New Year Otterday! And Open Thread.

Today’s sea otter comes courtesy of Ecobirder.


Sea otters spend most of their time floating on their backs, they eat, sleep, groom, and nurse their young while floating on their backs. Since they are social creatures they will often float together in groups, that can number over 100, which are called rafts. They are also fairly intelligent and are often seen using tools, like a rock or a bottle, to open up a hard shelled crustation.

Please feel free to use this thread to natter about anything your heart desires. Did anything great happen last year? Anything you want to get off your chest? What’s on your reading list for 2009? Commiserations, felicitations, temptations, contemplations, speculations?

Categories: fun & hobbies, Life

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19 replies

  1. I somehow wish I too was lying in the sea with a bottle close by. Maybe we’ll head to the pool tomorrow instead.

  2. Reading list for 2009 = books about Popes.

  3. This year brings lots of uncertainty for me. Last year was all yay for finishing the PhD (and I can’t remember if I updated people to say that I got notice at the end of the year that I will receive the ‘Vice Chancellor’s Commendation’ (scare quotes on accountuv not really knowing what that means) at my graduation. Isn’t that nice?) But it also means I’m scraping for teaching work wherever I can get it, supplemented with the joys of working at enrolment at uni (answering students’ emails about how hard the online enrolment procedure is, which… yes, hard. Helps if one reads instructions, though…). Also, trying to get over my fear of publishing (which seems to manifest as laziness, which does no wonders at all for my self esteem), in order to bulk out my post-doc applications. Oh, speaking of which, fabulous local academic invited me to have lunch with her to talk over arranging an ARC post-doc app. People are lovely, sometimes, y’know?!
    Reading: some Jean-Luc Nancy, hopefully, plus some more up-to-date stuff of the ol’ Judith Butler. If I get tres enthused, some Marx, maybe. But also lots about phenolol (I think it’s called) which is suggested as a means for ‘therapeutic forgetting’, and more of the ‘new materialism’ (which is not new at all, don’t be fooled! ;-)). Also some reading in aid of a paper I want to write about the construction of the child in contemporary Australian politics. And probably more of my thesis than I ever wanted to see again, mostly to the end of producing papers and a book out of it.
    And for fun: should find some DeLillo, really, at some point, plus more of the woman-I-would-totally-marry-though-she’d-never-have-me, Jeanette Winterson. Also Austerlitz, French Lieutenant’s Woman, Age of Innocence, The Dispossessed. And of course, a fair wad of nondescript fantasy. Oh, and some Poppy Z Brite, because even though the fuss over her is kinda over, I missed her and am thinking it will continue my vampire thing. I might even get a bit heavy and pick up some monstrosity like War and Peace, but I’m actually tempted to begin Proust. I’ve heard the new translations are great…

  4. Gah. Must’ve typo’d my html. Sorry kids!

  5. Sea otters are marvellous creatures.
    WP, well done! Also, I am just about to purchase The Age of Innocence. Have you seen the film? It’s exquisite. I’m just happy I got through last year at all, but 2009 is going to be one of the best years ever, with so much changing for me.
    My reading list, eh? I always go spectacularly off course on these. I hope to be reading more of Ursula K. Le Guin, Joanna Russ and James Tiptree, Jr. (Tip comes highly recommended as a mindblowingly talented writer of feminist sf. And read the biography for good measure.) I think I might try a bit of Agatha Christie, who I’ve never read before. And I just finished and enjoyed The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency, which had a few issues for me but was overall quite feminist; had a marvellous style and main character; and so strongly evoked the Africa I want to go back to. Although the first chapter of the second book looks distinctly unfeminist, but I’ll see if I can enjoy the rest of the novel nevertheless.

  6. I don’t usually plan my reading but I have been thinking I might give Les Miserables a go in the near future and I’ll be re-reading Lois McMaster Bujold in the lead up to Sharing Knife 4 hitting the shelves.

  7. And a big “Meh” to the announcement of Whatshisname as the next doctor. Meh.

  8. Huh. Who??! Well he must be good because otherwise someone so young and so unknown would be a slightly mad choice. I’m disappointed it isn’t Paterson Joseph but I’m slightly reassured by the photo -he looks like he was separated at birth from Prince Harry. An odd fish.

  9. Chally–the rest of the No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency books aren’t too bad when it comes to feminism. Differing in culture, I suppose, though that brings up the question of colonialism (because we’ve got a well-educated white Scotsman writing about black Botswanans).

  10. Yep, that was what mostly made me uncomfortable, that is, wondering if there was something huge I was missing, not being a black Botswanan and with the book being written by this white Scottish bloke. I shall have to continue with the series, because I was a bit too quick with the judgement of Alexander McCall Smith with that chapter there; perhaps it was not so much his gender essentialism as his better cultural understanding or something like that. No wonder it struck me as odd. Thanks, Bene. Have you read anything else of his?

  11. Oh, and I’m a bit intrigued about 11! I suppose I’d never heard of Mr Tennant, either, and he turned out to be marvellous. I wanna see what he can do!

  12. Wildly Parenthetical, I do like the sound of your reading list and may steal it for myself. Particularly since it gives me an excuse for re-reading Age of Innocence. Good luck with the publishing project.

    Otherwise I have big plans for Brontes and Gaskell.

  13. Chally–I started one of the Scotland Street books but never did quite finish. There were too many threads for my mind to follow at once. Also, I’m Glasgow at heart and find Edinburgh to be a bit stuck up…*g*
    Speaking of Glasgow and the boys, I’m keeping an open mind about Eleven. I was dubious about Tennant at first too, and we all know how I feel about him now.

  14. Pen – reading North & South?

  15. Thanks, Chally 🙂
    And Pen, steal away… My mum recommended Age of Innocence to me ages ago, and I bought a copy for cheap a lil while back. Books seem to sit on my bookshelf semi-glaring at me for a while before I manage to actually pick them up and read them! Oh, and I should add that in amongst the non-descript fantasy is totally descript fantasy, namely Kushiel’s Mercy. I managed Jane Eyre last year, followed swiftly by The Eyre Affair. The two together worked kinda well, as the latter anti-doted Jane’s tendency to be just so too good, and a teensy bit too self-effacing for my liking (especially her shock over actually being desired. But I suspect that’s my frustration with myself feeding into that one!).

  16. I have to say that I enjoyed Lost in a Good Book even more than The Eyre Affair.

    Okay, now I should really get off this thread and let others speak. 😛

  17. Nah, keep talking! I too liked Lost in a Good Book a lot better.

  18. I love meta lit like that. The UA of W Cat! Footnoting! Miss Havisham! And let’s not forget coincidences and croquet! Oh! You know what else in Jane Eyre related lit is worth a read? Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys.

  19. Hi Chally, I thought of the WSS the other day and thought I should re read it.
    Here’s my reading list: Just finished The Slap by Christos Tsiolkas, which everyone seems to be reading, and rightly so. There’s a few editing glitches in it and a couple of bits of dialogue I could do without but otherwise- brilliant. And What I Loved / Siri Hustvedt, which is absolutely wonderful, one of those novels that lulls you into almost-boredom then punches you in the gut and speeds off in another direction.
    Now I’m reading a bit of pulp fiction, Ruth Rendell’s Talking to Strange Men – the plot premise is fabulous, although Rendell’s crime novels, aiaiai, take some time to rewrite and edit can’t you. I have copies of Mrs Dalloway and Heart of Darkness to reread plus the latest Quarterly Essay, not cracked yet.

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