Showing posts from September, 2012

Love stories, "without all the shagging"

One of the reasons I'm not immediately impressed with Elementary is that I feel it's missing an important element which has been an integral part of the Holmes/Watson relationship in all its successful forms. They're setting Holmes and Joan Watson up in this semi-adversarial bicker-yourselves-friends dynamic, which is lamentably common in television drama, and which I am sick to death of seeing. (They also seem to be setting her up to be the Woman Who Fixes Him, which annoys me more, but that's another rant altogether.) It seems to me that they have missed the point of why this particular relationship is famous.

There is much snark about slash in Sherlock. Downey and Law are playing it up intentionally (in the words of one critic: "It's a decent yaoi fanfic.") in their films. What Doyle was actually writing between Holmes and Watson was a kind of relationship not much seen, or at least not much acknowledged today, what was known as a "romantic friend…
If anyone was wondering where I get some of the supplemental stuff for Sherlock, there are actually a small collection of tie-in sites for the series online. Aside from a few scattered things on the BBC site itself -- which tend to not work for US fans without a proxy -- there are also a tiny set of mock blogs and other sites set up in sort of mini-ARG fashion. The most useful one, of course, is John's blog, but from there you can also get to Sherlock's site (the same one John admitted finding in "A Study In Pink" when he looked Sherlock up, and the one Sherlock posts his answers to in "The Great Game") and Molly's blog, and a few other things.

John's blog is from whence the fandom gets a lot of things like the name of John's therapist, and some tantalizing bits of write-up about unaired cases. I don't know who's behind it, but the general accuracy to the on-screen stuff suggests that it's Gatiss and Moffatt, or one of the other fant…

Weekend Radio Theater

The New Adventures of Sherlock Holmes - "The Camberwell Poisoning Case"

The Adventures of Sam Spade - "The Adam Figg Caper"

Box 13 - "Shanghaied"

Public Service Announcement: I Hate Germs

I am extraordinarily ill. ("Five lurgies, and two I've never heard of.") Anyone who was expecting me to be anywhere but bed this weekend can stop expecting that now. Sorry, guys.
Thanks to the magic of the interwebs, I have now seen the pilot for Elementary.

Not. Impressed.
ARGH. Lifehacker is publishing articles on how to use hand gestures to read someone's inner soul or some other kind of garbage like that. I really want them to stop doing this, because they're always goddamn wrong. A description of hand gestures, removed from their behavioral, cultural, and situation context means absolutely fucking nothing.

The only thing that you can reliably get from hand gestures without knowing anything about the person, where they're from, or the situation they're in, is indicators of which is their dominant hand. Really. That is it. And you still have to know what you're doing for that.

The most useful way to winnow handedness out is to use right-handed-ness as your null hypothesis and watch for what's wrong on that basis. Wrist watches are a good start but provide both false negatives and false positives, as I've known people of both sorts who wear their watch against custom on their dominant hand, Moggie (right-handed) actually bei…
So the premiere of CBS' Elementary goes out tonight, and like Han Solo before me, I've got a bad feeling about this.

I have no complaints about the cast. Nobody makes me cringe. Jonny Lee Miller is actually quite a respected thespian, if mostly unknown in America, and in fact was recently on stage with Benedict Cumberbatch, switching off the roles of the mad doctor and the Creature in Frankenstein. Lucy Liu gets a lot of undeserved crit, mostly for doing fluffy pop things, but she isn't a bad actress. I have not, however seen her in anything serious enough to evaluate whether she's a good enough actress to save a crap script, which I suspect is going to be the problem here.

I have serious misgivings about the combination of "female Watson" and "American network television". I don't object to a female Watson per se; in the Victorian originals, the constraints of military service and medical school meant that Watson pretty much had to be a white E…
I managed to kill my computer keyboard about a week ago. I have a laptop -- I just made all you notebook owners out there curl up protectively around your babies, picture dollar signs, and wince, didn't I? Most of the time laptop repair is such a horrendous, needlessly complicated affair that it's easier, and sometimes no more expensive, just to buy a new computer. I know a lot of HPs and some Dells are nearly impossible to repair, and sometimes even to clean; Macintosh uses a lot of concealed snaps and clever Torx screws to make sure you never see the interior of their machines.

I, on the other hand, have a Toshiba Satellite. A busted keyboard, on a Toshiba Satellite, is a problem that can be solved with $17 + S&H and a screwdriver, or a small paring knife if you're obdurate and lacking in either patience or a sense of propriety.

I mentioned before, talking about the MP3 player, that I do appalling things to portable electronics, and the computer is no exception; s…
Going to need a cocktail dress soon -- moreover, one that's easy-on, easy-off. (Quick costume change and not ruining my makeup. Get your mind out of the gutter. Unless you're a particularly hot smart boy, in which case had you considered coming to RAW Provocations?) Considering chopping this one off above the knee. Thoughts?

No worries about sacrificing art; it's a $15 dress from Ross. It's synthetic stretch, so a rolled hem would keep it from shredding, if it had any tendencies to come apart in the first place. The skirt is full enough to wear over a rockabilly petticoat, although the waist is just short of empire, so I'm not sure how that would look.
One of the banes of the modern Watson's existence, in Sherlock, is that the public at large are constantly mistaking him for Sherlock's date. It happens from the very start; when they go to look at the apartment, Mrs. Hudson mentions that there's a second bedroom upstairs "if you'll be needing it", and when they use a restaurant as cover for a stakeout, the owner offers to get the table a candle on the grounds that it's more romantic. The sheer repetition is what pushes it into funny territory -- and then out of funny territory again in places, like when John's erstwhile girlfriend starts believing it -- and the fact that two of the first people to make the mistake are people who have evidently known Sherlock much longer than he has make John squirm a bit and make a most awkward, but very diplomatic, attempt to ask Sherlock if he is being flirted with and failed to notice.

The attempt to clarify makes Sherlock wonder if John has been flirting and he

"You see, but you do not observe..."

It is a running joke in the Holmes canon -- or, alternately, one of Holmes' pet peeves -- that other people wonder what he sees in the world, and he protests that he sees exactly what they do, he just makes something of it. You see, he says (especially to Watson), but you do not observe.

I'm generally less crabby about it, but his protest is largely true. People see a lot of things, every day, that they just don't treat as real observations. The thing goes into their brain, rattles around in there, and apparently hits nothing on its way back into the pile of unsorted sensory impressions. It's not even that people don't see what happens, although that's sometimes the case. They just don't ever think about why that happened, or how the world got this way.

I'm going to keep using Sherlock for examples. Aside from thinking that the cast is quite talented, that the writing is fantastic, and that clips are easy to come by on YouTube, I have this sneaking susp…
Well, that was disappointing. I bother to actually watch the Emmys and nobody I was rooting for won anything. Although I was unaware that Dame Maggie Smith was up for something -- good for her! I don't watch Downton Abbey, but she's a pretty awesome person. You don't get to be a Lady of a Certain Age and still be on television without being a damn sight sharper than people give you credit for, and people give her credit for a lot.

I am generally puzzled at the lack of fuss made over the Sherlock people, to be honest. I didn't even expect the fuss to be for Sherlock -- both of the leads are currently working on a massive, long-awaited, endlessly hyped fantasy movie adaptation of a classic piece of literature, which follows a trilogy of like from the same director, and will probably gross about as much as Avengers. The bobblehead doing interviews on the red carpet asked Stephen Colbert what he thought about The Hobbit, and inexplicably didn't go scare up the actual h…
Anyone else feel like going to MICE? I might pop in before the Banditos Misteriosos event.
Have been going through the press junket for Sherlock again, as if this is going to help them win an armload of awards tonight. (Must find a live blog or webcast -- the apartment is currently without a TV and we never did have cable.) Honestly, if they're going to keep stubbornly not giving Cumberbatch a BAFTA for anything, he ought to at least have an Emmy or a Globe or something for his mantelpiece. Or an Oscar. Although for that he'll probably have to be in a major story-driven movie where he's not upstaged by the horse.

(No, I haven't seen War Horse. I'm told it came out excellently and I know he's done a lot of interviews for it with internet-favorite Loki Tom Hiddleston, but I try to stay away from depressing things where loads of animals die.)

(Also, I've seen said interviews, and god you'd never guess he was the older one. Hiddleston is my age; Cumberbatch is in his mid-30s somewhere. He's just got this perpetual air of '12-year-old wh…

So, how do we feel about latex?

Not the typesetting program, the material.

I went to a walkthrough the other night at The Estate -- a nightclub downtown which is laid out like an opulent rat warren -- for RAW Provocations, which is the last show of the season for RAW Artists in Boston. I'm walking in a showcase for a designer named Doll Hart, a chipper little lady who showed up in jeans and chucks, and whose hair is currently the color of an assortment of My Little Ponys. Her company, Rubenesque Latex, specializes in artistic designs in latex for women of all shapes and sizes. Not all the models were at the walkthrough (it was only mandatory for designers, but I wanted to be sure I could find the club), but the ones I met ranged from round and cuddly to tall and athletic to absolutely eensy and adorable.

I gather that Doll does do fetish pieces, but all of the fashion pieces we're wearing in the show are works of art, full of color with printing and cutouts and flirty overlays. She will also have a rack of…

Weekend Radio Theater

The New Adventures of Sherlock Holmes - "Murder In The Locked Room"

The Adventures of Sam Spade - "The Prodigal Daughter"

Box 13 - "Extra! Extra!"
It's always entertaining to look through my stat logs and see how people find me. The winner for search terms, by far, is still "himmmm", from over a year ago when that little gossip debacle hit Jezebel and I weighed in on the sanity of the author (dubious), his legal standing for the cease and desist letters (not even Lionel Hutz, "law-talkin'-guy", would take this one) and the chances that it really was Robert Downey Jr (no; most amusing denial from his publicist, whose actual assurance was in the form, "Robert is a much better writer than that."). I manage to make myself accidentally internet-famous about once every 12-18 months on average, I just didn't expect it to be over that -- someone pointed at a summary I'd done on a message board somewhere, and apparently the only thing that propagates faster than gossip is someone doing a reasonably intelligent and correctly-spelled forensic analysis of gossip. Lesson learned.

I also didn'…
I had a therapist ask me once how I felt about getting catcalled. She was not an unattractive lady, but as she was very thin, spray-tanned, salon-blonded and wore $300 platform pumps to a sliding-scale counseling appointment that cost me all of $40, I suspected that she was one of those people who, regardless of what she actually looked like, didn't feel beautiful until she was old enough to buy it.

She didn't seem to know quite what to do with my answer when I told her that I really didn't think about it much at all. Wolf whistles are right up there with the phrase, "Wow. You're really smart," on the list of environmental noises that just sort of happen when I leave the house and interact with people. Everyone has guessed my age at 21-22 consistently since I was about sixteen -- I'm thirty-one now and I still have to argue with people and occasionally show them ID when they don't believe me -- and I used to get guys in the mall coming up and asking …

Slightly less hilarious brain-stuff

One of the few less-cool things I think I have in common with the autistics in the house is sporadic executive dysfunction. I've actually known I had this pretty much as long as I can remember, and I got a name for it sometime in college, but previously I'd only been aware that it was linked to physical damage to the frontal lobes and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. I'm quite sure I don't have any history of getting whonked repeatedly in the head, and previously when life got so insane I ceased to function, I would generally drive myself even crazier by looking up stuff on ADHD just in case I'd magically developed any of the other symptoms this time.

I do not have ADHD. I know this perfectly well. I know people with ADHD. I know people whose faces are probably next to the clinical diagnostic criteria for ADHD in the DSM. The all-time winner in this regard is probably the friend who once had to be frog-marched down to the local pharmacy to explain that he…

*crosses fingers*

I am pleased to point out that Sherlock is up for ALL THE EMMYS next Sunday. Not kidding -- I think they've hit everything they're qualified for in the Miniseries category. Best Actor, Best Supporting Actor, Best Writing, Best Directing, Best Cinematography, Best Sound/Mixing, Best Costuming, Best Casting, probably Best Craft Services for all I know, I only check when shows I care about start winning things.

(For non-estadounidenses, the Emmys are basically the Oscars for TV. Foreign actors win things like Emmys and Golden Globes for American television productions fairly often -- Hugh Laurie has a pair of Globes for House, f'r instance, and his first acceptance speech confused an awful lot of people who didn't know he's from the original Cambridge -- but it's not very common for productions outside of North America to sweep nominations like that, much less win anything. The only reason Sherlock qualifies is that it was widely aired on public broadcasting stat…

Not a defense, but at least an explanation

Time for some translation work. (I hope. Please don't anyone wring my neck over this. I mean well.)

I'm sure that all of you who received an ASD diagnosis as a child were lectured endlessly on Sally-Anne and the "theory of mind". You probably gathered from all the repetition that the whole ToM thing was of extraordinary importance to allistic people, and that they considered a lack of it to be a very serious deficit, even if you didn't particularly care.

From their perspective, it would be. Allistics spend endless hours fretting over what other allistic people think. Entire industries exist -- advice columns, self-help books, psychology -- dedicated to taking money in exchange for telling people how to figure out what the bloody blue fuck other people are thinking, and now to make them think what you want them to without them noticing. "What other people think of me" dictates most of their daily interactions. It is so overbearing that there's also…