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May. 15th, 2014

Land of Make Believe
I just had a long conversation with my mom over a social-developmental history form I was filling out, and as she was reflecting over my early developmental milestones, she remembered that I once had an obsession with a picture of a crawling baby that appeared on the container for Diaparene brand baby wipes. Like, whenever I saw the container I would smile and laugh and attempt to talk to it, and my mom and nana eventually worked out that it was the cartoon baby I was trying to interact with.

Guys, I have identified my first obsession with a fictional character. Apparently I was far more enthused about this baby than I was about the only other real baby I was 'friends' with at this age, thus foreshadowing a lifetime of caring more about fictional people than real ones.


we can haz kitteh

LoA- Huzzah
It's been a week and the former owners still haven't called, so it looks like the cat is officially ours!

We celebrated by getting her a collar and a tag, which she naturally hates, and which I naturally managed to put on upside down.


Cats, Rats and Brats

Vermin Disciple
Apparently cats don’t appreciate it when rats grab their tails and start chewing on them.

(Pythia has no survival instincts whatsoever. Luckily the cat's interest in the rats is tempered by a lot of wariness.)

We still haven’t heard anything from the cat’s former owners. I’m thinking that it is less and less likely that we ever will.

We’re calling her Dendera. According to her microchip her name is “Roxy,” but it doesn’t really suit her. Besides, an Egyptian temple fits in better with the ancient religion theme we’ve got going on here.

Mar. 22nd, 2014

Vermin Disciple
Still no word from the cat's owners. Just called the vet clinic to confirm, and since they close at 2:00 and aren't open tomorrow, it looks like we won't be hearing anything from them this weekend.

Cat Update

DS- Dief with Donut
We took the cat to the vet today, and she does have a registered microchip. The vet called the owners but they didn’t answer, so now we’re just waiting for them to call back. We’ve gotten attached to her, so I’m a little disappointed we’ll (probably) have to give her back. Hopefully her owners keep her inside in future so this doesn’t happen again.
SH - JB!Holmes - finger of concentration
Not having much luck in my current beta search. Sigh.

ETA: Never mind, just found one! :D
DS- Happy Dief

We seem to have acquired a cat.

She showed up at our back door this afternoon, looking rather pitiful. I went out to say hello and started petting her, and she was quite happy to jump into my lap. But she’s super skinny and rather unhealthy looking, so we let her inside and gave her a bowl of water and some food, both of which she was practically inhaling. I suppose we’ll ask around tomorrow and see if anyone recognizes her, although if she has a home in the apartment complex she clearly isn’t being well-cared for.

Please Send Help. Or Fic.

ST- Team Science
I've fallen into Star Trek and now I can't get out. Please send help.

Some observations on my current predicament, in no particular order:

Last night I had a dream in which Kirk, Spock, and McCoy were in a three-way marriage and for some reason they were on a talk show discussing their six genetically engineered children.Collapse )

9. And now, if you'll excuse me, I have to go feed a Redshirt to a vampire.

I think this entry got away from me somewhere.

Assorted Ficlets

More off-season spring cleaning snippets. A particularly odd assortment this time.

Title: tempus fugit, non autem memoria
Fandom Life on Mars
Characters: Annie Cartwright
Rating: PG
Word Count: 300
Notes: This is a scene from a fic that I doubt I will ever finish, but since it works well enough as a standalone, I’m posting it now so that the thing doesn’t go entirely to waste, and because the world always needs more Annie Cartwright genfic. Based on Annie’s description of her happiest memory in S1E06. (AO3 link)

It’s 1968. She’s 21 and the world is changing around her.Collapse )

Title: Bounce
Fandom Due South
Characters: Ray Vecchio, Benton Fraser
Rating: G
Word Count: 240
Notes: This was written for a ds_snippets prompt, and for reasons that escape me now, I didn’t post it. I can’t remember if I missed the deadline or didn’t think it was finished or polished enough or whatever. *shrugs* Set post-Victoria’s Secret, around the beginning of Letting Go. (AO3 Link)

A bright, cheery little nurse had happily informed him that his friend would 'bounce right back' after his physio.Collapse )

Title: The Best
Fandom Lawrence of Arabia
Characters: Ali, Lawrence
Rating: PG
Word Count: 100
Notes: I’m assuming this was written around the summer of 2007, because that was the last time I was reading LoA fanfic in earnest. I think this was probably just written as a personal drabble-writing exercise, possibly one of my earliest – it took me awhile to get the hang of drabbles. Posted now because, eh, it was there. (AO3 link)

Aurens offered him money. His hopes were in vain, after all.Collapse )

Title: nil igitur mors est ad nos
Fandom I, Claudius / Good Omens
Characters: Messalina, DEATH
Rating: PG-13
Word Count: 340
Warnings: Canon character death, in case the characters listed above don’t constitute an adequate warning.
Notes: Uh?? IDEK, guys. I just found it in my writing folder. I don’t know when I wrote it, or why, or whether it was intended to be part of something else or what. I don’t actually remember writing it at all, but presumably I did, because it was in my writing folder and it does sound like something I would write. Title is from Lucretius' De rerum natura, which probably means this was written around Spring 2007, when I took a class on Lucretius. (AO3 Link)

‘I can't be dead,’ she said, taking a wonderful comfort in hearing her own voice, or at least at the memory of her voice. She carefully avoided glancing at her own severed throat.Collapse )

LoM- Armed Bastards
I feeling rather disconnected from the world of fanfic these days. SO, I'm reinstating spring cleaning, at least until I leave the country. Hey, it gives me something fandomy to post. This week's theme is Tales of Forgotten Fanfic Challenges Past.

Title: Lipstick
Characters: Mrs. Hunt (implied Sam/Gene)
Rating: PG
Word Count: 312
Warnings: Adultery
Notes: Years ago, this started life as a Friday Drabble Challenge entry, but it got too long. I couldn’t figure out a way to cut it down, and never bothered posting it as is. Original prompts: “knee, slander, water, egg, lipstick, the missus finds out.”

She would never slander her husband. But perhaps they'd reached a point where he would believe that she might damn him with the truth.Collapse )

Title: Intemperance
Characters: Sam/Gene
Rating: PG
Word Count: 500
Warnings: None
Notes: Originally written for the Sober Challenge at 1973flashfic, ages and ages ago. Not posted then because it didn’t feel finished. Today I’ve dusted it off, rearranged it slightly and added a couple of sentences. Represents one of my very few attempts at writing Sam/Gene (probably with good reason).

The most surprising thing is that when it happens, they are both completely sober.Collapse )

Bonus: A LimerickCollapse )
GO - Aziraphale reading
1. For obvious reasons I've been brushing up on my ancient Egyptian history and culture, and one odd side effect is that every time the Amarna period is referenced it reinvigorates my initial irritation with Dinosaurs on a Spaceship's portrayal of Nefertiti and I am consumed with a desire to write Doctor Who fix-it fic incorporating some actual Egyptian history. (Really though, how can you look at Ahkenaten's sudden and inexplicable religious conversion and not think aliens.)

I said as much to my_kakistocracy the other day and she responded with, "Are you still not over that?"

(No, apparently not. TBH, I've found the current season of DW to be rather disappointing, and it doesn't help that I have cooled considerably towards Mr. Moffat since the end of A Scandal in Belgravia. Not that I can put the blame on him for DoaS, I suppose. DoaS was especially irritating because it incorporated so many things that could have been awesome - Mitchell and Webb! Dinosaurs! Nefertiti! Rupert Graves! Arthur Weasley playing Rory's dad! - and then totally failed to put them together effectively. It promised ridiculous fun and did not deliver. Well, except Rory's dad, who I did like. And of course I spent most of the episode wishing that I was watching the Doctor's adventures in Akhetaten with Nefertiti instead - preferably written by somebody else - which didn't help.)

2. On the subject of Egyptologically themed fanfic, this has reminded me that years ago I once started writing Good Omens fic set during the construction of the Great Pyramid of Giza. I think it revolved around Crowley first coming to the realization that he actually rather liked people, and having something of an existential crisis over it. I seem to recall that at some point he and Aziraphale wound up drunk on top of the Step Pyramid, reminiscing about Imhotep. I should dig that up again and see if any of it is worth doing something with...

Incontrovertible Evidence

Skull - Two-Headed Boy
On the other hand, Aristotle (Peck, 1942) proposed that congenital malformations were examples of incomplete development of the human form and therefore expressed varying degrees of animal form. This was echoed later by Harvey (1651). Warkany (1959) related instances during the seventeenth century in which people were executed because the birth of malformed children, or even animals, was thought to have been the result of bestiality.

-S.J. Turkel, "Congenital Abnormalities in Skeletal Populations," from Reconstruction of Life From the Skeleton (1989)

(This icon is rarely so appropriate)

FIC: It Was A Very Good Year

LoM- Sam and Gene in silly hats
This week's offering for my Spring Cleaning thing: Old Sam and Gene Ficlet. Old in two senses: 1) Sam and Gene are both old in it, and 2) it was one of the very first LoM things I ever wrote. Specifically, it was the third thing, and my earliest real attempt at writing banter between the two of them.* I was never quite pleased with it, or always thought the basic plot (such as it is) was too cliché, so I never posted it. There were bits of it I liked that I kept thinking I might use in something else, but since that hasn't happened and probably won't, I figure I might as well just post it as-is for the archives.

*My first two fics in this fandom, not counting a drabble or two, were Convergence, which revolves entirely around Sam Williams and ends just before our Sam Tyler effectively takes over his life, and Tin Star, in which Gene is about 19. Hence the lack of Sam-Gene interaction prior to this ficlet.

Title: It Was A Very Good Year
Fandom: Life on Mars
Characters/Pairing: Gene Hunt, Sam Tyler
Words: 1,230
Rating: PG
Summary: "You enjoying playing chauffeur for a change, Miss Daisy?"
Notes: Completely ignores the existence of A2A.

Or maybe the last 30 years had driven him nearly as barmy as SamCollapse )
Sherlock - John facepalming
So I'm reviving my Spring Cleaning mission. I'm designating Saturday as my posting day. (Yes, I realize it's technically Sunday, but I only just made up the deadline 30 seconds ago, and I don't feel like waiting for next Saturday). And I will continue to tag it that even though it is November. Just because. And since school is what is preventing me from creating anything new, I thought I'd start with something school related:

Title: The Grading Version of Good Cop, Bad Cop
Fandom: Sherlock (BBC)
Characters: Sherlock, John
Words: 485
Rating: S for Silliness
Summary: Sherlock grades papers. John disapproves of his methods.
Notes: In the same vein as On the Benefits of a Classical Education, and written a day or so later, after the despair had really set in. Probably a better reflection of the dilemma I face whenever I find myself in this position. Not beta'd or britpicked, because I wrote it purely for my own amusement (or rather, catharsis), and it is really too short and cracky to bother, but if you notice anything feel free to point it out.

You can't just fail all of them, Sherlock.Collapse )

Fun With Terms

SH - JB!Holmes - Say what?
Note that 'lesions' here refers to holes in a bone caused by certain cancers.

Circular and geographic lesions are present. Geographic relates to irregularly shaped lesion(s) that might mimic, for example, the outline of New Jersey, rather than simply being oval or circular.

(I am admittedly not well-read on the subject of neoplasms, but I haven't seen anyone else in the paleopathological literature referring to these as "geographic.")

Oct. 22nd, 2012

LoM- Sam & Gene at the bar
OMG, I can't believe that it has taken me two and a half seasons of Downton Abbey to realize that Anna Bates is Sam Tyler's mother. LOL, I fail at recognizing actors.

For some reason, the more ridiculous and angsty and unrepentantly soap-opera-y that show gets, the more I want to read a cracky Jeeves and Wooster crossover. Just saying. These people clearly need Jeeves to come and sort them out.
S&A- Perfectly Sane
But instead, here's a randomly numbered list of randomness that is completely unrelated to schoolwork:

1. I was looking through my writing folder the other day, and found an unfinished FemGenFicathon fic that I totally don't remember writing. I remember considering the idea of it, but I don't remember that I apparently wrote 1,500 words of it. o_0 It wouldn't be all that weird I suppose, except that it wasn't that long ago, and moreover it is I, Claudius fic - and since I don't attempt Livia's POV very often, I like to think that I wouldn't have accidentally purged it from my memory.

2. I got my_kakistocracy hooked on Slings and Arrows over the weekend, and am quite pleased with myself. I think this is the fourth time I've re-watched it, AND OMG HAVE I EVER MENTIONED HOW MUCH I LOVE THAT SHOW? LOVE LOVE LOVE TIMES A MILLION. Yes? Alright, carry on them.

Really, if you haven't watched it, you should. The writing is incredible, and it's full of wonderful characters played by superb actors, and is one of the most nearly perfect television shows I have ever watched. And it's got Paul Gross ranting about Shakespeare. And a snarky ghost. And a theme song called "Cheer up, Hamlet."

3. The world needs more Slings and Arrows fanfic. Preferably more S&A fic that is not Geoffrey/Darren, because that squicks me out. And obviously, this is all about me and what I want to read.

4. I want to write non-academic things again. I should make time to do that. I think it would help me feel less crazy.

5. Thinking of returning to my "Spring Cleaning" folder and posting a few random snippety ficlety things over upcoming weekends, although I admit that a new title may be required, since spring was a couple of seasons ago. It does feel oddly cleansing to post them.

6. There is no number 6.

7. I think I may have to watch Elementary, even though everything I've heard suggests I won't like it. Because I am compelled to collect Sherlock Holmes adaptations regardless of quality, apparently.

I would be far more interested in it if the leads switched places. I would watch the hell out of Lucy Liu playing Sherlock Holmes.

I'm also automatically prejudiced against versions of SH that have that scruffy-action-hero-permastubble thing going on. See also: Robert Downey Jr.

8. And speaking of him, I finally got around to watching Sherlock Holmes: Game of Shadows a couple of weeks ago. My observations require a second list:

a) Rachel McAdams looked far healthier when she was on Canadian television, what has Hollywood done to her? Also, TB does not work like that.

b) Nice to see you, as always, Stephen, though as usual I have no idea what the screenwriters are smoking when they make decisions about characterization.

c) Jared Harris is an excellent Moriarty, and I wouldn't mind seeing him in a better class of adaptation. I think the only scenes in the film where I half believed in RDJ as Holmes were in his interactions with Harris' Moriarty.

d) I know that RDJ is divisive, but am I alone in my dislike of Jude Law's Watson?

e) I'd comment on the plot but I've forgotten most of it. Was there a plot? I remember Moriarty and stuff exploding, something about gypsy anarchists, fast-acting tuberculosis, RDJ in drag, and Stephen Fry being naked.

Maybe next weekend I'll rewatch the one with the dinosaurs.
David Mitchell - sound of my own voice
Usually the gems of academic writing I post come from sociocultural anthropology or sociology, which are grand fields to go into if you want to beat the English language into shapes that defy recognition. So for a change of pace, here's something equally mad, though admittedly less tortuously written, from the field of archaeology*:

Gender identity was in part constructed and maintained by acts of technical production: 'During technical acts, more than objects are produced -- gendered subjects are produced as well' (Dobres 1995, 42). Thus to become a potter was to become a woman.

A few paragraphs later it continues with an explanation, of sorts:

It would be a mistake however to assume that a Beaker pot simply signified 'female' as it may also have possessed properties of cognitive import. In many parts of sub-Saharan Africa for instance there is a conceptual conjunction of women and pots... Women often make the pots and are seen using them to cook, fetch water and brew beer, and this metonymic association of women and pots is further supported by a series of analogical relationships which centre around the concepts of containment and transformation. Thus the pots themselves have to be transformed from raw clay to fired ceramic, while they are used to transform raw ingredients into cooked food or fermented beverage. These transformations provide ready metaphors for the processes of biological reproduction, or primeval creation. But pots are also containers: they have bellies, or wombs, and are used to store things -- to keep them safe from harm. So a mother is like a pot, but similarly a pot is like a mother. Pots may be produced by women, as are people, and like people pots have a life of their own, during which they undergo a series of rites of passage: they pass from raw clay to formed pot, from unfired pot to fired pot, and finally from whole pot to broken pot.

Thus pottery provides numerous analogies which are clustered within a female theme of nurturance and transformation, and which might be used selectively by people to explain or make sense of the world around them (without necessarily being advertised on the pot by plastic anthropomorphisms). So pottery does not simply signify female. Ultimately, pottery helps people to think, to structure their thoughts. Barley (1995, 85) has suggested that the potting process is 'a scenario that provides a concrete experience that can serve as a model for organising other experiences'. It provides a technological basis for analogical thought or discourse, one which may be used to reflect upon times of life or states of nature. (Emphasis mine.)

And finally:

In a Marxist moment Clarke once suggested that a Beaker represented an 'expensive chunk of congealed time and energy' (1976, 470), perhaps we should regard it also as a chunk of congealed metaphor.

Well, congealed is one word for it, I suppose.

It may not surprise you to learn that the author of this is male. I realize that I cannot speak for all women, but personally I have never felt compelled to compare my uterus to an inert storage vessel.

On a tangentially related note, I think that everyone in academia should be required to read The Pooh Perplex, by Frederick Crews. What he's parodying is the field of literary criticism, but I think there's a good lesson in there for all of us about the wanton use of metaphor and the dangers of torturing your evidence into submission.

Admittedly you may never be able to look at Winnie-the-Pooh the same way again after you've read it, but I think the benefits outweigh the risks.

*From: "New Perspectives on the Bell-Beaker Culture," by Neil Brodie. Oxford Journal of Archaeology 16(3) 1997.
SH - Holmes and Watson reading
(Actually, I will give you points for guessing either of the other two.)

Ever come across an offhand reference in something you've been assigned to read that makes you go 'Bzuh?"

Well, yesterday it was this:

Inability to culture the organism has hindered such studies and for years transmission methods were speculative. Injections of humans with leprosy-infected tissue suspensions have usually failed to transmit the disease although surgical implantation in one patient was successful (Arning, 1884, cited in Skinsnes, 1973).
From pg. 143 of The Cambridge Encyclopedia of Human Paleopathology, Aufderheide and Rodriguez-Martin, 1998

Seriously, oh writers of textbooks - how can you make a fleeting reference to infecting people with leprosy for the sake of Science without any elaboration whatsoever?

Naturally I had to google this Mr. Arning, and this is the relevant passage I pulled out of Leprosy and Empire: A Medical and Cultural History (pg. 90-91):

By the mid-1880s Hawaii had become an especial focus of concern. The rapid spread of leprosy in a relatively short time among a small population seemed to offer the best proof yet that the disease was contagious, and Hawaii was coming to be seen as the imperial world's leprosy laboratory. One experiment in particular had drawn attention to these islands. Beaven Rake had referred to Eduard Arning's human experiment and this episode hovered over most discussions about the communicability of leprosy in the late 1880s. Arning's work for the Hawaiian Board of Health involved cultivation and inoculation experiments, using specimens of leprous tissue from the bodies of patients to try and grow the lepra bacillus and solve the problem of communicability that had become so urgent in Hawaii. In 1884 he was given the opportunity of trying to implant the disease in a living human body. A Hawaiian man and convicted murderer, Keanu, agreed to exchange his death sentence for life imprisonment on the condition that Arning could experiment on him. A leproma about the size of a hen's egg was surtured into an incision on his arm. Within several years Keanu was showing signs of the disease and eventually he was removed to the leper colony on Molokai where he died in 1892.

(It goes on to discuss the doubts of the medical community as to the success of this experiment: apparently, several members of Keanu's family were lepers, so it was by no means inconceivable that he had caught the disease from them, rather than from Arning's implantation. Leprosy's a rather tricky creature to pin down.)

I may have to pick up a copy of the book sometime; it looks quite interesting, in a horrific and depressing sort of way.

This also looks rather like the sort of anecdote likely to feature on an episode of QI, but that is beside the point.

While we're on the subject of leprosy trivia, here's another one for you: it is currently hypothesized that "contracting and waging an immunological battle"* against tuberculosis (either Mycobacterium tuberculosis or M. bovis) provides you with a natural immunity to leprosy (which is caused by a related bacterium - M. leprae). However, leprosy will not grant you the same favor with regards to TB, and it's one of the diseases that lepers were particularly prone to dying of.
*From Lynnerup & Boldsen, in Ch. 25 (pg. 467) of A Companion to Paleopathology (2012)

And, although leprosy is actually a surprisingly difficult disease to catch, I would still recommend staying away from armadillos in the southern United States, if I were you.

And that is your PSA on ancient diseases for the day.

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