Otterday! And Open Thread

Both sea otter and river otter lovers will be happy today – it’s bonus Double Otter Day! Our Open Thread this weekend is hosted by these whispering Asian Short-Clawed otters, courtesy of Tim Dutton on flickr:

closeup of the faces of two fuzzy Asian Short Clawed Otters. One appears to be whispering into the other's ear.

And this sea otter, cuddling a clump of kelp. Why? I have no clue. This is by J. Maughn, also on flickr.

Southern Sea Otter floating on its back in calm waters, eyes closed. It is cuddling a large clump of kelp to its chest.

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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60 replies

  1. I think I’m finally getting my head around the vocal for The Great Gig In The Sky. This is the most sight reading work I’ve done for singing since my one and only Messiah outing over 20 years ago.

  2. Still recovering from ‘flu. Major symptom at the moment is consistent light-headedness, which feels like either low blood pressure (a known familial problem), minor labyrinthitis (another possibility, because my sinuses have basically been mucous production factories for most of the past couple of weeks), or low iron levels (which is also a possibility, because in the middle of everything else, I started my period). Went and saw the GP on Thursday for a medical certificate (so I have something to explain to Centrelink why I haven’t been looking for work this week), and I’ll probably go back again next week if the whole mess continues past Wednesday coming up.
    Meanwhile, I’m doing a lot of reading, because that’s about the most challenging intellectual activity I can manage.

  3. Hi everyone,
    Hope it’s OK to post about what we’re doing.
    We’re Too Many Girls In The Pit.
    We’re asking Nadya and Masha, ex-Pussy Riot, to not speak at the Festival of Dangerous Ideas in Sydney on August 31st.
    The Festival of Dangerous Ideas #FODI is hosted by the St James Ethics Centre. Two of the St James Ethics Centre’s (and the foundation) directors, Douglas Snedden and Major General Andrew James Molan have direct links to Operation Sovereign Borders, responsible for the abuse of refugees who come by boat and other refugees.
    We see #FODI as culturewashing.
    This is our link:
    We love punk feminist rock, feminism and I personally love otters.
    -Megpie, good luck with Centrelink!

    • Thanks for letting us know what you’re doing! We always welcome a good signal-boost, and although given that I came here to fansquee about the upcoming first episode of the new Doctor Who season I do feel a wee bit awkward about the difference in our current focus, but what the hey? We can think about more than one things at a time, and I’m treating escapist TV as some needed downtime for re-energising.
      Anyway, I’m setting an alarm to get up for the 05:40am AEST global simulcast of S8E01, anybody else?

  4. 0540 EST is 0340 here, and I’ve a choir concert on Sunday, so nope! But I’ll be trying to avoid the internet until I do get a chance to watch it in waking hours.

  5. tigtog: you should check your alarm times! It’s screening at 4:50am AEST!
    I’m putting up a spoiler thread for it.

    • Thanks Mary, I’d just realised that and was coming here to post a correction! I’m also set to record it anyway, but nice to have the alarm time correct as well.

  6. Having set up the thread, there’s no way I was getting up before dawn, so I will join you all in there some time later in the day or maybe after the kids are in bed.
    Whenever people ask me about crucial supplies for baby parenting, I always suggest, funds available of course, that if they like TV, they want a good recorder!

  7. I will have to wait until tonight to watch it. I did think about recording it but the forgot again before I went to bed. I am no longer hard core enough to get out of bed in the early hours to watch such things. If indeed I ever was.

  8. I am taking the Red Headed Boy to see it at the cinema at noon. Apparently there is extra material. Not sure what. Have also woken up this morning with a lurgy, so I don’t think I will enjoy it as much as I was hoping to 😦

  9. The singing competition Ms15 participated in today was weird, 8 out of the 13 competitors in her division are going through to a semi-final and I honestly have no idea why Ms15 isn’t one of them. It was a frustrating and confusing exercise. We wouldn’t mind if we could see or had been told where she fell short but there was no useful feedback. We were there all day too. *sigh*

    • mimbles, hugs to Ms15 – not getting feedback in those situations is the pits. When over half of your competitors go through one feels there must be a reason and for the judges not to say “we feel you need to work on X” at the very least? Poor form. Besides, I know how technically proficient as well as fundamentally gifted Ms15 is, and I don’t see (barring major stagefreeze, which you surely would have noticed and mentioned) how she shouldn’t have gone through on merit when so many others did.

  10. tigtog – for sure, we all need to be able to indulge in pop culture fun!

  11. That’s terrible Mim. I hope she doesn’t take it to heart. She is extremely talented and perhaps there was no reason apart from the whim of the judges and that’s why they didn’t offer feedback.

  12. Thanks tigtog and Mindy, she was pretty upset but she’ll be ok. She got good responses from the audience, genuine enthusiastic applause and clapping along during one of her songs without her having to tell them to, so that part was fun. And it’s always useful to see what other performers are doing and get a feel for what the standard out there is.
    Those that missed out were invited to come back for one last chance in a “knockout round” and there were encouraging but totally useless words said that amounted to “work on getting better and you never know, sometimes all it takes is for the judges to see you one more time” so yeah, whim sounds a not improbable explanation.

  13. Riffing on singing competitions, I was told by someone “in the industry” of the absurdity where an excellent singer whom we both happen to know and who has the sort of looks showbiz normally loves, yet didn’t get through the audition process on the TV singing show The Voice because (she later learnt through backchannels) her backstory wasn’t considered compelling enough for the reality show format (i.e. she’d had a narratively non-exciting normal suburban upbringing with no tragic hook for them to talk to her about and get her lip to wobble for the camera).
    So yeah, even when it’s meant to be all about the singing, it’s not always all about the singing.

  14. Been catching up on some movie watching, and reacting in ways contrary to the general public. (Spoilers below.)
    Am I right that The Wolverine did really badly? Because I thought it had loads to offer, as far as silly action movies go. The extended fight sequences had a progression to them, rather than looking like a series of set pieces, or a bunch of guys pummelling each other in a space. I was delighted to see a devoted relationship between two very different women, neither of whom was white. The climactic fight consisted of three men and three women, which is probably unprecedented in the genre. And I liked that Wolverine didn’t stalk off alone into the Canadian snows at the end, but that the story arc based around him reconnecting with the world concluded with an alliance with a woman he is not romantically involved with who gets away with declaring herself his ‘bodyguard’. She totally rocked as a character, and I want her outfit.
    Also watched Black Swan, and participated in a short festival of laugh/cringe/laugh/cringe. The hackneyed, heavy-handed symbolism! The heroine’s fake baby voice! The complete confusion about whether they were talking about female desire or female exploitation of male desire, which are actually two completely different things! The publicity promised the development of a “twisted friendship” between Portman and Kunis, which failed to eventuate (they go out for a drink, once), because Kunis’s role was so utterly underwritten. We’re expected to believe the Prima Ballerina never exchanges two words with her partner, despite the fact that her failure would be his too, so you’d think he’d appear somewhat invested. Even her final triumph as the Black Swan came entirely out of fear of the thing she wants being taken away from her – which is the white swan’s story. They never actually uncovered anything about the black swan as a character at all. No one ever even asked the question of who she is. And I’m so sick of seeing lousy directors depicted as brilliant directors. I get that we were meant to think the director was a nasty guy, but I think we were supposed to believe he was brilliant. He might have been a brilliant choreographer, but his direction sucked seventeen ways to Sunday.

  15. The Muscular Dystrophy Association of Australia has decided that SuperCrip is an awesome stereotype, and are using it to fundraise for their cause.
    I am… uncomfortable.

  16. Sorry for the news, mimbles.

  17. I thoroughly recommend the current Queen + Adam Lambert tour. Stupendously overblown in the best possible way, just enough nostalgic nods to Freddy, Lambert’s voice hitting all the right notes but with his own stylistic quirks and showmanship, not just an impersonation (btw, after his efforts on the chaise longue camping it up for Killer Queen, I eagerly await his eventual inevitable turn as Frankenfurter sometime down the track). Heaps of singalongs and a lightshow that brought gasp moments from the crowd.
    Not a bad early birthday present. Not bad at all.

  18. Good article on body positivity. Don’t read the comments. Especially the ones that claim to be able to diagnose eating disorders or health simply by looking at people.

  19. Was forced to disclose my mental health issues to my employer today: placed in a situation where I had to disclose or else be seen in a very negative light, not co-operating to resolve a problem.
    My employer’s response: “You should tell everyone! They would so understand!”

    And there are people who wonder why I drink.
    Aphie: SuperCrip? REALLY?

  20. I have a colleague who has been engaging is a specific behaviour towards me for the last two years. Let’s say, she has been poking me with a stick.
    The first time she did it, I told her I didn’t like it and could she please stop. Her response was surprise that I could object, dismissal that I could be so wussy as to get upset about such a little problem, anger and hurt that I should engage in conflict with her. And the next day she poked me with her stick again.
    She pokes me with her stick every few weeks/couple of days.
    I got quite stressed quite quickly. When I raised the matter with my employers, they felt my colleague was completely justified in continuing to poke me and they made her team leader.
    Every time I raised the stick poking with her, my colleague would say she was unable to refrain from poking me, because I was so angry and scary. When I would say I was angry because she kept poking me with her stick, she would cry and shout at me for being mean to her.
    This year, the new boss agreed that poking colleagues with a stick is not The Ticket, and introduced a system where if we followed it, my colleague would not poke me with her stick or shout at me, and I would not get angry. I was pretty happy. I was told to tell the employer when my colleague poked me and she would handle it.
    It took about six weeks before my colleague poked me with her stick. She pokes me about every month/fortnight.
    Yesterday, my employer told me that it was getting really stressful for everyone that I complain about my colleague poking me with her stick. She has directed me to go to mediation with this colleague. The idea is, we go to mediation, and then if my colleague pokes me, disciplinary measures will be taken.
    I don’t want to go to mediation (see above post, mental health issues) though I see why my employer thinks it’s a good idea. I think my colleague should cease poking me with her stick without any mediation with a third party. I haven’t been complaining she has terrible communication skills and an ineffective management style, though I certainly do feel that quite fervently. I actually accept that she is like that and am prepared to work with her and be civil. I’m saying stop f@#ing poking me with the f@#ing stick.
    I don’t think I can bear to go to work tomorrow.
    Only people saying “oh, you poor thing eilish” are invited to reply.

  21. eilish, that sounds absolutely hideous 😦 *hugs* are on offer if you want them.

  22. Eilish: reallyreally. I am so not comfortable with the entrenchment of the idea that people with muscular dystrophy are so Other to Everyone Else, positive stereotype or not.

    Your work situation sounds appalling, I am truly sorry.

  23. Oh you poor thing eilish, I admire your strength in putting up with that shit. I agree that your coworker should just stop frigging poking you with that stick, end of.

  24. Thanks for the kind words. Imagine – there are people who think femuhnists aren’t nice.

  25. Do let us know how you get on, eilish, if you feel you can.

  26. Damn, I’ve just discovered that one of my acting teachers died a few years ago, and that I didn’t realise at the time. We became quite close during my studies because he lived on my way home from drama school and I had a car and he didn’t, so we spent quite a lot of time chatting while I gave him lifts home. Then we fell out in an unacknowledged way where I just suddenly realised he was not exactly the fellow-traveller I thought he was, because he was in some ways rather a dinosaur re social justice issues other than class, but he was nonetheless a highly erudite and engaging dinosaur, and I’m very sad to learn that he’s no longer with us, not least because he was only a few years older than me. Damn. RIP, David.

    • FYI y’all – I’ve just made this thread sticky since Lauredhel didn’t schedule a new Otterday for this weekend – must be nice to have a social life or something?

  27. Hope you are enjoying an active social life Lauredhel and not a lurgy or flooding after Perth’s rain last night.

  28. Ack! I blame back-to-back choral concerts (last weekend and today), and disruption of yesterday’s routine due to storm. We’re dry inside though, thankfully. I knew that new roof would pay for itself eventually.

  29. Eilish, that’s terrible. You should not need to disclose anything about yourself to get the stick poking to stop. What kind of manager is that?!

  30. A manager who volunteers for the job, without being required to have any knowledge/expertise in the area of early childhood education or of being a manager. It’s a very stressful position to be in, and an extremely dumb idea.
    The thing that is causing me to question my sanity is the “it’s both your fault”. I’m hearing “we completely understand why your colleague is behaving in his way. You are an annoying bitch, anyone would be justified in treating you this way”.
    So depressing.
    Glad Lauredhel’s roof is raised high.

    • The thing that is causing me to question my sanity is the “it’s both your fault”.

      Reminds me of the official and peer reaction to a boy at school who stalked me, basically. I was sporty and he was not, and sometimes he put himself in the way of a group of athletic bodies moving fast in order to place himself where I could not avoid seeing him, and then ended up falling as a result and being mocked for his clumsiness (rarely (although I wish I could say never) by me). Naturally, I was told this was As Much Your Fault As His, even though I did nothing to encourage him and just wanted to play fucking sport without unwelcome distractions. I’m fairly sure he mostly got sympathy because I was so “bitchy”.

  31. My sympathies Eilish, it sounds like a very unpleasant situation and one that could certainly have been handled better by management.
    I am back to work today after a week off due to both Mr a and myself being afflicted with the lurgy from Hades. It seems to be doing the rounds here at the moment.

  32. I am so sorry to hear about your troubles, Eilish. I’ve unfortunately encountered similar work situations before, where colleagues agree in theory that certain behaviour is not okay, but when it comes to actual implementation, trying to get yourself heard seems if anything just to make things worse “why do you have to make a fuss about it?”. And I don’t think I’ve seen a successful outcome (for the person being poked with a stick), so I have no suggestions at all.

  33. I’m thinking of spending some quality time on the InterNet looking at pictures of kittens, to cheer myself up.
    Tabby cats rule.

  34. The thing that is causing me to question my sanity is the “it’s both your fault”.

    Yeah. It doesn’t take two to cause the problem. Sorry you’re going through this shit.

  35. I have all the rage tonight. For no reason. Gotta love that.

    h/t to Kath for the image.

  36. Oh Mindy, I’m with you too, I have all the rage, at least all the rage you haven’t got. For reason(s), though.
    PS anyone who feels like it – drop along to the shiny new Disability Access Wall of Shame on Facebook.
    We had over 100 members within 24 hours of startup. If you have good examples of terrible access in the built community where you are – please feel free to post them, with a description. Or even the odd bouquet, if somewhere really has gone the extra mile, above and beyond Access to Premises standards.

  37. I’m filling in as manager at the radio station this week. I think it’s going to be fun, I love the odd assortment of characters we always have coming through, and we’ve got some very bright new volunteers. Just praying for the server not to crash.

  38. After frantic searching have just found the receipt I needed, exactly where I thought I had put it but where I swear it was not when I looked for it there last week. At least I think I looked for it there.

  39. Thinking about how to do the hard work of booting up a social circle in and around the suburb I live in. Uni friends have mostly emigrated. ‘Net friends are mostly in the SF Bay Area. I presently work from home. I have young kids. Something to noodle on!

    • Mary, your post reminds me that it’s a while since we’ve met up for munchies, so we should do that soonish for a start. As you already know (but I’m only now letting the rest of the blog know), I’ve had such benefits from getting back into music over the last couple of years that I’m also planning to start a community singing group with a geek/nerd focus in the Inner West from the beginning of next year, so I’m hoping to meet a bunch of new folks with some shared interests through that.

  40. Oh, Mary, I hear you. A whole lot of my uni and post-uni friends have emigrated too, other friends evaporated when I grew a human in my body, and there are the added disability/energy budget wrinkles. Choir is helping.

  41. Start a book club maybe? You could advertise at the local library?

  42. Chally, 23, enjoys friendship, circles, noodles, boots, and your company.

  43. Chally: ?
    tigtog: let’s do it!

  44. Sorry, that should be “Chally: ♥”! I forgot Hoyden eats Unicode.

  45. Any Brisbanite Hoydens who might want to meet up? (Hopefully)

  46. Eilish: Oof, that sounds awful. I hope things get better for you soon.

    I am also dealing with work badness/mental health badness overlap. It is not fun.

  47. OK, I’ll be AFK for the rest of the night because gig! Getting a bit nervous now, wish me luck 🙂

  48. Best wishes, tigtog!

  49. Good luck! I bet you are rocking their socks off.

  50. Thanks, back home about an hour ago and now nicely full of takeaway Thai and riesling.
    The gig went very well. We had a pretty full house, everyone played well and people were happy. Can’t ask much more than that.

  51. Hm. Morning news about the guy who cut off his hand while chainsawing a tree – the anchors make some remarks joke-generalising about how “men like to play around with sharp things” and apparently got a torrent of “Only some men!” and “Hey, we’re not all like that!”.
    Those objecting to the generalisations have a point, and you know what I’m not hearing in response to these objections? Admonitions to these men that they should just have a better sense of humour about the harmless little ol’ sweeping generalisations.
    Bit different to what we shrill feminist harpies tend to hear, isn’t it?

  52. Funny about that. No actually it’s not funny at all.

  53. Bah, hayfever!

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