Otterday! And Open Thread

I have such a soft spot for these sea otter mama-babe pics. Morro Bay, photo by Chuq Von Rospach.

Sea Otter mom with cuddly, fuzzy pup cuddled onto her chest. Mum has her eyes closed as if exhausted/napping. She is floating on her back in calm waters.

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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40 replies

  1. My plans for the day so far include having a shower and getting dressed, then sitting down and seeing about grinding away in Dragon Quest VIII to get my characters the best gear they can handle at this level. Then back to trying to beat the mini-boss…
    If there’s anyone else out there who likes Final Fantasy VII fan fiction, and knows enough about MMORPGs to get a lot of the jargon, have a dekko at “Off The Line” by Esama. It’s up to 31 chapters so far, but each of the chapters are short, and it’s pretty much crackfic – very much for the giggles. I’m enjoying it.

  2. The sea otter mama-baby shots melt my faculties too, L.
    Megpie, I’d forgotten the wonderful word ‘crackfic’. I may need to go find myself some, just have to pick the bookworld…

    • Because the whole #gamergate thing is still rolling on and there’s a a lot of #NotAllGamers defensiveness in play, I loved this comment from Amphioxx on the relevant Pharyngula TOD

      125. Amphiox – 18 September 2014 at 7:38 pm
      We might as well shirk any personal responsibility for any and ALL social issues with the hashtag #NotAllHumans.
      We are a social species. And we have always policed our social behaviors through the collective. Every individual has a duty to share in that responsibility. If you self-identify with a group, any group, then the negative behaviours of others in that group IS your business. There is no neutral ground, no “notallX” ground, for silence is not neutral. Silence is acceptance.

  3. For years, there has been Stuff happening in November. End of university year. Third trimester (both babies born January). Leadup to summer holidays of course.
    But this year, I’m not pregnant, I’ve graduated from uni, and my summer plans are pretty staid. And that means that maaaaaaybe this year I could attempt Nanowrimo? I’ve also learned, belatedly, a little bit about how fiction writing works since the last time I thought about this, specifically, major plot borrowing and scraping the serial numbers off are widespread and mainstream in modern original fic writing and totally a legit way to avoid, eg, trying to come up with a new plot out of whole cloth.
    So. Maybe.
    Relatedly, I keep realising in multiple respects the way in which academia’s interest in novelty and in very very carefully documenting non-novelty are, essentially, unique. In business and even much creative work, consciously reusing patterns without much thought to citation is normal. Which comes with its own issues for sure (eg, appropriation, not that academia is especially free of it) but also its own good points.

    • Mary, those are some interesting thoughts about fiction and novelty and recycling elements. In particular, at one level recycled elements are genre markers, and dearly beloved as such. At another level, are recycled elements juxtaposed in genre-breaking ways the mark of literature?

  4. Mini-boss beaten, now on with the storyline to places far and strange. I’m having to keep on stopping myself from going back and re-starting the game from scratch and “doing it properly” (that is, grinding in each area until I have enough money to be able to afford all the gear on sale at the shops, and then building up a reserve for the next area). Instead, I’m carrying on with chasing the plot and not particularly worrying too much about whether or not I can afford the latest and greatest gear.

  5. I’m afraid I can’t fully endorse that kind of play, Megpie.
    Getting caught up in the plot is all very well, until you’re stuck in a forest up against a basilisk and you haven’t got a Protection from Stone scroll and your tank is granite.
    (Yes, I am playing Baldur’s Gate EE. Why do you ask?)
    I do not love MMOs. Single player campaigns for the win.

  6. (Yes, I am playing Baldur’s Gate EE. Why do you ask?)
    I’m currently replaying Dragon Age II (several times over) in preparation for when Inquisition comes out.
    I loved this comment from Amphioxx on the relevant Pharyngula TOD
    I do like that.

  7. At another level, are recycled elements juxtaposed in genre-breaking ways the mark of literature?

    Shakespeare FTW!

  8. tigtog: I don’t think I want to wade into the What Is Art? debate, but definitely a dash of originality or unusualness contributes to memorable and enjoyable works. Speaking of citing sources, I think some of this arises for me from reading Karen Healey’s FAQ a few years back (“Where do you get your ideas from?”)
    Meanwhile, gaming. I’ve finished my first Diablo III: Ultimate Evil. It is the least role-playing of RPGs, all hack-n-slash, all munchkin, all terrible terrible recycled fantasy heaven-n-hell tropes, all the time. I saw a review of it a while back that went “you click on things and they die”. For bonus points, I play a Barbarian, so I don’t even have to move around in order to avoid standing next to enemies like a ranged attacker would. I wade right in and click.
    It’s a lot of fun.

  9. eilish: Dragon’s Quest VIII is a single-player game for PS2. *grin* Yeah, I’m digging out some of the older stuff in the collection for a play-through.
    Quite honestly, I’m finding I’m enjoying this one a lot more than a lot of the more recent games in my collection (where “more recent” stops at “Final Fantasy XIII”, because lack of money) when it comes to things like storyline and gameplay, and also when it comes to things like sexism and objectification of the female characters. I mean yes, the female party member has a range of costumes which are largely designed as pure objectification, and blatantly so – and her non-weapon skill is “Sex Appeal” (which basically translates in gameplay to monsters getting distracted by her looks and an inability on her part to be fascinated by the female monsters when they try a “puff puff” attack on her). But on the other hand, the art is in an animated style (the designer was also the designer of the Dragonball stuff, so there’s a bit of overlap in visual aesthetic) and the way the objectification is handled makes it clear it’s effectively a case of “cartoon physics” stuff.
    This, for me, feels a lot less obvious and blatant than the stuff in the more “realistic” animation styles. My go-to example here is “Star Ocean IV”, where the end-of-fight and level-up animations for the female characters irritate the living heck out of me – the best analogy I can come up with is it’s like having had someone throw up on the sofa I’m sitting on. The mess may not be there now, but the smell lingers, and it gets worse the longer I sit with it… and that’s the way the sexism in “Star Ocean IV” builds up for me. Eventually, I have to put the game down and walk away, because the alternative is basically throwing up on the sofa myself.
    I think the thing which helps me with DQ8 is they have hung a very blatant and ornate lampshade on the whole “gaming objectifies women” thing. It’s like “we know this happens, so why not make it a part of the game-play and make it a strength for the character”, and that makes it a bit easier for me to live with it. Whereas in other games, the objectification is basically treated as “this happens, and it has always happened and it will always happen and you just have to put up with it, without doing anything about it”.

  10. My weekend included 5 hours of karaoke on Saturday night, then 3 hours sleep, followed by a day at the inaugural St Ives Medieval Faire. Which was lots of fun but I am going to take several days to recover.

  11. Megpie, I honour you as a Real Gamer. I am only a faux gamer, as I do not have the co-ordination to enable me to successfully play Playstation and Xbox. PC games for me, only. Preferably RPGs where I can play as a woman. That usually limits me to one every couple of years. I feel your pain on the sexism. You blink, and shrug and swear under your breath. I was completely unable to play as a thief in “Divine Divinity” – the rogue wore a bustier, suspenders and a frilled mask. Never played the Witcher because of the collectible women. Game developers: actively driving women away from gaming since forever. (#NotAllGameDevelopers.)
    Mary: hack and slash is my preferred method of combat, but somehow I have never played any Diablo.
    Sunless Nick: couldn’t bear to replay Dragonage: Kirkwall more than once. The re-used maps do my head in. But loved Dragonage: Origins and am sooooo waiting for Inquisition. Am fearful that Bioware is lying to us about learning their lesson from said Dragonage: Kirkwall. (Four conversations in 10 years = the romance. Being unable to influence events in the game with your choices. Anders. Being forced to play as a fighter/rogue because if you are a mage, you get stuck with Carver who is the most irritating character in a Bioware game since Anomen. Isabella’s bosom. The inevitable fate of bloodmages. Having to fight the Arishok when you are about fifty levels under-powered. Having to reload the first act eight times in order to keep Isabella in the second act.)
    I am excited to hear that Morrigan will return, and is wearing a slightly larger dress. Am hoping the Templars will be less annoying.
    Am losing the will to live under Tony Abbott’s government. New “terror” laws, back to war and Barrie Cassidy openly admits he admires Scott Morrison. How is that possible???

  12. I am not a real gamer anymore; the last “real” game I played was The Sims 2. I can manage console games well enough to assist the kids (9 & 5) with kids titles on the XBox360, but mostly I play casual games like candy crush on my tablet device. But I have a gaming problem nonetheless. I play minion rush (which rewards you for completing small missions daily) has decided it needs updating, but there’s no button to update when I follow the link, all it will let me do is uninstall, or open the game (which only leads to an endless loop of opening, needing updating, following the link to update, repeat until dizzy). It’s annoying as I’m only a few days away from completing 100 consecutive missions. Perhaps I’ll have to uninstall and then re install, probably losing hard won progress though.
    eilish, I did not think it was possible to admire Scott Morrison. *shudders* I think a worm just slithered across my grave.
    In real life issues that affect my life, my youngest has just been accepted into a special class for the start of school next year. While I’m relieved, because he will benefit from it, it’s the latest in a parade of the conflicting emotions that come with having a child with special needs. As well as the practical irritations of having my kids at two separate primary schools, different uniforms, new school community etc.

  13. As far as gaming goes I have given up ESO and gone back to Skyrim. I hear the next Witcher game is supposed to be a similar kind of open world, but after the collectable women thing I don’t know if I want to go anywhere near that. Other than that I have been playing smallish point and click adventure games. There seems to have been a bit of a resurgence in these lately and some of them are very good.

  14. I have over 1000 hours playing Skyrim. (Hangs head in shame.)

    Arcadia: I hope your kidlet thrives in the new class.

  15. couldn’t bear to replay Dragonage: Kirkwall more than once. The re-used maps do my head in. But loved Dragonage: Origins
    Most people do regard Origins much more than II (I do agree that Dragon Age: Kirkwall would be the better name). I love both of them, and also think it makes the overall setting stronger that they have such different moods. A pox on the maps, though. I can take it for the Hightown mansions, because the city’s history makes it make sense for them to be built on a standardised plan – but it grates with the warehousesand alleys – and especially for the caves (apart from anything else it spoils up the atmosphere you could get from those times you do go back to the same cave.
    As you feel about the Australian government, so I feel about the UK one.

  16. Dear child, please do not shove balls of paper into your orifices. Not even your nose. No, not even when you “take it back out again right after”. Because then your father and I are forced to attempt to remove balls of paper from your ears at 20 to 9 at night.
    This is only funny because the other parent is presently dealing with it, and I remember my youngest brother shoving beads in his ear at one point.

  17. Aphie: it gets worse. They start exploring the function of scissors, and you get to explain the concept of “permanent” to them.
    One of my sisters shoved a bead in her nose which had to be detected by x-ray after six months of horrible nasal infections. Poll time! Inappropriate use of beads!

  18. The Boy Who Will Not Sleep got his finger stuck in the meant-for-a-padlock loop on our old metal mail box once. It came out with the aid of some olive oil and a lot of wailing, though not before we were beginning to contemplate a hacksaw. Next day I went out and found him trying to poke his finger in there again!!!
    He’s also managed to choke on a 5c piece, but none of my children seem to have taken to putting things in their nose or ears thank goodness.

  19. Ally Fogg has a post up at his blog on FreeThought Blogs on Emma Watson’s speech at the UN. He’s feeling ripped off that HeForShe is a campaign to end discrimination and violence against women, when he was lead to believe by Emma that it was about ending discrimination and violence against men.
    He’s refusing to sign the pledge on the website because it says “women and girls”. He says it needs to be against violence towards men as well.

  20. Why is men’s violence against other men a women’s problem to solve now?

  21. Mindy, there you go, thinking it’s all about women, when we are talking about men and how everyone ignores their problems while asking them to help other people. The UN is particularly bad in this regard according to Fogg and the people who have popped over from A Voice For Men to comment, it is always running programs that ignore men or circumcise them.
    It’s about gender equality, which I was surprised to find actually means “you can’t have programs that focus solely on women, they’ve got to address men as well.” Also, feminism isn’t about addressing the discrimination women face, though one commenter told me he quite liked that interpretation.
    Fogg has put up another thread, asking when is it ok to ask “what about the men?” and some of my favourite MRAs are there. They are all congratulating each other on their wisdom and concern for social justice for men.
    My brain hurts even more now.

  22. And to top it all off, I’ve just been over to see my dad, who has been reading a steady stream of Islamophobia in the Herald Sun, and sure enough, he’s thoroughly convinced the Muslim community is bursting at the seams with Jihadiis and no wonder they need extra security at the MCG today.
    My dad is a man of very conservative views, with whom I can only talk politics if the subject is a politician we both hate. Sad to say, there is a very great penalty to disagreeing with Dad in conversation. One needs to have at least four children in order to be forgiven after some weeks. It makes contributing to the care of a man with 3 types of cancer, asbestosis and diabetes really tricky when he’s shitty with you. (I am a recovering Catholic. Please don’t ask for further explanation.) And Godhelpme, I can’t just nod and say “uh huh” when the subject is Muslim bashing. I have taught too many little girls wearing hidjab and boys named Muhammad to go there.
    On the bright side, Mike Buchanan is visiting Ally Fogg and well does he deserve it. So is the man who banninated me from an anti-feminist site years ago for failing to become angry and fulfil his prejudices about femuhnists. I am so tempted to say “Hi!”
    Can you tell it’s the holidays and I am doing my very best to avoid doing reports?

  23. Thought this might be of interest, good for a few goggles at least

  24. Damn, sorry, giggles not goggles. Reading carefully be posting is a great idea.

  25. Wide awake now after a day full of painkillers and muscle relaxants and ambulances. It’s been quite a while since I last spent four hours in the emergency department, it hasn’t changed all that much since last time so I’m in absolutely no hurry to examine it again, and I seem to be fundamentally OK other than a pinched nerve that gave me “atypical chest pain” that seemed rather important to get fully checked out. It’s no longer causing me thought-stopping stabbing pains on every minor movement, so that’s nice.
    Had a very quiet snoozy afternoon on the couch after they discharged me – diazepam + ibuprofen + amontillado for the win. Still have aches and thwangy twinges on movement, but that’s dealable.
    I imagine my GP will want a full work-up over the next few weeks. Probably overdue, frankly.

  26. Hope you’re back to 100% soon.

  27. Yikes, tigtog, that sounds like an alarming experience.

    • A second day spent with my new best friends ibuprofen and diazepam has led to a marked improvement. I still get twinges on a sideways lean or if I try and turn to look over a shoulder, but otherwise it’s mainly an ache and some muscle spasm in the trapezius. Having now remembered that I own a performance corset (designed for singers/dancers) I have strapped myself in so that I’m less likely to inadvertently lean/twist into the twinge zone. I should probably try and go for a walk in the sun before it gets too hot (meant to be 33C today in Sydney – yuk!)

  28. Good wishes for your continued improvement, tigtog.

    The taxonomy of mansplainers:

  29. tigtog, so sorry to hear about your trip to the ED! I hope they treated you well. And I hope your new best friends treat you well, also.
    It’s the start of school holidays here and so far we’ve spent it in full-on laziness mode, which is quite the thing since this term seems to have been both wildly busy and seriously lurgy-riddled. We’re headed on in to the Lad’s last term of primary school, so there are big transitions in the offing. Fingers crossed for smooth sailing.
    Also got officially engaged on the weekend. Looking forward to an autumn wedding in the park.

    • Also got officially engaged on the weekend. Looking forward to an autumn wedding in the park.

      Splendid! Congratulations to you all.

  30. Autumn wedding in the park sounds lovely! Congratulations 😀

  31. Oh, what fun, Lauredhel! I do hope you’ll share planning details along the way, so we get to enjoy it vicariously.

  32. tig tog, get well soon. Scary experience!
    Seconding Mindy’s comment about autumn wedding in the park. Have a great celebration, Lauredhel. Be prepared for Heteronormative Privilege to be sprung upon you, though. I was amazed to find being married really makes a difference to how you are perceived. Also,”husband” is a very hard word to say.

  33. eilish: Given our status as common-law-married for well over a decade, I’ve happily been using “husband” interchangeably with “partner” for years. Some people were quite surprised to hear that we’re having a wedding!

  34. I’m still stumbling over “husband” 10+ years over going Married.
    This may be due to my personal issues. Of which I have many.

  35. Congratulations lauredhel, I hope your engagement and marriage are a delight to you and your intended.
    I too use husband and partner fairly interchangeably (my partner and I have been together for 12 years now, 9 of those with at least one kid). I like the word husband as I feel it captures the sense of “romantic partner in life, lover, and father of my children” better than any one of those terms. I feel that if I use the term partner, people might not think he’s my children’s dad, and if I say “father of my kids” then it sounds like we’re not together anymore. (Perhaps that’s just me, though.) At the same time I feel flushed with imposter syndrome when I say husband, as were defacto, not really married.
    In any case, on the topic of heteronormative privilege, feminism and marriage, here’s an article from Daily Life.

  36. Congrats Lauredhel! Your park wedding sounds delightful.

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