Otterday! Open Thread, now 100% Xmas-Free

sea otter holds her baby pup in the air
Today’s otter comes from mikebaird at flickr.

Please feel free to use this thread to natter about anything your heart desires, apart from Christmas. This open thread is 100% Xmas Free: please take any chat along those lines to yesterday’s Open Thread. Is there anything great happening in your life? Anything you want to get off your chest? Reading a great book? Anything in the news that you’d like to discuss? What have you created lately? Commiserations, felicitations, temptations, contemplations, speculations?

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Categories: Life

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28 replies

  1. I’m moving to Wellington (NZ) at the end of January, having got a fabulous, though temporary, job at the University there. Would love to check in with the local Hoydens before I go, but I fear there will be too much packing craziness to organize anything. Maybe if I find myself more on top of things than I expect towards the end of the month I’ll suggest a pub arvo.

  2. I’m having trouble finishing my novel. It’s almost as if I’m delaying it (and I promised it would be done by the end of the month) because I… I dunno I’m scared of finishing it? =/

  3. My mystery plants in the front yard are definitely tomatoes – one has a tiny baby tomato about the size of a small grape. I have no idea where they came from, I’ve never planted a tomato plant in my life.
    Who knew that all I needed to be a successful gardener was a garden I could see from my ‘puter?

  4. Orlando, I’ve been keeping in mind your request about karaoke. I’ve been having issues with my net connection which means I’m having difficulty logging in to create a post (totally at my end, not the wonderful and wonderfully patient Tigtog), but one will be coming soon… it would be awesome to have you there!! 🙂 To be able to congratulate you on your new job if nothing else!! How wonderful!
    And Jha, be gentle with yourself around finishing the book. You’re allowed to take a little while to let go. It might even be worth starting the editing process before it’s completely finished? Multitasking might make finishing it feel less final?
    And accidental tomatoes? How awesome, ariane!

  5. This afternoon my step-father popped in for afternoon tea and fell alseep on the couch in front of the cricket. It’s not the first time this has happened. Hubby and I love that he feels so welcome in our home.
    In related news, Hubby and I remain appalled at the lack of good sportsmanship displayed by the Aussie cricket team under Ponting’s leadership.

  6. I discovered this afternoon that without training, I have about a 2 1/3 octave range! Which means I can sing soprano or alto with ease and could even maybe manage a tenor, if it didn’t creep too low! This, for some bizarre reason, makes me happy. 🙂

  7. @6 -WP, no bizarre reason required for that to make you happy – that is awesome! Now I see why you are organising a karoke night – you need to share your gift!

  8. Hee! My range, sadly, says little about the quality of my voice! 😉 So it may or may not be a gift! But I will confess to having been utterly converted to karaoke love this year. Oh yes oh yes!!

  9. Tigtog, that stupid troll from Feminism 101 followed me home and is being abusive, triggery, demanding, privileged, and everything a troll should be. Voila:

    It does call his sincerity into question, just a wee bit.

  10. Oh, Jesus, brace yourself for the whining! Seriously, you should check out the blog; it’s epic. I hope you’re going to leave his comments up at 101; they prove a useful guide for how you can spot douchebaggery from a long way off.
    Oh, hell, and something else: every time I post I get some notice asking if I want to subscribe to tha thread. Every. Time. Very annoying. I’ve tried everything.

  11. I’ve left his comments up, I’ve just ROT-13 encrypted the most abusive/triggery bits.
    Hm, don’t know about the subscription notices. It’s probably part of the new “features” over at I nearly always reply from the backend admin dashboard, so I don’t get them.

  12. Tech details: I’ve moved the Subscribe to Comments link to below the comment form, because it was the only way I could get the Subscribe Without Commenting option included in a way that didn’t break the blog template. Sorry for any inconvenience.

    • Hm. It has been reported that at least one person is having trouble commenting, and I just reproduced the problem via attempting to comment while logged out. I’m about to get rid of the Subscribe Without Commenting option again to see if that is the culprit.

  13. testing testing – will this publish?
    [ETA: OK, it looks like the Subscribe Without Commenting box was the culprit. That plugin hasn’t been updated for a while – it must be missing a function call required by the latest version of WP]

  14. Ah ha! I just wanted to say thanks for linking to that tshirt, tigtog! I have duly purchased for wearing whilst rollerderbying! 😉 I oscillate so much on io9 – between great irritation and nodding agreement, often the former in relation to the commenters, and the latter in relation to Annalee Newitz! – that I would never have seen it in time!!

    • So where is this roller-derbying happening? I used to be a gun skater in my youth…
      In other news, the various blogs hosting Sherlockians vs Avatarians poutfests are rather amusing me.
      I saw DANCES WITH SMURFS and intend to see STEAMPUNK IRONMAN tomorrow (probably). I had a mixed response to Avatar and fully expect to have a mixed response to Holmes. I expect the writing to be a bit better in Holmes.

  15. I expect the writing to be a bit better in Holmes
    Er, it is by Guy Ritchie…
    @Orlando – congratulations! New Zealand is a beautiful place, and I hope you have a wonderful time. If I remember correctly, if you drilled a hole straight through the Earth, Wellington would lead directly to Madrid. Or maybe that’s Auckland…
    I’m wondering vaguely if the foodie movement is so popular in part to this incredible fat shaming culture. As in, the only way enjoy eating in a world that encourages us to starve is to think bad of other people while doing it – “I’m allowed to eat this because I can really appreciate it, not like those people who just wolf things down without savouring it.” Just part of a dinner conversation the other day.

    • I expect the writing to be a bit better in Holmes
      Er, it is by Guy Ritchie…

      But reports have it that much of the dialogue is original Conan Doyle. Which has its own weaknesses, but also has its charms.
      Ritchie’s not a dialogue maestro, I’ll grant you that. However, I do like his touch with ancillary characterisation.

  16. It will be interesting to hear what you think Tigtog. It’s a great shame Richard Roxburgh didn’t make more Holmes TV movies. Must be time for a repeat Aunty ABC!
    We threw a birthday party for my eldest today. One of the great benefits of Christmas birthdays is that if you are lucky enough to have relatives that you rub along Ok with then you often already have the makings of a very decent multigenerational b’day bash. My lad’s half-sister was here from England and along with his grandparents,2 aunts, 3 uncles and 6 cousins this made for a rather lovely 16th birthday for him.
    That sounds pretty incisive to me Amazing Kim. Plus the ability to produce posh nosh is for many a pretty reliable litmus test of who is or is not our kind of people. I sneak diced carrot into the salad just to weed out the guests who think that way : ).

  17. Oh, I did enjoy the Richard Roxburgh Holmes episodes. Although I’m generally a fan of Richard Roxburgh in just about anything!
    Christmas birthday parties – eek! [ETA: and Off-Topic!]
    Good point on the posh-nosh OKOP/NOKOP litmus test. It’s all about having the ability to include those unusual/expensive ingredients, isn’t it?

    • Crikey, some commentor on io9 doesn’t understand what colonisation is all about:

      Newitz fails to grasp the motivations of the humans, because Avatar is not at all a “basic colonizing story.” The humans had arrived on Pandora not as conquistadors but as prospectors for resources, because they’ve squandered the resources of Earth.

      EARTH TO IGNORAMUS: Colonisation only ever happens because Place B has something that Culture A wants, and they have the technology to take it away from Place B to benefit Culture A. How is protecting their base and every mining vehicle with massive firepower against the indigenous sapients who don’t want them to be there NOT being conquistadors?
      Newitz’s post, as usual, makes many good arguments.
      Edit: Sweet FSM, now there’s someone else who reckons that it can’t be colonisation if it’s by a corporation for the benefit of shareholders rather than by a government. East India Company, anyone? All those companies that started the colonies in Virginia etc to run the plantations, and who paid for their own militia to defend them? Why do people just not bother to read proper history?

  18. Yup. That thread was a case in point of my ambivalence. Newitz’s post is exactly right, and she could have used a dozen other examples from Avatar to make her points. I spent the whole time cringing, laughing out loud in horror and hiding my head against my co-conspirator’s shoulder. Honest to goodness, that film is just… so terrible, on so, so many fronts. It’s incredibly juvenile, too. And eventually, even the pretty annoyed me: it felt like this was a fantasy world that *anyone* would save, whereas ours is just mediocre and not pretty and not bioluminescent, so pah, who cares. Yeah yeah, I know the film didn’t actually say that, but its point was so empty and cold and racist and ableist and fuckyeah, sexist that when the pretty’s doing all the work of convincing you we should save the world, well… bleargh. Sorry. I know I’m reacting to that thread, and over here, where it’s not fair, but gah. I feel like I could rant about that movie for AAAGES.
    [spoiler alert]
    I mean, FFS, the entire movie rests on Neytiri doing something entirely out of character – killing other beings in the forest and not for food, because she feels he has a ‘strong heart’. What. The. Fucking. Fuck. This is *completely* at odds with their way of life, but of course, it’s completely in line with the white fantasy of the special white man who will come amongst the savages and make them respect his specialness. Which will then allow him to fill in the holes in their own culture with, y’know, comms and guns and stuff. Because he is, really, so much more flexible and smart than they are. RAWR. Okay. I am done now. For now.

  19. Just want to say thanks, WP. Went unwillingly to see Avatar with the family to avoid any more of scene than I’d already created ranting about its racisim, and am still fuming from my father’s well-meaning, twice-repeated advice to “just enjoy the story”. ARG!
    Totally agree with your *spoiler* paragraph.

  20. Tigtog @22 -Sorry my comment was a bad fit for this thread. My apologies to all for the unwarranted off- topic references there.
    Thanks for all of the great commentary on Avatar, which, in my role as decidedly unsaintly Aunt of a great many nieces in the 13-16 year age group, I have been assiduously passing on as hints and asides. I can’t say it is definitely bearing fruit, but after employing the same technique last year in regards to Twilight, I find that this year they are expressing boredom with the singularly stolid progression of Bella’s narrative arc, and hopefully I am encouraging their frustration and disenchantment with these cosy but ultimately poisonous fantasies. I sound a bit like the nasty fairy at the cradle, but then she has probably been disastrously misrepresented too!

  21. No, thank *you*, Jet. It’s good to know that not the whole world (okay, I exaggerate, most people I’ve spoken to about it/have seen post on it have been grr) thinks it’s so gorgeous as to not have to be anything else in order to be great… I have so much more Rawr-ing to do, I’m tempted to start a thread just so we all have a place to get indignant together!! And really, what story? If they’d taken 1% of the special effects budget and put it into scriptwriting, they *might* have come up with something a teensy bit better: more original, less racist, less sexist, less ableist, less colonialist, and really, just straight-up less cringe-worthy and boring.

  22. @WP – “If they’d taken 1% of the special effects budget and put it into scriptwriting, they *might* have come up with something a teensy bit better: more original, less racist, less sexist, less ableist, less colonialist, and really, just straight-up less cringe-worthy and boring.”
    This is my constant gripe about most big budget movies. It drives me batty, why spend 100s of millions of $ but not bother to even make an original story? Or even a story than makes sense in some cases? Or a story that doesn’t depend on the same, tired, racist/sexist/classist tropes? Cos some of the ‘big’ movies could really be amazing if the storylines were cleverer.
    I haven’t seen Avatar, but I still second the motion for an indignation thread.

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