Maybe I'll drown it in the custard I made last week.
Maybe I'll drown it in the custard I made last week.
I finished the long fanfic—it's a Howl's Moving Castle (the movie) and Stargate crossover, and technically, I don't know either of the source canons. I've read the DWJ book, which is a favourite, and watched a Stargate movie (?) at some point in my teenagehood, so have a vague idea of the premise, but for the rest I just relied on general fannish osmosis. It was mostly good; better at the start than at the end, I thought, as the need to get the characters together slightly derailed the rather interesting premise of the plot. If I were to read with my editor's hat on, I'd suggest a second draft, to strengthen the plot and scatter the relationship arc a little more throughout the book, rather than essentially having a sandwich structure of 90% plot-100% slash-80% plot wrapping up because the main point of the story is already over. Having said that, with fanfic the point IS often getting the characters together, so this isn't exactly a complaint. And the writing was quite good and the world building was lovely and I absolutely adored the Calcifer analogue.
On the go
Another Golden Age mystery (as an aside, I am finding US mysteries of the same era mildly irritating. There's nothing *wrong* per se, but something just seems slightly off. Maybe it's the improbability [to me] of having country house settings and gilded rich characters. Maybe it's the sense that US police wouldn't have the same hangups about offending the wealthy/influential characters in the same way. I think the problem I have is that class markers in them seem to be more or less the same as the UK ones in ways that don't quite ring true to me. I don't have an issue with the presence of rich Americans; they're practically a stereotype; but when your American rich gentleman sleuth seems to be a Wimsey clone, down to rare-object collection and fine wines, I'm dubious. Or when your policeman is dithering about whether to question a wealthy businessman and he isn't thinking of the suspect's political influence with the senator, but of his family background, I again have to stop and think about which country the book is set in. And when everyone is playing golf and dining in clubs and going for country house holidays, I just want to put the book down and find a Wodehouse or Christie.)
...none of that had anything to do with the book I'm actually reading. I just chose it because the title made it absolutely clear that if wasn't set in the US. It's The Hampstead Mystery by Arthur J. Rees and John Rea Watson. It turns out the first was Australian and I can't find anything about the second. But the book is enjoyable enough. An anonymous letter to Scotland Yard leads to the discovery that a judge has been murdered in his house while everyone thought he was on holiday in Scotland. There is a shady ex-con butler, various enigmatic femmes fatales (the judge is a bit of a player) and rival investigations by Scotland Yard and a private detective called in by the dubiously bereaved relatives.
In terms of characterization, well, the only fully realized character is the junior police detective, who is constantly worried about the senior detective stealing the limelight. The senior detective is vain and predictably does everything he can to aggrandize himself. The private detective has no personality, and the other characters are all one-note variations: flirtatious Frenchwoman, shifty butler, seedy fence, angry daughter, etc.
I'm enjoying it because, while it has some of the longwindedness, repetition and seemingly endless twists and turns that bored me in the other books I've been reading from that time, the structure makes it far from tedious. Essentially, we follow the investigations turn by twist in real time. Each twist exposes a little more of the truth, but the skill of the writing lies in telling more to the reader than any of the characters actually know—when Scotland Yard discovers something, we are told their deductions; in the next chapter, when the private detective Crewe deduces something else, we follow along; but we know that the Scotland Yard's inference will be important later and neither will be able to discover the truth alone. This pleasant consciousness of being half a step ahead of either detective but still baffled is what prevents it from being tedious, and pulls the reader into the story.
More by the same author(s). A quick search led to me this very thorough account of the traces left of the author's life, which mentions:
- Dorothy L. Sayers in the introduction to Great Short Stories of Detection, Mystery and Horror (1928) mentions "Mr. A. J. Rees's sound and well-planned stories".
Also: "Messrs Rees and Watson write of police affairs with the accuracy born of inside knowledge, but commendably avoid the dullness which is apt to result from a too-faithful description of correct official procedure."
- • The Lone Hand claims that The Merry Marauders was favourably reviewed by London papers.
- The Times, Athenaeum, Pall Mall Gazette, and other journals praise the humor of the book and the easy style of the author.'
Instead, it's just lazy. First, there are the photos themselves. If someone made a list of how to depict 'exotic India', every photo here would fit on it, no questions asked.
- The majority of them feature turbans or saris. I also wear saris fairly regularly; I also have friends who wear turbans. But that doesn't mean that that's what most people wear. Not even in temples. Not even in Amritsar.
- Women in the photos generally have covered heads—which makes sense because they are taken in and around a gurdwara, where everyone is supposed to cover their head. But this isn't mentioned anywhere. And where are photos of sheepish-looking unturbaned men using their handkerchiefs to cover their heads? Oh right. every man wears a turban in this version of Punjab.
- What transport do these demure women and valiantly mustachioed and turbaned men use? Rickshaws. Two-wheelers. Trains. This for a state that's mocked mercilessly in the rest of India for its fascination with cars, the bigger and showier the better. Chandigarh (the capital) has the most number of cars per head in India.
- 'People wear bright colours.' Like in every other place in India?
- 'Mustaches are popular.' Again, that's just as true in Kerala.
- 'Women wear headscarves in temples, but are more modern outside' FFS. Isn't there a clothing difference in UK/US churches vs. on the street? Or in ANY formal setting vs. while getting groceries/attending college/catching a train?
- 'Men often wear button-down shirts in the street' ....am I really supposed to take this seriously?
- Oh, there IS a clueless stereotype about Punjabs: 'The turban is a symbol of pride. it's like a crown.' Joy
But there is a small silver lining. At least there were no cows.
- an appreciable number of karela sprouts have emerged; i'm even more excited about this because I had karela for lunch yesterday, and remembered how much I like them. Also, they are just beautiful; delicate tendrils and shy yellow blossoms; even if they don't set fruit, the plant brings me enough joy
- many, many tinda seedlings. hmm. I'm definitely not as excited about this, because the vegetable doesn't taste that great. Once or twice a year is fine for me. But who knows, it might wind up being a pretty plant also...
- at least one each of the gol (round) and long lauki, which is impressive, given that there were only three seeds of each
- the usual handful of kitchen spices—methi and coriander seeds, bits of ginger, garlic and turmeric, are all sprouting like mad.
- my partner had unearthed some long-forgotten tubers, which she calls kurka—we thought planting them might be worth a try and now at least two have pale green shoots and one has a little knot of five crinkled green leaves.
- on the same principle, we planted 4-5 old pieces of ginger, which are also sprouting palely. Last year, the ginger never really took off. The turmeric plants put at the same time did very well and we got a couple of handfuls of tender turmeric root as a harvest, as well as leaves to cook fish in throughout the year, but the ginger always looked yellow and unhappy and just languished away... so I don't have high hopes from it.
( Read more... )* Cooling/warming foods -- this is a concept from ayurveda/umami/other sorts of traditional sciences. Basically, every food has a cooling or warming property, which has nothing to do with whether it is actually hot or cold itself. It's the affect the food has on the body when eaten or spread etc. For example, sugar and ginger are warming -- they heat you up on the inside after you eat them. So do milk, turmeric, cinnamon and ripe mangoes. But yoghurt is cooling, as are cucumbers, melons, lemons, and spices like cumin and black salt. There must be lists of this stuff somewhere, but generally one learns it by osmosis ('don't eat mangoes in the middle of the day! don't you know they'll make your insides boil?')** and, eventually, starts being able to guess/infer the properties of foods that are new to you.
**this one will never be forgotten, because my sister literally was covered in boils after sneaking away to eat mangoes in the middle of a scorching summer afternoon
Eight kg of mud make beautiful music
When I Grow Up, I Want to Be A Tiger
In the garden, we moved the plants back out onto the terrace but I want to repot a lot of them.
- the gongura and peas need a deep pot, maybe the big blue one. it had five toris but only one seems to be surviving
- the hibiscus and harshringar saplings have to be put in three separate large pots -- old tomato ones can be repurposed for this
- three giant aloe veras are vying for domination in a single pot, maybe i should give them all away...
- the basil is continuing to take over the roof. at this point i just want to kill it off and plant new ones, in small, carefiully confined containers.
- it rained last night. but no earthworms. I guess we'll have to wait till the monsoon...
This phase occurs in the middle of the moon's waning phases, after the full moon and before the new moon.
What it says about you: You like to make up your own mind. You may find it hard to relate to mainstream opinions on issues, and you definitely don't always like what's popular. You can work out solutions and give birth to big ideas when left to yourself, and other people will be impressed with your conclusions even if they're not sure how you arrived at them.
In life, Swapna Mondal, 23, and Sucheta Mondal, 19, were tried by village courts and forbidden to meet. In death, they have been shunned by their community, their village refusing to perform their last rites and letting their bodies lie unclaimed in the morgue after they committed suicide.
Public Protest against Homophobic TV9 Reports
WHERE: TV9 Office,
21 Bhai Vir Singh Marg,
Near Gole Market, New Delhi
WHEN: 5pm, Monday, 28thFebruary, 2011
We, as concerned citizens, members of the queer community, and other human rights activists, are deeply disturbed by TV9 Telugu channel’s 22nd Feb 2011 broadcast that violated the basic rights and dignity of the LGBTQI community. Using private pictures, hidden-camera footage, and phone conversations, this broadcast made public the identities of some gay men without their consent. This was grossly invasive, unethical and violated the basic regulations of the National Broadcasting Association. Furthermore, News9, the TV9 English news channel in Bangalore, has continued to telecast a slightly edited version even after numerous protests against this news story.
TV9 conducted a ‘sting operation’ where they publicly named users of a social networking site and displayed their private photographs. They also recorded, and subsequently aired, phone-calls with these men in which their investigator asked leading questions relating to the private sexual preferences of the men. This broadcast has deeply and adversely impacted the lives of these individuals as well as all those who use such social networking sites as one of the few spaces available to the queer community to safely meet one another. This report is the latest in a series of incidents where the media has acted unethically in its coverage of sexuality. The most recent similar incident was the “sting” at Aligarh Muslim University that led to the death of Dr Ramachandra Siras.
This broadcast is in violation of protocols that the channel has set for itself and also in serious violation of the code of ethics set by the News Broadcasters Association. Some of these violations include targeting a community by propagating and reinforcing homophobic attitudes which cause stigmatization and which might lead to acts of violence against that community.
The people in charge of making decisions as part of TV9 should realise the repercussions of their unethical actions being faced by the members of the queer community – especially those whose identities have been made public. These repercussions are severe: violence from their families, discrimination at workplaces, and perpetuation of the idea that fear should define the everyday lives of queer people in India. The decision to talk about one’s sexuality should rest completely with the person concerned and no one else. Nobody has the right to make the sexual orientation of someone else public knowledge. Sensationalising the private lives and choices of any person or community for public viewership and titillation on a public medium is a matter which deserves deep censure.
The queer movement has received strong support from many media houses working in almost every Indian language in our fight for our rights and in the campaign against Sec 377. We urge our friends in the media to join us in protesting the unethical actions of TV9 and establish beyond any further doubt that the media in this country will stand by the LGBTQI community as the struggle for dignity and rights continues.
· That TV9 refrain from negative and homophobic portrayals of the queer and other marginalized communities.
· That the replaying of the footage, raw, unedited, and unused, be stopped immediately
· That a public apology be aired on the television channels concerned for these violations of the basic rights of the persons involved and the queer community at large.
We also urge fellow members of the queer community and our allies not to be intimidated by these reports. This protest is also to claim the spaces that are ours and state that violations of our dignity and rights will not be tolerated. We join similar protests in Bangalore, Hyderabad and Mumbai.