surface knot



Molly blinks at him. Touches her hair self-consciously.

Sherlock wets his lips, unable to look away.

“Am I…? Is it falling down?”

And she turns to look in the mirror above her mantle-piece, checks her hair. The thick, dark tresses are wound into a single braid, pinned against her head in an up-do that it is taking all of Sherlock’s will power not to pull asunder.

Damn but she looks lovely like this.

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The Room That Echoed.

(warning: long story)

I never really appreciated just how much like a storybook castle my great aunt’s house was.
Four stories tall, with two spires and three attics, it was a monstrous edifice of pocked stone, time-darkened wood and yellowed glass. I spent so much time there in the holidays as a child – especially over Christmas – that it became a secondary home.
And when a place becomes so familiar that it seems like home, it no longer seems so special or unique. It’s just alwaysthere; occupying the same frame of reference as an old coat, a favourite teddy bear or a well-worn book from your personal library.

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U-boote heraus!

In the years before World War One the Kaiser became obsessed with building a navy to rival Britain.  But the magnificent dreadnaughts and battlecruisers of the High Seas Fleet were never Germany’s principal fighting force at sea - it was the notorious U-boats, who waged a new kind of war on merchant shipping.

The German navy wanted to fight, but the high command did not dare risk its darling fleet against the superior numbers of the British.  The Royal Navy adopted a chary attitude too, preferring to blockade Germany from a distance to a hammering naval battle at close range.  Thus came the U-boats.  “U-boat” simply means undersea-boat, the German word for submarine, but the U-boats developed a menacing reputation that belied their name.  They prowled the seas like packs of wolves, sinking Allied and neutral shipping and weakening the Royal Navy until battle could be joined on equal terms.

The U-boats were Germany’s trump card during the First World War.  Cut-off from vital trade by the Entente fleets, her shipping cleared from the oceans, Germany risked starvation.  The daring German high-seas raiders that garnered so much press attention during the early months had also all been swept away by April 1915.  The U-boats offered another choice. 

German submarines could take the economic war to Britain by sinking shipping.  Between January 1915 and February 1917, they did just that. In August 1915 alone the German wolf-packs sent 149,000 tons of Allied and neutral shipping to the bottom.  Neutral nations, especially America, complained when their citizens died, but the vast majority of the sinkings followed the rules of warfare, which stated that the submarine must stop its target and allow the crew to take to the lifeboats, and then sink the ship by gunfire.  This was a “restricted” campaign of submarine warfare.  It would be in early 1917 that the civilian government, agonized by the failure of the Battle of Verdun, agreed with the high command that only an unrestricted campaign could hope to bring victory.  This meant ignoring the rules of warfare and torpedoing any shipping without warning; it also meant certain American entry into the war.

It would be more appropriate to call these early U-boats submersibles rather than submarines, because they actually spent very little time beneath the waves.  They were crude, cramped, uncomfortable ships.  Diesel fumes choked up the crew - one officer recommended using opium before all trips of more than twelve hours.

Submerging left the U-boat virtually blind and inert.  Submerged submarines used electric motors to avoid burning up their air supply, which slowed them down, so diving was used usually only to torpedo a ship or to avoid detection.  Normally, a regular patrol submarine could manage a top speed of 14 knots while surfaced and 8 knots when submerged.  It carried four torpedo tubes, a 51-mm gun and a crew of 28.  Other, smaller, submarines were used for coastal work or deploying mines.  Submarines improved dramatically over the course of the war, and in the later stages some patrol vessels could make it to North American waters.

While the torpedo is the infamous weapon of the submarine, they were likely to fail beyond 800m, and rarely sank shallow-draught merchantmen.  The high velocity deck gun was more practical and more regularly used, or the crew could board a merchantman and scuttle it with explosive charges.

The decision to turn to unrestricted submarine warfare in early 1917 may have been the most important choice of the war.  Free to sink anything without warning, U-boat commanders tallied and impressive 3,844,000 tons of shipping between February and June 1917.  They came close to breaking the Entente, but Britain’s vast resources and her adoption of the convoy system allowed the Allies to hold on.  Right up to the end of the war the U-boats hurt Allied shipping, but they never again came close to forcing Britain out of the war.

The Room That Echoed

by Cymoril_Melnibone

I never really appreciated just how much like a storybook castle my great aunt’s house was.
Four stories tall, with two spires and three attics, it was a monstrous edifice of pocked stone, time-darkened wood and yellowed glass. I spent so much time there in the holidays as a child – especially over Christmas – that it became a secondary home.
And when a place becomes so familiar that it seems like home, it no longer seems so special or unique. It’s just always there; occupying the same frame of reference as an old coat, a favourite teddy bear or a well-worn book from your personal library.

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Half a bajillion french knots later and it’s done. I thought that maybe making a bunch of french knots would help me dislike them less but nah, still think they’re the devil. 

And a detail for the colors. Variegated thread is the best invention. I learned a ton doing this but I’m hesitant to do it again cause ugh. 

What I’ve been noticing a lot of is personal truths are starting to surface on all levels especially between people. I’ve hinted at this before but it feels like people’s internal knots are surfacing into external reality. Everything is flipping upside down and inside out. OBSERVE and LISTEN. There are symbols all around.

Everything that is hidden will be revealed upon awakening….

I’ve been thinking a lot about GamerGate. I hate that it’s even a thing in my world that I have to think about. The hostility and hate that have simmered to the surface leave a knot in my stomach. I love games unabashedly. I want communities around games to be places of celebration, where creative diversity is welcomed and encouraged. That doesn’t mean that I want such places to be free of thoughtful criticism. On the contrary, I think that thoughtful criticism is part of the celebration of any art form, and that such criticism enriches our understanding and appreciation of that art form. Film critics may not love every film they write about, but the best ones always write from a place of loving film. So should it be with games as well.

The hostility and hate associated with GamerGate aren’t new, though. They’re just boiling to the surface now, as a sense, long-cultivated and capitalized-on by gaming sites and publishers, that games should be overwhelmingly the domain of straight males, is being challenged. And GamerGate is not a game, or a joke. People who speak up for a more diverse and inclusive gaming space, or for the mere idea that it is OK for game reviews to sometimes engage with a game’s politics, have been the targets of tremendous amounts of online harassment. Women’s lives have been threatened. Publications that function within, thrive off of, and shape gaming culture now have a responsibility to take a stand.

When I worked for GameSpot, I learned to ignore all the hate that was directed at me in the comments for being trans, and all the scoffing and dismissal my reviews received because once in a great while I had the temerity to discuss issues of gender representation. I just took it as a given that this was the culture of gaming sites, that it was something we all had to accept. I understand now that this is not the case at all, and that tossing up our hands and just accepting this makes us complicit in the creation of a culture in which people who want more diversity in games and who want to be able to have civil, thoughtful conversations about games often don’t feel welcome.

I would sometimes get messages from readers saying that they would love to comment on reviews, but they would take one look at the comments sections, see the prevailing attitudes of hostility toward women or LGBT people, or toward talk of gender representation, or toward games that, both mechanically and thematically, challenge standard notions of what games are, and feel unwelcome, like this was not a place where they could have a voice or safely express themselves. I understood then that those comments were one part of a way that members of the dominant group in games culture attempted to maintain cultural dominance in that realm, and that silence—my silence, the site’s silence—in the face of this, helped perpetuate that dominance and, as a consequence, a feeling among members of other groups that they were not welcome. In a sense, our long silence has created the problem of GamerGate. And now, it has to stop. To remain silent is to surrender gaming culture to those who are fighting tooth and nail to maintain a feeling of control over it, who are so desperate not to share it with others that some of them have resorted to threatening women’s lives. Yet too many sites have continued to remain silent. That silence speaks volumes.

As someone who knows very well what it is to feel like an outsider in gaming culture, I was trying to think about what I would want to read at a site, what would help make me feel welcome. I would not want it to be, first and foremost, a screed of condemnation, though some actions undertaken by people claiming to operate in the name of GamerGate’s purported quest for journalistic ethics must be condemned in no uncertain terms. But no, I would want it to be a message that focused on the positive, an aspirational message that appealed to the best in ourselves and the best in what we think that games can be and do. This is, of course, pure fantasy, but as a member of a group who has certainly been made to feel marginalized in gaming for a long time, I might want it to read something like this:


Recently, there have been many questions being asked and suspicions raised about journalistic ethics in the gaming world. We want to take this opportunity to affirm that we take questions of ethics very seriously. We operate with a strict division between our editorial team and our sales team. We trust our writers to not cover a particular game if they feel personal associations may unduly color their perceptions. At the same time, we absolutely will not entertain any public scrutiny into the personal lives of our staff members. Friendships and other personal connections are formed in just about any industry, and we will not put the personal details of our editors’ lives on display, nor will we treat any and all personal associations as the stuff of ethical wrongdoing.

Given other events that have happened in direct or indirect association with “GamerGate,” we also feel that it’s important that we take this opportunity to affirm our position on a number of other issues related to who games are for and how they are discussed.

While we are committed to discussing each game based on what we feel to be its individual merits, as a general rule we welcome and strongly support the idea that video games can be and should be by and for people of all genders, races, and sexual orientations. We welcome the idea of games that, mechanically and thematically, challenge and seek to broaden widely accepted notions of what games can be, or who and what games can be about. We also strongly feel that the culture of our site must be inclusive to any and all who wish to participate and who are willing and eager to celebrate games and share them with others. Games are for everyone, but they do not and must not belong to any one group.

We also firmly reject the notion voiced by some that discussions of games should not engage with or analyze or critique a game’s politics. We support our editors and their decisions about what aspects of any given game are worthy of discussion and critique in a review, and we trust our readers to bring to their reading of a review a personal understanding of what aspects are most relevant to them. To engage with a game’s politics is not inherently more political than to not engage with them; it is just differently political. And we believe that serious, thoughtful critiques of games, from their mechanics to their sociopolitical values, elevate and celebrate the medium.

We will be taking actions in the future to reflect our commitment these beliefs. We will make a concerted effort to have the voices featured on our site be more reflective of the diversity we support in games. And we will be moderating our comments sections much more heavily. We welcome any and all good-faith discussions of the merits or flaws of any game. We will no longer allow comments that state or that we deem to imply that games in general should be primarily for members of one group or not for members of another group, or that we feel in any way to contribute to a culture of hostility toward women, queer people, or people of color. And while we welcome thoughtful disagreement with the conclusions of any review, we do not welcome personal attacks on our editors, nor do we welcome comments that suggest that the very act of considering or critiquing the politics of a game is misguided. Anyone wishing to voice such beliefs has no shortage of places where they can do so. We do not need to provide you with another.

We are doing this not to shut down discussion, but to make it better. We would rather have far fewer comments and have them be thoughtful and welcoming, than have more and have them contribute, as they sadly so often have in the past, to a culture in which some do not feel welcome to participate. We no longer felt that we could stand silently by as some—however few in number they may be—very loudly and violently tried to assert that gaming should be exclusively or predominantly the domain of straight men. We want to affirm that we welcome everyone who believes that games can be and should be for everyone, and who is not hostile to the idea that games can be thought about and written about as something with real cultural value and impact.

We love games so much. We want them to be better. We want the medium to continue to evolve and grow and surprise us and move us and challenge us. We hope you do, too.


It’s kind of fun pretending that I work for a video game website. God, can you imagine?

The Ocean's Call chapter 1


When Eren and Armin succeed in freeing a frighted mermaid named Mikasa from a fishing net, they swear to keep her existence a secret from everyone else in their village. As the three grow closer and Mikasa find herself returning to their forbidden surface more and more often, the boys find it harder to keep their friend and her unknown world hidden from those who would seek to exploit it.

Rating: M

Main Pairings: EreMika, AruAni, LeviHan

Inspired by this fanart from nepitachips

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