pennswoods: (Default)
2017-09-20 09:30 pm

Copenhagen Half Marathon - New Personal Best

I ran my third Copenhagen Half Marathon this past Sunday. - What a race! What started with blue skies and sun turned into thunderclouds, rain, lightning and hail by the time I made it to the finish line.

The final dash to the finish line was a slog in icy ankle deep water mixed with hail since the roads were flooded. This video captures what it was like:

And this is the finish line:

The water was deepest in the streets, so runners were crammed onto the sidewalks which were slightly less flooded. At some point, after I finished, two runners were injured due to lightening strike and a fallen electrical cable, so the race was immediately shut down for safety.

However, despite all the chaos at the end, I still managed to run a PR. My official time is listed as 1:46:24 (corrected from an earlier time I was given). I'm so happy. And so hungry.

Wet me after the flood at the finish line at the CPH half marathon

pennswoods: (Default)
2017-06-11 11:13 am
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Malmö Loppet 10K

Pre-race selfie with sunglasses.

Yesterday I ran the Malmö Loppet 10K. It was a beautiful day for a run - sunny and 18C at 15.00. My official time was 50:42. My goal was to break 50 minutes and I was on track for the first 5K, which I ran in 25:04, but I lost steam in the second half and felt myself feeling too hot. That's one of the problems with training in a mostly overcast and rainy climate and then having sun and no shade for an afternoon race. Nevertheless, the purpose of this race was to test my conditioning as I start my serious training to beat my half marathon time in September. I think I actually ran this race better this year than I would have been able to last year (in part because my training was pushed back by a severe cold/cough that took a while to clear up).
pennswoods: (Default)
2017-04-12 08:18 am

My First Review Article on Fan Practices

A little bit of a cheerful update to celebrate my move to Dreamwidth. My first review article on online fan practices and computer-assisted language learning was just published in the latest issue of the CALICO Journal. I had a lot of fun writing this article even though the deadline I was given for it meant I was writing it during my Christmas holiday (in Gran Canaria).

If you're desperately curious and want to read it but don't have a subscription, send me a message and I'll get you the PDF.

pennswoods: (221B Baker Street)
2017-04-10 10:52 am

This Blog Has Moved to Dreamwidth

Dreamwidth has been my backup journal. I am pennswoods over there as well. Trying to export all my stuff, but dealing with a technical error. Hopefully I will get it resolved. There's a lot of history here I would hate to lose, but better to cut off your leg to escape a trap than to remain captured.

(I keep getting  "XMLRPC failure: Terms of Service agreement required" but I can find no Terms of Service agreement to click when I go through the import process. If anyone has advice on what's going on, please let me know.)
pennswoods: (Sherlocked)
2016-03-30 11:39 am
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My Students' Sherlock Fanfiction

I mentioned the fanfiction project I have been using in my teaching in the talk I posted recently. For those who are curious, here are the links to my students' Sherlock AU fanfiction.
A Study in Sherlock... )
pennswoods: (Sherlocked)
2016-03-24 06:54 pm

The Transformative World of Fandom & Fanfiction

Back in January, I was invited to give a talk for the local Creative Mornings branch here in Malmö on the theme of language. Since I've been doing work on fandom and fanfiction, I decided to talk on the transformative world of fandom and fanfiction and the many different kinds of learning (language and otherwise) I've seen in it.

pennswoods: (AssangeBatch)
2014-11-22 12:53 pm

One of the Best Reading Lists Ever

I think I'm going to be busy, busy, busy until approximately December 21st. One day before then, I will write up a recap of my trip to and interview in Texas. Today is not that day. However, today is the day I link to the best reading lists I've come across in a long while. It's from the fail_fandomanon meme on DW, which sometimes produces terrific gems like this thread:

What's your country or language's Great Literature, nonnies?

I can't tell you how fascinating I find it to see what literature is considered part of the 'great canon' in other socieites. There are obviously so many countries and languages not represented, but of those that are, there is so little I have read. Sometimes I am beyond frustrated by how anglocentric my reading tastes and experiences are. This is like a gold mine.

And so I'm going to pick up the question. What do you consider great literature (in any country or language) that others should read?
pennswoods: (Sweden)
2014-10-03 09:54 am
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More on Life in Sweden - Adventures in Lagom

I went out last night with a bunch of expats and learned quite a few interesting new things that hadn't experienced before. But there are others that do keep coming up regularly and I thought I'd list a few of them here:

  1. I learned last night that when you give birth in Sweden, you are not allowed to leave the hospital until you pass a breastfeeding test. In other words, you have to demonstrate that you know how to breastfeed the correct way. It's apparently called the Hamburger method or something where you squeeze your breast like a hamburger.

  2. If a woman has a child in Sweden, she has to report who the father is. If she does not, a lawyer will intercede on behalf of the child because under Swedish law, it's the child's right to know who his or her father is. This is also so that the child knows he or she is eligible for a passport to another country if the father is a national of another non-EU country. It is also so the father, if he resides in Sweden, can take his government allotted paternity leave.

  3. Women who return to work soon after giving birth and don't take as much of their maternity leave as possible (I think, there are 14 months total split between the parents though I think the majority goes to the mother so it tends to be 12 months for the mother and 2 months for the father) may be considered bad and irresponsible mothers.

  4. There is a word in Swedish, 'lagom' that doesn't really have an equivalent concept in English. This is something I encounter all the time. It sort of translates into 'just right' or 'not too little or not too much' and describes the amount of something Swedes believe they should be satisfied with. This explains why there is never meant to be an oversupply of things in stores or why portions might be smaller and why people should be satisfied with what they have and not want more. This is a concept I really struggle with because it goes against the idea of 'plenty' and 'abundance' and even 'excellence' that I have been socialized to accept. This also might explain why there is always a limited supply of things in grocery stores. So instead of 20 different flavors or brands of salad dressing in the grocery store, there are only 3. You have a choice, but not a big choice. This is just right and you should learn to be satisfied with it. But when you're used to having more options to choose from, it can feel really restricting. My husband, the foodie, has really been struggling with this as it makes cooking a wide range of foods a lot harder.

  5. I tried downloading the latest episode of the [ profile] threepatcht, Kinktober, to my cellphone the other day while in the train station. But I could not because the file size was too large and was instructed that if I wanted to download I would have to find wifi or download to my laptop. I don't know if this is normal, but this was our longest episode (3.5 hours) and this is the first time I have received a message on file size limitation.

  6. 'Gone Girl' has just come out in theatres here. My husband and I wanted to go tonight, but all the tickets for all the seats are sold out Friday, Saturday, and Sunday for the entire city of Malmö, which is the third largest city in Sweden. This is typical and is also possibly another example of lagom. Don't want too many theatres or too many seats or too many films showing at the same time.

pennswoods: (AssangeBatch)
2014-09-10 09:16 am
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Movies that Are a Part of Me

The #cinephilephote meme on twitter had me thinking about favorite filmes, or perhaps, films that have stayed with me. Films can be so ephemeral sometimes, so I had to dig deep. I'm sure I'll think of more, but these are the films that really are a part of me in some way:

  1. Trois couleurs: Bleu (Three Colors: Blue)

  2. When Harry Met Sally

  3. Der Himmel über Berlin (Wings of Desire)

  4. Contact

  5. Another Earth

  6. Dirty Dancing

  7. Shall we ダンス? (Shall we Dance?)

  8. となりのトトロ (My Neighbor Totoro)

  9. 火垂るの墓 (Grave of the Fireflies)

  10. Real Genius

  11. Back to the Future

  12. Some Kind of Wonderful

  13. White Christmas

I know I'll think of more to add to this later, but I'd love to know what films you love or have resonated with you so deeply that they've become a part of you.
pennswoods: (Bored by redscharlach)
2014-08-17 05:52 pm

An Awful Thought - Is the East Wind Coming for Mycroft?

I am busy grading and coding data, so of course I spent the morning writing meta. Originally posted to [my Tumblr].

Reading Mycroft meta has just given me an awful, awful thought. One of the hallmarks of so much fiction about boys becoming men is how they struggle with loss and through it move toward independence.

Even though BBC Sherlock is not about a boy becoming a man, Lestrade’s early words (Sherlock Holmes is a great man, and I think one day—if we’re very very lucky—he might even be a good one) coupled with the creators’ claim that this is not a detective story but rather a story about a detective suggests that we are watching a story about the formation and maturation of a character (Sherlock Holmes), in which the people, cases and challenges he faces are what help him grow into his full self. One of these people/challenges is his relationship with his older, smarter, more powerful brother, Mycroft.

It’s easy to sneer at and be annoyed by Mycroft’s overbearing and controlling nature throughout the show, and the Sherlock series has featured both the ominous and ridiculous sides of ‘The British Government’. But series 3 has further highlighted just how tied together the two Holmes brothers are, with the older having a history of looking out for, rescuing, and overshadowing the younger. stephisanerd points out a great deal of this in her meta on Sherlock and Mycroft (go read it if you haven’t yet). And Mycroft’s own words to Sherlock in HLV (Your loss would break my heart), reveal such a depth of caring behind all of Mycroft’s annoying and underappreciated (by Sherlock) controlling and protective behavior.

However, sometimes when we coddle someone too much, we prevent them from growing and maturing in their full potential. I have just said that Sherlock is not a story about a boy becoming a man, but in some ways the almost willful immaturity of Sherlock suggests that this is exactly what this show is about.

And now for the awful, awful thought.

I have been rooting for Sherlock to break free of old habits and patterns, and I see his relationship with others and the formation of friendships as a way to achieve this (e.g. John replacing Mycroft as Sherlock’s inner voice in his Mind Palace; Sherlock listening to and taking social cues from Molly).

But another way to achieve independence is through overcoming the loss of a protector or guardian figure who has always been there (think Harry Potter after the death of Dumbledore in book 6 of the HP series). And it just occurred to me that in my exuberance to figure out Mary and what will happen to her, that I am forgetting about Mycroft and what series 4 and 5 might hold for him.

How will Sherlock cope if the east wind comes and takes Mycroft?

pennswoods: (Bored by redscharlach)
2014-08-01 08:50 pm

The World's Only Consulting Penguin and His Blogger

Title: The World's Only Consulting Penguin and His Blogger
Characters: Sherlock Holmes, John Watson
Pairing: Sherlock Holmes/John Watson
Rating: General
Links: Ao3 | DeviantArt | Tumblr
Notes: Drawn in response to a cracky prompt by fellow Sherlock fan [ profile] mundungus42, who wanted to see Sherlock and John as penguins. Thanks to everyone who responded to my call for annoying art prompts last week. More to come.

PenguinLockIconLost without his blogger... )
pennswoods: (Grumpy Snape)
2014-07-21 09:14 pm


Title: Erised
Characters: Sherlock Holmes, John Watson
Pairing: Sherlock Holmes/John Watson
Rating: General
Links: Ao3 | DeviantArt | Tumblr
Notes: Sherlock Holmes stumbled upon the Mirror of Erised in his first year at Hogwarts; he stumbled upon his best friend, John Watson, in his third. Caught up in the excitement of experiments, spells and magical mysteries, he nearly forgot about the existence of the mirror until seventh year, when he and John came upon it while on a case.

For the first time ever, the mirror reflected Sherlock exactly as he was: with John at his side.

I show not your face but your heart's desire... )
pennswoods: (Sherlocked)
2014-07-20 11:57 am


Title: Sussex
Characters: Sherlock Holmes, John Watson
Pairing: Sherlock Holmes/John Watson
Rating: General
Links: Ao3 | DeviantArt | Tumblr
Notes: Dad and Sherlock at the cottage, 6 June 2039. Reprinted from He came at once: The life and adventures of Dr. John H. Watson, (p. 163) by A.S. Watson, 2057, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Copyright 2057 by The Holmes-Watson Collection. Reprinted with permission.

SussexIcon Dad and Sherlock at the cottage, 6 June 2039. )
pennswoods: (Sherlocked)
2014-07-09 10:07 pm

The Warmest Colour

Title: The Warmest Colour
Characters: Sherlock Holmes, John Watson
Pairing: Sherlock Holmes/John Watson
Rating: General
Links: Ao3 | DeviantArt | Tumblr
Notes: Close your eyes, John. It's an experiment. [Reference] Next up, I'm going to try my hand at some RetirementLock. *gulp*

His eyes were the warmest colour... )
pennswoods: (Sweden)
2014-07-08 10:54 am
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Student Emails During the Summer Holiday

Swedes take their vacation time very seriously. My university quite literally shuts down for five weeks while everyone and their mother is on vacation. I am having to beg colleagues in the US to send me PDFs of research articles from their own institutions since my university library is closed, and I have to wait until August before I can put in an interlibrary loan request.  Some of my colleagues have left explicit away messages in their email indicating that they will not be checking or answering email until August 11th and for students to wait until then to contact them. People still come into the building from time to time, but all but a few of the bathrooms have been closed until mid August since the cleaning staff is on vacation!

Yesterday I received two emails from students who wanted the answer key to the resit exam they took in the beginning of June. There is no readily available answer key (I grade my portion of the exam and my colleague graded the vocabulary and pronunciation portion) for resit exams; we are not obligated to provide a key and students are encouraged to read the feedback on their exams when they pick them up (which these students didn't do); and even if I wanted to put an answer key together out of the goodness of my heart, it's the very last thing I would devote a day to during summer vacation.

You can probably imagine the great satisfaction and joy with which I deleted these emails.  
pennswoods: (221B Baker Street)
2014-07-07 11:33 am
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Summer and the Freedom to Think

One of the less than awesome things about moving to Sweden is the fact that I have so many more students, so much more grading, so much more teaching and so much less time to read and think and research than I did when I was in Texas. This also means most of what I am reading is for the benefit of others (textbooks for lesson planning, emails, curriculum documents, student papers and exams) and not for the benefit of my own mind or personal development. I feel a part of myself withering away and feel a whole host of other negative feelings that undermine my self-confidence.

We have exactly 5 weeks of official summer vacation when there are no resit exams, bizarre time-wasting projects for faculty, and students sending demanding emails, and I am trying to do as much as possible in these 5 weeks. This includes reading and reading and reading. And it feels so good. It's like my brain is coming back online.

I have finished four books so far, some for fun (His Last Bow) and some for research/writing purposes (Convergence Culture; The Language of Social Media). I set aside time to read and take notes on 4 different texts at a time, so I don't get bored. Today's set of readings also includes 10 pages from Richard III in preparation for my trip to London to see Martin Freeman and his amazing beard on stage. I've also got a list of tasks both work (green) and fun (pink) that I am checking off for all of the things I read and do. And absolutely none of this has to do with grading or teaching.

It feels so good to be using my brain again and making connections. We'll see how much I get through, but hopefully it will be enough to rebuild my confidence and to energize me for all the new teaching I'll be facing in the fall.
pennswoods: (221B Baker Street)
2014-07-05 01:56 pm
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The Mycroft and Mary Connection

I was watching HLV again yesterday and was inspired to meta. I keep picking at this because I am so taken with how carefully Mycroft and Mary seem to keep their distance from each other this entire series, even though she shot his little brother, and he's supposed to be brilliant at deductions and extremely powerful. Originally posted to Tumblr [HERE].


A while back I posed the theory that Mary may have actually been working for Mycroft all along and that this might explain a number of peculiarities in series 3. But I’ve been watching HLV again and am even more convinced by a few key moments that point to the Mycroft and Mary connection as a viable possibility:

  1. Sherlock trusts Mary

  2. We first see Mycroft speak to Mary when he learns Moriarty is back

  3. Mycroft really has no good reason for getting out of his car

  4. Mary’s words hint that she has other sources about Moriarty

The Mycroft and Mary Connection... )
pennswoods: (Red Pants)
2014-07-01 11:59 pm
Entry tags:

My Neighbour Sherlock

Title: My Neighbour Sherlock
Characters: Sherlock Holmes, Totoro
Rating: General
Links: Ao3 | DeviantArt | Tumblr
Notes: While looking for clues in the woods, young Sherlock discovered a friend.

MyNeighbourTotoro Read more... )
pennswoods: (Red Pants)
2014-07-01 04:21 pm

Happy Canada Day

I don't have a Canadian flag so these red pants will have to do. Happy Canada to the country of my birth. I'd toss back a Molson and down some maple syrup in your honor if I had any on hand.
pennswoods: (Three Patch Podcast)
2014-06-26 07:31 pm
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Working on the Fourth Wall Episode for Three Patch

I've spent the entire day editing a roundtable for the next episode of the [ profile] threepatch podcast on the media, the fourth wall and the fandom. I've managed to trim it down from 67 minutes to 37 (so much to edit!) but I'm not done. I still have to clean out the background noises and equalize the sound levels, but my back is killing me.

I'm going to take a break and go for a run before I continue, and I'll be listening to these two songs for inspiration. The first one is probably going to be the bumper music for this particular segment and it's making me laugh. One of the best parts of editing is trying to pick songs that fit the theme of the special segments, and this one is really working for me right now. The second one may find its way into the episode or not. There are a lot of interesting songs about walls out there.