bleh, or nngh), and that is frustrating.
cimorene: blue-green tinted monochrome photo of a woman with short curly hair holding one hand to the back of her neck and looking to the side (Default)
As he now went up the weary and perpetual steps, he was daunted and bewildered by their almost infinite series. But it was not the hot horror of a dream or of anything that might be exaggeration or delusion. Their infinity was more like the empty infinity of arithmetic, something unthinkable, yet necessary to thought. Or it was like the stunning statements of astronomy about the distance of the fixed stars. He was ascending the house of reason, a thing more hideous than unreason itself.

—GK Chesterton, The Man Who was Thursday

Commentary )
cimorene: a disembodied giant glowing hand grabbing the Enterprise against a field of stars (you shall not pass)
David Smail's Power, Responsibility and Freedom: an internet publication - Responsibility (at
At first, in the early 1960s (in Britain), the dominant philosophy in both psychiatric and psychological spheres was crudely mechanistic and 'objective' in the sense beloved of behaviourists. 'Mental illnesses' were illnesses like any other, imposed on the hapless victim through events beyond his or her control and largely devoid of meaning as far as his or her personal life was concerned;
or else they were the result of 'maladaptive' habits acquired through more or less accidental processes of conditioning. [...] When, therefore, theoretical innovators arrived on the scene such as R.D. Laing in psychiatry and Carl Rogers and George Kelly in clinical psychology, their introduction into the picture of notions like meaning, subjectivity and responsibility (often borrowed from European phenomenology and existentialism) brought fresh, new perspectives which many of us seized on with relief and enthusiasm. The 'organism' that had been the object of the clinical gaze became a human being whose troubles were to be understood as the product of a particular life.


For what seems to me to have happened over the years is that a mechanistic and objectivist approach to people's distress that, while it didn't overtly blame them, dehumanized them, has been replaced by a 'humanist' and 'postmodernist' one that interiorizes the phenomena of distress and - often explicitly and nearly always tacitly - holds people responsible for them. Even though the pendulum seems to have swung from an almost entirely exterior approach to an almost entirely interior one, the problem of responsibilty has not been solved: formerly we had people for whose condition nobody was responsible while now we have people whose condition is largely if not solely their own responsibility. The reason for this is to be found in what these two extreme positions have in common: a studied avoidance of the social dimension.

It is true that, as the pendulum began to swing (for example with Laing's work), the social power-structure did indeed become visible for a moment, even to the extent of spawning 'radical psychology' movements. However, as far as the mainstream is concerned, the possibility that emotional distress is the upshot of the way we organize our society has never been seriously entertained and at the present time is if anything further than ever from any kind of official recognition. The imputation of responsibility is absolutely central to this state of affairs.

There's a good quantity of his writings online (he's also written some books that I haven't read). Smail definitively places the blame for most mental illness on society. He goes further, even, in the rest of the abovementioned internet publication (series of essays?), in a way that reminds me of a lot of postmodern analysis that I've read (although he doesn't identify as a postmodernist), in his efforts to show how much of our lives is socially determined and the huge extent to which this fact is obscured by language and institutions, including, he contends, most of the content of psychotherapy.

The above quote's "interiorization" is driving at the same type of idea I mentioned in my post on 'plastic free' living, that an overemphasis on subjectivity in mental health treatment (or on individual actions such as choosing what to purchase) is serving primarily to shift the blame, or responsibility, from societal structures (which cause mental illness along with all the other suffering as a result of the exploitation of the many for the material benefit of the few - and which, in the plastic example, allow megacorporations to pollute and to produce and use plastic at tremendous rates which account for the vast majority of plastic usage) to individual people. Read more... )
cimorene: closeup side view of a woman wifh very short hair and wearing a black-and-white striped shirt (serious)
The other day [personal profile] elf had a post about (more or less) the fact that society sucks for almost everybody due to structural inequality and capitalism and that being depressed and anxious about that is a perfectly natural response.

I've seen posts going around Tumblr about how capitalism and society being terrible cause depression. And I recently found and read some essays by a psychologist who essentially argues just that. But when I tried to find anything about that guy again I utterly failed at searching, even though I'd thought that I saved the material somewhere?!

It's easy to find articles, studies, and opinion pieces which assert or support this view of depression and anxiety in one way or another. Far more of them focus on more concrete psychological needs, like social integration, feeling that one's work has meaning, having enough to live on, and being in good health, than point the finger at structural inequalities.

Obviously there's an inescapable logical link between structural inequality and the more specific and concrete negative circumstances which affect people. But there are comparatively few search results that address the big picture eg:

It’s Not Just You: Inequality in Society Causes Depression by Zac Painting | Compassionative

Oppression leads to Depression - World Health Day 2017 | PSI
A more humane society is based on conscious policy choices that are inclusive and supportive of people and their communities, not returning to a “survival of the fittest” in a competition for decent jobs and access to benefits. Austerity policies have a debilitating impact on the health services provided to those who need them most, penalizing workers that suffer from long-term illnesses thus further exacerbating their plight and that of their families.

As [personal profile] elf pointed out, the wider societal context is basically completely absent from all the little blurbs, listicles, and introductory texts on things like "depression", "stress", and "anxiety" out there. This could be the result of a medical establishment reluctant to touch the issue, or a time delay between research findings and diffusion of new information into journalism and pop psychology. But perhaps it's more a paradigm issue: focusing on the minutiae of symptoms and available counter-measures rather than putting things in a broad public health context (which is the relevant scale if the structure of society itself is the culprit). More than once since 2016's election, a mental health professional has listened sympathetically to me talking about my anxiety about world politics and then gently tried to suggest ways to avoid thinking about it so much. I don't mean to criticize them exactly - it isn't wrong to focus on the things you can do; it's just that it feels silly and disingenuous to say something like "So things have been fine for the last month" when the month's list of breaking news stories about terrible things happening in America wouldn't fit on a letter-sized sheet of paper with single spacing.

ETA: I found it! It was the late British psychologist David Smail.

And then there are those studies about eating yogurt and having diverse intestinal microflora being inversely linked to depression as well, but these are prooooooobably two separate factors...
cimorene: painting of two women in Regency gowns drinking tea (tea)
‘This’ll last you, what? I mean, you won’t need any more excitement for months and months and months.’

‘Mr Wooster, my earnest hope is that the entire remainder of my existence will be one round of unruffled monotony. To-night I have seemed to sense the underlying horror of life.’

—PG Wodehouse, Thank You, Jeeves
cimorene: painting of woman in white Grecian dress and a golden crown on a gold throne, reclining with an imperious expression (queen)
Actually, the afterword on The Russia House about le Carré being followed around Gorbachev's Moscow on his first post-Communist trip in 87 is the funniest and most memorable thing I've read by him so far (though admittedly much less thrilling than his novels).

There's a great opportunity for humor there that in his fiction is usually only visible at its darkest, but one shouldn't forget that most of the time it's more The Death of Stalin than Smiley's People.
cimorene: closeup of a group of white sheep with the one in front making a seemingly judgmental face (wool)
Today we tried to go to TWO local yarn stores that had both had time to up sticks and move since the last time we saw them (Piikopirta, which used to be in the courtyard up the block from Kinopalatsi, and Tuuma, the one that used to be in the Mehiläinen Kauppiaskatu shopping center), one all the way to our suburb, Raisio, and one to Humalistonkatu around the corner from Kivikukkaro.

Thankfully the third one was still there, although it's changed its name from Käsityö Elisa to KäsityöAda (presumably due to inheritance, as Elisa was the owner and she already had the shop there before [personal profile] waxjism was born, according to MIL). They crammed in a bunch more shelves and there are bags and baskets of yarn skeins piled on the floor in the corners. I bought a bunch of dk-weight merino to start making myself a Briochevron Cowl, and [personal profile] waxjism bought some sock yarn and some beautiful Finnish lace-weight yarn to make me another shawl (I don't force her to: she likes making things for me better than for herself and she says she's never cold!).

I've also started knitting a zig-zag striped blanket out of 7 Veljestä, so I picked up 4 more skeins of that at the department store before we caught the bus back. (It's way too Basic to be found in a LYS.)

Also the owner appears to be of [personal profile] waxjism's People (the Swedish-speaking Finns)! We've been going to this store for over a decade and it's always manned by a member of the same immediate family, yet we've never known that before, lol.
cimorene: spectral figure of a pale woman in a long white gown with loose hair wearing a crown of flowers and holding flowers carelessly in her hand, silhouetted against very dark background (goth)
Our Kind of Traitor is the only le Carré I've read so far that doesn't feature at least one central man with a fatal-flaw twisted obsession, of a particularly gendered and objectifying kind, with a woman.

There are other kinds of relationships with women too, and there are female characters and narrators; but it can't help giving the impression that romanticized fixation is the next most common element of spycraft after waiting. You'd think they would have designed inoculations or obsession resistance training at this rate.
cimorene: closeup of Jeremy Brett as Holmes raising his eyebrows from behind a cup of steaming tea (eyebrows)
It is difficult to be sat on all day, every day, by some other creature, without forming an opinion about them.

On the other hand, it is perfectly possible to sit all day, every day, on top of another creature and not have the slightest thought about them whatsoever.

—Douglas Adams, Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency


cimorene: blue-green tinted monochrome photo of a woman with short curly hair holding one hand to the back of her neck and looking to the side (Default)

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