Weekly Open Thread with Racing Griffon

UPDATE: Discussion of the Zimmerman verdict is happening from this comment onwards.

UPDATE 2: There is now a Trayvon Martin Open Thread.

A smooth Brussels Griffon dog, pleased as punch to be winning a race, is the host of this week’s Open Thread. Please natter/chatter/vent/rant on anything* you like over this weekend and throughout the week.

A smooth Brussels Griffon racing towards the camera across a grassy field, tongue hanging out.  In the distance behind her is a black and white French bulldog, furiously trying to catch up.

BY A NOSE by tylerriewer, on Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

So, what have you been up to? What would you rather be up to? What’s been awesome/awful?
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?

* Netiquette footnotes:
* There is no off-topic on the Weekly Open Thread, but consider whether your comment would be on-topic on any recent thread and thus better belongs there.
* If your comment touches on topics known to generally result in thread-jacking, you will be expected to take the discussion to #spillover instead of overshadowing the social/circuit-breaking aspects of this thread.

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58 comments for “Weekly Open Thread with Racing Griffon

  1. July 12, 2013 at 10:56 pm

    My babies get home from camp tomorrow! I’ve missed my girls.

  2. July 12, 2013 at 11:15 pm

    I’m off to visit my sister in Queensland on Monday. Never been there before. She moved back in February after being here for a few years. Last time she lived there it was way north, and nothing’s getting me to spend time in the tropics, even in winter! Now she’s near the Sunshine Coast, which is pretty decent at the moment (about 10C overnight and 20ish during the day). Be good to see her again.

    • Willemina
      July 13, 2013 at 1:22 am

      Enjoy yourself! That temperature range sounds lovely.

  3. July 13, 2013 at 1:49 am

    [Content note: verbal abuse, abusive yelling, threats of violence]

    My father was enraged tonight. It started when my uncle’s car was parked illegally near our house. A neighbor complained and asked the car to be towed away. When the tow truck arrived, my father got very angry. He yelled and screamed at the tow truck people in a very frightening way and openly threatened to “split their heads open” and stab them with a kitchen knife. His yelling and screaming were so disruptive and alarming that many of our neighbors came to our house and asked him to stop.

    Everyone was terrified in my house. I was shaking, and so were my two little sisters. I immediately tried to keep my little sisters away from him in case he got violent, and I both offered them hugs, although they didn’t want to be hugged because they were too distressed and anxious. And the youngest one had the most frightened reaction; as soon as he started yelling and threatening those people with violence, she just told me “I just want to go to sleep” and started crying loudly and running up to her room. She got all the way to the top of her bunk bed and buried her face in blankets. And her crying was really painful for me to hear because it kept getting worse every time she heard my father make another threat of violence – he just kept going on with the threats until neighbors stopped him.

    I did my best to console her by rubbing her back, assuring her that she’s safe and that what he was doing was wrong. Later on I went back downstairs with her and sat with her outside in the backyard, where she said “My life is a big grey wall.” She also said
    “I wish adults didn’t know bad words.” I wanted to also give my attention to her older sister, but I knew that if I tried to get her away from my father he would get very angry at me and do who-knows-what to me. Fortunately she was around my aunt and my uncle, who kept watching her the whole time to make sure she was okay.

    The whole ordeal was so distressing that I lost my appetite almost completely. And then I had to listen to him rationalize his actions and express absolutely no regret for doing what he did because, apparently, those tow truck people deserved that for being exploitative or something. In any case, he was full of shit. And of course my little sisters, when he calmed down, acted very playful and happy in order to shove those memories aside and not make him angry. As if they weren’t actually crying and panicking 10 minutes ago.

    Also, after he calmed down, my uncle came up to my room and expressed his concerns about my dad’s violent tendencies. He told me that my dad was recently diagnosed with bipolar disorder.

    I’m so fucking pissed off at my dad. Words fail to fully express how much I despise him right now. I feel lost, frightened, and very worried about my little sisters. Tomorrow I’ll try to spend more time with those two and do fun things with them. Anything to help them feel less scared and anxious.

    • GallingGalla
      July 13, 2013 at 9:52 am

      Your father sounds like a real class act (not!!) :(

      • GallingGalla
        July 13, 2013 at 9:54 am

        (Sorry, hit return too soon.)

        Your little sisters are lucky to have you as a big sister. Hugs if you want ’em.

      • July 13, 2013 at 12:34 pm

        Thanks. I’m still shaken from that event and having a lot of anxiety even though it’s been about 12 hours since it happened. I feel sick to my stomach and I don’t want to see my father today. I just want to stay in my room and spend time with my little sisters without his presence. Or go outside for a walk since the weather is nice.

      • July 13, 2013 at 7:37 pm

        Ally, I’m sorry to hear what your father’s putting you through. I’m glad you’re there for your sisters, and I’ve got everything crossed for you all to get safely away from his control over your lives.

    • July 13, 2013 at 10:19 am

      Oh Ally, that’s terrible. I hate that you and your sisters have to go through this.

    • Willemina
      July 13, 2013 at 3:58 pm

      That just sounds so full of awful I can’t even imagine. I hope you enjoy your walk or whatever you end up getting to do.

      He is lucky no one called the cops, threats like that can land you in a lot of hot water.

    • Alexandra
      July 13, 2013 at 8:57 pm

      I am so sorry, Ally. You seem to be going through a really rough time with your home life right now, and I truly sympathize, my family life has been awful at times too. I don’t know how much of a support network you have where you are, but I would be happy to give you my e-mail address if you’d like. We’re about the same age and live in roughly the same area, and I’ve been thinking for a while that I should offer. If this isn’t something you’re comfortable with or interested in, I of course understand.

    • Hrovitnir
      July 14, 2013 at 12:00 am

      Oh god. I’m so sorry. I have been in similar situations with my little siblings and it is so horrible.

  4. July 13, 2013 at 12:08 pm

    I was at the Texas capitol all last night. what an emotional ride. uplifting, triggering, desperate, passionate, frightening, inspiring… everything. i’m still a bit shell shocked by it all and trying to decompress. i’ll be mobilizing like hell for the July 15th national day of action – but today, i’m just trying to process and understand.

    • Computer Soldier Porygon
      July 13, 2013 at 7:58 pm

      I have been so homesick lately while all of this has been going on.

  5. Willemina
    July 13, 2013 at 4:04 pm

    Liz lives! She’s eating, drinking, and climbing the walls all on her own. She’s still about 70% of her original weight, but the little darling eats like a horse and is packing the grams back on. Today I put something on top of her cage and she did a standing high jump to try and pull it in! Best Rat-urday evar.

  6. July 13, 2013 at 4:13 pm

    I’ve been preoccupied most of the past several days. My mother has developed lots of chronic pain issues and I’ve been calling to check on her regularly. It hurts me because I can’t really do anything about it. I keep hoping the doctors will eventually find the source. The first couple of months were the worst, but she has learned ways to cope as best she can.

    I always have my own medical issues with which to contend. For the past year, I’ve been managing the best I can with severe fatigue. I’ve managed to cut down on feeling as tired, which is good. One of my doctors is willing to try a new medication, but wants to wait for a couple months before prescribing it.

    At Quaker Meeting, the Young Adult group has new leadership in place. I’m trying to figure out how to assist the best way I can. Neither person in a position of authority is entirely comfortable with that role, and I’ve had to use strategic praise as motivation to boost confidence. Sometimes I have to pull back and let them make their own mistakes so they can learn from them.

    I could go on, but I’ve said enough for now.

  7. Alexandra
    July 13, 2013 at 8:48 pm

    Depression is a seriously bizarre illness. I have lived with bipolar disorder now for enough years that when truly disturbed, crazy thoughts flit through my head I know them for what they are – the product of an illness not of my own making and not fundamental to my immortal soul. But it can be hard to explain to people that, you know — “Well, I didn’t get much work today because my depression was flaring up and I had to work hard not to take a knife to my face and start carving it up. But I’m okay, I know it’s not me, it’s just the disease.”

    Like, I have never experienced depression in this way before – there’s an enormous amount of distress I’m not experiencing because I can externalize huge amounts of the mental pain. But the fact remains that I spend a lot of my time actively preventing myself from being crazy. Which makes this depression disabling, intensely disabling, even though I am not the threat to myself that I have been in the past. I have the grim sense that this is going to be a long-ish depression, not something that will conveniently wrap up in time for the fall semester, and I am worried I will lose my job because of my inability to do the paperwork that keeps me funded through the university corporation paying for my gig. I am also worried that, given that I experience one bad episode every two years, and that these episodes last for six to nine months, I will never be truly ’employable’ in the straight sense. Which is a distressing (and depressing) thought, given how much I want to have a career.

    • Schmorgluck
      July 15, 2013 at 6:08 pm

      I seriously hope you’re being over-pessimistic about the long-term consequences of your sickness. I have chronical depression myself, with bouts of acute depression, and I’ve been in an intermediate state for several months. By what you describe we don’t have the same set of symptoms, but you have my sympathy and my hugs if you want them.

      Do you have access to professional help? By what you describe, medication should be considered imho, at least for the short term. You’re in danger.

      • Alexandra
        July 15, 2013 at 7:09 pm

        Don’t worry, I have a number of professional madness-managers a phone-call away, and see my pharmaceutical-dispenser and medical man tomorrow.

  8. Donna L
    July 13, 2013 at 10:09 pm

    Zimmerman was just acquitted of all charges in the Trayvon Martin trial. I am so not happy. Fuck.

    • Alexandra
      July 13, 2013 at 10:28 pm


    • trees
      July 13, 2013 at 10:49 pm

      …not able to process this right now…

    • shfree
      July 13, 2013 at 11:01 pm

      This blows beyond all. That one Supreme Court decision really hasn’t been enough good news recently, frankly, with the whole gutting of the voting rights, all of the abortion rights restrictions that are being put in place everywhere in the US. This all just SUCKS.

    • GallingGalla
      July 13, 2013 at 11:05 pm

      Oh, my g-d.

    • amblingalong
      July 13, 2013 at 11:10 pm

      Honestly, the prosecution totally failed to make their case.

      I still think the story here isn’t the verdict, but the fact that initially, there wasn’t even going to be a trial.

      • trees
        July 13, 2013 at 11:17 pm

        Does the family have any other legal recourse; are civil damages an option?

      • amblingalong
        July 13, 2013 at 11:23 pm

        Yes, they do; not only is the burden of proof lower in a civil case, but perhaps more importantly, the relevant torts are broader. Honestly, the prosecution had an almost impossible job given the contradictory and confusing evidence surrounding the events that led to Trayvon’s killing.

        The Root had a pretty decent summary:

      • trees
        July 13, 2013 at 11:55 pm

        I’m not a lawyer so that Root article was really helpful. Thanks. I’d love to hear other legal takes on the case, if anyone else cares to share.

      • Donna L
        July 13, 2013 at 11:30 pm

        Honestly, the prosecution totally failed to make their case.

        I completely disagree.

      • amblingalong
        July 13, 2013 at 11:35 pm

        Really? I saw evidence that Zimmerman followed Trayvon, that he racially profiled him, perhaps even that he started the fight, but none of those are sufficient to return a verdict of guilty on either charge.

        To quote from the Root article, which I really do recommend reading:

        Florida law lets an aggressor — even one with a despicable motivation — use the defense under certain circumstances. There’s really only one main question that will be before the jury: whether, at the moment Zimmerman pulled the trigger, he reasonably believed he needed to do so to protect himself from death or imminent bodily harm. It’s narrow, it’s specific and it doesn’t allow for the consideration of race.

      • amblingalong
        July 13, 2013 at 11:39 pm

        Basically, it seemed like the only witnesses to the actual confrontation gave conflicting accounts of what happened, leaving room for reasonable doubt that Zimmerman’s account was substantially true.

        I don’t think this outcome is just in the sense that I think Florida self-defense laws are unjust, but I also don’t think the jury was wildly out of line.

      • A4
        July 14, 2013 at 12:14 am

        I also don’t think the jury was wildly out of line.

        Really. That’s very noble of you.

        I don’t feel quite as charitable as you do.

      • amblingalong
        July 14, 2013 at 12:22 am

        Really. That’s very noble of you.

        If you have a different analysis, feel free to post it. It’s not as easy as being a condescending ass, but I guarantee it’s more productive.

      • Donna L
        July 14, 2013 at 12:28 am

        I don’t know; I guess you can write what you like, amblingalong, but I do feel like it’s kind of in bad taste to engage in a dispassionate analysis of the verdict right here (one that effectively defends the verdict as justified), right now, tonight, when everyone is so deeply upset about it.

      • amblingalong
        July 14, 2013 at 12:41 am

        I guess I’m pushing back because everyone has gotten so wrapped up in the verdict that the conversation has shifted away from what, to me, feels like a much more terrifying injustice, which is how the case was ignored by law enforcement until there was a national outcry.

        I get why the verdict is upsetting- believe it or not, I’m upset by it even though I think I understand it- but I hate that the trial has become the 24/7 story when it’s not the part that makes me sad and angry and scared all at once. Maybe that’s selfish, but I think there’s some truth there.

        Anyways, I am sorry if my reaction to that is unpleasant for other people. I see how that might happen.

      • A4
        July 14, 2013 at 1:32 am

        I wasn’t being sarcastic. It’s a noble and charitable sentiment to afford the jury the possible consideration that they acted in a just manner. It shows commitment to the theories of our system of justice.

        Somehow these theories exist in stark contrast with the realities.

      • a lawyer
        July 16, 2013 at 1:20 pm

        Donna L July 14, 2013 at 12:28 am | Permalink

        I don’t know; I guess you can write what you like, amblingalong, but I do feel like it’s kind of in bad taste to engage in a dispassionate analysis of the verdict right here (one that effectively defends the verdict as justified), right now, tonight, when everyone is so deeply upset about it

        If people are upset because they don’t understand the analysis, isn’t it reasonable to explain the truth?

        There is nothing “good” about this verdict other than its accuracy. But it’s not that Zimmerman should have a different verdict; it’s that everyone else should have an accurate one. If we could manage to get an average poor black defendant this level of accuracy we would be a better country for it.

        So people are upset about the wrong thing, largely because the media is functionally lying to them (and because the media does a piss-poor job of reporting on the larger, systemic, problems) Lots of people seem to think that there was great evidence and a great case, and that the jury was biased.

        They’re wrong. If they knew how this works, they’d still be upset–but they’d be upset about something else.

        And BECAUSE people are wrong, many folks are calling for a lot of stuff which is, frankly, pretty scary. Like, you know, increased government prosecuting authority, or appeals of acquittals, or prosecutions of people as a result of public dislike, or lower standards of conviction, or….

        As you read those calls to get the government on Zimmerman’s case, stay cautious. Because the most common target of overreaching government power, and the most common target of increased police authority, is… Young black men. The chances of a young black man being shot by a vigilante are very small. But the chances of a young black man being wrongfully arrested, wrongfully charged, and wrongfully convicted, are very, very, shockingly, high.

        There are about a gazillion lawyers who can explain, in detail, why this acquittal made sense. Almost NONE of them (or at least none of the ones who I talk to) like the result. It’s a tragic outcome. But the job of the system is to deliver a result which is as objective as possible and which adheres as closely as possible to the law. That is what happened here.

        Rather than insisting that Zimmerman get the short end of the stick (like so many young black men,) we should be ensuring that the next Trayvon gets treated like Zimmerman did.

    • Donna L
      July 13, 2013 at 11:48 pm

      I don’t think I’m going to be watching any TV news programs for a long time. I can’t bear it. I can’t bear the smug triumphalism of all those who are celebrating the verdict.

      • trees
        July 14, 2013 at 12:01 am

        There’s celebrating?! Celebration for the acquittal of a man who killed a teenage boy? I suppose I won’t be watching TV either.

      • Hrovitnir
        July 14, 2013 at 12:02 am

        Luckily I’m not in the US, nor do I watch TV, but my reaction is still the same. I don’t want to hear it.

        I am shocked (strangely), and so so unhappy. My heart goes out to all black parents in America right now because this horror is something they personally have to fear.

    • July 14, 2013 at 12:51 am

      I wish I could say I was surprised. I hoped against hope they’d find him guilty, but at the same time I had a feeling he’d walk.

      It’s a fucking travesty.

      • July 14, 2013 at 2:27 am

        That’s how I felt about it too, Andie. “He’ll bloody get away with it.”

  9. Hannah
    July 14, 2013 at 12:27 am

    That moment where you know your reaction is caused by your mental illness but you’re not self aware enough to not have the reaction in the first place…

    There aren’t really any other important details. I’m just pissed off and feeling stupid for being pissed off in the first place

    • Schmorgluck
      July 15, 2013 at 6:25 pm

      Something like that happened to me in a bar in january.

      I saw a woman at the counter. Something in her posture suggested me she was open to engaging in conversation. She seemed at some point to be watching me a bit longer than a mere scanning the room would do (but that one could be pinned on the bowler hat I was wearing). The bar wasn’t crowded, plenty of room at the counter: no need to invade her space to try and engage in conversation, and plenty of relocation opportunities if my presence was unwelcome.

      So basically, the conditions were ideal for 37 years old me to give a try, at last, at initiating a conversation with a woman in a bar.

      But no, those damn anxieties kicked in, and told me I would bother her, even creep her out, etc. So I didn’t dare. I wasn’t strong enough to act against my inner demons.

  10. Kittehserf
    July 17, 2013 at 3:24 am

    My Queensland holiday’s been lovely so far. We went to the Eumundi Markets near Noosa today, and I bought a ring (corundum, I think – deep opaque rose-pink) and a bracelet with famous paintings of women with cats in oval panels. I don’t even wear bracelets, but this was too gorgeous to ignore. Didn’t hurt that it was only $15, either. :)

  11. July 18, 2013 at 1:15 pm

    Apropos of nothing at all, I’m halfway through an anime called Monochrome Factor, which pleasantly surprised me for trans-positivity.

    A supporting character fell for a gorgeous guy who turns out to be trans, and then got mad because he “deceived” her and “proposed marriage”, neither of which he did. He goes into a tailspin, and gets possessed by a shadowy demon-thing (they feed on despair/anger/pain in this story). At this point, I was cringing and about to turn the damn thing off… when the story resolves by the entire cast turning up to tell the trans guy he did nothing wrong, and he’s sure to find a girl who’ll love him one day, and one of the main cast tells him that he’s not just a man, he’s the manliest man she knows. And the supporting character who fell for him agrees with all of it and apologises for hurting him. By the end of the episode, I was grinning uncontrollably.

  12. July 19, 2013 at 2:39 am

    You may have heard by now about the Tea Party guy who prattled on at an anti-immigration rally about the incredible DNA white USAians have, and compared that of Mexican and other Latin American immigrants to donkey DNA.

    I do love it when a massive racist compares people me to mules with my Tejana roots and all.


    • Radiant Sophia
      July 19, 2013 at 3:03 am

      I thought that they didn’t believe in genetics, or science in general.

      • July 19, 2013 at 3:07 am

        I know, it’s amazing how they embrace these things when it’s convenient for them!

    • July 19, 2013 at 3:15 am

      You may have heard by now about the Tea Party guy who…
      …compared that of Mexican and other Latin American immigrants to donkey DNA.

      I’m ashamed to admit that my wife made a similar comment about myself recently, and I found it an unbelievably flattering remark, especially considering we’re approaching our 19th year of marriage.

      • July 19, 2013 at 3:31 am

        Steve, this comment of yours strikes me as deflecting and trivialising the issue Annaleigh wants to discuss. Please work harder on avoiding gratuitous flippancy.

    • Willemina
      July 19, 2013 at 3:40 am

      I love that he brought up Thomas Jefferson. Key and Peele mention his impact on US bloodlines too!

  13. July 19, 2013 at 2:41 am

    *people like me, even.

  14. Li
    July 19, 2013 at 10:14 am

    The Australian government has just announced its new policy to deal with refugees who arrive by boat. It’s completely appalling, and involves moving them to a dilapidated and woefully undersized camp in a different (much poorer) country to our north and refusing to resettle them here even if their claims are judged to be genuine (which has historically been the case for 90% of applicants who arrive by boat). So right now I am very very angry and upset at my country, especially since we are about to go into an election where the choice is between the scumbags who just introduced this policy and the scumbags who plan on just towing any boats out of our national waters and assuming someone else will take them.

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