Otterday! And Open Thread.

Welcome to this weekend’s Open Thread, and the last thread of 2012! Today’s host is an Asian Short Clawed Otter pup from Drusilla’s Zoo. The photo was taken and shared on flickr by Christopher Cooper (destinysway).

Asian Short Clawed Otter pup - Aonyx cinerea. Closeup of otter in rocky grassy area. It has its mouth slightly open as if about to speak.

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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36 replies

  1. Sydney’s weather is not last year’s very mild summer (it only got over 30 once all summer*), but it’s not shaping up to being the awful summer of 09/10 either. Since the heat of the 24th broke we’re having a tolerable week, thankfully. Perth is looking like it is having A Time 😦
    I’m finally getting a decent start on Hilary Mantel with Wolf Hall. Sad that the university library is shut through to January 2 though, I was meaning to stock up for the holidays and got there one day too late!
    * Worth keeping in mind when looking at Sydney’s weather in comparison with other capitals that the “Sydney” temperature is taken at one of the coolest places in the whole metro region though: it can be 10 degrees hotter in some places!

  2. I too have run out of holiday reading material. My plans to get the third book in the “Gentlmen Bastard” series have been dealt a blow by the book not being published yet. It seems I have joined the ranks of fans anxiously awaiting its publication. Some of them have been waiting since 2011 (or 2010?) when it was first meant to be published but the date has been progressively pushed back until late 2013 now.
    I also very much enjoyed the latest by Marian Keyes ‘The Mystery of Mercy Close’. Warning – it deals with the mental health issues of the main character in quite a bit of detail and could be a bit triggery in places if you are triggered by that sort of thing.
    So it looks like I will be forced to visit a bookshop today. Having given Kindles to the in-laws for Xmas I am now deep in envy but unless I find one on super-duper special I won’t be indulging.

  3. I have managed to not do any holiday reading by spending rather too much time playing Lego Lord of the Rings on the Xbox.

  4. I’m at home with family, and while there have been moments where I realise that I’m apparently just to radical for my family, it’s been very nice to have a break from work and uni. I’ve been reading Juliet Marillier’s new book Flame of Sevenwaters, which I loved. I really enjoy her books, they’re historical fantasy set in Pictish Ireland, but the fantasy is quite toned down, so it’s more like historical magic realism or something like that? Whatever the case, I love them. 🙂
    This afternoon I think I will sew myself a spotty skirt.

  5. I just reread Pirate Cinema, a YA novel by Cory Doctorow. Highly recommended as an examination of corporate overreach vs cooperative anarcho-tech subversion, with the bonus of an extremely appealing hacker/maker/creative protagonist.

  6. This is possibly my favouritest tweet ever:

    Helped a guy broken down by the side of the road. He wanted to thank me. I asked that he remove his “Fuck off, we’re full” sticker. He did.
    — Mags Lum (@ScientistMags) December 27, 2012

  7. Bugger. Only just caught up on Twitter that the gangrape case in Delhi is now a murder case. Taslima Nasrin takes media to task for reporting her death as “peaceful”.

  8. I also heard that on the radio a few hours ago, TT. It makes me so angry that it’s only now that the authorities are actually taking any action against her rapists and now murderers.

    • Is it only now that they are taking action? I thought that 6 suspects had been in custody for days now, there just haven’t been charges laid yet while they waited for the results of the victim’s treatment i.e. whether they would lay a murder charge or not.

  9. Did everything on a long to-do shopping list today, but forgot to put ‘go to bookshop’ on the list. Dammit.

  10. Is it only now that they are taking action? I thought that 6 suspects had been in custody for days now, there just haven’t been charges laid yet while they waited for the results of the victim’s treatment i.e. whether they would lay a murder charge or not.

    Oh, right, that might be true as well, TT. I’m a bit fuzzy on the details, maybe I mixed it up with one of the other rape cases in the media at the moment.

    • Ah, you’re possibly thinking of the other Indian gangrape victim whose suicde was reported this week, after inaction and mockery from the police regarding her rape complaint and continued harassment from the rapists even after she moved to another town? Yes, it took massive public indignation over her suicide before the police who ignored her complaint faced any sort of disciplinary action.

  11. Heatwaves suck rocks through a straw. Particularly when they kill our replacement gateway server stone dead, requiring the acquisition of ANOTHER one.
    So, back on the internet again after a two day break, and hoping this time we’ll stay online for longer than just two weeks at a stretch (seriously, if it happens again, I’m getting myself a cheapie Dodo wireless thing from the post office to fill in the gap!)

  12. Seemingly half the contents of the university library and the local one are tucked under my bed. Right now I’m (typically!!) reading a Chinese history book, which will bring me to 120 books read this year, which seems a nice number. I just read Paper Towns by John Green, which, happily, is all about undoing the Manic Pixie Dream Girl thing which I generally find annoying and specifically found annoying in his previous Looking for Alaska. Next up is Kristin Cashore’s Bitterblue, or The Catcher in the Rye.
    … I think I need to institute a uni holiday reading schedule so I actually get some thesis work done.

  13. @Megpie71 – Dodo has never brought me anything but angst, it should stay dead imho. If the PO has another option I’d be trying that one first. You might get lucky but you might also get mighty frustrated.

  14. This excellent article is so spot-on – it skewers the thinking that safety from rape equals limiting womens freedom of movement / association / dress. Major trigger warning.

    This most recent incident is of course the most obvious contradiction — it did not occur late at night, the girl was, in fact, with a male friend — but that is not my argument. I believe even if women walk out on the streets alone, even if it is late at night, why should justifications need to be provided for this, like ‘she has to work late hours’ or ‘she was coming home from a BPO job or a media job’? If she simply wants to go out at night, if she wants to go out and buy a cigarette or go for a walk on the road — is this a crime for women? We do not want to hear this defensive argument that women only leave their homes for work, poor things, what can they do, they are compelled to go out. We believe that regardless of whether she is indoors or outside, whether it is day or night, for whatever reason, however, she may be dressed — women have a right to freedom. And that freedom without fear is what we need to protect, to guard and respect.
    I am saying this because I feel that the word ‘safety’ with regard to women has been used far too much — all us women know what this ‘safety’ refers to, we have heard our parents use it, we have heard our communities, our principals, our wardens use it. Women know what ‘safety’ refers to. It means – You behave yourself. You get back into the house. You don’t dress in a particular way. Do not live by your freedom, and this means that you are safe. A whole range of patriarchal laws and institutions tell us what to do in the guise of keeping us ‘safe’. We reject this entire notion. We don’t want it.

    Read the whole thing. I salute you, Kavita Krishnan!

  15. We lived for a couple of years in one of those places with a split line so that even with a 56k modem we could get at best 28k. This was a while ago, obviously, and broadband was not an option. So we opted for cheapie internet with Dodo, and it was ok.

    Last year we were having a lot of trouble with internet and also getting a bad line on the phone, and we rang up Telstra and they discovered there was a fault in the phone lines near our house. Not sure if something similar might be behind some of your problems Megpie71. Telstra were actually really good about it and fixed it pretty promptly.

  16. For the upcoming NY celebrations: Pan Galactic Gargle Blaster recipe

  17. Happy New Year everyone. ABC 24 morning show just went to show the fireworks in Greece, but they just missed them. Heh heh heh.

  18. Can’t say I’m sorry to be rid of 2012. Hope everyone’s 2013 is a good one.

    • I’ve woken up today feeling much more robust than I did yesterday. Yesterday I was feeling fragile and anti-social – I think all the end-of-year stuff just caught up with me and I needed some time out. So I didn’t end up going to a gathering that I had previously been much looking forward to, which I felt bad about, but a very quiet day with my books just was all I felt possible.
      So, um, introverts unite, or something? Took me a long time to realise that my primary social orientation is introvert, by the way – because I’m not the least bit shy, and there’s a misconception that shyness is what introversion is about. As people who have met me can attest, I can be rather loudly gregarious and often end up being the person who *says something* at those times when something needs to be said (and I’m sometimes even the person who rabbits on for way too long). I also had the stage bug since my teens – this combination led me to perceive myself as an extrovert for many years. But the fundamental thing is that I’m generally much more likely to feel tense/uncomfortable/drained when in company; when I’m on my own I generally hardly ever feel tense or uncomfortable with the lack of company – solitude energises me.

  19. Just to clarify regarding our internet problems: the problem is one with our end. Basically, both times, the gateway box, which acts as a combination of internet router, server, and firewall, died for various hardware-related reasons. My computer worked fine, the internet connection itself was just dandy (or at least, no weirder than it usually is) but there wasn’t any way of our network recognising the internet existed – essentially, even though our ADSL modem was functioning fine, there wasn’t a connection between it and the wireless router.
    (The way it all works in our home network is you can consider the ADSL modem and the wireless router as a pair of highly sensitive and extremely easy-to-offend types who have power over a couple of rather critical functions – internet packet distribution, and local packet distribution. The gateway server acts as the diplomat who liaises between the two of them and ensures that messages get through. When the gateway server has one of its little breakdowns, the pair of them stop talking to each other.)
    Me getting a cheapie USB plugin wireless internet connection would basically cut through all of this by making it possible for my computer (called Orac, because it’s small, shiny, full of blinkenlights and bloody-minded) to connect directly to the internet without having to talk with either the modem or the router. It would have been a very temporary thing, and mainly used so I could get my email and check the news in the morning.

  20. I completely understand where you are coming from Tigtog, although I am far more of a classic introvert. When I first took a Myers-Briggs I was a bit sneery at the definition of the extrovert/introvert split as whether or not you gain energy from other people or from being alone. It sounded very woo to me. Then after a particularly exhausting visit from the in-laws I realised it was actually completely literal. Being with people is actually physically draining, and sometimes feels like very hard work.

    • I find it interesting that my family has a tradition of us wandering off for afternoon naps whenever we spend a weekend or a holiday together. It’s a socially acceptable way of having some isolation-recharge time. I’ve had a few partners over the years who’ve found it somewhat confronting.

  21. Then after a particularly exhausting visit from the in-laws I realised it was actually completely literal. Being with people is actually physically draining, and sometimes feels like very hard work.

    I feel the same way. I don’t think it’s well understood either. My ex-in-laws are extroverts and their response to someone not talking much is to talk to them more and louder. I found it really difficult to handle when they stayed for a week because attempts at getting some space was seen as being rude.

  22. *raises hand* Yet another introvert here. I’m feeling very much in need of alone time after all the end of year festivities and probably won’t get much till the end of the school holidays. Woe is me! etc Mind you, the family will probably be highly motivated to give me some peace and quiet well before the end of the month, I become not that much fun to be with without regular recharging.
    Update on my Dad and his knee – healing seems to be going well, he’s supposed to have the splint on till the end of January so it’s a bit wait and see with that now. Unfortunately he’s ended up with a case of lithium toxicity (he’s bipolar, dose been hadn’t been changed but something clearly went haywire and now they’ve had to stop his lithium all together) and is really quite unwell, had to be transferred back from the rehab hospital to the acute care facility he’d been at before. Interesting times ahead.

  23. Seeing a comment of mine here get redacted raised a question in my mind:
    what is considered non-ablist language to describe the all-too-common situation of:
    (a) someone doing something counterproductive, pointless, having negative consequences, etc., where it seems pretty clear that it was a product of not putting a moderate amount (or maybe any) thought into it.
    (b) someone who is consistently unwilling to put any thought into what s/he is doing, despite that “what” being counterproductive, etc.
    (Sorry if it’s not entirely clear — every attempt to make my intent more precise ends up using words that might get redacted.)
    As far as I can tell, all usual words that I and the people I know would use to describe this sort of thing (and would never be used to describe someone with actual cognitive impairments) are considered ablist.
    I’m perfectly willing to change my language usage to avoid (unintentionally) offending people, but I’d like some good, pithy alternatives.
    Any suggestions?

    • AAM, since I’m the one who redacted your ableist word, I imagine that’s why the other moderators haven’t responded to you, but I’ve been working hard on getting Feministe back up, so I haven’t had time to address this yet. Apologies for the delay.
      The Feminists With Disabilities blog (no longer active, but with archives still available) has a series called Ableist Word Profile which should help you sort out the principles, because the principle is the thing here (just like we can’t give NiceGuys™ cheat codes to fix all women (as they perceive it) finding them unappealing – there is no universal cheat code). People who use slurs to further marginalise PWD are quite inventive and adaptable, as it turns out. However, generally avoiding any term that has ever been a medical diagnosis as the root of your adjectives, concentrating on describing the action pithily in terms of its undesirable effects on discourse, and eschewing speculation as to mindset, should avoid most unintentional offence.

  24. In addition, Courtney Stanton has made a list of possible replacements for ableist slurs. It’s just one person’s opinion, not the One Anti-Ableism Thesaurus To Rule Them All, but might provide some possible wording.
    However, you will probably find it harder to replace a word that is intended to denigrate a person rather than their statements or actions, which is what you want for both your (a) and (b). Sometimes “[adjective] person” may need to do, perhaps, a lot of terms that are designed to denigrate someone as consistently bad in some respect are unsurprisingly borrowed from slurs. How often do you need a shorthand term to denigrate a person wholesale?

  25. This introvert is heading for overload. New Years Resolution is to not try and do so much next Christmas holidays.

  26. Still it is possible to overdo the solitude too. When I was a teenager my brother went away to a Scout Jamboree for two weeks and I got to have his room for that time. I think it was the first time in my life I’d ever had a space of my own and I basically shut myself up in that room and read books for those two weeks. It was brilliant, but I was beginning to feel distinctly strange by the end of it, like I wasn’t quite real anymore…

  27. No danger of solitude for me, still have two over-it introvert children to deal with. But still if they won’t have a snooze this afternoon, I will and everything will be good again.

  28. Good luck with the snooze, Mindy. My kids have been too old for afternoon naps for some years now (although my youngest, The Boy Who Will Not Sleep, gave them up a while before most children usually do). And although both Mr angharad and I are both introverts at least one and probably two of our children are extroverts.

  29. Going back to the ableist words, I came across a useful addition to the links above today:
    Deconstruction: A Note On Language

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