Within each category, stories are listed in reverse chronological order with the most recent at the top. I've included only the title and main characters here; see the header of each story for rating, any warnings, etc. Generally speaking, the first character listed is the POV character.
Please let me know if there are any problems with the links.
2013 Addendum: This post is no longer being updated. All of my newer stories and most of my old ones can be found at An Archive of Our Own, which has handy search features. They're also still being posted here on DW and you can find them using my tags.
( Blake's 7 )
( Buffy the Vampire Slayer )
( Colditz )
( Discworld )
( Doctor Who )
( due South )
( Harry Potter )
( Simon Pegg and/or Nick Frost fandoms )
( Tintin )
( Top Gear RPF )
( Torchwood )
( X-Men Universe )
( Other Fandoms )
All of these permissions extend only to noncommercial use of my content. You may not use any of my content for commercial purposes.
YOU MAY: Write remixes, sequels, prequels, responses, or whatever. Make art or illustrations. Review, recommend, discuss, and link to fics. Translate a story or record a podcast of it so long as you let me know and give me appropriate credit as the author. Print or save copies (please make sure my name is attached as author).
YOU MAY NOT: Add my story to any archive without my permission. Repost any story in its entirely on your own journal, blog, or Tumblr even if you credit me.
My Nonfiction Public Posts
YOU MAY: Link, discuss, write response or follow-up posts on your own journal, blog, or Tumblr. Quote portions of my post(s) as needed.
YOU MAY NOT: Repost any post in its entirety on your own journal, blog, or Tumblr even if you credit me.
If you have any questions, just drop me a line here or PM me.
And yet I can't help thinking, "This is why leftists have a reputation as puritanical killjoys." It reminded me, to some extent, of fandom purity culture, in which legitimate criticisms get dulled down into the very blunt instrument of "That thing you are enjoying is Bad and Wrong." Which is an accusation that people, unsurprisingly, often react badly to.
I kept wanting the honorable leftists saying true things to shut the hell up.
Plus, I have noticed a tendency for the honorable leftists not to notice, or to gloss quickly over, the fact that a black woman marrying into the British royal family is not meaningless. Its meaning may be mostly symbolic, but symbols are important, as witness the angry British racists who hated the whole business. Anything that makes the typical Daily Mail reader fume that much can't be all bad, can it?
Other shows I loved that have been cancelled this year include The Exorcist and Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency.
It may not be coincidence that all three shows included characters of color in major roles and that two of them had queer characters in major roles (and in the third, Dirk Gently was heavily coded as some flavor of queer).
Brooklyn 99, which I started marathoning a couple of weeks ago and am now all caught up on. I was a little dubious about the first few episodes because Jake was such an asshole, but he kept getting his comeuppance for being an asshole, which was encouraging. And then he became much less of an asshole, and all the other characters are pretty damn awesome, and Andre Braugher and Marc Evan Jackson are husbands. I like it a lot.
Broadchurch S3. I finally got up the nerve to watch this. It's much better (by which I mostly mean less frustratingly implausible and contrived) than S2 and not as wrenching as S1, though still plenty grim.( Somewhat spoilery things under the cut )
It was interesting to see two performers I strongly associate with comedy--Lenny Henry and Charlie Higson (formerly of The Fast Show)--take on dramatic roles and do very well in them. I adore Charlie Higson in particular and now need to look up what else he's been in. And, in tribute to my facial-recognition ineptitude (I recognized both Henry and Higson by their voices) I will acknowledge that for the first two episodes, until I looked it up, I thought Trish was being played by Fiona Shaw. Julie Hesmondhalgh, who actually plays the role, is excellent.
Paddington 2, which is even funnier and lovelier than the first one, and which focused on the value and power of community in a way I found pleasing and timely. Hugh Grant nearly steals the show as a sharp parody of himself.
2) Stuff I've been reading:
Point of Sighs, by Melissa Scott. I had not known this was coming out, so it was a wonderful surprise. Like the previous Fairs Point, it integrated character development with plot really well, but in this one the plot involves tea and underwater monsters instead of dog racing, so it was much more my jam. My only quibbles were ( Spoilers )
A Closed and Common Orbit, by Becky Chambers. I liked A Long Way to a Small Angry Planet well enough, but this one, not a sequel but set in the same universe and featuring a few characters from the first book, is better. It's still got too much of its plot stuffed into the last 40 pages, but this time there's some build-up, and more importantly, the characters are sympathetic, well-intentioned, decent people who still have conflicts with each other. Small Angry Planet oversold everyone's pure nobility a bit for my taste; Common Orbit feels more real and more complex.
The teaser chapter to KJ Charles's Henchmen of Zenda, which will be released on May 15th. I can't wait!
3) Stuff I've been cooking:
Strawberry-rhubarb pie. I more or less followed this recipe, but with a cream-cheese pastry crust (mostly because I didn't have enough butter) and with a few other small adjustments, namely a little less sugar, omitting the butter in the filling, and using a few drops of orange extract in place of the orange juice. Also, my strawberries had been macerating in a bit of Cointreau and sugar overnight, because I didn't initially intend to turn them into pie. And the strawberries were halved or in thick slices instead of chopped. It turned out delicious, although more watery than I was expecting from a recipe that promises you it absolutely will not be watery.
I was going to post pictures but the DW posting interface is making it waaaaay too much of a hassle.
I have also cooked a pork and kimchi stew (several days ago, before it turned unpleasantly warm here), made a batch of pesto, and made a "kedgeree risotto" loosely based on Nigella Lawson's recipe. I can almost see kedgeree purists cringing, but the one time I made a kedgeree the proper way, I found it dry and dull and not at all enjoyable. The lovely creaminess of a risotto-style preparation is much closer to what I imagined kedgeree to be when I'd only enviously read about it. Anyway I considerably adulterated even Lawson's "inauthentic" version, using smoked salmon instead of smoked white fish, which is hard to find in the US, adding some shrimp (plus simmering their shells with the broth to add flavor), using spiced ghee and a good dollop of Penzey's curry powder, adding some peas, and even finishing with (gasp!) a little cream. Lawson calls for quail eggs, which are both hard to get and, to my mind, ridiculous, so I topped the rice with a plain hard-boiled egg. It was yummy and I regret nothing.
Oh, and because I got some more rhubarb very cheap from work. I have made a rhubarb syrup which, added to plain or sparkling water, will make a delicious cool drink in the style of a Persian sharbat. The recipe is from A Taste of Persia by Naomi Duguid, a fascinating cookbook that I got for just a couple of dollars as an ebook from the Evil Online Commercial Empire. (Take 1.5 lb of rhubarb, cut into half-inch slices. Put in a pan along with a scant 2 c sugar and 1 c water. Bring to a boil, then simmer strongly for 20 minutes. Strain out the rhubarb, add 3 tablespoons of lemon juice to the rhubarb juice and return the juice to the pan. Simmer another 15 minutes until thickened a bit. You should have about 2 cups syrup. I strained my syrup through cheesecloth because it was a little cloudy. At this point you can add a dash of rose water; I didn't, because I didn't have any, but I did add a little orange extract along with the lemon juice. Put the syrup in a jar and refrigerate up to 3 months. Dilute with 1 part syrup to 3 parts water to use. The strained-out rhubarb pulp is tasty and can be eaten by itself, as a topping for yogurt or ice cream, etc.)
I have been writing this post for about a thousand years and it's getting very long, so that's all for now.
(I was extra inspired to watch it because Ben Daniels posted this tweet with a clip of his sassy little coat-flip that, alas, did not make the broadcast. I wish the critic who dismissed Daniels' Pontius Pilate as too macho and action-hero-y had seen it.)
Anyway, Daniels was great, Dixon was super great, Andrew Lloyd Weber can't write even passable lyrics most of the time, and I was pleasantly surprised, having never seen JCS before, when Judas got to sing a reprise of "I Don't Know How To Love Him." I had spent the entirety of Mary Magdalene's version thinking that Judas should be singing it instead.
I haven't been a believing Christian in many years, but I'm always ridiculously moved by the gospel story. Perhaps especially when it's a troubled, doubting version like this or, far more so, The Last Temptation of Christ, which came closer to making me a Christian again than even my own deliberate attempts to believe ever managed.
Also, and not as unrelatedly as it might seem, I now need to read all the Jesus/Judas slash, and all the Jesus/Pontius Pilate slash.
And to rewatch DAAS's glorious "Jesus Christ Superstar in 5 Minutes":
If yes, let me commend to your attention Rosegarden Funeral Party, a band out of Dallas, Texas who recently released what seems to be their first EP, The Chopping Block. Some of their songs are astonishingly Smiths-like without being either pastiche or parody; others are more punk/Goth than the Smiths ever were, but even those have a mood and a verbal style that Smiths fans will recognize. Singer Leah Lane has a powerful, androgynous voice and a vocal phrasing that, again, often recalls Morrissey at his best.
"Ill and Getting Worse" could just about be a Smiths song from the Meat is Murder era; here it is on Youtube:
The rest of the EP, and it's all worth listening to, can be played on YouTube and Spotify that I know of, and can presumably be bought from all the usual sources.
2) Tonight I cooked a risotto with fava beans and asparagus. It took almost three hours to prepare and cook, because fava beans have to be peeled and then blanched and then peeled again, and risotto itself isn't fast. But it turned out to be the perfect just-spring food, and I feel I have made a good life choice.
( Not quite a recipe under the cut )
If using fresh fava beans sounds like too much work--and it is a lot of work--you may be able to find them frozen. They're not quite as good as fresh but they're still nice, and much easier, though you'll probably still have to do the second shelling. Markets that carry Indian or Chinese foods are a good place to look for less expensive frozen favas; they may be called "broad beans." Dried and canned favas or ful mudames won't work in a dish like this risotto, alas.
Do any of you have favorite recipes for fresh favas, in case I give in to temptation and buy more?
The other day for breakfast I had blueberry pancakes with a warm strawberry and blackberry sauce, because I just had that many berries that needed using. And today I made a soup of chicken, rice, leeks, a vast quantity of white beech mushrooms, watercress, and baby spinach and arugula. Tomorrow I'm going to make a pasta sauce with sausage, fresh heirloom tomatoes, red bell peppers, and basil. Lots of basil! I love basil, but I could almost never afford to buy it.
Also, I have a fennel bulb that I will probably roast. Also, Meyer lemons are amazing. And ruby grapefruit is delicious, who knew?
Somehow, having access to more fruit and veg means I want to eat more fruit and veg. I don't entirely understand the psychological thing happening, but it has to do with the stakes being lower. It's safe to use things up, instead of hoarding them until they go bad. And if I try something and don't love it, it's not a big deal, because I don't feel like I've wasted money.
It's also kind of fun to grab a bag of whatever's available, bring it home, and figure out what to do with it. It's like being on one of those cooking challenge shows.
*wondering if gin + grapefruit juice + tonic would be as yummy as it sounds*
1) Stuff I've watched
Altered Carbon: The first episode only, because I wasn't that impressed. It looks nice, but the plot is just a bunch of not-very-novel SF tropes strung together, and the characters all seemed flat and uninteresting. I liked the AI hotel better than any of the people, but alas, we will probably see no more of him/it. The male lead is quite physically attractive and had slashy chemistry with James Purefoy's character, but it wasn't enough to keep me watching.
Queer Eye: The new iteration, just released on Netflix. I've never seen more than a few episodes of the old series, but I liked the new one enormously. It's fun, but it's not just fun. Especially in the first four episodes, there's a compelling subtext about toxic masculinity--not the virulent kind that encourages male violence, but the quieter kind that gets men to close in on themselves, trapping them in loneliness because feeling any emotion or reaching out for connections is dangerously feminine. And it's not every makeover show that gives us a black gay man and a white, straight, Trump-supporting cop having a conversation about police violence against black people. Plus, it feels very much like it was made for a queer audience rather than to explain/justify queer people to straight people. All that plus useful (to me) clothing tips = win!
Planet Earth II: Gorgeous, interesting, and not so heavy on environmental gloom as to make me miserable.
Blue Planet II: As you can see, I've been in a mood for nature documentaries. I've only just started this.
Strictly Ballroom: I know it's a cult classic, but I felt pretty meh about it. For one thing, I wanted more dancing and less romance. On the whole, I would rather have watched a movie about Fran's father and grandmother, who were more interesting than anybody else onscreen.
Paddington: Yes, the animated children's movie. It was a lot of fun, surprisingly sophisticated when it wasn't deliberately juvenile, and--perhaps because it's English rather than American--fairly unconventional and not too treacly in its take on family.
Think Tank: New Australian game show hosted by Paul McDermott. A bit too slow-paced; all questions are read out twice and panelists are asked to explain their reasoning for every single damn answer. But it has Paul McDermott. And because there are no prizes except a trophy, there's a friendly feeling I enjoy.
2) Stuff I've read
Not much (well, considerably more if you count reading news on my phone), because my e-book reader came over all brick and the local library system is underfunded as hell. I did read and enjoy The Last Policeman, by Ben H. Winters, which I bought from the Evil Online Retail Empire discounted to $1.99. The premise is that the world is doomed due to an oncoming asteroid, and all kinds of things are falling apart as people quit their jobs or commit suicide. But the protagonist, a small-town New England cop, decides that one suicide doesn't look quite right and proceeds to investigate. The worldbuilding is really strong and the characterization's good too. I especially liked the exploration/subversion of certain common end-of-the-world tropes. The book has two sequels that I haven't read yet, and I almost don't want to, because the first one ends in a way that feels like a real and proper ending.
3) Stuff I've cooked
Red peppers stuffed with leftover cornbread (tasted good but the texture was monotonous), potato soup with ham, red beans and rice. I roasted a chicken a couple of weeks ago and then made chicken stock with the bones. Currently I've got a pot of white beans simmering in the slow cooker along with some onion, celery, carrot, a piece of Parmigiano-Reggiano rind, and bits of not-authentic-but-cheap "prosciutto". Later I will add beet greens, radish tops, and some arugula that needs using. I haven't been in the mood for elaborate cooking, which is just as well because I don't have the budget for it. Fortunately I am
a food hoarder a believer in a well-stock pantry, and I have lots of beans and pasta and cornmeal and frozen leftover chicken and frozen leftover ham and etc. etc. to use.
I just watched the first episode of Think Tank, the game show Paul McDermott is hosting. The show's fine, but I confess that I was more interested in Paul McDermott's new look than in anything else.
I now really want him to be cast as the Fourteenth Doctor, eventually. After Jodie Whittaker has had a good long run, of course.
1) Updating my stupid profile on stupid LinkedIn counts as job searching, right?
2) It is rumored that at my current job, there will be extra hours next week so that we can catch up from how behind we got due to so many hours being cut this week. *headdesk* (It has to do with the end of the fiscal year, apparently.)
3) I'm trying to generally unfuck my life. This includes a new approach to cleaning. I hate having a dirty apartment, but I also hate cleaning. So I'm trying a daily 10-minute clean. My place is small enough that if I do this most days, it should stay in reasonable shape. And somehow it's easier to cope with "I just have to clean something, anything, for 10 minutes, and today I'll spend that time working on the bathroom" rather than, "Oh, god, I have to clean the bathroom, there's my day ruined."
4) Have accomplished filing my taxes (the first time in years that I'm not doing them a week or less before the deadline) and switching to a cheaper auto insurance company.
5) I have to work tomorrow. Only a very short shift, and I need the hours, and I didn't work Tuesday or Wednesday. I am nevertheless annoyed, mostly because the store will be ridiculously busy and there will only be two of us there. And the other person will be the store manager, who is bloody useless most of the time and will undoubtedly get on my case about something that isn't my fault.
Oh, here's one thing that's not boring!!!
6) The BBC has started releasing old episodes of Round the Horne on the iPlayer, so anybody anywhere can listen to them for free. Once an episode is released you have a month to listen to it before it goes away again; right now it's still on the early episodes of S1.
Round the Horne gave the world Julian and Sandy, awesome fictional gay men played by awesome real gay men, and so it's worth listening just for them, but I love (almost) the whole show. However, there are sometimes the -isms you would expect from something made in the 1960s, so be prepared.
ETA: Now with paragraphing fixed, because apparently I have to do that by hand now. Still waiting to hear back from Support about WTF is up with that.
Obviously this doesn't mean I have mastered the German language, nor anything near it. I still have a lot of trouble with cases, for one thing. Especially adjective cases, because German adjectives are evil.*
But I have learned a lot, which is nice, because in the early days I despaired of ever remembering anything.
The next steps: first, get all my German skills golden on Duolingo. Then, do some more in-depth grammatical work with my copy of German for Dummies. Then, find some easy things to read. (I tried looking at a German newspaper article a few weeks ago and it was a sobering reminder of my actual, as opposed to Duolingo, level of competence.)
But for tonight, I will just pat myself on the back.
*( How, I will pretend I hear you asking, are German adjectives evil? )
2) Season 4 of Grace & Frankie was released on Friday and I binge-watched over the weekend. It's good, very very funny, and much lighter and more sitcom-y than previous seasons. Usually I wouldn't like that, but these characters have been through so much, and I like them so much, that I'm glad to see them catch a break.
3) I've been trying to read the two-volume Building the American Republic, which its authors (Harry L. Watson--brother of the more famous John?--and Jane Dailey) and publisher (U of Chicago P) have made available for free as an e-book, citing an urgent current need for US-ians to understand their own history better. For a few years now I've felt I should correct my ignorance of American history, which I hated learning about as a kid because of the terrible, jingoistic, uncritical way it was taught. (I have vivid memories of a couple of days in 11th grade, when we were learning about the Constitution yet again, and the teacher showed us a film about the Constitutional Convention. And suddenly it was interesting--instead of some kind of sacred perfect object that fell from the sky, the Constitution was being shown as the product of clashing interests and hard bargains. It was a thing people made and it wasn't necessarily perfect. Alas, we then went back to reading from the textbook.) Anyway, I'm going to keep trying, but at the moment I'm bogged down very early, in some discussion of early modern English politics and culture that, well, aren't wrong exactly, but are so oversimplified that it hurts me. (The Elizabethan Settlement was not a tolerant religious compromise, as I would think the 200+ Catholics executed during Elizabeth's reign would demonstrate. Also the noncomformist Protestants who were suppressed and penalized in various ways.) I know some oversimplification is inevitable, but it does make me wonder what other important things are going to get that treatment.
4) Did a bit of cooking this weekend. On Saturday I made a stew of chickpeas, lamb, and roasted eggplant with pomegranate molasses, which turned out well. It was entirely improvised, because I found myself in possession of three! eggplants because they were on sale 3 for $1, and even though I'm not a huge eggplant fan I couldn't resist. ( Approximate recipe under the cut )
Today it was unexpectedly snowy and cold, but I went shopping in the morning anyway and bought a chicken, since it seemed like the perfect kind of day to roast one. Every time I roast a chicken I am reminded of why I don't do it very often--the cooking is as simple as can be, but the cleanup's a pain. Anyway, I'm now simmering up some chicken stock in the slow cooker, to become a soup tomorrow with some of the breast meat and some kale and other veggies. And my freezer will be overflowing with leftover chicken and leftover chickpea stew, which is a good thing. A full freezer = safety and happiness.
I'm nearly ashamed to admit this, but I don't think I like paper books anymore. Except if it's cookbooks, or books that aren't available in any other form. But I've gotten used to the light weight of an ebook reader, and the adjustable type size, and the built-in dictionary, the search function, etc.
Plus, it's much harder to find decent affordable secondhand books than it used to be. Maybe it's where I live now (a small town without a university), or maybe it's that ebooks + amazon are killing used bookstores, I dunno. But when I go into local used bookstores I can never find anything interesting.
2) I was a bit startled when the most recent episode of The Good Place turned out to be the last of the season. I liked S2, though I didn't think it was nearly as brilliant as S1. But the premise of S3 is amazing and I'm looking forward to it.
3) Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency got cancelled by BBCAmerica, which apparently wants to air nothing but gardening and antiques shows in the daytime and Doctor Who reruns and 1990s movies at night. Any hope that Netflix (which was BBCA's partner in making the show) will continue it is fading as the weeks go by with no announcement. It's a shame, because it's a really good show and I recommend it a lot. (S2 does have a proper ending, no cliffhangers or anything, so the two seasons make a satisfying watch. I just want more.)
4) I've been watching The Doctor Blake Mysteries (which my brain keeps renaming Doctor Blake, Medicine Woman even though Dr. Blake is a man) on Netflix. It's an Australian show set in 1958, about a mystery-solving police surgeon with a Tragic Past, and it's . . . okay of its kind? Slightly above average? None of it's terrible in terms of objective quality, but none of it's great, and it does this annoying thing where it wants to be socially relevant but doesn't quite have the courage of its convictions, so that, for example, we get queer characters for one episode where queerness is a plot point, and all the main characters get to demonstrate their tolerance, but none of the main or recurring characters is queer. Similarly for immigrant characters and characters of color. And so far there have been no indigenous Australian characters at all. Yet I keep watching. It's very much a popcorn show--like popcorn, there are both tastier and more substantial things you could be consuming, but it's easy to munch down a lot of it.
5) Speaking of consuming, I've managed to do a little cooking and baking. Yesterday I baked some Blue Sky Bran Muffins, using some peach and sour cherry compote from my freezer as the fruit. I fiddled around with the recipe, as I tend to do--I substituted oat bran for a little of the wheat bran, and whole wheat flour and barley flour for a little of the all-purpose flour. And I mixed the compote into the batter instead of making a little pocket of it--I've made the recipe both ways and in my experience, the result of trying to put the fruit in the center is not worth the trouble. Anyway, they came out nice and now I have a bunch of them in the freezer.
I also made some cornbread with bacon, cheese, and green chiles. I based it on this recipe at Serious Eats, but with changes. I used 1.5 cups of cornmeal and .5 c flour, cut the sugar by half, omitted the scallions/green onions and added some roasted chopped green chile. Also I don't have a cast iron skillet so I used a metal pie tin instead, and it worked fine. I should note that I followed another Serious Eats tip and cooked the bacon in the oven (on a rimmed baking sheet lined with aluminum foil, at 425 Fahrenheit for 20 minutes) and it worked great. I will never cook bacon on the stovetop again.
Today I'm going to made stuffed red peppers using things I have on hand, namely rice, some cheddar and blue cheeses, and some of the vast quantity of ham I still have leftover from Thanksgiving.
I've discovered lately that many kinds of leftovers can be successfully turned into soup. Perhaps this was only news to me? Anyway, I've made soup from the leftovers of a baked rice + tomatoes + ham dish (added to commercial chicken broth along with some beet greens) and from leftover potato gnocchi in what turned out to be an excessively strong puttanesca sauce--yes, I know, but it seemed like a good idea at the time--once again added to commercial broth along with some spinach and some frozen bell-pepper-and-onion mix. (I've been buying frozen veg because at this time of the year it's as good as the fresh vegetables in the supermarket and both cheaper and easier, which helps me eat more vegetables when my desire to cook is fairly low.) In both cases, dishes that had been no more than okay in themselves made quite tasty soups. This makes me happy, because I take a weirdly strong pleasure in using/transforming food that might otherwise go to waste, and because it's a way to have soup for virtually no effort.
6) And now I should start cooking the rice.