zebee: (quizzical)
Mycroft Holmes under familiar stresses didn't make mistakes,
Mycroft Holmes under an unfamiliar stress made a mistake.
It wasn't a fatal mistake.  It was worse than that.

Rating: PG-13
Warnings: dub-con, mentions of rape and sexual violence
Type: Gen
Word Count: 3100

The final part of this series of connected stories.

My thanks to elfbert  and et_cetera55  for their invaluable help.

Part One: First Encounter

Part Two: The first time he saw the car

Interlude in a Blue Suit

Part Three:Irresistable Force and Immovable Object

Part Four: Well of Courage

Read more... )
zebee: (quizzical)

Summary: Lestrade trusts his instincts.

Rating: PG

Word Count: 3850

Timeline: before A Study in Pink

Part One: First Encounter

Part Two: The first time he saw the car

Interlude in a Blue Suit

Part Three:Irresistable Force and Immovable Object

Once more my thanks to the patient and encouraging  elfbert.


Read more... )
zebee: (quizzical)
Summary: Mycroft wants an agent.  Lestrade has his own priorities.  The irresistable force meets the immovable object... but is the object unbreakable as well?

Timeline: before A Study in Pink

Rating: PG-13
Warning: Strong Language

Type: Gen

Word Count: 3800

Part One: First Encounter
Part Two: The first time he saw the car
Interlude in a Blue Suit

This piece would be considerably worse without the creative talents of elfbert who dug me (and Mycroft) out of a hole and who has a nice line in bad language.
Read more... )
zebee: (Default)
Summary: Sally Donovan is a copper.  She's part of Lestrade's team, and no one messes with his people.

Warning: strong language

Backup's Coming )
zebee: (quizzical)

Summary: Silenced guns and silenced policemen. Lestrade walks into trouble.
Timeline: before A Study in Pink
Rating: PG

Part One: First Encounter
Part Two: The first time he saw the car

My grateful thanks to Elfbert for brilliant suggestions


Read more... )

zebee: (quizzical)
I appear to be writing fanfic again.

I saw the BBC Sherlock, hunted fic down read one I liked that I thought had a flaw in the middle, and next thing I know I'm writing!

I created a livejournal account because that's where the action is still, I suppose I should practice the import function.

(I'd forgotten the rush when you get a comment....)
zebee: (quizzical)

ETA Summary: Lestrade is overworked and Sherlock just makes it worse. Mycroft isn't helping.

Warning: strong language (although not by Australian standards)

Type: Gen

Part two of A Reliable Man, a series of connected stories.  

Part One: First Encounter

See the end for glossary

ETA: minor edit for Elfbert's very welcome Londonpicking
Read more... )

zebee: (quizzical)

Summary: Mycroft wants to know if the people around Sherlock are reliable.  Lestrade just wants to get the paperwork finished.  The first in a connected series.

Rating: PG (some mild language although not by Australian standards)

Type: Gen

See the end for glossary.

I really appreciate comments, especially ones that tell me what you did and didn't like, and what didn't work for you.   
==============================================================================================Read more... )

zebee: (Default)
I blew up today.

Well, for the 2nd time. I don't know why, it never does any good.

A bod posted in aus.bicycles a screed about how
- he saw what he thought was a woman riding a bike
- he had to be sure the person was female because he felt attracted to them and if the person was male... well everyone had to understand he wasn't like That.
- she was a stronger rider than he was, but he was still able to fail her riding on several grounds so that was OK
- he could now spend some time talking about how aroused he was watching her.

Normally I leave that stuff alone. It isn't worth it. Speaking up does no good. But this time I did, I just couldn't walk away one more time.

He said "he didn't mean to offend". Not that he was surprised what he said was offensive, not that he could see there was a problem, but that he hadn't intended to upset anyone. Well of course he bloody didn't! He wrote what he considered a perfectly good post about the right of a man to see women as things for men to perve on. It wasn't offensive, it was normal.

And you know what happened don't you. Men pipe up to blame women for everything under the sun, to totally deny there's anything wrong with any of it.

I was going to walk away, but someone I actually thought had some kind of clue piled on and I lost it again.

Dunno why I bother. As I said, I live in this world and so I have to survive in it. Objecting to men and their attitudes just gets me pain. My survival has been to avoid being female at all, to be neuter shading to male so that I avoid the slime and the fear. I'm still second class, but less so I used to think.

The price I've paid for it has been high. Including being uterly misogynistic my own self until someone called me on it some years ago and I realised they were right. Now I try to continue as I am because I'm too old to do any other way, but try and view others and their choices differently.

Because in the end, it is all about survival. About trying to live in this world where no matter my choices I am defined by my genitalia as subhuman.

I bet there are people reading this who think that's a bit strong. I dunno if any of them are female. I'd have said it was a bit strong 10 years ago. I don't think it is now.

Most of the time I can forget it. I can do the things I do, and carve my place, and feel I've managed OK. But sometimes it's all brought home to me with a crashing blow that I'm fooling myself.

There is no answer. So back to being the comfortable safe neuter they all know. And die inside.
zebee: (Default)
So I turned on ABC iView, which is their "watch our stuff on your computer" thingy and saw episode 1 of a new thing "Sanctuary".

Started off OK, seemed good production values, got me in...

But oh dear.

It's an urban fantasy show, hero being a "forensic psychiatrist" who also seems to be psychic in some way. Is attached to police unit, gets involved in murder investigation, is sure there's something more to it... and gets picked up by Mysterious Stranger.

Who can't act her way out of a paper bag.

OK, I dunno anyone's going to be able to say her lines convincingly but she certainly can't.

Add to that a massive Gothic mansion, 3 storey high rooms, staircases, umpteen levels below ground which you get to by a steampunk looking lift. First thing I thought was 'so who does the dusting then?"

It seems the place is a Sanctuary for various creatures that roam the earth. Werewolves and so on.

Down under the mansion is a zoo effect full of things like a mermaid and a lizard man, who (given the surroundings) are no doubt mad from the solitary confinement now if they weren't before. No sign of who does the dusting here either... never mind cleaning the cages! There's a couple of vaguely hairy guys who I suspect are going to be some kind of comic relief.

Meanwhile there's a blonde in skintighti1] leathers on a motorcycle who leaves said motorcycle and helmet in a back alley and expects to get 'em back. So far my disbelief has to be suspended so high it's stratospheric... but then said blonde is some kind of kickarse fighter too. Yeah. OK. Not in skintight leathers dearie.

She turns out to be daughter of Mysterious Stranger With The Army Of Invisible Cleaners, and there's a cringeworthy mother/daughter scene where kid is teeny bit rebellious cos wants to go shopping for hollowpoints. I have given up suspending disbelief, it's not possible.

Oh and there's a tall thin man with a scarred face (as one must have in these productions) who is clearly a bad guy (if you didn't know from the scar) because he turns into a sort of firey mist to go through locked doors.

It started out well. Decent acting, reasonable production, even the kid who did the killings with his toothed penis (I am not *quite* making this up) wasn't bad. I even coped with the hinting at psychic powers bit. But oh... once Mysterious Stranger turned up with her costume and hair hinting at her being a Witch (the hat, the black straight hair) it started going bad. The Huge Gothic Pile (I wonder what the rates are on that thing? Not to mention the electricity bill, given the equipment it must have its own substation) made it worse, the Sassy Blonde With The Boobs didn't help, and the dialogue
(unbelievable if done well, impossible in that "i'm reading this from autocue" drone) just topped it off.

As you can imagine, I don't think I'll be watching episode 2.


[1] skintight and butter soft meaning she's going to be saying "hello nurse" and "I wish I'd got the real thing rather than this
shit" one day... But this is TV, she's there for the middleaged men to perve on.
zebee: (Default)
You've probably seen the OK Cupid dating site stats floating about, and discussions about people stating preferences for the race of their partner.

I did the "OMG" thing then forgot about it until....

I've always liked looking at men. Tall, short, thin, fat, hairy, odd faces, I like men. It's this heterosexual thing, presumably a very low level sexual attraction. I've felt the ping from blokes I'd never consider even hugging after all. That "there are men in the world, this is good" ping.

But looking around at work, where we have a number of men in their 20s/30s who are subcontinent Asians (South Asians? Can't say Indian because for all I know some are Pakistani or Bangladeshi) and I realised they didn't ping my radar. I just didn't see them as "like to look at" in the way I see Anglo men.

Which shocked the hell out of my middle class pinko chardonnay sipping self lemme tell you!

I've certainly been attracted to Asian guys (hi Thorfy!) and more of them trip my radar than the South Asians do. And the Africans I've seen have mostly been quite pleasant to rest my eyes upon. My Lebanese neighbour and most of the other Lebanese and Iraqi/Iranian/Arabs I see around the place (this being a migrant suburb) I see with this small pleasure.

Now sometimes I've seen in the various Bollywood posters some nice looking blokes but perhaps I think that because they tend to be good looking in a whitefella sort of way?

What got me was that these young men just didn't ping me as "man, mmm". It wasn't "ick" it wasn't quite "eyes pass over" either, it was edging close to "don't like".

I'm still trying to work out what is going on.

Some kind of atavistic "they want my job"? Maybe I'm cool with Chinese/SouthEastAsians because I grew up with them? A Malaysian Chinese as a boarder during my primary school years and a Japanese as my father's research partner and friend for many years? So they come up as "normal" and I'm just utterly unused to seeing dark skins? But then why doesn't the African DBA a desk or two over do it to me? More used to seeing them on TV?

Dunno, I have no debug code. But it does worry me....
zebee: (Default)
I am in the middle of reading a book on the authoritarian personality, available as a download from the author at http://home.cc.umanitoba.ca/~altemey/

It's like a series of lectures from someone who knows how to keep the students interested: pacey, funny, interesting.

And scary as all hell.

I know a couple of people who fit his description of the authoritarian personality. The double standards, the compartment thinking, the following aurthority. The book's skewed somewhat towards the US/Canadian end of things as the author's been studying this there all his academic life but the theory travels.

I highly recommend it, as it covers a lot of the rage one sees on the net.


Nov. 20th, 2009 07:05 pm
zebee: (Default)
I can report that 2l of cheap apple juice, 2 tablespoons of sugar to feed the yeast, said yeast, and 4 days produce something that tastes vaguely cidery and has a kick like the proverbial mule.

Next I'll try their "fruitier" yeast in search of taste.

And I must see if I can produce ginger beer. Should be possible to get good tasting with a suitable recipe.


Nov. 15th, 2009 09:20 am
zebee: (Default)
I have no idea what the Australian army attitude to homosexuals serving is. It doesn't tend to come up here.

Hang out on the net and the American attitudes are quite obvious. Well...maybe.

As I don't hang out in strongly anti circles I don't know what anecdotes and evidence they see, I see lots of interesting things like http://www.advocate.com/printArticle.aspx?id=99081

What strikes me about the stories there is that the guy is talking to people who are not serving in a peace time army.

Ever since reading Dixon's "The Psychology of Military Incompetence" I've understood that peacetime armies are very different to ones shaped by war because they have different pressures on them. It's very hard to keep an army at peace shaped like one at war.

My grandfather was CO of one of the first Autralian batallions so ship overseas in WW2, got a DSO for his leadership in the Western Desert and "Walker's Mob" was known as one of the best disciplined units in the Army at the time. He died when I was quite young so I never got to talk to him about such things, but Mum recalls him saying that he had a "shirt lifter" in his HQ company and the man was a good soldier. I think that's all he cared about, that the guy did his job well.

Seems to me that the soldiers in that article are focused on that too. They want someone who can do the most important job: help keep them alive. Anything else is secondary. BUt also.. what does that is people being obviously competent. It seems competence is the most important thing.

IN a peace time army I think what competence is changes. Dixon says the pressures turn from wartime competence which is about sudden change and focus on doing a particular job no matterhow it is done to keeping things exactly as they "should" be, and focusing on looks and outward show.

Looking like you can do it is more important than being able to do it because you can't really test that you can do it until you get a war. So looks is all you have. YOu can do war games but they aren't real, they follow a designated path and you are judged on doing it by the book.

I can drill all I like and move beautifully in drills. Actual bouting is way different. I've seen people who spend all their time on drills and fall apart when faced with someone who isn't co-operating and isn't doing the moves they expect with the timing they expect. Transitioning from drill to bouting is one of the hardest things in fencing and much of your painfully acquired neatness just disappears. All the fancy stuff you have been practicing can just fly out of your brain and your muscles. A really good fencer has practiced enough that the things that remain are more than the basics, and they can improvise on the theme.

While there probably is a generational aspect to younger soldiers' attitudes to homosexuals serving I wonder if the pressures of war are also important in that change.


Nov. 14th, 2009 05:52 pm
zebee: (Default)
Well.. can't really call it that "fun with yeast" is probably closer.

I bought stuff from www.oztops.com.au which is pretty much some yeast and some bottletops that allow some gas from a fermenting brew to escape.

You grab some juice/cordial eg apple juice, add yeast, put one of these on, in 3-4 days you have something alcoholic.

I tried your basic 2l Berri clear applejuice. Removed some to give it gas room, tipped the recommended amount of yeast in, put it on the kitchen ledge as they say the yeast wanted 23-30deg to play in and it was the last gasp of the cool weather and waited.

After 4 days I put it in the fridge which apparently stops the fermentation and tried it the following evening.

It was actually quite pleasant. Definitely alcoholic, not sweet, although not really heavily apple tasting either. Not a strong taste but still I liked it - probably because it wasn't sweet.

I would prefer more apple taste, I might try the other yeast now the weather's heating up they say it gives more fruity flavour.

Now I'm trying with some sugar even though I liked the less sweet version. Just to see what it does. At the price of 2l of applejuice it is worth the testing.

I'm also tempted to make up a ginger cordial from Real Ginger and see what sort of ginger beer this stuff produces.

They provide tops that go on small soft drink bottles, so maybe the next juice I get I'll do several test batches - different yeasts and sugars.

I had been pondering the homebrew route with the big carboys and the kits and so on, but I'll stick with this for now, if only because I'm dead lazy.

it works!

Nov. 11th, 2009 05:44 pm
zebee: (Default)
So last night I got to try my longsword against a live opponent.

The answer is... this is one lethal set of evilness. Rick was using English, those lovely swinging blows were so neatly avoided and then I sliced his wrists open as they went past. (It was Across not Down, but the idea is to cut the tendons not exsanguinate him)

Having the sword well extended and a long grip makes evasions and cuts just a matter of leverage. The motions that take the whole arm in the English and German systems just require a bit of hand motion in the Italian one.

Now we were moving slowly and playing with it, the real proof will be after some practice so I can instinctively make the proper counters. But so far the ones I've tried are shockingly effective: easy and fast and were the blades sharp he'd have definitely noticed the results.

You don't need to use big blows with a sharp heavy sword, the trick is a sharp percussion and then a proper slicing motion. So as long as you lever the tip quickly and neatly then drag it through the bit you hit, you will damage them well enough for the purpose.

I now have to work out why he says that the best guard to be found in and therefore the best to find your enemy in (by which I think he means the best guard for you to be in when you are in distance) is Intrare which is a high point forward guard that protects the head from downward blows and threatens the opponent's face.

Is it because it's a good attacking guard because it threatens with the point and the best defence is a good offence?

Is it because unlike the low guards it closes off more avenues to your opponent and so constrains him?

I suspect it's the former. The Italian style is very much about 'draw the response' where rather than waiting for the opponent to attack and responding to that, you attack with something designed to draw a known response and then respond to that in a way to a) nullify it and b) hurt him

So if I start in Intrare and extend/step so he eats point if he doesn't respond, he has two responses: to push my weapon away with his, or to retreat in some way. He only has a couple of ways to push the blade, a couple of directions to take it in depending on where his sword is. And for each move he can make I have a simple response that means his sword is out of action for a fencing time and mine is hitting him.

(Which makes me sound unbeatable but it's all in the timing, mine and his. And what he does just as he parries or just after. And what his angles are and what his feet are doing.)

So back to my lists. Are there commonalities of footwork? Does he always step away from the opponent's blade? If not why not?

THe other difficulty I will have is size. It's OK fighting Rick, he's not that much taller than I am. But Hugh is easy 5" taller and that could make things interesting....

It will be interesting to see how the different styles interact. So far the Italian sword and sword and buckler seems to take the English (as per Silver) apart without much difficulty. Will the Italian longsword do the same?
zebee: (Default)
So, I got the Mighty Scooter back on the road the other day, thanks to a very obliging bike shop who passed it for rego despite some Major Problems.

I've been riding it to work this last week; I'd forgotten how much fun the silly thing is.

It's not a latte-sipper's vespa or a money saver's cheap transport, it's an antisocial flouro orange 2 stroke with a loud pipe and all the go faster bits. (Malossi this, Poloni that, Vinci the other... They race these things in Europe.)

And as of today the Major Problems are fixed. The bit where the scooter motor (which is the back half of the bike) fits to the rest of the bike was a little bit knackered. Well, a lot knackered.

The connection is based on 2 bolts which run through tubes inside other tubes, and uses high density nylon bushes between the tubes and the other tubes. These eventually wear and when they do the motor tends to describe tasteful and terrifying arcs in corners as the cornering forces provide force vectors that Keith Code would not approve of.

THe repair kit arrived from the UK a couple of days ago and today I took the thing down to a friend's place to do the work.

A certain amount of precious bodily fluids (its, not ours, no SCSI here) spilt all over the floor, a certain amount of "how the hell are you supposed to undo this?" and "OK, what's stopping that moving" and "this was designed by monkeys on crack!" and of course "so why is this left over?" later and my bike's handling has been transformed.

It doesn't wiggle through corners anymore, it howls through them. (As long as you use the bizarre braking/throttle technique you need to power an auto through the corners after braking to the right entry speed)

This thing has weird effects on people riding motorcycles. A patch-wearing Hells Angel admired it in the pub carpark because of the noise the pipe made "reminds me of my RD250LC, was my first bike!" he said. A GSXR-sportbike rider was very annoyed at being dragged off by a scooter at the lights and wheelied for quite a distance at the next lights. I was offered "Whatever you want for it" by a scooter rider on the way home the other day. I've had people turn up their nose at it until it started then seen heads jerk around as if on strings at the noise. I've had people make loud sniffing noises savouring the smoke and sing the praise of 2 strokes.

I think you have to be a rider of a certain age to appreciate a twoey, especially a loud one.

As if there's any other kind....
zebee: (Default)
Life has been off and on again for a bit. I'm not a journaling type I suppose

I did find when playing about with English longsword that it really doesn't suit me compared to the Italian. I could do the same moves using the extended arms and the leverage of the hilt and it felt faster and easier and just as effective.

Won't know if this feeling is true until I do some bouting. Now we are back doing Tuesday night fencing I should get a chance to play with this stuff.

My niche in the fencing classes seems to be fencing dummy. My fencing partner runs people through some moves and then I help them practice them on the move against a live opponent who gradually ramps up the speed and the lack of helpfulness.

(That's the huge difference between drills and free bouting: the helpfulness of the opponent. I start by being very helpful, by doing always the same moves slowly enough and with suitable timing for them to practice the counter, and gradually ramping the speed without changing anything else. Then I start being more evil. It does a lot for their fencing but is actively bad for mine....)

When I can't avoid a competition I feel like yelling "This is not what I do it for. Yeah you can hit me, but dammit I spend 99% of my fencing time teaching people to hit me!"

I guess I'm just pissed I get no respect :) I do from the ones I teach but go to a big gathering and I feel a complete fraud wearing these badges of high rank and being creamed by anyone who can hold a sword.

Others tell me that I'm a hard fight for people of any level, so while an intermediate can hit me if the try hard, they have to try hard and the high level ones have to try equally hard. I can't see it myself.

Ah well. The English session on Thursday made some of the Spadone things clearer. The use of leverage with your hands wide apart on the hilt is utterly vital. Some of the blows are like the longsword equivalent of the one inch punch... to move the sword over a very short range maybe only a few inches, but have enough oomph in it to do damage.

And if you don't keep the movements tight and controlled and use the leverage for power, then as you are doing it with extended arms you will easily be deflected. Nothing half hearted about this.

Agrippa (new translation, brilliant!) has a paragraph on two handed sword. Reckons it's way to dangerous as it's too fast and uncertain for there to be any hope of explaining how it is done.

Now he tells me!
zebee: (Default)
I'd left Marozzo alone for a bit, as the easy almost rote bit of deconstructing the assaults is done.

Now I have to make sense of what I have....

But I was at Fencing Fest on the weekend and while my fencing ability has jumped off a cliff and is in free fall judging by the few bouts I had (as my left elbow has decided to blow now the right one's fixed) I got enthused about longsword again.

I've arranged to visit Canberra once a month for some focused fencing as I need to work with people who are at my level or better and who I haven't been fencing once a week for years... and they've agreed to do some focused critique and drilling so with luck my skill level will get back to something approaching normal.

Next job is to make sure I have the different wards down as gut level knowledge. THat I don't have to think about where feet and hands are when Marozzo says "Cingharia Porta di Ferro Alta" but know it's hands nipple/shoulder high (Alta), blade forward and straight (Porta Di Ferro), left foot forward (Cinghiara). He's not as consistent as he might be - normally the right foot is the forward foot unless the guard name is modified with Cingharia, but of the 4 Coda Lunga guards 2 have left foot forward and 2 right foot, and no modifier to tell which is which.

(That may just mean it doesn't matter, but I think it does given that footwork is different depending on which is forward. It may be that you have left foot forward in Coda Lunga Distesa because otherwise you would put your back out so there's no need to mention it, but what's Coda Lunga Alta's excuse?)

Once I have the ones I know, then I can work on the oddnesses. Like just how angled is Intrare? And is there a difference in blade angle between Intrare and Intrare Gran Passo, or is it just the feet?

Once I have the wards sorted then I need to work on finding the commonalities. What's the usual response with feet and hands to different attacks, and why.

I figure I'll try and tease out a few things this week, then next Tuesday grab my fencing partner and have a play and bounce ideas off him. He's a Marozzo sword and buckler expert so it's likely he'll have parallels. After all if you can believe the Germans longsword and sword and buckler are sisters under the skin.

The more work I do with these 16thC Italians, the more in awe I am. This is a consistent coherent system. It's not just a bunch of tricks, it's a full martial art with a lot of attention paid to biomechanics and to the niceties of timing. The difference between counter attack in time and attack into preparation for example. If you have it explained it's obvious, if you don't then it's a very hard concept to come up with unaided.
zebee: (Default)
I am, however, getting old.

The Norge (a Moto Guzzi motorcycle, not a fridge) is a magnificent example of the variety of bike known as "Gran Turismo" or "Gentleman's Express". A modern example.

It is very comfortable, has a good fairing, excellent riding position, lots of go, heated handgrips even! I have optioned it up with Helibars and a throttle lock and a better seat, and better suspension. It is sinfully plush.

But as I rode down to Bungendore (about what... 300km from Sydney?) I was Bloody Cold despite lotsa woolen layers.

And I thought to myself "what happened to the woman who rode from Adelaide to Melbourne (800km) on a Friday night after work in winter, wearing Belstaffs and as many layers as could fit under same and then did it again and while noting it was cold thought nothing much of it.[1]

But I was younger then... I have done 1000km days on the Norge, but I did them on the MZ with less fanfare and in far less comfort.

Who said youth is wasted on the young?

That said, I need to find places to ride to on the weekend that are more interesting than the bloody Hume Highway and have something fun to do at the end. Perhaps back to that stunning bookshop in Uralla? Who would have thought that a fairly average NSW country town would have a bookshop covering 3 rooms of floor to ceiling stacks with barely passing room between them?

The pub lets you put your bike in the drive in bottleshop overnight and does a decent steak.

OK, I think I have my answer....


[1] although I usually get a laugh when I tell the story of the first such trip where I stopped in Ballarat and asked the servo operator if I could warm up in his shop for a while, he smiled and agreed and I slowly thawed out... then realised that a) cold has a certain effect on the human bladder and b) I was wearing everything I owned....

I won the race between biology and buttons, but only just!