Weekend Open Thread

Please natter/chatter/vent/rant on anything you like.

e.g. What have you been up to? What would you rather be up to?
Reading? Watching? Making? Meeting?
What has [insert awesome inspiration/fave fansquee/guilty pleasure/dastardly ne’er-do-well/threat to all civilised life on the planet du jour] been up to?

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About tigtog

tigtog blogs a lot elsewhere, but here on Feministe she mostly does the tech support and feeds the giraffe. tigtog tweets in irregular flurries @vivsmythe.
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273 Responses to Weekend Open Thread

  1. I knitted my first sock!

    My thirteenth novel got picked up, so I’m at work on the fourteenth and fifteenth, as well as a short story and a serial.

    Going over to one of my conveners’ house tomorrow. Her meddling family DHSed her, so we’re all coming in to help get the place ready.

    • tigtog says:

      Not sure what DHSed means, Angelia, but it sounds unsettling at the very least. Hope your friend comes through it OK.

      • Radiant Sophia says:

        I’m guessing Department of Human Services. As in called the DHS on someone.

      • tigtog says:

        We don’t have a DHS in my country, so that doesn’t help me as much as it might others. Actually just discovered that we do, it’s the (relatively) new name for the new umbrella covering what used to be several other government departments dealing with welfare, public health benefits, enforcing family court rulings etc. Since mail still comes to me in the name of Centrelink or Medicare, I hadn’t realised that the DHS was a thing. TWIAVBP.

        Presumably the meddling relatives have made some sort of allegations of misfeasance or notable incompetence, but I don’t know whether the DHS in Angelia’s country covers welfare payments or psychiatric evaluations or both or other (and I don’t want to pry into personal information that’s none of my business, either).

      • Radiant Sophia says:

        The DHS usually responds to caregiver situations, whether that is children or dependent adults. They have to investigate any accusation, even anon phone calls. A lot of states have a policy of removing children/dependent adults from a home in response to any accusation, even if it’s baseless, while the accusation is investigated (because if it isn’t baseless then the children/dependent adults could be in danger). Knowing this it’s not uncommon for estranged relatives, etc. to call the DHS on someone whose lifestyle they disagree with, knowing that they DHS doesn’t have a choice but to remove the children if the home space is found even slightly questionable. Caught in the middle of this are the DHS worker.

      • Basically, my friend’s aunt called the Department of Human Services with a false child-endangerment claim. My friend is in the middle of an ugly divorce and custody battle at the moment and her family is making her life even more difficult.

        (I suspect a very literal witch-hunt, as I found out one of my OTHER coveners has gotten the same call. My family went through it in October.)

        It’ll all shake out this week.

      • Radiant Sophia says:

        That really sucks. I empathize. Internet hugs if you want them.

  2. Hah, I’m writing fanfic. Not sure anyone here gives a damn.

    • konkonsn says:

      What series?

      • Saiyuki and Yu Yu Hakusho, mainly. Though I’ve got prompts lined up for Good Omens and Wild Adapter too, haha.

      • mxe354 says:

        YYH? Yay! ^_^ Definitely one of the best shounen animes I’ve watched (and the manga is pretty damn good as well). I’m not a huge fan of fanfic, but YYH seems to be one of those series that serve as appropriate fanfic material. Good luck!

      • konkonsn says:

        Yu Yu Hakusho is what got me into anime. I mean, I watched a few other series before, but Kurama started my dedication.

        What type of stories do you write? I haven’t written fanfic for years, but I think I still have a story about Hiei coming to terms with his feelings about the group floating around somewhere…there’s probably also a couple of horrible Andromeda fanfics from when I was back in high school around as well.

      • Eee, you guys! I love the YYH. I wind up writing mostly Hiei, Kurama and Hiei/Kurama (yes, I am of the Dread Legion Of Slash). Got some stuff centred around Yomi and Shizuru as well.

        Heh, I’ve actually written one Andromeda drabble, and it was Harper perving/having warm and fuzzies over Andromeda (the ship not Rommie). Because I’m normal like that.

      • mxe354 says:

        I really need to watch YYH again.

        Oh, and speaking of fanfic, I’ve always wanted to check out Hiei X Mukuro fanfic. Pretty much my favorite pairing besides Yusuke X Keiko. ^_^ I know that Yusuke’s quite a jerk throughout the series, but I’ve always liked him a lot.

      • Oh, and speaking of fanfic, I’ve always wanted to check out Hiei X Mukuro fanfic.

        Mxe, we can’t be friends anymore.

        (Just kidding, I’m pretty much an everyone-shipper, lol)

        That said, Yusuke x Keiko’s fucking adorable. Always thought so. Though my Het Pairing Of Fuzz for that series is definitely Kuwabara and Yukina.

      • konkonsn says:

        Don’t worry, I’m a slash fangirl too (I don’t squee out loud, but the number of times I’ve internal squeed could be heard over an airplane engine). I’ve written request slash fics for Saiunkoku and Code Geass. Kurama’s appearance (in comparison with American cartoon/comic heroes) and possible bi/homosexuality is pretty much what paved the way for most of my teenage years of thinking about what I wanted for myself in terms of gender and sexual identity.

        I still really enjoy KxH, but if you asked me how they ended up after the series, I would tell you Hiei got with Mukuro and Kurama probably went with a human female to please his mother (though what he did with Yomi before his change is an entirely different subject…)

    • Oh, and I’m considering writing a short paper on the application of muted group theory to communication patterns in the episode “Midnight” in Doctor Who. *hopeless geek*

      • Radiant Sophia says:

        Creepy episode is creepy.

      • Creepy episode fucking creeps me out, holy. I mean, I know people get all AHHHHHHH over the weeping angels and the Silence (and to be fair the Silence scare the shit out of me) but the pure horror of that episode… I’m going to have to watch it repeatedly to write the paper, and that is, no kidding, going to be the most difficult part of writing it!

      • Seriously. I mean, we never see it! We never truly know what it is or what it wants! Gah!

      • librarygoose says:

        When scientists found that planet made of diamond my first response was to be a little bit terrified.

      • dawnofthenerds says:

        *flails* I’m currently knitting an 18 foot long scarf a la Tom Baker. Slightly less intellectually stimulating, but grad school kinda requires more mindless hobbies for me. But fellow hopeless geeks unite!

      • 18 foot scarf? Now THAT’S dedication!

        Speaking of Whovish things, my brother-in-law and his notwife got Valoniel and I a TARDIS teapot for Christmas. My immediate reaction was “*squee* it’s an oncoming storm in a teapot!”

        -_- Sometimes I worry about myself.

      • Kylara7 says:

        My favorite doctor! It will be a stupendous scarf :)

      • Caperton says:

        The Doctor Who scarf is a great project, because eventually you can just kind of zen out and let the knitting knit itself. I made The Boy one for Christmas a few years ago, and while I’d hoped it would be a surprise, I eventually had to let him in on it, since I’d never be able to get the entire thing done if I couldn’t work on it while he was around. We just pretended he didn’t know or care why we were watching Battlestar Galactica with four pounds of worsted in my lap.

      • dawnofthenerds says:

        I’m pretty excited for it to be finished. Scarves and socks are about all I know how to knit, so I figured I’d have some fun with my basic skills :D It’s got a lot more purple and cream in it than any of Tom Baker’s actual scarves, but I picked colours that were a) available in giant balls and b) that I like. I may also have to reconsider the length, as I keep forgetting that while I am quite tall, I am not in fact a giant, and an 18 foot long scarf may manage to trip me even if I have it wrapped around so many times I’m roasting. We’ll see what happens XD

      • Radiant Sophia says:

        It appears I am going to have to learn to knit. I NEED an 18-foot-Tom-Baker-scarf.

      • Wordwizard says:

        I knit a 5 acrylic hanks long scarf of Tom Baker’s scarlet&crimson Scottish scarf, based on a picture in a Dr.Who magazine. That one you can’t buy, and can’t sell either. It is so much more beautiful than the “regular” Who scarf!

    • Brennan says:

      I approve. I’ll be doing the same in different fandoms as soon as I get over a nasty case of writers block.

  3. I’m working on a new painting. I paint dinosaurs.

    I want to hear about everyone’s hobbies!

    • konkonsn says:

      I’m putting the finishing touches on a model kit I got for Christmas. It’s a 1/100 scale Wing Zero (aka Gundam aka Giant Robot). It’s already all built, I just have to finishing painting the lines (and my black paint pen is running out!).

      I also play minecraft with my friend over at his house.

      • Neat! I don’t think I have the patience, or the steady hands, for models. And I’ve never played minecraft but I did see the cat fountain video, and that fulfilled my life’s wishes and dreams.

      • konkonsn says:

        These are actually pretty easy as they snap together instead of glue (which I wouldn’t have the patience for either) and come with step-by-step directions (in Japanese, but the pictures are really clear). The patience trying part is if you’re planning to add any details as painting straight lines is never fun.

      • Kasabian says:

        The first time I read this I thought you were building a Gundam in Minecraft. Still equally cool though!

    • Computer Soldier Porygon says:

      I HAVE NO HOBBIES! Besides reading and listening to music and drinking and stuff. And I guess I cook too, but that’s mostly practical, because I have to eat to live.

      But I asked for a sewing machine for my birthday (which is coming up here in a minute) so hopefully I will have that to do soon and become all Etsyfied and whatever the fuck. And I also plan to take a woodworking class. Hobbies!

      • Reading and listening to music are two things I need to do more of! Well I have been reading lots of graphic novels lately, just not as many books. Good luck with the sewing and woodworking! I can not do either of those things at all so that sounds impressive to me!

        I think needing to cook in order to eat in order to live has totally crushed my interest in cooking for fun.

      • Computer Soldier Porygon says:

        Yeah! It should be cool. I just have to fight my tendency to become immediately discouraged and give up :P And scale back my expectations. I have, like, visions of making these really nice clothes and I need to get my brain to understand that that probs won’t be happening for a long time.

        I would like to read more graphic novels. I feel like I’ve covered the basics, like, top 10 list shit, but I need to expand my horizons.

      • Kylara7 says:

        Oooo…I feel like sewing would be a very useful and satisfying skill to have (must put that on my list!). Sounds like a great new venture :)

    • Kylara7 says:

      One of my hobbies is dance, which I took up as a grown adult who had never danced. And I love it! My first love is ballet, which appeals to my scientific/analytic mind and provides a template for expression but is not “all about expression”, which is not my strong suit (introvert). However, I’m branching out in 2013 and taking a contemporary/modern class (and I’m scared!).

    • sabrina says:

      I knit and crochet and I just finished up with some reusable swiffer pads. Also, for christmas I got the best crochet hook in existence and I love it so much.

      • I have just taken up knitting again. It is painfully obvious on my first sock where the skill took hold.

        Tell me of the crochet hook! What makes it The Best? I just added fimo clay handles to a bunch of mine so my achy hands could manage them.

      • ch says:

        That fimo clay handle thing is such a good idea! I never want to spring for the fancy ergonomic-handled ones, and anyway I have all of the sizes I use regularly in the cheap aluminum variety. But handles would be so much easier on my hands!

  4. Past my expiration date says:

    For the chorus concert, the music teacher at my child’s elementary school wants the boys to do Elvis hairdos and the girls to wear hula skirts.

  5. tigtog says:

    Went to see Life of Pi at the cinema with mr tog, the sprogs and a schoolfriend during the week. I haven’t read the book, so have no remarks to make on that aspect of the adaptation, but purely on a storytelling and visual impact basis, I adored the film.

    Fairly sure that a swag of awards for visual effects will be coming its way.

  6. PrettyAmiable says:

    Getting my wisdom teeth out in a month. Plus side, I can afford it and will have a four day “vacation,” so that’s pretty effing lucky. Down side – I’m terrified.

    • Bagelsan says:

      I don’t know how you’ll react to the drugs, but I couldn’t have been happier or more chill than when I was coming out from under having my wisdom teeth out. Everything in the world was alright with me!

      (The ice cream eating is a lie, though, unless you like blood-flavored ice cream.)

      • miga says:

        The pills I got made me hallucinate in math class. One moment we were looking at radii, the next there was a dancing bear on the whiteboard.

      • PrettyAmiable says:

        Did you get general anesthesia done? I read about it and it’s terrifying to me.

    • Radiant Sophia says:

      Not to be scary, but when I had my wisdom teeth out, I was determined to carry through post-op drug free (having prescription painkillers in the house is not good for me, but my caregiver filled the prescription anyway). That attitude lasted exactly 5 minutes before I told my caregiver to give me a pill. I had dry socket on one of the areas where they had been removed, and breathing (air hitting it) was excruciating. On the plus side the pain lasted shorter than the painkiller, and after the first pill, I disposed of the rest.

      • PrettyAmiable says:

        Dry socket is part of the “terrifying” for me – I have a coworker who got it and was apparently out of commission for a week or so. He said it must have been the spitting, which feels almost compulsive because of the grossness going on in your face.

        So! FWIW, you probably couldn’t scare me more than I’ve managed to scare myself.

      • Radiant Sophia says:

        A week! I don’t think I could have made it through a week, but I am VERY adverse to pain.

      • Bonn says:

        I had dry socket for a week before I realized there was something wrong. (Everything I read online said it’s the most excruciating thing ever, and I guess I could think of a lot of things in my life that were more painful.) They stuffed some cloves in it and I was right as rain except everything ffffing tasted like cloves. Ugh.

        Sometimes if you’re on hormonal bc or they mess around too much with the tooth (drill it to pieces or whatever) you just don’t get a clot. But as I said, YMMV as to the pain. For what it’s worth, I’ve had 3 out and that was the only problem one. The other two were pried out with a stick and I was better in about a day and a half.

      • Angie unduplicated says:

        Jack Daniels will not kill the pain of a dry socket if your dentist does not answer weekend calls. Best to address the subject in advance.

    • A4 says:

      Yo! Me too! Except my appointment is next week. I am super stoked though, not kidding.

    • FashionablyEvil says:

      Speaking as one who has more than my fair share of dental work (I think 4 root canals and three extractions, who knows how many fillings, but no braces!), you’ll be fine.

      Take the painkillers before it starts hurting though. Also, be prepared for feeling like you’ve been run over by a truck. It’s unpleasant, but manageable.

      • PrettyAmiable says:

        Oh, me too (i.e. a lot of dental work)! We have crappy teeth. I was told it was because I didn’t drink enough milk growing up. Root canals ain’t no thing (there’s a lot of fear mongering about them too, I think), but I haven’t had an extraction in ever, which is a special scary place.

      • FashionablyEvil says:

        As long as they’re good with the novocaine, you won’t feel anything except pressure. (There will be weird crunching noises). Extractions also aren’t as bad as root canals because they only take a few minutes (if the tooth’s not impacted).

    • Chataya says:

      I had a really easy time with mine, no bruising, no swelling, minimal pain. I only took two of the Vicodin they gave me because pain meds and I do not get along. I made due with extra strength Tylenol.

      I had mine out over Thanksgiving break, ate a bunch of stuffing, and was fine by the time class resumed. The flushing afterwards was the worst part. Lots of nasty gunk and blood came out of there.

    • EG says:

      Good luck! When I had my wisdom teeth out, not only did they give me pain meds that needed to be taken with food (um, I just got my wisdom teeth out, guys), but they didn’t tell me, so I spent most of the day in pain and retching.

      Don’t let them do this to you! Forewarned is forearmed!

    • M. Fenn says:

      Good luck! I had all four of mine out at once in high school. The pain meds worked. It was all good. Take care of yourself.

    • Brennan says:

      Erupted or impacted? If they’re impacted, they’ve probably sent you to an oral surgeon, in which case I highly reccommend the general anesthesia. They poke you in the arm, you breathe in the la-la gas, you wake up after it’s all over with some freakin’ weird dream memories. My mother who got hers done under local promptly swore off dentists for five years. My father, incidentally, was uninsured when his had to come out, so he had them removed by a dental student with some Novacaine and a whole lot o’ valium. Which, I also don’t reccommend.

      These days, though, general anesthesia is very safe so long as there’s proper monitoring. I have no complaints. The dreams are freakin’ sweet.

      • PrettyAmiable says:

        Two are fully erupted and should be easy pulls; the bottom two are mostly erupted but are “drifting,” – in my case, it means they’re growing at an angle towards my tongue. Possible TW, I think? Supposedly, they’re going to have to crack the bottom two in half. I’m hoping I can get away with novacaine. We’ll see if I freak at sleeping gas.

      • Brennan says:

        Ah. I had four impacted, so yours should be less of an ordeal. Hope it all goes well!

    • de Pizan says:

      I think the biggest deal for me was the incredibly intense reaction I had to the anesthesia (I had all four wisdom teeth out, so they put me under). I woke up so cold and shaking so bad from it my legs were flailing about uncontrollably. And woke up just weeping and couldn’t stop–it wasn’t from pain, and I usually rarely cry, so I have no idea why, but whatever it was from I couldn’t turn it off. My mom’s leading me through the waiting room, and I’m still so cold I’m shaking like crazy, I’m sobbing, I’ve got bloody drool down my face…and everyone in the waiting room begins looking absolutely terrified and I heard one or two kids waiting for their turn start to cry. I’m sure the dentist had lots of reassuring to do that day.
      The annoying part was my sister got two of her teeth out the same day, and was eating hamburgers that night, I couldn’t eat solids for a week or more.

    • Caperton says:

      I had mine out about a year ago, and it wasn’t nearly as much trouble as I’d expected. My top molars came out easy, but my bottom ones were growing sideways and required surgery. It was performed under heavy sedation, which I didn’t know would knock me completely the hell out but was happy to discover did. The Boy says it took me about 20 seconds to go completely out, mid-sentence. My only advice is to keep ice on it as much as is safe, and if you can take narcotics, follow the doctor’s advice and take them on schedule and before the pain starts.

      Also, don’t look to baby food as an acceptable, soft substitute for regular food, because that stuff is foul. I can tell we live in a culture that hates babies, because we insist on feeding them baby food.

      • PrettyAmiable says:

        It’s the sedation that scares me!

        Also, don’t look to baby food as an acceptable, soft substitute for regular food, because that stuff is foul. I can tell we live in a culture that hates babies, because we insist on feeding them baby food.

        THIS is the funniest thing I’ve read today. I’ve never done a juice cleanse, and I was kind of thinking this would be the perfect time to do it since I can’t eat solids, haha. Just to see. I’m about 50-50 regarding whether there’s any actual health benefits to it (if you’re otherwise healthy), or if it’s some kind of woo.

      • Caperton says:

        The sedation was no problem for me at all. I didn’t have any nausea or any spooky/panicky feelings going into or coming out of it. And the only things I remember after the drugs went in were 1) The Boy threatening to record my subsequent behavior on his phone and post it on YouTube; 2) sitting next to the car in a wheelchair (although not how I got into the chair or from the chair to the car); and 3) waking up in my bed with an ice pack on the side of my face. It was awesome.

      • Wordwizard says:

        Juice cleanse is woo. Try looking at the Skeptoid website by Brian Dunning–I think he debunked that.
        I had a wisdom tooth out once–the lidocaine (which I didn’t want, but they INSISTED was necessary) didn’t work, and the dentist pulled so hard on an impacted tooth that didn’t want to come out, that I was actually lifted up off of the floor, and still no luck! I had to persuade them to get two strong men to hold me down, one at each arm, before it would come out. If your wisdom teeth aren’t BOTHERING you, leave them alone! I have two more impacted ones that are still there and have never given me any trouble.

    • PeggyLuWho says:

      When I had mine out at 18, it was only the second time I had ever been to a dentist. The first time was two weeks prior. (Horrific parental neglect is horrific.) I only had the uppers. The lowers just didn’t exist. It took five and a half hours, and I was awake the whole time, with novocaine, valium, and gas. I kept getting restless, and every time I got fidgety, the nurse just told me to take a deep breath. They hadn’t broken the surface, so the dentist went in after them. As a result of having my jaw wedged open as wide as possible for so long, it stiffened up, and I couldn’t open my mouth for two weeks. But I didn’t feel any pain, and had no complications afterwards. The combination of all the drugs left me without much of a memory of the whole thing, except the part where I had to get up in the middle to use the restroom – with my gums splayed open.

      When I told my current dentist this story, he was horrified. This is not how this should have been done. But I hadn’t ever been to a dentist for even a filling, so I had no idea.

  7. Kasabian says:

    Playtest for my new game tonight! Super psyched!

  8. Chataya says:

    Started an art class at the local arts center this week. It seems like it will be a lot of fun, I’m hoping it will kick my butt in gear and I’ll start drawing again.

    The new generation of Pokemon was revealed. As a life-long pokenerd, I was very excited.

    A picture of a baby musk ox.

  9. LotusBecca says:

    2013 is shaping up to be a pretty good year for me! A while back, on another thread, I mentioned that I was planning to come out as trans to my extended family over the holidays. Well, I did, and it was a huge relief and went smoothly for me. I even had some unexpected positive reactions, like from my 75-year-old, (moderate) Republican aunt from Houston, Texas. She has been super kind and supportive about everything. I’m not sure yet, though, how things will be with my many relatives who are Jehovah’s Witnesses. They were polite but tight-lipped with their reaction, and I know their religion considers anything LGBTQ to be an abomination. I guess time will tell.

    But the big news for me is that I officially changed my name to “Rebecca.” Effective January 4, that is now my legal first name! I’m extremely, extremely thrilled! Now I just need to update my photo ID, credit cards, and all that. . .and soon my old name will just be a fading memory for me.

    • PrettyAmiable says:

      Hooray! The paperwork must be a pain, but I’m sure you’ll be happier once everything is coming correctly addressed to you, Rebecca. And SUPER awesome news about your family!

      • PrettyAmiable says:

        Also, do you prefer Rebecca or Becca? Or LotusBecca?

      • LotusBecca says:

        Awww, thanks PrettyAmiable! Yeah, it will be SO nice to have everything under my correct name. . .I get a little jarred when I have to see my old name somewhere, or worse, sign it. And I’m not picky as to what version of my actual name people call me. I like going by Rebecca in more formal or official settings; I’m Becca with my friends, and that’s OK for here, too!

      • Computer Soldier Porygon says:

        Do you sign your name with a ‘black and strong, tall and sloping’ R? Please say yes

      • LotusBecca says:

        LOL. I actually had to Google that. I should probably watch that movie again though (or read the book), I haven’t seen it since I was a little kid! Over the years, I learned all the cultural allusions that people could bring up in reference to my old name, but when it comes to the name “Rebecca,” I’m kinda a n00b.

        Oh, and I’m still working on my new signature. Doesn’t quite feel natural yet. Some day I just want to sit down and write it a hundred times in a row until I really master it!

      • Oh, and I’m still working on my new signature. Doesn’t quite feel natural yet. Some day I just want to sit down and write it a hundred times in a row until I really master it!

        This actually struck me as a really powerful/significant thing to do.

        Becca, there’s this ritual in my particular caste/sect of Hinduism where the first thing a child learns to do in a formal educational situation is to write, and the first word the child learns to write is their own name, sketched with a finger on rice. It’s called a vidyarambham (the commencement of knowledge), since the name is the root of all that you become, etc. I’ve always appreciated the power and the meaning of such a ceremony, even divorced utterly from Hinduism (because really, it’s so easy to secularise that it’s practically more culture than religion IMO).

        Seems to me like writing your own signature a hundred times would be a similar act of rooting yourself in the shape of your name. ^__^

      • LotusBecca says:

        Thanks for sharing that story, Mac. I think I should definitely sign my name one hundred times in a row now! Transitioning often means diverging from the route that one’s expected to take in life, and it’s a path that’s windy and confusing and seldom commemorated. So I think one has to make one’s own rituals and have one’s own celebrations to commemorate it. Thanks for encouraging me to do that! :-)

      • Becca, go for it! ^__^ I’m glad the idea appeals to you.

    • Hee, I was wondering how the coming-out went! And since you got all quiet I was a bit worried it didn’t go well… I’m so glad it went as easily as you say. (Well, not easily, hah, but at least not-stressfully.)

      Seconding PA’s questions! Also woohoo name change!

      Also, I just wanted to say… initial tight-lipped reactions don’t mean that much, necessarily. I mean, my aunt’s first reaction to my telling her about Valoniel was to call me a race traitor (among other choice things), and she was the first to wish me (from the family that wasn’t there) on my wedding day.

      • LotusBecca says:

        Wow, that’s pretty incredible that your aunt came around so much, Mac! And nice to hear. In the time I’ve been transitioning, I’ve already noticed (I believe Donna has talked about this on here, too) that people’s initial reaction to things often isn’t the same as their long-term reaction. I’ve had people who seemed cool when they first learned about me but then became weird later on, as well as people who did the opposite.

        Anyway, thanks for your response, Mac; I really appreciate it! :-)

    • That’s so great! Good luck with the rest of your family.

    • EG says:

      Congratulations, Becca! I’m glad to hear that things went well with your family, and that you are now officially Rebecca.

    • mxe354 says:

      I’m so glad to hear about the name change, Becca! And it’s nice to see that your extended family had good reactions. :) I hope everyone else accepts you as well.

    • SophiaBlue says:

      Congrats on everything, Becca!

    • LotusBecca says:

      Thanks Donna, Sophia, and mxe. It’s nice that I have so many people here to cheer me on! :-)

    • M. Fenn says:

      Congrats, Becca! That’s good news allaround!

    • Kylara7 says:

      Congratulations! I’m glad there have been some good surprises amongst the reactions. Big life events have a way of revealing the insides of many people around you…some of the best come from unexpected sources. :)

    • Angel H. says:

      Yay! Congratulations!

    • Kristen J. says:

      That is such good news. Congratulations!

    • Caperton says:

      Congratulations! Good things are good.

    • khw says:

      congratulations Rebecca / LotusBecca!

      I hope 2013 continues to treat you well

    • PeggyLuWho says:

      I just did my standard celebratory booty shake on your behalf. Congrats, Becca! That’s super rad.

  10. Kristen J. says:

    I’m stuck in work Hell. Two weeks so far…18 hours a day, 7 days a week. Drafting and redrafting, with now 12 rounds of review, a legal document of such length that trees cry when someone says it’s name.

  11. Wordwizard says:

    Anyone have a suggestion as to [a link to] a concise explanation that might help convince a [male small-business owner] Libertarian why paid maternal/paternal leave is a good idea?

    • In two words: employee loyalty. Why go to all the pain and bullshit of hiring somebody new, training them, etc, when you can just wait a few months and have a skilled, familiar employee back? Also, do you really want to put up with the mommy- or daddy-brain during the first couple of months? I mean, if they’re libertarian they’re hiring explicitly on merit, so training/skill/dedication definitely matters.

      • Kylara7 says:

        What macavity said…it’s about “protecting your investment”. The employer has invested time, training, and intangibles and should have an interest in retaining that asset plus the interest it accrues for the long term and shouldn’t just look at a short-term blip. Good luck! :)

      • Angie unduplicated says:

        Customer retention, too. People are more likely to recommend a service provider who compensates employees fairly. Snobbery helps, too-being known as someone who has Silicon Valley standards can make the boss appear vanguardist, something Libertarians enjoy.

    • Wordwizard says:

      The employer in question sees RED at the idea that he should be expected to PAY for employee leave. He feels that he doesn’t benefit by someone NOT doing their work, so why pay for it? Sorry I left out that I meant PAID maternal/paternal leave–I ASSUMEd [=ass out of u+me]

      • No, you mentioned paid leave, actually. ^__^

        Doesn’t he benefit by retaining a trained employee, though? By not having to train a replacement?

        Other things: having paid mat/pat leave ensures the employee’s still healthy on return; that their child is healthier too, which means less sick leave. It ensures employee loyalty and employer reputation stay high (if your friend doesn’t know why those are important he’s clearly never had a waiter spit in his food…), and that the quality of work is also high. It also ensures that people planning to get pregnant (themselves or their partner) won’t leave his workplace just because they want to have paid maternity leave when they get pregnant. (You’d be surprised how many women who want more than one kid do this!)

      • Wordwizard says:

        The employer is angry that he can’t ASK whether someone is planning to have kids/not be working in order to have a discussion on how would we deal with this, and come to a mutually negotiated deal. With LEGALLY MANDATED paid leave (As a Libertarian, he hates the idea that a LAW should require this rather than that he as a good guy and employer who values employee loyalty should DECIDE to offer paid leave. He feels this is unfair!) and no way to ask someone’s plans and have the discussion, he feels he must choose someone perhaps less qualified that he can count on to be there. He doesn’t feel he OWES an employee this, and says that the INability to ask and discuss CAUSES discrimination, rather than the other way around (i.e., ASKing would contribute to discrimination). He is under the impression that paid pat/mat leave IS already legally mandated, whereas I was under the impression that this is true in other more enlightened countries, but not here. Please help me out here!

      • H-nought says:

        I’m 99% sure that in the US only 12 weeks of unpaid maternal leave is mandated and then only if the company has more then 50 employees (or some number like that). There might be some sort of full vs part time worker things that apply to this as well, but I don’t know. Other then the unpaid leave, yeah the US is the only ‘developed’ country (and one of like only 5 in the world) that does not legally guarantee paid maternal leave.

      • matlun says:

        He is under the impression that paid pat/mat leave IS already legally mandated

        Not on the federal level.
        There are some state level laws and in for example California you get legally mandated paid maternity leave.
        (I think that is actually only true for California and New Jersey, but that information may be out of date)

      • matlun says:

        [He] says that the INability to ask and discuss CAUSES discrimination, rather than the other way around (i.e., ASKing would contribute to discrimination)

        I would say both situations open up for discrimination.

        If you are allowed to ask, then there can be discrimination against those who answer yes.

        If you are not allowed to ask the same employer could discriminate against those he believes are high risk to disappear. Which would mostly mean general discrimination against young women.

  12. On a less cheerful and mundane note?

    Over 100 dead in Pakistan from terrorist attacks. In a day. One goddamn day. I feel like crying. I can’t read about it in any Indian news source because I know the comments will be filled with people cheering and calling for revenge. I hate that I know I’ll find it.

    I’m tired. I’m so fucking tired. Utterly, bone-deep, cosmically exhausted. Please, can’t we fucking stop killing each other? What’s so fucking important? What’s so fucking necessary? What fucking point is worth this to prove?

    I just want it to stop.

    • EG says:

      Yes. It makes you despair.

      I saw a movie about Walter Suskind the night before last, about the (Jewish) man in charge of deportations of the Jews of Amsterdam during the Holocaust. He managed to save several hundred Jewish children by falsifying documents and spiriting them away etc., before he was discovered, and he and his wife and daughter were killed in Auschwitz, and it was an amazing movie, but oh my God, it was horrible, so horrible. All those terrified, children and helpless families.

      I couldn’t think about anything else. Even though it was a movie, it really did happen, and it’s so monstrous.

      • Donna L says:

        I wouldn’t want people who don’t know a lot about this to get the wrong impression from your saying he was “in charge of” the deportations, given what that sometimes means. As Wikipedia says:

        Süskind worked for the Dutch Jewish council. He was the manager of the Hollandsche Schouwburg (Dutch Theater), where the Jews of Amsterdam had to report themselves prior to their deportation to the Westerbork transit camp. In that position he could manipulate the personal data of children in particular.

      • EG says:

        Oh, I’m so sorry. I didn’t mean what that could imply at all. I was just trying to summarize quickly without thinking too much about it because it’s so horrible to think about.

    • Milquetoast says:

      As somebody whose cousin was beaten during some Cajamarca protests (Mining in Peru). I understand your pain. I look at my country sometimes and just want to scream.

  13. EG says:

    On the personal update front, my boyfriend and I broke up this week.

    • Donna L says:

      I’m so sorry, EG. Thinking of you.

    • PrettyAmiable says:

      BOOOOOO break ups are crappy. The first couple of days are the worst. One of my favorite things about them are that awesome period where you get to find out how awesome you are all on your own, though, where you get to redefine yourself if you’d like. I hope you get that, and I hope it comes soon. Also, break ups have sides, and you have all of Feministe on yours.

      • EG says:

        Thank you! I’m sad…and apparently I decided to cope with that by spending far too much money on make-up today…not my best decision, but it could be worse, I think.

        I think this break-up is a little easier, because it doesn’t really have sides. Neither one of us is hurt or angry; we’re just at such different places in our lives.

      • chava says:

        Well, as breakup therapy goes makeup isn’t a bad choice. Won’t get you pregnant, etc.

        Sorry about the breakup, man. Never is easy.

      • LotusBecca says:

        If it makes you feel less guilty, EG, last week I went to Mac and bought $350 of makeup, and I have to survive on a grand total of $1200 a month. So that was definitely going overboard and means I will be eating a lot of Oriental Flavor Top Ramen (it’s the only vegetarian flavor) for the rest of the month. In my defense, I’m a absolute novice and had never bought makeup before except at K-Mart, Walgreen’s, and places like that. So I was like a helpless lamb before the seven years of persuasive skills that the saleswoman at Mac brought to the encounter. I’m not sure I really needed 3 different makeup brushes, which each cost $30 a piece, in addition to makeup brush cleaner; but there you go.

    • A4 says:

      Aw hell. I’m so sorry. I have no idea how you feel. How you holding up?

    • Lolagirl says:

      Booo for breakups!!! Sorry to hear about it, EG, hope you’re doing ok.

    • LotusBecca says:


    • khw says:

      so sorry, sending you positive energy

    • PeggyLuWho says:

      Break ups suck. As a really smart person is constantly reminding me, take every opportunity to take exquisite care of yourself.

  14. hotpot says:

    I’m reading… the Bible. The Old Testament, specifically. Right now I’m just surprised at how particular God was about how/when animals were to be sacrificed to him.

    • A4 says:

      Oh man oh man, the Old Testament is so special. Are you reading Leviticus? Did you get to the part that talk about what kinds of “deformities” the priests are not allowed to have? god is such a [redacted] in the OT!

      • Computer Soldier Porygon says:

        A super [redacted]! And so obsessed with nitpicky little details. God, God, look at the big picture for once…

      • A4 says:

        The other day I woke up early and I was super groggy, as one is wont to be when first waking up, and as I was stumbling through my kitchen where my bird lives I absent-mindedly grumbled “Here, have some light” and flicked on the switch. It felt super OT.

      • EG says:

        I have been known to say “fiat lux” as I flip the light switch…

      • hotpot says:

        Yup, it seems like the human version of the “deformities” sacrificed animals are not supposed to have. I still don’t know what the difference is between a “burnt offering”, a “sin offering” and a “guilt offering,” as the descriptions of what is supposed to be done seem pretty similar.

  15. wanttobeanon says:

    I still can’t figure out my position on whether it’s acceptable for tv and movies with violent and/or violent sexual content to be shown to inmates in prison. Okay for non-violent offenders, not okay for violent offenders?


    I am having a party on Sunday. I am a drink-mixing n00b, so I am memorizing recipes for manhattans and cosmopolitans, and I got a couple bottles of pina colada mix. I also have lots of juice and soft drinks on hand and I will make sure everyone has a designated driver.

  16. SophiaBlue says:

    I’m writing a novel! Trying to tell the little voice in my head that keeps shouting “THIS IS TERRIBLE!” that it’s the first draft so of course it’s terrible, but I’m not sure she’s listening.

    • Every time I read advice from a writer, musician or artist about how to make art they all say a version of the same thing: “You are going to make crap, and you will fix it and get better, but you have to keep making stuff or you will never get better.” I remind myself of this every time I make a drawing that I think sucks, and then I make another one that sucks less.

      • PrettyAmiable says:

        I like this – thank you for sharing.

      • SophiaBlue says:

        Yeah, that does make a lot of sense. I’ll try to keep telling myself that. Thanks.

      • I know you can do it! Woo!

      • Bonn says:


        I was in a creative writing class where the teacher basically thought everything I did was gold. We had to share things in class, and I became very aware that I was getting the stink-eye from my classmates, who were always being criticized on grammar, spelling, content, whathaveyou.

        Finally I was just like … look, guys, you’re 20. I’m almost 30. I’ve been writing seriously (with intent to someday be published) since I was 12 (and was writing a bit less seriously before that, but still writing a lot). I’ve been writing stories for almost longer than you’ve been alive. Someday you’ll be at this point too, if you keep it up.

        But that’s the thing. Keeping it up without getting discouraged. It might be okay to be 12 and suck at writing, but when you’re 22 it’s a bit less cute and that might cause someone to give up.

        And if you ever do get discouraged and think, “God, my writing SUCKS SO BAD,” just remember: Twilight exists. And realize, “If that got published, maybe I can get published too!”

      • Just yesterday I was drawing and I would do one sketch and it would just be terrible, all wobbly and out of proportion, and I would look at it and laugh and go “Ok, that is bad, what did I do wrong, how can I fix it?” and I would start a new sketch and it would be better! It’s all about practice and time and giving yourself the allowance to make mistakes.

      • khw says:

        you know, this almost works for describing learning another language!


      (I figure I’m speaking from as much authority as your jerkbrain, since it’s going to get randomly critical no matter what you do!)

      • SophiaBlue says:


        (maybe not, but as long as I’m disagreeing with my jerkbrain I might as well go big).

    • M. Fenn says:

      Good luck with your novel! One thing I found that helps keep the jerkbrain under control is to just keep writing, regardless of what your inner critic has to say. After a while she just gets tired or bored and gives up, at least in my experience. You can do it!

    • EG says:

      Whenever I work on a project, I tell myself “It doesn’t have to be good; it just has to be done. You can go back and make it good after it’s done.”

    • Neil Gaiman, one of the hottest fantasy writers going right now, tells the story that somewhere a little over half-way through every novel, he calls his agent. And he whines. He is going to give up writing and go be a garbage collector. Or a crash test mannequin. Or something that suits his talents, as he clearly has none for writing.

      His agent clucks sympathetically and then she says, “Ah, we’re at That Stage of the book, are we?”

      I hit that stage on a monthly basis. And the only thing for it is, to quote NaNoWriMo: Butt in seat, Fingers on Keys.

      It’s going to suck. Write it anyway.
      Finish it.
      Put it away for two months.
      Come back and be dazzled at how much it doesn’t suck. And revise the bits that actually do.

    • Caperton says:

      Some excellent advice in this thread. I will add: In my personal experience, sometimes I have nothing but shitty writing at the top of my brain, and all the good stuff is trapped underneath. But if I sit down for an afternoon with a Diet Dr. Pepper and devote myself entirely to writing the hell out of the shitty stuff, I get it all out, and then I have access to the good stuff.

    • PeggyLuWho says:

      I’m writing mine too (still) and the hardest part is getting it all out of my head. We just have to get it all out, and it’s going to suck, and it’s probably not going to make much sense, but you can only start making it awesome after it’s out of your brain and onto a page.

      …or at least that’s what I keep telling myself.

  17. mxe354 says:

    Ranting ahead:

    I need to find a place and time for me to relax – and hopefully meditate as well. My mind has been overwhelming me lately.

    A while ago, my anxiety just used to cause only significant appetite loss (something I still have, unfortunately). Now it also has made me depressed for some reason. Most of my anxiety is the result of my internalized trans*-misogyny and my tendency to doubt myself excessively (which is a product of my lingering self-hatred). In particular, I’ve been overwhelmed by the messages in our culture that tell me I’m deluded, mentally ill, confused, a “man in denial”, etc. It’s very distressing for me. Gender dysphoria is so much harder to deal with when transphobia is everywhere.

    My depression has made it very difficult to enjoy the things I usually do, and it has almost eradicated my desire to do productive things. These days, because I haven’t found an opportunity to relax and meditate, I occasionally resort to becoming inebriated or sleeping more. Doing those things, however, only masks my turmoil; it does nothing to get rid of it. They’re distractions. Fortunately, I’m not addicted to those distractions (I don’t smoke very often, and I don’t like sleeping at weird times of the day).

    So yeah, life hasn’t been so great for me. I hope it will get better soon. All I want is a clear mind so that I can get rid of my anxiety in a peaceful fashion. I want to see a therapist, but the only therapist who could help me would be a trans*-friendly one, and I can’t find any therapists that are trans*-friendly. Even if I did find one, I still wouldn’t be able to see someone since I can’t afford it at all. And my dad would freak out if he found out I had to see a therapist to help me with my anxiety. I’ll just have to get rid of the problem by myself.

    • Hugs if you want ’em, mxe.

    • Radiant Sophia says:

      Depression sucks! It doesn’t matter the source, it’s horrible. I hope things get better for you soon.

    • I’m sorry you are going through that.

    • Donna L says:

      Are there any LGBT organizations in your area that you might be able to contact for advice on low-cost mental health resources for LGBT people in general or trans people in particular? A decent therapist — and believe me, I know how hard it is to find trans-positive ones who actually have some knowledge and experience concerning trans issues — can be crucial in the struggle to deal with internalized transphobia. And I know that there are LGBT health clinics and health professionals (at least in a number of major cities; I don’t know where you are) who charge a sliding scale, and provide free or very low-cost care to people without economic resources. It would be a great shame if you had to wait until you’re off at college somewhere.

      • mxe354 says:

        Now that I think about it, there are most likely some LGBT-friendly therapists where I live (the San Francisco Bay Area). I’m currently staying somewhere else for my winter break, though, so I can’t really go to any therapist at this time.

      • Donna L says:

        Two possible resources you might want to look into after winter break:

        An article about Queer LifeSpace:


        The Tom Waddell Health Center’s Transgender Clinic, run by the SF Dept of Health:


      • mxe354 says:

        Thank you so much; those resources are awesome! I’ll definitely look into them. I’m going to have to check for places that are closer, though – I live in San Jose, which is quite far away from San Francisco by train (I can’t drive by myself yet since I only have a permit). I can deal with the distance, of course, but I think things would be much easier if I could see a therapist around where I live. Hopefully I can find some help or advice at the the Billy DeFrank LGBT Center in San Jose.

    • LotusBecca says:

      I’m so sorry to hear all that, mxe. As I’ve mentioned to you before, I’ve also struggled with anxiety, specifically social anxiety, my whole life. It was worst for me when I was going through puberty and then progressively got easier as the years passed. . .until I came out to myself as trans last year and started trying to live as who I really am. That made my anxiety way, way worse. Depression has also often been a corollary to anxiety for me. I started taking an SSRI called Paxil three months ago to treat both my anxiety and my depression. I have been feeling a lot better since, and I think the drug has played an important role in that. So that’s something you might want to consider for the future. You also don’t need to go to a therapist to get a prescription for an anti-depressant or anti-anxiety medication. Any medical doctor can and often will write you a prescription for such drugs after just one appointment.

      I’m just so sorry to hear that you are struggling with so much internalized transmisogyny, mxe. I’m sure that you already realize this intellectually, but I feel that it’s important to reiterate: being trans* does not make you deluded, mentally ill, confused, or a “man in denial.” You are not even the one with a problem. It is our transphobic society that has a problem, and it has forced its issues, insecurities, and delusions on you against your will. You are a survivor who is one the road to recovery. The road is long and painful, but the saying is right: it really does get better.

    • EG says:

      I’m so sorry, mxe. I don’t have any insights into resources, and I don’t know what it’s like to be trans, but I do have experiences with depression, and I’m so sorry you’re suffering right now. Unlike Becca, I do feel strongly that it’s risky to be on psychotropic meds without being under the care of a specialist–too many GPs just don’t know enough about interactions, side effects, or mood disorders at all–but I second Becca’s excellent experience with those meds. However you are able to, I really hope you are able to get the help you need to get through this bad, bad time. Depression is so painful. I think you’re a good, thoughtful person and I’m rooting for you.

      I do know one book that I have found helpful and that you might be able to get a hold of even if therapy and/or medication are unavailable to you right now: The Mindful Way Through Depression, by Mark Williams et al. My copy came with a CD with meditation exercises on it.

      • Alexandra says:

        Yes, I cannot second EG’s recommendation for mindfulness-based therapy enough. It has been enormously helpful in my own life, particularly when dealing with PTSD/self-hatred/self-injurious behaviors.

      • moviemaedchen says:

        I will third the recommendation of mindfulness practice. RE anxiety, I’ve had good results with The Mindfulness and Acceptance Workbook for Anxiety (Forsyth and Eifert). But even on days where I can only do a tiny bit, I’ve found the mindful practice of simply saying to myself “yes, I’m feeling anxious/depressed” and not judging that feeling very helpful.

        (I used to try to add “it’s ok to feel X,” but some days that’s not doable. Noticing the judgment as judgment, rather than trying to force myself to be ok with it, seems to help with that.)

        Hope some of this helps, and best wishes.

    • Donna L says:

      I do feel strongly that it’s risky to be on psychotropic meds without being under the care of a specialist–too many GPs just don’t know enough about interactions, side effects, or mood disorders at all–

      I agree. Especially given that your anxiety and depression issues appear to be closely tied to your struggle with gender dysphoria, and the internalized transphobia that almost universally accompanies it in a society that hates trans people as much as ours often seems to. All of those issues can magnify and feed off each other. But they’re not the same thing. Treating anxiety and depression won’t necessarily do very much, by itself, for the distress of the dysphoria and internalized transphobia. If it did, there wouldn’t be quite so many desperately unhappy trans people, especially prior to transition.

      Conversely, although taking steps to do what you feel is necessary to deal with gender dysphoria does seem to relieve anxiety and depression (sometimes almost entirely) for some trans people who are afflicted with either or both of them, it certainly doesn’t do so for everyone. I transitioned in 2005. And although my gender dysphoria has immensely improved if not disappeared completely (I don’t think the wish that I could have been born differently than I was, and had a different life, and been able to experience certain things, will ever go away entirely), and the internalized transphobia is a whole lot less as well (even though I’m still prone to self-negativity about it at 3 am!), I’m still an excruciatingly anxious, sometimes depressive, person, and have been for a very long time. And I suspect I might well have been that way, for whatever reason, even if I hadn’t been trans. I don’t think I’d be able to function well at all without cymbalta, or the other, similar medications I took before that.

      It isn’t so easy to figure out all that, and decide what to do about the different aspects of how you feel, without discussing them with someone who knows a lot about anxiety and depression issues (and how to treat them), and is trans-friendly and knows something about trans issues as well. People like that aren’t on every street corner, but they exist, and the best way to find them — especially given your current financial situation — is probably through an LGBT health clinic, whether in San Francisco or San Jose. So I don’t think it’s a great idea ask for anti-depressants from a doctor who doesn’t know about your trans issues and isn’t qualified to discuss them anyway. And although I know that a whole lot of people take DIY hormones, obtained without a doctor’s prescription — I did myself for more than two years because I was too afraid to see a doctor, too afraid of telling anyone, too afraid of being rejected even by a doctor — it’s not really a good idea either, for all sorts of reasons including various possible adverse side-effects that should be monitored by a medical professional. I ended up making myself extremely ill, in a couple of different ways.

      So please take care of yourself, and I hope you’re able to contact one of those clinics soon after winter break.

      • Donna L says:

        Long comment in moderation, the gist of which is that while anxiety/depression and gender dysphoria/internalized transphobia are related issues that can feed off of and magnify each other, they’re not the same thing, and almost always have to be treated separately. I’ve never heard of anyone for whom anti-depressants/anti-anxiety medication did very much at all to relieve the underlying gender dysphoria, and treating the latter certainly doesn’t necessarily fix the former, either. You need to try to find a doctor who is knowledgeable about both and qualified to treat both. I agree with EG that starting out by trying to get anti-depressants from a doctor, who may not even know that you’re trans, let alone be knowledgeable about trans issues, is probably not the best way to go.

    • LotusBecca says:

      Just for the record, I certainly agree with both EG and Donna that it’s preferable to be taking both psychiatric meds and hormones under the supervision of the suitable specialists. I merely said what I did so that you could be fully aware of all your options, mxe. Unfortunately, living in a society that oppresses both trans* people and people with emotional issues creates a situation where people often aren’t able to obtain the care they need and deserve. And sometimes, desperate circumstances call for desperate measures. Whatever you do though, I hope you make your own decision that takes into account all the various risks. And I hope you are able to start both hormones and whatever other medications you may feel you need as soon as possible and under the appropriate medical supervision. Hopefully, the LGBT center in San Jose will prove to be a helpful resource for you.

    • mxe354 says:

      Thanks a lot, everyone. I’ll definitely keep your words in mind, and yes,
      I’m going to get the hormones, anti-depressants, etc. the safest way (i.e under medical supervision).

      • PeggyLuWho says:

        mxe, my therapist in the east bay is really good with gender/trans stuff. She’s in Oakland, but she may know of someone in the south bay who is cool and also sliding scale. If you want, I can maybe ask her…? Maybe this is an awkward suggestion.

        I also have the book that EG recommended, and it has been very helpful to me, too. And even though I always thought it was kind of cheesy, even just doing some yoga has been really good for me. A little time in child’s pose does wonders.

        Hang in there.

      • mxe354 says:

        That would be awesome if you could ask her – if she doesn’t mind, of course.

      • PeggyLuWho says:

        Yea, I’ll let you know.

      • Wordwizard says:

        About antidepressants–they ALL come with UNwanted side effects, whether they actually do what you WANT them to or not. A Fisher-Wallace cranial stimulator, or Alpha-Stim microcurrent stimulator does not have side effects, (unless perhaps a little skin irritation) and they WORK. (You get a certain amount of time to try them out, and if they DON’T work, return them for a refund, minus re-stocking fee.) You need a prescription to get one, and they aren’t covered by insurance, but it is a one-time investment, unlike pills, that go on and on and on….You can also get a used/returned/refurbished one at a major discount.

      • EG says:

        About antidepressants–they ALL come with UNwanted side effects, whether they actually do what you WANT them to or not.

        This is really not universally true. I have literally never had any problematic side effects from antidepressants, and I’ve been taking them for over a decade (I was queasy for the very first weekend I went on them; that passed and that was it). My cousin has never had any problematic side effects from antidepressants. It depends not only on the drug, but on the person.

      • tigtog says:

        Whereas my own experience with antidrepressants has been fairly bloody awful. I have had multiple problematic side effects from multiple antidepressant presciptions.

        I agree with EG that individual responses to anti-depressants vary wildly. They help some people superbly, others significantly, others only a bit, and others hardly at all. My own problems with anti-depressants ultimately led to my diagnosis as bi-polar (relatively mild, but still significantly affecting my functionality until I learnt to recognise various signs and seek medical help accordingly): bipolar diagnoses respond to very different therapeutic interventions from purely depressive diagnoses.

        I’m actually quite intellectually attached, as an example, to how the variance in physiological responses to pharmaceutical interventions shows that there simply is not one magic solution to every human problem. There is not one scientific example of a wonder drug that cures everybody of any particular disease – go and google the medical complications attached to taking doses of aspirin or paracetemol for simple headaches if you want a basic example of how a general remedy simply is not guaranteed to be a universal remedy.

        I want more people to realise both the power and the limitations of pharmaceutic regimens, so that they can informedly seek the best remedy for any biomedical dysfuctions.

      • EG says:

        Completely agree, tigtog. It’s why I feel so strongly that people taking psychiatric meds should do so under the supervision of a specialist.

  18. FYouMudFlaps says:

    One of the most hard-hitting Feminist classics, Sexual Politics.

  19. Radiant Sophia says:

    I wrote a little on my depression taking a turn for the worse. Ironically It made me feel better.

    • Alexandra says:

      Yes, it really does. A few nights ago I went back and re-read my now locked livejournal which I wrote in frequently several years ago before getting my correct diagnosis. I have never written so well, or so lucidly, as when I was suicidally depressed. And it really did make me feel better back then – being able to put on paper the ins-and-outs of my depression helped, but so did being able to parse out what was my own “madness” and what was external to me, what was pain coming from outside of my own head.

      • Radiant Sophia says:

        I’m not suicidal exactly, but .

      • Radiant Sophia says:

        Sorry, this.

      • Alexandra says:

        Pain is so hard to deal with. This fall I almost fell apart from migraines and back/neck pain caused by stress (I was so afraid of failing that I over-studied for some exams and ended up making myself ill). It is a struggle, and I got through it this time because I had people in my life who were able to talk me through the worst of my pain, make sure that I was eating enough and taking pain medications and so on.

        I think the hard thing for me with depression and other mental illness is separating being acutely ill from being chronically ill. Acute illness needs intervention: lots of drugs, lots of therapy, lots of people “managing” me, maybe even a hospital visit (I really hope not to repeat that experience again). But treatments for acute illness don’t do much for my chronic symptoms – like physical manifestations of psychic pain, like migraines and back pain etc. For that I honestly find that exercise is helpful. I get my exercise by walking my dog, by hiking, by going to the park and looking at birds.

        One of the difficult things to deal with in my own life when I’ve been acutely ill is that people would tell me just to exercise more – and when I’m really acutely ill it’s not helpful, I’m waaaay past the point where going for a hike will help. But when I’m out of crisis, exercise is one of those things that makes me feel like I’m “well,” and not “managing a chronic illness,” if you know what I mean.

      • Radiant Sophia says:

        I’m trying to hang on, I really am, but I don’t have many options (no insurance, no money). At this point the only option I really have left is to say I am a danger to myself or others, and get myself admitted to a hospital. I just worry a lot about my roommate.

      • Alexandra says:

        Do you have a NAMI chapter in your area? (actually, are you in the US at all?) The other org with a national presence that might be of help is the Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance, which in some areas has meatspace support groups, and which also has online support groups.

      • Radiant Sophia says:

        Yes, I’m in the U.S.
        I didn’t know these groups existed.

      • Alexandra says:

        NAMI and DBSA often will provide some support services in their area. Also, and this would involve navigating the absolutely byzantine mental health system, it’s worth checking out whether there are any government-run resources to low income folks at the local, county, or state level in your area. In my area, for instance, the county health department offers some “behavioral health” services to low-income chronically mentally ill folks. Your health department may also be able to provide you with referrals to a free or subsidized clinic or to state-run health insurance if you’re eligible (here in California, where I am, it’s Medi-Cal).

  20. Alexandra says:

    This time last year, I was so depressed I was sleeping as many as 16 hours a day, and the hours I was awake I was so drugged I could barely function.

    Now, I’m coming off a successful semester as a full-time college student, my first semester as a biology major. I made Dean’s List, and one of my professors wants to hire me on as a tutor for his course if he can find the funding. I was asked to join the leadership for a club on campus, and I got a slot in a physician-shadowing program for pre-medical students.

    My home life is… less than ideal, but I am surviving and even, dare I say, thriving??? As best I can given the circumstances.

    I’ve also started a blog. Last weekend I wrote about Chavela Vargas, and right now I’m torn between Janis Joplin and Janelle Monae – which J-name should I go with, Feministe?

    • Radiant Sophia says:

      I don’t mean to pry, and feel free to ignore me, but what changed? How did you deal with your depression?

      • Alexandra says:

        I have bipolar disorder, rather than unipolar depression. My depressions tend to be severe and terrifying, but they also tend to be relatively brief – six to nine months is about the longest they go. This summer, for the first time since my diagnosis, I was able to catch myself before I swung into a manic episode, right at the beginnings of hypomania. My psychiatrist gave me some heavy-duty antipsychotics, I slept for three days straight, and when I came out of it I was more normal. Also, and this is a big deal for me as a bipolar person, I went off of anti-depressants, which while they may have some affect during the most acute and dangerous portion of my depression, make me become rapid-cycling/mixed-manic, which is the closest experience to hell I know.

        Also, lifestyle changes: lots of exercise outdoors, lots of sunshine, a good therapist working in a well-defined system, visiting friends cross country, pets. Oh, and limiting my online “social justice warrior” time, ironically enough. Actually attending local political meetings is more boring and more satisfying at the same time.

    • A4 says:

      I love Janelle Monae! I think her stuff is really smart!

    • Brennan says:




      Getting between those two points can seem almost impossible. THIS DESERVES STREAMERS!

    • Good for you for all you have accomplished! That is awesome.

    • miga says:

      Janelle Monae! Because as much as I love Janis, Janelle is an up-and-comer and would benefit from your writing about her more than Janis.

  21. M. Fenn says:

    This weekend, I’m working on edits for my second novella that’s coming out this year. My first just came out last month, so yeah, feeling like a writer.

  22. Datdamwuf says:

    Been getting to know my newish coworker who’s about 30 yrs old, he brought up Steubenville case and I found myself trying to explain privilege and rape culture to someone who’s never heard of either. I’m not a good teacher, no patience with blindness – but he is a decent person who wants to understand. Any one have good newb sources for someone who can NOT see his privilege at all? Looking for a article that speaks to different tiers of privilege so the full picture is given.

    • dawnofthenerds says:


      This was written specifically to explain privilege to clueless straight white dudes using gaming as a metaphor. I’m not sure if it has everything you’re looking for, but it might be a decent starting point, especially if he’s even the slightest bit geeky.

      • Datdamwuf says:

        Thanks that is great, I’ll send it to him with the followups, he used to be a big WoW player so it should help. The only thing I have for rape culture is shakesville Rape 101, it’s good but it’s old and many links are broken so if anyone has something else more current, please post a link. ~thanks again

  23. Andie says:

    Working on some paperwork for a charity camp I’m trying to get my kids into. Looks like a lot of fun, my nephew went a few years back and had a great time. Great opportunity, very excited for them, especially since I’d never be able to afford to send them to a 10-day camp myself. It’s also one of those things where I never got to go to one either so the prospect is even more exciting that way.

    Planning a joint 60th bday for the parentals. Reading. Playing my guitar and making a concerted effort to make it out to more jams and open mike nights because the more I play in public the less frightening it is.

    In local news, teachers are still doing the work-to-rule thing, government is still trying to push them around and people are still blaming the teachers for not caring about the kids and thinking it’s all about money. There was a strike, then there wasn’t and a lot of people got pissed off. Sigh.

    • I can’t handle politics around here these days. The widespread sociological myopia and megalomaniacs in charge are too much to bear.

      I supported the teachers back in the 1998 strike when I was in high school, and I support them now during this government’s one-sided game of legislative Calvinball.

      Plus, Rob Ford.

  24. Things I should do this weekend but probably won’t:

    1) Dump CentOS, it’s not satisfying me – not sure which distribution I’d like to move over to. I used Gentoo and liked it for a few years, so I could do that, but I’m open to suggestions.

    2) Exercise. The weights are gathering dust. I’ve been trying to get my arse moving over the last few days with limited success.

    3) Read. In the queue: a compilation of Vanity Fair articles about the recent economic futzup and the financial wizards responsible, a book about the WWI-era antiwar resistance in Britain, A Death in Wichita, a biography of Paul Dirac, and a book about Cold War plans that weren’t implemented.

    4) See friends.

    5) If another Idle No More demo takes place in the city, show up and show solidarity.

  25. jrockford says:

    Can’t believe I have to wait about 20 more days before I can reasonably expect to start hearing back from the PhD programs I applied to. Anyone else taking the leap and applying for a humanities PhD this year?

    I get jealous of the science PhD people, because they all apparently get to hear back in January.

    • OR says:

      As a science person, I can say we’re not that lucky. In my experience and in that of friends and students I know, in January you hear if you get invited to some sort of interview weekend at the university, not if you get in. (I guess some universities admit everyone they bring to interview but not many). Interview weekends are kinda like a 2-3 day long ‘first-date’ between you and the program with your competitors there with you.
      Good luck with your applications though!

  26. Red says:

    http://jezebel.com/5975192/get-out-of-my-gay-bar-straight-girl .

    This article! Okay, I know, Jezebel. shouldn’t expect much from it.

    That article just really rubs me the wrong way. To start off with, it is really binary in the gay vs. straight way and the man vs. woman way and the cis vs. trans way (just kidding, the author actually assumes everyone is cis).

    I am queer. I am genderqueer. People usually mis-gender me, and assume my relationship is heterosexual due to that mis-gendering. I am so tired of feeling excluded from gay and lesbian spaces. What would happen if I tried to go to the bar that this author goes to, with my significant other and some friends? Also, if a heterosexual couple composed of a trans man and a trans woman go to this bar, is the author going to judge them the same way? Ugh. freakin’, ugh.

    • pheenobarbidoll says:

      I dream to be hit on so many women I have to plot an escape for it. That sounds amazing.

      wow. Because sexual harassment is something straight women should appreciate. Yup. So amazing.

  27. Angel H. says:

    Lately, I’ve been thinking about issues of appropriation concerning westerners and Japanese street fashion, specifically Lolita and gyaru. I think Lolita fashion is adorable and I’m fascinated by the gyaru style. I’ve been thinking about making my own Lolita designs but I wonder about cultural appropriation.

    Is anyone else familiar with Lolita and gyaru?

  28. A4 says:

    Today I am thinking about how I could build a device that dispenses a treat for my parrot whenever he said one of the english words that he knows. The real goal would be to encourage non-squawking vocalization, so the margin for error could be large while still ignoring the ear splitting shriek. I’d need a microphone, and a treat dispensation device, a computer to connect them both to, and a computer program to coordinate the two components.

    I feel like ten years from now my bird’s living quarters will be more technologically advanced and luxurious than my own, all due to his immense power of being noisy as hell.

    • Alexandra says:

      Ooh. Interesting. What sort of parrot do you have?

      Animal training is one of those things I find incredibly fascinating. I have a dog and spend a lot of time reading up on operant conditioning so I can teach him such fascinating skills as “sit” and “stay” and “go to your bed.” Parrots sound like fun, but also a lot of work.

      I really want to take the cell phone programming class my university offers, but there are too many prerequisites :-(

  29. Alexandra says:


    Glenn Beck is building an Ayn Rand theme park!!!!

  30. Hey I have a question, maybe someone can help? One of my resolutions this year is to read more non-fiction, specifically books related to politics, feminism, history, sociology, and philosophy, but I DON’T want to default to all the well-known books written by white men or women. They might be fine books but I know they will present one narrow view and that is what I am trying to get away from. Can anyone recommend anything you’ve read and enjoyed?

    • Are you particular about which brand of philosophy? I could recommend a bunch of non-fiction by Indians…

      • Anything at all, really! I don’t have any idea where to start, and there is so much I am interested in reading about. Also thank you in advance!

      • All right, here you go: a quick list! Indians of all stripes to be found here. I don’t read nearly as much nonfiction as I do fiction, but still.

        Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan: former president of India, is a wonderful philosopher/religious historian, does a lot of work re: connecting western and eastern philosophical traditions. Also generally a smooth read.

        Sri Aurobindo: philosopher, incredibly fucking heavy reading, some deeply weird ideas, but fascinating nonetheless.

        APJ Abdul Kalam: another former president, writes about politics, history, religion and his career, which for realz involved constructing large missiles. He’s a pretty cool guy.

        Jawaharlal Nehru’s Discovery of India is also a good read. I hate the man’s politics, but he could write, holy.

        If you don’t mind reading people in translation, Bharatiyar’s poems and essays are really pretty fucking amazing – 1920s radical socialist feminist guy? Basically my dream, genderswitched ♥

        PT Srinivasa Iyengar, for all your south Indian history needs! (south India is so radically different from the north that I consider them to be two different subcontinents pastede together yey, lol.)

        Swami Dayananda Saraswati (there’s a few writers/leaders by this name across history, look for the one associated with the Arsha Vidya Ashram) has some incredibly amazing work on Vedic scripture and ethics. I had the privilege of studying under him personally for three months when I was a kid, and he’s awesome and insanely well-read. A bit heavy though. If you’re into semiotics you’ll probably enjoy the shit out of reading him or Aurobindo. Warning for extremely anti-conversion views, though, because he’s become increasingly invested in stopping coercive conversion processes in India and it’s showing in his speeches/writings etc.

      • Meep, left you a list with explanations but it went into mod… D:

        Seconding nearly all of Alexandra’s choices too! Also would like to plug Edward Said (heavy, so heavy, but good!) and Gayatri Spivak (conditional rec, I do not agree with everything she says by a long shot).

      • Alexandra says:

        Hey mac, do you have any recs for a good history of Indian independence movement? I know nothing about the subject (and was embarrassed recently when a discussion of nonviolent civil disobedience turned to Gandhi). I’m afraid that if I just went down to the local library I’d wind up picking something written from an unreconstructed British colonialist point of view. Would Nehru’s Discovery of India be a good place to start?

      • The Discovery of India would make a good start, but it doesn’t focus exclusively on the Independence Movement as it tries to cover a large section of (north Indian) history. (Yes, I have a giant bug up my butt about people talking about “Indian” history when they mean “the history of those like twelve states that speak Hindi”. No, I am not ashamed of it.)

        I’m…actually stuck trying to think of another single book, lol. My mom’s academic background is in English and history, so I learned all my Indian history from a variety of random things like textbooks, biographies she’d collected, newspaper collections and documentaries – the one thing I cried over leaving behind when I moved to Canada was a GIANT book of news articles and photos covering 1857-1947 of the Movement. So I’m not sure what single book to recommend.

        I have heard good things about James Laurence’s “Raj: The Making and Unmaking of British India” (I plan to pick it up soon if possible myself).

        Sorry I’m not being very helpful, but I really don’t have that much on the independence movement handy that I imagine someone outside India could get their hands on. Also, most of my personal collection re: overviews of British India is pre-1857, and much of it is on http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_Clive.

    • Alexandra says:

      If you like political philosophy/political theory, and if you’re a US citizen, I have a tentative reading list, starting with the framers of the Constitution and then working through the critics of American society —

      I might start by reading the Constitution and some of the Federalist Papers (articles published during the ratification debates in favor of the Constitution). If you have an appetite for huge, Alexis de Tocqueville wrote a ton about what he thought of the “American Experiment” half a century after the revolution. Then I might read some of the Seneca Falls convention speeches. I would read some Frederick Douglass (and he wrote a TON more than just the Autobiography everyone reads in high school). I would read Lincoln’s Second Inaugural. I would read Booker T’s Up from Slavery and WEB Dubois’ The Souls of Black Folk. I would dip into the Harlem Renaissance. I would read the novel Native Son by Richard Wright, Notes of a Native Son by James Baldwin, A Raisin in the Sun by Lorraine Hansbury (interesting counterpoint might be Death of a Salesman, but I really, really hate that play).

      If at this point you decided you wanted straight history, I would read Taylor Branch’s three-part history of the civil rights movement, but otherwise I’d probably do Letter from the Birmingham Jail and Autobiography of Malcolm X. Sexual Politics by Kate Millet, mentioned upthread, was my favorite second-wave feminist text, but it is… dated. bell hooks and Cornel West might make interesting places to wrap up.

      …hey, you asked for suggestions!!! This is totally not comprehensive, just the stuff I really liked.

      And if you ever want to dip into the more “traditional” stuff, I really would recommend Hannah Arendt and Simone de Beauvoir. Also Plato and Euripides, who are wonderful and weird and totally alien in sensibility despite being the oldest of the old dead white men – ancient Greece is a lot farther away from us than we think most of the time.

      • This is amazing, thank you! I will add all of this to my reading list. I feel like I spent way too much time reading mediocre novels and now I am itching to actually learn something.

      • Alexandra says:

        I just remembered something I should TOTALLY have mentioned, given how dude-heavy that list was —

        Lakota Woman by Mary Crow Dog, is an awesome memoir of the American Indian Movement. Her description of the siege of Wounded Knee in 1973 (where she gave birth to her son, by the way – badass radical mama).

      • Replying to my own comment since I can’t reply to yours-thank you again and I will add this one to the list as well. :)

      • Donna L says:


        In what way? It’s been a while since I’ve read any of his plays, but I always thought of him as being the least alien, and the most modern and relatably “human,” of the three tragedians from that period for whom any works survive.

      • Alexandra says:

        Actually, I agree with that. Aeschylus is a totally different animal, and Euripides’ concerns – particularly his interest in the plight of women during war – can seem strangely modern. But the Bacchae, for instance, with its portrayal of a religious ecstasy, is a good example of how different the world of the Greeks was. Euripides wrote a lot of protest plays during the thirty-year Peloponnesian war, objecting to Athenian atrocities, and it’s no surprise that his plays were adopted by Vietnam-era protestors.

        I’m still very fond of Kate Millet’s interpretation of Aeschylus’ Oresteia – the play cycle as explanation of the rise of law and patriarchy over chaos, vengeance, and female rule.

      • Fat Steve says:

        And if you ever want to dip into the more “traditional” stuff, I really would recommend Hannah Arendt and Simone de Beauvoir.

        I have two books by Hannah Arendt that I have read from cover to cover numerous times (Eichmann in Jerusalem and The Origins of Totalitarianism.) Yet whenever I see her quoted by someone (apart from ‘the banality of evil’ which is in the subtitle of the EIchmann book,) the quotes seem to be from other books/sources.

        This leads me to believe that the two books I have are among Arendt’s less popular items. Alexandra, (or anyone else with an opinion,) what book would you start me with if you were going to help me expand my Hannah Arendt library by just one book?

  31. Thank you mac! I am going to READ SO HARD this year.

  32. Fat Steve says:

    I just read the most nauseating thing I have read in a legitimate (and supposedly liberal) publication in a long time.

    Warning: Contains horrendous transphobia and unfettered douchebaggery.


    • Well, that was about as disgusting as a trip down a septic tank.

      • Fat Steve says:

        I think a full rebuttal of the article would make a good subject for a Feministe post (by someone with more experience of the issue than I.)

      • I concur, but we’d have to have a mod devoted exclusively to that thread, because Feministe and the trans nastiness…

      • Li says:

        I agree with mac on the modding and Feministe, but if people want to read something not comprised primarily of hate words and “funny” puns, Quinnae has quite a good response up.

        Or people can email either letters@guardian.co.uk or letters@observer.co.uk to add to the flood of work the editors are currently dealing with. Personally, because I’m in a spiteful mood, I recommend the former address because that will probably require someone to hit a forward button, and any extra labour is at this point a nice bonus. If you don’t want the letters published, don’t include a physical address. They’ll still have to read them.

      • Donna L says:

        I think a full rebuttal of the article would make a good subject for a Feministe post (by someone with more experience of the issue than I.)

        No, no, I disagree. It isn’t worth dignifying this kind of childish hate piece — which is nothing more than a collection of vicious, repulsive insults — with a response or a “debate,” full or otherwise. It’s self-evidently a piece of garbage. Let it hang there and fester on its own.

      • Donna L says:

        And, by the way, I’ve said many times that trans-haters can get away with a whole lot more in the UK, in self-identified progressive media, than they can in the USA. This is yet another example.

      • Donna L says:

        Quinnae has quite a good response up.

        It’s good, but I think the following, although understandable, is a vain hope with respect to people who are as hateful as Julie Burchill:

        I would like to think that if she actually, sincerely knew us—that if she were the godmother of some of our daughters as well—she might think very differently, and that she might be confronted with the mountains of empirical evidence that we’re really not so different from her.

        I’ve had the same thought, believe me. “If only this person who’s being so ignorantly hateful towards trans women could actually meet and talk to trans women — if they would talk to me — they would realize how wrong they are, see the light, and realize we’re all women, even if we arrived where we are from different places.” I think it’s natural to be somewhat incredulous at this kind of thing, when someone you think should be an ally isn’t.

        But it never works, from what I’ve seen. I’ve seen plenty of trans women reach out to people like that, arrange meetings, panels, etc., and otherwise engage with them. Or, put differently, subject themselves to humiliation, on metaphorically bent knee It never seems to accomplish anything other thant more hatred being spewed. I’m not suggesting that trans-misogynists don’t ever change their minds when they get to know actual trans women. But I don’t see it as likely when someone is as hateful as this.

      • SophiaBlue says:

        I agree with Donna. I don’t think this article needs or deserves any response beyond “This is stupid.”

    • SophiaBlue says:

      Yes, I have definitely learned my lesson and will never ever say mean things about anti-trans people ever again (anti-trans people saying horrible things about trans folk is of course A-OK).

      Flipping the bird doesn’t count as saying something mean, right?

      • Does punching count as saying something?

      • What about if you’re not trans? Do you get to call her a doucheface then?

      • Donna L says:

        Mac, if you’re a woman who’s not trans and speak up for trans women, that just means, in essence, that you’ve been brainwashed. And are probably one of those Fun Feminists. Or that you know in your heart that trans women are really men, and, given your female socialization, are therefore afraid of them and will do whatever’s necessary to appease them. As one person recently wrote as her explanation of why trans women are generally accepted on Feministe, despite our obvious male energy, or whatever.

      • Or that you know in your heart that trans women are really men, and, given your female socialization, are therefore afraid of them and will do whatever’s necessary to appease them. As one person recently wrote as her explanation of why trans women are generally accepted on Feministe, despite our obvious male energy, or whatever.




        I…I don’t have words to reply to that. Words, I have not. Words, where you goed? Come back :(

      • EG says:

        Oh, I have words. They’re all of the four-letter Anglo-Saxon variety, of course, but I have them.

    • Radiant Sophia says:

      The only thing I can possibly think here is hate = page views. This is disgusting.

    • hotpot says:

      Wow. A hate manifesto motivated by a writer’s personal loyalty to her friend, published as a legit article in the Guardian. This is the epitome of writers abusing their platform, IMO, and in such a transparent way, as well. I give a virtual thank you for the commenter “votesaxon” in leading off the opposition.

    • H-nought says:

      Wow, that was one of the most vile, hate-filled and petty things I’ve ever read. I am truly astounded that someone thought that fit for publication.
      Not to mention, half if it was just childish name calling, and I thought that was supposed to go out of style after kindergarten…

    • dc says:


      A British government minister has called for columnist Julie Burchill to be sacked, accusing her of a “disgusting rant” against
      transsexuals.Liberal Democrat Lynne Featherstone……


    • Rachele says:

      Woah, they took the article down. Given the recent trend of doubling down when you ought to fold and over-committing to a terrible position, I am kind of shocked. I am even slightly encouraged with the apology that sort of sounded like an actual apology, even if it came with a lame disclaimer of wanting to explore challenging issues.

  33. olwhatshername says:

    um. how do you get the comments to appear sequentially? Or at least see the latest ones?

    • tigtog says:

      The only way to see comments sequentially is to subscribe via email or RSS. Otherwise it’s threaded, because we find that it helps contain derails so that others can go on discussing on-topic stuff on various subthreads while the derail is stuck in its own subthread. You’ve also managed to leave a comment on last weekend’s Open Thread instead of on the current Open Thread, so that’s maybe why you’re not seeing the very latest Open Thread comments?

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