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November 20th, 2015

09:17 am: Update
So. I've tried not to mention it too much, but the past thirteen months have been a hell of a year. Andrew's health I've mentioned; I was also cut to part-time last October, and let go completely in January, and it's been a long slog of job-hunting and care-taking. Also both cats now have chronic kidney disease, though they seem to have stabilized under treatment and I'm hoping we can keep them healthy for a few years more.

Anyway, the EI having run out a couple of months back, I finally gave in and applied for Social Assistance. We met with our caseworker on Monday. Three days later (yesterday), one of the jobs I'd been applying for interviewed me and hired me right away.

Andrew believes in a form of magical practice that I describe as "using reverse psychology on reality." In brief, you never find what you're looking for until just *after* you give up hope and resolve to try something else. It's not an especially high-paying job, but it's a shorter commute (45 minutes) than most places I've previously worked. It's at the head office of a major fabric-and-sewing-supplies company. My title is "Notions Coordinator."

Today I'm going to have to call Social Assistance, tell them we won't be needing the money but if they can advise us on caregiver options for Andrew while I'm at work during the day. There's a place near here that has a day program for four days out of the week, and I should probably talk to them. I can tell he's happy for us, but scared of being without me for ten hours a day.

Tomorrow we will spend a day at a local SF convention, and it will be a break and a celebration.


November 19th, 2015

07:34 am: Dream Journal
Busy night for dreams -- I can only clearly recall the last batch:

Gillian Anderson, playing a soccer-mom type, was tending a small deer with a human head that breathed fire and also looked like her. She complained that she’d just found out the cleaning wipes she used on her daughter (the fire-breathing human-headed fawn) were the same brand used by a restaurant that served meat, and this disturbed her. We could also we a photo of her and her family, rampaging across a battlefield sowing terror. Her husband bore a shield with the word “Darling” on it in cursive. This became an image on a calendar.

I was in a hospital — nearby a young man who’d just been brought in was having trouble getting any attention — I was trying to figure out the phone extension to call someone to his gurney, but he kept moving towards the stairwell and i wasn’t sure what floor to say he was on.

Wandering through the woods — people were discussing whether or not they liked talking beasts in their fantasy, while I mused that for purposes of film/tv adaptations, beasts were probably easier to do with puppets than beings without fur, i.e. gnomes.

Ahead, there was a cabin. Several people appeared, having a family quarrel — they were all wearing odd yet stylishly co-ordinated clothes, and had the stark expressions and uncomfortable poses of models in a Comme Des Garçons fashion shoot. I recalled a Tumblr commenter earlier in the dream having wondered whether clothes in the future would be anything we today would recognize. I hoped to myself that instead saris would take over.

An elderly shetland pony was sidling past a younger horse, feigning as much weakness and pathos as he could until he got close to the oats, then diving in and swiping them from under his rival’s nose. He may have referred to himself as “The Warlord” while doing this. I was with a party visiting an airfield in the neighbourhood; we had elaborate cupcakes with hats of on them; I took off one of the sugar hats and held it against the head of a small portrait bust nearby. One of the busts was of a bespectacled youth, a pilot from the airfield’s WWI days — he had some unlikely name like Fotheringham; I identified him somehow with the pony from earlier. Someone complained about grouchy the cabbie had been who had driven us out there. The scenery means nothing to them, I said, if they drive people here every day. Now it became a blog post or online article about the airfield; they had diaries and letters of some of the WWI pilots, including Fotheringham, who the article described as sounding “intelligent and spoiled, and alive as if he’d only just now taken the King’s shilling.” It went on to note he was one of the rare pilots of the time who confessed fear in their writings. Thinking of that bespectacled face, I wanted to say “maybe that was his Clark Kent persona,” but I couldn’t find the comments button. I woke up trying to find it.


November 18th, 2015

09:45 pm: Andrew's copy of Sherlock Holmes (1916), starring William Gillette, arrived today. I'll probably need to watch it at least once more before commenting in detail, but I'm sure Andrew will watch it many times again so that shouldn't be too difficult. Things that come to mind:

First off, the digital restoration and the blu-ray transfer has made the sets and costumes look sort of hyper-detailed. I can't guess if this is how the film looked in 1916 (or rather in 1920, as this is the French serial cut), but it gives the piece the feel of an engraved illustration.

I had never seen Gillette except in stills, but his face felt immediately familiar. I suggested he looked a little like an older James Marstairs; Andrew thought he looked more like George C. Scott.

The movie is adapted from Gillette's stage play, and has the faults of its script. It's *very* loosely based on "A Scandal in Bohemia," but with a virginal heroine guarding her deceased sister's love letters, both from political envoys and from the blackmail ring trying to torture the papers out of her for their own devious ends. It's not really played as a mystery or an action movie, but a psychological drama -- Holmes locates the girl so easily the screen doesn't even bother to show the search, but he's got to persuade her to work with him. This so far as I can reason, are the heroine's motives; they weren't that clearly evident from watching, but that may have been my lack of attention and not the actress' fault.

The supporting actors were generally excellent. The villainous Mrs. Laramie was evidently having great fun; she was like an evil Margaret Dumont. The Watson was good, but mostly sidelined.

The DVD extras included an oddity -- Gillette, in his retirement, had a half-scale train and track built on his property, and some time in the early 1930s a film crew set out to do a documentary on the old actor's hobby; the footage on the blu-ray, though, was unedited: between chatting about his train Gillette relaxes and chats with someone behind the camera. It was a curious slice of a day eighty-five years ago.

03:42 pm: Just finished reading Mr. Pottermack's Oversight. I'd never actually read any of the Dr. Thorndyke mysteries before, and wow, they really are forensically detailed. The plot is an early example of the Columbo-style thriller where the audience follows the murderer's PoV, and the mystery is how the detective character will unravel the events. There was one moment which seemed like a bit of a coincidence, but having thought it over it really wasn't.

One thing I had to stop the book to look up -- it appears as though the Presumption of Death Act was only passed by the UK two years ago. That strikes me as astonishing, and I'm not sure what immediately preceded it; but in this 1930 novel it's apparently impossible to have anyone declared legally dead in the absence of a body, no matter how long they've been missing:

... he studied the law relating to Presumption of Death; but when he learned that, about 1850, the Court of Queen's Bench had refused to presume the death of a person who was known to have been alive in the year 1027, he decided that the staying power of the law was considerably greater than his own...

Mind you, the novel's events suggest that if a body turned up following a disappearance, and appeared to be roughly the appropriate size and gender to be the missing person, most inquests wouldn't look too hard. To say more would be spoilery.

OK -- I will say that I'm glad they imply near the end that a certain character knows the truth, or part of it, and is playing along; otherwise we'd have to assume she's remarkably unobservant for an amateur naturalist.


November 16th, 2015

08:22 pm: Dr. Who -- Sleep No More (some spoilers)
I.... didn't hate that as much as most people seem to. I think the twist ending explained a lot of the plot holes, and it's interesting to see the Doctor lose -- not just lose, but be successfully used by the villain. I've heard a rumour there'll be a follow-up story eventually, which is ok, as this seems like a situation that's bound to come back to bite hard.

Although the "found-footage" style sort of required it, I wasn't wild about the low lighting on the station (which in retrospect was probably part of the villain's plan -- he might be a master manipulator, but he has the aesthetic sense of a direct-to-video producer). I missed a key plot point because I'd lost track of who'd been killed by the Sandmen.

Certainly Andrew and I kept watching through the boring bits mainly for the sake of Bethany Black as 474; still torn between "hey, cool, first transgender actress on Dr. Who" and "um, but was it really a good plan to cast her as an androgynous clone who gets repeatedly referred to as 'it?'" Just noticed in a still that the ID panel gives 474's age as five years; Grunts must be engineered to reach adult size early, which means their limited speech isn't just due to being clone soldiers -- they're child soldiers.

What held my attention more than the plot was the implied world-building: Indo-Japan seemed like an interesting, if flawed society -- and it was believably if depressingly human that the one person who still protested against the Morpheus pods evidently had no qualms about the fact his country used genetically-engineered clone soldiers. Then again, like The Satan Pit, this was a story where the Doctor is too busy with the problem at hand to call out the future human society for practicing slavery. Perhaps like the Ood, the Grunts will have their day in another story.

November 11th, 2015

04:47 pm: POPPIES, you try to tell me, glowing there in the wheat;
Poppies! Ah no! You mock me: It's blood, I tell you, it's blood.
It's gleaming wet in the grasses; it's glist'ning warm in the wheat;
It dabbles the ferns and the clover; it brims in an angry flood;
It leaps to the startled heavens; it smothers the sun; it cries
With scarlet voices of triumph from blossom and bough and blade.
See the bright horror of it! It's roaring out of the skies,
And the whole red world is a-welter. . . . Oh God! I'm afraid! I'm afraid!

Robert W. Service


November 6th, 2015

08:53 pm: Henry IV Pt. I Superhero AU: http://thisengland.dreamwidth.org/39491.html#cutid1

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October 23rd, 2015

12:15 am: Memory Clinic Report
So, everyone who saw Andrew yesterday thinks it *is* neurological, and they're going to revisit all the tests done earlier this year. I feel like this is progress of a sort. The bit that worries me is whether neurological=incurable -- someone asked "has anyone ever suggested it might be Lewy Body Dementia?" and I really don't want it to be that.

He was confused throughout the appointment -- the bland institutional setting didn't give him much to help focus his attention. On the MOCHA test, he did fine on connect-the-dots, drawing the clock face, reading, etc, but couldn't remember his name or what day of the week it was. When asked the date, he pondered, then suddenly came out with "OCTOBER 21ST 2015!!" adding "ONE POINT TWO ONE GIGAWATTS!!" I noticed the example sentence he wrote down was a paraphrase of the opening to The Call of Cthuhlu. I wonder what the neurologist will make of that.


October 20th, 2015

06:56 pm: On a Cheerier Note
Yesterday I came across Campion fanfic: jedi_penguin's "The Wicked Wedding (American Title: “Why Did Libby Marry?”)" and it's almost note-perfect (the ending leans a bit more towards Chandler than Allingham). Campion wonders why a childhood friend has turned down so many suitors, only to marry a widower with a nasty reputation. It can't be for money; she's got more than her fiancé does.

Also, this story made me google "diamond fizz," and so I can now add another recipe to the Gin Fizz family of cocktails.

09:21 am: Life today
Would have liked more NDP seats, but happy to see the back of Harper. Congrats to Ruth Ellen Brosseau (AKA "the NDP volunteer who won by accident last time and went to Vegas") for retaining her riding. If, years from now, she becomes Prime Minister or something, people will look back on this as the big turning point for her -- though really it's not so much one point in time, rather four years of having done her job well in her riding despite the unexpected and shaky start.

Narly's chronic kidney disease has officially entered Stage 2, but his appetite is good and he seems active and happy. Yesterday the vet showed us how to give him sub-Q fluids. Hoping we can keep him well for a couple more years at least; he's a sweet little guy, and Andrew takes loss very hard.

One more sleep until I take Andrew to the Memory clinic. I hope they're able to help him. Basically this year has been pretty hellish for both of us in different ways. At least with the election settled it's one worry off my mind, or at least not weighing as heavily.

Still no news from the guy who interviewed me two weeks ago, despite my emails. At this point I'm assuming I didn't get the job, but given that he promised to contact me with a yes or a no, I'm more bothered by the lack of news than by a firm denial. If I try out for a temp position with a two-hour commute and I have to supply my own equipment, the least they could do is tell me within a reasonable period whether I make the grade. Particularly since I bought Adobe CC as it was a requirement for the work, and the clock is ticking on being able to cancel it without penalty if they don't hire me.

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