Otterday! And Open Thread.

This river otter was snapped at the Detroit Zoo and shared by Loren Sztajer on flickr.

Close shot of a slightly damp River otter looking out from a hole in a rock wall.

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

Tags: , , ,

48 replies

  1. Love the alert expression on that furry face.
    Just noting that today, October 15, is the kickoff for Occupy Together, a global day of protest in Solidarity with the #occupywallstreet protest. Very wet here in Sydney, so I think I (and my gumboots) might wander down to say a friendly hello to whoever turns up in Martin Place, because I don’t think they’ll get that many coming along.

  2. *snicker* The Mary Sue is gold:

    Introducing a new category: What the Heck is Happening in this Set Photo?

  3. Today I made a birthday cake, ate too much kid’s party food and got thanked by the newly 13 year old for “an awesome party.” Apparently providing food and a venue is all I need to do now for a party to rate as awesome. Really liking this growing up thing.
    Cake of sugary doom:

  4. A friend of mine lost her best friend yesterday. A dog she grew up with. Every Monday a bunch of us upload new songs for each other to listen to. What’s an appropriate song for someone who’s grieving?

  5. The Amazing Kim: Last time I was in grieving-for-my-dog mode, I walked around the house aimlessly singing “Goodbye To You” (Michelle Branch) and sobbing. I don’t know if that’s the tone you’re looking for, though.
    The other thing that can work for me is loud crashy choral music – Carmina Burana, the angrier stretches of Mozart’s Requiem, etc. All of Faure’s Requiem is amazing too. But I’m not sure if that’s getting all a little too literal, and what might really be in order is a pile of ridiculous disco and 80s girlpop your friend can get lost in twirling and bouncing to.

  6. @The Amazing Kim, for a song that’s easy to cry to, there’s Hayley Westenra’s Never Say Goodbye.

  7. I stumbled upon this old piece by Alexander Downer:
    It’s not entirely unproblematic, but it’s not a bad read!

  8. @TAK – I don’t know what to recommend there. Doing a bit of grieving at the moment and am finding that every second song triggers me off. TBO drove me up to Newcastle and back today so I could visit an elderly relative who is dying from a lung disease. An emotionally intense day but such a privilege to hear his voice one last time, to hear him talk to me about what he’s found important in life, to tell him I love him, that knowing him made my life better, to hear him tell me that I had ‘all the necessary qualities’, to wait as he came in and out of consciousness and to have him look in my eyes and say a really profound goodbye knowing it was the last time.

    • My condolences to those grieving. I tend to go for old-skool mostly-instrumental prog-rock-and-beyond when I really want to lose myself in music for a while – Journey to the Centre of the WorldEarth or Tubular Bells are two of my faves.

  9. @TAK: Emmylou Harris, Boulder to Birmingham
    Joe Pug, Hymn #15 (I think that one is available as a free download from his website,

  10. The Amazing Kim: I don’t know what particular grieving mood your friend’s in, but I offer a sob-along, beautiful song Bronte, by Gotye. It was actually written for friends of his who had to put their dog down, and it makes *me* cry and I’m not doing any pet grieving, so you know, fair warning. 😀

  11. So sorry to hear that, doubleantandre.
    I’m thinking of doing NaNoWriMo, but that’s exam time and I have no solid idea about what to write. Maybe I should do a special Chally-only version in December?

  12. Thanks for the suggestions, everyone. It’s weird when a family pet dies. There’s no real formal recognition of it. Sometimes an animal can be closer to you than distant human relatives, but some people still look askance when you say you’ll be holding a funeral rather than digging a hole in the backyard or flushing them down the loo. Jill from Feministe wrote an extremely moving post about the loss of her kitten recently.
    That song was especially beautiful, Maharetr.
    @Chally, you could write a novel about a lady who is really busy with her exams. Or a novel about a lady who doesn’t have any exams at all and has the whole November free, and the wonderful things she does since she doesn’t have any exams to study for. Or about a Dutch-Indonesian man called Bambang Von Boom who works in a fireworks factory but secretly wants to be a librarian.

  13. @doubleantandre, my condolences.

  14. Mine too.

  15. tigtog, are you an HSC house right now? Or is that next year?

    • We are indeed an HSC house right now, thus at least partly explaining my mental exhaustion and light blogging for the past few weeks.

  16. Thanks all for the condolences. This month has been *hard*. Topped of with a tax debt and the need to replace the entire roof and me leaving $400 in an ATM yesterday. When I realised I was inconsolable and just kept crying, though to be honest I think it was more that I’d been holding it together for a few weeks already just by the hair on my chinny-chin-chin. After that I just had to say ‘NO MORE’ and I took a sick day for some rest. Yikes.
    @Chally – I may have to wait til 2013 but NaNoWriMo sounds great!! Hope you get to do something like that after exams.
    @TAK – yeah – I haven’t had a pet for a long time but we stayed on a farm a while ago looking after new baby goats. We fell in love. And they died, one after the other. I was extremely distraught but also feeling odd about it, like other people would feel I was being silly.
    @tigtog – EEK!

  17. @doubleantandre

    Was there anyone waiting to use the machine after you? If not it might just have sucked the cash back in. Was it your bank? You might be able to contact them and tell them what happened. There may be some way to check the machine. You might get lucky. (((hugs)))

    • I’ve just got home about 20 minutes ago after a day spent zipping around the Lower Blue Mountains and the West of Sydney chasing up certified copies of original documents that my parents absolutely positively have to have on hand next week for settlement of their house sale and house purchase.
      I need vodka.

  18. @Mindy – I didn’t see anyone. Then again I took my card and walked away so perhaps wasn’t at my most observant? I called Westpac (it was a St George ATM) and they’ve said it most likely got sucked back in. It’ll take a few weeks but it should be credited back. Provided of course that no one did yoink it. Just a headsup for anyone in this situation in future – Westpac allow you to go into the branch and they give you the cash. I didn’t choose that option in case it turned out they wouldn’t recredit me but I’ve been in situations previously where I would absolutely have needed it then and there.
    @tigtog. Argh. Not fun! (Do they qualify for the stamp duty exemption under the Senior’s Principal Place of Residence scheme? ) Hope you got a couple of nice vodkas in! If I get my $400 back I think I may celebrate with a bottle of Bombay Sapphire Gin.

    • @doubleantandre, thanks so much for the link to the Senior’s Principal Place of Residence scheme. I will run it by my sibling who works in a dept wot should know about such stuff.

      • PS if someone knows a useful German word to describe the sensation one feels when one’s 70+ mother says you-might-like-this-top-used-to-love-it-but-now-it-makes-me-look-pregnant and then you discover that you #actuallyquitelikethetop and thank sweet FSM that #myparentsdonotreadmyblog – well, I’d be fascinated to hear it, frankly.

  19. Sorry to tell you how to suck eggs doubleantandre. I know that sick feeling of losing something valuable.

    @tigtog enjoy your tipple of choice, sounds like you earned it.

  20. Umkehrspeinlichkeit should do it. (“Reversal emarrassment” – doubt it’s a real word, though, but German’s good for invention).

  21. I’m not sure if you were really asking or rhetorically asking; in the latter case, think of my answer as an “isn’t German grand” comment. 🙂
    And rereading your post, it’s wrong anyway. :/
    But speaking of grand, someone just pointed me at the greatest customs declaration in the history of humankind.

  22. @tigtog, hope they can get it. Stamp duty’s rough!
    @Mindy – no you weren’t – I found it hard to find the info on what to do and it was only because I called the line for ‘lost cards’ that I got someone who told me what the deal is.

  23. Noticed Ballastexistenz in your blogroll. Good blog, but she moved from over to wordpress. New URL is
    Apologies for the interruption.

  24. This weekend I am tending to baby chicks! I had a 100% hatch rate of my fertile eggs 😀 Five little Barnevelders and six little Australorps (two black, four blue). Video and photos of the newborns at my photostream.
    I’ll take some proper white-light photos soon.
    Here’s one to be getting on with:

    and a random picture of my cat sleeping on my feet last night.

  25. *melts*

  26. @lauredhel 100%! So glad your last little peeper made it through. Hopefully a low rooster count too.

  27. Awwwwww to both chicks and cat. And another awwww to the labrador who is not in the picture but I know he’s labradorable.

  28. Chickcam love!!! I love their little ‘cheep’-y noises!

  29. Labradorable, what a wonderful word.
    Am totes going to use that about all Labradors I come across in future. My brother has a Labrador – she actually managed to dislocate her tail by wagging it too enthusiastically.

  30. I am in the middle of ‘negotiating’ for puppies. I can get quite ‘small things’ clucky. Occassionally for-babies clucky although I know that I don’t really want to ‘go there’ again (it’s the school stuff, the logistical stuff of they have 12 weeks of holidays a year and we have 4 etc mostly). But I think my desire to be nurturing could be transferred to puppies and puppy training. But TBO (also known as Captain Sensible) wants a written 5 year plan before we move on anything, so I’m ‘negotiating’, as in ‘Okay. I can wait two years. Provided you agree that then I get to buy two mini Schnauzers from a reputable breeder at that time!’. I should throw in there also provided that I get to name them! 🙂 I am really excited about puppy training, as well as puppy silliness and cuteness. And occassionally a chocolate labrador sways me from my staunch mini Schnauzer/Airedale adoration – because they ARE so labradorable!
    Life is a bit up and down at the moment – background greiving, and ‘getting used to living together’ stresses, but also lots of ‘new house’ joy (had friends over on Sunday and Christmas is at our house this year – yippee!!) but then this bloody ‘academic honesty’ beat up. How they can establish it when I in fact did not get to submit the answers is beyond me. But it’s now been two weeks and I have refrained from pushing. I finally asked him what might happen with regards to marks and any ‘enquiry’ and he simply said ‘I presume the Dean will contact you in due course’. So you know, just keep that axe hovering (and by the way if I only answered half an essay question you would fail me, so how’s about answering my question fully). Meanwhile I don’t even know if an actual complaint has been lodged. Frustrating as this guy’s very sensitive to ‘disrespect’ but I can’t get any info out of him and that doesn’t leave me any choice but to ask someone else which he will see as ‘disrespect’.

  31. Contact the Dean. If he has told you the Dean will let you know, then check to make sure the Dean is on the same page. Disrespect my arse. Respect should be earned and if he is being a dick about all this, then he is being disrespectful. If he makes your life difficult, make a complaint. Sounds like he is playing pissy power games.

  32. I know. I am disappointed to realise that it appears that that’s exactly what he’s doing. I’m going to leave it 24 hours to make sure I don’t react in anger. I might try one more letter to make clear what I want, and to inform him that I will be contacting others to try to sort it out. Sigh. Anyway – could be worse I suppose.

  33. Actually apologies Doubleantandre if that previous comment is unhelpful. I know that your degree/profession is on in which personal recommendations are important and pissing off someone who might have power to cause you problems in the future is a real issue. There should be some way that you can politely inquire if the Dean is actually aware of the matter, and if not, what can be done to resolve the issue. Perhaps Jo Tamar might have some insights on how to proceed without potentially causing issues in your future dealings with these people?

  34. Oh no, don’t worry. It’s affirming to hear others be indignant. I just know I can have a tendancy to obsess and then try to ‘act quickly’ when there’s generally never a situation that can’t wait 24 hours to see if I still feel like sending it when I wake up in a different mood. The procedures say the Head of Department will write to the student, in most cases within 10 days of the complaint, via their student email. I actually suspect it has not gone any further – but until I know when the time is clearly ‘up’ it leaves lingering uncertainty. In actual fact even if they *did* find against me, the ‘penalty’ would be a mark of zero for that test – which is what I already have – or a chance to resubmit for a max of 50%. That would actually be an improvement!! (This started because there was a glitch with the quiz whereby I got marked as having submitted an ‘empty’ quiz – ie/ no responses, so I sent him the emails to show I worked out the answers and I actually got 4/5). Aaaanyway. *Goes to have coffee laced with Scotch!*

  35. Sore eye (no. 1) problem sorted out by discovering that I had actually forgotten to remove yesterday’s daily contact lens, and then removing it. Itchy eye no. 2 is just going to have to cope with healing.
    *#$()W$^Q# computer problems not so easily solved. May have to incur the wrath of someone by deleting and starting again. Can’t wait for someone to get around to fixing it. More to the point, won’t. #hissy

  36. Oh Mindy – sounds like a shitful morning!
    @Rebekkah – I meant to say, that story about the puppy with the too-waggling tail. Both adorable and a bit sad. Poor pup!

  37. @doubleantandre – to top it all off, I was going to buy deep fried goodness for lunch but the cafe on the way back to work was closed (they did actually advertise that they would be closed for a few days from about 2 weeks ago but I forgot) and I couldn’t be bothered turning around and driving back into town so I am resentfully microwaving the lunch that hubby packed for me this morning. I’m going to go and work on being grateful for having someone to pack me lunch now.

  38. @doubleantandre and @Mindy – (really Mindy since you asked; doubleantandre, I get the impression you are more concerned about other aspects) FWIW university lecturers are often not that tapped into the networks you ultimately will be using if you work in anything other than academia. The ones you get on with can be great for references, but otherwise, they are unlikely to have that much of an influence on your career, networking wise. Especially since IIRC you already work (or have already worked) in a law firm.
    So showing “disrespect” as defined by this teacher is relatively unlikely (although there are some exceptions) to impact on job prospects etc, beyond any complaint he has made re “academic misconduct” (just to reiterate an earlier comment I made as to what you did fitting that description: HA!) or the effect, if any, on the final mark for the subject (which it shouldn’t have, of course, but it might have, since I agree with you, it sounds like he is playing pissy power games).
    The following is not advice, just what I think I would do if I were in your shoes, YMMV etc etc: since it sounds like he is relatively petty and incapable of actually perceiving what exists beyond his own nose, if I were in your shoes, I’d be seriously considering pulling my head in for now.
    I probably wouldn’t bother with the final letter to him at this stage, because even though it may be possible to have been more clear about exactly what you want, it is probably a situation where you have been sufficiently clear and the lecturer probably already understands. If he does understand, writing another letter, no matter how much clearer, is unlikely to make a positive difference. There is probably enough of a paper trail (if that is what you are concerned about).
    But … after I received my final mark I would consider making a complaint of my own, if only a relatively informal one (eg letter to the Dean, in which I would be all “this Law School sells itself on the basis that it teaches students to think critically and independently” – I don’t know which one you are at, but they all do, or like to think they do 😉 – “and I chose it in part on that basis. I have always understood rigorous debate amongst colleagues to be an important part of both academe and the legal profession. If students are to be … etc etc”). I would probably be drafting it now, because that is the way I am; it would also take some of the frustration out of waiting.
    Also, if I thought my final subject mark unjustified, I would consider what avenues exist for cross/double marking or marking appeals. I would probably leave any complaint until after all of that was sorted out, unless there was a time limit for the complaint or I thought there was some advantage in having it all going on at once.
    But none of this might work for you. (And I think I may be enjoying what the hypothetical me might do in your situation just a little too much? 😉 )
    Whatever else, I agree that he sounds like an arsehat.

  39. Ta @JoTamar – yes. Keeping quiet until the marks are in was something I’d been thinking about up until today – ie/ if I pass the subject then ‘whatever’, and I can complain about his behaviour when he can’t dickswing or punish me. So exhausting! Anyway. A good ‘real-life’ example that sometimes it doesn’t matter what you do another person is not going to like you or treat you in the way you feel you deserve! Nevermind. I’m a bit sad that my estimation of him has plumetted. He discusses lots of fantastic ideas but has an absolutely appalling ‘bedside’ manner. 😦

  40. It is annoying when that happens 😦

  41. Wow. If anyone is low on ‘cranky’ today and needs a top-up, I give you:
    (Shorter version: “I don’t trust women who don’t appeal to me physically. But I also don’t trust women who appeal to me too much. Basically I don’t trust women.”)

  42. Wow. If anyone is low on ‘cranky’ today and needs a top-up, I give you:
    (Shorter version: “I don’t trust women who don’t appeal to me physically. But I also don’t trust women who appeal to me too much. Basically I don’t trust women.”)
    You’re welcome!

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