Weekly Open Thread with Falcon Feathers

Keeping a hostly eye on the thread this week is this watchful falcon. Please natter/chatter/vent/rant on anything* you like over this weekend and throughout the week.

An action capture of a falcon in flight - the wings are on the downbeat and fully extended so that the pattern on the feathers can be clearly seen

Photographed near Ypres, Belgium | originally uploaded by Alesa Dam, on Flicker (CC BY-NC-SA 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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68 comments for “Weekly Open Thread with Falcon Feathers

  1. August 23, 2013 at 7:02 pm

    I’ve been raising funds to set up my own blacksmithing operation. I would really appreciate your help, and contributions.

  2. pheenobarbidoll
    August 23, 2013 at 8:19 pm

    One full week later and we are done with moving our crap into new house. Next, clean old house. Then unpack. Bewm.

    • EG
      August 24, 2013 at 11:09 am

      Congratulations! Bread and salt to you!

  3. Chataya
    August 24, 2013 at 12:22 am

    On the latest episode of As My Vagina Turns…

    Good news: The IUD is working out great! No periods, no complaints. I even got a sizable refund of my payment for the insertion.

    Bad news: Which I immediately had to use for car repairs. *sigh*

    Non-vagina news: I’m getting a puppy!

  4. August 24, 2013 at 2:43 am

    All packed up and ready to head to Colorado. I’m staying at my mom’s place for about three weeks. It’ll be a much-needed break for me, needless to say. Unfortunately, I still need to do some web development work remotely. Oh well – at least I’ll be 1800+ miles away from my dad!

    • Donna L
      August 24, 2013 at 3:00 am

      Enjoy your trip, Ally, and, yes, being 1800 miles away from your Dad sounds wonderful!

    • August 24, 2013 at 4:53 am

      Hurrah for distance from aggravating relatives! Hope the trip is relaxing.

    • GallingGalla
      August 24, 2013 at 11:04 am

      Enjoy your trip!

    • EG
      August 24, 2013 at 11:10 am

      Excellent news. I hope that these three weeks are a time of regeneration and support.

      • August 26, 2013 at 1:50 am

        Thank you, EG. :) I’m feeling a lot happier now that I’m here, and my stress is considerably less harsh than usual for the time being. It’s only been two days and yet I already feel like I’m regenerating.

      • Donna L
        August 26, 2013 at 7:09 am

        That’s wonderful to hear — I’m very happy for you!

  5. August 24, 2013 at 5:31 am

    I had a really devastating time writing this article on Russian ICUs – and now I can’t shake off a feeling of profound depression and helplessness.

    Being a parent makes it that much harder.

    • Donna L
      August 24, 2013 at 8:46 am

      Dreadful. I had no idea.

      • August 24, 2013 at 4:05 pm

        It’s not an issue that gets much play anywhere. But it is horrific and more people should know, I figured.

    • rain
      August 24, 2013 at 10:12 am

      That’s so cruel.

    • trees
      August 25, 2013 at 10:41 pm

      Gut wrenching. When my little girl was in ICU, I was bedside 24/7. I hated having to go to the bathroom, or go downstairs to get coffee or food. I couldn’t bare the thought that she might take her last breath without her mama there stroking her brow and singing her favorite song. Having the support of loved ones is good for both the patient and their family. That’s common sense, right? Besides being cruel, I can’t make sense of how this policy benefits the hospital. Along with mourning the lost of their loved one, the surviving family must also manage the additional trauma of the terrible handling of the death.

  6. Matthew
    August 24, 2013 at 8:35 am

    Attempting to write a paper for a conference next week and procrasting fiercely as usual. The good thing is that I’m heading to Barcelona afterwards, and will see my partner (we’re in a long distance relationship which sometimes sucks) for 10 ten days.

    Although I’ve posted once or twice (I meant to introduce myself earlier as I’ve been a long time lurker – hey all). This is pre-Chiara days (I’m neither the trucker or hairdresser… or am I misquoting her?) but I can’t be more specific. I remember at first I would skim Feministe quite a bit, but now I tend to read all the posts; to the extent to which my partner recently said ‘Get off that fucking website and come to bed’. He loves you all really… ;-)

    Anyway, hope to comment now and again, although I’m sure I’ll mainly sit back and continue to learn.

  7. August 24, 2013 at 11:33 am

    I get my house to myself today!

    Background: post-divorce, I spent the better part of 8 years mostly single and living on my own with my kids. So for those eight years, due to visitation, I was guaranteed at least 5-6 days of solitude every month.

    Boyfriend and I have been together for over a year and a half now and for all intents and purposes have pretty much lived together since I bought my house a year ago and have spent a. Lot. Of. Time. Together (aside from when I go to work) which is nice but I’m also not used to not having a LOT of me time.

    It’s not a case of insecurity on either part, but the way things work out is we just end up doing a lot of stuff together, since most of our friends are mutual or not nearby.

    We’re working through some communication stuff, one of which is being clear about needs so I said I needed some time to myself, like a day or two to just be by myself. So he’s arranged to be elsewhere and I have a day to putter around, go tool around town, get some housework done… Or not, if I don’t want to.

  8. rain
    August 24, 2013 at 12:17 pm

    Some astonishingly clueless creeper has a photography book out, Cyclists. The link is a video interview with him. A few excerpts:

    As far as these photos go, they are all candid and I have shot them surreptitiously in, in a friendly way, um, so I’m a good editor and I would never publish or print a photograph if somebody didn’t look as good as possible, and I’m a good editor and, um, I’ve edited these photographs down so that anybody that’s in any of my photographs looks absolutely handsome or totally gorgeous, . . .

    I didn’t really want to do a portrait thing with, um, with permission and people putting on their photo face and such. I wanted it to look as, um, fleeting, um, as true as possible.

    You know, people like pictures of themselves if they look good. I find that, um, there’s far too many pictures of people in the world and in the internet and online and whatever, that people look dreadfully awful. So when there’s a chance that somebody might look really great, they’ll jump for it. They’ll reach for it.

    Photographing people, guys are usually a lot more suspicious than women, um, ya know, I’ve been assaulted by guys when I’ve photographed them, and, um, women kind of understand, they kind of get it, you know, they understand that, you know, maybe their image is worthy of a photograph. But guys, um, I find they’re a little bit more violent towards me and um, and I have to be, um, more cautious of that.

    • GallingGalla
      August 24, 2013 at 2:59 pm

      Yeah, that guy is creepy. Especially the last quote, it’s like “yeah jerkface, did you ever consider that women are socialized to be ‘pleasant’ even when you violate their boundaries? Which you’re doing very blatantly?”

    • August 24, 2013 at 6:43 pm

      That eejit and his photos are extremely worrying. I don’t know if he has a fetish – I’m guessing he has – but how many of those pics, which appear to have been taken and published without permission, are going to end up on creepy fetish sites?

      • amblingalong
        August 24, 2013 at 9:08 pm

        I don’t know if he has a fetish – I’m guessing he has

        …what? Is this based on anything?

  9. Donna L
    August 24, 2013 at 1:45 pm

    OK, I’m splitting up a comment I just made that went into moderation, to see if I can avoid moderation that way. (If it works, there won’t be any need to approve the longer comment)

    I talked a little bit on the other thread about how it’s been a very bad time to be “reading the news while trans,” or reading the Internet in general (as with that transphobic statement collectively issued by 37 well-known feminist scholars, writers, and artists, including Marge Piercy, which I find infinitely depressing), and how the wave of stories about Chelsea Manning has made it even worse. I wish I could avoid all of it, but I’d basically have to cut myself off from all forms of media. It’s very enervating.

    For example, NPR has gone out of its way to take the position that it will continue to refer to Chelsea Manning by her former name and with male pronouns, until her “desire to have his [sic] gender changed actually physically happens.” Which, of course, can’t happen now, no matter how much she would want it to. See this story on Helen Boyd’s blog:


    • Donna L
      August 24, 2013 at 1:45 pm

      Even basically sympathetic articles are upsetting to read, like this “analysis” by the Christian Science Monitor, entitled “Bradley Manning Isn’t The Only One” (really?), explaining that the term “transgender” refers to “males who feel and think of themselves as female and vice versa.” See http://news.yahoo.com/transgender-americans-bradley-manning-isn-t-only-one-141048856.html

      In other words, exactly how the Cathy Brennans of the world would describe trans people.

    • Donna L
      August 24, 2013 at 1:54 pm
      • Matthew
        August 24, 2013 at 2:03 pm

        That’s good to hear about the NPR. In England we have our own major transphobic asshole in the form of Brendan O’Neill who wrote a really offensive article which I won’t link to. In contast, Paris Lees wrote some supportive articles in the Guardian, and I hope that publication keeps it up.

      • Jamie
        August 25, 2013 at 11:59 am

        There was a petition pressuring NPR… I don’t know if it worked, or there were other forms of pressure, but yay.

      • Jamie
        August 25, 2013 at 12:04 pm

        From the linked NPR article:

        “The Huffington Post, the London Daily Mail, MSNBC and Slate have all started using the feminine pronoun.

        “NBC’s Today, USA TODAY, The Boston Globe, Politico, CNN, Fox, the New York Daily News, the New York Post, the Daily Beast, the Los Angeles Times and The New York Times are using the masculine pronoun.”


      • Jamie
        August 25, 2013 at 12:06 pm

        I also wouldn’t be surprised if the NYT and some of those publications are thinking, “But but but if we do this, we’ll get castigated as the Liberal Media! Look what happened when we switched from ‘homosexual’ to ‘gay’.” The Daily Mail, meanwhile, has nothing to lose. Of course, I’m sure a huge part of it is just cis privilege. Ughhhhhhh.

      • Jamie
        August 25, 2013 at 12:06 pm

        That’s not meant as an excuse, btw, I just wonder if that’s the internal whining going on in their minds.

    • August 24, 2013 at 3:55 pm

      Jos from Feministing wrote a really good (and long) piece on the media’s mishandling of Chelsea Manning’s transition, too.


      • Donna L
        August 24, 2013 at 4:06 pm

        Yes, it’s good. Maybe I’m just too down about all this in general, given recent events even before the Manning story, but the handful of decent articles from allies, together with the attempts by trans people to push back against the hate, feel to me at the moment like they’re having the cumulative effect of using a folding umbrella against a hurricane. (Although, admittedly, they do seem to have influenced NPR to change its position.) I hope that before too long the focus of the news media passes on to something else.

      • Willemina
        August 24, 2013 at 4:32 pm

        Oh god, I made the mistake of reading the Mansfield Frazer article. Just fucking awful.

        Kristin Beck (of Seal Team 6 fame) had an awful post up on Facebook, and imma gonna go spare on some people on a trans forum throwing around conspiracy bs and the unnerring logic of not providing HRT in prison.

      • Donna L
        August 24, 2013 at 6:32 pm

        On the private trans forum where I’m a moderator, I just commented that Kristin Beck can just go fuck herself. Being trans is not a conditional status that’s bestowed upon someone for being “good,” and requires an official approval, with stamp and seal, from an endocrinologist. And it doesn’t get taken away, no matter what one thinks of what Chelsea Manning did.

        As for providing HRT in prison, what part of having a constitutional right to necessary medical care, even when you’re in prison, do people not understand? And every time people start complaining about “not on my tax dollar” blah blah blah, I can’t help thinking that my tax dollars get used on a whole lot of far more expensive and far less necessary things, and I don’t get a say in that. Nor does anybody else get a say on Chelsea Manning’s right to medical care.

        And people have completely bizarre ideas about how much estrogen costs in the first place. Even without insurance, maybe $10 or $20 a month, less if it’s injected? Come on already.

    • Li
      August 24, 2013 at 4:02 pm

      I had dinner with my parents for dad’s birthday last night, and he brought up Chelsea Manning (not under that name) and repeatedly misgendered her including referring to her as “he/she”. I’d already slept badly the previous night because of a facebook comment hole I’d fallen into over the same shit. I was as polite as possible in just repeatedly correcting him but holy fuck I am just so angry over the whole issue. I know a number of trans* women other than you Donna who are avoiding the news because of how constantly terrible it is in regards to covering Manning.

      • GallingGalla
        August 24, 2013 at 5:31 pm

        Right. I’m only reading the Guardian because at least they got Chelsea Manning’s name and pronouns right without needing prompting from the community. And even there, I’m waiting for the other shoe to drop, like publishing another transphobic “opinion” piece from Burchill or the like. And I’m not reading Guardian comment threads either, because I just. can’t. deal. with the pollystyrenes* of this world.

        Donna, I think you’re right on about everything you’ve said.

        * Frequent transphobic commenter who somehow manages to fly just under the Guardian’s commenting guidelines radar

      • Matthew
        August 24, 2013 at 5:39 pm

        O God the comment threads on the Guardian sometimes (/most of the time when dealing with gender/sexuality/feminism) make me want to weep.

        I seriously can’t imagine/hope they wouldn’t bring someone back like Burchill, although there is always Suzanne Moore, who is still around…

      • matlun
        August 24, 2013 at 6:13 pm

        … although there is always Suzanne Moore, who is still around…

        @Matthew: Do not forget Julie Bindel.

      • Matthew
        August 24, 2013 at 6:31 pm

        Good point.

  10. EG
    August 24, 2013 at 4:18 pm

    The 8/26 issue of The New Yorker ran a letter that was nothing but rape apologia.

    I sent the following letter to the editor:

    To the Editors:

    I am appalled at your decision to run Matthew Kramer’s rape apologia in the 8/26 issue. In this letter, Kramer implicitly categorizes rape as one of the “indiscretions” committed by “athletically gifted young men.” He refers to the rapists as “vulnerable young people” and “children,” but never as rapists. In his language, the rape occurred in the passive voice (“what was done” and “the young woman who was raped”), but never in the active, allowing him to elide the uncomfortable truth that this rape was actually committed by the same “gifted” and “vulnerable” young men he says deserve guidance. In fact, in Kramer’s letter, the only thing the young men are explicitly said to have done is to have “destroyed much of their own lives”–but what about the young woman’s future, a future in which she was not raped and then the recipient of threats by the supporters of her rapists? Why does he refer to those rapists as “vulnerable” but not the target of their depredations? Surely the problem here is not the rapists’ vulnerability, but their abuse of power over a woman no older than themselves.

    Kramer writes that “we as a society must recognize our responsibility to guide and enlighten young people.” By the time I was a teenager, I was “enlightened” enough to be aware that rape was vile, unacceptable behavior, and so were my friends, many of whom had already survived rape. Why did these young men think differently? Perhaps, after all, they are examples of the evils of a male-dominated rape culture.


    I guess if they end up running the letter, my anonymity here, or the rags that remain of it, will be blown away, but I doubt they will. And I really want to vent somewhere where others will be equally disgusted.

    • GallingGalla
      August 24, 2013 at 5:49 pm

      Good letter, EG.

      This is another thing that gets me down – just how acceptable rape culture remains and that it doesn’t seem to be getting any better.

    • Donna L
      August 24, 2013 at 6:34 pm

      Great letter, EG. I can’t believe they published that horrible letter in the first place.

    • August 24, 2013 at 11:34 pm

      This is a really great letter. I think it’s awesome that you wrote it and sent it to them. I hope they print it!

    • Jamie
      August 25, 2013 at 12:01 pm

      Good for you.

    • (BFing) Sarah
      August 25, 2013 at 6:10 pm

      Great letter, EG. I’m glad you wrote it. Just last weekend I spent more than five hours talking about rape culture and rape apologia with my young cousin and brother. We talked about the need for enthusiastic consent and why open communication and clarity about expectations (of protection, of the openness of relationship, of boundaries) is necessary. It was SO, SO intensely frustrating. Society has perpetuated this idea that rapists are victims. That people can be “accused” of rape after a “night of sex” that a person regrets and that this happens just “all the time” (!!!) and boys have to worry about this. I heard a young man raised with older sisters make comments like “she shouldn’t have….” and “she should have known…” that just made me sick to my stomach. It made me so sad. I am glad to say, however, that after several hours of beating my head against the wall, I do feel like they heard what I was saying. It really impressed upon me the need to constantly push back against rape culture and not to assume that young people “get it.”

    • Lolagirl
      August 25, 2013 at 9:42 pm

      EG, what a great letter. I really hope they publish it.

  11. Lolagirl
    August 25, 2013 at 2:20 pm

    So I suppose this should really go in the selfless signal boosting area, but I thought it might get lost there. Jez usually annoys the hell out of me these days but this adorably hilarious video is making my afternoon. Warning for cute little noobs and positive portrayals of WOC as mothers!


    • trees
      August 25, 2013 at 10:00 pm

      A thing of beauty! Thanks for posting it!

  12. Willemina
    August 26, 2013 at 1:03 am

    Last week’s thread made me jump back in to anime, though I broke a promise to a half dozen friends and skipped FMA: Brotherhood in favor of Requiem from the Darkness. Me likey.

    The dark themes fit my generally macabre demeanor of late. Had a rat euthanized last week and I’m still getting over it. I keep telling myself it was the right call, and it was, but she was my first pet that was solely mine. I had to take care of everything by myself and keeping it together in the vet’s office was tough. The others are doing fine but after basically a month of intensive hospice care I’m burned out for anything more than basic calisthenics and health checks.

  13. AMM
    August 26, 2013 at 3:50 pm

    For reasons that are a little complicated to explain, I’ve been on an M2F crossdressing forum a lot, and as someone with feminist sensibilities, I’m finding a lot of what is posted there pretty sexist. (Par for the course for most male-dominate fora.) Things like “why don’t women dress nice? (like we CDers do)” or “how can I make my SO be delighted at my CDing” are pretty obvious.

    But I also have the feeling that the whole way most people there frame their CDing — the whole “I’m getting in touch with my inner woman” (by wearing heels, talking in a “female voice”, etc.) — is inherently sexist and maybe othering. But I can’t explain why in a convincing way, even to myself.

    One possibly related issue is that the community there — both CDing men and their SOs (to the extent they participate) is almost unanimous in believing in the gender binary and that current ideas of What Men/Women Are are unchanging laws of the universe. So any way in which a man or woman deviates from current gender norms is seen as “transgender,” that is, that they are part female, regardless of what they may say about themselves.

    It’s also hard to distinguish between the ambient sexism that’s there just because it’s guys talking to guys (even if they do use feminine screen names) and the sexism that arises from how they view their CDing.

    Has anyone had contact with conventional CDing and thought about it from a feminist perspective? Or just have some sort of feminist critique?

    • August 26, 2013 at 5:31 pm

      AMM, I was in the middle of typing up a long response to this based on my own performance experience as part of a sketch comedy troupe sometimes doing shows with drag queens around Sydney, but then I realised that (a) performer subculture is never easily extrapolatable to life beyond the stage, and (b) that it’s way too easy/common for discussions of CD to end up with splash damage landing on our trans* readers, and I really don’t want that to happen.

      So I’d like to pre-emptively move this discussion to #spillover, so that all the moderator team will receive comment notifications on it. You OK with that?

      • AMM
        August 26, 2013 at 6:11 pm

        I have no problem with moving it to Spillover (1: it’s your (pl) blog, 2: I bow to your superior judgement, 3: I can see how this could go very wrong.)

        However, the most recent spillover I can find is from Aug. 1 Doesn’t that mean it gets locked on Sept. 1?

        (Whichever spillover it goes to, unless told otherwise, I plan to copy the comment to that spillover and reply to my post here with a link.)

      • August 26, 2013 at 7:27 pm

        However, the most recent spillover I can find is from Aug. 1 Doesn’t that mean it gets locked on Sept. 1?

        Not necessarily. My plan was always to move to a pattern of putting up new #spillover threads whenever the current one got to 200-250 comments, but up until now that hasn’t happened most months, hence the temporary habit of putting one up on the 1st of the month just to remind readers that #spillover is A Thing. This time, since Spillover #7 is currently at 202 comments, I’ll close that one and open up Spillover #8 right now, and then the discussion can move to there.

      • August 26, 2013 at 7:35 pm
    • AMM
      August 26, 2013 at 9:54 pm

      Discussion moved to Spillover #8.

      Please do not reply on this thread, per Moderation Team request.

  14. Canisse
    August 26, 2013 at 5:05 pm

    Accidentally stumbled upon a blog today. The page contained jokes about women, which were generally very sexist. This alone would not have been remarkable; god knows there are plenty of those out there. However, the introduction, written by the blogger, made me hesitate between sobbing and screaming out in rage.

    He was basically warning women that the jokes were fairly sexist, though anyone reasonable would know that there is no reason to be offended, because there are just as many jokes about men out there (although, I couldn’t help but notice, not on his blog), we are in a post-feminist world, and Camille Paglia should be an example to us all. And anyone who disagrees is a “humorless, man-hating bull-dyke”.

    He also talked about tampons, which I assume was a reference to PMSing, but that’s not exactly new.

  15. August 27, 2013 at 12:04 am

    I was reading this really good article about Sudanese food and thought I’d share (the article not the food.)

    Building a Shared Sudanese Identity through Food

  16. Donna L
    August 27, 2013 at 10:24 pm

    In a small piece of good news, the loathsome and vicious Cathy Brennan’s Twitter account has apparently been suspended:


    Obviously, that isn’t going to stop her from opening a new account under some other name. Still, it’s about time.

  17. August 28, 2013 at 1:55 am

    Hi. I’ve been missing. On purpose, kinda. This summer has been exhausting, mostly in good ways, but exhausting none the less. Nice to catch up with you all.

    • August 28, 2013 at 2:01 am

      Hey! Glad to see you’re about! ^__^

    • EG
      August 28, 2013 at 9:34 am

      Hi! I’m glad you’re back. I was literally just wondering how you were doing yesterday.

      • August 29, 2013 at 1:47 am

        oh wow. thank you. that’s flattering. how are you, EG?

    • August 28, 2013 at 10:13 am

      Welcome back! ^_^

    • August 29, 2013 at 1:45 am

      Thank you all so much. It’s so amazing to feel the love and community.

    • August 29, 2013 at 1:50 am

      I told my dad about my ptsd diagnosis last week. that was hard. I didn’t tell him about the details of my trauma; I didn’t feel it was necessary, but I told him what I’ve been dealing with. That was huge. I feel very brave.

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