Otterday! And Open Thread.

tinheap captured this beautiful otter in a Münster zoo, and shared it on flickr.

a wet-furred whiskery river otter sits on a large brown log, looking at the camera.

Please feel free to use this thread to natter about anything your heart desires. Is there anything great happening in your life? Anything you want to get off your chest? Reading a good book (or a bad one)? Anything in the news that you’d like to discuss? What have you created lately? Commiserations, felicitations, temptations, contemplations, speculations?

Categories: Life

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43 replies

  1. Aww, sweet little weasel.
    I’ve been notified that somebody’s comment bounced off into the ether last night, sending them to the 404 page instead. If this has happened to anybody else, could you send an email of the details to [hoydenz] [at] [gmail] [dot] [com]?
    I’ve had this happen to me at various sites over the years, and it’s one reason that I tend to compose longer comments in an offline text-editor and then paste them into the commenting field, rather than compose them on-site. I can’t lose them that way.

  2. Weirdly I clicked ‘back’ and there my comment was. But even refreshing the page didn’t make a difference, so I’m trying here….

  3. Huh, weird; it’s *just* the ‘Too Sex for Breastfeeding’ thread! Perhaps what I was writing was ill-advised and the blog took the superego bit of me for a bit 😉

  4. I just need to say, the spring burgeoning going on right now is quite disorienting, as one with Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) – I’m feeling upwellings of hope/joy etc, but am also distressingly aware of how many balls I’ve dropped over the last few months.
    I *really* need to get sorted.

  5. In other news, today I helped my folks supervise their garage sale (they’re downsizing to a tidy lovingly-renovated cottage in a few months time) – unlike our dreadful expectations after yesterday’s gales, it was glorious sunshine most of the day (a brief shoving of sales items under the carport after the short sharp showers notwithstanding) and we actually made a reasonable profit (advertising in the local gazette is $15) – having nothing else to do but sit in the sunshine and wait for punters to decide whether or not to buy was actually quite delicious.
    Sure, I had to spend a while making sure that Dad didn’t decide to keep way more bushwalking/camping gear than a couple in their late 70’s really need, but I think the right choices were made in the end.
    If you are in the lower Blue Mountains and in the market for bushwalking gear, books, videos and (eventually) garden and other tools, my parents will be having more garage sales over the next months before they move. They’ve got lots of great stuff, just too much of it!

  6. So glad that it’s rainy this morning. I managed to sleep in for the first time in ages.

  7. Someone on facebook linked me to this:
    “A LEGAL loophole in Queensland law can allow a gay person to be murdered & the killer to be let off if they say “I panicked when I realised they were gay”. ”
    It would be great if Queensland Hoydens would have a look and sign.

  8. Pretty sure that remains law across Australia, Alien Tea (though my info may be a little out of date here: R v Green is, I think, the last time I saw this come up, and then it scraped back into precedent). Also the wording in the attached article is a little incorrect: Homosexual Advance Defence is a provocation defense, enabling the reduction of murder to manslaughter (i.e., removing the ‘mens rea’ element of the crime), rather than ‘letting the killer off’ from any criminal sentence, as the article suggests.

  9. Yikes. Well that particular petition is Queensland specific. I don’t know much about it, I’m sorry to say.
    Thanks for the clarification.

  10. I need to ask for some advice – last night miniFP had a total meltdown, like seriously losing it in a big way. I haven’t seen him like that before. Anyway he was sobbing and moaning and then he started talking but in this mumbled muffled voice. At first I thought he was playing around but then it got louder and I realised he was saying “MUM I can’t move my hands”. His hands were clawed up and he couldn’t get them to relax, but what was scaring me even more was his speech – it was slurred like his tongue was swollen or something. Now, he’s had some pretty large meltdowns in the past and when something has happened to shock him I’ve been able to talk him down – last night when he realised what had happened, I was able to work on getting him to breathe slowly and as he did his hands relaxed and his speech went back to normal. We were not in Sydney, it was dark and raining and we were on our way to a major family event. When he said he felt better I decided we’d go in and just monitor it. But now it’s bothering me quite a bit. I had thought it was pure panic attack but I’m concerned that this might have been a small stroke or something? On the phone now to Health Direct to ask about the symptoms. I’m just so exhausted and feel a bit stupid for *not* going straight to hospital – he just seemed to recover so well that I put it down to panic/stress.

  11. Not a Dr so I can’t provide you with any medical reassurance, but I’m hoping you are all okay now and offering hugs. Could just be an anxiety thing?

  12. Hi Mindy – sort of. I called triage at Hornsby Hospital but was put through to Health Direct – I spent over an hour talking first to a Nurse and then to a Doctor and the Doctor is fairly certain it’s Tetany – all the symptoms fit, whereas they don’t for my concerns over a stroke. It’s also possible that it might be a form of epilepsy so we need to see a GP and book in for a paediatrician. But Tetany seems spot on, explains the clawed hands, the slurred speech, the loss of memory etc. It’s apparently when the breathing is so irregular that it causes calcium levels to drop dramatically. So the Dr was quite reassuring in providing feedback on what to look out for, what to do, when we would need to go to casualty etc.
    I should be clear that I don’t expect emergency medical advice here – I guess I was just angsting over the choice not to go to casualty last night and it was more in wondering if other people had heard of these symptoms before – I could remember hearing about something similar that was reasonably common in kids with Aspergers when/if they got really worked up.

  13. FP, glad to hear that a trip to hospital didn’t end up being needed, and that you’ve been given useful and reassuring advice from the health professionals.
    Poor mini-FP. It must have been terribly scary to go through that.

  14. @FP – I wasn’t sure enough of stroke symptoms, didn’t sound like it, but didn’t like to say so and be wrong. Glad to hear you could get some good advice. I hope mini-FP is okay now. Sounds scary.
    Once again it would seem that MyNigel and I have been able to produce a child with behavioural problems that aren’t severe enough to warrant intervention but enough to cause concern. Probably a good thing we stopped at two.

  15. Thanks all, yes terrifying for all involved! He seems well enough today though still very emotional and easily angered (happens whenever he gets really tired, and I imagine his body is totally exhausted). He’s quite delighted that the Dr has insisted he eat lots of icecream and drink lots of milk. As far as medical treatments go this one is not wildly unpopular! 🙂 I’m keeping him home tomorrow to see a Dr to rule out seizures etc, then we’ll see what the Dr says about time off for the rest of the week.

  16. FP – Oof, that sounds horrible for all involved. *hug* I hope it gets diagnosed and sorted soon.

  17. Ta kirstente, yes, that’s an accurate description of the situation. Feel a lot better after talking it all through with the medical professionals. Also taken aback a little at how much more bearable it is with TBO at my side than it used to be when things would hit like this and I was handling the aftermath on my own – he’s been so good and is solidly at my side and supportive of us both. Also think the anxiety medication has been helpful in allowing me to stop that spiral of ‘OH MY GOD THIS IS ALL MY FAULT! I *OBVIOUSLY* CAUSED THIS!!’ that I was so very very accomplished at.
    Mindy, I’m sorry I didn’t respond to the later part of your message before – I think I’m sort of reeling in that my child is diagnosed with so much already – allergies, asthma, asperger’s, adhd, that being told there was another medical issue to add to the list/watch out for was crushing me. I’m still just thoroughly wrung out.

  18. Doing my tax online.
    You cannot continue without making a selection in the Your Sex box of male or female.
    I want M, F, GQ, I, T and NOYFB options.

  19. @FP – that was just my little whinge, I do know that we are very fortunate to have two beautiful children who are both well and able and I should spend more time remembering that than worrying about what might happen in the future.

  20. Also think the anxiety medication has been helpful in allowing me to stop that spiral of ‘OH MY GOD THIS IS ALL MY FAULT! I *OBVIOUSLY* CAUSED THIS!!’ that I was so very very accomplished at.
    That’s something positive.
    But shit what a terrible time. I’m glad you have a diagnosis. Hugs.

  21. That sounds really scary for you both, FP. Hope the icecream helps.

  22. @Alien Tea, oh, having it taken out of Crimes Acts across Australia would be a good thing – it’s more that I get concerned that in being horrified at, say, Queensland, its presence in the Crimes Acts of other states wouldn’t quite get a look-in. The petition is definitely worth supporting, though! 🙂
    @FP Oh, that sounds really rough. I hope you’re both recovering okay.
    @tigtog Garage sales can be so much work… but it sounds like it went well, so well done you!
    In other news, having almost recovered from my URTI, I now have a sore throat so sore I’m worried it’s tonsillitis. And I have a thousand things to do, of course: editors breathing down my neck etc. 😦 I think I’m doing that background worry thing that kind of means I don’t relax properly. Well, it could be that or it could be socialising with a new bunch of people… with so much fail circulating – racist fail, sexist fail, fatphobic fail, biphobic fail and that was just in one night – it was slightly exhausting, I think…

  23. FP: I’ve done the thing where my breathing was so shallow/panicked my hands clawed up. I was home alone and let me tell you it’s hard to call health advice when your hands don’t work. Breathing into a paper bag worked for me. It’s only happened that once.

  24. @FP, hell, that sounds appalling. I hope miniFP is better now. Too frightening.
    @YetAnotherMatt, yeah, doing tax online is a regular pain in the derriere, even without that “what is your sex” nonsense. (Love the NOYFB option, that’d be my choice.) Good old paper and pen will have to do for me after the Case of the Collapsing ATO Website last year.
    I’m reading a very good book right now – a bio of George VI by Sarah Bradford. Inspired, of course, by having seen The King’s Speech, the doco The Real King’s Speech on the ABC, and the book of the same name by Lionel Logue’s grandson (which is a great read, btw: shows how close they were).

  25. @YettAnotherMatt – boo I don’t want to think about having to do my tax online. Currently playing ‘ostrich’ as I’m unsure of whether I’ll get a refund or end up owing the ATO some money and right now it’s just one hassle too many to figure it out.
    @Aqua – yes, that was something weighing on me when I was determining whether or not to stay home, that ordinarily he can call me if he needs me, but should that happen he might not be able to. 😦
    @Alien Tea & WP – I was thinking about this. The HAD is not ‘in’ the Crimes Acts as such – the Crimes Act (at least in NSW) contains a provision at s23 which allows for a jury to acquit an accused of murder and find them instead guilty of manslaughter if it appears that the act was done under ‘provocation’. Part 2 of that section goes on to say that the act/ommission (causing the death) was done under provocation if it was the ‘result of a loss of self-control…induced by the conduct of the deceased…towards or affecting the accused’, and that the conduct of the deceased was ‘such as could have induced an ordinary person in the position of the accused to have so far lost self-control as to have formed an intent to kill, or to inflict grievous bodily harm upon, the deceased’.
    I don’t know how I feel about this section. On the one hand I think that a situation in which I could see this being a beneficial section is in the case of a battered partner. I can see that any person in that situation might one day snap – not sure if Jo Tamar or others have more info on this – is provocation and a reduction to manslaughter combined with a direction to discharge the jury from giving any verdict under s24 the usual way of dealing with abusive relationships?
    But on the other I feel a bit ill about the language and the ways in which this is deployed – that it can be considered ‘provocation’ (something that would cause an ‘ordinary person’ to form an intent to kill or inflict greivous bodily harm) that a man ‘came onto’ another man yet there is so much resistance to the idea of defences/reduced sentences in abusive relationships with all the ‘just leave’ rhetoric. And you know – women have men ‘come onto’ them frequently without stabbing them and the responses to women who have been raped don’t seem to suggest that killing the guy would have been the ‘ordinary’ or ‘reasonable’ thing to do.
    I just feel that the ‘ordinary person’ here is male – male, straight and homophobic. That’s what makes me feel ill. By implication the law says that ‘ordinary people’ would react to homosexual advances by forming an intent to kill or cause greivous bodily harm. Ugh.

  26. And @ everyone, thanks for the kind and comforting words – we’re okay now. He’s back to school and the Drs are pretty convinced it’s not anything else ‘more serious’ so we just have to monitor the breathing/the responses to stress etc and try to change the situation if he’s getting distressed and not breathing properly. I do a little of it myself (to the stage of bad leg cramps etc) but not to the hand cramp/impaired speech stage etc. Scary stuff.

  27. Yeah, FP, I think it’s different in Queensland’s Crimes Act. I do think that where it is included as a specific provocation defense, it ought to be taken out of the Act (I’m not interested in getting rid of provocation altogether, although I do think that it is one of the parts of the criminal law where privilege is given the most wriggle rom). Precedent doesn’t need any help to stick around, is my thinking. And if RvGreen hasn’t been superceded as the last HAD case, then it only *scraped* back in – 4/3 I think was the breakdown, but that’s just from memory. So next time around, it seems fairly likely that it might go the other way, and we can all celebrate. But if it’s lingering in state-based legislation, well, that kinda starts to make it hard for judges to just get rid of it completely, y’know?

  28. I’m not sure it is in the legislation actually, I’m certainly no expert on criminal law, particularly Qld, but from a quick scan it looks as though their Criminal Code doesn’t provide for HAD specifically – they have slightly different provisions about reduced intention/reduced responsibility including about an act or omission carried out to save themselves or someone else from serious harm where they believe they’d be otherwise unable to escape, but it contains a proviso that the action/omission must be reasonably proportionate to the threat. I don’t want to ponder that too hard – ‘common sense’ says that the interpretation of that section would have to support a finding that murder was in no way proportionate to a homosexual advance but I’ve read enough cases to know that legal ‘common sense’ and my ‘common sense’ don’t always mesh. 😦
    I’m certainly not arguing against the proposition that were it to be contained in legislation it should certainly be removed (I’m 100% against its eradication), I guess it’s just that a/ if it’s not in fact in legislation but a matter of judicial interpretation then it’s not such a simple matter to get it out – you can lobby for the repeal of certain legislation but challenging interpretations (I would think) is much harder and b/ it’s important to figure out where it’s actually coming from in order to challenge it effectively.
    It’s been forever since I did criminal law, and there’s a possibility I’ve looked at the wrong piece of legislation, or missed something, but on a quick reading it doesn’t look as though it’s a simple matter of ‘cut this section out of the Act’.

  29. Well yeah, sure, FP. But the petition suggests that either it’s included in the Act via what’s permitted in evidence (I’m not going to try and negotiate with austlii! Though I admire you for tackling it!); or that the petition is requesting that they revamp the legislation on evidence permitted for provocation to specifically exclude evidence submitted in support of HAD (it’s a lil unclear, but that’s what I was going off). Which is a good way to go, I think, in the sense that it’s not waiting for the next HAD case (the next queer death, in other words) to see if precedent changes (law is *so slow* sometimes… and I hate the way that, just when you think it’s gone because there’s been no case using it, it can just pop up again!). It could make for some interesting inter-state comparative legislative reform discussions too. So fingers crossed. Looks like it comes up for discussion today…

  30. Gotcha – I had simply clicked through and found out I couldn’t sign as I don’t have a Qld postcode, and hadn’t read the blurb.
    Was just bothering me about how exactly it was in the law and how then you go about tackling it to change it.
    Yes, agreed that you can’t wait for a ‘case’ to come up because it’s life and death. I do hope that it gets some traction – and action. I’m so totally staggered at the whole concept, it’s so entirely sickening to me to suggest that a man coming on to a man in a non violent way (and this is what the bulk of the cases are about) is what would provoke an ‘ordinary man’ to form the intent to kill. The ugly just spreads out in ripples. And am reminded again of the comparisons in Andrew Sharpe’s books between the treatment of, say, branding of a woman by her husband, and consensual S&M activities between men…
    There’s something bugging me about the difference between this concept on the one hand that a non violent ‘come on’ by a homosexual man is something that would drive the ‘ordinary man’ to murder, and yet an actual *rape* of a woman by a man is met with rhetoric of ‘boys will be boys’ and ‘opportunity to rape’ etc, when it’s not in *any way* established that any rebuff of the ‘come on’ was going to be ignored or the situation become a potential rape situation.

  31. Oh, HAD makes the double-standard around rape particularly heinous, I think; that’s totally true and really angry-making. Some of the stories that are told, both here and in the US, around HAD cases are really awful. There’s a fairly troubling amount of… well, let’s say tendencies toward consensual homoerotic intimacy… amongst those who have been convicted of manslaughter (reduced from murder due to HAD/homosexual panic (the latter in the USA). Really really awful. Homophobia has so much to answer for. 😦
    I come and go on where I think change should happen – I think the proliferation of legislation is kind of problematic in some ways (not so flexible to individual situations, for e.g., especially unexpected ones, and sometimes produces injustice that judges then can’t do anything about) but I also think that it enables changes like this to happen where we don’t really want to wait for another queer death to happen to decide HAD’s no longer law, y’know?

  32. FP, I’m so glad mini FP is OK!
    Mini-Balcony broke his second orthodontic retainer last night so now I am up for another $300. Not happy.

  33. Ta Helen – (it’s me, FP, I’ve just decided to move on to a different blog and a different name).
    Argh. He’s now broken two??

  34. Ha. Oh dear – I need a coffee. I looked at the sidebar and went ‘Oh someone new has commented on the Otterday thread’. That would be me with my new name that I don’t yet recognise! 🙂

  35. Okay, I’ ve been trawling around closed threads (much more interesting than working) and seeing the Friday Hoyden one about Scout Finch, and the ones about Ioan Gruffyd as Horatio Hornblower, prompt me to throw this bit of trivia in. Did anyone know Gregory Peck starred in Captain Horatio Hornblower in 1950? I didn’t until about five minutes ago, when the boss mentioned it. Hard to imagine but how easy on the eye would Mr Peck in a costume drama be? 🙂

  36. *snicker*

    From: The Australian
    August 29, 2011 9:26AM
    THE AUSTRALIAN published today an opinion piece by Glenn Milne which includes assertions about the conduct of the Prime Minister.
    The Australian acknowledges these assertions are untrue. The Australian also acknowledges no attempt was made by anyone employed by, or associated with, The Australian to contact the Prime Minister in relation to this matter.
    The Australian unreservedly apologises to the Prime Minister and to its readers for the publication of these claims.

  37. The Australian fibbed?
    Shock! Horror! Say it ain’t so!

  38. french queen – it was on TV in the last few months! VERY easy on the eyes. Totally swash my buckles and all that. X)

  39. @tigtog:
    Aw, what? I missed out on something possibly libelous? Gosh darn it! All I found was this bit:
    “What the lawyers would not allow to be reported was the fact that Gillard shared a home in Fitzroy bought by Wilson using the embezzled funds. There is or was no suggestion Gillard knew about the origin of the money.”

  40. *head desk* I shouldn’t be so bothered by the fact that John Birmingham doesn’t seem to realise that there are more POC in the world than Radike Samo, but I am.
    For those just tuning in: Qantas gave two tickets to a person on Twitter who promised to dress as their favourite player Radike Samo. They did and tweeted the photo to Qantas who tweeted it to their followers. They dressed up in blackface. People on twitter pointed out to Qantas that this was offensive and racist and Qantas responded with an ‘I’m sorry you were offended” faxupology. John Birmingham has weighed in to say that because Radike Samo wasn’t offended then the stunt wasn’t offensive. I respectfully disagree, although I am white.

  41. John Birmingham seems to think a lot of things that others find offensive are perfectly acceptable (see section on his comments on Germaine Greer: Growl.

  42. doubleantandre – wow, that’s horrible.

  43. The Birmingham thing? Yeah.

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